Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will be having dinner this weekend to talk about trade. There has been a lot of speculation about the outcome, but one thing is for certain. Both will declare a win.
Xi has several things going for him. One is that his country makes many of the things Trump’s country needs and has no other supplier for. Also, he’s a better negotiator than Trump. Finally, Xi knows that Trump can be bought off by making nice to his family business, Trump Inc.
That is not to say that Xi won’t give Trump a tidbit he can use to declare victory. In fact, that’s a very likely scenario. The Chinese culture understands the value of saving face.
But once the outcome of their meeting is analyzed, it will probably be clear that Trump didn’t get much. Outcome analysis is another Xi advantage. He has the Chinese state press to sell a biased but thoughtful analysis of how he won to his country.
Thoughtful analysis is not Trump’s specialty. Slogans and tweets are his communication style. He’ll have plenty after the meeting, all designed to forestall any detailed analysis. Because if you think about it, thinking about it generally doesn’t work in Trump’s favor.