In a new article out today by the organization Chinese Radio International, Professor Wenshan Jia of Chapman University provides us with some deep incites about the Chinese perception of soon to be President Donald Trump. The piece, titled “How to Make America Great Again?”, lends a critique of Mr. Trumps harsh rhetoric surrounding all issues pertaining to China while simultaneously providing a window into how China perceives its own place within the global system. While the work is staunch in its opinions of the upcoming administration Jia does present policy alternatives for the U.S, such as signing on to the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), which could lead to healthier Sino-U.S relations.
The President-elect has not been kind in his talk towards China, and has even mused about “increasing trade tariffs by 43% for goods to the US market from China, and increasing the US Pacific Fleet of 272 warships to 350”. As the article points out these actions are merely reflexive, and reflect the false notion that the rise of China has led to a decline in American economic prosperity and global status. While Trumps intentions may be understandable to the Chinese, in their eyes his actions appear to be “ill informed, ill thought out and short-sighted” due to the severe damage they could inflict on both countries.
In response to the ever increasing signs that America is once again becoming an isolationist nation Jia sees Xi Jinping and the new OBOR initiative as being the last true path towards Joseph Nye’s notion of globalization. Through the course of the article it is suggested that the United States sign onto OBOR and work with the Chinese. It is Jia’s argument that the “USD 8-10 trillion infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region alone would help Americans reap a sizeable amount of wealth besides landing on more jobs”, and that through participation deals similar to the one made by Jack Ma of Alibaba to bring “E-commerce platforms in the US” could be facilitated. In essence, to make America great again a President Trump needs to cast his gaze outwards for partnership rather than scapegoats.
Daniel Grober is one of the current interns at the Carter Center’s China Program. You can follow him on Twitter @Daniel_Grober.