In President Donald Trump’s visit to the Far East this week, he seemed to flip-flop on his constant accusations he has made about China taking advantage of the U.S. in trade negotiations for many years. He claims that is the main reason for the trade deficit of the U.S. with China. But today, he ironically praised China for this activity. He proclaimed during his speech to Chinese business leaders in the Great Hall of the People, “I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.” Well, of course! That seems to have been Trump’s business philosophy all his life–take advantage of others.
Most would agree that what is needed in such trade negotiations is fairness between parties. If we our nation has made trade deals with other countries that are unfair to our country, then yes, let President Trump try to negotiate a better deal. Some authorities do claim that NAFTA needs improvement. But for President Trump to pull our country out of the Paris Climate Accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems unwise to me.
Now, nations are a collection of people, thus a group of people. What difference is there between a nation, as a group of people, taking advantage of another nation and a single person taking advantage of another person? At least concerning individual people, that goes against the Bible.
For example, John the Baptist preached repentance and judgment. Then “the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise” (Luke 3.10-11 NRSV). For John, penitence was not an attitude that had nothing to do with how you live. For he also exhorted regarding living, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3.8).
Jesus taught similarly in his Sermon on the Mount, saying, “if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5.40-42).
If the USA did that, the nations would bow done before us in gratitude! Nevertheless, despite our past failings, such as slavery and mistreatment of Native Americans, the USA has been a pretty giving nation to other nations with its foreign aid program and more, such as the post-WWII Marshall Plan. But with Donald Trump’s motto–Make America Great Again–he seems to have a hidden agenda of greed, that he today made more evident, which threatens to ruin this somewhat glorious reputation of the USA.