China's Chernobyl

There’s no debate that the COVID-19 pandemic threw the United States and the developed world into a crisis of massive proportions. Much like the Soviets in 1986, ineffective actions and misinformation released by Chinese leaders turned a terrible situation into a deadly disaster. As White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, clearly stated in a recent White House briefing: Chinese leaders misled the world about the severity of Coronavirus and prevented leaders from calibrating their responses to the novel threat. 

This is China’s Chernobyl, and America must hold the country’s government to account. This is not a commentary on the Chinese people. It is an indictment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Over 30,000 Chinese Americans reside in Las Vegas, Nevada alone. They’re our American brothers and sisters, and let’s not forget that they pledge allegiance to the same flag that we do. But Nevada’s economy will be hit hard by this pandemic, and we’re abdicating our responsibility if we don’t acknowledge the CCP’s role in how COVID-19 has destroyed our economy, ruined normal social life, and most importantly, taken the lives of nearly 20,000 Americans to date. 

As is typical with Communist regimes, the CCP continues to gaslight the world about what happened and who is truly responsible. They paint a picture about their response being effective, and constantly act as if they were not the genesis of Coronavirus. They use sophisticated digital efforts to spread fake news – saying American military is responsible for the global Coronavirus outbreak. They plant fawning articles in Western press outlets which promulgate a narrative about the adequacy of their response and how they lend material support to stricken countries. Americans cannot allow these false claims to go unanswered. Each one of us must demand that our elected officials, at all levels of government – especially Congress, take a tough stance against China as our nation rebuilds, recovers, and heals in the coming months. 

Business leaders and policymakers have fooled themselves into believing Chinese leaders are benevolent and useful partners. And, why wouldn’t they? 1.4 billion customers, low wage workers, manufacturing capacity, financing opportunities, and purchasers of American debt. 

As the owner and operator of a custom fabrication manufacturing company, I know firsthand how difficult it is to compete against cheap, inferior, and often unsafe Chinese products which flood the American market. Time and time again, they’ve won, and my company has lost. However, some businesses have thrived, some people have become rich, we Americans received cheap products, and Congress was given license to keep on spending the hard-earned dollars of us American taxpayers. Meanwhile, the CCP entrenched themselves in our supply chain, making us reliant on them for everything from iPhones to life-saving medications. They hacked our government records and in turn, exposed background checks of American civil servants with security clearances – including undercover CIA officers in China. They essentially kneecapped American companies when they stole intellectual property and technology from us. On top of that, they’ve used their newfound economic prowess to influence international organizations and become the banker for a great many of the the world’s nations. 

There’s a stark reality here, one that’s become very clear as our nation grapples with the effects of this pandemic. And, that is: we have been playing for dividends and cheap goods all this time – while the CCP has been playing for keeps. America has been dangerously dependent on China. And, unfortunately for us, that will continue for as long as the benefits outweigh the bad. 

Well, here we are – on the first page of a brand-new chapter in our world’s history. The time has come for the United States to open our eyes. If the Coronavirus hasn’t yet changed your mind about our nation’s economy, the next twenty years will. China’s emergence and our dependence presents a long-term challenge to the United States and our interests. Ad-hoc approaches will not work with an adversary like China. We need to think decades, not days and months, when developing our posture. We cannot contain China the way we did the Soviet Union. They are far too intertwined in the global economy for this approach to be realistic or effective. Unlike the Soviet Union, who primarily wanted to export their political system, the CCP’s primary goal is maintaining control over China. In order to respond we will need allies, pressure, and to take steps that are in our national interest. 

There are many policy options, but there are some actions we can take to better position our nation for the road ahead. We must:

  • Establish protocols and triggers that limit travel to/from China in the event of another outbreak 
  • Bring vital supply chain infrastructure to the United States
  • Negotiate a free trade agreement with Taiwan 
  • End forced technology transfers 
  • Take aggressive and punitive responses to the theft of Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Increase participation in the East Asian Summit and ASEAN forums while also strengthening the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (The Quad) 
  • Ban the use of all Huawei and ZTE products at the local, state, and federal levels of government as well as at any American company that deals with our nation’s critical infrastructure

It’s not too late to fix this. With open eyes, a long-term outlook, and forceful actions – this crisis can lead to meaningful policy changes that will ensure America remains the leader of the world. 

Image Source: Rare Historical Photos

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