China Exploits U.S. Retreat, Seeks World Leadership
As America steps back from the world, China has been keen to step forward. Beijing’s latest charm offensive occurred January 17, when President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to attend the Davos World Economic Forum, the venue at which European and American elites have long assembled to establish the framework for global affairs.
Mr. Xi delivered a speech in the Swiss city proclaiming China as the new champion of globalization and free trade.
“Some people blame globalization for chaos of our world, but our problems are not caused by globalization,” he said, in a thinly veiled attack on new United States President Donald Trump. “They are caused by war and conflict,” he said.
Writing for the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explained the significance of Mr. Xi’s speech (emphasis added throughout):
China’s leader Xi Jinping swept into Davos as the champion of free trade and the unlikely guardian of the international order, throwing down the gauntlet to the incoming Trump administration with a theatrical flourish. …
His star appearance is packed with geostrategic symbolism. It comes just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president, and as America turns in on itself, openly wishing to cede direction of the international system for the first time in three quarters of a century.
While President Trump questions U.S. alliances and partnerships, China’s president is extending his hand to America’s jilted friends and allies. “While Trump focuses on building up the U.S. Navy to counter China, Beijing is gobbling up the other segments of global relations that used to be dominated by the U.S.,” wrote David Axe for the Daily Beast (“Donald Trump Is Handing China the World”).
President Trump wants to build a bigger and better Navy. “But,” writes Axe, “the new, bigger fleet will come too late to save America from a rising China.” He continues:
That’s because Trump’s other initiatives—rejecting foreign alliances, throwing up barriers to global trade and withdrawing from efforts to combat climate change—are creating a power vacuum that China naturally fills.
Beijing will step into leadership roles that Trump’s Washington has vacated quicker than Trump’s Navy stands any chance of blocking Chinese ascension.
The U.S. Navy, he explained, has declined:
In 1996, the U.S. Navy sailed two aircraft carriers side-by-side through the Taiwan Strait as a message to a belligerent Beijing. Today it’s exceedingly rare for two of America’s remaining 11 flattops to deploy together anywhere.
Mr. Trump’s anticipated turnaround, even if successful, will take a long time. “A new warship costs U.S. taxpayers $2 billion, on average, and takes several years to build and bring into the fleet,” he wrote. “Even if Trump and Congress give the Navy every dollar it asks for starting with the 2017 budget—Trump’s first—the sailing branch won’t receive the first of the new ships Trump promised until right around the time candidates start campaigning for the 2020 presidential election.”
Meanwhile, Axe explains, China’s Navy has been rising fast:
After 20 years of investment, today the Chinese Navy looks a lot like the U.S. Navy does. It possesses more than 100 large, sophisticated warships armed with long-range guided missiles plus hundreds of smaller ships. It has nuclear-powered submarines. In 2012, it commissioned its first aircraft carrier. Today a second carrier is under construction in Shanghai.
The more important trend, however, is the way Mr. Trump’s actions are giving China the opportunity to draw in a whole range of new allies. “Trump is voluntarily surrendering ground to Beijing on economic, diplomatic and environmental fronts, opening the door to an even greater global role for China that the country’s own growing military will only reinforce,” writes Axe.
One of Mr. Trump’s first acts has been to pull America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (tpp). While tpp certainly has its downsides, it was an attempt to create a U.S.-led alliance in Asia. It would have provided America some leverage over China. As Axe explained:
Trump seems determined to undermine America’s longstanding Pacific alliances, surrendering what is arguably the United States’ biggest advantage relative to China. Note that America never planned to confront an assertive China on its own. U.S. military planning in the Western Pacific has long assumed close cooperation with friendly countries—most importantly, Japan, which possesses the third-most powerful navy in the region after the United States and China.
But Trump began pushing away Japan even before he got elected. In March 2016, Trump said that Japan should develop its own nuclear weapons so that it can defend itself without American help. “We can’t afford to do it anymore,” Trump said. … If Asian countries follow China’s lead on trade and the environment, they could lend Beijing the diplomatic heft to firm up and legitimize China’s recent military gains. When Trump’s bigger Navy sets sail in 2019 or 2020, it could arrive in the Western Pacific too late to make any difference for America’s standing in the region.
The Trump presidency is barely a week old and already we are seeing some close U.S. allies positioning themselves for closer ties with China. On January 24, senior officials in Australia and New Zealand said they hoped to salvage tpp by encouraging China to take America’s place as a member state. Reuters wrote last week:
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had held discussions with [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong overnight about the possibility of proceeding with the tpp without the United States.
