It’s all about the dollars

Oh dear, some of Trump’s people want him to do the right thing and he’s not interested – who could have seen that coming?

Donald Trump’s top aides are urging him to back Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, but the president isn’t interested, multiple people familiar with the administration’s internal debates say.

In recent days, national security adviser John Bolton, China hands at both the National Security Council and the State Department, and several economic advisers have pushed for a more assertive posture on the Hong Kong demonstrations, which have paralyzed the former British colony and roiled markets.

They are finding little traction with a president focused more narrowly on trade negotiations with Xi Jinping — and worried that criticizing the Chinese leader’s efforts to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong will scuttle the possibility of inking a deal this winter.

They have a great reelayshunship. Who cares about Hong Kong or human rights compared to that? Trump even gave Xi a big prezzy ahead of the G-20 in June.

When the two spoke by phone ahead of the international gathering, Trump surprised his aides when he told Xi that he would not condemn the Chinese government over a crackdown in Hong Kong. He understood it was an internal issue in which the U.S. would not interfere, he said.

Much the way Hitler’s “crackdown” on the Jews was an internal issue.

Former officials in both parties have been critical of the administration’s approach to China, though there is broad agreement that the U.S. needs to be tougher on Beijing.

“What I see is kind of a basic arithmetic: a lack of coherence within the administration, plus a lack of real understanding about how China works, equals no good results,” said Daniel Russel, who served as a senior national security aide to President Barack Obama.

Yeah well. That’s two different universes.

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