Speaking Softly while Carrying a Big Stick

The Big Stick

Conrad Black writing yesterday in American Greatness described how a great power acts. Let’s follow along.

It is not too soon to examine the shifting strategic balance in the world in the light of the unfolding coronavirus crisis and its economic and political consequences.

Though he gets little credit for it—even from his supporters, who tend not to be overly sophisticated foreign policy specialists—President Trump has carefully developed a subtle foreign policy. This policy is based on a definition of America’s interests that is not adventurously overstretched like Lyndon Johnson’s plunge into the ground war in Vietnam or George W. Bush’s energetic support for democracy—even in places like Gaza, Lebanon, and eventually, Egypt, that had little aptitude for it and democratically elected anti-democratic politicians. Nor is Trump’s foreign policy the wavering pacifism and overly earnest pursuit of adversaries as President Obama attempted with Iran.

Trump has revived the concept of nuclear non-proliferation in the case of untrustworthy states (Iran and North Korea) and has left local disputes to be worked out locally, where it wasn’t practical for the United States to maintain force levels adequate to prevail over local balances.

Rather another case of ‘threading the needle’ neither the Charybdis of intervening where we have little or no interest (perhaps beyond those who believe in the ‘forever wars’ that have so disenchanted the American people) and the Scylla of isolationism, which would negate any interest of the United States (and the Western Civilization that we revere). It’s not an easy task as many British diplomats in the 19th and early 20th centuries would attest.

This is how a sensible Great Power maintains its influence, by defending what is important, ignoring what isn’t, avoiding unnecessary confrontations, and sorting out abrasions without humiliating anyone—except where serious provocations require disproportionate responses, as in the execution of Iranian Quds Force  General Qasem Soleimani earlier this year.

Franklin D. Roosevelt concluded that an American presence was required in Western Europe and the Far East to prevent those key regions getting into the hands of enemies of this hemisphere. The resulting policy of “containment” was devised by Roosevelt’s strategic team and executed by President Truman and his successors and imaginatively refined on two occasions. Richard Nixon triangulated Great Power arrangements with his opening of relations with China, and Ronald Reagan pushed to build a comprehensive high-altitude, laser-based, missile defense system which implicitly threatened to undermine the entire Soviet nuclear deterrent capability. The combination of Chinese diplomatic and high-technology military pressure caused the peaceful disintegration of the Soviet Union.

You will, of course, remember that at Reykjavik, Gorbachev offered to put the whole Soviet missile inventory on the table to get the SDI removed. Reagan said no, knowing it was a war winner, and it was, even the American threat to deploy it was.

And now comes China:

China is becoming technologically and commercially skilled, but it has very few resources. A chronically overaged population is developing after their insane “one-child policy,” and the Chinese are extremely vulnerable to American pressure, both on tariffs and in America’s ability to encourage official Taiwanese separation. Despite its swashbuckling, China is in no position to challenge the United States for mastery in the world’s sea lanes, and China’s neighbors look to America for encouragement. Trump has given it to Japan, India, and others, quietly. Like Japan before World War II, which was importing 85 percent of its oil from the United States while it invaded China and Indochina, China today would be severely compromised if the United States blocked its ability to dump goods in sophisticated markets.

In economic as in other matters, the United States is able to outbid almost any country for the goodwill of a third party, as is demonstrated by the Europeans’ accommodation to American sanctions on Iran, which they opposed.

China is the enemy in what is shaping up to be the new cold war and another one that could go hot. The US Marine Corps is already reconfiguring itself away from the small war ethos that has dominated since the Clinton years toward a maritime-based policy design to cripple China, which is very dependent on its unfair trade practices, a fact exacerbated by the Chinese flu and especially the cover-up perpetrated by the CCP. The US, however, if we can recover our balance, and increasingly it looks as if the people have taken over that problem (Time to go back to work) that will happen. As Trump’s ad said this week, we did it before and we can do it again, and if western civilization is going to survive we have to.

