Trump Is Setting China Up To Score

Despite the United States’ efforts to prevent the development of Chinese economic power, the country is quickly becoming the world’s top economy. Rather than slowing down this development, the Trump administration’s confused and mistaken policies have only accelerated it. The United States’ recent steps to boycott and threaten Beijing have mostly been hasty compensation for Donald Trump’s foreign policy failures in limiting the growth of Chinese power. President Trump’s foreign policy decisions have already thrown international expectations into disarray, but contrary to his beliefs, these changes have damaged the United States’ position rather than improved it. Many believe strategic policy is generally determined by independent governing bodies, but it would seem that these days the governance of the U.S. is completely in the hands of one man, a man who only has a background in business and is only capable of going about business in his own way. Despite his slogan of “America First,” Trump’s personal approach to foreign policy has caused serious damage to the United States’ wider strategy of remaining the world’s sole superpower in the long term.

After World War II, the United States formally joined the international community and accepted a number of commitments, while also taking on an international leadership role. But as these commitments and the cost of the United States’ international presence gradually increased, the U.S. government decided to decrease its international obligations and pull out of costly engagements in the name of protecting the interests of the American people. This decrease in the United States’ international presence provided China with an opportunity to spread its own influence across the globe. Beijing created a plan to ensure that China would become the world’s top economy by 2025, but Trump’s inexperienced and erroneous policies have given China the chance to reach this goal even sooner.

During Barack Obama’s tenure, the U.S. government better understood the threat of losing its place as the world superpower and developed a comprehensive policy plan to compete with China. Because of this the previous administration pursued a policy of ending its engagements in the Middle East as soon as possible, lowering troop levels in Afghanistan to the minimum and shifting its attention to East Asia to better compete with and limit the power of China. But when Trump came to power, he misinterpreted the United States’ strategy in the Middle East. Despite his assertions that he would withdraw U.S. troops from conflicts in the Middle East, his errors have caused the U.S. to fall deeper into the quagmire of endless war. With his emotion-based decision-making, including accepting the transfer of the Golan Heights to the Zionist regime, he has involved the U.S. in the Middle East even more than before, losing the opportunity to transition power to East Asia. This has caused a delay in the United States’ broader strategy to limit China, giving it the opportunity to further advance.

To compensate for his failure, Trump took other steps such as a trade war and adopting tariffs to threaten China, to which China responded in kind and persisted against the U.S. Next, Trump intended to neutralize another important part of Chinese foreign policy: North Korea. But he was unable to control North Korea either, and contrary to Trump’s expectations, it was not so simple to fool Kim Jong Un or force him to negotiate.

In contrast to Trump’s policy failures, Chinese President Xi Jinping has successfully advanced the Chinese strategy of expanding its influence. With its Belt and Road Initiative, China has developed numerous land and sea routes, dubbed the “Modern Silk Road,” widening its influence in several regions of the world. This policy has shown great promise and smoothed the path for China’s access to growth and development in international markets.

A clear example of China’s success in its competition with the U.S. can be seen in the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. Whereas China forcefully quarantined Wuhan after the first signs of the spread of the disease, preventing its spread to other parts of the country, the U.S. government’s halfway approach and the notoriously flippant American attitude allowed the virus to take hold across the entire nation. While Xi was in Wuhan celebrating the end of the pandemic, Trump was becoming less popular by the day because of his mismanagement of the crisis. COVID-19 has caused significant issues for the U.S. in its economic competition with China. This disease has added millions to the unemployment lines in the U.S. and has led to a widespread economic downturn. On top of COVID-19, the outbreak of racial and societal tensions in the U.S. on the cusp of the presidential election has largely caused Trump to be preoccupied with domestic issues and caused him to slack off on foreign affairs.

The U.S. government is still the world’s strongest economic and military power. However, over the last several years all of this power has hung on the whims and personal politics of one man, and his mismanagement has put the position of the U.S. under threat. Trump said his goal was to defeat China and “Make “America Great Again,” but it seems that his confused and mistaken policies have led to the United States’ defeat and the ceding of that greatness to China. These days, what the Trump administration calls punitive measures or sanctions are actually a hasty and incoherent response to compensate for three and a half years of fruitless policy and lagging behind China.

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