by Jeffery Rendall
Mark Twain once famously said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”*
Twain said and wrote a lot of quirky/funny things in his lifetime but this particular observation is one of his most relevant and quotable because its analogical truth fits just about any situation. And the wisdom certainly works these days when thinking about the hegemonic and totalitarian nation that is communist China. American politicians have been griping and moaning about Asia’s self-possessed and secretive Middle Kingdom for a generation, but none — except for President Donald Trump — ever seriously proposed backing up the rhetoric with actual policy gravitas.
Trump’s concentration and emphasis on trade has been a refreshing departure from previous presidents of both parties who waxed poetically about “fair trade” and “helping American producers” but then went about making sure global powers like China had much leeway to dictate their own terms for sending goods across the seas while maintaining barriers to United States-made products at home. In China’s case, the country has manipulated its currency for years so as to protect Chinese industries — a gigantic corporate welfare subsidy that makes consumer goods — and everything else — appear inexpensive to the world’s buying public.
As a result of China’s cheating, its manufacturers have cornered the market on just about everything we might seek in a store. If you don’t believe it, take a half hour and walk around Costco or Home Depot or Walmart and check the package labels to see where the item was fashioned. Chances are it’s China, which in normal times wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing — after all, trade and opportunities to purchase reasonably priced products has improved everyone’s standard of living, particularly those in the lower income strata. We’ve all benefitted to some degree. But now we’re suffering.
Like with everything else, there must be balance in trade. How badly do we need to save a few cents or a few dollars on something if it means China’s getting away with blood-free economic murder by edging out similar items from America or one of our legitimate trading partners?
The Chinese have ruthlessly stolen our technology and personal data, too. And that’s not even mentioning worldwide patents, copyrights and intellectual property violated without compensating the brains and artists behind the creations. They’ve infiltrated our universities (Confucius Institutes), too, with covert attempts to spread their collectivist anti-American propaganda, passing it off as mainstream.
If there is to be anything good stemming from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic panic, it’s the fact Americans have “got woke” to the realities of China and what the competitor/enemy represents. Not the Chinese people, mind you, who suffer under a repressive mind-controlling regime that dictates practically everything to them and monitors their daily lives to ensure allegiance and deference to the establishment. But underneath the smiles and pleasantries of the ruling elites is a sinister plan to dominate the world.
No more, some say. There’s a movement afoot (in Congress and among business leaders) to relocate vital industries from China to domestic soil. Many U.S. companies manufacture their products overseas to take advantage of cheap labor and (perhaps) more lax environmental laws and labor restrictions, which has many questioning whether the practices of the recent past are worth it in times of crisis. Money is money, and the global supply chain has become incredibly complex and interwoven, but gradually turning away from China is a possibility if there’s a will for it. For a lot of folks, it’s a question of when, not if.
Politics, as it always does, enters the equation. One of many pressing matters American voters will mull over this fall is China (and greater trade) policy. Since polls show Americans largely approve of President Donald Trump’s handling of the government’s coronavirus response, Democrats and nominee-in-waiting Joe Biden are trying out fresh ways to jab at the president on the China issue and perhaps at the same time, discover an effective and strategic line of attack.
Byron York wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Biden has criticized the president directly. On Jan. 31 (the day Trump imposed travel restrictions on China), Biden, discussing the virus during a campaign stop in Iowa, said, ‘This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, and fear-mongering, to lead the way instead of science.’ Last week, when Trump referred to coronavirus as a ‘Chinese virus,’ Biden said it again, tweeting, ‘Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering.’
“Now, Biden says he does not want to engage in that sort of dialogue. ‘The American people don’t want us in a political fight,’ he told The View, ‘and I want no part of a political fight, either.’”
Anyone believe it? Ol’ Grampa Joe doesn’t do anything that isn’t political despite his insistence that he’s got great pals on both sides of the aisle and can “get stuff done” where others would fail because they’re not chums with the powerful elites. While it’s true Biden does know practically everyone in the Washington swamp, just his ties to China alone should give people pause even if they’re not overly fond of Trump.
It’s no coincidence that the two countries Obama tasked Biden with handling are Ukraine and China, and therefore there’s no great mystery as to why those two nations — on two different continents — have dominated political discourse for the past year or so (or is it longer?). Joe’s taken his back slappin’, pearly white tooth grinnin’, hair sniffin’, nude swimmin’, child repellin’ and influence peddlin’ act around the world, but he’s especially fond of Chinese and Ukrainian fare.
And we recognize that Joe’s a bit long in the tooth mentally but he’s going to have to get used to keeping proper social distance from now on. Think about it — has Biden sniffed his final coif? Are children now safe from his wandering hands…or will he just wear a surgical mask and gloves to sustain his old habits?
