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Opinion

Trade wars -- lessons from the 1980s

Stakes too high for either US or China to press the economic red button

| China

Who said this? "We have to stop following that white flag and start running up the American flag and turn and fight and make America number one again in international commerce so that American jobs are filled in this country."

It was not U.S. President Donald Trump nor his former adviser Steve Bannon, but Walter Mondale, running as Democratic Party presidential candidate in 1984. The 1980s were a period of escalating trade friction between the U.S. and the rising Asian power of the time, Japan. Indeed, the current stand-off between the U.S. and China seems a model of decorum compared with the bitter, racially charged rhetoric of 30 years ago.

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