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Posts tagged as “president trump”

Progress in the Senate!

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act unanimously on October 15, 2019. It was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 25th. Since then, we have been waiting for the full Senate to take action on the bill. It has many co-sponsors, and the sponsors of the Senate bill have been getting impatient. Finally, we are seeing some action on this very important bill:

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is signaling that the bill will be voted on in the Senate soon. Let’s hope he follows through, and that it will be signed into law by President Trump very soon.

China Daily News Opinion on Trump “Ordering” U.S. Companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China”

President Trump

This series of tweets by President Trump has been shocking, to say the least. The stock market reacted poorly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 600 points, and the S&P 500 index down over 2.5% for the day. The trade war between the U.S. and China continues to escalate almost daily. Within the past day or two, Trump added new tariffs and taxes on Chinese-made goods, China added new tariffs on U.S. goods, and Trump ordered U.S. delivery firms to search for and refuse deliveries containing fentanyl, amongst other trade-related moves both countries have made.

Trump, in theory, is trying to protect American industry and workers, and it is hard to fault him for that. What he says about China’s unfair trade practices makes sense and resonates with American workers. Granting China Most Favored Nation status, and adding China to the World Trade Organization (under President Clinton), profoundly hurt workers in U.S. manufacturing, as jobs were shifted to Chinese companies with lower labor costs. Arguably, it was those workers in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania that gave Trump the Electoral College margin he needed to win. So, it is entirely understandable that Trump is again courting those workers and trying to expand his base of support among them by his tough stance on trade with China.

On the other hand, much of Trump’s support is due to the strong economy that his policies have brought about. Lowering taxes and reducing regulations and government interference in business have been a fantastic boon to the U.S. economy. But the economy is inevitably cyclical, and a down turn in China’s economy – the second largest in the world – will be a drag on the entire world’s economy, and that likely will impact the U.S. economy as well.

So, if China’s economic health declines drastically, it probably will not be good for the U.S. economy in the long run, and there have been many signs that China’s economy is slowing, including lowering of interest rates by China’s central bank and other economic stimulus measures announced by Beijing. The trade war with the U.S., the protests in Hong Kong, higher labor costs in China leading to companies moving their manufacturing to countries with cheaper labor, China’s push to modernize its military – all of these factors (and probably others) have reduced China’s economic growth. If China’s economy drops into a recession, the entire world economy may also, and there have been some signs that it could happen (although it is by no means certain).

Should the world economy drop into a recession, and the U.S economy follows, it could cost Trump the next election. Trump-hating Democrats (pretty much all of them) would be gleeful if the economy did decline, despite the hardship it would bring to many Americans, because that might be the only chance they have to win.

So, our opinion is that President Trump should ratchet down his rhetoric against China and let the trade war cool down for a while. This isn’t to say that he should eliminate tariffs already in place or lessen his support for American workers, but he should also recognize that there are a significant number of U.S. companies that make their money from trade with China. Slow-rolling the trade war for some time, at least until after the election, to try to avoid a recession and give U.S. companies time to adjust/find alternatives to China is the right play now.

USA Today Opinion: We’re in a new Cold War. Hong Kong, like Berlin before it, is the first battle.

An opinion piece in USA Today by Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C., argues (as the title says) that the U.S. is in a new Cold War with China, and the protests in Hong Kong are the first battle in this new Cold War.

Smith writes:

Would the United States have let the Soviet Union invade West Berlin? Never. Yet America is on the verge of allowing Communist China to enslave the free city of Hong Kong. If this happens, it will be one of the greatest abdications of U.S. moral leadership in history.

Marion Smith in USA Today

This seems overwrought. The US is not “allowing” China to “enslave” Hong Kong. As regrettable as it is, China already controls Hong Kong, through their appointed chief executive, Carrie Lam. The U.K. handed control of Hong Kong back to China in 1997, per the agreement that had been worked out. There is nothing that the US can do about that bit of history.

Not only that, Hong Kong’s Basic Law still applies, and the Hong Kong legal system is still in place. Yes, Beijing has been meddling in Hong Kong, and that is what led to the protests, but Hong Kong’s government and legal institutions have not (yet) been overturned. The Global Times (a media arm of the CCP) has said that there will be no repeat of Tiananmen.

Smith goes on:

The United States is apparently unwilling to make the case for freedom — or even to publicly say a free city like Hong Kong even deserves to stay free. America having put down the torch of freedom, communist tyranny is on the march, no longer content to gather strength in the shadows.

Marian Smith in USA Today

Several U.S. Senators of both parties, including Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, have made strong statements warning Beijing against violent crackdowns. So Smith appears to be incorrect on the facts, unless “The United States” means to him “President Trump.”

On top of that, Hong Kong is not really a free city, and never has been. As most everyone knows, from 1845 to 1997 (other than a four-year gap in the 1940’s when it was ruled by Japan), Hong Kong was part of the British Empire. In 1997 it was handed back to China, per China’s treaty with the U.K. Even though it has its own semi-independent government and legal system based on the U.K.’s, it is not really, truly free. Certainly, Smith knows this, so why he called Hong Kong a “free city” is puzzling, unless his purpose is just to stir up emotions.

Could President Trump make stronger statements in support of the protesters? Sure, obviously. Should he? That is a much harder question to answer. Trump clearly believes that he has a good relationship with Xi Jinping. He may believe that maintaining that relationship is the best approach for influencing China’s approach to Hong Kong. Is Trump right about that? Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell.

CCP (via CCTV) Continues to Blame Jimmy Lai and the U.S. for Hong Kong Protests

Apparently unable to fathom that the people of Hong Kong might be dissatisfied with one-party dictatorship, no rule of law, and loss of their freedoms, the CCP via their media arm CCTV, continues to spew conspiracies that Jimmy Lai and the U.S. are behind the protests in Hong Kong.

Pay no attention to the fact that President Trump said (link to Reuters article) that the riots in Hong Kong are China’s to solve.

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