Of the 195 countries the United States interacts with, three countries are not fased by President Trump’s rally against NATO, NAFTA, United Nations, World Trade Organization, climate accord, Iran’s seven-nation nuclear agreement, TPP and imposed trade tariffs: China, North Korea and Russia.
These three countries house 21 percent of the world’s population. China maintains 90 percent of those three bordering country’s population.
China is the biggest exporter to the U.S. ($502 billion annually) and only imports $122 billion of American products. China should feel threatened by the litany of Trump’s unprecedented policies. Not so. Why?
First, China, along with North Korea and Russia, are dictatorial led countries, interconnected by railways, seas, rivers, highways and airways; North Korea and Russia are heavily dependent upon China’s products, goods and services. Secondly, according to the International Monetary Fund, China makes up 19% of the world’s economic output.
Third, based on GDP purchasing power parity, China has the world’s largest economy; USA fell to third place. Fourth, China’s $8 trillion `Belt and Road Initiative’ is a massive infrastructure project bringing together the economies of 76 countries from East Asia to Western Europe (60 percent of the world’s population) to accommodate free trade.
Fifth, China has created a multinational development bank in cooperation with Germany, France, United Kingdom and Australia. Sixth, China is the largest contributor to international peacekeeping efforts within the U.N. Security Council.
Seventh, over six years ago China launched their `16+1’ free trade project with several Southern and Eastern European states. Eighth, China is working with the International Monetary Fund to make the `renminbi’ a reserve currency alongside the dollar.
Ninth, `Made in China 2025’ is a massive strategic plan to increase Chinese made content of core materials to 70 percent by 2025, focusing on high-technology fields and becoming the major manufacturing power and a real existential threat to USA’s technological leadership.
Tenth, China holds the largest amount ($1.18 trillion) of U.S. government bonds and public debt ($6.2 trillion). If China ever unloaded even a part of their hoard of American debt, it would send USA interest rates sky high.
Eleventh, China is not flinching one iota with Trump’s trade tariff edict. Chinese officials are smart—tightening regulations and increasing inspections of the 430 U.S. businesses operating in China will make the climate less hospitable to the point their CEOs will let Trump know his ill-advised trade tariff is greatly harming their profit-and-loss statement.
Finally, and probably most telling of China’s increasing international prowess, is they have undergone a rapid military modernization (as has Russia) and dramatically expanded their naval fleet, projected to surpass USA’s capacity by 2030. One-third of global maritime trade flows past China, North Korea and Russia borders. With China, North Korea and Russia maintaining power in the Pacific Ocean, East China Sea, South China Sea and Bering Sea, they, and not the USA, will be the more appealing partners for 195 countries to trade with one another and feel protected by China’s Navy.
China, North Korea and Russia know they’ve got the United States over a barrel on multiple fronts.
It’s abundantly clear the past two years of Trump’s authoritarian-isolationist-nationalism strategy runs counter to U.S. policy we’ve benefited from since 1776 and real financial damage is growing for individuals, families, entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporations.
Dear fellow Americans: The international relations research-rich and factual-laden tea leaves are abundantly clear. It’s high time we replace our failed spineless legislators, of every political persuasion, with bold and globally educated leaders who will quit fighting with one another, put people before party and wisely protect our economic prosperity, let alone our freedom.
Steve Corbin is retired Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, and a 1966 graduate of Nevada High School.