On Trump Playing the Hong Kong Card

Donald L. Luskin
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Hong Kong is an existential pressure point for China, and Trump is starting to push on it. 
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Trump has begun to play the Hong Kong card. Having given Xi the gift of maximum maneuvering room by staying out of it, Trump said on Tuesday he hopes “it works out for liberty” and tweeted last night a call for resolving the situation “humanely” as a precondition for a trade deal. Having seemed weak on Tuesday by delaying tariffs, Trump is stepping back toward “the edge of chaos” by using Hong Kong as a pressure play, exploiting its critical economic role for China and the potential for contagious social unrest.