Pete Buttigieg is an American politician and a former US Naval intelligence officer. A member of the Democratic Party. For a while, he was one of the candidates from the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential election. In 2012-2020, he was the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Recently, P. Buttigic published his vision of US-Chinese relations during the reign of President Trump in the well-known and influential newspaper “The Washington Post”, which largely reflects the opinions in US political circles. The material was published under the loud title ” China wants to see Trump as President for another term.”

The article of the American Democrat well reflects the contradictory situation that has developed in the United States today and the general chaos in the understanding of the foreign policy strategy of their country by the American elites. Apparently, the United States still does not understand how to cooperate with China, which is consistently strengthening on the world stage and acts according to the rules that have been formed in Washington for a long time.

In his article, the Democrat P. Buttigic believes that the American President constantly claims that he has shown rigidity towards the PRC. But, according to the author, during the Trump period, the geopolitical rival of the United States only strengthened during his presidential term and gives his arguments on this score.

Thus, we see that both Democrats and Republicans are now trying to strengthen their positions among the electorate and win the elections at the expense of China. Surprisingly, Chinese rhetoric is suddenly becoming dominant in the American electoral agenda 2020. I’m curious, but where did Russia and all the “political horror stories”associated with it go?

Trump is now accusing China of spreading the new coronavirus in the world and is trying to cover up his failures in controlling the epidemic inside the United States (all COVID-19 anti-records today belong to Americans). So he is trying to shift the responsibility for his mistakes in underestimating the infection and the failure of state policy to the PRC. But the American voter is not stupid and society sees well how the White House has withdrawn itself, and all the real difficult work has fallen on the shoulders of state governors.

American Democrats today claim that Trump is actively contributing to the strengthening of the PRC and therefore ” China wants to see Trump as President for another term.” It is interesting, but probably Beijing does not know about this yet, but the American establishment has already formulated this supposedly “Chinese desire” for the Chinese and will actively broadcast it to its voters. Democrats believe that ” Trump is the dream candidate for China.”

It seems that after the presidential elections in November this year, an FBI investigation in the style of “Chinese interference in the US elections”will be launched in Washington. At the same time, apparently, it is not so important who will win – Republicans or Democrats. The same political hysteria reigned in the United States in 2016-2017, when they were looking for a certain “trace of Russia”. By the way, there were a lot of loud statements and scandals, stuffing “facts and evidence”, but today it is 2020 and there are no results and there will be no results.

And so, we present to our readers the reflections of the democratic camp of the US political establishment about China, clearly inspired by the current election cycle.

According to Democrat P. Buttigic, President Trump resorted to a desperate strategy for the sake of re-election. He seeks to shift the blame for the failure to counter the outbreak of the crisis due to COVID-19 and in the hope that the public will forget his initial reaction, together with praising China for the “transparency” of the response to the pandemic. President Trump is doing everything possible to misrepresent former Vice President Joe Biden, exposing him as a “dream candidate” from Beijing.

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The Washington Post: China wants to see Trump as President for another term

On Wednesday, May 6, this year, Trump told Reuters that ” China will do whatever it takes for me to lose this race.” He made a similar statement in the East Room of the White House on Thursday (May 7). Trump insists that in a dangerous world, he is the only figure opposing China, which seeks to gain geopolitical superiority. The US president also claims that the Chinese leadership is shuddering at the possible extension of the President’s powers for the next 4 years.

In fact, everything is exactly the opposite. Trump is a dream candidate for China and his government, on the contrary, will be more than happy to do business with Trump for another 4 years. In his first presidential term, Trump did not bring China to its knees. He made him stronger.

While the Communist Party of China and Chinese President Xi Jinping were hiding behind a propaganda desire for mutually beneficial cooperation and a “society with a common destiny”, in fact, for a long time they sought to catch up, and subsequently surpass the United States of America in technological, economic and military relations. Despite the fact that China is the world’s second largest economy, it is still not equal to American strength, innovation, values and alliances.

However, in the midst of the chaos that Trump caused, China saw an opportunity for itself to undermine these advantages and oppose its dictatorial regime as a more stable and attractive alternative to our sometimes confusing democratic regime.

The Trump administration has failed to respond to China’s technological challenge. As follows from the 2019 report of the Council on Foreign Relations on innovation and national security: “Despite bipartisan support for a large-scale technological competition with Beijing, the White House failed to work with Congress to increase federal support for basic research and development.

As a result, a phased and limited approach was adopted to support the development of advanced technologies.” At the same time, Trump’s backward immigration decisions have undermined our ability to compete for global talent when we need it so much.

