Steve Bannon, the Trump administration’s chief strategist, says he has a comprehensive plan to reshape US-China relations. In a wide-ranging interview with the progressive-leaning publication The American Prospect published on Wednesday, Bannon said of China: “We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”
“The economic war with China is everything,” Bannon told writer Robert Kuttner. He warned that the US would be on the verge of an “inflection point” in which China could overtake the US as the world’s No. 1 superpower within a decade.
Bannon represents the nationalist wing of the White House, a group that ostensibly sees the US’ diplomatic clout and financial largesse as being exploited by other nations, including China.
Along with senior advisers Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller, Bannon has sought to promote President Donald Trump’s “America first” agenda which, among other things, broadly calls for the US to rely less on other nations and discontinue policies Trump sees as disadvantageous to Americans.
Trump took further steps in that direction on Monday when he announced that he intended to sign a measure that would open an investigation into intellectual property violations against American companies by Chinese firms.
The measure draws upon Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, which would allow Trump to place a tariff on another country without Congressional approval, Business Insider’s Linette Lopez wrote on Monday, adding that such a move would be seen by China as an act of aggression amid lingering uncertainty surrounding Chinese ally North Korea, and its nuclear ambitions.
Bannon insisted the Trump administration needed to be “maniacally focused” on its economic war with China and claimed the US “may never recover” if it loses.