Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency with the slogan “Make America Great Again” one year ago. He has been fulfilling most of his campaign promises including tax cuts, axing Obamacare’s individual mandate, and imposing punitive tariffs on imported goods that he claimed to be products of unfair competition.
Since he took office, American economic performance has been robust, with a continuously declining unemployment rate, strong consumption, and a bullish stock market. Though many have attributed the boom more to the momentum initiated and built up during Barack Obama’s office than to Trump’s one-year governance, Trump has immodestly credited all the progress to himself.
While time will testify if Trump will be another great president who leads his country out of temporary difficulties toward new successes, some of his administration’s recent acts are casting an ominous shadow upon the world. Rather than a greater and more confident superpower, what is emerging before the world is a neurotic and hysterical giant.
Somehow, the only superpower on our blue planet is suffering delusions of persecution.
On Dec. 18, 2017, Trump delivered his first National Security Strategy, which names China and Russia as “revisionist powers” and America’s rivals while removing climate change as a national threat.
On Jan. 19, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis presented his National Defense Strategy, declaring that the great power competition, not terrorism, will be the primary focus of U.S. national security, thus materializing Trump’s National Security Strategy’s agenda.
“China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea,” the document reads.
This reminds me of a Chinese saying to the effect that the villain sues his victim before he himself is prosecuted.
To maintain U.S. dominance over the world and intimidate its potential rivals, Trump has proposed US$686 billion in defense spending for the 2019 fiscal year, the highest military budget request since 2011. The addition of US$30 billion requested for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons brings the total national security budget request up to US$716 billion.
Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence, while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, depicted his nation as a victim of multiple threats from all directions: North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs, website hacking, espionage, outer space arm races, etc. Again, he named China and Russia as America’s major threats.
Trump’s administration did not mince words when naming a host of “enemies” from across the world. Nor has it delayed acting upon opportunities to flex its muscle before its “enemies.”
American generals are airing more militant statements. On Feb. 2, the Pentagon released its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which pledges to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and this could lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons.
U.S. warships are still carrying on deliberate provocations to China under the name of freedom of navigation despite the peaceful situation in the South China Sea area.
As if it were not enough to irritate China, a number of high-ranking American officials are competing to make alarming remarks demonizing China. FBI chief Christopher Wray asserted that China’s threat to the U.S. “is not just a whole of government threat, but a whole of society threat on their end.” He did not attempt to hide his effrontery when he said that Chinese students in the United States might be covertly collecting information for their government.
As we can see from the above facts, America is showing all the symptoms a mental patient has such as angst and melancholy.
It’s impossible to reason with a mental patient. The only possible response from any of the countries that the U.S. regards as threats will be reflected in the comment made by Geng Shuang, spokesperson with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs: If the U.S., the most powerful nation in the world with unmatched military capability, feels unsafe, what should other nations do to survive?
As Fu Ying, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, pointed out that with a very small nuclear arsenal and with a “no first-use” nuclear weapons policy, China will not pose a threat to any country. The assertion that China threatens U.S. security is groundless.
It’s in the interest of the world for Washington to regain reason.
(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)