In the long, really long term, long after Trump has been impeached or removed from office through the 25th Amendment, Tom Friedman may be proven correct that the president's singular triumph came in his "Make China Great campaign."
Friedman's principal theme, in "Trump Is a Chinese Agent," is that our cretin of a POTUS is handing China the future of clean-energy technology — "the next great global industry" — while attempting, in his executive-ordered destruction of President Obama's climate-change advances, to return the U.S. to a soot-filled, carbon-monoxide-clogged atmosphere (courtesy Trump's insane, coal-mining politics and "Big Coal and Big Oil" connivance).
As others have noted, however, Trump may come up short in his anti-environmental designs, given that so many U.S. states will refuse them, and private energy enterprises will no longer invest in ultimately doomed, outdated energy technology. They will invest instead in what China is heavily investing in: "electric cars, batteries, nuclear, wind, solar and energy efficiency."
It may be, then, that Trump's greatest triumph, in Making China Greater, will be singular only in the sense of having squandered Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a topic that Friedman leads with:
Trump took office promising to fix our trade imbalance with China, and what’s the first thing he did? He threw away a U.S.-designed free-trade deal with 11 other Pacific nations — a pact whose members make up 40 percent of global G.D.P.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was based largely on U.S. economic interests, benefiting our fastest-growing technologies and agribusinesses, and had more labor, environmental and human rights standards than any trade agreement ever. And it excluded China. It was our baby, shaping the future of trade in Asia….
Trump just threw it away … because he promised to in the campaign — without, I’d bet, ever reading TPP. What a chump! I can still hear the clinking of champagne glasses in Beijing.
As well as the scurrying of Pacific Rim economies to China's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which, observes Friedman, "has no serious environmental, intellectual property, human trafficking or labor standards like TPP."
Trump's anti-environmental executive order was — characteristically — stupid. There are, however, public and private structures in place to fight it. But there is no way to fight the immeasurable stupidity of what Trump did to Obama's forward-thinking Trans-Pacific Partnership.