What does a chaotic White House mean to China?
Published: Sep 06, 2018 10:23 PM

A Wednesday op-ed in the New York Times, and an explosive new book by journalist Bob Woodward, who played a key role in bringing down Richard Nixon, delivered a one-two punch to US President Donald Trump.

The essay, written by an anonymous White House senior official claiming to be part of an internal "resistance" to Trump, slammed Trump for his "amorality" and poor leadership. The book, Fear: Trump in the White House, due out September 11, is reportedly based on hundreds of hours of interviews with key players in the Trump administration and describes several occasions of Trump staffers thwarting the president. Both portray a chaotic and dysfunctional White House under Trump's leadership.

The two works certainly have dealt a blow to the president, who is leading his Republican Party into the November midterm elections. But it's hard to say to what extent they will influence him. The op-ed and the book don't paint a different picture of the Trump White House in disarray than the one that has already emerged from daily reports of media outlets.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, his presidential style and policies have been under endless criticism about which he has showed little concern. He has a crystal-clear objective that he wants to reshape the White House, US policies and America's relationship with the world in major ways even if what he does is strongly opposed. This is what has made Trump different from his predecessors. Whether he will succeed is another matter entirely, but we cannot blindly assert that the chaos in  the White House would expand to US domestic disorder and cause the country to decline.

We must correctly and accurately view the domestic troubles that Trump is currently experiencing, especially those within his cabinet. It's fair to say the president will continue to encounter various controversies in the future. It is difficult for Trump to unite a mainstream US society that has already been divided. But he will not easily change the policy goals he has identified.

Currently China and the US have engaged in a trade war. We cannot pin our hopes of ending the trade war on policy adjustments of Trump. A disappointing reality is that, despite chaos within the Trump administration and partisan division, a certain consensus on containing China has been formed in the US. The US, under the presidency of whomever, will take more means to suppress China. We must prepare for this.

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