In a prior life I was a foreign policy guy. In my time living and breathing foreign policy it became evident to me that politics is always domestic first. If you want to know why a foreign leader is acting a certain way or taking a specific position, take a look at the domestic political environment.
Do you think the Chinese cared what Americans think, when they threatened to retaliate to the tire tariffs? Do you think Angela Merkel cares what happens to workers at Vauxhall plants in the U.K. when she arranged the Magna deal? Do you think the Americans care about what happens to Frankfurt as a financial center when they bailed out BofA and Citgroup? Of course not.
What matters is placating domestic concerns and consolidating power domestically. So while I talk about the “cozy” relationship between China and the U.S. as a marriage, I am under no illusion that this is anything more than a business relationship. When push comes to shove domestic concerns will win out. And if that means placating rioting workers in fear of losing jobs, so be it.
Oooh – this explains a lot – and not just current events.