Trump Is Right on the China Threat

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By Ben Shapiro

President Trump’s latest foray into the world of international economics — his ongoing trade war with China — has been widely derided by his critics. It’s been derided on the grounds that there is no long-term strategy; on the grounds that the trade war will not be, as Trump has bragged, “good and easy to win”; on the grounds that Trump continues to send mixed signals, simultaneously claiming that China is bearing the brunt of his tariffs while desperately urging Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to lower interest rates.

Now, Trump’s trade policy may not be well-considered. His understanding of trade is rudimentary at best — he still operates under the assumption that mutually beneficial trade is actually a zero-sum game. And Trump’s rhetoric may be confusing — it’s unclear whether Trump wants tariffs or wants to alleviate them. But Trump does have one thing absolutely right: China is an imperturbable geopolitical foe. And the United States ought to be taking a serious look at a long-term strategy to contain and then reverse the dominance of the totalitarian communist regime.

Trump is the only president of recent vintage to understand this simple truth. The Chinese regime is strengthening its totalitarianism; market forces have not opened up China’s politics. China’s attempts to strengthen its grip on Hong Kong, its forays into the complexities of Indian-Pakistani politics, its threats of sanctions against American firms over the sale of jets to Taiwan — all of this bespeaks the intent of the Xi Jinping regime, which has a philosophy of political revanchism. The supposed moderation of Dengism — the political philosophy of Deng Xiaoping, which supposedly prized pragmatism over doctrinal adherence to Marxist tenets — is being quickly reversed, with China’s economy placed at the mercy of political leadership. Dengism was always treated with too much optimism by the West: The same regime supposedly pushing for detente with the West stole hundreds of billions in intellectual property every year for years while continuing to build up its military. Still, Xi has moved away from even tepid moves toward openness.

 

Two significant projects in recent years demonstrate the scale of China's ambitions. First, there's the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, in which China has helped subsidize building infrastructure in a bevy of countries throughout the world. Up to 68 countries are already taking part. The project is designed to place these countries in hock to the Chinese government; it's also designed to maximize China's naval power in the region.

Then there is China's heavy focus on government-subsidized building of 5G, using Huawei as the tip of the spear. China is offering 5G technology to developing countries at discounted prices, and those countries, hungry for the technology, have been accepting, likely at the cost of their own privacy and security. The goal, as always: maximization of China's sphere of influence.

Free trade isn't going to cure this. China's government has been willing to utilize mercantilism to prop up its global ambitions. Capitalism hasn't opened China's politics. Free trade has indeed benefitted China's citizens, bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the Chinese government has responded with more repression, not less. All of which means that the United States must be pursuing a thorough strategy of opposition to China's ambitions.

Trump seems to understand this. But if he fails to articulate that to the American people, his economic war with China will fail. That's because if the American people are asked to shoulder an economic burden without being informed as to the rationale or the cost, they will rightly buck. Trump hasn't explained that the burden exists, let alone why the American people should shoulder it.

With that said, at least Trump recognizes the threat China represents. The chattering class has, for far too long, ignored that threat, to the detriment of the United States and her allies.

8 thoughts on “Trump Is Right on the China Threat”

    1. CHINA, NIXON, and that Communist Henry Kissinger: Many among us knew a long time ago that bringing China into the western fold was a very large mistake. Few knew or understood who Henry Kissinger actually is. The Socialization of The United States had begun with the CFR gang which the Rockefellers assembled and LBJ’s 1st 100 days of ‘The New Society’. The Coup which over-threw a Democratic Administration in 1963 ushered in the Socialism we are experiencing today. Many Americans were completely taken by surprise by something that seemed to manifest itself with the installation of a Marxist-Muslim P.O.T.U.S. None of what has transpired up to Trump, happened over-night, or for that matter in just a couple of decades.
      The future for America may seem dark and foreboding but it doesn’t have to be so. Trump, like Reagan appeared on the scene in the knick of time. Trump gives the Federal Republic a shot in the arm, in the hope that We The People can be resuscitated into a Constitutional Army. We who have oathed to the United States Constitution have awakened to the fact that We are in danger and that the enemy of State is in-fact Domestic and Dangerous!
      Jack PowersIII

      1. More Americans have to wake up. The Dems still are holding up USMCA which would help American workers among other benefits. Trump is trying. Unfortunately some folks cannot separate his personality (which can be annoying) from his pro American policies.

        Trump is far better than any Dem candidate.

  1. I think that as you well point out in the article, the reason for the cost should be explained to the American people but Trump’s intention to confront the Chinese government for my understanding is the correct and unique.

  2. I am not sure why the writer is convinced that Trump’s understanding of international trade is “rudimentary” at best. I suppose the important thing in that regard is to recognize that whatever level of trade understanding Trump has is most certainly superior to any other president in the last 50 years, and that proof is in the pudding right now. Other economic experts over the past 50 years are responsible for funding China’s economic development that has led us to where we now are.

  3. Evil is amongst us, harvesting organs from individuals still alive, oppressing groups that are not inline with the Communist Party way and believing in the same methods and ideals as the Nazi did in the years before the war, this is the Communist China of today. Their biggest mistake will be to make war with HIM. The Communist are not really as smart as they believe themselves to be.
    The Kings of the East, will come to make war with those who live in HIS land, yet they, along with their Kings of the North, South and East, as well as the anti-Christ, will be defeated and forever no more present upon the land.
    Our responsibility is to be a watcher on the wall, inform, be alert and act to contain, until those times. A strong nation is our only means to survive till then, along with a belief in the LORD.

    Blessed be the LORD

  4. -Americans and Western people will never understand the Chinese; let alone Chinese communist regime and its leaders such as Deng and Xi. The West had been, is and will be in naivety because of its calculating on the numbers; not on the characters, the historical and traditional Chinese communists whos are always the worst; most worse than Western communists.
    -for example: When Chinese trade delegation said they want “calm” negotiation, that means negotiation “under the table”, “in secrecy”, in “black magic” ways instead of regular meaning of soft voice, mild atmosphere or in honesty ..etc..

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