Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump’s adversarial view of China is out of line with the American public

Richard C. Bush

Brookings - Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Trump administration enters office with an undisguised antipathy towards China. It starts with Donald Trump himself and extends to many of the individuals he has already named for key positions. Their focus is on the U.S.-China bilateral economic relationship and the belief that China is the reason for the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States over a long period of time. Trump himself has threatened to slap a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods. But he is curiously out of step with the American public when it comes to China. On January 12, the Pew Research Center released results of a survey that show U.S. public attitudes are not so harsh. Only half of respondents (52 percent) believe that China’s power and influence is a “global threat,” ranking it only sixth in a list of the possibilities offered. ISIS, cyberattacks, North Korea’s nuclear program, Russia, and climate change all outrank China. (Sixty-four percent of the public regards North Korea’s nuclear program as a major threat, 12 points ahead of China.)