by Rick Manning
Ask yourself if you were President, what would you do if you discovered that a foreign country has been waging an underground war against the nation you are sworn to protect surreptitiously killing tens of thousands of your people every year by pouring a drug so deadly that merely accidentally touching a small amount could kill you?
What would you do if you discovered that the same country had been engaging in economic warfare against your country designed to emasculate critical industries, gain control of the mining of critical rare earth minerals used in military manufacturing and manipulating your currency on the world market to ensure that key domestic manufactured goods could not compete on the international market?
And what would you do if you were to discover that this same country was stealing the intellectual property created in your country through forced technology transfers, industrial and government spying and outright theft of individual and company’s patent protections, with this stolen creativity fueling their dynamic economic growth?
If your answer is nothing, then you are at some level describing how the United States government had been responding to China since at least the late 1980s. Some, like the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations, attempted to deal with currency manipulation, when the Treasury pegged it as a manipulator between 1992 and 1994, and later the U.S. administrations would also try to stop technology transfers to China, but ultimately their attempts failed because they weren’t willing to create a meaningful cost to the Chinese government.
The resulting opiate and economic hollowing-out crisis is what led to Middle America to embrace a Donald Trump presidency. America lost faith that traditional leaders would fight for their interests and Trump promised them that he would put America (them) first when dealing with Washington, D.C. and the rest of the world.
So when President Donald Trump took the oath of office to the Presidency of the United States and pledged with his hand on the Bible he pledged, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” much of America took to heart because for the first time in a long time, they believed that he meant it.
Not being a politician who was steeped in the mythology that somehow China was going to forego thousands of years of history and suddenly transform into a western, capitalist republic similar to Japan’s forced Post World War II conversion, President Trump looked at China through a different lens.
President Trump went to Beijing and was quoted as bluntly stating to Chinese President Xi, “I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens? But in actuality, I do blame past [U.S.] administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow. We have to fix this because it just doesn’t work for our great American companies and it doesn’t work for our great American workers. It is just not sustainable.”
While many in the media and elsewhere focused upon President Trump’s seemingly giving China a pass for being a bad economic actor, in reality, he was announcing to China and the world, that there was a new sheriff in town and the on-going hollowing out of our nation’s manufacturing sector would no longer be accepted.
Now, almost three years into Trump’s first term, the President has prioritized four items when dealing with China: stopping fentanyl from China; protecting intellectual property rights; stopping Chinese currency manipulation and normalizing tariffs between the two countries.
Incredibly, publications like Bloomberg, which are supposed to be financial in nature, are publishing articles like: U.S. and China got in a trade war and Mexico won demonstrating that they have little understanding of what is at stake either economically or strategically.
First and foremost, those Chinese apologists who believe that someday the communist Chinese government will suddenly reform into good little capitalists and democrats because we are making them incredibly wealthy are dangerously wrong. China has been engaged in an on-going war against the United States for more than twenty years, enabled by open economic borders types who argue that we should ignore that Chinese slaves are making our apparel, plastic junk and yes many of our electronics and their internal components, because the low labor costs drive our prices down.
Importing slave made finished goods is no different than importing cotton for the mills before the Civil War more than 150 years ago, it is astonishing that anyone in modern America would make this argument, yet unwittingly that is exactly what the open economic borders globalists do.
It also cannot be missed that President Trump has engaged his Chinese counterpart more on the fentanyl import issue than any other. Opioid addiction is hollowing out our nation. It knows no economic class or race. Opioids are so addictive that virtually anyone can become controlled by the desire to attain them. And yes, many people die, almost 70,000 a year, from opioids — 30,000 of these directly from fentanyl — which arrived in American bloodstreams straight from China.
Chinese President Xi promised to crack down on the fentanyl trade and his government did recently make it a regulated controlled substance. Xi has promised time and again to stop the fentanyl flow, and yet, just last week, the Mexican Navy interdicted a shipment of 25 tons of fentanyl directly from Shanghai on order from the Sinaloa Cartel which was planning on hotlining it into our nation using their various border crossing routes that some in our nation don’t believe should be shut down.
Unlike an American president, the president of China and his government controls all economic activity including the shipping from China’s ports. The Lazaro Cardenas port where the drugs were seized is Mexico’s largest port and has, off and on, been controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. Given the Chinese government’s relatively iron-fisted control, it is more likely than unlikely that they were directly involved in pushing this poison onto the streets with their Sinaloa partners.
A simple understanding of how China lost the first and second Opium Wars to the British in the mid-1800s, is enough to explain why the Xi regime views the destruction of America by attacking the soul of our nation through the same addiction that many believe took China 100 years to recover. And in their wake, they leave millions of broken people and tens of thousands dead each year.
If 30,000 dead Americans each year due to Chinese fentanyl and the burden of supporting human slavery don’t fully make the moral case for changing our fundamental relationship with China, then the theft of intellectual property might. America uses the best research university and government laboratory systems in the world to create science which will drive the 21st-century world. And then China either steals or purchases the ideas flipping them into products that they sell back to the U.S. at ten cents on the dollar. Meanwhile, the critical applied sciences manufacturing sector that will determine which country will lead the 21st century ends up in China, as it doesn’t make economic sense to make it in the United States.
It is this last point that head in the sand conservative globalists fundamentally don’t understand. So, here is the point — when a company decides that it makes more sense to make a product in Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, India or Australia to export to the U.S. rather than China, it is a win. China’s manufacturing sector is diminished and more importantly, the U.S. has supply lines for crucial products outside of the Middle Kingdom.
When Bloomberg declares that Mexico is the winner in the trade war, that means that the United States wins on multiple fronts. As stated in the paragraph above, Mexican supply lines are secure, which benefits the U.S. consumer. Also, as China has to compete with other countries to supply goods to the world, suddenly there is real leverage against the Xi government to crack down on fentanyl production and trade, in exchange for more favorable tariff rates.
And it should not be forgotten that it is in the United States’ interest for the Mexican economy to be healthy as a strong Mexican economy is the most natural barrier against illegal entry into the U.S. of all.
Winning the trade war is not only about transferring manufacturing from China to the U.S., it is about ending China’s opium war on the U.S, its role as a virtual sole source provider, and diversifying the markets which serve the United States. On that front, the Chinese are clearly losing and the U.S. is winning (along with other economies like Mexico).
Diversifying trading partners also allows U.S. consumers a choice. If you are upset that Chinese Christians are jailed for simply having a Bible, say no to products made in China. Upset about the forced organ donations those in concentration camps, the Trump trade war is giving you a “not made in China choice.”
While the market is not moral per se, it is made up of hundreds of millions of transactions by people who are. And by providing a “not made in China” option, President Trump is allowing those choices to have a moral component.
Because ultimately, the so-called trade war by President Trump is a moral and economic fight for the future of the world. It is just sad that so many very smart people are so divorced from any sense of morality, that they cannot see it for themselves without having it explained in explicit terms.
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Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.