It was at this moment that China’s investment in these areas increased rapidly. According to an analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution, China has increased the number of university science and engineering faculties 4 times from 360,000 to 1.7 million over the period from 2000 to 2015. The Center for Security and New Technologies at Georgetown University suggests that the Chinese government is likely to invest at least a similar amount of capital as the United States in its quest to become “the world’s main innovation center for artificial intelligence” by 2030.

The notorious “Phase One” trade agreement, which followed the trade war, which cost tens of billions of dollars, and which put many American farmers in the face of bankruptcy, is unlikely to cover its costs. In fact, this did not even affect the main claim of the Americans to the PRC – the theft of intellectual property and unfair subsidies. Trump took the hit when China continues to steal intellectual property and doubles down on subsidy distortions in strategically important technologies, such as advanced semiconductors.

Trump also gave China free rein on human rights violations. While the whole world is learning more and more about what is happening in Xinjiang, which is probably the largest internment of a religious or ethnic group since the Second World War, Trump remains silent. When Juher Ilham, a Uighur activist, was invited to the White House last year and tried to talk about the plight of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the President asked in response: “Where is it? Is it in China?” Then he could only demonstrate a heartless assessment, like: “These are cruel deeds.” And when the Hong Kong authorities, supported by Beijing, began to suppress the protests in November 2019, the only thing Trump said was that he “stands next to President Xi.”

No American leader has done more to weaken the United States ‘ international security alliances. For decades, Beijing has opposed what Chinese analysts called a “relic of the Cold War” and unpromising US cooperation. It is not surprising that they see the situation in this light: America’s historical alliances and partnerships include about two-thirds of the world’s defense spending, the deployment of military contingents around the world, and the subsequent spread of economic and political influence. The most prominent alliance of China today is North Korea, which acts more as its satellite.

Trump has attached great importance to his friendship with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong – un – and he still has nothing to demonstrate-except by reiterating his support for the withdrawal of troops from South Korea, which in principle is a long-standing goal of the Chinese Communist Party. Trump has threatened tariffs on longtime allies, turned talk of burden-sharing into charging, and also said that some of our European friends – including countries that fought alongside us in Afghanistan for a long time – are “worse than China.”

By disrupting relations with Europe, Trump has also made it harder for our key allies to reject China’s Huawei as a 5G wireless network provider, otherwise it may seem that they are obeying Trump’s will, despite the harassment provided to them. The next 4 years, apparently, will leave nothing of the generations of American diplomacy and the creation of strong allied alliances.

And finally, Trump calmly ceded the power and influence of the United States in international institutions, withdrawing the country’s representation in international organizations and not offering any serious plans for reforms in return. Starting from the UN Human Rights Council up to the International Telecommunication Union, the created vacuum from the disappeared American leadership will allow Beijing to actually rewrite the rules and standards that can subsequently create an ideological and technological competition with China that will last for decades.

All this is happening at a time when China is moving to rebuild its basic Internet architecture and is seeking to bend technological standards to the benefit of its corporations and authoritarian values. Trump’s reaction to Beijing’s pressure on the World Health Organization was only a threat to stop funding, which in principle will only give the organization under the ever-increasing influence of China.

Trump would like to make us believe that he and only he is able to protect America from China’s illegal actions. In reality, its inconsistency, boasting and, at some critical moments, retreats have provided China with historical opportunities to establish itself in the global hierarchy.

As Professor Yang Suetong, a leading Chinese strategist, said: “Trump has undermined the system of international security alliances led by the United States, and thereby improved the global situation for China.” He also assessed his actions as follows: “since Trump took office, China’s relations with US allies, including Japan, have significantly improved.

In fact, I am sure that China is currently witnessing the best strategic opportunity since the end of the cold War.” The coronavirus has only raised the stakes. During this crisis, as stated by the Chinese nationalist writer Li Gunman, Beijing sees “a watershed… that separates the old and new world order.” In other words, much of this can give a convincing advantage to the Chinese regime at the expense of openness and democracy, for which America has stood at its best.

China, as a strategic competitor, welcomes a polarized and paralyzed America. Trump’s reaction was presented from a variety of strategies that ultimately played to the benefit of China’s long-term plans. At the same time, recent ill-considered rhetoric has only encouraged bigotry and a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Beijing sees this as an opportunity for itself to question the American project and liberal democracy itself. The only thing that China is betting on is the next term of Trump.


China Studies Centre,

Nur-Sultan, 2020

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