“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”—Sun Tzu
Trump was systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to NATO and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington, breaking up the multilateral institutions of the post-war order that so stiff the Americans, and then holding out for a better deal for the U.S. on them, which makes sense.
As a power player, Trump was intent on taking down the world order that the U.S. pays full freight on, yet gets very little from. After all, who cleaned up after the Iraq War was fought, with U.S. blood and treasure, along with its dragged-along, unwilling allies, and then got all the oil? The Chinese, of course.
Once that order is destroyed, the Chinese believed Trump would move to stage 2: renegotiating America’s relationship with other powers. Because the US was still the most powerful country in the world, it would be able to negotiate with other countries from a position of strength if it deals with them one at a time rather than through multilateral institutions that empower the weak at the expense of the strong.
China’s leaders do not overtly threaten to kill us. They kill and enslaved their own citizens. Instead, they bribe us. They smile at us publicly while trying to defeat us through cyber warfare and buying massive amounts of political power, stealing when it’s easier and cheaper. Trump was the US first president for more than 40 years to check China on 3 fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. A master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he could. Skilfully Trump treated President Xi Jinping. He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions on North Korea half a dozen times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country. As a strategist, he was willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.
This is what liberals/democrats hate. Why? Because liberals/democrats cannot have a country to great or too proud of itself. Otherwise, there would be nothing left for statist liberals to fundamentally transform in order to seize and maintain their own power and agenda.