 

And we would be wise to remember some words of Adali Stevenson:

Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity – in short, of tyranny – and it is committed to making tyranny universal.

As an afterthought, I note that the US-UK trade talks started yesterday, once again there is hope that it may again be as Maggie Thatcher observed…

During my lifetime most of the problems the world has faced have come, in one fashion or other, from mainland Europe, and the solutions from outside it.

Credulous Cowards

Steve McCann has an article up at American Thinker that goes to the heart of the Chinese flu problem, which as any thinking person has figured out is not the Chinese flu but the American ruling class’ reaction to it.

An immutable tenet of today’s ruling class is that if someone or an institution within their power base is labeled as “experts,” then these authorities are not to be questioned and their assumptions, predictions or projections must be treated as gospel. The century that followed the rise of the Wilsonian progressives, who idolized a powerful government run by educated experts, saw enormous scientific, medical, and industrial achievements the hands of experts, the products of higher education. The professional class, usually products of higher education, grants deference to certified experts, and the media makes celebrities out of those experts that support important goals of the ruling class. Experts have had a very good century.

Isn’t that the truth? In America, and indeed around the world, we have seen the so-called elites first denigrating the crisis, and then after a few experts put out bogus papers (specifically the one from Imperial College was never peer-reviewed or published, although these days that’s no guarantee either) to scare the populations into line. It worked, although the debunking started almost immediately, not least because it let a bunch of petty tyrants take a shot at abrogating the Constitution. And so the elite saw it as advantageous, even at the cost of a new Great Depression.

While the American public has long been suspicious of Chinese influence in America, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed for all to see the extent of this nation’s reliance on a global adversary for necessities such as medical and pharmaceutical products. And that the single-minded pursuit of wealth and power prompted the American ruling class to proclaim over the years that it was a great benefit for the United States to empower China.

China owes its faster than expected rise as a world power to the transfer of American jobs, technology, capital, and business acumen to China so that US shareholders could receive capital gains, US executives could receive incentive pay for producing consumer products at a much lower labor cost, and the nation’s elites could, using riches from Chinese investments in the US, consolidate their retention of power.

Apparently, the American ruling class could not comprehend that if US corporations produce the goods they market to Americans offshore, it is the offshore countries that benefit the most from the economic activity. If that location is an authoritarian regime bent on world domination, then they will use their newfound wealth to build up their military, exploit and suppress their citizenry, promote manufacturing dependence, and corrupt the governing classes of their potential adversaries.

As near as I can tell, the American ruling class is rather stupid, thinking 1) that they are invulnerable to the effects of blowing up the economy. (Pro-tip: They aren’t.) and 2) Thinking the rest of us are so stupid that we won’t notice their seditious and in fact, bordering on downright treasonous activities. And yes, while I’m looking at all of them, in both parties, since at least George HW Bush or really Henry Kissinger, I’m especially looking at Diane Feinstein as an excellent example, but only an example.

Not for nothing did Alexis de Tocqueville tell us:

We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country.

One Little Word, and Passover

We going to start this post with one of Jessica’s articles. She speaks here of how Christ chose to send the news of His resurrection by Mary Magdalene, whose testimony would have borne no weight at all under Jewish law at that time. Then I want to speak of something else. Here’s Jessica-

Under Jewish Law, the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all. The first witness to the Risen Lord was a woman – Mary Magdalen. She was tearful. There she was, come to the tomb to anoint Him, and there was the stone moved. Her mind went where most of our minds would have gone – someone had taken Him away. That great stone had not moved itself, and dead bodies don’t walk out of tombs. The grave-clothes were bundled up and there was no trace of Jesus. Hard to imagine her feelings at the point. Only two days earlier her world had fallen apart. The man whose feet she had anointed and whom she had followed so loyally had been taken, tortured and then crucified. She knew that; she’d been there (which was more than could be said for most of those Apostles). It was over. All that remained was for her to do a final duty to the corpse. But even that was to be denied her. They had taken her Lord away.

