Although China was only briefly mentioned, and perhaps strongly alluded to, in President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech, the Chinese did not give the speech high marks. Neither did the North Koreans, who were mentioned in a much more prominent and unflattering way.
China’s state-run Global Times offers Trump a dollop of faint praise at the beginning of its review, acknowledging the speech was “warmly applauded,” in contrast with the “intense splits American society has seen in the past year.”
The Global Times must have read a transcript of the speech instead of watching it on TV, or else they would have noticed the left wing of the congressional audience displayed more intense splits than an Olympic gymnastics competition.
Noting that North Korea received about ten minutes of unfavorable attention from Trump, featuring an appearance by the parents of the American student Pyongyang murdered last year, the Global Times observes that “apparently he attaches great importance to the North Korean issue.” That really should have been apparent to China a long time ago, since North Korea comes up in just about every conversation they have with representatives of the Trump administration.
The thrust of the Global Times editorial is that America is excessively worked up about North Korea, if not downright obsessed with persistent efforts by that rascal Kim Jong-un to obtain nuclear weapons. Trump is chastised for viewing North Korea as an “evil force” to be eliminated and seeing China as a “rival” to America that is challenging its “interests, economy, and values.”
That is closer to what Trump said in his National Security Strategy document than his State of the Union speech, but it is not just the president who China finds disturbingly arrogant and ham-fisted, it is all of Washington and the “American elites.” The Global Times wants them all to accept that the American century is over, so they should quit yodeling “boastful” statements like Trump’s State of the Union:
Washington has to admit that its current policy has already triggered worldwide concern. Its protectionist tendencies and withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement are widely seen as selfishness. Advocating “America First” as being of benefit to the international community is widely regarded as hypocritical. Extra efforts by the U.S. to maintain world stability have scarcely been seen in the past year.
Washington cannot “Make America Great Again” by coercing other states. The controversial achievements the U.S. witnessed in the past year were made at the price of the country’s international relations. The international community’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. is gradually accumulating, potentially eroding and threatening the sustainability of the country’s prosperity.
The Global Times might find a few ISIS militants who could testify that American efforts to maintain world stability have been quite visible over the past year, although they will need a Ouija board to obtain the testimony.
Most of what the Chinese editorialists are saying here is merely regurgitated from American left-wing media. Global stability is far more threatened by China attempting to seize the entire South China Sea, tamper with the politics of other nations, or punish foreign companies for violating its authoritarian speech codes than by anything the United States is doing.
It is also rich to hear China criticize the United States for putting more resources behind its military after China has been involved in a massive military build-up. If you want to hear a “boastful” address, try checking out Chinese President Xi Jinping’s stemwinder to the Communist Party Congress, assuming you have three hours to spare.
As one might imagine, North Korea was even less enamored of President Trump’s State of the Union address. The Kim regime released a “white paper on human rights violations in the U.S. in 2017” on Tuesday, in which it castigated Trump for appointing billionaires to cabinet posts and criticized the U.S. for having too much sexual assault, gun crime, and marijuana use.
“In the U.S. the absolute majority of the working masses, deprived of elementary rights to survival, are hovering in the abyss of nightmare,” railed the Communist dungeon state that sends its starving citizens to die in brutal labor camps, along with their entire families, if they say a word against the regime.
“The U.S., ‘guardian of democracy’ and ‘human rights champion,’ is kicking up the human rights racket but it can never camouflage its true identity as the gross violator of human rights,” the North Koreans added.
For good measure, they grumbled about America’s lack of paid maternity leave, which seems a bit unfair since President Trump specifically mentioned family leave in his SOTU address. North Korea’s generous maternity benefits include forced abortions for women who are raped by prison guards after China repatriates them.
The Chinese and North Koreans may take some comfort in knowing that the New York Times editorial board agrees with them that President Trump might have been using his State of the Union address to mobilize America for war. The Times writes:
The references to North Korea in the address were worrying enough. Mr. Trump called the country’s leadership “depraved.” He trumpeted his “campaign of maximum pressure” to ensure that the North does not succeed in perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the continental United States. He asserted that “past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.” He pledged, “I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.”
Mr. Trump seemed to be building a case for war on emotional grounds, invoking the case of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who died last year after being detained by North Korea. “Tonight we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with total American resolve,” the president said. The Warmbier family was among the president’s guests in the gallery.
It would not be necessary for Trump to dwell on the horror show north of the DMZ if American media outlets did not have such a distressing proclivity for sending out correspondents to tell us North Korea might not be so bad at all, at least not in the big cities and Potemkin-village ski resorts.