August 02, 2020

Trump is Exploiting Race & China for Re-election

B Arjun

WITH the American presidential election just a few months away, Donald Trump is down in the polls. People’s trust or approval of Trump’s handling of the pandemic is at an all-time low. With more than 1,50,000 deaths due to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic caused mainly due to the profit-driven health system designed to serve the pharmaceutical industry, people’s faith in the administration has hit the rock bottom.

It is a grim reminder of the fact the capitalism is only good at waging wars but when it comes to protecting people, their health and economic well-being, its performance is nothing but pathetic.

America has witnessed some worst racial violence in the past few months and the associated police brutality has exposed the underbelly of the American dream which has been sold to the world as a panacea. The blacks have been demanding respect and racial equality over the past one hundred years and the American democracy has simply failed to solve their issues. Rather the race-issue has been blatantly used to create identity-based fragmentations, which only make a small number of White billionaires and millionaires feel more secure.

According to a research by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporation and government accountability research institute, the police foundations (non-government industry groups that provide funds to local police departments in various cities) are hugely funded by fossil-fuel companies like Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo. According to the Guardian report, “The fossil fuel industry is a common enemy in the struggle for racial and environmental justice. Many powerful companies that drive environmental injustice are also backers of the same police departments that tyrannize the very communities these corporate actors pollute.”

Ironically, democracy that is supposed to unite nations has become the biggest cause of societal polarisation. The racial polarisation in the US is being further fuelled by the White supremacist organisations that are close to President Trump. The alt-right ideologues believe that polarisation will help White Republicans become even more conservative.

Trump is desperate to blame failures and mal-administration on an external factor. Just as the BJP has been using the Muslim appeasement card to unite its cadre and blame the liberal opposition, similarly, Trump’s team blames the Democrats and even the old Republicans for black-appeasement.


Trump re-election campaign is not just satisfied with an internal enemy, it also needs an external enemy that can be used to galvanise the hollow patriotism of the Whites. For this reason, China is the new target. It has to be demonised to create a sense of fear in the voter's mind that America faces an existential crisis because China is no longer rising peacefully, it is aggressively expanding.        

While the US police department is busy on the racial front, the US defence department, Pentagon and its state department are deeply involved in launching salvos to show that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is an evil force. The American capitalist class tolerated the CPC until it toiled hard to keep the engines of global economy running and making money for them. Things have changed since the Chinese started showing reluctance to fund the extravagance of the Anglo-Saxon banking elites by reducing its investments in US bonds and treasuries. Ever since the CPC started expressing its aspiration to make China better and more innovative, the American elite is having sleepless nights.

As a result, the second decade of the 21st century is witnessing the ugly rupture of China-US ties. Team Trump is continuously hurling diplomatic salvos and sanctions against China and the Chinese counter-actions are all helping to build an atmosphere for a protracted confrontation.

The cry for disengagement with China and dismemberment of its government is being led by the most virulent conservative elements within and outside the American deep state who believe that isolating China is the only long term strategy for dealing with the CPC. According to Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, “Securing our freedoms from the CPC is the mission of our time… If we don’t act now, ultimately, the CPC will erode our freedoms and subvert the rules-based order free societies have built.”

Pompeo believes that the US can and must change the course of the 21st century by altering the nature and the behaviour of China’s governing regime and it is only through coercive diplomacy, the threat of war and even nuclear weapons that the American primacy can be retained.

In retaliation against the new national security law that helps Beijing to facilitate greater integration of Hong Kong with the mainland, the Trump administration has barred the export of defence equipment and certain high-technology goods to Xinjiang and Hong Kong. It sent three aircraft carrier groups to the South China Sea as a part of gunboat diplomacy to threaten and challenge Chinese claims in the region. 

The Chinese governance model is being targeted and the public is being told across the world to beware of the creeping CPC’s digital authoritarian model which is coming packaged in the Chinese manufactured computers, mobile phones and more sophisticated 5G infrastructure exported by Huawei. "The New Big Brother – China and Digital Authoritarianism," a report prepared by senator Bob Menendez, Democratic member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is an example of the American unease with the giant leap that the Chinese have taken in developing the 5G technology through concerted efforts in R&D. America is certainly jealous of China because, as of now, it is  way behind in delivering a 5G technology. It is making all-out efforts to catch up. It is gathering the global telecom and software giants to come up with a solution but as of now, the Chinese 5G continues to rule.

Menendez’s charge is that China is “seeking to exploit new and emerging technologies to cultivate digital authoritarianism along multiple paths and is utilising its entire policy toolkit, including political, economic, diplomatic, and coercive means, to shape the digital domain in its desired image.” The question that every rational mind must ask is, is it the sole preserve of the Anglo-Saxon world to lead the technological race and to write the rules of the cyberspace?

The very thought that non-Whites would dominate global affairs and change the direction of flow of ideas and future technologies in the reverse direction – east to west, haunts US oligarchs who have grown accustomed to ruling the world and change regimes at will. The US attitude towards aspirational China reminds one of an old adage: “They wanna see you do good but never better, remember that”.