She ran back to where the disciples were and told Peter the horrible news. Typically Peter, he ran to the tomb, and equally typically was outpaced by the younger John. But John stood at the entrance, and when Peter arrived he it was who, impulsive and brave as ever, went inside to see that the tomb was, indeed, as empty as Mary had said. The men went back home, no doubt to tell the others; Mary, as is the way of women, wanted to stay there a moment longer, perhaps to gather her thoughts, perhaps to mourn a moment alone.

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

The testimony of a woman was no testimony in Jewish Law, and yet it was to a woman that the Risen Lord first came. He had broken the bonds of death, He had conquered the power of death and of Satan, the hold of sin on mankind was broken; and these things He entrusted to the power of one who in Jewish Law could offer no testimony at all.

She was the first. Let us love and honour her for that this Easter morning: ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’

[From Neo] A remarkable thing, really, especially when one considers that the Angel had spent the time to convince The Virgin Mary to consent to bearing Jesus. Remarkable in that time and place to show such respect to women. So should we.

I also note that Chalcedon touches on this in his excellent post today.


And something that applies to us Christians but comes from our Jewish (religious) forebearers. Bookworm in her Good Friday post has some good thinking for us.

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (commemorating as it does the world’s first and, for a long time, only successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

As those familiar with the Bible know, his objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the first born in every family that did not have the blood of the Pascal lamb above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own ruling, in effect beginning before Moses’s birth, that all first born Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

The Jews of that generation were hiding in their houses, fearing death. Sound familiar?

She’s right of course. And how does that apply today? This way –

The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he could always reconcile himself to the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he was assured that his people, despite the horrors inflicted against them, continued to fear and worship him, their suffering was irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and when the plague struck in his own palace, killing his own first born* — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high,when it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the high command realized that the Americans and Russians were coming after them, personally, did the war on the continent finally end.

Read it all at The news from North Korea reminds is that Passover is always relevant.

That was then, this is now. The threats are ever present and often change, there are plenty of bad actors in the world. But the necessary response remains the same. From Book’s Passover article this year.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens he places upon his people. A blood-filled Nile River may, at first, seem appalling, but the red recedes and life went on. Pharaoh still holds power. The same is true for each subsequent plague, whether lice, boils, frogs, darkness, or any of the other plagues. As long as Pharaoh realizes, after the first panic, that he is still powerful, he will always reconcile himself to his people’s incremental destruction.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he is assured that his people will continue to fear and worship him, their suffering is irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh the plague struck in his own palace, killing his firstborn* — that Pharaoh is convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways. […]

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, the only way to end a tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement was directly hurting the tyrant’s person.

Those who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom are the same people who refuse to accept that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, you’re going to end as cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and China’s leadership will release a plague on the world and let tens of thousands of people sicken and die, both at home and abroad — as long as the tyrant can retain his power.

People of goodwill must sometimes recognize that the generation raised under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrant’s lash, in the tyrant’s war, or in a war against the tyrant. Sometimes, when slaves finally taste freedom, they fear it. The Bible recognizes this problem, banning the Promised Land to those who were slaves in Egypt. They were a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if that process causes people to suffer. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Plain common sense, isn’t it?

Today, the tyrant is China’s government and, as was the case with Nazi Germany or Bushido Japan, China’s tyranny has suddenly started to reach far beyond its borders. No matter how China’s bought-and-paid-for American media work to cover up China’s responsibility for what happened, John Adams was correct: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

We know the facts: COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab, although we do not know whether this was deliberate or accidental. China, in true tyrant fashion, was so determined to cover up its failure that it willingly let people die by destroying anything (e.g., information and doctors) that might have helped battle the plague early. When Wuhan began to see mass die-offs, China continued to deny there was a problem. As the plague spread beyond China’s borders, its government continued to deny responsibility, so much so that both China and the WHO (which we pay for, but which answers to China) lied consistently about COVID-19’s reach, danger, and origin.

