Clyde Prestowitz

Clyde Prestowitz is the author of Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions. He is also president of the Economic Strategy Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

The World Doesn’t Care About TPP

The trade deal was never about curbing China or maintaining U.S. influence in Asia.

AP Photo/Rick Rycroft
Since the Trump administration’s decision not to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) so-called free trade agreement, it has become an article of faith of the U.S. foreign policy elite and pundit class that this inaction is causing a decline in American global influence. In Forbes , John Brinkley wrote, “By withdrawing from the TPP and pursuing an isolationist, “America First” foreign policy, Trump seems intent on throwing that system in the trash. This will give China an opening to run rough-shod over East Asia and Russia to do the same in Europe.” Writing in The Los Angeles Times of the scrapping of TPP, Jessica Meyers declared, “The move delighted Beijing, which no longer needs to worry about a U.S.-led deal Chinese officials saw as an attempt to undermine its rise. These leaders now have a rare opportunity to tilt the geopolitical landscape and promote an agenda more aligned with China’s goals for global trade.” In The New York...

Competing with China

Steve Bannon might have been right about just one thing—the United States needs to play China’s game.

(Imaginechina via AP Images)
While Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House is being cheered and largely welcomed by the so-called mainstream media, progressives, liberals, and even some conservative Republicans, it is important to remember that not everything he said was wrong. This is particularly true with regard to America’s relationship with China. Since the early 1990s, the foreign policy and economic elites of both parties have adopted the view that China’s economy is becoming increasingly privatized and capitalist, that China’s rapid economic development is both desirable and benign for the rest of the world, and that Anglo-American-style free trade and investment with and in China will open both its markets and thereby lead to its political liberalization and eventual democratization. On top of all this, it will make us all rich, said the elites. During the debate in 2000 over whether to admit China into the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. trade deficit with China...

Can Trump Handle China?

During the campaign, Trump made a lot of promises to balance U.S. trade with China.

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
Finally, the much-anticipated day is upon us. As China’s President Xi Jinping visits President Donald Trump at his winter White House in Mar-a-Lago on Thursday and Friday, we may see some of the true mettle of the new U.S. leader. During the election campaign, he proclaimed that he would create American jobs and raise wages by quickly turning around the massive $380 billion U.S. annual trade deficit with China. He charged that China was manipulating its currency to keep it undervalued versus the dollar, thereby artificially maintaining low prices for Chinese exports to the U.S. market. He said that “on day one” of his new administration, he would formally declare China a currency manipulator and take action domestically and within the International Monetary Fund to stop the manipulation and to achieve fair market currency values. He also said that he would impose tariffs as high as 45 percent on U.S. imports of Chinese goods and services in an effort to halt unfair...

Could America Act Like China?

Trump's trade appointments represent a drastic change from business as usual.

(Photo: AP/Andy Wong)
With last week’s announcement of Robert Lighthizer his nominee to become the new U.S. trade representative, President-elect Donald Trump has completed the revolution he began when he appointed economist Peter Navarro as chairman of the newly created National Trade Council and Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. None of these men come from the long-reigning economics and foreign policy establishment of the United States. They’ve all been in the trenches, and are realists rather than ideologues. For those who’ve long sought a drastically different approach to trade, Lighthizer is probably as close to the perfect candidate as it is possible to get. As a deputy trade representative in the Reagan administration, he was involved in the negotiation of the myriad trade frictions that arose between Japan and the United States in the 1980s. The issues between the United States and Japan at that time were very similar to those that have subsequently arisen between the United...

Our Incoherent China Policy (Fall Preview)

The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership is bad economics, and even worse as containment of China.

Imaginechina via AP Images
This article appears in the Fall 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . In the summer of 2009, I was invited with a few other policy analysts to the White House for a briefing on the newly proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). At that time, the potential participants included Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and, of course, the United States. Whether or not Japan would be invited to join had not yet been decided. Noting that the United States already had free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, and Singapore, I asked why we needed an agreement that added only the tiny economies of New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The reply from a member of the National Security Council staff was that it would reassure our Asian allies that America was back; that this agreement would be the economic complement to the increased military deployments of the recently announced “...