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Nixon In China, Trump In Asia...Return To Realism

By Yoichi Shimatsu
Exclusive to Rense


The flight of Air Force One across the Pacific marks a historic return to realism for an American Presidency focused again on the national interest in foreign affairs instead of deluded globalist idealism. President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia is reminiscent of that high point for U.S. diplomacy, the Nixon visit to China in 1972, which kick-started the American disengagement from the Vietnam War.
In decisive rejection of the siren song of military expansionism and financial globalization, Richard Nixon opposed the interventionism of the Lyndon Johnson administration that led to the disastrous quagmire throughout Indochina, including the Vietnam War, the Cambodia conflict and Secret War in Laos. By giving recognition to the People’s Republic of China as a legitimate government, Nixon urged Beijing that in return for his ending aid to the increasingly isolated Saigon regime, and also to the CIA-run Tibetan guerrillas, that China would cease its militant adventurism abroad, especially through proxy guerrilla movements in Southeast Asia. Since that bilateral understanding, Southeast Asia has realized an ever-widening peace that enabled its drive toward regional prosperity as reflected in the 10-member ASEAN economic community (AEC).
Now 45 years on, Donald Trump presented a similar message that Asians must act as responsible and reciprocal players instead of relying on U.S. military power to keep the peace, while slyly becoming prosperous though an unfair advantage from a one-way flow of exports into the U.S. market. As today’s senior statesman in the Pacific Basin who saw first-hand the lessons of the Vietnam War era, Trump has the experience and honesty to reestablish mutual respect and self-restraint among nations rather than their engaging in economic aggression.
Trump is, as was Nixon, much maligned by the U.S. news media and congress for his realism abroad and plans to revitalize domestic industry. On his triumphant return to Washington D.C., the President must be wary of the snares set by his devious globalist foes, who lack a shred of concern for the basic economic interests of their financially beleaguered constituents. The obsessive Nixon fell into the trap of a shadowy “Deep Throat”, which turned out to be an fictive “composite” character, a classic case of fake news cut and pasted by a disturbingly unethical Washington Post, which remains a source of disinformation. Trump must now rise above his foes.
Major Achievements
Over those 10 days in East Asia, Trump firmly set U.S. foreign policy on a realistic course that will help remedy America’s economic ills and encourage other countries to act like good neighbors.
- Trump affirmed that Pyongyang must face the fact that hysterical threats with nuclear warheads will lead directly its own destruction by a U.S. that prefers to maintain an uneasy peace rather than destroy a smaller weaker nation. After its reckless rhetoric and nuclear tests appalled the few remaining voices of reasonableness, including myself, the ball is now in North Korea’s court with the proviso that a single misstep will end disastrously for the regime. Notably, the DPRK leader kept out of the public eye to avoid arousing regional disdain and avert a tempting preemptive hit. After violent threats and absurd antics, Pyongyang has disgusted all its reluctant allies in the region, and the United States is starting to look good again, especially to Guamanians. In the battle for hearts and minds, Trump is the clear winner over the foolhardy boastful Kim.
- The President sent the message that the United States cannot and should not intervene in every disturbance that roils the East Asian region. His message was that other nations must take responsibility for their own local affairs and regional issues instead of always seeking American aid and intervention. Notably, in the Philippines and Vietnam, he did not raise human rights, the worn-out pretext for a self-righteous State Department to selectively target other governments, which led to the murderous Arab Spring catastrophe that unleashed far worse rights violations than ever was done by the deposed regimes.
- in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and at the APEC summit in Danang, the U.S. President stressed that trade practices must be reciprocal and not for one-sided gain. For a half-century, the U.S. has opened its markets, while export-oriented Asian economies have erected trade barriers along with unofficial obstacles against imports. Now that nearly all of East Asia is no longer part of the developing world, the same old excuses for unfair trade policies to foster development are simply invalid.
