China’s eight deadly sins in trade policy: a conversation with Peter Navarro

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Peter Navarro, Assistant to President Donald Trump and Director of the Office for Trade and Manufacturing, has joined Hudson Senior Fellow and Director for Chinese Strategy Michael Pillsbury for a conversation and delivered a speech on the status and lessons learned from the ongoing U.S.-China relations.

Here is the full text:

Michael Pillsbury: Well, hello, everyone, we have a real treat today here at Hudson Institute, a major address by the president’s leading intellectual on China who heads the Office of Trade and Manufacturing.

He has a Harvard economics PHD, often refers to himself as someone who represents the blue-collar workers. But somehow he has that Harvard economic PHD on the side.

He’s the author of three best-selling books. One is the Comming China Wars in 2006 that I have here. I’m going to read a sentence or two from it in a minute.

The second is Death by China. And the third, I think,was the best selling of them all, Crouching Tiger.

In all three cases, Dr. Peter Navarro was warning about China and in very great detail, many years in advance of others. This is becoming a major national political issue.

Many people say that China can never be predicted. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. So I want to show how Dr. Navarro is very early and prescient insight shows that’s not true.
Sometimes we do know things about China in advance.

So on page 97 of the Coming China Wars, Dr. Navarro writes, “China has become the world’s prime breeding ground for new and exotic strains of influenza and other viruses, including both a deadly SARS virus and avian flu. The primary reason is that so many different animals live in such close proximity to humans and other species.”

And here’s the punch line. “The resultant cross pollution creates a soup of chemicals and viruses that now threaten the world with the possibility of a pandemic in which tens of millions of people may die.” The only thing wrong with that is only a million have died so far, not tens of millions. But even that may come to be true.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I think, Dr. Navarro is going to speak in a major address that will be available online as well for about 35 to 40 minutes. And then we’ll have 20 minutes of discussion then and questions and answers afterwards.

Dr. Navarro!

Peter Navarro: I’m honored to be back at the Hudson Institute, if only in virtual space. Unfortunately, these are the virtual times we live in.

And at least of the things I want to talk to you about today is the central role of Communist China in bringing these difficult times upon America, upon the American President and upon the rest of the world.

Let’s not mince words here. Communist China is directly responsible for infecting our own nation and our president with a deadly virus that has put tens of millions of Americans out of work, inflicted trillions of dollars in economic damages, and has killed over two hundred thousand American souls.

I call it Communist China that’s what it is. This is a country run by a dictatorial Chinese Communist Party with a mercantilist economy owned, controlled and operated by the CCP for the purpose of plundering America and the rest of the world while enslaving ethnic and religious minorities within its own borders.

The Hudson Insitute is no stranger to such concerns. In fact, I chose the Hudson Institute for these remarks because within America’s many think-tanks, no people have thought more about the existential and mercantilist threats Communist China poses to America and the world than the scholars with needs, at least for now, mostly virtual walls.

Let me get begin these remarks then with some perspective on one of the most pivotal turning points in American history.

In 2001, the year Communist China joined the World Trade Organization, the United States was still the center of the global manufacturing universe.

With the passage of NAFTA in 1994 had already begun to erode targeted portions of our manufacturing base in industries like furniture and textiles and in states like North Carolina and Michigan. Over 17 million blue-collar mean and women still worked in America’s factories. Manufacturing employment, representing nearly fifteen percent of total employment, and the average wage of manufacturing workers was 50 percent above the national average.

What followed after a predatory and mercantilist Communist China joined the WTO and proceeded to break all of the WTO rules was nothing short of blue-collared carnage.

Over the next 15 years, America would lose over 70,000 factories and more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. Also lost was the expertise of America’s skilled craftsmen and machine tool making, electronic, ship-building and other perishable skills critical to our manufacturing supply chain and defense industrial base.

By 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, total manufacturing jobs had fallen to 12.3 million, while manufacturing jobs as a percentage of total employment had been cut nearly in half to 8.5%.

And over that 15 years period, real wages grew by only 3%. Not 3% per year, but 3% over the entire 15 year period.

That’s the wages of globalists’ sin, wage stagnation, plain and simple.

