Can China Take Up World Leadership that the US Has Waived

Trump’s withdraw from Paris agreement in addition to his withdraw from TPP and repeated criticism of NATO gave the world clear signals that the US has waived world leadership that it is unable to afford.

That has given rise to great concerns among US allies and friends in Asia. Trump’s Defense Secretary Mattis tried hard to ease their concerns at recent Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.

Washington Post quotes Mattis as saying in its report “In Asia, Mattis addresses concerns about North Korea and China — and Trump’s agenda” that America was happy at one time “between our two oceans, (meaning with isolation)” but realized after the war “what a crummy world if we all retreat inside our own borders”.

He has to quote Winston Churchill’s words in World War II: Bear with us. Once we have exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing.

Did Mattis mean that the US is not doing the right thing now and telling US allies and friends that the US will return when they have exhausted all possible alternatives?

Will that be too late for them? Certainly those words cannot ease their concerns.

They cannot ease Mattis’ own concerns either that China will replace the US as world leader if the US waives its world leadership.

Therefore, to sow discord between them and China, Washington Post quotes him as saying, “We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law. We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo.”

The problems with him are that China has not been doing anything to hurt their interests, but on the country, they have been and are being benefited by their relations with China. It seems to him that many of them will finally accept China’s leadership. The Philippines’ switch to China is a typical example.

However, can China afford world leadership that the US cannot afford?

With a smaller economy China has to take care of a population of 1.3 billion much larger than the US. China is now pursuing win-win cooperation with other countries to benefit itself while benefiting others as proved by its One Belt, One Road initiative. Unlike the US, China has taken no burden to provide military protection for any country in the world.

That proves Chinese leaders’ wisdom. Trump is wise to waive the leadership as he knows very clear that the US not only cannot afford the leadership but is also unable to make others follow its leadership. ASEAN members’ clear statements that they will not take side between China and US prove that.

Lots of Americans are unhappy with Trump’s actions. Let them bring down Trump and continue to take the burden of world leadership until the US is bankrupt.

That will not hurt China unless China is stupid to take over America’s burden.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Post’s report, full text of which can be viewed at


5 Comments on “Can China Take Up World Leadership that the US Has Waived”

  1. Bankotsu says:

    I think only Trump is wise and far sighted enough to see that U.S. global hegemony has no future and doesn’t benefit U.S. people.

    Trump is really ahead of most U.S. politicians and the U.S. media to see the hopeless case of U.S. hegemony.

    I was right to support Trump.


    • Steve says:

      Nothing to do with his wisdom nor far sightedness. Its his collective team of economic and trade advisors, advising Trump’s administration of the dire straits of US financials. Trump had a blown up mouth prior to his inauguration how he would fix the US economy like calling China currency manipulators, America first, not recognising the one China policy, increasing import taxes on Chinese goods, bringing jobs back to America and all this using his genius business acumen, but the truth is he can hardly do anything. He said himself ‘I didn’t think it was so difficult’, fixing the economy. NATO refuse to foot the bill of 2% gdp, dropped TPP, withdraw from Paris Climate Change, problems with NAFTA, EU looking towards China and LatAm countries heading towards Asia Pacific trade deals, etc etc.

      It isn’t the case of US pulling out of hegemonic global leadership, rather US is retreating and declining owing 18 trillion treasury debt that cannot be paid, US going bankrupt. What Trump is doing is common sense. Trump’s rating in the US by Fox News poll is barely 40% job approval ratings. If it gets any lower, your hero maybe out of his Presidential job.


  2. Steve says:

    As Professor Xin Qiang of the Fudan University said the US fabricates enemies and breaking up world peace. He was referring to top scoundrel McCain across the Pacific in Australia who lashed out calling China a bully, thief, using its trade and investment as tools to coerce it’s neighbours and not respecting international law. McCain as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee should realise that US military complex feeds on manufacturing weapons of mass destruction stirring up wars illegally against sovereign countries.

    And at the Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore, Mattis is drumming up the US war drums by persuading littoral states to support US illegal interference into the SCS.. On the one hand Trump has withdrawn from the TPP handing the trade reins to China, repeatedly criticised NATO and withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, but on the opposite, Mattis and McCain are drumming up war of hypocritical words against China. The truth is these irresponsible hydra heads are scoundrels belonging to the same toxic body.