Now that the plague is a world-wide phenomenon, China is sending or selling useless masks and test kits to hurting nations around the world. It is trying to blame America for COVID-19. And it’s almost certain that people are still dying in the thousands in China, even as the government insists it’s tamed COVID-19 and tells the world to start readmitting its people and its shoddy products. The Chinese communist government is Pharaoh.

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. Despite media efforts to cover for their Chinese paymasters, Trump is calling China out on its lies and other malfeasance.

All based on the Exodus combined with the American character. And remember:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety,

deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

No Step On Snek

Over at The Spectator, Melissa Mackenzie has some thoughts about Americans and the Chinese virus.

Americans are irrepressible. It’s their most endearing, and annoying, quality. Optimistic, youthful in age and temperament, and with a can-do attitude that borders on insanity, Americans find a way to overcome.

The world, older, more jaded by geography and history, rolls their eyes and feigns indifference but secretly hopes the young upstart will come through again. The way Americans are acting, they seem convinced that this coronavirus annoyance is in the bag. No problem. You’ll see.

Beaches in Florida are filled with cavorting college youth. Streets in New York and Honolulu brim with activity. Bars in D.C. remain packed. Everywhere, Americans are scouring store shelves of food and household cleaners. If this response to a virus that has ravaged China, Iran, and Italy and caused substantial disruption in South Korea and Japan and throughout Europe seems schizophrenic, it’s because it is.

Well, yeah, that’s pretty much who we are. The rest of the world can sit around feeling sorry for itself, we ain’t got time for that nonsense, there are beaches to go to, girls to ogle, and money to be made, as soon as we figure out how. It’s like early 1942, things are a mess right now, but wheels are turning and then the Yanks will be settling in to get the job done.

It’s like a British friend commented the other day, “The Yanks are always slow to get going, but when they get it in gear, they really motor. Like in 1942.” He’s right, we’re not overly disposed to run around in circles, scream and shout. Find the enemy and aim the main battery. We use rifles, not indiscriminate bombs, and once we have a target, we rarely miss.

There are reports that an anti-malarial drug that we used as far back as Vietnam has some effectiveness, as well as one of the anti- HIV drugs. So we’ll see. Also last Monday, human testing started on an American vaccine, and the Israelis are close as well.

There, to continue the metaphor is your Coral Sea/Guadacanal moment. The defenses are stiffening. Soon it will be time to start the road back, Midway if you will. What then?

Bob Maistros at Issues and Insights reminds us of a few things:

It’s an old and familiar saying: “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.”

Not to mention:

  • Poisoned, fake-brand THC vapes killing our kids via the vaping lung illness outbreak of last summer. (Oh. You missed that foreign-sourced public health crisis?) Plus floods of counterfeit nicotine e-cigarette brands habitualizing high-schoolers and undermining heavy-handed efforts at home to keep the products away from kids.
  • Thousands of dangerous, fraudulent, mis- and wrongly-labeled, and even banned products swamping the world’s largest retail platform – and driven to the top of listings, claiming a coveted but misleading “Amazon Choice,” through lies, bogus sales and bribes.
  • Decades of systematic cheating on trade agreements hollowing out America’s industrial base.
  • Blatant and ubiquitous identity theft, cyberfraud and cyberattacks – including, ironically, unrelenting unleashing of computer “viruses.”
  • Sponsorship of rogue nations rushing headlong to develop nukes that can take out Los Angeles.
  • Of course, pandemics that, in flea-like fashion, rapidly infest the entire globe.
  • And resulting record stock-market crashes, free falls in energy and other commodity markets, plummeting bond yields, and maybe, a recession that could undo the unparalleled job gains of the last few years.

Hey, Wall Street! Ya maybe paying attention yet?

One hates to say “We told you so.” But we told you so: that there was a plethora of grounds beyond illegal trade practices not to do business with China.

And with the coronavirus and its far-reaching effects across our public health, society and now economy, we’ve just been reminded of another reason – one bringing new meaning to the term “economic contagion.”

