Regarding the May 1 opinion piece “COVID-19 is finishing off the Sino-American relationship,” while there was a pre-coronavirus symbiotic economic relationship between China and the United States and will be a markedly changed one after the virus settles in as a manageable seasonal disease, there is also an adversarial one with respect to military and foreign affairs.

Barack Obama’s policy of leading from behind, growing organically from his flawed belief that America is the proximate cause of much global turmoil, greased the skids for international predators speaking Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Farsi who have exploited Western distraction and/or weakness. The global coronavirus pandemic is the mother of all distractions, far more fractious in free-wheeling America in an election year than in autocratic China, the contagion’s epicenter. The Chinese, after converting the South China Sea into a militarized water park, are toasting their supposed hegemony by lording their dominance over weaker neighboring nations. Only the United States can ensure freedom of navigation in this prominent international waterway. President Trump should calm these turbulent waters by leveraging his friendship with President Xi.

Paul Bloustein

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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