With this withering of America’s manufacturing base and stagnation of blue-collar wages, families across our manufacturing communities, particularly across a Midwest swath that ran from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania were torn apart, as beautiful neighborhood homes dissolved into abandoned houses in the corrosive acid of globalism.

The disintegration of families, along with depression and opioid addiction, would take a devastating human toll.

All of this blue-collar carnage happen because politicians on both Capitol Hill and in the White House shoehorn Communist China into the World Trade Organization, said Bill Clinton, has he campaigned on behalf of Communist China? In 2000, the WTO agreement would be, “the equivalent of a one-way street.”

Bill Clinton was absolutely right about that. He just got the direction wrong.

For blue-collared Americans, China’s entry into the WTO was an express lane right from the factory jobs of America to the sweatshops and pollution havens of Beijing and Shanghai and Guangzhou.

If there is one thing in 2020 that is crystal clear, that is this:  Donald J. Trump’s economic nationalism has fundamentally changed America’s understanding of the China threat.

This Trumpian transformation in American attitudes about Communist China is no accident. In fact, it may well be the political version of a Newtonian reaction to decades of Communist China having its blue-collared carnage way with the American economy and manufacturing base.

As a candidate in 2016, Donald J. Trump promised to stand up for American workers and put an end to China’s economic warfare against the United States. Put an end to what I have referred to on numerous occasions as China’s seven deadly sins.

By now you may know the list: cyber hacking to steal our trade secrets, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, mercantilist dumping, state-owned enterprise protectionism, currency manipulation, and seventh, inundating our communities with enough deadly fentanyl and other opioids to kill over 50,000 Americans a year.

Here, two things can be true about these 7 deadly sins at the same time.

First, no president has done more to stand up to Communist China than Donald J. Trump.

But Second, and despite the tough stance of President Trump, Communist China has continued its aggression against America unabated and decisively unabashed.

This is what should be so concerning to every American. Despite President Trump’s tough actions on China, this authoritarian, mercantilist and ever increasingly militarized country seems more emboldened today than it was when our president took office.

Just think about what President Trump has done in 4 short years to fight back against China’s aggression to defend American workers.

President Trump has imposed tariffs on over 350 billion dollars of Chinese products. In the interest of national security, he has imposed tough fines and sanctions on companies like ZTE and Huawei; he’s banned mobile apps like Tiktok and Wechat. They can surveil and monitor American citizens, steal our data and proliferate malware through our computer networks.

President Trump has also cracked down on China’s brutal human rights abuses from the concentration camps of Xinjiang province to the death of democracy in the streets of Hong Kong.

Despite these tough actions, the Chinese Communist Party has continued its economic warfare against America and the world.

As Attorney General Bill Barr has said, “Communist China’s goal is to raid, not trade.”

Equally disconcerting, the CCP is attempting to use its massive population and increasing military might to subvert and overthrow our rules-based international system.

In these efforts, the CCP seeks nothing less than to replace America’s arsenal of democracy with the CCP’s own arsenal of dictatorship.

The biggest victims of the CCP are the Chinese people themselves, forced as they are to live in an Orwellian workers purgatory.

Just think about the concept of a social credit score that shows how loyal a Chinese citizen is to the state. This Kafkaesque tool of repression is so repugnant that many Americans have a hard time believing that the CCP has even instituted such a credit card.

Yet speak ill of a Communist Party leader and your social credit score goes down. Do it again and you’ll lose your job. Do it again, it’s off, you go to a Chinese re-education camp.

That’s a marvelous euphemism, isn’t it? Re-education camp!

What exactly do you learn in these camps? How to use cattle prods on humans? How human beings can withstand the worst forms of torture and still somehow survive with dignity.

This was not how it was supposed to be. Politicians from Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to the George Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama told us that if only we would economically engage, Communist China would become more peaceful and democratic.

But what good does it do to engage economically if the result is simply a massive transfer of American capital and wealth to Communist China?

American capital and wealth, by the way, which is then used to finance a rapid military buildup aimed at driving America out of Asia.

