Did Trump help China by stirring troubles in the US?

By Gao Jianli Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/17 18:28:42

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Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute of National University of Singapore and former Singaporean diplomat, published an article on National Interest titled "Why the Trump Administration Has Helped China" on June 8. The article claims, "China will miss the Trump administration, if, and when, it goes," and further argues the US government has "no thoughtful, comprehensive and long-term strategy to manage an ever-rising China." The article stresses, "the Trump administration has seriously damaged relationships with friends and allies," and has "raised the stature of China, which is now perceived as the more competent country in the world."

Reading the article, I can evidently conclude that US President Donald Trump is not a qualified US president. He has poor perspective for long-term strategies to tackle social contradictions. He cannot harness the strengths of the US to deal with domestic affairs or to solidify traditional allies such as Japan and European countries, nor can he promote the US cultural spirit, and ultimately he cannot defeat China in the great power competition. 

Mahbubani attributes the US political plight to Trump being the president. Was Trump's election an accident? If Trump were not elected president, would the US political plight be improved? 

It is widely known that the Trump administration excels at passing the buck. Yet Trump, to some extent, is a scapegoat himself, taking the blame for around 30-years of domestic social crises.

Since the Cold War ended, the US has become a sole superpower on the global stage. It has had a

seemingly unshakable hegemonic position and unattainable systemic strengths. But today, its economic development is reliant on financial capital and technological advancement in high-tech. Its middle- and low-end manufacturing sector has flown to developing countries with cheap labor. This more than anything has led to the rapid decline of its middle class. Ensuing results include racial tensions and social disruptions.

US politics is firmly controlled by interest groups representing the elites. And, apparently, a rational political system cannot effectively respond to the voices of the grassroots. 

Grassroots' disappointment and dissatisfaction with US politics, this hatred against lies from US politicians, ultimately urged some to vote Trump - even though he had no political experience. Hence, the Trump administration is not the direct cause of the US' present crisis.

Trump represents a destructive force that has broken the rigid power mechanisms of American society. But he cannot accomplish the mission of bridging US society's deep-rooted contradictions - nor revive the spirit of American culture. The US' fundamental contradictions have eroded the country's inherent cultural spirit and institutional advantages. This is an inevitable result of capitalist culture. How can the Trump administration fix it?

Mahbubani said Trump has "helped" China. But the Trump administration has brought great uncertainties to the world, including China. In the past few years, the Trump administration's maximum pressure on China and its attempt to decouple with China have brought China and the world unprecedented pressure.

US' moves have disrupted China's pace of economic development. To ensure the US' technological advantage, Washington has spared no effort to suppress China's tech giant Huawei.

China's modernization did not occur because some narcissistic countries' "help." China's modernization took place because of the industrious Chinese people's diligence. Independence and self-reliance is the cultural spirit of the Chinese nation. China has always maintained its strategic focus and the initiative of its development in its own hands. This is the political wisdom of China's modernization. The Chinese nation does not opportunistically wish for its own success based on others' failures.

However, there is something that the Trump administration did "help" Chinese people with - it has helped us to see the true face of the most ugly and shameless examples of hegemonic moves and power politics.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once called the violent protests in Hong Kong "a beautiful sight to behold." During the most critical period of China's COVID-19 fight, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the virus would ultimately "help to accelerate" the return of jobs to the US. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stigmatized the novel coronavirus pandemic and tried everything to pass the buck to China. They have clearly shown the world what civilized brutality is.

Mahbubani said, "The Trump administration may succeed in making America a dispensable nation." Such a view is not in line with the actual state of the current international politics. Nor will it become the basic condition of the future international community. The US' advantages in natural and social resources determine that the country will always be an important participant in the international community. However, the US must learn to live in harmony with China in the future. This is a realistic political problem that the US must face.

The author is a scholar at Shanghai International Studies University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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