Chinese Aggression

China plant seeds mystery solved? Police, officials think packages sent to US homes could be tied to scam reviews

The mysterious, unsolicited packages of seeds supposedly being sent from China to homes across America – prompting agriculture departments in at least 31 states to issue warnings against planting them – may be invasive species and could be tied to a fake product review scam, police and officials are saying. The packages, based on photographs and statements from officials, appeared to have been shipped by China’s state-owned postal company and contained Chinese lettering on the exterior, advertising products ranging from jewelry to toys. But, what’s actually inside seem to be random plant seeds. States from coast to coast have been urging residents to report the unexpected deliveries to their local agriculture departments over concerns that the seeds could be invasive or harmful species. The packages have garnered the attention of federal investigators — with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) working alongside the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and other federal and state agencies. USDA officials have been asking anyone who received a suspicious seed package to contact their state plant regulator or their state’s APHIS plant health director. “Do not plant seeds from unknown origins,” the USDA urged in a statement. Officials in several states said there didn’t appear to be a clear pattern to the packages, which have been showing up at homes in the city, suburbs, and in rural areas. The number of packages being reported also varied. In Indiana, for instance, an official with the state attorney general’s office said it had received only a handful of reports, while in Ohio, officials have received roughly 150 calls about the packages over the past month. “We have done some researching and it does appear that these seeds are tied with an online scam called ‘brushing’,” the Whitehouse Police Department in Ohio – one of the states where the packages reportedly have been sent – posted on Facebook. “A brushing scam is an exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner. “Although not directly dangerous, we would still prefer that people contact us to properly dispose of the seeds,” the department added. North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also reported the deliveries were “likely the product of an international Internet scam.” It’s not the first time this type of scam has surfaced. In 2018, a Massachusetts couple who kept receiving mystery packages from Amazon containing items ranging from USB-powered humidifiers to rechargeable dog collars feared they were being targeted. Here’s how the scam works: a seller trying to boost the ratings of their own merchandise sets up a fake email account to create an Amazon profile, then purchases the items with a gift card and ships them to the address of a random person. Once the package is delivered, the owner of the Amazon account is then listed as a “verified buyer” of the product and can write a positive review of it that gets higher placement on product pages because of their status, James Thomson, a former business consultant for Amazon told the Boston Globe at the time when asked about the couple’s deliveries. However, the deliveries of the plant seeds are more widespread and it’s not immediately clear which e-commerce website the fake reviews may be appearing on, if this is the motive behind the packages. On Monday, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesperson Michael Wallace told the New York Times that the agency has received “over 900 emails and several hundred telephone calls” from people who claimed to have received the seeds. Officials in Florida say they have gotten 160 reports about the seeds. And in Louisiana, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told the New York Times that some of the packages sent to residents there appear to contain seeds for water lily plants. “Obviously they’re not jewelry,” Lori Culley, a resident from Tooele, Utah, said to Fox13 after receiving one of the packages. “At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also said in a statement. “If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag.”

Indeed..  We’ll keep an eye on this developing story, and the possible national security implications from China, who is becoming more and more of a threat to us.

U.S. Closes Chinese Consulate in Houston over Privacy, IP Theft Concerns

The Chinese government on Wednesday threatened retaliatory “countermeasures” after U.S. officials abruptly ordered the closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the Trump administration ordered the closure in an “unprecedented escalation,” and promised to “react with firm countermeasures” if the move is not rescinded. The ministry called the closure a “political provocation unilaterally launched by the U.S. side, which seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the U.S.” It also accused the Trump administration of stigmatizing and “unwarranted attacks” against China’s social system, “harassing” Chinese diplomatic and consular staff, “intimidating and interrogating” Chinese students and “confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them without cause.” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Denmark, said the closure was ordered “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.” “The United States will not tolerate [China’s] violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the [its] unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” she said. “President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations.” The move escalates tensions already somewhat strained by blame over the COVID-19 pandemic, trade disputes and Beijing’s military actions in the South China Sea. Possible countermeasures may include shutting down the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, a Chinese academic told the Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper. “China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-U.S. relations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement posted to social media. “We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision, otherwise China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.” Tuesday night, authorities in Houston responded to a fire at the consulate, where witnesses saw papers being burned outside the facility. The closure came ahead of a Senate foreign relations committee hearing on Wednesday that will examine U.S.-China relations. The hearing will include testimony from Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) lauded the closure, tweeting: “#China’s Houston consulate is a massive spy center, forcing it to close is long overdue.”