If we have learned anything from the concentration camps in Xinjiang, the crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, the cultural genocide in Tibet, the organ harvesting from live Falun Gong prisoners, the infanticide spawned by China’s one-child policy, and the brutal suppression of Christianity, it is this: America and the rest of the world must never ever fall under the thumb, boot or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

And that’s why it is so critical to stand up to the CCP.

Here I must be very clear now about one critical point: standing up to Communist China does not mean going to war! This is the very last thing the Trump administration wants.

All President Trump has ever sort is prosperity for the American people and peace in this beautiful but often far too violent world.

Nearly four years after he assumed the office of the presidency, the world is a much safer place. President Trump is bringing home our troops from the Middle East and Afganistan. He has increased calm and stability on the Korean Penisula. Our European allies are paying a much fairer share of the cost of NATO, and the result is a much stronger alliance against Russia.

And President Trump has broken the first peace agreement with Israel in the Middle East in more than 25 years, along with a historic pact between Kosovo and Serbia, achievements for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Just as we do not want a kinetic war with China, China most surely does not want a military conflict with America. As the Chinese military strategist Sun Tze once noted long ago, “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill; to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”  This is the goal of the CCP to take the riches of America without firing a shot.

And do so not just through its economic warfare and seven deadly sins, but also through its ultra-modern information warfare and attacks on our political system, and a supremely cynical kind of warfare that seeks to leverage institutions like the United Nations to promote Communist China’s quest for global domination.

On the information warfare front, Chinese Communist Party agents regularly prowl and troll our social media. Their near-term goal is to help defeat Donald J. Trump. Their broader strategic goal is to convince the world that Communist China’s authoritarian, political and social systems and command and control economy are far superior to an American exceptionalism built upon free markets, free persons, democratic elections, the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

Regrettably, far too many of the American media, with their blatant hyper partizanship, are helping to advance this corrosive and toxic CCP narrative.

In doing so, far too many American journalists today are merely serving as what Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin viewed as useful idiots for the CCP.

Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader during the 1970s, once said “seek truth from facts”. Yet both truth and facts are in short supply these days in both the Chinese and American media. Here, it is taken as a given that the Chinese press and government publications like the People’s Daily and Global Times are simply propaganda organs for the CCP.

Yet increasingly, and this truly is our national disgrace. It is likewise taken as a given that our own American media are propagandists as well.

In 1972, a Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans trusted the news media. Today, that number is down to 41 percent, with only 15% of Republicans and 36% of independents trusting the media. Astonishingly, nearly a third of the American people have no trust whatsoever in the media.

How can a free and democratic political system possibly survive if the media we rely upon to bring us the truth and facts are hopelessly divided along partisan lines and simply dedicated to partizan factoids and spin?

If the media were equally divided along partisan lines, that would be one set of facts. But clearly, this is not the case.

A Pew poll found that in the first 60 days of the Trump administration, fully two-thirds of the news stories were negative. That was more than twice the negativity seen in stories from the first 60 days of the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The mainstream media has only gone further downhill since one study in 2018 showed that 92% of the evening news coverage of the Trump administration was negative. 92%!

Every morning that CNN starts its new day parroting the Democrat talking points, or MSNBC starts with its incessant and violent Trump bashing, Communist China wins and American democracy loses.

What is the difference between China’s Global Times attacking the Trump administration and endorsing Joe Biden for president, and outlets like CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Amazon Post effectively doing the same thing?

This devolution of America’s fourth estate into partisan hacks and Democrat super PACs is not just an existential threat to our eternal American quest towards a more perfect union. The rise of a partisan fake news conglomerate.

And this is what the mainstream media misses. Also provides aid, comfort and assistance to a Chinese Communist Party intent on setting the American sun in Asia.

The New York Times, the Amazon Post, CNN, MSNBC, even outlets once beyond reproach, like 60 Minutes, PBS and Frontline have devolved into nothing more than attack dogs for the Democratic Party and useful idiots for the Chinese Communist Party.

The American media are not, however, the only useful idiots promoting Communist China’s agenda.

Take the National Basketball Association and its hypocritical virtue signaling. Its star players and coaches are as quick to take a knee during the national anthem and denounce this country as racist, as they are to get lockjaw as soon as the thorny subjects of Communist China’s horrific human rights abuses and brutal takedown of Hong Kong’s democracy are raised.

