Despite Trump’s trade war, the White House has done little in reaction to Hong Kong.
Most of the free world is united in support of Hong Kong, and then there’s the U.S., where the general populace has been adamant in its support but the people with the power to do anything have stayed silent or even supported the CCP.
The extradition bill that initiated the Hong Kong Protests has been formally withdrawn after 20 weeks of protests, meaning that one of the protesters’ five demands has been met. In addition to complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong criminals to be extradited to the mainland to face punishment under Chinese jurisdiction, the people of Hong Kong want amnesty for arrested protesters, retracting of the “rioter” classification for protesters (which has a much more severe punishment than arrested protesters would otherwise receive), investigation into allegations of police brutality and universal suffrage (currently not all people can vote for all elected officials).
The retraction of this bill is widely regarded as “too little, too late,” as the protesters have taken up the slogan “five demands, and not one less.” Undeterred by the feigned sympathy of the Chinese Communist Party, the protests have more or less morphed into a broader pro-liberation movement as China has a proven track record of trying to undermine the “one country, two systems” statute, which was established when the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997, and they will undoubtedly continue to do so, regardless of the promised fifty years of relative autonomy.
In an effort to place foreign pressure on Beijing, protesters have made a point of carrying the flags of foreign nations (especially those of the U.S., U.K. and Taiwan) to garner international media attention and support. Much of the international community has condemned China’s handling of the situation, but the government of one country that is especially notorious for sticking its nose in other nations’ business and acting as the “world police” has been completely silent on the matter, in one of the few instances in which this particular nation’s intervention might actually be helpful.
This refers, of course, to the United States. The White House, currently engulfed in a trade war with China and in the process of negotiating to end said trade war, has promised to stay silent on the issue (although Mike Pence has very recently condemned China’s actions). Hey, Donald, make up your damn mind! The same president who publicly vilified China to the point that he accused the CCP of fabricating the concept of global warming is now scratching Xi Jinping’s back so that he can end the trade war he started, while his vice president actively contradicts him.
China ought not be allowed to rise to superpower status because they would almost certainly be even more aggressive, self-serving and meddlesome than the U.S. already is on the global stage. Under that lens, a trade war would hypothetically be a viable means of opposition, even if the U.S. economy would suffer short-term consequences. Short-term consequences, however, are not conducive to high approval ratings, which has caused the Trump administration to back down.
Even though the U.S. has the largest economy in the world and the largest military in the world, it only uses its power to abuse allies and third-world nations that have no chance of fighting back. Although all-out war is obviously something to be avoided at all costs, the Trump administration ought to “stick to its guns” and continue the trade war, along with supporting Hong Kong by any reasonable means, even if it results in a lower probability of reelection.
Will that actually happen? No, probably not. An opinion columnist can dream, though.