Departures Podcast with Bob Davis and Lingling Wei

As the trade war heats up between the United States and China, the strategic calculations on behalf of both Donald Trump and Xi Jinping bear increasing levels of risk of the confrontation spinning out of control.

Joining the podcast this episode are two Wall Street Journal reporters, Bob Davis and Lingling Wei, whose new book “Superpower Showdown: How the Battle Between Trump and Xi Threatens a New Cold War” examines the history driving the current trade dispute and the behind the scenes thinking that continues to mischaracterize and misunderstand how we find our way back to détente.

“One thing we try to do in this book is illustrate the kinds of calculations that both sides had done that brought the relationship closer and closer to this new cold war,” says Lingling Wei. “Constantly the Chinese side would overestimate their leverage over the American side,” she says. “To them, its biggest leverage throughout these negotiations was soybeans. They knew that agricultural purchases were something near and dear to Trump’s heart. (…) They played this card over and over again, and it backfired.”