So it might have come as a surprise to some in China during the 2016 presidential election in the US when one of the candidates devoted much attention to accusing China of being an “economic enemy”, saying that, “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world,” and promising to slap high tariffs on imports from China to slash the US’ trade deficit with that country and bring jobs back to the US. Perhaps the bigger surprise was that this candidate won the election.
China and the United States are engaged in striving to revive their respective country’s fortunes. US President Donald Trump’s top priority is to “make America great again”, while China’s leaders have a vision of the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation.
Having shelved or dealt with the domestic issues, Trump in recent weeks replaced his secretary of state, chief economic adviser, and his national security adviser, with hawks and protectionists. He now has a team that will back, not block, his moves to start a trade war.
"I was an art enthusiast as a teenager, but I had little chance of realizing my dream," he said. "After retiring four years ago, I began to take different classes here, including ballroom dancing and vocal music.
For the past 40 years since China introduced the policy of reform and opening-up, the belief of dominant policymakers in China and the US has been that their economies can only prosper by working together. Proponents of the alternative policy — keeping China poor to ensure that it stays weak — were thin on the ground, and were (fortunately) not listened to.