With the advent of Donald Trump in the US, whether the US will again raise at higher growth rates is not sure. But what seems more certain is increasing influence of the China in global geopolitics. Policies adopted by Donald Trump administration are increasingly providing more space for China to increase its global presence with more ferocity. The US reduced involvement in world economic & geopolitics is one of the reasons for China aggressive standoff with the India, Bhutan at Doklam territory, with the Philippines in the South China Sea.
With the US withdrawing from major Economic & Political Issues, China had got the chance for which it was waiting for long – to represent itself as the leader of the world.
Trans Pacific Partnership & Paris Climate Deal
As soon as Donald Trump gave up TPP to fulfill his political campaign promise of Protectionism, China made no mistake in projecting himself as a champion of free & global trade. The decision of Donald Trump was a result of a populist politics rather than a strategic decision. As per Donald Trump administration, it was a step to boost manufacturing & create employment within the US. The argument is quite challengeable as the wages & business environment is quite similar across the other TPP members as in the US. TPP would have increased the trade without altering the manufacturing capacities of the countries. A domestic business house will not shift its base to a foreign land without high differences in production cost or business environment. Which is not there, apart from Vietnam (Which is very small economy compared to the US & will hardly have any significant effect on the US).
Another point at which China was at the back foot was carbon emission. China was under extreme pressure to control its Carbon emission by controlling its manufacturing activates. Again, with the help of Donald Trump China got away from this problem also. The US had backed down from Paris Climate deal thus making the deal itself under existential threat. This relieved pressure from China to improve its manufacturing standards which would have raised its manufacturing cost and reduced its competitiveness.
China as New Champion of Free Trade – A disguise
The US has a big trade deficit with China. This is primarily because of China policies. China is not a free trade country. It had manipulated its currency to maintain a lower cost of its export. By adopting Non-restrictive but biased trade policies it had kept global companies out its own market. Apple, Amazon & many other big US business houses failed to penetrate the Chinese market. Because of high subsidies to domestic companies & by creating an unfavorable business environment for foreign companies, China restricts foreign companies. China has made a very favorable environment only for foreign traders who will help to sell whatever China will manufacture. Also, it restricts & controls any outflow from the economy to foreign economies by both domestic & foreign (if any).
As mentioned above, China was and is never a free trade player. It’s the only goal is to expand its global footprint both economically & militarily. Donald Trump had made this task easier.
Free Run for China
While the cancellation of TPP will not change China & US trade; but it had impacted the geopolitics adversely for world and US but in favor of China. China was already focusing on the Asian & African market which has huge potential for consumption & will cater the most of the future demand. With the US withdrawing from global Trade, China is forcing itself onto developing world. It’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) and expansion in the South China Sea is part of bigger plans to expand trade routes to these markets.
With the absence active presence from the US on the world map, China will force its biased policies on weak developing countries. As done with Sri-Lanka by acquiring its port for 99 year lease at throw away prices. China is signing deals with these countries for developing ports with an offer of investment from China & promise for trade benefits. These deals will majorly benefit China & will help him expand his trade. Also, since in such deals China had special rights, it will also use ports for military/naval purpose & therefore increasing China military presence in the world.
China is not Iraq or Afghanistan
There is a widespread unsaid consensus that China would give-up under US military pressure if there will any faceoff. The possibility for this is very bleak. It’s true that China is inferior to the US in terms of military power, but it has nuclear power. China has very potential to hurt the US & its citizens. Under such circumstances, it will not be possible for the US at first to take military action against the US unless China itself attacks the US, which he will not do.
China understands this point very well & therefore will simply ignore the US & its allies as of now. It will expand its footprint in rest of the world. Once gained Economic & political supremacy around the world it will be impossible for the US to control China. At that point, US will lose its supremacy to China.
No Friends for China
There is one credit for Donald Trump – Russia. With heightened tension between US & Russia under Obama administration, Russia was drifting towards China. This could have been bad, as both the countries are highly aggressive & are world powers. Japan had faced the heat of this close relation. At one side Russia was claiming the disputed territory of Kuril Islands and on the other side, China was claiming rights for Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. With US & Russia ties becoming normal again, Russian inclination towards China had reduced a little bit, thereby restricting its activities in the East China Sea.
With no true friends and one or two economic allies (that’s to under pressure), China is all alone. And this is the only good news for now. But there is no surety of this to last long. As China’s global political presence will increase, it will also soften it stands against some countries & will try to gain friends in the region. Also as witnessed by human history, Powerful nations, no matter good or bad had no dearth of allies.
Donald Trump Power comes with Responsibility
Who holds the Power get what he wants, human greed has no end. The US did the same by forceful expansion to become supremacy and also while holding that position. But many fear that if China gets to become Superpower, its supremacy will be worse than the US. If it is true, then US need to recourse its foreign policy for itself & for world peace.
The US had gained a lot from its position of super power. It had enjoyed an unchallenged position in WTO, IMF, UN and every other international organization for a long time. The US had used world policies for the optimum gains. It is a big chance for the US to truly use its power & show its true leadership. Economic & political pressure is the only way to control China’s aggressive expansion of geography, forceful trade routes through Asia & middles east. The US had to play a crucial role in this for the world & for itself. The rise of China will also create problems for the US.