Do US voters want ‘America first’ or ‘Trump first’?

By Liu Zhiqin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/27 19:18:39

We all know that President Donald Trump used the slogan of "America first" and won the election. The people were keen to see what the president would bring them with his policies. Now 200 days are long enough for a newly elected president to show his talent and his ability and let the world see what he can do for the US.

Today we might be closer to the conclusion that rather than putting "America first" the president has been more interested in "Trump first."

Trump has taken every opportunity to tell the world that he is trying his best to be "the great liberator of America" but with "Trump first" the US can never be "first." It could be a case of "America lost" instead.

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has begun and a presidential memorandum was signed by Trump on August 14 to start a probe into Chinese companies that have been involved in trade if they "violate" the rules and regulations under Article 301.

This action triggered heated debate in Chinese business circles. People are wondering what the real purpose is behind this but no one believes that Trump will realize his goals by pushing China into deep water, even though he could safely escape from the decline of the US economy.

The US has for a long time benefited from economic ties with China. It paid far lower prices for all kinds of daily commodities and services from China. The other fact is that Chinese products have made Americans more comfortable. "Let people enjoy and consume affordable goods" should be the principle of doing business. Trump must be aware of this basic fact.

Now it is important to point out that a very dangerous trend is arising: Some nations headed by the US are provoking an anti-China campaign! This goes beyond trade conflicts. Trump should take responsible actions to stop such a trend from spreading. Western countries have shifted their grievances and complaints to China. This is harmful and risky for all countries that have trade deficits with the US.

What is more, the text of this "presidential memorandum" showed the racist sentiment of Trump, as he said the "talented people are in the US." The US Secretary of Commerce also said in an interview that Americans are most the talented people.

All these words clearly say that only Americans are "high-end" people with intelligence and Chinese and other people are "low-end" nations.

This shameless idea reflects the colonial and capitalist bias that must be totally eliminated as soon as possible. Otherwise it will cause more political chaos among those countries concerned.

As we "seek truth from the facts" we have to tell Trump what facts he has to face. One is that China has paid a high cost for its economic reform: a worsening environment. China will conduct investigations to see what American companies have done in China that might have harmed the environment.

China imported many production lines from American partners including rubber, paper and chemical processing with high levels of energy consumption and highly polluting sources that brought heavy environmental disasters in many areas in China. We will see how those "talented people" recognize their behavior and help Chinese partners to deal with these problems.

"America first" cannot be reached with a strategy of "China last." This philosophy is blind and has no future, and it will damage the US' ability to recover.

The author is a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn



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