By the way – before we get started on empty charges of “racism,” the opening aphorism does not imply in any way that Chinese people are “dogs.”

Although to say that their government and business leadership are such would be to insult every canine species.

What might have been your first hint that China’s tyrants are not reliable, benign and mutually beneficial business partners?

The tanks running down protesting students even as their dispatchers were seeking to normalize relations and gain access to our markets?

Demonstrations of benevolence in blowing up churches, enslaving pastors, harvesting religious dissidents’ organs, imprisoning ethnic minorities in concentration camps and deploying expropriated technology to create the world’s most pervasive surveillance state?

The massive and abiding competitive advantage gained by forcing laborers to toil hundreds of hours of overtime for months on end – under constant watch (even in the toilet) and in unsafe, unsanitary working and living conditions?

Rampant looting and forced surrender of prized intellectual property as a price of doing business?

Previous scandals involving tainted crayons, toys, lumber, drywall and personal care products?

Yeah, all of that, that our alleged betters told us we just had to deal with in their globalist new world order. Well, you know things have a way of changing when you attack America and Americans, and China has now literally killed Americans. About those changes…

Seraphim Hanisch at The Duran has some thoughts.

[…] The era of Chinese-dominated economic globalism is over.

At least, it ought to be.

A spate of newspieces in the United States revealed a startling fact hiding in plain sight: that China is the place of manufacture for a great many pharmaceuticals used throughout the world, including the United States. While the US is the leader in medical technology, manufacture of that technology en masse has for decades been farmed out to China. When the coronavirus started to (at least) appear to abate in China, the government of the People’s Republic wasted no time in issuing blame against the US and threats to cut off supplies of many vital pharmaceuticals to the Americans. This is very dangerous, of course, should the Chinese actually choose to do this. Click here to see the present world map of the COVID-19 spread and you can see why:

“One example of possible backlash from China, said Dr. Oskui is recent newspaper reports emanating from China suggest the Chinese government “may just flip the switch and stop stop our access to those things.”

“The United States of America should never be in that position,” he said. “I think we need to turn to people we know that worked for Pfizer, worked for Merck, work for Amgen, work for Gilead, worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb the U.S. drug companies and say ‘you know we understand that you have few share obligations to your shareholders but you also have an obligation to your fellow Americans, as American citizens as an American drug companies’ you need to start making it here just because you can make huge profits abroad we shouldn’t be vulnerable to economic and political blackmail and vulnerable to the medical downside of these drugs being manufactured off our shores.”

China may well have stepped on its own face by making this veiled threat.

Yeah, with their golf shoes on. There are lots of things I don’t know, but I know this: One is quite unwise to tell your largest customer who provides most of your technical inspiration that if they are not subservient to you, you will deprive them of drugs and watch them die. Things like that have repercussions. And it’s starting. Did you notice how fast Google, Facebook, and Amazon lined up to help out? The times they are a-changin’.

America a pretty easy-going place, but we have our limits, and going through them has consequences. Seraphim notes…

The strongest rhetoric comes from analysts like Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton who note that China makes most of the base ingredients of pharmaceuticals for the United States, and that threatening to withhold these in a time of crisis is exceedingly dangerous. But it also outlines very clearly the next policy moves that must be made: To repatriate vital industries back to the United States: Pharmaceuticals, steel, and computer component manufacture just to name a few.

What is more, the rest of the world is likely to pay attention to this threat as well, whether or not the[y] like the United States or not. This threat may – and probably should – energize any and all Western nations to rethink their own policies about what gets made where.

China’s threat may lead to a sharp uptick in the move to de-globalize, to locate vital industries and concerns to the various homelands of the world.

Do read the linked articles, they’re all excellent. But sometimes a picture says it all, doesn’t it?

Hey, China

 

Coronavirus, China, the Media, and You

So, maybe we should talk a bit about coronavirus. Let’s start with a point that Bookworm made very well: (Keep that link in mind, we’ll be coming back to it.)

