By Zamir Ahmed Awan
It is absolutely right for President Donald Trump to say, “AMERICA FIRST.” No one has any objection. He is the American President, and he should make American interests his priority.
This is natural, and all international leaders should follow suit. It is equally right for the French President to say, “FRANCE FIRST,” or the Italian Prime Minister to say, “ITALY FIRST,” or the Russian President to say, “Russia FIRST.”
Where is the problem? What is the problem? How is this wrong? When you undermine other countries or protect your interests at the cost of others, this is not acceptable.
Every country should struggle hard to develop its economy, eradicate poverty, emphasize the welfare of ordinary people – but without harming other countries.
The last four decades have seen strong cooperation between the US and China, two great nations. As long as both were cooperating, both benefited each other. China gained a lot from American development, experience, technology, and advances, and Americans have also benefited from Chinese raw material, low labor costs, low manufacturing costs and a huge market.
There is no need to debate which side received more or fewer benefits, as both benefited each other. The cooperation between China and the US has also benefited the rest of the world, with both major powers contributing to the global economy and security.
The last few years have seen a different phenomenon, with the US confronting China. Initially, the commonly used terminology was “Contain China” and “Resist China’s Rise,” but this changed to “Counter China.” The latest trend has been “China Threat”, “CPC Threat” and the like. The intensity of hostility is increasing, and the language used is getting worse.
Unfortunately, it is the US that has initiated this conflict and unilaterally increased its intensity. The US is also trying to build an anti-China alliance, and Secretary of State Pompeo has been extraordinarily active to this end. He has been in touch with various foreign ministers around the globe, trying to convince them to join his anti-China alliance. His visited four European nations in mid-August, moving one step forward in his efforts to lobby for an anti-China alliance.
However, instead of convincing European countries, he has created a divide among them. His efforts went against his expectations and proved counter-productive.
Similarly, his recent tour to the Middle East carried the agenda of seeking the Arab world’s support against China. Significantly, the US wanted the oil-rich Gulf countries to stand with America against China. Again, he failed to convince them, and instead created differences among the Arab world, adversely affecting Arab unity.
The US is aggressively promoting anti-China sentiment and using all tools, platforms, and opportunities at its disposal to spread anti-China propaganda. Even under the life-threatening challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the US is paying less attention to this crisis and focusing more on its anti-China agenda.
In contrast, China is working hard to save the lives of the common man at home and around the world. China has focused on fighting the menace of poverty and has already lifted around 800 million people out of it, an unprecedented achievement in the history of humankind.
China is paying more attention to economic development within China as well as around the globe under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China is promoting understanding and harmony among various cultures and nations, ultimately contributing toward global peace and security.
I have traveled to China extensively and have not come across any anti-America sentiments. The general public is either pro-America or neutral, but seldom against it. The Chinese government reciprocates American actions but in a very precise manner and very politely.
China is not an aggressive nation and is not responding in the same style, language, and tone that America is using.
Those who have experienced traveling to China can see how friendly, peaceful and rational the Chinese are. It is easy to judge who is wrong or right.