We’ve seen these cowards shut up and dribble in China, even as they insist on selling jerseys and sneakers made in Chinese sweatshops, back to America’s children.

When our professional athletes refused to stand and pledge allegiance to our flag and honor those in a different kind of uniform who have lost their lives in defense of America’s freedom, Communist China wins and American democracy loses.

A recent Harris poll shows that the American people have seen right through the hypocrisy in laker land and Curry-ville, nearly 40% of sports fans say the NBA has become too political. Ratings have plummeted and fully 20% of fans say the NBA is blind died. A Communist China is a reason.

Many of the moguls who run Hollywood studios, along with far too many Hollywood stars, are likewise useful idiots for the Chinese Communist Party.

When Hollywood moguls release yet another movie that quite literally airbrushes the abuses of the CCP, authoritarian China once again wins and self-censored American democracy loses.

On this troubling issue of self-censorship, the Chinese Communist Party is clearly not holding a gun to the head of LeBron James or the chairman of Disney, demanding that they stay silent on the CCP horrific abuses.

Instead, these craven, useful idiots simply know that unless they keep their mouths shut and turn heroes like Daryl Morey into unemployed pariahs, they will lose out on the profits that otherwise might be made in the world’s largest Orwellian prison.

And these useful idiots of the NBA and Hollywood are not alone in their cowardly self-censorship.

American reporters in Beijing regularly pull their punches covering China’s house of human rights horrors for fear of losing their visas. Silicon Valley investors and Wall Street hedge fund managers zipped their lips to keep the spicket open for a flood of Chinese cash.

And our nation’s colleges and universities are so addicted to the tuition money in research grants that pour in from Chinese students and destructive spy programs like Thousand Talents and Confucius Institutes that they turn two blind eyes to the espionage that regularly occurs on their campuses.

While the mainstream media, Hollywood moguls, financial elites and America’s NBA are playing useful idiots all too well in a four- corners defense of globalism and the Democratic Party, the most dangerous, useful idiots for the Chinese Communist Party may well be the anarchists, agitators and looters now regularly crossing state lines to invade our Democrat run and run into the ground cities.

The phrase organized anarchists may seem like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what we are witnessing in the radical left’s America.

When Antifa and BLM stormed troopers swarm with military precision into Portland or Chicago or Kenosha, dressed in body armor and armed with brass knuckles, frozen water bottles and mace ready to loot and burn, they not only destroyed businesses and livelihoods, they are destroying everything that is sacred about the tradition of American peaceful protest. Communist China authoritarianism wins; American democracy once again loses.

When angry, canceled culture mobs tear down or vandalize statues, great Americans like Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key and Frederick Douglass, American history loses in a Chinese Communist-style Cultural Revolution wind.

When boorish thugs go up to peaceful citizens trying to enjoy a meal and shout at them and threaten them and take their food and drink their water, they are tearing at the very fabric of our society and democracy. American civility loses; and Communist Chinese thought control wins.

Do these thieves, vandals and radical miscreants not understand or even care that during this pandemic, the whole world is not just watching, citizens around the world are weighing and measuring the effectiveness of our American democracy, and the Chinese Communist Party is doing everything it can to compare the apparent chaos in America to the illusion of stability in Beijing and Shanghai and even now in Hong Kong?

That those Democrats who control the government of Washington D.C, are considering renaming or tearing down the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial underscores just how useless these idiots are to our own country. Here again, American democracy loses and Communist China wins.

Here’s what we should fear: it was so much of the fabric of America’s economy, educational system, financial institutions, sports and entertainment, world journalism, the system under siege from what is a systematic effort by the Chinese Communist Party to advance its own authoritarian narrative. We may soon reach a tipping point here in America.

At such a point, it may well be that those who finally deliver the coup de gras to American democracy, economic prosperity and national security/sovereignty, they will come not from outside our borders but from those useful idiots right here in America who choose to put profits partisanship and radical ideology before God, country and freedom.

Beyond Communist China’s economic regression and information warfare, there is also Communist China’s systematic attack against our rules-based international order.

