Trump has said he wants to pull out of NAFTA and has officially started renegotiating the terms a couple days ago. He wants the United States to become an export country. While he’s encouraging foreign companies like FoxConn to invest in the United States, which I find particularly at odds with his “America First” motto, he’s missing the point that you can’t be an island in a global society.
He backed out of TPP, which would have been a strategic initiative that benefits us militarily as much as it would’ve benefited us economically. We could’ve moved jobs from China to Vietnam and elsewhere rather than moving them all the way back to the United States, but now we’ve abandoned countries that have to now partner with China in the RCEP and get burdensome loans from the AIIF. We still exercise Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea, but we’re merely showing a presence but not actually gaining ground like we could have. I understand Trump’s motivation, but totally abandoning a region dominated by China when many allies are extremely at risk is a great way to erase any trust they’ve slowly begun to have in us.
Finally, I’ve already mentioned some issues with national security like hacking, our military influence around the world, and crucial alliances that Trump doesn’t seem to even know about. However, we have physical assets in countries around the world. We have bases, surveillance and communications equipment, and agreements to land at various bases that our allies operate around the world. If you want the short version, just know our fighter jets can’t fly around the world without stopping to refuel and expect to engage an opponent and guarantee they can make it back home safely.
You may remember that Trump shared classified intelligence obtained by communications with the UK, and as a result, the UK said they didn’t think it was safe to share information with us anymore. That ban was lifted in less than a day, but we can’t survive on our own. We created a globalized world, and now we have to live in it. I am immensely in favor of globalization, but we can’t our own stake in it get taken away from us. Just compare it to how we almost lost control over our own Internet sovereignty. Now imagine we don’t just lose control of information but lose our ability defend ourselves in the physical space.
The country of Djibouti recently evicted the United States from one military base and allowed the Chinese Navy to move in. The horn of Africa is so incredibly important to international trade, and you could describe one of China’s major international strategies as economilitaristic. Yes, I made up that work, but they use loans, infrastructure promises, unfair trade practices, and currency manipulation for the purpose of beating other nations into submission and eventual subjugation to the Party. Therefore, I think it’s not a stretch to we need to limit them economically if we’re going to limit them militarily.
If you live in the United States, you’ve probably seen the commercials that claim that Qatar is funding terrorism. Yes, yes they are. However, it is incredibly dangerous to run these commercial, TWEET about it, and call them out in front of the entire world when Qatar is allowing the United States to have its largest military base in the entire Middle East in one of the region’s tiniest countries. Trump needs to be much more diplomatic and sensitive to our own military concerns there even if he doesn’t want to care about the Qatari people. However, he’s gone even farther by supporting the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar that has even prevent Qatar Airways from flying over several countries in the Middle East. To get to Doha, you now have to follow the weirdest flight pattern, and the Qatari government is not happy about it and not happy with Trump.
Guess what? One of most important allies in the South China Sea is being treated the exact same way. While Japan and Korea far outweigh other countries in Asia in terms of their military alliances with the United States and Northeast Asia is the most underrated location in Asia in terms of potential for utter chaos, Singapore hosts the United States and is doing so more and more in response to China’s rising aggression. However, Trump is not going easieron their North Korean guestworker program but actually harder on them. If you ever had to compromise, you’d at least schedule your phone calls to call and yell at Singapore last. There are plenty of countries around the world hosting North Korean guestworker programs that send billions back to the Kim Regime’s nuclear program, but Trump wants to bully the one that we can’t afford to lose.
So what can we do about all this?