In February 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China. Millions sat enthralled as television broadcast news of the trip into every American home. Since then, American foreign policy has alternatingly reveled in and been blinded by the glow of those seven days.
It is time to remove the blinders. China has never lived up to the West’s unwarranted optimism.
The people of China have never been free. Since the communists took over, they have pursued their agenda for world domination.
They make islands they do not own into military bases. They profit from virtual slave labor. They invest billions in American farmland and make lavish “gifts” to universities. Their neighbors, including America’s most important Asian allies, fear them.
At the same time, China is a major source of many vital products. Indeed, its dominance in semiconductor production could potentially cripple the United States. If China invaded Taiwan, as threatened, that situation would worsen immeasurably. China is expanding its network of influence all over the world.
Yet the “experts” in the State Department continue to play “Let’s Pretend!” Why?
Three reasons spring to mind.
Force of habit
Western government policy has consistently favored China since 1972. Any abrupt change would represent a significant disruption of the liberal postwar order.
After President Nixon’s visit, Jimmy Carter withdrew U.S. recognition from Taiwan and awarded it to China. The United Nations followed suit. George Bush, the elder, served as U.S. director in charge of liaisons with China in 1974 and 1975. Subsequent presidents all favored ever-expanding trade with China in the vain hope that improved relations with the West would make China more open.
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Trading with China was thought to promote world peace. Businessmen hoped to see the vast one-billion-person market open up to Western products.
Pro-Communist Leftist Doctrine
When the floodgates of Chinese trade were opened, the communist ideology also entered the West. Even during the days of Mao, leftists sugar-coated the accomplishments of communism and idealized its Cultural Revolution. They accept the Marxist class struggle dialectics and China’s application of it.
Thus, there are those who ideologically sympathize with China despite its horrific human rights record and tens of millions who were killed during the regime.
The Chinese opening up to the West represented a variety of communism that kept its egalitarian doctrines yet accepted some market reforms. The West came to the rescue of the poverty-stricken communist giant and provided it with capital, technology and know-how. The left hoped the new formula would gain acceptance for its ideas.
After decades of waiting for China to adopt free markets and fundamental freedoms, many are now disappointed. They also realize that Western dependence on China has reached dangerous levels.
An increasingly aggressive China is smashing the dreams of peace. Woke America is adopting many communist Chinese ideas in the form of canceled intellectuals and forbidden ideas. “Woke” universities emulate China by eliminating unwelcome opinions.
The Chinese now control production that once employed U.S. workers. This is often due to the country’s incredibly meager wage rates that favor offshoring production to cut costs.
Athletic shoe manufacturer Nike is a typical case. The footwear giant owns no factories and contracts out about thirty percent of its production to China. Another thirty percent takes place in communist Vietnam.
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The massive transfer of manufacturing to China makes it virtually impossible not to use products made there. China is also America’s third-largest export market selling $151 billion in goods in 2021—up from less than $4 billion in 1985 and $16 billion in 2000.
Thus, giant corporations have much to gain with the present policies. For example, CNBC says, “About 80 percent of Buick’s global sales [in 2018] were in China.” Corporate thinking holds that China is too large a market to discard over disputes about non-business issues. This behavior is not limited to General Motors. A recent Forbes magazine article mentioned that the Disney company and the National Basketball Association have histories of bowing before China’s reprehensible human rights record.
Is the National Alarm Clock Striking?
Is America finally rousing itself to see the full extent of the Chinese threat? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Some Americans see the danger and take some measures. They reject “Made in China” goods whenever possible. Others argue that Congress should investigate the extent of China’s role in the Covid crisis. Wise parents refuse to allow their children to use TikTok’s Chinese-affiliated social media network. The U.S., U.K. and Australia have largely blocked Chinese tech giant Huawei from making significant inroads into their communications systems.
However, many in the U.S. government and business bureaucracies appear too greedy, ideologically sympathetic or complacent to break off relations with China. Will that situation change if China invades Taiwan? What if it bombs Japan or Australia? There must be a line in the sand or point of no return somewhere.
However, as the Wall Street Journal predicted on August 19, 2022, “America’s Industrial Base Isn’t Ready for War With China.”
Responsibility argues that this intolerable situation must change.
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