”Losing the United States from the tpp is a big loss, there is no question about that,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. “But we are not about to walk away… certainly there is potential for China to join the tpp.” … New Zealand’s English said the United States was ceding influence to China and the region’s focus could switch to alternative trade deals.
America’s global retreat, it appears, is already giving China greater global clout and opportunity to develop stronger series of alliances within Asia.
Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques will address this trend in more detail soon, though the Trumpet has been reporting on America’s demise as global leader for years. In an article titled “What Happens After a Superpower Dies?” Trumpet senior editor Joel Hilliker wrote:
For most of the past century, the United States of America has been the world’s single greatest guarantor of global stability. …
It’s called Pax Americana: the period of relative world peace that dominant American power has produced. It prevailed in the Western Hemisphere for most of the 20th century. It reigned throughout the Western world since World War ii in what is also felicitously referred to as “the long peace.” Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has been the sole superpower, again presiding over two decades free of any major wars between great powers. But now, Pax Americana joins Pax Britannica and Pax Romana: It’s history. America’s ability to influence other nations is in tatters. Its credibility has been shattered. Its will to cause political change in other nations is broken, particularly if doing so involves large deployments of soldiers. The era of the United States is over.
The Bible calls this new world “the times of the Gentiles.” Mr. Hilliker called it a “seismic shift in geopolitical momentum—away from America and toward a clutch of non-Israelite, Gentile powers.”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry described this sudden rise in Chinese power in his Key of David program in 2014:
Even now, China is expanding into airspace over certain waters in Asia and the East China Sea, in waters claimed by Japan and South Korea. Those are our allies! And they’re really, really in a furor over what’s going on, and America is doing nothing to help them, and nobody here seems to be that concerned about it. But they should be because China now is developing a leader very much like Vladimir Putin. And in our article that we’ll send to you [“Xi Jinping: An Aspiring Vladimir Putin?” we wrote], “China’s military power continues to grow underpinned by an economic might on-course to surpass America’s by 2020.” That’s just a few years down the road. Just a few years down the road. And this article also says that: “This will likely cement the president’s control over China’s military, domestic security, and foreign policy.” The Wall Street Journal says it would help make him “the country’s most individually powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping.”
So here you have a leader in China that’s really coming on the scene very much like Vladimir Putin. Do we realize where this is all leading? These are superpowers with all kinds of nuclear bombs! And all kinds of military power! Do we realize where this is all leading? Can we look at this and believe that there has to be a great world war clash? Nobody can stop it from happening, nobody!
The Bible even forecast China’s pursuit of alliances. Our booklet He Was Right states:
[Herbert W.] Armstrong also boldly declared—despite China’s lack of development at the time, and despite the mutual hatred between Moscow and Beijing—that soon Beijing would be powerful, and would rally behind Russia. Other Asian states, possibly including Japan and India, would also lend their numbers and might to this confederacy, according to his prediction.
He forecast that after the ussr collapsed, a giant Asian superpower, with Russia and China at the helm, would rise up and dramatically affect the course of history. This power bloc—a conglomerate of peoples that comprise one third of the world’s population—would begin cooperating economically and militarily and eventually form a gargantuan Asian superpower of a size and scope the world has never seen. … Even before World War ii broke out, Mr. Armstrong could foresee the emergence of these two superpowers. In the June-July 1934 Plain Truth, he proclaimed, “Scripture prophesies two great military powers to arise in the last days—one the revival of the Roman Empire by a federation of 10 nations in the territory of the ancient Roman Empire; the other … Russia, with her allies … possibly China or Japan.” The Plain Truth of December 1959 predicted that Russia and China would lay aside their differences to form a coalition …. In addition to pushing into Middle Asia, China would attempt to pull some of its island neighbors into its grasp. On this issue, it has been the practice of Western leaders to try to appease China through peace talks—often to no avail. … Russia and China both want to take advantage of a weakening United States. Both are reaping the benefits of close cooperation, and realizing that their very existence depends on good relations with each other. They share common philosophies economically, politically and militarily—and both have, in the West, a common enemy.
China has drawn dramatically closer to Russia in the last few years. Now it is attempting to draw the other nations of East Asia into that alliance—an alliance that Herbert W. Armstrong began talking about 80 years ago. Our booklet He Was Right was first published in 2010—long before President Trump began toying with abandoning American allies. Yet his presidency is hastening the dramatic trends discussed in that book.
The decline of America and the rise of these new powers, including this Asian power bloc, is one of the most important events in Bible prophecy—a vital stepping stone in God’s plan to intervene in world events. To learn more about this plan, read our free book Russia and China in Prophecy.