Trump needs to calm down and start acting more like a businessman
Keith Lamb

Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with a MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese studies. His primary research interests are international relations of China and China's "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The rocket man is back showing off to a world audience that he has the best and fastest rockets. Can you guess who it is? No, this isn't Kim Jong Un, this is the real rocket man, Donald Trump. On Friday, the president made bombastic comments gloating about American missiles which he termed "the super-duper missile."

His comments came from the White House where he sat looking more like a mafia boss than a responsible leader of the largest economy. In Trump's typical ineloquent style, he looked round to his henchman standing next to him Mark Esper, the secretary of defense, saying, "I heard the other night, [it's] 17 times faster than what they have right now." Esper looked on bemused nodding but adding no technical information beyond mumbling "that's right" in regard to this "super-duper missile."

Trump's comments were clearly aimed at China and Russia who he both casually mentioned saying, "We have no choice, we have to do it with the adversaries we have out there." All that was missing from this scene was a bond villain cackle! Unfortunately, this is for real. We now have the head of the U.S. crassly showing off about how superior his missile is.

A soberer appraisal of the threats posed to the U.S. show that Trump's evaluation of an America under threat by other nations to be completely unfounded.

In terms of military spending, the Department of Defense reports that the U.S. spent nearly 700 billion U.S. dollars on its military alone in 2019 which is expected to reach about 750 billion in 2020 according to In contrast, China, with an infinitely more complex and diverse borders than the U.S., spent 1.1899 trillion yuan (170 billion U.S. dollars) on military in 2019. 

From a geopolitical point of view, the U.S. is perhaps the safest country in the world. To the east and west lie the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean "moats." It shares only two borders with two compliant neighbors in the form of Canada and Mexico. There appear to be no hostile troops amassing near the U.S. border.

Despite the end of the Cold War, the U.S. still maintains nearly 800 military bases around the world and makes no secret of its attempt to contain China.

U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). /VCG

U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). /VCG

The disparity between China's military for defensive means and the U.S.'s military as an instrument of aggression is so vast that Trump's claims of being threatened by "others" are both nauseating and perverse.

So how to judge Trump's comments replete with double standards? At best Trump's observations might come down to ignorance. Indeed, there is no lack of this but on a personal level Trump is a businessman. Unfortunately, his "bully business model" is now part of his diplomacy. 

Frighteningly, Trump's comments follow on the trail of an organized attempt by the Trump administration to spread falsifications on China's role in the spread of the COVID-19. Needless to say, for keen followers of history, the U.S. has a record of first spreading false propaganda to create a pretext for invasion and aggression. 

The false weapons of mass destruction claims justified the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Closer to China, in the 1964 the U.S. claimed they were attacked by Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin which led to disaster that was the Vietnam War. Later memoirs from Robert McNamara, the former United Secretary of Defense, and National Security Agency (NSA) publications admitted the incident was a fabrication. 

China has chosen the path of peaceful development and sought to establish itself in the world rules-based order. So how does China threaten the U.S.? Why does it seem the U.S. is single-mindedly trying to initiate a new Cold War?

Quite simply China is developing in all spheres from its technological capacity to its infrastructure and organizational abilities. China's "threat" is that it merely seeks equality in the international sphere and refuses to be vassalized. 

China's rise, as mentioned in the U.S.'s Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, is incompatible with its interests of preventing any strategic rivals. From this vantage point, Trump's bluster and veiled threats are representative of a more macro U.S. strategy.

However, with an interconnected world faced with shared risks such as nuclear war, pandemics, environmental breakdown, terrorism and poverty, this is certainly no time for a new Cold War. China's economic capacity far outstrips the former USSR and it has chosen an economic path intertwined with the United States.

China provides vast markets for U.S. consumer goods and possesses mammoth quantities of U.S. dollar holdings that could be dumped instantly should the U.S. attack China. 

Rocket man needs to sit down, calm down and start acting a bit more like a businessman.

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