Trump’s Misperception on Russia and China*
By Norman A. Bailey
Sunday, January 29th, 2017 @ 10:47AM
President Donald Trump has started doing what he said he’d do, but he dangerously misreads US strategic interests.
Donald Trump’s first week in office has been a distinctly mixed bag. The chaos and confusion of the transition period have been carried over to the inception of the administration. Some decisions have been made, and executive orders issued putting into practice promises made during the campaign. That is good or bad depending on your view of the policies involved. Certainly, trade and immigration have been heavily emphasized. In this respect, Trump has continued to demonstrate that he is not by any stretch of the imagination an ordinary politician; He tries to carry out some of his promises.
Also, his fiscal program, if implemented (and that is a very big “if”) would, in fact, make a start in the essential process of winding down the grotesquely inflated national debt he inherited from his two predecessors. That is a definite provisional plus.
At the same time, his appointees continue to contradict him and each other on a subject of supreme importance.
The position of the United States is frontally challenged today by the only two countries in the world that have the capability and desire to do so: China and Russia. But other than that fact, the two countries could hardly be more different. Although China is actively spreading its influence around the world, it has a huge stake in international economic and financial stability, which is seriously jeopardized by the kinds of political upheavals that have become endemic. Thus the country is by nature and self-interest a natural ally in the effort to stabilize areas of the world which have descended into anarchy.
The case of Russia is the polar opposite. Russia is interested, not just primarily but exclusively in spreading its political/military influence as rapidly and widely as possible. It is not interested at all in stability–quite the contrary, given its motivations, it thrives on instability. It is therefore not a reliable ally in any endeavor directed towards curing or ameliorating international or regional chaos.
Trump is confronting China frontally and cozying up to Russia–the exact opposite of what he ought to be doing.
Luckily there are several members of his team who obviously believe that of the two countries, Russia is by far the more significant threat. Perhaps their influence will end up changing his mind–or reality will. We must hope so because otherwise, the world is in for a very bad time.
* This commentary, titled: Trump Wrong on Russia and China, was published by Globes [online], Israel business news, on January 29, 2017.