by John Lo
The biggest enemy of the United States is the United States itself, not China, and not Russia. The United States is isolating itself by weaponizing itself and imposing economic sanctions on too many countries.
A zero-sum game is bad for the global economy but still it can be fair if the United States can comply with the existing "rules-based international order" and World Trade Organization (WTO) trade practices.
Now that the United States finds it is increasingly difficult to compete with China or other successful emerging nations, it is resorting to unsavory and unethical practices just to remain the world's No. 1 superpower. It has no compunction to defy all these rules and practices just to contain China's rise. It has arbitrarily increased tariffs on Chinese imports, and imposed sanctions on individual Chinese officials and a number of Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE.
By breaking the very rules it has once played a key role in their making, Washington has shown the whole world its hegemonic behavior.
It is an established fact that China has become the world's major manufacturing powerhouse, and China's prowess in manufacturing and its efficient supply chain have helped contain inflation in the United States for many years.
But the United States is so foolish that it wants to contain China at a time when it is experiencing the worst inflation in decades. American citizens, especially the poor, are forced to pay the price. A record number of small and medium-sized American companies are going bankrupt.
The United States has always acted as a big bully towards other countries. Smaller countries like Malaysia also cannot escape from its hegemony. The most serious example is the persistent U.S. anti-palm oil campaign, which has been going on for more than 20 years. The U.S. government has banned imports of palm oil products from Malaysian producers with the excuse of alleged forced labor, but its real intention was to protect the American edible oil industry like soya, sunflower and linseed oil.
Except for a small number of its allies, the United States is tarnishing its reputation across the world. Most countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are waking up to America's hegemonistic practices imposed on the rest of the world.
As the United States keeps looking inwards when it comes to its foreign economic policies, Malaysia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have many options.
In 2022, ASEAN remained China's biggest trade partner. China has been Malaysia's largest trade partner for more than a decade. As China continues to open its economy, China and ASEAN can continue to enhance and expand their economic relationship in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Because of the United States' arbitrary and unpredictable economic and foreign policies, Singapore, which had rather close ties with the United States in the past, has shifted towards China. For the same reasons, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he has visited China as a true friend of the country.
The unipolar world order has gone. A new order is emerging. The United States has overplayed its hand and will suffer for it.
Editor's note: The author is a Malaysian observer.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Xinhua News Agency.