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Tariffs on China: Trump knows the price of freedom

April 04, 2018

President Trump announced the U.S. will impose a tax of some $60 billion on imports from China.

[Curtis Ellis | April 2, 2018 | WND]

This comes as punishment for the deliberate cheating and outright theft of U.S. trade secrets by China’s communist government and after decades of inaction by Washington’s supine politicians from both parties.

America’s corporate media complex has been reacting to President Trump’s action negatively. They view his move in a strictly commercial context.

Americans might have to pay more for this or that consumer good, they moan.

Retailers of footwear and apparel, once thriving industries in the U.S. but now captured by China, raise the specter of barefoot Americans dressed in rags as a result of the tariffs.

Further, American farmers and bourbon producers would be the next casualties in a widening “trade war.”

But these Cassandras are missing the essential point: President Trump’s action against China is properly understood in a national security context.

President Trump’s National Security Strategy, released in December, identifies America’s economic strength as an essential pillar of our national security. And that pillar is under assault from China’s economic aggression.

A generation ago, commercial engagement with China’s communist rulers was sold as a national security strategy, based on the flawed assumption that “their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners,” the National Security Strategy explains.

This proved disastrously wrong. What worked with a defeated Germany and Japan did not work with the Celestial Empire.

China has flouted the rules of international trade and violated the agreements it signed when it joined the World Trade Organization.

It has forced foreign companies to surrender their technology to Chinese partners as a precondition for doing business in the People’s Republic.

And that which it wasn’t given, it stole. The People’s Liberation Army hacks into corporate, academic and government computers around the world to grab trade secrets worth billions.

China has used the purloined jewels to set up Chinese companies to directly compete with their American “partners.”

It imposes taxes on American exports 10 times higher than the U.S. imposes on imports from China.

And as China has grown richer, it set out to buy American companies at the cutting edge of technologies it seeks to control, American politicians it seeks to influence, and it built a modern military machine to intimidate its neighbors – and the U.S.

All – repeat all – of these actions are in line with Sun Tzu’s dictum, “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. It is best to win without fighting.”

Chinese military strategy places a premium on deception and winning over influential advisers in the opponents’ leadership circle to breed complacency and turn the opponent’s house in on itself – “breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

In 1993, when Bill Clinton threatened to cut off China’s low-tariff exports to the U.S. following “the butchers of Beijing” massacre at Tiananmen Square, China enlisted the president’s trusted economic counselors, including Larry Summers, Bob Rubin and Laura Tyson, to pull off what is called “the Clinton coup.”

Beijing went to work on advisers in President Clinton’s circle. Mike Pillsbury, China expert and author of “The Hundred-Year Marathon, China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower,” tells WND that China targeted “people who believed in free trade. They didn’t have to subvert them or compromise them in the classic espionage sense.” These advisers have spoken publicly about their role in crafting Washington’s pro-China policy that lived long beyond the Clinton presidency.

These advisers and their colleagues in high places bred complacency by peddling the Cobdenite fantasy that free trade and open borders would make national rivalries, armies and borders themselves anachronistic artifacts of the past.

President Trump recognizes that China is determined to displace the United States as the world’s superpower and is waging economic warfare against us to achieve its goal.

China’s strategy calls for undermining our economic strength so that it will never have to confront us on the battlefield. It is no accident that synthetic heroin made in China is flooding into our country and crippling our people. Beijing knows from its own history with opium addiction that if it is left unchecked, “we shall not only be without soldiers to resist the enemy, but also in want of silver to provide an army.”

We must understand China’s challenge is a threat to our national security, indeed to the continued existence of the United States as a free and independent nation.

The import lobby’s carping about higher consumer prices reminds one of the man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. It is petty if not downright insulting.

To those concerned that a tax on imports could raise the price of a six-pack by a couple of cents, or the cost of a T-shirt by a few cents more, we ask:

What price are you willing to pay to preserve the freedoms and independence so many gave their lives to defend?


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