China, America and the insecurities that threaten the world

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Donald Trump needs to stop playing on Twitter and act like a leader of the free world, for everyone's sake, says Craig Hill.

SINCE BEING ELECTED just three months ago, Donald Trump has made 46 child-like Twitter attacks on American allies and well-respected Americans, including Australia, Germany, the U.S. court system, Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

These attacks seem to be similar to a predator in an abusive relationship — he wants to project himself as more powerful than his victims.

It is the same approach to foreign policy and internal dissent that the Chinese Government utilise and reflects an extreme level of insecurity that is inconsistent with holding a position of such power. He perceives everybody except Vladimir Putin as an enemy and that is a level of paranoia that is also inconsistent with a person holding a position of extreme power.

Within two weeks of his inauguration, many of those that voted for him have realised their error and his disapproval rating is now above 50 per cent of the population — the lowest in modern political history in such a short time. He will only perceive this as a betrayal by the American people and will seek revenge — revenge appears to be the one consistent factor in everything he does. This will likely increase his paranoia and insecurity.

When the two largest economies in the world are run by leaders who have such high levels of paranoia and insecurity, the world needs to be worried. While Trump comes from a highly educated society and understands the consequences of pre-emptive nuclear strikes, China’s leaders are far different. They are the product of an education system that is ranked by the United Nations as only 91st in the world — and an education system that bans critical thinking. Many are thus unable to consider the consequences of what they do.

When these factors are considered in the context of Edward Luttwak’s concept of "great state autism", the situation becomes even more alarming.

This concept describes:

' ... a collective national lack of situational awareness that reduces a country’s ability to perceive international realities with clarity.'

An example of the concept is that a country may make a military threat against another country one day, then will be honestly surprised when the other country refuses to host a trade delegation the next day. While the concept clearly relates to America and Russia as well, it is far more pronounced in China.

China is the aggressor in the East and South China Seas and is making territorial claims against neighbours more than 2,000 km from its coastline. An international tribunal has found that there is absolutely no foundation to China’s claims. Despite China’s belligerence, Donald Trump and his advisers need to understand that war is not necessary.

China stands alone, with no allies. In contrast, many states have expressed to China their intention to enforce the international tribunal’s ruling, including the EU, United Kingdom, India, Japan, Australia and many South-East Asian countries. Russia has also warned China to respect the ruling, as Russia also has an interest in ensuring China keeps out of the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is one of the most important trade routes in the world and one third of global trade passes through it. China’s intention appears to be to control who can pass and who can’t. China has already passed laws to board, seize and turn away ships that don’t have China’s permission to enter the waters. By gaining control, they can hold East Asian countries to ransom, as well as countries doing trade in East Asia — unless those countries submit to China’s demands. Obviously, this is not in the best interests of the aforementioned countries, especially the United States.

For this reason, the U.S. does not need to confront China alone. Donald Trump needs to show leadership and unite the other countries against China’s aggression, as their complaints to China are not being taken seriously. He needs to get these countries to take a more assertive stance. He cannot do this by alienating himself from the international community the way China has alienated itself.

China’s government hurls constant abuse at western leaders, to the point where even Queen Elizabeth II made a rare attack on a foreign government. The governments of developed nations do not take kindly to this from a country that has not yet proven itself on the world stage. Trump risks putting himself in the same situation with his Twitter posts and aggression towards other developed nations and internationally respected individuals.

The world looks to the U.S. for leadership and the U.S. has prospered because of that leadership. The country’s alliances with other powerful countries are what gives America security against threats like China. Donald Trump is not showing that leadership and is risking America’s security by destroying hard-earned alliances. He needs to stop the silly Twitter posts, stop the abusive phone calls and show himself to be a leader of the free world.

You can follow Craig Hill on Twitter @CraigHillNet.

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