Home  Contact Us
  Follow Us On:
Advertising Advertising Free Newsletter Free E-Newsletter
      2024       2023       2022       2021       2020       2019       2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2013       2012       2011       2010       2009       2008

FEATURE STORY: A Revisionist Perspective on China-US Relations in a Post Obama World
Share to

A Revisionist Perspective

on China-US Relations in a Post Obama World

By Tracy Hall

BT 201603 41 Feature story 003
Even for the most politically apathetic people amongst us it has been incredibly difficult to miss out on the latest twists and turns going on in the latest U.S. presidential election process. It goes without saying that the vast majority of highlight reel footage is focused on one particular larger than life Republican candidate. Whether you love him or hate him, Donald Trump - who is also affectionately referred to by his fans as 'The Donald' or 'The Trump' - is without a shadow of a doubt the most exciting, intriguing and downright unpredictable person to throw their hat in the ring for a long time.

Then of course there is the long-time frontrunner former First Lady Hilary Clinton. Until Mr Trump decided to give up his day job as a billionaire real estate tycoon and a few other viable presidential candidates came forward last year it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Mrs Clinton would secure another term in the White House for the Democrat Party. Since then though champagne socialist Bernie Sanders has been giving her serious run for her money in the Democrat primaries and Donald Trump continually goes from strength to strength. Although a late surge by Sanders could still derail Clinton's latest attempt to get back into the White House and Republican outsiders Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio may still manage to 'stump the Trump', it is increasingly likely that Trump or Clinton will be taking over the reins as leader of the free world at the end of the year.

BT 201603 42 Feature story 003Obviously the ultimate outcome of this historically unprecedented circus-style presidential race will have a profound impact on the global economic and geopolitical arena over the coming years. The question of what U.S. - China relations will look like post Obama administration is fast emerging as a prominent talking point. At first glance it seems as though a Hilary Clinton presidency would probably make for a less antagonistic U.S. - China relationship. Not only has she served as Secretary of State under President Obama and accompanied her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on many an oversees diplomacy mission, she is also seen by those sympathetic to her cause as a much less likely to rock any boats than any of the other presidential candidates. On the other hand it is widely assumed that Donald Trump, who mentions his belief that China is cheating America out of jobs, trade and profit at almost every rally, debate or news interview he attends, will pose a much greater threat to the diplomatic relationship between the two superpowers. For many onlookers the potential dangers range from armed confrontations to currency wars if 'The Donald' does get elected.

However, as is usually the case in the world of political commentary, the mainstream pundits and so called experts may very well be proven wrong. First of all there are several very good reasons to believe that Hilary Clinton would do very little, if anything, to inspire confidence from within the Chinese leadership. Perhaps the main one is that as Secretary of State she was one of the main architects of the Obama administration's so called 'pivot to Asia' policy. As Chen Dingding of The Diplomat writes, "Chinese officials and scholars did not appreciate her interference in China's disputes with other Asian countries in the South China Sea. Many in China also acknowledge the United States' pivot to Asia - or rebalance - strategy as Hillary's brainchild, for better or worse. So most Chinese experts have concluded, perhaps correctly, that Hillary Clinton is a strong leader who would do everything possible to maintain American hegemony in the world, a goal increasingly at odds with China's growing geopolitical desires".

Clinton is also very outspoken about what she sees as violations of human rights in this part of the world. She famously upset a lot of Chinese officials and commentators with her harsh words during a speech at the 1995 world conference on women in Beijing. If she continues to hammer home her message in order to appease the core base of the Democrat Party then this likely won't win her any friends amongst certain circles.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there are little no signs that Mrs Clinton, the favourite to become the first female U.S. president in history, will do much to address the underlying domestic economic woes that are hurting every other nation on earth, including China. Even if she doesn't threaten to punish the Chinese authorities for their interventions into the currency markets like Trump has repeatedly said he would, what China's leadership cares most about now is maintaining economic growth. A dramatic reform agenda and a serious attempt to tackle the staggeringly high levels of American debt would be welcomed by many of the movers and shakers in the Middle Kingdom's policymaking circles.

Conversely, in despite of all the baseless assertions that Trump is some kind of Adolf Hitler-esque threat to global order (not that there is much of it left nowadays), there could be a few welcomed surprises to come out of a Trump presidency. Regardless of what one thinks about his braggadocious style of public speaking, there is no denying that this is a man with a track record of success and world class leadership acumen. Building a 10 billion dollar global business empire - albeit with a few bumps on the road along the way - is nothing to be sniggered at. Neither is the fact that he penned one of the most successful business books of all time, The Art of the Deal, which largely focuses on negotiating skills. It takes a certain type of person to achieve such accolades, one who knows how to deal with friends, competitors, politicians and business leaders.

BT 201603 39 Feature story 004BT 201603 40 Feature story 002
One of the things we have learned so far during President Xi Jinping's term in office is that Chinese policymakers, business leaders and the general public on the whole seem to hold strong, decisive and brave leaders in very high regard. On the international stage there is a lot to be said for leadership that commands respect from allies, enemies and 'frenemies' (which probably best describes the current U.S. - China relationship). For better or worse there is no doubt that Trump is the best available option and by far the most likely to earn the respect of his already well established and highly accomplished Chinese counterparts.

There are a few potentially murky issues between the two nations that Trump would more than likely seek to iron out very early in his presidency. Given that one of his primary economic objectives is to rebalance the trade deficit between his country and China, the likelihood of his administration leaning heavily on the Chinese when it comes to currency policy, tariffs and the like are fairly high. That could indeed get ugly if it is handled badly by either side. The good news though is that Trump is a far better negotiator than Hilary Clinton or any of the other presidential candidates, and even if he did turn out to be as unhinged as the mainstream American media are portraying him there are plenty of checks and balances in the U.S. political system.


    Subscription    |     Advertising    |     Contact Us    |
Address: Magnetic Plaza, Building A4, 6th Floor, Binshui Xi Dao.
Nankai District. 300381 TIANJIN. PR CHINA
Tel: +86 22 23917700
E-mail: webmaster@businesstianjin.com
Copyright 2024 BusinessTianjin.com. All rights reserved.