BY: Pooya Mirzaei
PEJOURNAL – Growing concerns about re-election of Donald Trump have made republicans and their supporters to find a different pass to re-election. Due to different incidents the long show of economic well-being has been changed recently; the killing of George Floyd also impacted the polls greatly specially in eyes of minorities and people of color.
There have been a lengthy discussion about how to impact general public opinion and marginalize effects of these grave incidents. In this article we will point out two main alternatives, our focus will be on foreign policy and important issues that could help to increase Donald Trump’s chance. First we will discuss China and how escalating tensions with china would impact domestic public opinion, then we will shed light to actions of Trump administration against Iran.
Trump and China
Since Trump elected to office many decisions are made against China and these efforts have formed a new U.S. foreign policy toward Far East. Countering Chinese efforts to maximize power in different regions of East Asia.US officials think that China has intimidated neighboring states, seized disputed territory, interfered with freedom of navigation close to its shores, and raised the risks to the U.S. military of operating in Asia.
Many U.S. officials believe Beijing intends to weaken U.S. alliances and eventually expel U.S. forces and bases from Asia altogether so Trump administration have taken actions accordingly by helping its allies and also counter balancing China in South China Sea and other parts of the region. Beijing recently announced new administrative districts in the South China Sea, trailed Malaysian and Philippine vessels, and conducted maneuvers seemingly intended to effect Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
With its rivals hobbled and its neighbors overwhelmed, Beijing appears to see the opportunity to press its advantage and assert its authority. In Washington, these actions are intensifying beliefs that more needs to be done to deter China in Asia.
In early April, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command submitted a $20 billion list of proposed defense investments to Congress. While they have yet to hammer out the specifics, the desire to bolster U.S. capabilities and reassure nervous allies facing China has bipartisan backing. Pandemic’s economic shock will likely constrain the overall defense budget, the military and legislators are likely to agree on the need to preserve resources allocated to military competition with China.
Many in U.S. believe that economic entanglement created risks to supply chains, U.S. jobs, and to national security—particularly where Chinese companies were linked to the central government or could use foreign data for national gain.
These concerns led US policymakers to consider whether to “decouple” the U.S. and Chinese economies, what steps Washington would need to take to constrain Chinese investment in sensitive industries, and how the United States could keep its own economy competitive.
The pandemic has given these questions new urgency, revealing shortages of critical life-supporting equipment and materials. As the United States and other countries recognize their dependency on China for pharmaceutical products, medical masks, and other health care supplies, preexisting debates have shifted from a focus on higher-end technologies and investments to lower-end manufacturing. A bipartisan bill to reduce U.S. reliance on China for the production of pharmaceuticals is now advancing through Congress, and talk of national industrial planning is gaining traction.
Washington and Beijing are competing in a number of emerging technology areas, including digital surveillance, artificial intelligence, and most notably 5G wireless technology. Chinese companies offer digital infrastructure more quickly and cheaply than U.S. or European counterparts, telecommunications giant Huawei is dominating the 5G market.
The United States argued that Huawei’s 5G networks could never be fully secured, but the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had largely failed in its efforts to persuade other countries not to work with Huawei. The Chinese government has already made clear that it will press ahead with its effort to dominate new technological spaces. As part of its economic recovery plan, the Chinese Communist Party announced an expansion of its efforts to roll out 5G networks and data centers around the world, while U.S. allies reconsider whether they should work with Huawei at all.
Moreover, it would not be surprising to see China place more emphasis on digital infrastructure; it’s Belt and Road Initiative relies on state-owned enterprises and state-linked banks, and digital projects are cheaper than energy or transportation projects.
China is also one of several Asian countries using digital surveillance technology for pandemic management, which it may well seek to export as part of its Digital Silk Road reinvigoration. Particularly if the United States fails to adopt its own digital solutions, China’s increased digital push may intensify technological competition.
Trump and Iran
Iran have been one of the most important issues in U.S. foreign policy for decades. The ideological controversy between two countries effected U.S. policies toward Iran. The main issues regarding Iran in eyes of Trump administration are mainly Iranian peaceful Nuclear Program and Iranian activities in the region.
Trump administration have used a mixture of active and passive efforts to respond Iran, Economic sanctions, threatening Iran to military action, lobbying with allied countries to pressure Iran and using its leverage to persuade them, supporting Iranian opposition groups, targeting and killing of Iranian General, seizure of Iranian oil vessels and Etc. U.S. accused Iran for pursuing nuclear capabilities, intervention in neighbor countries and supporting terrorist.
Since the election of Trump U.S. animosity against Iran have been significantly increased even its European allies don’t approve Trump administration’s actions. U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA, increasing tensions in Persian Gulf and blind support of terrorist groups in the region have all caused significant damage to peace and prosperity in Middle East. New forces have been sent to the region and Iranian support of Venezuelan government have been condemned.
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump said via Twitter. Donald Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that said he must get an OK from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. The board of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency on 6/19/2020 adopted a resolution calling for Iran to provide inspectors access to sites where the country is thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material.
Killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani have changed the course of foreign policy toward Iran and stabilizing the region and doubts are casted upon peaceful arbitration of conflict. In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, CFR President Richard N. Haass analyzed the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani: ” If there is evidence that Soleimani was involved in mounting an imminent attack on U.S. forces, it should be made public.”
If, however, it turns out that these criteria were not met, his killing will be widely viewed as an action of choice and not necessity, one leading to an open-ended conflict between the United States and Iran fought in many places with many tools and few red lines that either will observe.” He also added “U.S.-Iraq ties are severely strained. This could require U.S. troops to depart Iraq, The Trump administration needs to accept reality. Regime change in Iran is unlikely.”
Recent prisoner swap and rhetoric following it have shown that current U.S. administration is trying to open a pass to renegotiate either Nuclear Deal or Iranian regional activities. Prisoner swap is considered in eyes of conservative U.S. media a victory in diplomacy but the real fact is pressuring Iran will not change anything. Similar efforts are ongoing to create a propaganda like The Trump-China deal or Trump-North Korea.
“Maximum pressure” on Iran by Trump administration plans to achieve the same goal which it achieved in China-U.S. and North Korea-U.S. relations. Real achievement for U.S. officials is not important as we saw in two other similar cases.On the other hand, Iran officials have condemned and denied any negotiations with U.S. that forced Trump to mention Iran that early agreement before election may cost less for Iranians.
All these efforts and actions seem to play a role in shifting domestic public opinion toward an outside danger rather than problems at home in America. This policy have been long used by different U.S. administrations but the significance was much less. Present problems in U.S. including: protests against racism, Economic impacts of Coronavirus Pandemic and lack of proper leadership shifted current polls in favor of Joe Biden so the administration is effortlessly trying to achieve victory in foreign policy in order to win domestic public opinion.
Iran and U.S. prisoner swap program, pressuring Iran to a new DEAL and increasing tensions in East Asia for having upper hand in South China Sea can be seen as a tool for changing the Tide. As mentioned above different tools are being used to achieve similar goal in both Middle East and East Asia. A mixture of active-passive tools are used to counter balance two countries in order to pressure them for at least a media showcase which Trump administration desperately needs now because of upcoming election.