We all know the indisputable fact, that Donald Trump has a preconceived attitude to China. Short after his victory over Hillary Clinton, experts rushed to predict that Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric will translate into reality: the US will cut down the negotiations with East Asia, and China will fight for geopolitical supremacy of the region.
Instigating the trade war with China promises a real risk to China’s economy and hurt to the overall US-China relationship. Let us remind, that Mr. Trump has labeled China a “currency manipulator” and promised to impose tariffs/taxes in response to “illegal activities”.
The US benefits mostly from the trade negotiations with China, Canada, and Mexico. The forfeit of these partners will lead to an economic instability in the country.
Despite the critical importance of trading negotiations with the mentioned countries, Mr. Trump poses himself tough on trade conditions.
Donald Trump started the execution of his laws with Mexico, the weakest of those trading partners. Why not Canada? Because everyone likes Canada.
According to the statistics, the value of trade between the US and China is about $600 billion dollars. The lion’s share of this value is from imports into the United States, which is crucial for the US.
Talking of the vitality of Chinese imports implies the electronics and parts, steel and steel products, ferroalloys, auto parts and many other items, which are indispensable for each and every average American company.
Here is partial statistical data describing top 5 US imports from China:
- Electronic equipment — $132 billion;
- Machinery — $100 billion;
- Furniture, lighting, signs — $32 billion;
- Toys and games — $25 billion;
- Plastics — $15,6 billion.
An honorable mention: US vehicle imports from China evaluate $14,3 billion averagely.
We can conclude, that the major part of the imported goods is not plastic spoons and plates, as an everyman would think.
In addition, the majority of American companies are centered about trading with China.
By dint of cutting down the trade with the Celestial Empire, Mr. Trump disrupts the trading business vector.
In words of one syllable, it means, that the trade amount stands at the point of trillions of US GDP, which are connected to thousands of companies and millions of jobs.
From the Chinese point of view, Trump’s politics towards the scaling down the trading negotiations is not that bad as it looks. China easily survives the trade war with the United States whatever the outcome. China can increase exports to other trading partners, among which are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and others, while US companies and corporations will start to feel incensed about the deficit and high cost of the majority of goods.
A Congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher, sharply criticizing Obama’s policy against Russia, said that “the risks associated with Putin are not even nearly comparable …” with the threat that the Celestial Empire carries. Why did the Americans become afraid of China? Is it a matter of economics only?
Talking of Donald Trump’s angsts about China, it would not be such a bad idea to represent the China’s will to take over global tech leadership.
The lunar base.
To start with, the Chinese government is ambitious about building a moon base. Many of us would poke fun of this, but it is true. According to official information given by Chinese authorities, they have a scheduled plan for their moon settling. They intend to launch the first space station module called “Tianhe-1” in 2018 aiming at assembling the space station in 2022. The manned landing on the moon is targeted by 2036.
Chinese scheduled space exploration demonstrates the tendency to think big and long terms.
The moonbase is just one ambition out of many scientific efforts made by China.
At the same time, Mr. Trump’s administration includes more funds for space exploration but cuts down the overall space agency’s budget for about 1%.
The lunar base settled by China can turn into a threat because it can be used for different military purposes. It is important and necessary for the US to keep the pace with China.
Another challenging task, that China blusters to zip through, is to win in the competition of building the Supercomputer. They see supercomputing as a derby and hurl all effort into the development of exascale systems in order to outrun the US. It is expected, that Chinese exascale supercomputer will be released later this year. Nevertheless, their Supercomputer will be ready, “it won’t be operational for several years more” — said Zhang Ting, the engineer at the Chinese National Supercomputer Center.
“A complete computing system of exascale Supercomputer and its apps are expected to come in 2020”, he added.
American scientists patently state that China has a free hand to lead the world of Supercomputers. They will be first to reach such a complex milestone. In addition, the US Department of Energy said, that their exascale system is expected in 2023 according to the schedule.
Even the ban on the export of Intel chips to China (since 2015) could not prevent its breakthrough. The Chinese scientists have invented and created their own processors in order to build the Sunway TaihuLight system, that is deemed to be the fastest in the world.
Research and Development.
Another course China bears up for is R&D. Chinese government invests in Research and Development sphere on an incredibly regular basis. No, it does not mean, that China is getting away with the innovation better, than the United States, but their innovation ambitions include the dominance in the sphere of clean energy.
Today, Chinese investment into the renewables is 2 times higher, that the American, according to the report prepared by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. (By the way, Mr. Trump’s budget would cut this investment.)
In the modern world of clean energy, there are around 9 million renewable energy jobs. The lion’s share of those jobs belongs to China (~4 million), compared to ~one million in the US.
The United States is not out of the clean energy race yet, but if the trends continue, China will win the victory lap.
The budget, developed by Mr. President and his team, in addition to cuts in R&D sphere, also cuts the science spending in 2018.
The leaders of the incumbent companies in Silicon Valley predicted, that Trump will turn into a real threat to the innovation and technology.
His budget cuts seriously affect the American scientists’ ability to research in the fields of cures for diseases, clean energy future, and many other critical spheres, that are so vital.
While Xi Jinping supports scientific breakthrough, Donald Trump cuts down the investments.
While the Chinese people are inspired with the support of their president and tend to the greater innovation and creativity, American people look blankly at the government.
Modernization of the Chinese army.
The expert of the American military-technical portal dodbuzz.com, John Reed, said that the Pentagon is disturbed with the Chinese army since 2010.
Admiral Robert Willard, the chief of the US Pacific Command, stated that the Chinese anti-ship missile system DF-21D reached combat readiness and, in his opinion, was developed purposely against the US carrier strike groups. In this regard, the admiral demanded the China to adopt the rules of the maritime movement, and agree to inform American warships about their routes. In addition, he urged the White House to abandon the reduction of military spending, otherwise “the US can not guarantee the security of its allies and friends in the region.”
There are so many reasons to think so. “The military reform is only a part of the great Xi Jinping’s program,” said David M. Finkelstein, the vice president and research director China’s CNA Corporation. — This time everything will be adultly. In five years, we will see the first fruits, and in ten years the PLA will dig in the Pentagon’s heels, just like the Chinese economy does in American economy’s heels. “ The expert believes that the modernization of the Chinese army, which was created to protect against aggression on the part of the USSR, will end in 2020.
During Trump’s presidency, we will see a significant increase in US military, political, economic pressure on China. The purpose of this pressure will be to break the will of the Chinese leadership to confront the US and force China to seek a compromise with the United States like the USSR did in the second half of the 1980s. Donald Trump, most likely, will not cross the line, beyond which a war or an economic catastrophe may occur.
In the end of the day, the delicate situation at hand is quite questionable. There is a wide variety of choices in front of Donald Trump, and only he can shape the future of American society, industry, economy, and other aspects. There is a single thing, that is obvious: though China is not as strong as the US, and may never be, still, it is not a country to be bullied. It can answer back.
Perhaps, there is a good reason to consider China as a strong partner and shift the negotiations to a new level, to a much more fair and equitable state of affairs.
Objectively, igniting a dull war of principles is not the best choice, there is no need to fight for world dominance in the modern world.
For example, the United Kingdom today is a respectable country recognized by its wise approach to international activities. Great Britain is a country built on the basis of open and active trading, and it offers much to learn from.