Defend Truth

Opinionista

Make America Hate Again: Expect Trump’s anti-China rhetoric to ramp up as election approaches

mm

Tandi Mahambehlala is a South African Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations. She writes in her personal capacity.

The scapegoating by US President Donald Trump of both China and the World Health Organisation is nothing but a cheap parlour trick to deflect attention from his lack of understanding of the crisis we collectively face, and the White House’s inadequate and woeful response to it.

When Chinese-American reporter Weijia Jiang recently asked US President Donald Trump why he is turning the Covid-19 pandemic into a competition, he responded that she should “ask China” and not him.

This is not the first time that Trump has accused China of being responsible for the worldwide pandemic, and by all accounts it won’t be the last.

Trump is using the pandemic to continue to pander to his lackeys in the rightwing press and his support base ahead of America’s presidential elections set for November 2020.

Trump’s belligerence is pretty much on script, mirroring his run-up to the 2016 elections. This time around though, he will no doubt ask the US electorate to help “Make America Great Again” by essentially asking Americans to Hate Again.

China-bashing will, if all indications of his rhetoric are anything to go by, form a significant narrative to be woven in a Cold War-era style throwback in which the USSR and the “communist threat” was the evil hoping to bring the world to heel.

Trump is playing a dangerous game by apportioning blame to China – a move that his support base and the hawks in his midst will welcome, but one the world will undoubtedly view with the scepticism it deserves.

The capitalist system has been shaken to its very exploitative foundations, and the US, so beholden to the socioeconomic industrial complex driven by rampant consumerism, has all but crumbled.

A new normal will have to be designed, one where it is less of an us versus them construct, but a world in which our inter-connectivity means that we find collective solutions to future pandemics which, by all accounts, we will have to face as a species if what the scientists are predicting comes to pass.

Incidentally, China owns around $1-trillion of the US’s $21-trillion sovereign debt – but there is nothing sinister about this. It is quite normal and widely regarded as healthy in the maintenance of an openness in the global economy.

That China uses its economic heft to benefit it in trade negotiations is not in question, but to suggest that it acts out of the norm while superpowers have done this to the exclusion of poorer nations, say, at the top tables of influential world bodies, smacks of double standards and a narrow understanding of how the world has changed and how it will continue to do so.

The West’s grasp of its big stick has been slipping for some time now, lest we forget the epicentre of the 2008 world economic crisis – corrupt bankers, rating agencies and compromised governments conspiring against the system and tanking, among others, the pension funds diligently subscribed to by millions of working-class individuals the world over.

Our destinies have inextricably been intertwined for some time and it is no surprise that large-scale Chinese investment in the US extends to at least 40 states.

The scapegoating by Trump of both China and the WHO is nothing but a cheap parlour trick to deflect attention from his lack of understanding of the crisis we collectively face from the Covid-19 pandemic and the White House’s inadequate and woeful response to it. 

China’s modernisation of its economy – it has steadily moved away from being a manufacturing-heavy, churn-driven economy to a dynamic, multi-focused juggernaut – has transformed the lives of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens and continues to engage governments across the world.

As an aside, even before its heightened economic status, it was involved in helping build infrastructure in Africa. 

And while Trump continues to attack China in childish sparring with reporters, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged $2-billion to the World Health Organisation to help efforts in combating the virus around the world. This, while his US counterpart has all but withdrawn funding to the WHO and when many the world over are looking to America for answers in this age of great uncertainty.

It used to be said that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold: let’s not be drawn into Trump’s dangerous rhetoric that seeks to flip the script and blame China for everything that is wrong in the world. 

Trump may want to make the US hate again, but it is incumbent on all rational thinking individuals and governments to see the value in finding a common socioeconomic purpose that benefits all who inhabit this planet. 

The scapegoating by Trump of both China and the WHO is nothing but a cheap parlour trick to deflect attention from his lack of understanding of the crisis we collectively face from the Covid-19 pandemic and the White House’s inadequate and woeful response to it. 

Trump’s blatant shortcomings are borne out by the open defiance by some state governors who have had to make unilateral decisions in the absence of a coherent response from their commander-in-chief.

Unsurprisingly, this is the same president who called Covid-19 a hoax and who suggested that drinking bleach could be a “cure”.

These are perilous times we are living in as a global community. 

We should worry less about the head of state sitting in Beijing, and be gravely concerned by the “fake news” musings by the one occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. DM

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"