The asymmetry in the trade war is another uncomfortable fact.
Since America buys far more from China than vice versa, America has more scope to impose tariffs.
This imbalance, long discussed in theoretical terms, is close to becoming a hard reality.
Mr. Trump has instructed his trade team to consider 25% tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports as early as September,
taking the total affected by its tariffs to about $250bn, with room for twice that amount.
China's threatened retaliation, announced on August 3rd, will be tariffs on $60bn of American imports.
This would take the total under its tariffs to $110bn, with little room for more.
China has other weapons at its disposal. It can disrupt the lucrative Chinese operations of American businesses, from Apple to Starbucks.
But that would have downsides.
Declaring bogus justifications (health violations, say) would reinforce foreign criticism of government meddling in China's economy.
And the nature of such interference, unlike tariffs, is that it will not be announced in advance, meaning it can take longer to register the impact.
The timing of the trade war is most inconvenient for China.
Over the past two years the government has waged a campaign to rein in debt levels.
Finally this has started to bite, with credit growth slowing sharply.