SPIEGEL: Mr. Yan, there is a common opinion in Beijing that the United States is in retreat and that there are comparisons with the Soviet Union in its later years. Do you share this perspective?
Yan: All empires are gone in history, and it won’t be any different for the next thousand years. Leaders go through three stages: rise, survival, and decline. I am neither shocked nor surprised by the American decline. The question is how to unfold. The United Kingdom was the leading power in the world for a long time, its decline was extremely slow, and it continued for several decades. The Soviet Union shattered like glass falling to the ground. I think the fall of the United States will be more like the fall of Britain.
SPIEGEL: Has the end of the tumultuous Trump era hurt the United States globally?
Yan: The foreign policy of the United States no longer has any credibility, it has been completely destroyed by Trump. One-sidedness meant that the United States ignored the interests of other nations, even those of its allies. How can you trust a country when you never know what to do? The presidential election, the storming of the Capitol and, above all, the reaction to it, accelerated this trend. They even blocked Trump’s Twitter account. This shows that they will not tolerate other opinions.