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Call for 'economic war'

White House adviser Steve Bannon isn't alone in pondering America's possibly generation-defining question about China's emerging superpower status — but his call for an "economic war" puts him far outside the mainstream.

In an interview reflecting on some of his big-thinking projects, Bannon said the country should be "maniacally focused" on a confrontation with Beijing over who will be the global "hegemon" of the next 25 to 30 years. The former Breitbart News executive — who works steps from President Donald Trump in the West Wing — told The American Prospect that "the economic war with China is everything."

For decades, American economists, military strategists and policymakers of all stripes have wrestled with how the United States and China, the world's biggest and soon-to-be biggest economies, manage differences on trade and security. But no one in a position of power has adopted a strategy that entails the almost messianic zeal of Bannon's world view.

For good reason, according to advocates of more measured approaches to dealing with China, who argue that an economic war would hurt everyone.

"Steve Bannon's view is too simplistic and arrogant," Seattle trade attorney William Perry declared, saying such talk "could get the U.S. in big trouble." He said Bannon's position is "built around the idea that the United States is the biggest market in the world and everybody has to kowtow to us."



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