Trump's famous promise to “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) should have come with the caveat that he planned to do so by provoking a New Cold War with China and Russia. He led his supporters into thinking that he meant to focus more on internal issues than international ones, which some in hindsight wrongly portrayed as quasi-isolationalism. Lo and behold, however, MAGA has arguably turned into the most aggressive US foreign policy in decades, which makes it extremely dangerous for global stability.
Truth be told, Trump did imply something of the sort while on the campaign trail, but few realized how far he intended to go. He's known for ranting about China's trade policies so many foresaw the trade war that followed his election, but the scale and scope of his anti-Chinese policies likely surprised even the most rabid anti-communist elements of his base. Trump didn't just try to broker a new trade deal, but took aim at China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), some of its tech companies like Huawei and TikTok, and its territorial integrity.
Since the beginning of this year, he's also ridiculously claimed that China is responsible for COVID-19. Secretary of State Pompeo rattled the US Hybrid War saber earlier this summer during his landmark speech at the Nixon Library, which was followed up by Trump's dramatic address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) last week that compared China to Nazi Germany. So serious are US-Chinese tensions as a result of this unprovoked onslaught that UN Secretary General Guterres opened the UNGA debate by warning against a “New Cold War”.
It's not just China that's victimized by Trump's MAGA strategy but Russia as well despite Trump's opponents continuing to claim that he's under the influence of Moscow. He once bragged about how “I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President”, pointing to his intense sanctions regime against the country that he once promised on the campaign trail to partner with. NATO has also expanded its military forces and infrastructure closer to Russia's borders during this time too.
On top of that, the Trump Administration has been accused by Russia and Belarus of orchestrating the latest political unrest in the latter, and is also currently trying to assemble a coalition against Russia's Nord Stream II pipeline with Germany. Russia's Turkish Stream pipeline with Turkey and the Balkans is also being threatened as well. Not only that, but anti-Russian spy scandals are a dime a dozen nowadays in the US and its NATO allies, which serve the purpose of creating pretexts for imposing even more sanctions pressure on Moscow.
There's a method to this madness, however, and it's important to point it out in order to expose the truth about how Trump's MAGA strategy operates. The three most common denominators linking the US' Hybrid Wars on China and Russia are geopolitics, economics, and fake news. America wants to “contain” both countries, to which end it's increased its military presence in the South China Sea and Eastern Europe respectively, while targeting BRI, Chinese tech companies, and Russian energy ones using fake news.
The Trump Administration believes that the combined effect of these three simultaneous Hybrid War fronts against what it regards as its two main rivals will result in “decoupling” them from their primary partners across the world, thereby leading to their “isolation”. As a means to that end, the US is provoking a New Cold War, the acknowledgement of which debunks the notion that MAGA is a “peaceful”, “inward-looking”, “isolationist” strategy. To the contrary, it's the most aggressive and dangerous US foreign policy in decades.
For as optimistic as Trump is about its prospects of success, the deck is stacked against him. The world wised up to his scheme over the past three years, especially after Presidents Xi and Putin condemned unilateralism, trade wars, and saber-rattling during their speeches last week at the UNGA. Their countries are also close strategic partners who are coordinating their response to the US Hybrid Wars against them. With China and Russia standing up to America, Trump's realizing that MAGA is much easier to shout than to actualize in real life.