Is Trump Wrong Not Keeping on Obama’s Hurting US to Hurt China?Posted: May 8, 2017
In its article “How Trump gave China’s ‘Belt and Road’ scheme a boost”, SCMP quotes US economist Prof. Shanjun Li of Cornell University as saying that Trump’s protectionism could help the belt and road scheme gain legitimacy as a countervailing force promoting international trade in the region.
Prof. Li seemed to mean that the scheme lacks legitimacy and Trump is going to give it legitimacy with his protectionism.
Then why is China’s belt and road scheme illegitimate in the first place? Has it broken any international law or norms?
It is a scheme benefiting China in expanding China’s market and providing trade security and outlet for China’s excessive capacity, but China conducts the scheme by providing loans to boost other countries’ economic growth. Quite a few of those loans are quite risky as they are lent to poor countries usually with political instability.
What China is doing aims at benefiting itself through benefiting others. Whatever Trump does, the scheme is certainly a countervailing force promoting international trade in the region. If successful, it will naturally expand China’s influence among those countries benefited by the scheme.
However, SCMP seems unhappy with that. That is why it says that the scheme “has been given a boost by American counterpart Donald Trump’s protectionist trade agenda and isolationist diplomacy”, hinting that Trump shall instead continue Obama’s policy to contain China. But can the US indeed contain China?
Militarily, the US retreated when China responded with its will to fight a war at US interference in China’s disputes in the South China Sea.
Obama’s transfer of 60% US military to area near China was most stupid as US military will easily be annihilated by China there due to China’s geographic advantages. What China fears is having its trade lifelines through oceans been cut by powerful US navy. If China can annihilate 60% of US navy near its coast, it will have no such fear!
Economically TPP cannot hurt China but both Clinton and Trump hold that it will certainly hurt the US.
In fact neither pivot to Asia nor TPP can hinder China’s belt and road scheme. Nor can the US boost it as US influence in the countries involved in the scheme is quite limited especially after US failure to achieve its strategic goals in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the US is so hard up as to reduce its aids to poor countries, which will further reduce its influence in the world.
It is time to wake up from the dream that the US is strong enough to stop China’s rise.
Trump is sober to conduct win-win cooperation with China in order to make the US strong, but lots of US politicians, analysts, media, etc. seem to remain soundly in their dreams.
Being a Chinese US weakness seems good for me, but I instead hope that Trump will be able to recover US greatness. It will make American people happy and provide balance of strength in the world. I am amazed that lots of Americans oppose Trump and do not want him to achieve that.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2093060/how-trump-gave-chinas-belt-and-road-scheme-boost.