China’s influence warrants diplomatic action

The new president’s responsibilites include creating counter-strategy to Chinese dominance

Connor McNeely, Staff Columnist

As the 2020 election race finally ends, we must move on to the impact the next president will have on the United States. One of the most important functions of the Commander in Chief is with regard to foreign policy. Our next president will inherit a turbulent relationship with China that doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In recent years, China has seen vast improvements in both their economy and militarization. Many Americans and Chinese officials believe that this is directly due to the resistance posed by President Donald Trump’s administration. The direction of their nation, in many ways, is tied to the result of this U.S. 2020 election.

Over the course of Trump’s administration, China and America have had a horrible trading relationship. The two nations have become opponents as the Trump White House imposed tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods. China responded with a tariff, and the only deescalation that has occurred since this exchange is the Phase One Trade Deal, which has only come about in the last year of Trump’s presidency. There have also been notable technology restrictions, the most known being the Trump administration’s crackdown on TikTok, which is produced by the parent company ByteDance, based in Beijing. 

Although Trump’s strategy of economic protectionism gave some leverage to the United States in determining a new Phase One Trade Deal, the target of slowing down China’s ever growing economy was not reached. As the largest manufacturing economy in the world, China is probably the most important international trading partner. Thus, it follows that they rely heavily on exports, which is why Trump attempted to tighten restrictions on trade between the United States and China. This was not the most effective strategy. Looking into the future, the next president need not be so hostile to China in international trade. The next President should emphasize the development of the U.S. economy, and sectors of technology innovation—this includes renewable energy, which could launch the U.S. economy onto the world’s stage with the development of clean cars.

Our next President will inheret a turbulent realationship with China that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”

Our next leader should also look to the nature of China and its population. The domestic consumer demand in China is very low, as their standard of living is much lower than that of most developed countries. In the past, China has exploited the exchange rate of the Yuan to make exports in China cheaper than those in America. This effect is made possible by the low standard of living in China. If the next American president wishes to keep China in check, he will need to take advantage of the slight economic decline that is currently affecting China’s economy. The battle of our nations will be won in the race of innovation, not in a petty war of tariffs.

Another issue that must be faced in the next presidency is China’s rapid militarization. The longstanding success of their economy has given rise to colossal developments of infrastructure, both military and economic. You may have heard of these projects in conspiracy theories, but I can assure you that they are quite real. The Belt and Road Initiative is a focal point of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. The plan will construct an international market on the landlocked area of Central Asia — and this infrastructure of rail transportation will be centered around China, bolstering their economic growth. The scale of these plans is what is most concerning. The Belt and Road Initiative will require $900 billion of investment over the next decade. In addition to this massive development, China has built numerous island fortifications in the South China Sea that threaten international security. On these islands, China has installed hangers, runways, missile defense systems and anti-ship cruise missiles. The international community has been largely silent in the face of this militarization, which has allowed China to take a strategic advantage in the South China Sea.

Though there are many unclear realities in the domestic sphere of the U.S., it is undeniable that our president must realize a plan to combat the growing influence of China. Whoever the president is, he must understand the challenge that this nation presents to the international community and to the citizens of the U.S.

We have the chance to write another victory into the story of America; one that proves the remarkable intelligence of our citizens and their capacity for innovation. Instead of shutting ourselves away, we need to work together with other nations to fight against threats to the security of the world.