Why Opinions Differ

I think that in his op-ed at Bloomberg View Hal Brande barely scratches the surface of the reasons for differences of opinion about China between Europe and the United States. Here’s a few more reasons just off the top of my head. I’m going to focus on Germany as an epitome of Europe. It’s Europe’s largest, richest country and it dominates the continent politically.

  • Germany and China’s bilateral trade is roughly in balance and until quite recently Germany ran a trade surplus with China.
  • The United States runs a $300 billion per year trade deficit with China.
  • Germany maintains a trade surplus; we have a gigantic trade deficit.
  • German jobs aren’t being siphoned off by China; American jobs indubitably are.
  • China continues to subsidize the vilest regimes on the planet (North Korea, Zimbabwe). From the U. S. standpoint that’s a security concern. For the Germans it’s just business.
  • Germany largely depends on the U. S. for its own defense.
  • The U. S. not only bears the cost of its own and Germany’s defense, it also bears much of the cost of Japan’s, South Korea’s, and the Philippines’s defense.

Here’s my suggestion. The U. S. should extract a tax of roughly $70 billion per year from Germany (approximately 2% of GDP). You can call it a fee if you like. That will make up the difference between what Germany should be spending on defense and what it’s actually spending. Then they can hold any opinion they care to.

I suspect they’ll chafe under that regime. That’s fair. We chafe under the cost of paying for their defense.

3 comments… add one
  • steve

    Not sure how we would collect that money. Probably more practical to remove most of the 35,000 troops we have stationed in Germany.

    Steve

  • We should have done that years ago. At this point I think the only reason we have them there is as a lilypad. There are other places in Europe for that.

  • Guarneri

    Ironic. Despite its obvious roots in a sense of equity, if proposed by Trump that would generate howls here about reckless alienation of our allies. Perhaps the composition in trade with Germany, value added products like auto, aero and machinery, vs consumer electronics, other toys and clothing with China explains part of the difference.

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