Sputnik: Why in your opinion is Washington so opposed to China's Road and Belt initiative?
Tom McGregor: I think this is just a simple case of tough tactics and their trade negotiations, they're not happy that some of the negotiators on the Beijing side are unwilling to talk to them. Xi Jinping, from what I've heard, hasn't really called up Trump in the past few weeks or the past few months, so I think what Trump is doing he's just increasing the tensions to show that the US has no plans to back down and they're going to really charge after China in regards to the trade wars, so I just see it as simple negotiation tactics, nothing else.
Sputnik: Mike Pompeo has said that China's economic and diplomatic initiatives have become more malign; what do you think about that? Why do you think it's perceived that way by the US?
Tom McGregor: Obviously I was a little bit surprised by that, the time-frame of from two years ago; why not t say from five years ago or ten years ago? The US has always been suspicious of China — forever. So why is it all of a sudden just two years ago, it seems odd to me. To me it's just another example of the negotiations process; Trump is taking a much tougher line, I think he's just simply trying to get the Chinese to talk to him and he's doing whatever he believes is necessary to get them to start communications again. So I believe he's going to criticize or have his people from the White House or from his government to do more criticisms against China until the Chinese are more willing to talk to Trump directly.
Sputnik: Many were saying, that, yes, this is just his negotiating tactic, but recently Donald Trump has said that "I want the Chinese leadership to suffer much more under my sanctions." He's really trying to beat them down and a lot of people are saying this is looking like it's going to be a long-term trade war, it's not just a negotiating tactic…
Tom McGregor: I've been writing articles about that; I've been saying that an all my interviews — this is not going to be a short-term war. This is going to go on for years, this is going to go on for a long time. The fact is, as I've done some further research on the issues of the US and China fight, basically what you're saying here is a cultural battle, who's going to succeed as a global superpower.
Will it be the American way or will it be the Chinese way? In this sense, when you look at it from that perspective, you're going to see that there's a lot of challenges that come from it; who's going to become number one in the year 2050? Whoever wins the war, the trade wars.
Sputnik: But the Belt and Road initiative has been around for some years; 2013 I believe was when Xi Jinping created this initiative. It's a peaceful initiative, it's an initiative that welcomes all; there's no only dealing with a certain region or something like that, any country that's interested is more than welcome to participate in this initiative. This is infrastructure, this is building huge infrastructure projects, many impoverished regions in Africa and in other parts of the world are seeing a huge upsurge, so why is this considered a threat?
Tom McGregor: I never considered the Belt and Road a threat but there's always been talk ever since 2013 that it was some kind of a threat from the Western media. I just think that now that Trump is increasing the trade negotiations he's just throwing in whatever the Western media has been saying for the past few years. I've been having to monitor the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and how the word has viewed it ever since the beginning, from 2013, and there have always been some people that were creating suspicions.
They were not very positive on it, they were claiming this was some attempt by the Chinese to take over the world, who were just going to bribe all these poor countries to bow down to China. There's always been those kind of suspicions, I just think that they're saying that again, but it does concern me, and Trump's people are saying it, because it shows to me that Bolton, apparently, is getting more power in the White House, he's getting more influence. I think all of this is masterminded by Bolton, who is the most neocon war hawk than one can possibly imagine. I do not like Bolton.
Sputnik: Many people might share your views on that. What about the IMF? It's been doing similar things for many years and a lot of countries are in huge debt for having to allow the big American corporations…
Tom McGregor: There is a valid argument on the debt issue on both sides. The Belt and Road isn't a charity case and it should not be a charity case, so this is where I think Americans have trouble understanding, because most US foreign aid was charity cases; they didn't expect to get paid back. But the Chinese are hoping they can make some money back on it, so I think this does confuse a lot of the Westerners; they're just not accustomed to this style of business.
But it's a high risk for the Chinese, they could lose all their money in this, so it's a big challenge and I think there are some misunderstandings, but I also see this as a benefit, because what the Chinese can do on the trade negotiations side is: 'Hey, why don't you sign up on the Belt And Road and then maybe we'll find some other areas to support you on some of the stuff you have disagreements with China on.' I don't see the US as taking on a big risk by signing on to the Belt and Road if they can reduce the high cost of tariffs coming from the Chinese side.
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.