James Mann writes: If Donald Trump did not already exist, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China would have sought to invent him. There has never been an American president whose style, personality, and mindset were so perfectly suited to China’s preferred way of doing business. Chinese President Xi Jinping likes to talk of the “China Dream.” When it comes to American presidents, Trump is the China Dream.
Trump has a huge ego. The Chinese love big egos. Flattery is a skill Chinese officials have perfected over the millennia. They know how to entertain and to impress visiting leaders. They have done so to their considerable benefit with officials starting with Henry Kissinger. (“After a dinner of Peking duck, I’ll agree to anything,” Kissinger quipped during President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China, a line somehow omitted from his own memoir but reported in an intelligence study of the trip years later.)
Trump disdains working through normal channels like the State Department. He prefers to operate through his own personal network—through family members like Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, his son in law and daughter, or through intermediaries like Kissinger, or members of the New York financial community. [Continue reading…]