President Donald Trump has intensified the Cold-War mentality since he stepped into office in 2016. He started by raising the level of the trade war against China and is ending his term calling the coronavirus the China virus. But at the end of the first four years, Trump has been defeated in both the trade war as well as in his misguided war again the virus. In both cases, China has come out on top of the two cold war strategies of Trump.
Why do we say that, like in a boxing match, China’s right arm and gloves have been raised high up in the air? First, US imports from China have risen and its trade deficit in July this year was the highest in 12 years, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), now classifies China’s economy as 1/6 larger than the US ($24.2 trillion versus the U.S.’s $20.8 trillion). As for the “China virus,” Trump recently said it is a blessing instead of a curse when he caught it because now he is immune from COVID-19.
China has said again and again that it does not seek a fight with anyone, least of all the United States, but only that it will “never back down” when threatened. President Xi Jinping reiterated that policy last October 23 in his speech at the commemoration of the Chinese-North Korean victory in pushing the US down the 38th parallel where the demarcation now stands. As the Chinese semi-official Global Times reported, “China sends stern warning via commemoration of war it won against the US 70 years ago in Korea.”
Xi, like Chairman Mao in 1951 warning the US not to cross the 38th Parallel, is warning against starting any aggression against it as it will not back down. But Xi again pledged that China will never seek hegemony, and said that today there is no place for unilateralism the way the US has tried to rule the world the past 50 years. This reminds me of what the famous US economist and now adviser to the UN Sustainable Development program Jeffrey Sachs said in a Webinar on “No Cold War.”
Speaking as counterpart to Chinese scholar Zhang Wei Wei, Sachs in his 40-minute talk said that, “We are at the end of the American dominant period... this is the mechanical implication of the declining share of the world economy. We are geopolitically in a new era, an era where no country can lead, no single country can be a dominant leader. What do we need to do to achieve a truly multilateral approach? That is the biggest challenge.”
Can our Filipino people appreciate the changes going on in the world today? I will keep trying to make our people understand this, even those that speak like “kanto boys” with a bottle of beer in hand who talk and act as if they know everything and are proudly anti-China. China is already the Philippines’ top trading partner and our economy’s prosperity will now greatly depend on better relations and cooperation with China.
So, I advise these anti-China Pinoys just enjoy their cold beer and don’t entertain “cold war” talk anymore and just oppose the Cold War mentality -- their future and their children’s future depend now on our warm relations with China.