Like most of us last week, I kept a close watch on the latest news about a trade deal with China. I was confident that even a partial deal would drive markets higher and set the stage for a strong Santa Clause rally.
I still believe we will experience a Christmas rally, which is good news. On the other hand, I feel deeply that our strategic issues with China remain largely unresolved. At some point next year, those issues may have unpleasant consequences. From my perspective, 2020 will be a year of uncertainty, and we’ll just have to get comfortable with the idea of not knowing the outcome of our ongoing rivalry with China.
In a commentary about the trade war written for CNBC, analyst Michael Ivanovitch notes that substantive issues such as “intellectual property protection, forced technology transfers, illegal industry subsidies and exchange-rate management” were mentioned, but not dealt with definitively.
As technology leaders, we are left wondering what happens next. Candidly, now is the time for us to take destiny into our own hands and do what we do best. We remain the undisputed leader in technology innovation. By partnering with reliable allies such as Japan and South Korea, we can run circles around any competitor.
We haven’t lost our edge. Our expertise is unparalleled and our will to win is strong. I recommend that we take a break from the headlines and focus on our core values: innovation, invention and courageous leadership. Let’s double down on our strengths and trust ourselves to stay on course. Our competition with China will unfold over decades, and possibly even over centuries. This will be an exceptionally long game, and we’re still in the opening innings.
In my post last week, I recommended picking up a copy of On China by Dr. Henry Kissinger. One of the book’s key messages is that China essentially has been using the same playbook to manage its relations with foreign powers for more than a millennium. We all need to read China’s playbook, and raise the level of our game.