Agreed, Senator.  Agreed.  Kudos to President Trump, Sec of State Mike Pompeo, and the rest of his team for making this happen.  For more, click on the text above.   Excellent!!    🙂

Houston Fire Department Responds as Chinese Consulate Burns Documents

The police and fire departments in Houston, Texas, responded on Tuesday night to reports of a blaze at the Consulate General of China. The fire turned out to be Chinese agents burning a massive trove of documents after the U.S. government ordered the consulate to be closed due to allegations of espionage. KHOU News in Houston reported that people living near the consulate made 911 calls at around 8:20 p.m. local time to report fires burning in the courtyard, but when firefighters arrived, they were denied permission to enter the premises. The Houston Fire Department explained “it would not enter the premises without consent unless there is a threat to health and safety, which officials said there was not.” The document fire was quite noticeable from outside the consulate grounds. Several fire and police vehicles arrived at the consulate building in response to the 911 calls. “You could just smell the paper burning, but all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside,” an eyewitness told KPRC News. “It appears to be open burning in a container within the courtyard of the Chinese consulate facility. It does not appear to be an unconfined fire but we have not been allowed access. We are standing by and monitoring,” Houston fire chief Sam Pena said, as quoted by KTRK News. The Houston Police Department also said its officers responded to the 911 calls and were denied permission to enter the building. The fires were reportedly extinguished soon after the fire department arrived at the scene.

To see videos, and more, click on the text above.

Up to 8,000 Chinese nationals came into US after Trump banned travel due to coronavirus: AP

Thousands of Chinese citizens have reportedly come into the U.S. since President Trump restricted travel on foreign nationals in January, arriving from China after the coronavirus outbreak. According to a recent report by The Associated Press, citing data it obtained regarding travel from the U.S. Commerce Department, as many as 8,000 Chinese nationals and foreign residents of Hong Kong and Macao have entered the U.S. over the last three months. More than 600 flights brought in travelers from these areas after Trump announced his travel ban in late January and it was enacted Feb. 2. Trump’s initial travel ban included any non-U.S. travelers coming from China, and excluded anyone coming from Hong Kong or Macau in late January. Travelers from Hong Kong and Macao also did not face the same scrutiny or screening processes as Americans or any foreign nationals coming into the U.S. after having been in Wuhan — where the coronavirus outbreak started. Flight records from FlightAware provided to The Associated Press showed that 5,600 Chinese and foreign nationals from Hong Kong and Macau arrived in the U.S. in February. More than 2,000 passengers from the same administrative zones arrived in March and an additional 150 in April, according to The AP report. There is no sufficient evidence to show people from these flights transmitted the coronavirus, but the National Security Council, the State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would not publicly comment on why these territories were exempt from the China travel ban. One administration official told The AP that the travel ban was instated after more than 12,000 people arrived in the U.S. through the two territories in January, according to Commerce records. The Trump administration said it would also require any Americans who have traveled through China and back into the U.S. to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. But according to data collected by The Associated Press, the system that was meant to track and monitor the people undergoing quarantine lost track of at least 1,600 Americans. Trump has touted his border closures, first from China, then European nations and Brazil, as the U.S.’s first line of defense against the coronavirus. In a tweet last week. the president said: “We did a great job on Coronavirus, including the very early ban on China.” “We saved millions of U.S. lives! Yet the Fake News refuses to acknowledge this in a positive way,” he added. Trump’s travel ban on China went into full effect on Feb. 2, at which time 15 people had already been confirmed with coronavirus in Hong Kong and seven people in Macau. The cases from Macau were later linked directly to Wuhan, the origin of the outbreak. The U.S. has reported more than 2.7 million cases of the coronavirus and nearly 130,000 deaths during the pandemic. Hong Kong has since banned all travelers from the U.S.

