23 September, 2009

Smoot-Hawley it aint

James Fallows is a great source for all things China-related (and airplane-related, but mostly China), and I should link to him more. Here's his take on the recent spat over US tariffs on Chinese tires. Basically, chill out:

There is too much going on, on too many other fronts, involving affairs of incomparably greater consequence between China and America, for this to have been more than a contained, specific dispute -- contained in both duration and sweep. This was clear at the time and should have buffered the shock-horror tone of the stories. Why this matters: because of the boy-who-cried-wolf principle. There are issues between China and the outside world in which a small disagreement could spiral into a very dangerous confrontation. Many of these involve Taiwan, for reasons to be spelled out another time. But tire tariffs, agree with them or not, were never going to set off a global economic confrontation.

As usual, "The Economist" is the primary offender. (Fallows' old but tremendously entertaining takedown of "The Economist" is here.)

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