Trump’s America divides the world, bullies China and Europe

US President Donald Trump while on official visit to Japan presented the winner (on the left) with the first prize in the Sumo Grand Championship Sunday, of May 27. (Official White House photo, by Shealah Craighead).

The American administration in concerted action at the end of last week told everybody, how they want the world to function, singling out foes and friends. Leading members of the Trump executives attacked China, Germany and the EU. Washington, probably, senses that those global entities are able to withstand and effectively counter the wider American strategic aims. Incidentally, it must be mentioned that as from last Friday the US collects 25% tariffs on Chinese imports, instead of 10% so far. This applies to goods worthy of $200 billion. Let’s take one thing at a time.

Last Saturday, the Acting U.S. Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan told Beijing that Washington won’t tolerate any more China’s presence in wider South East Asia. He referred to the difficult questions of sovereignty in South China Sea and Taiwan’s independent status. He made it clear that from now on “the US won’t ‘tiptoe’ about China’s actions in South East Asia which threaten stability in the region”. In short, the US and China trade confrontation now takes on risky strategic dimensions.

America raises the stakes

This is a dangerous escalation of the American interference in South East Asia. It comes after Trump’s surprise tariff hit on 9th May. According to ‘The European Sting’ on that day “he didn’t hesitate to hike import tariffs from 10% to 25% on Chinese goods of a value of $200 billion, whilst the Chinese vice Premier, Liu He was in Washington to tie up the trade agreement but in vain.”.

Returning to the latest events, last Friday, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, told his German counterpart Heiko Maas that countries which use Huawei’s telecom equipment will face grave problems with America. Germany is about to invest heavily on 5G infrastructures and the Chinese giant’s technology seems to be a first choice. Pompeo warned Germany that it risks being swiftly cut off from US intelligence exchanges. Pompeo didn’t mind being in Berlin, while issuing so direct threats against the sovereignty of his host. If nothing else, international rules, practice and order protects such national choices, but Pompeo didn’t seem to care about that.

Targeting Huawei

It must be noted though that Britain and France have already questioned US demands to not use Huawei’s equipment in building 5G networks. However, the Americans haven’t issued direct threats which are similar to the ones Germany receives. It’s thus a clear indication of which countries the Americans put in the cross-hairs. Two months ago the relevant British security agencies concluded that Chinese made telecom equipment do not represent a ‘spy threat’ for the UK and in any case this risk can be effectively checked.

Obviously, then, the Americans eye China and Germany. For this reason, Washington is increasing its verbal and otherwise pressures against Beijing and Berlin. In the cases of France and Britain, the two countries seem to represent a much smaller strategic risk, if any at all, for the US, for many reasons.. That’s why Washington is not so harsh when it comes to British or French ‘insubordination’. As for China and Germany, the two largest exporters of the world have the muscle to effectively oppose the American aggression. The latest Chinese decision to probe the FedEx Corp activities is an indication of that. This is in response to US action against Huawei.

Mafia practices

Trump couldn’t be absent from last week’s assaults against foreign governments. So he didn’t hesitate to bully Mexico. He issued a direct menace about imposing tariffs on all imports from the southern neighbor, unless the immigrant flows from South America are not controlled by the Mexicans prior to reaching the US borders.

This is a direct blackmail though, because Trump interrelates two completely different issues, as a typical New York Mafia boss would do. This is the reason why Reuters reported that “U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to impose a tariff on all Mexican goods to push Mexico to halt a surge in illegal immigrants is likely to be challenged in court and will test the scope of the president’s emergency powers”.

US backs Boris and no-deal Brexit

In Trump’s latest intrusion in other countries’ internal affairs, his support for Boris Johnson to become the next British PM, triggered waves of criticism in Britain. The American President also told the Brits not to pay the divorce cost to the EU of $50 billion. He also supported in length the option of a no-deal Brexit. He asserted that Britain should just leave the negotiations table and abandon the club, in case Brussels do not accept what London requests.

All in all, it’s unquestionable that from now on America under Trump won’t hesitate to override all and every principle governing international relations and global order. However, this strategy may not be without repercussions against Washington too. The harder the US tries to break the resistance of others, the more vulnerable she becomes. This also betrays the American fears that their economy and the dollar may not have other way of surviving a new financial meltdown, than coercing others to pay for it. Bullying, though, can galvanize the victims, especially the strong ones like China and Germany.

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