President Trump set a 90-day deadline for China to negotiate terms to end its predatory trade practices. After 30 years of empty promises, we’ll see if Beijing is serious.
Famously anticommunist Ayn Rand said, “Check your premises.”
This is a good time to check our premises for doing business with the greatest Communist power on earth.
We were told integrating our economy with China would make China more free and an ally of the U.S. It would be good for our national security.
To paraphrase Clausewitz, trade would be war by other means.
We would defeat Communism not with our missiles, armies and navies, but with our jobs, factories and capital. As China became more prosperous, it would become more free, democratic, capitalist.
We can now see that the premises were disastrously wrong.
The Communist Party’s grip on power is stronger than ever, China is not even close to a free-market economy, and it’s become a powerful rival rather than a trustworthy ally. Every dollar we spend in Aisle 6 of Wal-Mart buys missiles pointed at our Navy in the Pacific.
We sent China our brawn in the form of jobs and factories, and now we are surrendering our brains – research labs, engineering expertise and intellectual capital.
But having found the premise for trading with China (“it will make China free and friendly!”) wrong, one might logically ask why we are doing business with the Red regime at all.
However, the people who’ve made careers (and fortunes) steering us on the present path would rather change premises than change course. Their new justifications don’t stand up to scrutiny.
They say upsetting current trade relations with China “would be bad for the global economy.”
Hidden in this statement is the dubious premise that Washington policy should be guided by what’s good for the global economy even if it’s not good for America.
As it stands now, the pace-setter for that global economy is a Communist tyranny that doesn’t recognize private property (intellectual or otherwise), unalienable rights endowed by our Creator and other American values. Beijing understands they’re in the driver’s seat of “the rules-based international order” and is desperate to keep everyone on board.
The other “benefit” apologists point to is “lower prices for consumers!”
Of course, this reasoning could (and has been) used to excuse child labor, slavery, price controls, watered-down booze, shoplifting and any number of discredited and illegal practices.
Importantly, it ignores the fact that one can only be a consumer to the extent that one is first a producer, that is, has a job and earns money. Abraham Lincoln and the founders of the Republican Party understood this and sought to raise incomes for Americans by fostering a variety of industries on these shores.
Since the goalposts justifying our much-ballyhooed economic integration with China keep moving, one would be forgiven for suspecting something else is driving the policy.
The fact is, Wall Street financiers and consultants, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, pocketed fortunes advising corporations to move to China where they could tap government subsidies, exploit cheap labor and export the finished goods back to America tax-free.
It’s time to get back to first principles and ditch the “global citizen” gobbledygook.
Our China policy should be guided by what’s good for America and Americans – all Americans – not Wall Street investment bankers, political fixers and “the global economy.”
Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal reports, “Even if both sides reach an agreement on trade, both the U.S. and China are likely to continue to decouple their high-tech supply chains, trying to exclude the other on national-security grounds.”
Ayn Rand would be pleased we checked our premises and came up with a new one – America First.