The Chinese state outlet Global Times accused American President Donald Trump of adopting an “erratic statecraft” that hastened the decline of America as a superpower on Monday, allowing China to rise at a faster rate and use his “extreme susceptibility to flattery” against him.
The Global Times struck a significantly different tone than a few weeks ago when President Trump was in Beijing. At the time, the Global Times and other state media lavishly praised Trump and accused American media outlets of “deceiving” Chinese people into disliking him.
In the column Tuesday, the Global Times appears both cheerful about the decline of American influence around the world and frustrated by Trump’s “inconsistent behavior and desire for America to downscale its leadership.”
“When evaluating US President Donald Trump’s recent five-country Asia tour, it’s difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that the US’ unipolar moment is nearing its end,” the article alleged. “Trump’s erratic statecraft, as well as open disregard for the rules and institutions that underpin international order, have dramatically precipitated the erosion of America’s position in global affairs, particularly in East Asia.”
The Times insults Trump’s “reckless diplomacy” as “fraught with troubling contradictions and governed by his personal impulses” but credits him for being consistent in his “extreme susceptibility to flattery and his consistency in backtracking on accusations once he’s in face-to-face meetings with those he’s accused.” The newspaper’s evidence of this is Trump’s behaving like a grateful guest during his visit to Beijing and praising President Xi Jinping for his hospitality.
The Global Times itself is guilty of such behavior, however, publishing positive stories about Trump while he was in the country or shortly before landing in Beijing, then immediately reverting to a stream of disparaging columns.
Prior to his arrival in Beijing, for example, the Global Times praised Trump for evolving “from green to skilled in comprehending China” and for taking a “constructive” attitude towards the bilateral relationship. Trump and Xi, the Times claimed, had “established the framework for comprehension and solutions for the relationship, guiding departments to hold the right direction, expand common views, control divergences and strengthen cooperation in their specific work.”
While Trump was in Beijing, the Times praised his “good tendency” of eschewing “empty diplomatic struggles” and, instead, focusing on “reviving the U.S. economy.”
It was during this first week of November that the Times also railed against American media, claiming that the Chinese public was enamored with Trump now that he was in the country but, because “the initial impression of Trump was completely led by US media reports,” most Chinese people had a negative image of Trump. Now, it proclaimed, they knew “they had been cheated by the American media.”
While the Global Times has now taken to attacking Trump, the People’s Daily, another state-run publication, praised Trump’s attitude towards China in an article on Friday. “Trump’s focus on strengthening friendship and expanding areas of cooperation has helped put the two countries on a path toward a better future,” an article in the official publication of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) read. “As China moves closer to center stage, China and the US will need to work together to advance peace, security, and prosperity all across the world. Trump took a step in this direction by stressing the importance of growing a stronger friendship with China in building a stronger America.”
Trump visited China from November 8-10, meeting with Xi and touring the Forbidden City, the imperial Chinese palace. Trump also visited Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines during that trip, intended to bring the United States closer to its Asian allies and generate regional support for a plan to curb the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea.