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Trump policies may yield opposite results

By Wang Zaibang | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-18 08:00
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The Donald Trump administration's decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal has raised concerns across the globe. Trump has demonstrated randomness and recklessness in his foreign policies, as seen in his decisions to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the Paris climate deal and shift the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as well as his moves to spark a trade war between China and the US. This lack of responsibility and commitment has left the international community aghast.

Trump's behavioral pattern shows his tendency to make unilateral and protectionist moves, and indulge in adventurism and conservatism in international affairs, as well as pass racist remarks.

First, the Trump administration puts US interests above everything else, including the international community and established international rules. He has repeatedly challenged the current international system, rules and consensuses regardless of the consequences, among which his decision on the Iran nuclear deal is a classic example of a unilateral move that risks inciting tensions leading to war.

Second, Trump uses protectionism against all odds, building tariff walls and non-tariff barriers, further restraining the exports of high-tech products and know-how in order to maintain the US' monopoly over advanced technologies. All this illustrates Trump's blatant protectionist policies.

Third, conservatism has greatly influenced Trump's decisions. The Trump administration's unilateral and protectionist moves can be attributed to conservatism, which is contrary to the progressive trends across the world.

Fourth, his adventurism, thanks to his blind belief in the US' strength, has been frequently creating problems for the international community. For example, Trump took a gamble by targeting both China and Russia in his National Security Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review even though the strength and status of the US have relatively declined.

And fifth, in many cases including the tightening of control on immigration and the plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, not to mention his outrageous comments on immigrants being from "shithole countries", Trump has revealed his racist side.

Trump's actions, in fact, will do more harm than good to US enterprises and people. For example, the ban on the exports of chips to China will force China to expedite its program to develop its own chip industry. This in turn will immensely increase the competitive pressure on the US enterprises, which they might not be able to bear. And the US enterprises' exit from China's lucrative market will be a further drag on their growth. Worse, US high-tech companies will encounter setbacks once China responds in kind to Trump's move.

Besides, the Trump administration's withdrawal from multiple international agreements will, to a large extent, tarnish the US' international image as a responsible and trustworthy partner, eventually leading to the country's isolation from the global community.

Ultimately, the capriciousness in Trump's diplomacy mirrors the current state of the US' economic, social and political development. Trump and his supporters might be conscious of the industrial hollowing-out of the US, but they haven't really recognized the significance of globalization in the international distribution of production.

And globalization is an irreversible trend. Globalization has brought benefits to all, and should be respected by all countries, especially by the largest economy which has been its biggest beneficiary. If the US cocks a snook at globalization and abandons international cooperation, not only will the US economic growth suffer, but also the world order would be endangered, leading to global chaos. So let's hope the Trump administration recognizes these dangers and changes its stance.

The author is a former vice-president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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