Why Russia and China may cheer for a President Donald Trump

February 26, 2016
Posters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are seen outside Trump's Nevada caucus night rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Posters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are seen outside Trump’s Nevada caucus night rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Global threats mount, and on top of the heap a jester gesticulates, roars and guffaws. The United States – no, the world – is in thrall to the Donald Trump reality show, on many days commanding more TV time and newsprint than the rest of the candidates for the presidency combined. The would-be leader of the free world has not spent a day, not an hour, on public service The Celebrity Apprentice statesman has not served a political apprenticeship of any kind.

They love him for it. Cleansed by wealth and fame, he has not been besmirched by active politics.

It’s still unlikely, but no longer inconceivable, that he will be president. Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight, the man who generally calls it right on how elections go, is still skeptical that he will win the nomination, but much less so. He writes that “things are lining up better for Trump than I would have imagined… it’s not his continued presence in the race that surprises me so much as the lack of a concerted effort to stop him.” The trouble is, the people who would stop him are the Republican establishment. Politicianssss… hiss!

What, then – taking this a stage further than Silver is yet prepared to do – would President Trump find when he reaches the Oval Office, and the files thud on to the desk (he might, of course, sweep them to the floor and shout to his aides – “Expel the Mexicans! Build that wall! Keep out the Muslims! Tell the Chinese to get lost! Get that nice guy Putin over here!).

But suppose he decided to govern.

Trump’s predecessor, whom he abused daily, tried hard, in his first term, to “reset” relationships – with President Vladimir Putin of Russia (for which the phrase was coined); with the leaders of the Middle East, deeply resentful over George W Bush’s war on terror; and when he arrived on the scene as president in 2012, Xi Jinping of China.

He was very nice to the Europeans too — I attended a speech he gave in London’s echoing, mediaeval Westminster Hall in May 2011, when he declared that “there are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder, and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom.” And he clearly highly esteems Chancellor Angela Merkel, even if his spooks likely hacked her cellphone. (More leaks this week from Edward Snowden’s trove of NSA documents claim to show they tapped Silvio Berlusconi’s phone when he was prime minister too – especially when he was making calls to Putin)

Yet for his pains, he has given Russian and Chinese nationalism – powerful and scary engines, both – a shared doll in which to stick needles. Putin, the world’s most determined anti-westerner, gave a speech of incendiary force in March 2014 – saying that the Western states “prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies but by the rule of the gun… they act as they please…decid(ing) the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right.” Pressing a spring (Russia) to its limits was dangerous, he warned, for “it will spring back hard.” Since then, it has only got worse.

It’s a little better with China, but not much. Xi’s trip to talk to Obama in Washington in September wasn’t a shouting match but little was agreed – little, that is, when set against the scale of the issues the two most powerful states in the world have before them. Earlier this month, Xi ordered the news media – including foreign media working in China – to obey the Party dictates: he’s closing up ranks as growth slows, and he fears disaffection in the country and in a Party he is seeking to cleanse. The West is a handy punch ball to which to divert aggression.

Many of the leaders in the Middle East whom Obama sought to reassure are gone, swept away by the “Arab Spring,” which he lauded in the London speech. Then the Spring itself was swept away, and new autocrats appeared, or chaos reigns. The Europeans love him (except when a row over phone hacking erupts) – but the European Union nearly lost its currency, it is losing its no-internal-borders policy and it is unable to be a full partner to the United States.

What has been lost in this? Perhaps the world itself. The challenges facing world leaders now are greater than anything in the post-Cold War period. In a book out next month, the Russian expert Robert Legvold lists some of them: they include trying to master the rapidly approaching second nuclear age, in which states with aggressive intent toward their neighbors (Pakistan and India; in the future, perhaps, Iran and Israel; North Korea and much of the rest of the world) are seeking to build nuclear arsenals.

The list includes, too, grasping the nettle of climate change, realizing that it is already too late to stop the rise of the oceans and the damage it will inflict on mainly poor, low-lying countries – and devising strategies to relieve mass distress as well as to prevent the warming becoming still worse.

It contains developing fruitful negotiations on the future of the Arctic, which at present, it seems, Russia will unilaterally militarize.

Political leaders have never operated as globally as they do now; the globe had never been so threatened by massive destruction as it is now; it has never needed joint action, agreements with substance, an end to feuds, as it does now. But we find ourselves, not in a new and hopeful era, but in a return to a cold war that could make the world cold and dead.

While a man with a growing chance of being the leader of the free world grins and waves and bellows – “We’re winning, winning, winning the country, and soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning.”

26 comments

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So… why do Russian and China want Trump for US president?

