Donald Trump is the first U.S. President to stand up to Communist China in almost 50 years. Beginning with President Nixon, who was then under the spell of Henry Kissinger, presidents of both parties have endlessly appeased China.
Once known as “Red China” to distinguish the mainland regime from the anti-communist Chinese who fled to Taiwan in 1949, the communist dictators have stolen our intellectual property for decades. This is the same tyrannical China against which millions of people in Hong Kong are protesting now.
Starting with George H.W. Bush, who began his rise to the presidency by acting as Gerald Ford’s liaison to China, politicians in both political parties embraced a phony “free trade” with China. Millions of American manufacturing jobs were lost, and China used its growing trade surplus to build a massive arsenal against which we must now defend ourselves.
China exported a staggering amount of goods to the United States in 2018, totaling $539.5 billion, while allowing only $120.3 billion of American goods to be sold in China. This created a record trade deficit of more than $400 billion.
Despite our massive patronage of Chinese companies, in 2018 the communist Chinese government cut back on the small amount of American goods they allowed to be sold. There was a nearly 10% drop in its purchases of American farm products, particularly corn and soybeans.
Like the weather in Mark Twain’s famous quip, everyone complains about China’s abusive trade practice, but nobody does anything about it. No one, that is, until Donald J. Trump became president.
Trump adviser Peter Navarro explains that tariffs against China are needed to end its “cyber intrusion into our business networks, forced technology transfer in exchange for market access, intellectual property theft, … currency manipulation, and killing Americans with fentanyl.”
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both promised to take action against China’s exploitation of us in trade and other ways, but neither did. Both ex-presidents are now enjoying a comfortable retirement, but American workers have continued to lose ground in the global economy, and China is a big reason why wages have not improved in decades.
President Trump has made a start and has much more work ahead to put American workers back on top.