Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Trust deficit of US has been self-inflicted

First published in China Daily. In the United States, we have a popular saying: "You can't have your cake and eat it too", which is another way of saying that you cannot have it both ways. Yet this is exactly what President Joe Biden's administration is trying to do with China. It treats China like a bitter adversary. The Biden administration even has hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to encourage Western media to blacken China's reputation at every opportunity, even resorting to distortion and fabrication to achieve their objective. Yet when they need China's help, Biden expects Beijing to comply and act as a willing supporter. Some recent examples come to mind. At the G20 Summit in Bali in October, Biden reaffirmed the one-China principle and said he would do nothing to interfere with Taiwan as part of China. Of course, right after he left Bali, he ordered advanced weapons for Taiwan and commandeered part of Taiwan Semiconductor Co from the island's city of Hsinchu to the US state of Arizona. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen flew to Switzerland specifically to intercept China's then vice-premier Liu He on his way to Davos. She asked for China's support for the dollar by continuing to buy US Treasury IOUs. She then flew on to Africa to warn African nations of China's so-called debt-trap diplomacy — without any evidence whatsoever. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese senior diplomat Wang Yi, boasting later that he gave a stern warning that China must not give weapons to Russia, or it would face dire consequences. Wang, who is now a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, let it be known that the shooting down by the US of a weather balloon that wandered into US airspace was a hysterical response. Hysteria and paranoid logic run wild in Washington. Kits for new subway cars provided by China and assembled in the US were feared to be a vehicle for spying. The ubiquitous TikTok may be thrown out of the US because it is owned by a Chinese entrepreneur. The US has concluded that the best way to deal with its rotting infrastructure, proliferating number of homeless people, drug overdoses and mass shootings is to kick the can down the road and let the next round of politicians face the challenges. In the meantime, rather than confronting the real challenges at home, they work on blaming everything on China. At the beginning of his administration, Biden could have reset relations with China, but he doubled down instead. Blinken and others have gone around promising positive relations with every country, only to stab them in the back. This has been especially true with their dealings with China. Right now, Biden desperately needs to meet with President Xi Jinping to get China's support for the US debt, but he thinks he can get that support while trashing China and freezing China from access to semiconductor technology. Under his leadership, the US has become a nation that inflicts self-harm by a thousand cuts. By unilaterally destroying Iraq and Libya, the US instilled fear in others. By unilaterally confiscating foreign reserves belonging to Afghanistan and Russia, Biden behaved like the mafia. All the world can now see that holding on to the dollar and keeping it in the US is fraught with danger. Under these circumstances, why would China want to buy more Treasury bills? That would only enable the Federal Reserve to print more dollars and run up the deficit. In fact, China is converting extra dollars into gold and spending the remainder as rapidly as possible. China is also working with Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states to accept the renminbi instead of the petrodollar. More than 100 countries that trade with China are already willing to hold renminbi as part of their reserve currency. All are motivated to avoid owning dollars. The US under Biden's leadership now suffers a huge credibility gap and trust deficit with the rest of the world. The US economy and therefore American taxpayers will pay dearly from the debt trap of Biden's own making. The author, a US citizen of Chinese ancestry and a retired international business adviser, wrote this commentary especially for China Daily.

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