Clyde Prestowitz

Clyde Prestowitz is the author of Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions. He is also president of the Economic Strategy Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

Could America Act Like China?

Trump's trade appointments represent a drastic change from business as usual.

(Photo: AP/Andy Wong)
(Photo: AP/Andy Wong) Workers rest near a Chinese government billboard in Beijing on September 5, 2016. W ith last week’s announcement of Robert Lighthizer his nominee to become the new U.S. trade representative, President-elect Donald Trump has completed the revolution he began when he appointed economist Peter Navarro as chairman of the newly created National Trade Council and Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. None of these men come from the long-reigning economics and foreign policy establishment of the United States. They’ve all been in the trenches, and are realists rather than ideologues. For those who’ve long sought a drastically different approach to trade, Lighthizer is probably as close to the perfect candidate as it is possible to get. As a deputy trade representative in the Reagan administration, he was involved in the negotiation of the myriad trade frictions that arose between Japan and the United States in the 1980s. The issues between the United States and Japan at...

Why Losing TPP Won't Hurt the U.S. in Asia

TPP is a big deal, but not for American foreign policy. 

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images
The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama hold a summit meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. on April 28, 2015. T he failure of the House of Representatives last week to accept the president’s proposals for approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal (TPP) he has long been negotiating, has resulted in a cloudburst of baleful predictions of the collapse of American foreign policy and the complete impotency of the rest of the Obama presidency. You would think that while the trade provisions were controversial, there was unanimity on the premise that TPP is a foreign policy imperative. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers likened the vote to rejection by the Congress of President Woodrow Wilson’s proposal for a League of Nations after World War I. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks said the vote against the president would help China dominate Asia. Speaking at a Washington think...

The Pacific Pivot

America needs to try something new when it comes to international trade.

(Flickr/James O'Sullivan)
On November 12, 2011, I listened as President Barack Obama told business leaders attending the Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu that “we’ve turned our attention back to the Asia Pacific region” and announced two vehicles for that return. These were the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, now under negotiation and to be concluded by the end of this year, and the Pivot to Asia, meaning a redeployment of American priorities and military forces away from Europe and the Middle East to Asia. The president said that Asia will be central to America’s future prosperity and that it was imperative to correct unsustainable trade and financial imbalances while continuing to expand economic ties. This would require that all countries play by the same rules appropriate to the current global economy. The TPP, he said, would be a template for a “21st-century agreement” that would eventually be open to all the countries of the region. He emphasized...

Our CEOs, Their Foreign Agents

From our July/August print issue: International business executives with enormous domestic influence cater to the demands of authoritarian regimes abroad.

In December 2004, IBM announced the sale of its personal computer division to China's Lenovo. The announcement came as a surprise in Washington but was old news in Beijing. As IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano later told The New York Times , the deal had originated during his July 2003 trip to Beijing to meet not with Lenovo but with top-level Chinese government officials from whom he sought permission to sell to a Chinese company. IBM wanted to support China's industrial strategy (including the upgrading of its technological capacities and know-how), Palmisano told the Times , partly because "if you become ingrained in their agenda and become truly local and help them advance, then your opportunities are enlarged. ... You become part of their strategy." After Beijing approved the proposal, Palmisano proceeded to Lenovo to negotiate the deal that wound up not only with Lenovo taking over IBM's PC division but also with IBM and the Chinese government as co-investors in China's fifth largest...