As the Cold War was winding down in 1989 the military/industrial complex needed a new enemy. Muslim jihadists with their strange unfamiliarity were the ultimate villains. We were driven out of Iraq and then Afghanistan. Putting missiles on Russia’s western border brought us a new spending stream. CBS News did an excellent documentary showing that 70% of U.S. aid to Ukraine was unaccounted for but soon took it down.
A huge number of products Americans buy are labeled “Made in China.” Donald Trump saw this as a way to put a face on the enemy in order to gain power. His tariffs raised prices for U.S. manufacturers but did nothing to punish China. A big hoorah went up instead of an admission of failure. Mr. Biden’s offensive against China is subsidies for American companies who can’t compete with their Chinese counterparts.
Pick a media source and look at it for two minutes and you can see who a person’s preferred enemy of the day is. For instance, viewers of CNN, NPR, or MSNBC fear the “far right.” Readers of The Epoch Times are convinced China is our enemy. Will they storm our beaches? Raid our bank accounts? September 11 proved that leaving these matters to government is a bad idea.
The military maneuvers in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (which happens to overlap such zones of neighboring countries) makes gullible U.S. officials think that China is about to attack. But China has more invested in Taiwan than in the United States and is their largest trading partner. Trade is the reason for their peace.
Of Richard Nixon’s notable accomplishments, good or bad, is the normalization of relations with China. If we think about Americans’ lifestyles since that time, a dominant element has been affordable labor saving and recreational products. We can thank Nixon for a part of our comfortable existence.
The other part we can give credit to is Chinese capitalism. Once there was a farmer who was concerned about his continued poverty despite the promise of the Cultural Revolution. The powers-that-be in his village decided to allow him to keep a portion of his crops so he and his family could subsidize the meager stipend that was returned to him by their Marxist system. His productivity improved so much that they allowed the whole village this taste of creeping capitalism.
The rest is history. Chinese capitalism has empowered it to become our most important trading partner.
The military/industrial complex has been joined by climate and other profiteers whose products would never sell given the free choice of consumers. We are quickly mimicking the communist China of the past as a reaction to the perceived China threat. Their advantage is legalization of private property. Our disadvantage is not lack of subsidies to inefficient producers, it is those very subsidies that reward failure.
China fits the definition of ally better than almost any country on Earth. Yet against the greater good of our people, it looks like we will fall for the scams of the crony-capitalists once again.
There is hardly another country who returns our friendship better than China. Trade enforces that relationship, keeps the peace, and supports our luxurious lifestyle.