Trump’s union address stirs more anxieties

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/31 23:03:39

US President Donald Trump delivered his maiden State of the Union address Tuesday. It seems like a self-praise report. Trump dubbed his one-year term in office as a "new American moment," and "there has never been a better time to start living the American Dream." He described the US as a "rigged country" just one year ago, but now it is "safe, strong and proud."

His speech was warmly applauded. This contrasts with the intense splits American society has seen in the past year.

Trump spoke on the North Korean issue for about 10 minutes in his 80-minute speech, and invited Otto Warmbier's parents and North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho to the scene. Apparently he attaches great importance to the North Korean issue. Just days ago CIA director Mike Pompeo expressed his worries that Pyongyang could have a nuclear missile capable of striking the US "in a matter of a handful of months." Was Trump mobilizing American society by denouncing Pyongyang in his address?

Trump mentioned China three times in the speech, and explicitly called China and Russia "rivals." China was regarded as a partner and competitor in the Barack Obama era. The Trump administration, from its national security strategy to the State of the Union address, seems to have upgraded its negative outlook on China.

Trump again highlighted the significance of a "nuclear arsenal" and "great military." As a superpower, the US is still preaching a stronger military capability and bigger defense budgets. Trump and US elites seem unwilling to consider how their decisions hurt the world.

In the eyes of American elites, the US is great, a situation which most countries in the world seek to exploit by any means possible. Any country experiencing friction or conflict with the US should take full responsibility for that friction and conflict. Some evil forces, such as North Korea, need to be eliminated by the US, and China, as the US' largest trading partner, is also a rival challenging its interests, economy and values.

But Washington has to admit that its current policy has already triggered worldwide concern. Its protectionist tendencies and withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement are widely seen as selfishness. Advocating "America First" as being of benefit to the international community is widely regarded as hypocritical. Extra efforts by the US to maintain world stability have scarcely been seen in the past year.

Washington cannot "Make America Great Again" by coercing other states. The controversial achievements the US witnessed in the past year were made at the price of the country's international relations. The international community's dissatisfaction with the US is gradually accumulating, potentially eroding and threatening the sustainability of the country's prosperity.

Trump's boastful address was delivered amid international anxiety. US politicians can choose to ignore such uneasiness, but this will definitely not gain the US national interest any extra points. The international community's unwillingness to help "Make America Great Again" will undermine Washington's accomplishments, if any.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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