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posted on 15 February 2017

President Trump in the Real World of Three New Kingdoms

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What is President Trump’s foreign policy? On one hand, he seems to think America should mind our own business. On the other hand, he looks like a neo-con, believing America, and America alone, should continue to dominate the world. The neo-con view is not only totally unreal, but also utterly dangerous.

In this post, I will highlight the challenges for President Trump in the real world of Three New Kingdoms (i.e. America, China, and Russia) and provide him with some candid advice.

Three required readings as pre-requisites:

  1. Three New Kingdoms.
  2. President Trump vs. President Xi.
  3. President Trump vs. President Putin.

1. Three New Kingdoms

Here is a summary, highlighting today's three new kingdoms:

  1. Overview: the biggest of the three is still America, which means the other two are naturally more closely aligned with each other than with America.
  2. China-Russia alliance: the most recent event that brought China and Russia together closer than ever was the Ukraine crisis in 2014.
  3. President Trump's strategy seems to be to set Russia against China.

Let me discuss each in some depth ...

2. Overview

America is still number 1, in terms of the combined powers both economically and militarily. Separately, however, America is being challenged on both fronts, by China and Russia, respectively.

Economically, China just overtook the U.S. as the world's largest economy! Although it is in terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), it will be in terms of GDP by 2025, if not sooner. Additionally, China is already the largest creditor in the world, including to both America and Europe.

Militarily, Russia has never been weak since 1991, when the Cold War ended. In fact, militarily, today’s Russia is even more “dangerous” to America than the former USSR was. Two informative readings:

  1. Russia Now Has More Deployed Nuclear Warheads than the U.S.
  2. Vladimir Putin: Don't mess with nuclear-armed Russia.

In other words, America has not been the only military superpower on earth since 1991 - not even for a single day!

What about China militarily? China's strategy is self-defense with a decisive capability of deterrence - China has it already. For more, read: Don't Mess with Nuclear-Armed China!

The image below highlights the relationships between the three countries today.

3. China-Russia alliance

A long-term alliance between China and Russia was cemented in 2014, as a result of the Ukraine crisis. For more, read: Three New Kingdoms.

The image below highlights the China-Russia alliance. Anybody with any sense of geography, history, and modernity should understand the implication of this formidable alliance to America as well as to the world.

3. President Trump's strategy

President Trump's strategy in the real world of Three New Kingdoms seems to be to set Russia against China. Three prominent examples:

  1. As President-Elect, Trump answered a "congratulations" phone call from Taiwan's Tsai, thus calling America's decades-long "one China" policy into question.
  2. He has bashed China for many years, and picked China hawk Peter Navarro for new trade post. Who is Peter Navarro? He destroyed all his intellectual integrity and credibility with his outrageous book (and movie): Death by China.
  3. Trump has gone out of his way to be nice to Russian President Putin, which has already cost the job of his National Security Adviser (Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser).

Additionally, Trump has been blaming China for everything for years, including even the concept of global warming (see image below) - totally ridiculous!

Will Trump's strategy work? No! Why not? Let's better understand all three countries first.

4. What do the three countries need?

Let me highlight the needs of the three countries one by one.

4.1 What does Russia need?

Simply put, Russia needs four things:

  1. Political stability at home, for which President Putin has been successful, with sky-high approval ratings (How to understand Putin's jaw-droppingly high approval-ratings).
  2. Economic stability at home, for which Russia needs China to provide many of its daily material needs in exchange for natural resources. In other words, no western sanctions against Russia will work, so long as Russia keeps its huge back-door to China open!
  3. High oil prices, for which Russia needs to maintain and expand its global influence, especially in the Mideast.
  4. National pride: "Make Russia Great Again". Russia is a pride country, and must hence maintain, and even gradually expand, its sphere of influence, for which it must have, and keep, Crimea for access to the Black Sea.

Bottom line: Russia relies on China for survival, but does not need America at all, other than wishing America not to further mess up in the Mideast and Ukraine!

For more on Russia, read:

  1. America: What is Russia, Anyway?
  2. Top 10 American Misconceptions about Russia.

Very importantly, Russia does not need Europe for survival, but Europe needs Russian gas for cooking and staying warm in the winter (see image below).

