The downward spiral in U.S.-China relations picked up speed last week with the tit-for-tat closure of consulates in each country. The Trump administration’s decision to shutter the Chinese consulate in Houston, one of its six diplomatic outposts in the United States, is the most recent move in a sweeping campaign to reframe the country’s relationship with China and correct what it considers decades of flawed, if not delusional, policy toward Beijing.

The Trump administration takes great pride in its recognition of the stark realities of great power competition, its dispensing with diplomatic niceties and its hardnosed pursuit of supremacy in that contest. It also takes equal if not greater delight in criticizing its predecessors’ policies toward China.

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