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Editorial: Americans should unite to forestall Chinese dominance

It is now less than six months till the voting and vote counting of the U.S. presidential election in November. This is a showdown between President Donald Trump of the Republican Party and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

 

President Trump and Mr. Biden criticize each other over measures against the novel coronavirus, but what is needed now is not to broaden division in the U.S. but to unite the people in fighting the virus.

 

The U.S. is being hit by the virus most severely. Whether the country can put the situation under control will determine whether the superpower rises or falls. It will also impact the world order “in the aftermath of the coronavirus” as China is jockeying to become the dominant power.

 

The pandemic is a national peril equivalent to World War II and the 9.11 terrorist attack in the U.S.

 

President Trump frequently holds press conferences and demonstrates that he is a “president in time of war.” The president is, however, criticized because he earlier repeatedly presented an optimistic view on the pandemic and was late in establishing a sufficient virus-testing system and securing medical supplies. Recently, President Trump calls for resuming economic activities as soon as possible and is at odds with state governments that take a cautious stance.

 

Supporters of President Trump take to the streets and call for “liberation” from the stay-home policy. Scenes of these demonstrations symbolize the deepening division of the country. We want President Trump to refrain from commenting on the spur of the moment and listen to experts’ advice. A true “leader in time of war” exerts unremitting efforts in order to resolve an immediate crisis even though it may be disadvantageous for his reelection.

 

Mr. Biden slightly leads President Trump in approval rating, but it cannot be said that he makes his presence felt. He needs to present solutions to unresolved issues that have surfaced during the coronavirus crisis. The absence of universal health coverage is a factor in the high mortality rate of the impoverished in the U.S. Effective reform is in urgent need.

 

We want both President Trump and Mr. Biden to be conscious that whoever wins the election must return the U.S. to a growth strategy. 

 

Every country is desperately trying to prevent the spread of infection by closing its national borders. The retreat of globalization is unavoidable but the policy of “my country first” alone cannot halt the spread of infection. Amid the increasing likelihood of a global depression, how will President Trump and Mr. Biden envision the rebuilding of international cooperation and restoration of U.S. leadership? This must be an unavoidable theme for the presidential election.

 

China has shifted its domestic policy to economic recovery and is conducting “mask diplomacy” by providing medical supplies to countries suffering the spread of infection. In the meantime, the PRC is strengthening its control of the South China Sea militarily.

 

With Americans’ growing distrust of China, both camps of the presidential election criticize each other’s stance toward China. If the country is further divided, it will lead to the decline of national strength, which in the aftermath of the coronavirus will give China a chance to deprive the U.S. of its dominant position.  

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