Politics

Establishment Blunders in Asia Elevate Trump

He's the only candidate emphasizing looming danger from China

The latest news from Asia shows why Americans are so angry with their leaders over globalization.

The severe downturn in China’s financial markets is having a major impact on Americans. Of course, it’s not that surprising that a Communist dictatorship would have economic problems. But it is outrageous that a bipartisan collection of U.S. policymakers served as China enablers for decades, allowing the nation to become so large and powerful that mistakes in Beijing can have devastating consequences in Detroit.

Americans are also unnerved by the latest threats from North Korea’s possible testing of the H-bomb. But we no longer have much leverage in that part of the world — China’s government is now so strong that it can pretty much ignore us on every issue. Again, this is a direct result of decade after decade of mistakes by the bipartisan Establishment, who based all of their policies on the naive premise that China would become a responsible stakeholder in the global order. And now that it is obvious that China is not willing to rein in North Korea, our government is left with very few good options.

Unfortunately, the only presidential candidate who talks seriously about China is Donald Trump. Instead of making China a priority, our foreign policy debates continue to be dominated by the same old arguments about the Middle East. But while we have wasted trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives, in a futile effort to change that part of the world, our position in Asia has become almost hopeless.

Some have said that China’s recent financial slide suggests we can safely continue to ignore it. This week, Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, noting China’s market slide, scoffed at those who have warned about the China threat. This is absurd. China is the second largest economy in the world. It has the world’s biggest army, with some 2.3 million personnel. It has an immense and expanding navy and air force, a virulent cyberwarfare capability, and has spent hundreds of billions on advanced military weaponry, including sophisticated space weaponry.

It is in a position to dominate East Asia, a region with 22 percent of the world’s population, about a quarter of the world’s GDP, and two of our most important allies in Japan and South Korea. It is simply ludicrous to use the never-ending turmoil in the Middle East as an excuse to avoid having a real debate over China.

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But, of course, the real reason the bipartisan Establishment doesn’t want to talk about China, or Asia, or globalization, is because they have nothing good to offer the American people. They know their policies have failed for most Americans, but they know the Donor Class loves those same policies. The latter will fight tooth and nail to prevent any change. The Establishment has made our bed, and now we have to lie in it. And they will seize on any excuse to avoid talking about that basic fact.

Now back to 2016. No one in the 2016 presidential race has spent more time raising the red flag (pun intended) about China than Donald Trump. The elites mock his statements about China, ridicule his “protectionist” impulses. Given this backdrop, one can hardly blame American voters for being disgusted with the leadership of both parties and for wanting an outsider like Donald Trump to restore America’s economic and foreign policy might.

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