Can the US bring some certainty to the world?

By Liu Lulu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/21 10:53:40

"Uncertainty" is an oft-used word by American media outlets in their coverage about China. But now it would be the highest-rated word in polls to describe US politics. Anybody who could predict US President Donald Trump's next appointment or dismissal would be the cleverest fortuneteller. No one knows how Trump will astound the world with his jaw-dropping tweets.

While China has instilled positive impetus and provided more certainties for global development, the US has increasingly become a source of uncertainty, which, to a large degree, is derived from rising political chaos in the White House.

Not only Trump, but the president's team members have become unscrupulous in their public speeches. David Malpass, the US Treasury's undersecretary for international affairs, said earlier that Washington had "discontinued" the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, but retracted the remarks just hours later, creating confusion on the future of the talks. Although the Treasury moved quickly to correct Malpass' record, the political turmoil in the White House was evidently exposed to the world.

Similar cases can be easily found. The fact that Rex Tillerson was fired as secretary of state while he was on an official trip to Africa warning African countries not to "forfeit their sovereignty" by taking Chinese loans is more ironic. A series of political rifts between Trump and a former top US diplomat were immediately made public after the firing.

Undeniably, the internal chaos in the White House is growing larger, bringing uncertainties to the whole world. The international community, including US allies, is watching Washington's swirling dramas with concern. "The statements that were saying exactly the contrary have created some sort of uncertainty, unpredictability, that takes time to disappear," Pierre Vimont, a former senior French diplomat who is now at Carnegie Europe was quoted by The Washington Post as saying, referring to Trump's about-faces on issues such as NATO.

As the world's largest economy, the US is supposed to shoulder its due responsibilities. But the White House has been mired in political turmoil since Trump assumed office and its performances so far have only added more uncertainties to the world. The international community is gradually losing confidence in Washington. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said earlier that "we will... improve our capacity to act autonomously, whenever and wherever necessary."

The US is the dominant player in the current world, and when the dominant player is incoherent in its policies, it will drag the world into confusion. As Washington's erratic behavior may not be short-term, global leaders will have to find a way, on the one hand, to get along with the US positively, and on the other, to form a mechanism to hedge against uncertainty.

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