In the weeks following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, U.S. mainstream media has published report after report insisting that the nation is descending into chaos under his leadership. Global power players are beginning to notice.
The Global Times, a Chinese state news publication, published a lengthy editorial this week making the case for expanding Chinese influence to “advance globalization” as the U.S. is distracted by “political chaos.”
From the piece:
Trump’s election was driven by voters’ anger and frustration against elitism and globalization, and he was elected in the hope of bringing back manufacturing jobs and improving people’s livelihoods. However, the new president has stumbled from one mess to another. There is no clear sign how Trump can unite the country to “make America great again,” and the harsh reality is that the country is even more polarized and divided than ever before. According to the latest polls, Trump has the lowest approval rating of any new president.
The situation, if it continues, will have an adverse effect on globalization. Inner confusion and conflicts will distract the US’ attention from global affairs. The US after all is the sole superpower in the world and a main upholder of international order. Without US participation or with US objections, the reconstruction of global order is unlikely.
From the very beginning, Trump’s egocentrism and protectionism have upset the outside world. It should be also noted that the US political chaos and dysfunction also offer an opportunity for other countries to more actively engage in rebuilding global order. If we cannot expect the US to play an active role, other global powers, including China, should enhance coordination to promote globalization and multilateralism and establish a new order of global governance.
The editorial comes as the Chinese ramp up international investments in hopes of becoming the primary beneficiary of Trump’s economic protectionism.
Earlier this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese head of state to address the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he took a swipe at Trump’s trade plans.
“Protectionism, populism and de-globalization are on the rise. It’s not good for closer economic cooperation globally,” Xi said.
The Chinese leader’s remarks were lauded as a sign that the country is looking to fill a void international elites believe is going to result from the Trump presidency. But, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, China’s president is an “ardent nationalist in the role of flag-bearer for globalization.” In other words, his championing globalization is only about enriching the Chinese. One must only look at the country’s own harshly protectionists policies to see that.