The hallmark of the CCP’s so-called lawfare is to break international rules when it suits its strategic objectives and use or bend those rules when it is in the CCP’s interest.

We know firsthand just how far things can go wrong, for example, when Communist China is able to exert control over a UN agency. It was the UN’s World Health Organiztion and China’s puppet director-general Tedros that helped the CCP hide the dangers of a novel and lethal coronavirus from the world fro more than two devastating months.

Time enough for a deadly CCP pandemic to take hold and shape the world.

Here, it cannot be said too often that the CCP and the WHO lied; and the people around the world have died.

And no American should ever forget the following history. On January 15th, 2020, President Trump welcomed a delegation of high ranking trade officials from China to sign a phase one trade deal. This historic event appeared to be a great leap forward in US-China relations. However, we now know that at the time, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party-Xi Jinping – as well as other high ranking Chinese Communist Party officials, were all well aware that a deadly virus was ravaging China and had the clear potential to cause a global pandemic through human to human transmission.

Despite the obvious and immediate dangers, this virus posed to America and the world, none of this potentially life-saving information was transmitted to President Trump or anyone at the White House.

Instead, these Chinese Communist Party officials simply smiled at us, ate our food, shook our hands and signed the phase one trade deal. In their silence, Xi Jinping and the CCP put President Trump, Vice-president Pence and numerous White House senior staff and administration officials all in grave danger.

Since that time, we have learned many things about the deadly CCP virus. We know that it originated in Wuhan China, sometime in November. We know that during December and January, the CCP hid the virus and its potential for human to human transmission from the world with the help of the World Health Organization. We know that as the CCP hid the virus, China vacuumed up much of the world’s supplies of personal protective equipment. We know Communist China is hoarding with tantamount to criminal manslaughter because this hoarding denied desperately needed PPE to health care workers at the frontlines of the pandemic in cities from Milan to New York.

Most egregious, we know that even as all of China was being locked down to domestic travel, the CCP was freely permitting tens of thousands of Chinese nationals potentially infected with the virus to fly to major cities around the world, thereby virtually guaranteeing a global pandemic.

Of course, President Trump courageously put a stop to such travel to the United States on January 31st. And he would then be called a xenophobe for making a decision that likely saved hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of American lives.

We also know that as we race at warp speed, the manufacturer of vaccine, Chinese cyber hackers are scarcely trying to steal our scientific research.

We know, too, that as the CCP virus ravages the globe, Communist China is trying to use the pandemic to advance both its authoritarian political model and its strategic and geopolitical objectives.

Undercover of a plague that would force peaceful protesters into their homes, Communist China has crushed democracy in the empty streets of Hong Kong, just as it did during the chaos and distraction of the Cuban missile crisis, Communist China once again invaded India in a bold attempt to annex more territory.

And the CCP is even trying to force trade with the Philippines, with priority access to a vaccine in exchange for not interfering with China’s militarization of the South China Sea.

These CCP actions are not only aberrant behaviors in the international order, they are abhorrent.

In closing, let me say that there are two things we know to be certain. First, the American people want to know where the CCP virus originated from. The CCP must stop hiding this information from the free world. Second, the American people want Communist China to be held fully accountable for the trillions of dollars in costs and tragic loss of human lives its deadly CCP virus has inflicted upon America. And that bill must one day come due.

At the end of such a speech, it’s traditional to offer a long list of policy prescriptions to the wide range of threats the CCP now poses to the American nation.

I’m going to break with that tradition and simply say that the problem here is not about knowing what to do, rather it’s having the national will and unity to do what we know must be done.

In the spirit of such unity, I call on all Americans and particularly all of America’s now useful idiots for the Chinese Communist Party to rise to the most important occasion of our time.

We as a nation have the fight of our lives on our hands, and we cannot keep fighting among each other if we are to prevail.

For just as Great Britain once faced a choice between the appeasement of Neville Chamberlian and the steel spine of Winston Churchill in the face of fascism, concentration camps and authoritarian repression, so too, does America face a choice between appeasing Communist China as the globalist elites would have us do, or holding China and the CCP accountable for its actions, as its economic nationalism demands.

Thank you.

Notes taken by staff.

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