This much is clear as 2018 screeches toward a close:
President Trump's foreign policy has shredded the status quo on a range of issues, from global trade and transatlantic relations to Iran and North Korea.
Yet it is the Trump administration's tough turn on China, captured dramatically by Vice President Mike Pence's landmark speech at the Hudson Institute in October, that will have the most lasting global consequence, altering the terms of the epochal contest of our times.
Global markets have underestimated the stakes, largely responding to momentary events — Trump tariff tweets and tentative trade truces.
They should instead be banking in the generational nature of this drama, and its potential impact on debt, currency, tech and equity markets of all sorts.
And on global peace and prosperity.
It isn't that individual events lack importance. Whether or not President Trump and President Xi can reach a trade deal that will satisfy both sides by their deadline of March 1 will be a signal of whether the two sides can negotiate modi vivendi on tough matters.
However, the recent arrest in Canada of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou may be the more important indicator in the accelerating tech arms race.