The media’s hysteria about coronavirus is intended to destroy the American economy because media types are focused single-mindedly on defeating Trump.

That’s a salient point about the whole thing. The media does not give a damn about how many Americans, Britons, Europeans, even Chinese, die, or lose their pensions, health, jobs, or anything else, as long as Donald Trump is defeated. A goodly part of the deep state is not any better, which is why it is so hard to get any real information instead of scaremongering. But that information is out there.

One of the places you should be looking is Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering show that of a cumulative total of 113,582 cases worldwide since the outbreak began, 62,496 (55 percent) have recovered as on Monday night. Their dashboard is here. And remember a lot of cases outside of China haven’t had time to recover yet, it can take up to six weeks.

Concern is warranted, panic is not. In China, it appears to be burning out.

At the moment, it looks like Trump nailed the fatality figures, far closer than the experts, about 1%, rising to 3% for those of us in our sixties, and only reaching double digits for those in their 80s, and in all cases mostly in people with underlying health problems. Those are damned good fighting odds, even if you’re in your 80s and not all that healthy. Some will die, yes, but far fewer than already have this year from the flu.

That’s my understanding from reading the reports, I’m no doctor, but I can read, even graphs, which makes me far more of an expert than any flapping jaw being paid millions to read a teleprompter.

In American Greatness, Chris Buskirk, makes a really good point:

The Chinese were also able to direct production of drugs, N95 masks, and biohazard suits, so that healthcare workers and first responders could do their jobs.

Of course, that’s because China manufactures all of those things in their own country. We do not.

An anonymous Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters of the protective equipment needed by healthcare providers that “very little of this stuff is apparently made in the [United] States, so if we’re down to domestic capability to produce, it could get tough.”

And that’s a major health and national security risk that must be remedied. […]

What has been the most galling and dangerous weakness to be exposed—but also the most correctable one—is the realization of how dependent the United States is upon China for lifesaving drugs, for hazmat suits, and for N95 masks.

For all sorts of critical products, we don’t and currently can’t make them ourselves. Ninety-seven percent of antibiotics used in the United States are made in China, 80 percent of the chemical components necessary for the drugs that we do make here come from China. Within one year, nearly the entire production of N95 masks went from “Made in USA” to “Made in China.” The U.S. Strategic Stockpile currently holds just 12 million N95 masks, a small fraction of the 3.5 billion the DHS estimates we would need in the event of a pandemic. This is insane and it must change.

Outsourcing manufacturing to China has done incalculable damage to the United States. It’s impoverished countless towns and many millions of people. It’s shrunk the American middle class and made it more precarious. And that’s led to all kinds of social and political distress from skyrocketing opiate addiction and deaths to an embrace of radical politics.

For some people the connections between these things are too abstract or they just shrug and say, “Well, that’s the market” as if Americans—real people—exist to serve “the market” rather than markets existing to serve Americans by making their lives better. But the simple fact that we can’t make the very products necessary to provide lifesaving healthcare for Americans in a time of crisis isn’t an abstraction. It’s real, it’s dangerous, and it’s time to change.

The Chinese know our lives are dependent upon their good will. The state press agency, Xinhua, published a not so thinly veiled threat targeting the United States on March 4:

If China retaliates against the United States at this time, in addition to announcing a travel ban on the United States, it will also announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then the United States will be caught in the ocean of new coronaviruses.

According to the US CDC officials, most masks in the United States are made in China and imported from China. If China bans the export of masks to the United States, the United States will fall into a mask shortage, and the most basic measures to prevent the novel coronavirus can’t do it.

Also according to the US CDC officials, most of the drugs in the United States are imported, and some drugs are imported from Europe. However, Europe also places the production base of these drugs in China, so more than 90% of the US imported drugs are related to China. The implication is that at this time, as long as China announces that its drugs are for domestic use and banned exports, the United States will fall into the hell of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The real physical threat to US Public Health has become that famous mantra from the stores we all go to: “Made in China.

