Better the safe bet or the unknown? According to international analysts, this is Beijing’s dilemma toward the American elections.
According to a recent survey, and contrary to what is claimed by many Western media outlets, the Chinese do not like Donald Trump; indeed the billionaire would be seen as a “danger” for China should he become president.
If “The Donald” really did implement an isolationist policy in the United States — he has repeatedly spoken out against the Chinese trade policies — Beijing fears a worsening of economic relations, although there are exceptions. According to Daniel Bell, a detail-oriented student of contemporary China, the elite of the Communist Party, although it has not given any voting instructions, would be more in favor of Trump than Clinton.
The reasons would be internal, rather than international. According to these Party “reformers” (or supposed ones), a possible protectionist policy by Trump would push China even further to seek solutions to its dependence on exports. In particular, it would signal the time to finally intervene in state-owned companies. Something like what happened with China’s entry into the WTO when large numbers of workers were fired from the state production units.
A faction of the Communist Party, those closer to the leader Xi Jinping (who on Monday took steps to use his new “core” power and changed three ministers including the Minister of Finance, probably the most known Chinese economist abroad), is already engaged in the administration. It perhaps prefers Hillary.
According to the Chinese, Clinton has many negative points: She often emphasized human rights issues, and, above all, she has always fully supported the Obama’s strategy “pivot to Asia” which is read by Beijing as containment.
These are risks, but the Communist leadership does not like improvisation and surprise. Despite the negative strategic points, Beijing would know how to deal with Clinton’s traditional politics, hoping — as David Bell suggests — that she will seek advice from an old fox of international relations (and great connoisseur of China) former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
On the Russian front, it seems there is little doubt about Tsar Vladimir Putin’s preferences. Publicly praised by Trump, according to American intelligence agencies, the Russians were behind the recent hacks against Clinton’s campaign team. According to some media commentary, these actions were actually fake support and mutual compliments, because even Putin would have little desire for Trump’s unpredictability.
Certainly the Russian president will not have an idyllic relationship with Clinton, who, in his eyes, is the creator of the whole Ukrainian disaster and who—- according to rumors — is ready to entrust the office of Secretary of State to Victoria Nuland, who played a prominent role during the Maidan in Kiev and declared the beginning of Yatseniuk (which means “our guy”) by telling the European Union to get lost (the famous interception in which Nuland screams “Fuck E.U.”).
With Clinton as President, little would change for Putin: He would find the same obstruction, perhaps even more than with Obama. But both for Beijing and Moscow perhaps it could be better to move on already beaten diplomatic paths, dodging dangerous surprises.