For conservatives, many important issues may have “lost” on Election Day: religious liberty, charter schools, gun rights, energy independence and freedom of speech on campus, to name just a few.
But the most important prospective loss will be sustained by America’s working class through a Joe Biden-sponsored “back to the future” relationship with China.
To be fair, Mr. Biden has never attempted to hide his disdain for the tough-on-China, America-first approach of President Trump. Biden has in fact long maintained dovish views toward America’s primary economic and military competitor. Recall the famous assurances, “They are not bad folks … they are not competition for us” from the campaign trail.
Indeed, China engagement and economic assistance were in vogue during Biden’s long Senate tenure, and especially during his vice presidency. All along, Biden and leaders of both party establishments minimized China’s competitive edge – and rapidly swelling and dangerous military might. Nine years ago, Biden went so far as to endorse Beijing’s “one-child policy” – before being forced to walk it back in the face of intense criticism.
Former Obama Defense Secretary Bob Gates once quipped and later reiterated that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
With respect to China, the denominator for bad decisions is the prospect of over a billion Chinese consumers. For Wall Street, that’s an awful lot of automobiles, athletic jerseys and pancake mix. Of course, the price of admission is high: Sustained acquiescence to the Chinese government’s authoritarian control. And so no anti-China rhetoric from you, NBA!
It is an indulgent behavior that Washington had grown quite accustomed to pre-Trump. Both party establishments provided lip service to China’s notorious campaign of intellectual property theft for decades. (The federal government estimates such theft cost the U.S. as much as $600 billion a year – not to mention gigantic ill-gotten profits going forward.)
A lesser-known element of China’s theft and indoctrination network has been the establishment of so-called “Confucius Institutes” on our college campuses, a network of partnerships funded in part by the Chinese ministry of education.
These stand-alone institutes were supposed to advance understanding of Chinese language and culture, but have more recently been viewed as Trojan-horse propaganda organs of the Chinese government.
Such concerns were tangibly addressed in the 2019 Defense Authorization Act that forced colleges to choose between maintaining their institutes or receiving program dollars from the Defense Department. More and more schools are choosing “B.”
Today, China’s aggression extends to the four corners of the globe.
Military provocations in the Formosa Strait aimed at Taiwan are regular occurrences. Relentless artificial island-building in the South China Sea leaves Southwest Asia unsettled and intimidated. Increased suppression of speech and assembly is crushing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. And offensive cyber campaigns directed against U.S. political and defense targets grow exponentially.
None of this is surprising to long-time observers of the regime. Its brutality is matched by a relentless censorship machine. History reminds us that all of the killer “-isms” (Marxism, communism, fascism, socialism) deconstruct history rather than teach it. It’s the only way they can survive – and thrive. (Quick question: How many American college students even know about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989?)
And so today the cover-up and accompanying propaganda regarding the origins of COVID-19 continues apace, enabled by the World Health Organization – a once-respected entity now almost completely compromised by Chinese money and influence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping well understands the ways and means of projecting power and influence around the globe. His influence campaigns are supported by an economy that is now the second-largest in the world and a military (2.8 million soldiers) that is twice as large as Uncle Sam’s.
Back to the present. A Trump-inspired momentum has the American working class leaning GOP these days. Biden and a new internationalist Democratic Party understand the trend – and appear willing to pay the political price (their candidate presumably won the presidency, after all).
And so a more important question arises: Is Joe Biden so blinded by Silicon Valley and Wall Street commercial interests that he will follow a laissez-faire attitude toward Beijing’s unrelenting aggression? His China-friendly staff selections to this point in time ominously lean in that direction. Further bad news: If he wakes up from his misconceptions, the danger of Chinese miscalculation looms large.
Americans are not accustomed to “also-ran” status. But China engagement from a position of weakness will ensure just that. So, will 74 million deplorables – and other out-of-fashion America-firsters – come to accept second place? Don’t bet on it.
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