I think history will mark the end of the peaceful recent generation as the moment that Donald Trump got up to speak at the United Nations and declared that, for him, America came first. He urged other nations to do the same. Life would be better for everybody that way.
It won’t. In recent weeks (it’s been that quick) our view of China has gone from friendly competitor who might soon surpass us on the world stage—oh well, you win some, you lose some—to the rising of a beast that must be confronted.
What is the cause of this sudden change in our viewpoint?
Our leader has denounced international trade. Now it’s nation by nation. In the past, for example, when the wealthy Arabs built Dubai, we applauded them. It was not a threat It was a new Las Vegas, a new destination for holidays. A friendly competitor, in a small country ruled by a prince.
At the present time, China is financing a new capital city for Egypt to replace the crumbling facilities in Cairo. It will be on the Nile nearby to Cairo in what is now desert, and will be built to have a population of about 6 million people. The investment for China is $11 billion.
Why China and not the United States? The U.S. is withholding funds because human rights issues are being violated in Egypt.
Here’s a quote from General Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, an Egyptian overseeing the construction of the new capital, to The New York Times:
“Stop talking to us about human rights. Come and do business with us. The Chinese are coming—they are seeking win-win situations. Welcome to the Chinese.”
The EU is withholding infrastructure funding for Hungary and Poland for the same reason. So, China has arrived and is financing a superhighway and high-speed rail link from Hungary to Serbia in the Balkans. They’ll be their friend.
International trade has had its problems. American blue-collar workers have been getting the short end of the stick. But working together has kept us out of war. The new nationalism is a war waiting to happen. This is no longer about mankind. America has been #1. That’s the American flag on the moon. We intend to keep it that way. China has this week landed on the far side of the moon. The war could start if the Chinese creep around to the near side of the moon and try to remove our Amercan flag we planted there.
Strangely enough, the editors of The New York Times ordered a long, thoughtful study done about China, truly expecting, I believe, that the result would show our trade war with China to be ill-conceived. Instead, the story support’s Donald Trump’s position. The Times study fills an entire 20-page section of the paper. In its entirety, it’s about 20,000 words. Who reads such long articles? Well, I did.
Its headline is “China Rules.” And the stories that follow would lead you to think that the smiling face of Chairman Xi, now that we have America First and China First, is worth a few million American sons killed or wounded in an attempt to rid the earth of this scourge. Did the editors even read their own story? It comes out the opposite of what until now the Times has espoused. And nowhere in the article do they acknowledge this. They just sound the alarm.
The authors of this study suggest that the high-speed rail link between Hungary and Serbia is a transportation link that will cut through one of the “chokepoints” for goods around the world so they can continue to flow to China, but not anywhere else. The Times identifies five such chokepoints they say the Chinese want to control. They are the Suez Canal, the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Horn of Africa (the Chinese now have a port at Djibouti), the Straits of Malacca and the entrance to the Black Sea between Turkey and Greece. (The Chinese have invested heavily in Piraeus.)
“At any one of these places, an outbreak of hostility could imperil China’s free movement around the world,” the Times reports. They could have said it would imperil the United States’ free movement around the world. Same thing.
The Times writes that, contrary to popular belief, China hates foreigners. “China sees history as Chinese mastery degraded by Colonial depravity. They teach that Chinese mastery led to the invention of the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing.” The Times says Britain brought the Chinese to heel with opium, the Japanese with brutality and the United States by charges of ‘human rights.’” That’s what Chinese educators teach their kids.
The Times fans the flames around the Chinese theft of intellectual property, the subsidizing of state-owned companies to create unfair competition and their dumping many products in America below cost.
Furthermore, the Chinese Navy has taken over the China Sea that is bordered by, in addition to China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam. These waters used to be the playground of America’s Pacific Fleet in the same way that the Caribbean is the playground of America’s Atlantic Fleet. How dare they!
Ready to go to war, ain’t ya?
Let’s review a few things.
When Winston Churchill became prime minister, he said, “I have not become the King’s prime minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” But in the end, with colonies rebelling 10 years after the war ended, he did it anyway, with great grace.
One might note the obvious, which is that 20 years from now, China will be the #1 force in the world, not the United States. This year, America is graduating about 4 million college students. China is graduating 8 million college students. We can’t stop this. They with their 1.6 billion people are the future. We, with our 400 million people, are not. Are we to go to war to stop this?
Ever wonder why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941? Those were the days before the United Nations and before international trade wars. Nations pitted themselves against other nations. Everybody was looking for a win.
The Japanese were taking over the economies and governments of dozens of countries along the Pacific Rim. They were threatening Australia. They were threatening India. In 1940, the Japanese war machine rolled along by buying American oil. President Roosevelt decided to punish the Japanese for brutally expanding their empire. He ordered America to stop selling oil to the Japanese. In response, the Japanese (or as we called them at the time, the Japs), attacked the entire Pacific Fleet in a stroke at Pearl Harbor, sinking most of it. A crippled American Navy couldn’t stop the Japs. The Japanese military would simply take over the oil wells in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar (formerly Burma) by force for their military. It was a bold gamble. And it didn’t work. But they tried anyway.
In the Cold War, the Russians took over other countries by force. Tucking them in behind the Iron Curtain cut off all business with America and made them subservient to a brutal dictatorship in Moscow. America would fall like an apple from a tree. We had to stop them, and we did.
In today’s world of international trade, rivals battle for a piece of the pie and everybody benefits. Toyotas are made in America; McDonald’s does business in Beijing. A Russian owns the Brooklyn Nets. So what?
This new unstoppable powder keg is a toxic mixture of America First businesses and liberals offended by dictators. It will be a unanimous vote. A patriotic one. War.
With America First, all the little countries are taking sides. About a third of those siding with America are corrupt dictatorships where democracy is dead. But we take them in anyway. We just won’t play up those facts in the news. We’ve got to deal with the real bad guys, the Chinese. Our friendly competitor until October. Since October, our mortal enemy. China first.
To be continued.