Donald Trump – Business as usual

Posted by GitmoreDolluhrs | Report as abusive

Nice summary and recap of current international situation. So, tell me again, why might Russia and China want Donald Trump for US president? I think the article misses the point of its headline.

Posted by dpaulbeck | Report as abusive

Let’s hope Trump, if he becomes president, is a boring and conventional Republican president who’s willing to flex American military muscle where necessary.

Posted by Calfri | Report as abusive

Did I miss a paragraph? What is the answer?

Posted by ArtemL | Report as abusive

Did they really say Spooks in this article? How much more racist is that?

Posted by nitrane | Report as abusive

It’s a kind of joke that both Russia and China welcome Donald Duck as President of United States. Almost all U.S presidents are cold-blooded murderer who have committed heinous crimes for killing hundreds of millions of people around the world. If there exists G o d, we hope U.S should just crumble and rot in h e l l.

Posted by JanMan | Report as abusive

Why will they cheer for Trump?
Because Trump is not Obama, mocked Obama, isn’t an experienced politician but is a celebrity, is xenophobic, bellows “We’re winning;” and Europe, the Middle East, and the climate are mess, that’s why.
umm…okay.

Posted by Danzz | Report as abusive

A Trump presidency means rearranging the chairs in worldwide groupings.

Putin will likely agree to allow more Chinese men (30 million marriage age sex imbalance) to marry Russian women (100 women to 86 Russian men), which in turn drives cross border investments and ventures.

England is already talking about banning Trump.

Mexico would welcome Chinese involvement.

The world turns even more interesting.

Posted by zhubajie | Report as abusive

TRUMP will be the next President. TRUMP’s opponents have nothing to offer but their arrogant condescending attitudes towards the voting population. Their use of scare tactics on voters will no longer work. These cookie-cutter politicians and their obsolete old-boy establishment handlers are wrong for today’s challenges and tomorrows solutions. Stop wasting voter’s time and energy trying to make this election about personalities, gender, race, minorities, religion, fear and hatred. TRUMP has faith and trust in the voters; TRUMP doesn’t insult or scare voters; TRUMP offers voters hope.
The debates heading into Super Tuesday continues to show voters TRUMP’s presidential qualities. Eminent Domain didn’t stick to TRUMP and neither will groundless tax allegations. The two other GOP candidates and their” key stone cops” gong show reminds voters of why TRUMP leads. This nonsense will insure TRUMP obtains the GOP nomination. TRUMP will own Super Tuesday.
The condescending elitist career politicians, their crony establishment, and their special interest lobbyists have destroyed America but they can’t destroy Trump and they will not destroy the voters dream to take back America for ALL Americans. These politicians and their disastrous decisions over the past fifty years are directly responsible for exporting millions of American jobs and destroying America’s manufacturing infrastructure. Today millions of American youth carry enormous student debt and there are no jobs. America’s middle class has almost disappeared. The Democrat’s president alternative was a huge part of these disasters during her twenty year failed career. Voters have learned from their mistakes. Trump’s opponents have learned nothing from their mistakes.
NEWS FLASH: TRUMP is not responsible for other candidates’ and previous government failures. American voters couldn’t care less about party affiliations. Today American voters want to reverse the export of jobs, manufacturing and money out of America. Americans want a health care system that works for ALL Americans. Americans want to deal with terrorism and illegal immigration once and for all. Americans want the right leader with a vision that embraces measurable achievable solutions that focus on taking back America for ALL Americans. The political establishment’s endless disasters, at home and abroad, have failed Americans crushing their dreams, not TRUMP.
On November the 8th the majority of voters will choose TRUMP as their next President. TRUMP has surrounded himself with the right people for business and TRUMP will surround himself with the right people as President. Please vote, Make your vote count. Be a part of the solution. Vote for TRUMP.

Posted by seniorstn9 | Report as abusive

I’m glad that I’m old because I do not expect my country to survive much longer. As we have sold our democracy to the unending appetite of greed, the rest of the world has followed our lead in turning over their countries to the tender mercies of unfettered capitalsim. China’s version of free enterprise has contributed to the worst environmental environment in its history while we have cities where careless monitoring of factories and storage tanks have affected the health of thousands of citizens – mostly poor and Black. In our system today, profit (read “business”) is the prime concern, unaffected by minor details like morals or ethics. Incredible income disparity is the rule. Our middle class is vanishing.. The answer, we are told by the “conservatives,” is Donald Trump.
I’m glad I’m old. Tragically, my grandchildren aren’t.

Posted by Boguseconomist | Report as abusive

Trump works with everybody and negotiates great deals

Posted by HastingsRHX | Report as abusive

Putin has a point when he says that Western States (but really he means the US) “prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies but by the rule of the gun… they act as they please…decid(ing) the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right.” It is hard to argue. Post-WW2 US foreign intervention policy has been a disaster, and the US certainly acts in a high-handed fashion.