- Trump was adamant in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that began as an attempt to maintain the momentum of the WTO Doha Round, which however failed two years ago. The president correctly noted that multilateral trade pacts tend to provide convenient shelter for unfair trading practices, for example allowing aggressive vehicle exporters Japan and Korea to protect their own auto industries against imports of  foreign vehicles. Bilateral negotiations, in contrast, provide a level playing field to directly address specific items of trade, rather than just broad categories, and thereby reduce the trade imbalance.
Leader-to-Leader Encounters
The more subtle aspects of the Trump visit included his growing distance from the empty showmanship the glib Shinzo Abe, whose use of Japanese cultural curiosities as delay tactics culminated in Trump dumping a box of fish food, to say: “You’re not going to feed me crumbs as if I’m a koi carp in your pond.” That was followed up by ordering a hamburger instead of pretty little delicacies. Japan’s executives and even local managers of American brands also use “quality” or cultural trappings to reject foreign goods or modify U.S. products to the point of non-recognition, for instance, how 7-Eleven and McDonald’s “turned Japanese” with its bento box lunches and McDonalds’ samurai rice burgers. This domestication process occurs as a form of social control despite the fact that millions of Japanese consumers are just dying for an untamed “cowboy” style or reckless “Yankee” life, a taste of freedom.
In contrast, the personal bonding with Chinese leader Xi Jinping showed proper restraint and respect without gushing praise or undue influence. The China appetite for the abundant American way of life is a much easier sell for American suppliers, since the problem is one of quantity, that is, the consumers want more. GM is the biggest auto manufacturer inside China because of astute investment decisions but also due to the fact that buyers would rather own a big American car instead of a tiny Chinese vehicle. A classic Mustang or Corvette is a rarity in China, and also in Japan, only because Ford and Chevrolet don’t make the effort to design and build Retro muscle cars (with more efficient engines than the gas-guzzlers of that halcyon era). The USA, now addicted to Sony style and Samsung slickness and eco-friendly “small is beautiful” hype, needs to remember that brash and populist American culture is its strongest selling point in China and the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, Vietnam being the case in point , where anything LA and NYC or Texas are idolized.
Trump broke with the Obama administration’s flailing of the Philippines and its tough-guy President Rodrigo Duterte for his determined campaign to defeat the Islamist insurgency in the south while also stamping out the scourge of drug trafficking (the effects of which have radically worsened due to the increasing addictive power of synthetic opiods combined with heroin, a problem spreading due to the anonymity of e-commerce and the popularity of hiphop lyrics). The Philippines is an extreme Wild West culture with a love of guns, cowboy hats, jeeps and everything American. Despite the weak national economy, Filipino families flock to Disneyland Hong Kong where most of the entertainers are Filipino as well, so why isn’t Disneyland and Universal Studios building theme parks in populous Asian countries with high birth rates? OK, Disney is setting up one in Shanghai, but one city alone isn’t going to solve the current account deficit.
Basketball Thievery
Notably, President Trump urged his Chinese hosts to suppress the manufacture and export of highly addictive synthetic opiods to the USA. Meanwhile, Trump wisely did not make any fuss over the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in Hangzhou prior to the Alibaba-sponsored NCAA season opener, which is linked to that e-trading empire’s purchase of the Brooklyn Nets in a record-setting NBA deal with the current team owner, a notorious Russian oligarch. To enter the USA sports market, Alibaba had to pull its ads for direct shipments from fentanyl  opiod distributors in China. Cleverly, behind a façade of drug-testing kits, it still facilitates sneak sales by connecting with “third party” sellers ready to express-mail “sports medicine” patches for soreness and pain.
Trump graciously avoided mention of would-be Democrat presidential candidate Mark Zuckerberg’s preemptive visit to the Great Hall of the People just 11 days prior to the incumbent’s arrival. Although Facebook is excluded from China, its immature ego-driven CEO used his Beijing stopover to upstage the Trump state visit by videotaping an installment of Facebook’s “Ball in the Family”. FB’s first reality show features the arrested LiAngelo and his father Lavar, CEO of Big Baller sporting goods, who attended  sports-business meetings at Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou prior to its actively sponsored NCAA opener at Baoshan Stadium in Shanghai. The reason for the three arrested players to be stuck in that expensive tourist city instead of on the ball court in Shanghai was to attend Alibaba business seminars.