Well, that and as Book says

I’ve long been disgusted by the media but watching the game-playing with coronavirus has raised my disgust to the same level I feel for mass murderers. Left-wing journalists (which means most of America’s journalists) are committing mass economic murder against the American people. What kind of sick, disgusting, morally-indecent people do that kind of thing? And they’re doing it in the service of Joe Biden! They are destroying the American economy so that Joe Biden — senile, corrupt, perverted, stupid Joe Biden — can be the president.

I still believe in the First Amendment and the virtues of a free press, but I also remember that the Founders understood that America could survive only if had a mostly moral population. They assumed, I think, that the press would share in that morality. What happens when those who are supposed to be society’s watchdogs and reporters lose their moral compass and throw their lot in with the Devil? Well, I guess we’re going to find out.

The Taiwan Election

I think I mentioned in passing last week that Taiwan was coming up on an important election. They had it last Saturday and re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen. A massive landslide actually with 58% of the vote. Bryan Preston at PJ Media has the story.

President Tsai campaigned on taking a hard line against the mainland and in favor of independence. Today she wasted no time in sending another strong signal that Taiwan is not interested in adopting the “one country, two systems” Beijing insists on. Tsai met with the head of the American Institute in Taiwan today.

Fresh from a landslide re-election victory, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Sunday with the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taipei.

William Brent Christensen, a U.S. diplomat who is director of the American Institute in Taiwan, congratulated Tsai on her victory in Saturday’s election, and she thanked him for his support.

The meeting came as China warned that countries should stick with recognizing communist-ruled Beijing as the rightful government of “one China,” including Taiwan.

This follows a strong statement of support from the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, observers from Hong Kong were on hand to witness Taiwan’s vote.

At a raucous election rally for Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, Hong Konger Karen Leung surveyed the huge crowd of excited flag-waving voters as a rap song blasted over the loudspeakers and sighed: “We want to have elections like this.”

Leung is one of scores of Hong Kong election tourists who have travelled to Taiwan this week to witness something denied to them – universal suffrage.

The entire Hong Kong Free Press story linked above is worth reading, [here] to get a sense of how Taiwan and Hong Kong now see each other. Hong Kongers recognize Taiwan’s long fight for independence and now democracy. Taiwan recognizes and is supplying Hong Kong as an ally, with gas masks, de facto asylum, and other support.

When Tsai appeared at a Thursday night rally, the crowd shouted the popular protest chant: “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

Hong Kong and Taiwan are separated by about 700 miles of water and together add up to about 30 million people. Up against mainland China’s billion, they would seem to have no chance. But Hong Kong’s potential impact on mainland China makes it the most important city on earth at the moment. China has not cracked down hard on the pro-democracy protesters, because it knows how much it stands to lose. At the same time, allowing Hong Kong to go its own way encourages Taiwan, and dissidents and anti-communists within mainland China itself, particularly Hong Kong’s neighboring province, Guangdong. China could lose no matter what it chooses. Hong Kong could break the last large communist empire. They know it, Taiwan knows it, and Beijing knows it.

And again we see the appeal of liberty, to those under the gun, Taiwan has been since 1949, and Hong Kong since 1997. We watched last year as the Hongkongers started with the old Hong Kong Colonial Flag and the Union Flag, and then borrowed the Stars and Stripes. I can’t say about you but I was moved. For all our problems, we remain the last best hope for liberty in this world, as we have been for centuries. And note that President Ing-wen was also quick to thank us for supporting her.

Not since the fall of the wall have so many clamored so loudly for freedom, not the artificial freedom that entities like the EU offer such as freedom from want, but real freedom to think and to say what one believes, you know American style freedom built on God-given rights.

This is what happens when America leads, people are empowered to seek their own freedom. We are seeing it in Europe, we are seeing it in Iran, and we are seeing it in Asia. Some call it the Trump Effect, and in truth, he is a focal point for it, as our president. But truly it is America and our history that produces this effect. The beacon fire in the city on the hill still burns brightly. May we keep it so.

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