Posted by Ralphooo | Report as abusive

A Trump presidency would be a scary situation,I feel that both China and Russia want to challenge the United States and with Trump as president, they got us right where they want us.

Posted by HighLonesome | Report as abusive

Dump Trump.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Western leaders could start with heeding Putin’s valid analysis and stop such illegal actions as “regime change”; treat Russia and China’s legitimate interests with the same respect they demand for their interests; stop the mindless hostility towards the political leaders of Syria and Iran; stop treating Israel as the 51st US state;stop supporting Saudi Salafism that is spreading terror and mayhem; and try to reconcile their national interests with the global interest in peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability. There are many among the ordinary people in the West who would support this urgently need policy shift.

Posted by ccrane | Report as abusive

“Who is this KKK? I should research them before saying anything bad about them.”

Haha. You’re running for President of the United States, and you’ve never heard of the KKK? It was designated a terror group by Richard Nixon’s staff. Do you know who Richard Nixon was?

Haha. Trump. Good luck, guys!

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

“I know words. I know all kinds of words. I know words that would blow your mind, right here, right now…”

-Donald Trump, 2015

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

wow…..all this doom and gloom without any real information supporting the claims

Posted by Ninez | Report as abusive

Donald Trump is welcomed because he is at heart a nationalist, in that the nation of the USA is the most important thing for him.
Up until now we have commonly had ideologues in power in the US who had a vision for how the world will be ordered, this has caused a lot of friction with Russia and China.

Now with a nationalist they only have to worry about whatever advantages the US, as long as they are not fighting over the same things then this is much simpler and potentially mutually advantageous. For example in Syria if the US does not care about the ideology of Assad’s regime then their only concern is removal of ISIS and they can work fine with Russia. Its not all plain sailing as countries like Iran are opposed to the US (and Israel), but things get simpler.

Posted by Murfalad | Report as abusive

“States with aggressive intent…like Israel.. intent on building nuclear arsenals” That’s not the future but what has been occurring for over 30 years. I’ve also seen very little reference to much of the rest of the world becoming interested in building nuclear arsenals. If that’s the case, NIMBY regarding nuclear waste disposal, will probably become more popular in much of the world too. Of course the US can always try to bomb another country with depleted uranium case hardened shells to dispose of some of its waste problem. Repurposing and recycling at its most technologically advanced. That’s what makes this country great and blights yet another for generations to come.

(I don’t know why the comment box always says “welcome back Paintcan”. It never seems to like the fact that I showed up at all because the comments seldom get posted anymore. Doesn’t Reuters like long term readers?)

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive

Under President Donald Trump, the World will be united AGAINST us! They will fear what this mad man can do without forethought and will shake in their boots that he cannot be trusted.

Posted by Mattman2 | Report as abusive

Oh, wah. The more the elitists freak out, the more I want Trump/2016.

Posted by jdub69 | Report as abusive

While a useful account, the article doesn’t fully articulate why Putin and Xi would welcome a Trump presidency. The policies promised by Trump on trade, and to a lesser extent, on immigration, would likely have the effect of isolating us from our allies and driving a new era of turmoil and stagnation that we cannot afford.

What Trump would actually do as President, or could actually achieve with Congress, is anyone’s guess given his complete lack of consistency and detailed policy statements. But let’s assume he is able (and willing) to do something like pull out of the NAFTA and WTO agreements (a power he would probably have as President). Of course this would hurt Mexico and China, and to a lesser extent, Russia as well. It would hurt almost everyone as the result would likely be a trade war that would cause a worldwide depression.

This, combined with Trump’s proposed immigration restrictions and threats to round up illegal immigrants, would drive both allies overseas and next-door neighbors (as the article notes) to pursue independent policies with regard to Russia and China. Our withdrawal of military support for allies (some of which I agree with) would provide opportunities for both China and Russia to increase their influence in the countries around them.

Trump is articulating some real issues that do need to be dealt with, but the solutions he offers (to the extent he has any) would likely be devastating to us all.

Posted by Protagoras | Report as abusive

Doesn’t Trump hate China more than a Muslim Mexican illegal?

Posted by Pyrosis22 | Report as abusive

This seems like you are in support of Trump until the hastily written footnote added to the bottom. Please enlighten me on what the recent crop of globalists and Eurocrats have added to world security the last 20 years- Iraq, Arab Spring, etc…..

Posted by Aaronv | Report as abusive

I’am afraid Nate is delusional!

Posted by rachelrc1 | Report as abusive