    Did Mattis mean that once All alternatives has been exhausted, the Americans will do the right thing by further provoking China in the SCS and starting another Asian war. I certainly don’t think so. The US has lost it’s freedom to militarise the SCS without Philippines. The US is still the world’s maritime naval power and still in shock that Duterte has retreated from the US alliance.

    China, seemingly is downsizing the importance of the Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore 2017, by sending such a ‘small time’ team to the summit, headed by Lieutenant General He Lei, who will not be addressing a former speech at the summit. I believe China is getting too tired hearing the combative dog language like ‘robust US military presence in the SCS,’ ‘pivoting 60% of US military to Asia’, FONOPs, PCA award and supporting our Asian allies.

    American Presidents are not worth electing, approximately only 50 percent voted. It’s a shameless state of affairs. China need not worry about US leadership. Democracy will destroy the US. Even if Trump is impeached, the next US President will be floating on a sinking ship. What can the next and next US President do.?


  3. Tyler Reber says:

    China proposal for a 900 billion dollar one belt one road initiative to develop many countries, while the US spends trillions to destroy one country.

    What does it mean to be a world leader? What actions have the US took that made it a world leader and how much did the US spend to support those actions? If China became the world leader, what decisions do you think it will make and how much will that cost in comparison to the US?

    Global warming forces every country to accept the Paris accord out of fear, except for the Trump administration. Between the world a 100 billion isn’t much in four years. The nations that can will spend that four years to produce the technology that can make the biggest difference to compete for that 100 billion. While the technology is destined for other developing countries, a lot of those funds will end up in company hands.

    While the US development of other countries is one of ideology where countries are barred from trade with the US until they accept American style democracy where the US injects funds into their preferred political party and all assets in the country become privatized where rich can choose to buy out assets of interest for personal benefit.

    China’s practice of development has no ideology, but simply a brick and mortar approach which is the original theory of Britain the US. This means countries are free to make decisions based on monetary benefits of what ever China proposes without political interference. Its not negotiated yet, but doesn’t the Paris accord support China’s ambitions to develop other nations?

    In 4 years, myopic Russian hysteria will probably subside, which is more likely with the US no longer seeming reliable to Europe.

    There is time for the next US president to get back into the Paris Accord after next elections.

    Trumps America first Policy will probably push other countries away and they don’t need to much convincing to leave America with China waving good looking development projects.

    With all that said, would China even pursue a unipolar leadership to replace the US, or would it pursue a multipolar leadership where many replace the US?


    • Anonymous says:

      Your last paragraph is telling. I would hope that China takes a multipolar approach. The United States is on a downward spiral and now has an unqualified man as President. Unqualified by virtue of experience, knowledge of the world, its peoples, history and geography. He lacks the temperament and the respect for others that makes a statesman.

      My personal knowledge of Chinese culture, language and history is self-attained as an elderly white American male. One who travels regularly to Taiwan to volunteer in the schools and has friends both there and on the Mainland. I will tell you this: Never in all of my years in U.S. schools, including university undergraduate and graduate schools, have I encountered fair unbiased teaching on China and the Chinese people. My eyes have really been opened by travel and person to person friendships with the Chinese people. Also, there are some excellent books on Chinese history that were written by Edgar Snow and some of his contemporaries who actually were in China to see history as it happened. These sources I discovered only in the last decade. I perceive they were more fair and balanced than other western authors and western textbooks.

      It has always puzzled me that the U.S. could so easily discount cultures with a depth of thousands of years (experience) when comparing their ideas and values to those of our founders and their followers. I sense something similar in our approach to European nations. Our very young nation is just that, very young and lacking in experience comparatively.

      I am proud of my U.S. nationality. I am a U.S.M.C. Viet Nam veteran. I have served my country and remain a loyal American. Do not read me wrong. However, I have come to realize while my nationality may be American, I consider myself a global citizen. We are all in this together and this strongly points to the need for mutual respect and cooperation. Globalization, modern technology and the myriad of other changes occurring every day all suggest a long term view, not a short sighted one. It would appear that the European Union and China see this more clearly than the United States.