US losing leadership with calculating mind-set

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/12 22:43:40

The US has been continuously displaying behavior inappropriate for a superpower and world leader. During US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's Africa tour, he warned African nations not to "forfeit any elements of your sovereignty" into arrangements with China in his speech at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia. AU Chairman Moussa Faki responded "I think the Africans are mature enough to engage in partnerships of their own volition which will be useful for the country."

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister later criticized Tillerson's diplomatic manner saying, "it was not appropriate to criticize the relations of his hosts - when he was a guest there - with another country."

As if what Tillerson said in Africa was not eye-catching enough, Washington's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports raised worldwide criticism. The US noted its allies can apply for exemptions, but the exemptions should be considered together with US trade negotiations.

Take Canada and Mexico. They are exempt from the tariffs but must renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Washington. What a sham.

The US once led the establishment of the modern international system. It is now degenerating into a destroyer of the system it once promoted. Washington alleged China and Russia are "revisionist powers." The truth is the US itself is the largest revisionist country in the world.

The contemporary international system, based on organizations including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, encourages peaceful and free competition. The US government is straying far from the principles that supported global development of the past decade.

The US is obviously losing its leadership and becoming more calculating on trade issues. It no longer is the nation that once opened its market to the entire world. Previously other countries would expect to benefit from interacting with the US. Now they worry whether they will be exploited making a deal with Washington.

When Tillerson visited Africa, he expended much of his energy on undermining Africa's relations with China instead of supporting the continent's economy. Yet no matter how astutely the US schemes, African nations are not as muddled as Washington might hope.

Tillerson accusing China in Africa showed Washington's lack of self-confidence. Washington cannot compete with Beijing's ties to the continent. Trump's fuss about tariffs unveiled a diffident mind-set. The government is well aware that US products no longer excel. Now the country is lending people the impression that it is dredging for as much money as possible. This will do no good for its big business.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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