Resist the Chinese Boogeyman Tails
I remember hearing once while working for the U.S. government as a China political and military intelligence analyst and advisor from 1993 to 2005 that America needs to maintain another global superpower as an enemy to fear and oppose. Because, at the time, relations with Russia had greatly improved, one popular assumption was that China would fill that role. In my opinion, they never fully did. Instead China seemed to be more interested in continued, relatively stable economic growth which necessitated a certain amount of mutual cooperation with the United States. However, now that we’re faced with an American President who appears eager to strike up some adversarial international relationships, the old question of a superpower enemy raises its mighty head once more. Putin makes Russia an obvious and perhaps legitimate contender for the role, but the perceived amicability between Trump and Putin complicates that notion somewhat. Meanwhile, Trump appears to have made a point of opposing China at every possible opportunity, and the Chinese seem to have both inherited and developed a reciprocal distaste for Trump.
As such, rumors of an upcoming and escalating hostile rivalry with China abound. There’s concern that Chinese frustration with the current administration will result in military hostility, possibly beginning with an exchange in the Spratlys and increasing to the point of all-out open military conflict. In lieu of or in addition to military conflict, some fear a trade war or an economic war with China, citing the country’s recent economic growth and huge development potential as it becomes the economic hub of burgeoning Asia. Intensified rivalry with the U.S., some believe, could be exactly the spark that ignites a desire in China to leap ahead of the U.S. economically and to make good on the debt advantage in which China has invested so heavily.
These concerns are not completely unfounded, but I do believe they have been exaggerated by the media, first in order to drive up ratings, and then to oppose a President of whom they are more than happy to be critical. China certainly does not and will not enjoy the same relationship with the United States under Trump as it did under the Clintons or under Obama, and they’re undoubtedly displeased about that. What’s more, Trump seems intent on emphasizing that point by opposing China economically, politically…