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The Big Sellout, the Bigger Copout

Even as these countless Deaths by China play out both within the People's Republic and on killing floors around the globe, America's business executives, journalists, and politicians have had far too little to say about the single greatest threat facing the United States and the world.

In the executive arena, some of America's biggest companies—from Caterpillar and Cisco to General Motors and Microsoft—have been fully complicit in the Chinese politics of "first divide America and then conquer it." The tragedy here is that when China's mercantilist onslaught against American industry began in the late 1990s—and industries like furniture, textiles, and apparel began falling one by one—the business community and organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were staunchly united.

Over the past decade, however, as each additional American job and each new American factory has been offshored to China, the narrow profit-maximizing interests of many of America's corporate executives have been realigned with their Chinese partners. Indeed, with their bread now being buttered offshore, so-called "American" organizations like the Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers have been transformed from staunch critics of Chinese mercantilism into open, and often very aggressive, soldiers in the pro-China Lobby.

While many American corporate executives have become lobbying warriors for China, American journalists are mostly missing in action. The downsizing of newspapers and network television news in an age of the Internet has led to the closing or shrinking of many foreign news bureaus. As a result, the American media has had to increasingly rely on the flow of news from the government-owned Chinese press—one of the most effective and relentless propaganda machines the world has ever witnessed.

Meanwhile, the cream of America's financial press—most notably the Wall Street Journal—clings zealously to a free market and free trade ideology, seemingly oblivious to the fact that China's "one-way free trade" is simply America's unilateral surrender in an age of Chinese state capitalism. The absurdity here is that instead of seeing trade reform as a legitimate form of self-defense against a relentless Chinese onslaught of "beggar thy neighbor" practices, publications like the Wall Street Journal continually rail against the threat of American "protectionism." It's all so much nonsense, but the ideological drum beat goes on.

As for America's politicians, no single group of individuals deserves more blame for standing meekly, passively, and ignorantly by as China has had its way with the U.S. manufacturing base and engaged in its massive military buildup. It's not that the American Congress hasn't been fully warned about the dangers of a rising China. Each year, the Congressionally funded U.S.–China Commission publishes both an annual report and ample testimony about this emerging threat.

For example, the U.S.–China Commission has warned that "Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies." In fact, to date, China's far-reaching spy network has stolen critical secrets related to the Aegis guided missile destroyer, B1-B bomber, Delta IV rocket, ICBM-capable guidance systems, Stealth Bomber, and Space Shuttle. Chinese hackers and spies have been equally effective at delivering details on aircraft carrier launch systems, drones, naval reactor designs, submarine propulsion systems, the inner workings of neutron bombs, and even highly specific U.S. Navy warship operations procedures.

Similarly, on the economic threat, the Commission has pleaded with Congress to recognize that small and medium-sized American businesses "face the full brunt of China's unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, and illegal subsidies for Chinese exports." Despite these warnings, Congress continues to ignore the advice of its own independent commission and wake up to the rising economic and military threat from China.

Of course, the White House must share equal blame. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have talked softly and carried very little sticks when it has come to China. President Bush's excuse was a preoccupation with the war in Iraq and homeland security coupled with a blind faith in what has been anything but free trade. On Bush's watch alone, the United States surrendered millions of jobs to China.

For his part, Candidate Barack Obama on the 2008 campaign trail repeatedly promised to crack down on unfair Chinese trade practices, particularly in key industrial swing states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. However, since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly bowed to China on key trade issues, primarily because he wants China to keep financing America's massive budget deficits. While Obama mortgages our future to his Chinese banker, he fails to understand that the best jobs program for America is comprehensive trade reform with China.

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