The USA-China Trade War – OpEd


In international relations, every state seeks economic development and military power. Realists believe that state national interest must be on the priority and to protect and achieve state interests, every nation has the right to develop her capabilities. The United States is a world superpower that considers the economic rise of China in Asia as a threat to the global liberal order. Although the Chinese government has categorically stated that China’s objective is to develop trade relations with other nations of the world. According to the realist theory of international relations, every state has to develop her capabilities and also maintain the balance of power. The US policy is to maintain the status of a superpower, no other nation can challenge its economic and military superiority. The trade war between both nations is based on realistic views of international politics, China wants to develop its economic and military capabilities to secure its borders and territory.

The trade war between the US and China will affect the global economic market and trade. It could lead to a decline or a collapse of the international economic system. The developing nations are usually dependent on the world developed nations especially the USA and China. This trade war may lead to a negative impact on underdeveloped nations and societies. The largest economies have several development projects and huge investments in different countries in the world. The decline of investments, disturb the economic and financial market of the world, are the major negative repercussions and outputs of the trade war. According to an economic analyst, the trade war has huge negative implications and will affect world supply chains. The US goods and products are accumulated in the developing nations can also be affected and also the consumer will end up paying high costs. 

The trade war between the two superpowers in the 21st century the age of technological advancements and developments in every sector will affect badly the global market. Especially the third world nations can be more victims of the global power politics show. This trade war is similar to the cold war between the USA and USSR in history. Furthermore, the trade war can also affect the economy of China, in the era Chinese economy is strong enough to hit back the US tariffs on Chinese goods because China is not dependent on exporting products to the United States, less than three percent in its economy is dependent of US. The establishment has been constriction financial conditions and trying to curb financial hazards, so that the economy is slowing, even before it takes a hit from trade. 

The world’s largest economies are doing no positive actions for their advantage, it can affect their economy and ultimate for the survival of the state. As a realist, I believe in the capabilities and power of the state in all sectors, military power, economy, and also the soft image of the country. Although in global politics no state is a permanent friend and no permanent enemy the permanent is the country’s national interest. The international anarchic environment dictates the foreign policy of the state, it affects the weaker states towards security dilemma and ultimate for their survival. The trade war is the war of blame game by both states, this will threaten the international economic order. According to my analysis, it could also isolate the United States because it has rejected to settle the issue through mediation or direct negotiations with Chinese authorities. The government of China often emphasis settling the trade issue through table talks, but the Trump administration has no clear view of the negotiations and they believe in to react through imposing tariffs and banning Chinese goods and companies. The trade war may also affect the global soft image of the United States, the allies from all over the world will also affect and lose hope from the superpowers ultimately they will seek alternative options to fulfill their needs and priorities. 

The most popular slogan of the Trump administration is America First, this approach may push China to look for alternative options, maybe China could appeal the US allies and other states to gain support in international politics. It may also a counter hit back for the Trump administration in the trade war, so far Chinese behavior is soft and defensive, the authorities don’t want to disrupt the soft image and rising power status. Chinese authorities are trying to gain support from European countries and other nations, to strengthen its policy on the trade war with the USA. Political analysts believe that China may also play an important role between the US and North Korea’s diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue of the missile program. Alliances making is an effort to balance the power structure in global politics and the region. China can disrupt and create hurdles for American business communities. 

*Ali Abbas, PhD Scholar at the School of Politics and International Studies. (SPIS) He earned his M.Phil degree in International Relations from National Defence University Islamabad, Pakistan. His Ph.D. research focuses on the Strategic triangular relationship between Pakistan-China and the USA in the 21st century. His research area of interest further includes South Asian studies, Extremism, and terrorism, foreign policy of great powers. He frequently writes articles on different topics in international and local media sources. He writes in China Daily, Modern Diplomacy, and Always CCNU Magazine. 

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