The Rogue Super Power

New York Times

While I was teaching Global Studies at Morehead State University in Kentucky, one of my arguments about Trump was that he wanted the United States both to shift its alliances toward authoritarian regimes and become a “rogue super power.”

And that’s largely what happened.

During the Trump years, the United States tilted away from the NATO democracies, Japan, and South Korea and towards Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and North Korea.

Likewise, phone calls between General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chinese generals demonstrate that the Chinese government viewed the U.S. as a rogue superpower threatening a nuclear attack on China.

In the days leading up to the 2020 election, the book reveals, American intelligence showed that the Chinese believed that Mr. Trump planned to launch a military strike to create an international crisis that he could claim to solve as a last-ditch effort to beat Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The Chinese also view the United States as particularly unstable

On the Jan. 8 call, General Li suggested that Chinese leaders feared that the United States government was unstable. He pressed General Milley over the course of an hour and a half about whether the military was going to take action.

Despite General Milley’s reassurances, he feared that Mr. Trump might be trying to find a moment that he could seize on to remain in power, similar to Hitler’s exploitation in 1933 of an arson fire at the German Reichstag to help institute emergency powers, the book said.

The Chinese idea was that Trump’s idiosyncrasies made the United States an unstable super power capable of going rogue and launching unprovoked nuclear attacks. But the likelihood is increasing that Trump’s idiosyncrasies have become the dominant view of the Republican Party and that the United States is now in a position of always being just one election away from being an imminent danger to the rest of the world.