Amanda Rae, for the “Clean-up on Aisle Four” Blog

All Eyes On U.S.

In the last several months, with the last election season, the political tides of the United States have changed drastically. Positions have changed owners, the keys have changed hands, and minds have changed philosophies. In my latest post, I discussed how things have gotten steadily more unsteady on the global scale, with nuclear powers eyeing other nuclear powers, and people in high places ignoring the threat of climate change.

“America has just elected a fascist,” said Senator Aodhán O’Riordáin of the Irish Labour Party. An online British government petition (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928) has garnered over 1,800,000 signatures in an effort to get UK Prime Minister Theresa May to withdraw her invitation to Donald Trump to visit the UK on the idea that such a state visit from someone with such ideals would be an insult to Her Majesty the Queen. Over three-thousand people showed up to the Scotland Against Trump march in downtown Edinburgh, the nation’s capital in solidarity with US protests such as #WomensMarch.

Sadly, not all of the world’s views on us are fun protest and opinionated banter. In December 2016, China flew a nuclear-capable air machine, the H-6K bomber, over the South China Seas in a display of force and ownership of the territory. It seemed to come at a time when it could be read as a direct response to Donald Trump’s view that the One China Policy need not be respected by the U.S., and that we are free to consider Taiwan its own sovereign country unless China is willing to strike deals with the U.S. regarding trade. The One China Policy is a diplomatic acknowledgement of the One China principle, the idea that Taiwan is a province of China to be reunited with the homeland. Respect for the One China Policy means that countries will do business and negotiations with Beijing, not with Taiwan, even if the business involves Taiwan. Effectively, China claims full ownership of Taiwan. In December, the Global Times, a Chinese government editorial, it was stated that the One China Policy is non-negotiable, and that Trump is “as ignorant as a child in terms of foreign policy,” and that he would be wise to “study foreign affairs humbly.” This January, on the official website of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s official armed forces, it was published that war with the U.S. is seeming to be more and more of a reality, than an idea. According to the South China Morning Post, an official from China’s Commission’s Defence Mobilisation Department stated “A war ‘within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality.” These are indeed frightening times. China is definitely nuclear-equipped, along with the U.S. and Russia, and it is quite safe to say that we are in the midst of a Pacific Cold War.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we? There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea,” said Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, on his radio show in March of 2016. Left out of my monologue on the world’s views of the U.S. is Russia. “America is a great power. Today, probably, the only superpower. We accept that. We want to and are ready to work with the United States,” Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June of 2016. When Trump Tweeted that America must modernize and bolster our nuclear weaponry stock, Putin said in a press conference, “There is nothing new about it.” It is safe to say that Trump and Putin are seeking a nuclear ally-ship. Earlier in the same day of Trump’s nuclear Tweet, Putin said in a statement to which Trump seemed to echo, “We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”
It is only this one woman’s guess that Trump and Bannon intend to confront China over the South China Sea, with the aid of Russia, another very strong world power and formerly the U.S.’s enemy. These are scary times indeed. In the age of nuclear power, it is evermore dangerous to be toying with the concept of war between leading global powers. It is also not entirely known if Putin is to be trusted. We must be vigilant, informed, and the philosophy of peace should dominate over the philosophy of Nationalism and warmongering. And, we must have hope.

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