4.2 What does China need?

Simply put, China needs four things:

  1. Political stability at home, for which China must constantly improve, as its system (i.e. state capitalism) is only slightly better than America's.
  2. Economic stability at home, for which China must keep its high growth going for years, if not decades, to come.
  3. A peaceful world, as China wants to trade with everybody and needs natural resources, mostly from Russia and the Mideast.
  4. National pride: "Make China Great Again". China is a world leader and must maintain, and expand, its sphere of influence. China will never compromise on Taiwan or the South China Sea. For more, read: Understanding China, Truly!

Bottom line: China needs Russia for natural resources. China needs America as a trading partner.

For more on China, read:

  1. America: What is China, Anyway?
  2. Top 10 American Misconceptions about China (Version 3).

4.3 What does America need?

Simply put, America needs four things:

  1. Political reforms at home: It's a must and I have already spelled out how in my new book (American Democracy). It's now up to President Trump as to how far he wants to go. For more, read: Donald Trump 2.0.
  2. Economic stability at home: President Trump has already created a hugely improved pro-business environment at home. However, America needs China for everyday things, from toilet paper to clothing.
  3. Curtailing its military ventures overseas, especially in the Mideast and Afghanistan.
  4. National pride: "Make America Great Again". America is deeply in trouble, both at home and abroad. America must therefore re-position itself globally, which means yielding more of its sphere of influence to China and Russia, while sharply focusing inward by getting its house in order! Fiscally, America is already insolvent, because of our huge national debt, which can't be possibly paid off without massively irresponsible money printing.

Bottom line: America needs China for everyday things. America needs Russia in the Mideast, if defeating ISIS is an American goal.

For more on America, read:

  1. What is America, Anyway?
  2. Top-10 American Misconceptions about America.

5. Discussion

Now, let me explain how Trump's perceived strategy (i.e. to set Russia against China) will not work.

5.1 Russia

America needs Russian assistance on a wide range of international issues, especially ISIS and Iran. But if President Trump thinks he could trade Ukraine for the Mideast, or vice versa, with Russia, he would be dead wrong!

Here is the latest news from the UN: UN Ambassador Haley hit Russia hard on Ukraine.

Because Russia will never withdraw from Crimea, does that mean the US sanctions on Russia will remain forever? If yes, we will never be able to count on Russia for anything!

Furthermore, regardless of what America does from now on, the Mideast will soon be without America, except for whatever Israel needs, of course. Instead, the Mideast will be dominant by the Iran-Syria-Russia alliance. For more, read: The Middle East without America?

5.2 China

Three basic points on China:

  1. China will never compromise on Taiwan or the South China Sea. China has enough military capability to deter any military aggression by any country.
  2. China does not have to worry about Russia leaning more towards America in the coming years, thanks to the newly strengthened China-Russia alliance.
  3. China and America need each other.

Five basic points about America-China:

  1. Globalization has been part of America since America's first days, and capitalism is global by definition! Does America still want capitalism, like China does?
  2. America has lost more jobs to automation than to out-sourcing over the past three decades, at least.
  3. The jobs America "lost to China" would have gone to other countries, had China not developed over the past three decades.
  4. America has trade deficits with more than 90 countries. Are we going to complain about all of them, one by one, or simply accept the truth that our cost structure is too high and fix it?
  5. America is the largest currency manipulator in the world, having printed more than $4 trillion over the past decade, mostly at the expenses of its creditors (e.g. China and Japan)!

5.3 America

The root cause for America's decline is our failing political system, thanks to both Democratic Imperialism and Democratic Socialism! Will we be courageous enough to face the truth and solve our real problems with political reforms, as I have suggested (American Democracy), or continue to fool around by blaming all other countries?

Throughout human history, great countries come and go, with two exceptions: China and the U.K. (The Greatest Countries in Human History). Specifically,

  1. China: it went from heaven to hell, but is now well on its way back to heaven again. How did China manage to come back again? Reforms, both politically and economically, without blaming any other countries!
  2. The U.K.: as the last empire before the American empire, the U.K., after WWII, had to turn inward to get its own house in order, and its economy is back again on more solid footing.

President Trump is right to look inward to get our messy house in order first. What's missing is a sound foreign policy that deals with many countries, from China and Russia to our closer neighbors.

6. Getting along with your neighbors!

The image below is worth more than 1,000 words. For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible.

