Failure, Blame China
August 15, 2017 "Information
- America’s chronic trade deficit with the
rest of the world is testimony to a failed
US economy. In reality, the US has no-one
else to blame but itself for such an
But in typical
chauvinist fashion, the Trump administration
has found a handy scapegoat by blaming
China — its top bilateral trading partner.
President Donald Trump this week
probe into alleged trade malpractices
by China, including claims of intellectual
property theft and unfair subsidies.
supposed grievances against China formed a major
part of his election campaign last year, when
the tycoon-turned-politician would whip
up supporters in rustbelt states with emotive
claims about how China was "raping our economy".
Now Trump says he is making good on his
electoral promises to "get tough on China". On
this week, the president said: "We will uphold
our values, we will defend our workers, and we
will protect the innovations, creations and
inventions that power our magnificent country."
warned that if
Trump follows through on threats to impose trade
tariffs on Chinese exports the move will ignite
a trade war, which will inflict serious damage
on both economies and the rest of the world.
nationalistic depiction of trade problems
with China is also feeding into the rise
of xenophobic and racist politics in the US. The
president has come under pressure to disavow
white supremacist groups, like the KKK,
after deadly protests in Virginia last weekend.
However, his jingoistic rhetoric of blaming
foreigners for America's social and economic
woes is a toxic embrace of demagoguery that will
fuel reactionary rightwing sentiments.
has an odious habit of blaming everyone else
for America's contemporary problems. In his
nasty transactional worldview, all other nations
are taking advantage of "virtuous America".
Thus, Mexico is stampeding "our border"; the
nuclear deal is
"the worst ever"; the Trans-Pacific Partnership
was "ripping America off"; the Paris Climate
Accord was another "bad deal" harming American
enterprise; the Europeans need to cough up for
Germans are flooding US car markets; and so
on and so on.
York former real estate mogul fancies himself
as a business genius. (One wonders how he would
have fared if he hadn't inherited a million
dollars from his rich daddy to get him started.)
case, Trump sounds more like a spoilt brat
than an ingenious entrepreneur. His penchant is
to blame everyone for failure and to offer quack
alleged China trade disputes, it may sound good
to some people among Trump's voter base
to harangue China over alleged intellectual
property infringements and technology theft. But
vilifying China for America's economic and
social decline is a dangerous deception.
Trump castigates China for somehow being
responsible for the US
with that country — about $350 billion in 2016.
He asserts that the surplus of Chinese exports
into the US is because China is stealing
American technology and copyrights and flooding
the market with fake goods.
what Trump conveniently omits to say is that the
US had a total trade deficit with the rest
of the world in 2016 amounting to $740 billion,
its own government figures. After China, the US
trade arrears with the European Union was nearly
mean that the Europeans are also stealing
American intellectual property and cheating the
US economy with unfair practices?
just means that the US economy has withered away
to the point where it depends on the rest of the
world for imports. The American manufacturing
base has been wiped out. This import dependency
and chronic trade imbalance in the US has been
going on since at the least the late 1980s. For
the past three decades, the US trade deficit has
been relentlessly expanding, up from about $100
billion in 1990 to the present figure of $740
Trump to try to blame China for America's
abysmal decline is the kind of trick pulled by a
con artist. It may play well with people who
have prejudices about foreigners and delusional
notions of American "exceptionalism" — but such
a depiction is nonetheless downright false.
truth is that it's not foreign nations who are
to blame for America's social and economic
malaise, it is Americans themselves.
Specifically, we are talking about corporate
America and oligarchs like Trump who shut
down American factories wholesale and ruthlessly
downsized workforces in order to set
up businesses in cheap-labor countries
Trump and his
are owners of global retail businesses whose
cosmetics and clothing are manufactured in China
and exported to the US, thereby contributing
to their country's trade deficit.
historic failure of the American economy is the
story of how capitalism is eventually bound
to fail. The insatiable pursuit of financial
profit as the sole objective leads inevitably
to the gutting of one's own country and
compatriots if it means that profits can be
over 30 years, American workers and communities
have been decimated by capitalists like Trump
and other oligarchs who had no conscience
about betraying their compatriots to make big
bucks somewhere overseas.
predatory process of offshoring American jobs
to places like China is why the US economy and
society has been bled dry. For Trump to blame
China for this predation of Americans
by corporate America is bitterly ironic.
the doubly odious thing too. In his quack remedy
for American economic ills, Trump seems now
willing to ignite a trade war with China.
At a time
when the world is already convulsed
with security tensions between the US and China,
Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine,
among other nations, it really is the height
of recklessness by the Trump White House
to escalate tensions even further with a
spurious trade war.
recriminations between Beijing and Washington
are fraught over military jousting over disputed
territory in the South China Sea. A trade war
will only exacerbate hostilities further.
given notice that if Trump goes down the
perilous path of a trade war, it will not sit
idly by. If China were to redirect its exports
to other parts of the globe in retaliation, or
dump its huge American dollar holdings, the
impact on the US economy will be severe.
Inflation of consumer goods would soar, thereby
hurting millions of low-income Americans even
reprehensible is that? Trump and his family
fortune are the embodiment of how American
workers ended up being impoverished
under decades of rapacious corporate America.
Now selling the American workers a fraudulent
explanation for their poverty — by scapegoating
China and starting a trade war — Trump is only
adding to their misery.
real-estate scams, it's known as "fleecing the
customer twice". Something that Donald J Trump
would know all about.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles published
in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate
in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a
scientific editor for the Royal Society of
Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a
career in newspaper journalism. He is also a
musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he
worked as an editor and writer in major news
media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish
Times and Independent.
This article was first published by
views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
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