Needless to say, disgraced son Hunter’s benefitted from his dad’s willingness to make deals and demands of foreign authorities. As far as anyone knows, Hunter doesn’t speak either language (Ukrainian or Chinese) but it hasn’t kept him from wading waste deep into the swampy ooze of corruption and backroom dealing. For all we’ve been told, Joe’s done the same thing, though the elder Biden’s made plenty of dough off his political connections his whole life — it would be hard to trace.
Still, Biden recognizes that dragging China into the 2020 election discussion is a certain loser for him because there’s simply no way he can come out looking clean. This is even truer now that the Ukraine/impeachment thing flamed out so spectacularly, with his family name being exposed to the world. Who knows if anyone thinks about those days anymore, but certainly his too-close-for-comfort connections with China will more than likely be front and center in the fall campaign.
Realizing the damage potential, the establishment media won’t make a big deal of Biden’s China syndrome, but President Trump will treat Biden’s dubious connections like the goose that continues laying political golden eggs. From here on out the campaign will revolve around the coronavirus, Trump’s response to it, where it came from, who should pay, how we’ll treat future pandemics and who voters would trust more with the reins of power when those contingencies arrive on our doorstep. There will also be an element of who’s more competent to manage the severe economic consequences from all of this.
Hint: it ain’t smilin’ Joe Biden.
Because of China’s complicity with coronavirus, national security and foreign relations are guaranteed a front and center seat in every campaign related conversation. These issues all play right into Trump’s strong points since he’s demonstrated a keen ability to negotiate trade deals, as well as a talent for extricating the country from bad past agreements like Obama’s disastrous Iran sell-out and the livelihood-destroying Paris climate accord.
Coronavirus and last week’s record congressional relief package will also thrust budget responsibility into the equation. Democrats like Biden don’t like talking about the need for austerity, so how will the government’s new liabilities affect Joe’s pitch to voters? It’ll be harder than ever to convince people they need to give up their gasoline powered vehicles for hybrids or electric cars since oil prices have bottomed out and will remain low in the indefinite future.
Unstable times will definitely make it harder for Biden to sell his utopian environmental fantasies too. Imagine Democrat consultants telling Joe to stuff a shoe in his mouth whenever the nominee opens up on the need to ban additional fracking (goodbye, Pennsylvania and Ohio!) and make costly publicly-sponsored slush payments to windmill and solar panel boondoggles. Those days are over! Americans are focusing on their own survival these days, not chasing pipedreams like carbon neutral airplanes and ridding the planet of petroleum fertilizers… or flatulating cows.
Who knows, maybe China will take a page out of the Democrats’ book and dump tons of money into “clean energy” and “climate change”. But then again, to the Chinese, it’s all about profit and world market domination, so they’ll take a pass on restricting their own emissions. Democrats will still love ‘em anyway!
Biden’s virtual disappearance from the radar screen of late has some folks speculating the party might try and replace him at the top of the Democrat ticket with a different, more palatable candidate. Roger L. Simon wrote at The Epoch Times, “Who will be the first Democratic leader to approach Joe Biden and (gently) ask him to withdraw from his party’s presidential nomination in favor of Andrew Cuomo? Or has it already happened? The hashtag #PresidentCuomo has been making the rounds on Twitter for more than a week now…
“Unlike almost all Democrats and media, he doesn’t seem overly infected by Trump Derangement Syndrome and was able to work productively with the president, while opposing him at other times—a difficult balancing act for a Democrat…
“[T]hough I doubt Cuomo could defeat Trump, my guess is he would ultimately fare better than the increasingly hapless Biden, who might be headed for electoral disaster.”
While it’s likely true that buyer’s remorse afflicted Democrat voters are experiencing stomach pangs over the prospect of Joe Biden representing them against President Trump in November, there’s no way flavor-of-the-hour Andrew Cuomo could come in this late and wrest the nomination away from Obama’s right-hand man and best bud Grampa Joe.
Biden would never go for it. And though Cuomo has gained a great deal of national exposure as one of the faces of the battle against coronavirus, he hasn’t been vetted, and, the New Yorker’s got his own issue skeletons in the closet that aren’t visible to the naked eye. It’s fun to speculate over such things, but it won’t happen.
There’s lots to complain about China in these difficult times, and as Mark Twain famously said about the weather, no one was doing anything about it. That all changed when Donald Trump ran for and won the presidency, and he’ll continue to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their complicity in the coronavirus pandemic.
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Jeffery Rendall is a senior contributor to ConservativeHQ.
Photo “Joe Biden at Everytown” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.