Ex-Trump adviser John Bolton warns ‘trade war odds are very high’ – and argues one of America’s greatest allies is key

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THE odds of a US-China trade war are very high if Donald Trump returns to the White House, former national security adviser John Bolton warns.

But the former US Ambassador to The United Nations revealed Washington can strengthen its cooperation with the UK in the future.


Former national security adviser John Bolton has warned the odds of a US-China trade war are high if Trump returns to powerCredit: Getty


Bolton described Trump’s ideology toward China as ad hoc and transactionalCredit: AFP

Trump’s first term was synonymous with a combative approach toward China through tariffs and Bolton suggests this could be the hallmark of a second term.

“Right now he’s very critical of China,” Bolton said.

“He believes the devastating effect that Covid had on the economy of the US and all around the world cost him the 2020 election, so he therefore blames his loss on China.”

Bolton warned that Trump doesn’t have a particular view toward Beijing, describing it as transactional.

He noted how Trump could shift on a dime particularly if he’s line to profit.

“Trump has no philosophy – he’s very ad-hoc, transactional, and sees things through the prism of what benefits Trump,” Bolton added.

During his first term, the brash Republican imposed tariffs on Chinese steel products and justified the measures by claiming it would protect national security.

Beijing retaliated but Trump was undeterred as the trade war continued throughout 2018 and 2019.

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But Bolton, who has served under four Republican presidents, believes Trump doesn’t entirely understand the consequences of tariffs.

“He likes tariffs, but he doesn’t fully understand how they work and they increase the costs for American consumers on a lot of goods,” he said.

This is something that he’d be prepared to do’ John Bolton warns of Donald Trump and Nato – allies should take note

But Bolton noted how there could be room for greater cooperation, rather than resorting to tariffs.

He said there’s a legitimate interest for the US, Britain, and Japan to put pressure on Beijing over its alleged intellectual property theft.

Bolton blasted China for gaming the system and stressed action against Communist Party chiefs could benefit the Western world.

“That’s got to stop and we should be really united around the world in this regard,” he said.

“If you go after the real structural problems caused by China’s behavior, you could see an improvement in international trade and the domestic economies of all the Western countries.”

But Bolton previously told The U.S. Sun that Trump’s business-like attitude toward geopolitics makes him vulnerable to being conned and taken advantage of by Xi.

Who is John Bolton?

Former national security adviser John Bolton has had an illustruous career, serving under four Republican presidents in a variety of roles.

Bolton was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974.

Bolton served under President Ronald Reagan as an Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development for Program and Policy Coordination between August 1982 and 1983.

He also worked within the Department of Justice in the Office of Legislative Affairs between December 1985 and 1986.

George H.W. Bush named Bolton Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. He served in this role between May 1989 and January 1993.

Bolton served under George W. Bush as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

He was named the US Ambassador to the United Nations in August 2005. Bolton remained in post until December 2006.

Bolton was a foreign policy advisor to then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Bolton was appointed national security adviser in April 2018 until September 2019.

In September 2019, Trump posted on X, formerly Twitter, that Bolton’s services were no longer required. He claimed he asked Bolton to resign.

Bolton hit back at the former president and told his followers on he offered to resign from his post.

He claimed Trump told him, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”

Bolton is also an author and wrote the book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which documents his time as Trump’s national security adviser.

Chinese IP theft is thought to cost the American economy between $225 billion and $600 billion.

Beijing has been accused of stealing information linked to American military equipment such as the F-35 aircraft and Patriot missile system.

China’s J-20 aircraft looks remarkably similar to America’s F-35 jets.

The 2023 annual report to Congress on China’s military developments warned Communist Party elites can obtain foreign technology through espionage and theft.

“The PRC presents a sophisticated, persistent cyber-enabled espionage and attack threat to military and critical infrastructure systems,” the report warned.

China has also been accused of stealing aerospace technology and thousands of Chinese students in the US allegedly spied on behalf of the state.

Last month, ex-Google software engineer Linwei Ding was charged for stealing trade secrets.

He was allegedly secretly employed by two Chinese technology companies.


Bolton believes there is room for greater cooperation between the UK and US – regardless of who is in government.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer looks set to be the next UK prime minister if the British opinion polls are to be believed.

Real Clear Politics polling puts Trump ahead of Joe Biden in the race for the White House.

This is despite Trump being a convicted felon having been found guilty of falsifying business records.

Trump’s sentencing will take place on July 11.

Starmer and Trump are from opposite sides of the political spectrum but there could be an opportunity for US-UK cooperation in light of threats presented by China, Bolton said.


“One of the tragedies of Brexit is that Britain didn’t move quickly enough to get a free trade agreement with the US. I still think it’s possible and should still be an objective,” he added.

Bolton said if he were part of the Labour Party‘s top team, he would be looking at maximizing trade opportunities with Washington.

Former Tory and UKIP MP Douglas Carswell, now the president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, said a US-UK trade deal should be straightforward in theory.

He admitted UK officials hadn’t really taken advantage of any post-Brexit trading opportunities.

The risk of British manufacturers putting American companies out of business is zero, and cheap British cars flooding the US market is zero, according to Carswell.

“Keir Starmer has a good opportunity here,” he said.

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“The mind of Trump courtiers is that there is a very clear distinction between Anglosphere countries like the UK, Canada, Australia – and the likes of China.

“The US is at the center, then allied countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia, and then the next layer. The UK could get a good deal.”


Bolton claims Trump is prone to being taken advantage of by Xi JinpingCredit: Getty


Bolton believes the UK should have struck a new trade agreement with the US following the passing of BrexitCredit: Getty


Bolton revealed that a potential Starmer administration in the UK could work with US counterparts in light of China’s threatCredit: Getty