The China Syndrome
When Air Force One landed in Beijing in February 1972, how many Americans could have envisioned that Richard Nixon’s icebreaking trip to one of this nation’s most ruthless enemies would eventually result in that enemy nation virtually seizing control of the world economy a half-century later.
At the time Nixon normalized relations with Communist China in 1972, Beijing was a virtual fourth-world economy, a great nation whose rich history and great potential was destroyed by the jackboot of totalitarianism. In twenty years, Mao had destroyed the country’s economy, slaughtered sixty million innocents, brought his countrymen to the brink of nuclear war in Korea and unleashed the brutal upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. In comparison, the Republic of China on Taiwan had flourished since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, a free and prosperous nation with one of Asia’s strongest economies.
Nixon’s opening to China was a Metternich-type act of international diplomacy intended to capitalize on the growing split between the Soviet Union and its former Asian client-state as well as an effort to end the Vietnam War. Seven years later, President Carter, in a monumental act of betrayal toward our old and loyal allies on Taiwan, carried Nixon’s action to the next step and formally switched U.S. diplomatic recognition from Taipei to the Butchers of Beijing.
A new class of leaders had emerged in Communist China after the death of Mao in 1976, less wedded to doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist ideology and more committed to economic and military power. Leaders such as Deng Xiaoping saw the opportunities for attracting Western capital and investment to a nation impoverished and decimated from thirty years of Mao’s rule. American capitalists were only too happy to cooperate, seeing the massive potential in a consumer market of 1 billion people still consigned to riding bicycles as their chief means of transportation. As Lenin once said, the Western capitalists would sell the Communists the rope with which the latter would hang them. Rope-selling began in earnest in the 1980s.
In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was a paltry $6 million. Within four years, it had risen to $6 billion and by 1999, it had skyrocketed to $68 billion. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, Beijing was granted so-called “Most Favored Nation” trade status which provided for lower tariffs and other trade concessions, despite its sales of sensitive military technology to hostile actors and its continued human rights abuses including the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square as well as its persecution of Christians. President Bill Clinton granted Communist China permanent MFN status in 2000 and helped usher in its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. After those actions, China’s efforts to gain global economic supremacy moved into high gear with the clear and unqualified support of a United States government beholden to those giant corporations whose profits would soar as a result of offsourcing their labor costs to a nation that still employed slave labor in many of its factories. Far from “free trade,” the MFN-WTO policies of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations involved the calculated and systematic stripping of America’s manufacturing sector and shipping it to an enemy nation.
One by one, leading American industries from coal, steel and textiles to automobiles and electronics moved to China. China became the world’s number one producer of steel, coal, and cars. In 2010, China’s production of steel was nearly ten times that of the United States. 60,000 American factories were lost and 3.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2017. The trade deficit reached an all-time high of $420 billion in 2018 while the Economic Policy Institute reports that the wages of all non-college graduates dropped by $180 billion per year due to the China Syndrome.
And, these job losses weren’t simply based in the industrial heartland of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where boarded-up factories and ghost-towns dominate the landscape and the opioid crisis overwhelms communities where hope was lost just as the jobs were lost. 1.2 million jobs vanished in the high-tech economy where Apple, IBM, HP and others saw unlimited profits in paying Chinese workers a fraction of the pay of their American cohorts. 562,000 jobs were lost in California alone.
The World Trade Organization – which is itself an unconstitutional entity as it cedes congressional control over international commerce to an unelected body of UN bureaucrats – was sold to Americans as a way of “keeping China in line.”
It has done nothing of the sort. Beijing routinely flouts international trade standards as a matter of policy, from levying tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers to massive subsidies to state industries, lax labor and environmental law enforcement, currency manipulation, and outright theft of intellectual property. U.S. companies are often forced to hand over their trade secrets in order to do business on the mainland.
Communist China has a long-term plan to become the globe’s number one economic superpower. It is called Project 2035. With a compliant, controlled, and cheap work force of 1.4 billion people, it can easily reach that objective unless it is forcefully confronted. The fact that a series of American politicians and policymakers of both parties have, for more than two decades, actively abetted and advanced Beijing’s plans is little more than economic treason.
Not only have the livelihoods of millions of innocent working Americans been cruelly sacrificed to the gods of uber-profits, but our own financial and national security have been gravely endangered. Beijing has been America’s banker for years, currently owning more than $1 trillion of our debt. If they stop buying our bonds, the dollar could crash. We are dependent on China for 20 of 23 strategic minerals, including rare earth minerals used for military equipment such as jet engines, lasers, satellites, and missile guidance systems. And, in the midst of the over-hyped Covid-19 crisis, we are dependent on China for hundreds of life-saving medications, including 97% of antibiotics.
It is way past time to end our dependence on Communist China. It is way past time to bring our supply chains back home. It is way past time to end the economic surrender to Beijing. Corporate America and the Communist Chinese regime are hooked at the hip. They would like nothing better than to bring down President Trump for threatening their unholy alliance. Don’t think that the Coronavirus scare isn’t part of their plan. If they can get Trump out of the way, they can return to business as usual and hand the keys of the global economy over to Xi Jinping. Let’s not let them get away with it.
Dr. James Veltmeyer is a prominent La Jolla physician voted “Top Doctor” in San Diego County in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Dr. Veltmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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