Below the president, Secretary Pompeo and other members of the administration appear to have broader goals. They want to reorient the U.S.-China relationship toward an all-encompassing systemic rivalry that cannot be reversed by the outcome of the upcoming U.S. election. They believe this reorientation is needed to put the United States on a competitive footing against its 21st-century geostrategic rival.
A pattern seems to have taken hold, with the Chinese taking actions the US finds objectionable, America responding punitively, and then China retaliating in a reciprocal tit-for-tat fashion. I expect the same pattern to play itself out in the case of the closing of this consulate.
There’s a lot of parallels between what China has domestically and what they’re imposing on Hong Kong, they’re like clouds that hang over society. They can decide when the sun is allowed to come through, and they can decide when to block it.
If Hong Kong loses preferential trade treatment, U.S. tariffs and export controls on China would apply to Hong Kong. This action-reaction sequence of China tightening its hold on Hong Kong and America responding by withdrawing preferential treatment would weaken Hong Kong's status as a global financial hub.
Whenever Trump withdraws the U.S. from international leadership, Xi announces that China will step forward...Xi has been ruthlessly opportunistic about seeking to exploit America’s withdrawal from global leadership for China’s advantage.