The US-China Steak Pact: Not as Meaty as it Looks

Over the weekend, US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping ate steaks and agreed to put the "trade war" on hold: Trump will postpone his plan to increase tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese goods, and Beijing will push its companies to buy more American products.


Any easing of tensions between the world's two largest economies is good news, but it's tough to see this truce lasting for long. The Trump administration has left a window of just 90 days for the two sides to reach a comprehensive deal addressing Washington's deeper grievances: Beijing's policy of heavily supporting its own firms while forcing foreign ones to surrender advanced technology in order to gain access to the Chinese market. Without a deal like that, Trump will be back to raising tariffs, and we'll be back on a (trade) war footing.

Here's the problem: From Beijing's perspective, changing that policy is a non-starter. China sees technological dominance as the key to 21st century superpower status, and it views external attempts to modify its state-centric economic approach as a neo-imperialist bid to undercut China's rightful destiny as a global power. This is not something that will be resolved in three months' time. Chill out for now, but buckle up for later.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.