Melania Storms the Great Wall

The impeccably stylish First Lady and the delightful younger members of the Trump family impressed Asians wherever they went, while the President’s candid forthrightness combined with politeness and humor were a welcome break from the stiff aloofness of prior presidential delegations.
Across East Asia, the Trump family made millions of friends and admirers, especially among the youth, but now the President faces a rabidly snarling press at home, which has tried to misrepresent his Asian tour as an “America First” expedition. The media is wrong again, since Trump did not project demands for economic domination or threaten military intervention in disputed waters, other than a stern warning to nuclear rogue Pyongyang. His message was one of fairness and equal rights in friendly trade. The U.S. media’s hostility toward the President is well-known in Asia, which accounts for why the host nations kept press contact and news conferences to a sub-minimum to prevent fake news and an editorial agenda of nattering negativity. An unbalanced U.S. media found itself locked outside the inner sanctums of Asian capitals and it’s all the fault of their own biased publishers.
Nixon Shock and the Watergate Trap
Following the first historic summit in Beijing that spelled an end to the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon returned to a hostile press goaded by bankers and his conservative allies due to his earlier decision to take the dollar off the gold standard. The dollar crisis, however, was rooted in Democrat LBJ’s over-ambitious policy of launching the Great Society entitlement program and, at the same time, escalating the war in Vietnam. Instead of debasing the dollar at a vulnerable moment before the Vietnam War’s end, Nixon should have authorized gold mining on federal lands as a stop-gap, a psychological boost to buy time for his economic restraints to take hold.
Likewise, Donald Trump inherits a similar situation from the massive trade deficit left by previous administrations and overspending on defense and intelligence for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of other conflict zones. The speculation-driven stock market is riding on inherently worthless shares in social media firms and app developer.
Before cooling down the stock market, Trump therefore needs to quickly push for infrastructure development, with China’s help with funding and technology, while focusing the suppression stock speculation in the tech sector (with FBI, SEC and IRS investigations). Trump needs to focus his public appeals on the reindustrialization of America and ignore his media critics.
What’s needed now is rapid investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, instead of Bitcoin’s crime-catering speculation and the dubious foreign takeover of sports teams. Trump needs to tame an increasingly parasitic data-driven “tech” sector, especially prime offenders, a politicized Facebook and relentless exporter Alibaba, which has already been implicated in illegal sales of fenatyl and drug-making lab equipment shipments to the U.S. Just as the British “taipans” (drug lords) waged the Opium Wars against a China that was the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nation in the  19th century, American society is facing economic disaster and moral destruction from Asian crime syndicates (Chinese-Vietnamese triad / Japanese-Korean yakuza) running a War of Opiods, which are far more addictive and lethal than heroin. Property seizures from drug lords for public auction, as was depicted in the Miami Vice TV series, can boost voter morale and rally opposition to the corrupt drug-linked politicians in the Democratic Party leadership.
One final point: It is ludicrous that the U.S. president was discouraged from his planned meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, especially given the chaotic situation in the Middle East. On his return, an executive order needs to be issued to suspend the politically motivated Mueller grand jury, a sick farce orchestrated by a corrupt Democrat leadership, who were exposed in Donna Brazile’s recent book. What needs to be investigated instead are the Clinton Foundation machine and Obama’s sordid pro-Islamist connections, along with their financial ties with unsavory foreign characters.
Nixon in China, and now Trump in Asia, the world has witnessed history in the making. By focusing on solid progress while avoiding pitfalls and opposition ploys, the standing President should be able to surpass the long-ignored positive achievements of his much-abused predecessor of the Vietnam era, to complete the task of making America great again.
Science journalist Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor with The Japan Times, was a colleague at Pacific News Service of its founder, the late Franz Schurmann, a leading expert on modern China and chronicler of the Nixon mission to Beijing.