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While the Left continues to lose its mind over Russia and the fairytale of collusion, the fact is Russia simply is not a real threat to the future of our democracy. By any measure, the threat to America’s future freedom is China.
When Trump first brought up the issue of tariffs, a great wailing erupted from the free traders on the Right decrying that he was about to begin a trade war. While it’s a convenient narrative to say that this is about a trade war, it’s fundamentally not that at all. Sure, if tariffs really did kick in and goods were to go up in price, and if in response to this China slapped tariffs on American goods, there would be a trade war. But think of tariffs on steel and aluminum as an opening salvo, a skirmish, about something far bigger: we are already immersed in economic warfare with China, in a great struggle to see who controls the technology of the future and what our future as a country really looks like.
The reason Trump must play hardball with China on trade right now is that China doesn’t want to win an economic competition in a free trade arena and it doesn’t want trade partners: it wants to dominate and create tributaries.
What Does America Want to Be?
With upwards of $3.5 trillion in forced technology transfers over the last decade, a figure we could actually double when we toss in outright theft, China declared economic warfare on us decades ago. Throw in the fact that China has been flooding our markets with subsidized goods, in steel and other sectors, in attempts to destroy our capabilities for national security and we’ve come right to the edge of a very real threat against it: what superpower in its right mind would ever concede its abilities to produce steel and aluminum? So all of this talk of a trade war is lost on many who are looking at a much broader picture.
Because this confrontation with China isn’t really about a trade war. It’s not even about Donald Trump, the Republican Party, or even the 2018 midterms.
It’s about who we want to be as a people 20 or 30 years from now and whether we actually want to be free.
Because on an even higher level, this is about a totalitarian state versus a free society, and without even a shot being fired, a totalitarian state potentially bringing us, and our way of life, to our knees through economic coercion. Based on the trends, and where we are right now, this might be one of the last chances to fight.
And if we don’t fight, we will regret it for the next 100 years.
Free Trade Naïveté
No matter how many free traders tell us that China needs to buy our goods, it’s naïve to think that will continue for much longer. The current Chinese regime has its “Made in China 2025” effort underway. The goal of this program is for Chinese industries to possess 80 percent of their home market in the listed sectors that include: new advanced information technology; automated machine tools and robotics; aerospace and aeronautical equipment; maritime equipment and high-tech shipping; modern rail transport equipment; new-energy vehicles and equipment; power-generating equipment; agricultural equipment; new materials; and bio-pharma and advanced medical products.
To be clear, China is on the path domestically to producing as many products as possible only seven years from now. The Chinese have no intention of buying American goods in perpetuity. Ask yourself what happens when the tables turn in the very near future and China no longer needs our goods, continues to control a decent size of our debt, and has helped devalue the American dollar so much that it’s no longer the international monetary standard?
Instead of people losing their minds over trade wars, perhaps they should step back and realize that we are on the road to becoming a tributary state of China’s. Yet right now, Beijing is bluffing big time. The Chinese economy is far more fragile than people think. And if their economy collapses, the regime collapses. President Xi and his government cannot engage in a destructive trade war with the United States. It’s simply a question of survival for them.
So now is the time to force a change in the rules of engagement and demand the Chinese accept new rules. For starters, they will stop stealing our technology through forced transfers and will allow American companies full market access.
Instead of Trump pulling back on tariffs, he should come back with $400 billion in tariffs and keep raising the stakes until China folds. And trust me, if China sees that the American people are supporting Trump in this, China will fold.