The US, China and the logic of fighting trade wars

They don't call them trade wars for nothing. The latest round of tit-for-tat trade sanctions between the United States and China is driven by the same emotions of fear and pride that lead real wars to break out.

One country makes an aggressive move, so the other feels obliged to respond in kind. Both sides fear that if they back down, they will lose face in the eyes of the world and of their own people.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'The US, China and the logic of fighting trade wars'. Print Edition | Subscribe