Oh, Canada has been accepting a large number of Syrian refugees (Canada to accept additional 10,000 Syria refugees) so fast that President Trump may soon propose to build a wall on our northern border and have Canada pay for it!

7. Some candid advice for President Trump

Below is my advice for President Trump.

For the Mideast,

  1. Forget about regime change and stop all the activities related to it. A bad government is better than no government (e.g. Iraq and Syria). Democracy does not even work at home - stop exporting it! For more, read: Democracy: to be or not to be?
  2. Syria: Leave it to President Assad and Russia.
  3. Iraq: Withdraw all our troops as soon as possible. Let the Iraqi government and Iran take care of ISIS over there. Yes, we have been fighting in Iraq for the benefit of Iran.
  4. Iran: Leave it alone! The Iran nuclear deal framework is already in place. It's better than nothing and it takes time to work out a better replacement (like Obamacare)! Russia and Iran are closely allied! Anything America does to sabotage that alliance (Trump administration looks at driving wedge between Russia and Iran) will prove futile.
  5. Saudi Arabia: Keep our military commitment to the minimum. Remember: 17 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11/2001 were Saudis! For more, read: 9/11: Remembered in America, But Not Understood!

For Russia,

  1. Accept Russia as a world power. Russia wants, and deserves, more space as its sphere of influence. Ukraine and Syria are the least we should yield to Russia.
  2. Forget about Crimea - It was Russia's and it's Russia's!
  3. Scale back on Ukraine! A simple question: what if Russia moved to our front door (e.g. Cuba)? We all know the answer: Wikipedia - Cuban Missile Crisis.
  4. Lift all the sanctions against Russia as soon as possible. They do not work, as Russia has a huge back door to China, which can provide Russia with everything it needs!

For China,

  1. Accept China as a world power. China wants, and deserves, more space as its sphere of influence. East Asia is the least we should yield to China.
  2. Forget about Taiwan and the South China Sea! Let the local folks work them out, over time.
  3. Avoid a trade war with China - there is no winner out of any war, trade (e.g. The Smoot-Hawley tariff and the Great Depression) or otherwise (e.g. the Iraq War)!

For North Korea, leave it to China! For more, read: America: What to Do with North Korea?

For Mexico, forget about the wall! It's too costly to build, it's too costly to maintain, and it will not even work!

Finally, for America,

  1. Reform our political system, as I have suggested (Donald Trump 2.0), in order to truly make America great again!
  2. Restore America's pro-business environment, for which President Trump has been doing a very good job!

8. President Trump and the world: three distinctive views

Many Americans have strong opinions on the subject of "Trump and the world". Let me highlight two opposing views first before presenting my strong opinion about WWIII.

8.1 A rational view

Below is an excerpt from a rational article (Trump's dangerous China illusions):

Today's China offers a rude awakening for Americans who believe that the United States and the United States alone should dominate world power. Donald Trump seems to count himself among these neoconservatives, and China is their deepest phobia today. Trump is following a game plan that has characterized US "grand strategy" against major rivals dating back to World War II. Each time America has had a rival for global leadership, the United States has aimed to cut the rival down to size and to subordinate it to US power. For a while it worked, at least to a point.

More recently, it has failed badly. And with China, any attempt to pursue such a course will fail disastrously for the United States, not to mention the world.

8.2 A hawkish view

Below is an excerpt from a hawkish article (Backing into World War III):

America must check the assertive, rising powers of Russia and China before it's too late. Accepting spheres of influence is a recipe for disaster.

8.3 My strong opinion about WWIII

Unless President Trump can decisively change the direction, America has both the capability and incentive to provoke WWIII, through which America will be destroyed for sure. The only two questions are:

  1. Which one of the other two big countries will be involved and destroyed: Russia or China?
  2. Will the last one be left standing after the war?

For more, read: Weapons of Mass Destruction.

9. Closing

Both Presidents Xi and Putin are proven world leaders, while President Trump has a long way to go to prove himself as a good American President as well as a true world leader, beyond what's automatically given to an American President.

Even more challenging for President Trump, he must deal with both of them, together on the other side, with absolutely no chance of setting one against the other!

Not only do I wish President Trump well, I have also spelled out the path to greatness for him (Donald Trump 2.0). But will he listen? We will have a very good indication after his first 100 days in office.

Meanwhile, read my new book (American Democracy).

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