Both China and the US are dissatisfied with the current world order. The nature of their unhappiness is very different. But the two countries’ rival ambitions have produced a trade war that now threatens globalisation. The problem as conceived by Donald Trump is that the world economic system is operating hugely to the US’s disadvantage. The US president complains that “globalism” has helped China to rise at the US’s expense — undermining US prosperity and global pre-eminence. It is that view that underpins Trump’s dramatic decision last week to raise tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese exports to the US, from 10% to 25%. For Xi Jinping, the problem with the current world order is the US’s political and strategic dominance. The Chinese president has made it clear that he wants his country to displace the US as the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific region. Many Xi-supporting nationalists go further, speaking openly of their hope that China will become the dominant global power. X...

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