Chinese military officer arrested while allegedly trying to steal US medical research

A Chinese military officer was caught trying to leave California with university research materials this week, after allegedly lying on an application to obtain a visitor visa for a work-study exchange program, the Justice Department announced. Xin Wang, a scientific researcher and officer with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was arrested at LAX as he was attempting to board his flight to Tianjin, China, according to court documents unsealed this week. He faces visa fraud charges. Wang entered the U.S. on March 26, 2019, to conduct scientific research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), according to his J1 non-immigrant visa application. The application, however, is said to have contained fraudulent statements — including claims that his service with the PLA had ended in 2016 — that were made to increase the chances that he would receive visa approval. Officials claim Wang revealed that he had instructions from the director of his military lab to observe the layout of the UCSF lab with the understanding that they wanted to try to replicate it in China. He was also accused of attempting to bring materials to China with him and had already emailed research. When interviewed by Customs and Border Protection this week, Wang purportedly admitted that he was currently a “Level-9” technician — which was equated to the rank of major — for the PLA, employed by a military university lab. He also allegedly said he had received compensation from the PLA and the China Scholarship Council. WeChat messages are said to have been wiped off of Wang’s phone the day he was expected to board his plane. If convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

IF this is all true, that’s the least that should happen to him.  A clear message needs to be sent to the Communist Chinese Party (CCP), that we’re not putting up with their aggression towards us.  We need to counter them on every possible level.

Pompeo takes aim at ‘obscene’ Chinese propaganda meant to exploit civil strife in U.S

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday denounced Chinese Communist Party propaganda aimed at fueling U.S. civil unrest and seeking to further divide Americans. “The Chinese Communist Party’s callous exploitation of the tragic death of George Floyd to justify its authoritarian denial of basic human dignity exposes its true colors yet again,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement. “As with dictatorships throughout history, no lie is too obscene, so long as it serves the party’s lust for power. This laughable propaganda should not fool anyone.” Chinese diplomats and state-run media outlets in recent weeks have disseminated a steady stream of reports criticizing the U.S. government and Trump administration. Officials said the Chinese propaganda attacks are aimed at fueling racial and political tensions. The official Xinhua news agency and Global Times, the state-run hardline Communist Party newspaper, sent out numerous stories criticizing the Trump administration for its policies toward minorities. The propaganda is coming from the Chinese government that itself is under fire for imprisoning more than 1 million Uighurs in western China, along with other human rights abuses. Mr. Pompeo said in recent days Beijing “showcased its continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law.” “The CCP’s propaganda efforts – seeking to conflate the United States’ actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP’s continued denial of basic human rights and freedom – should be seen for the fraud that they are,” he said. “During the best of times, the PRC ruthlessly imposes communism,” he said. “Amid the most difficult challenges, the United States secures freedom.” Mr. Pompeo noted the stark contrast between the United States and communist-ruled China. “In China, when a church burns, the attack was almost certainly directed by the CCP,” he said, using the acronym for Chinese Communist Party. “In America, when a church burns, the arsonists are punished by the government, and it is the government that brings fire trucks, water, aid, and comfort to the faithful.” Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the officially-atheist government has cracked down on unofficial house churches that are frequently bulldozed to prevent gatherings of worshipers. Mr. Pompeo also said that peaceful protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square or in Hong Kong get clubbed by armed militiamen for simply speaking out, and reporters who cover the dissent are sentenced to long prison terms. In the United States, American law enforcement authorities bring rogue officer to justice. Peaceful protests are welcomed while looting and violence are shut down. “Our free press covers events wall to wall, for all the world to see,” he said. Also, doctors and journalists in China who warned of the dangers of the new coronavirus outbreak were silenced and imprisoned. The Beijing government also lied about death totals and the extent of the disease outbreak, Mr. Pompeo said. “In the United States, we value life and build transparent systems to treat, cure, and underwrite – more than any other nation – pandemic solutions for the globe,” he added. Chinese authorities imprison people who diverge from CCP ideology or place them in re-education camps, the secretary said. The secretary of state’s comment provide the first U.S. government acknowledgement that China is among the foreign actors seeking to further inflame racial tensions in the United States. Attorney General Bill Barr said earlier this week that he had evidence that among the protesters around the country there are “”foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.” FBI Director Christopher Wray also said foreign elements had “set out to sow discord and upheaval.” A U.S. official said videos posted online recently showed what appeared to be Chinese embassy and consulates personnel taking a direct role in riots in Washington and California.

Our thanks to veteran D.C. columnist, and best-selling author, Bill Gertz for that excellent piece!     🙂

Opinion/Analysis: Trump is right to ditch 5 decades of failed US-China engagement policy

In less than nine minutes, President Trump delivered remarks at the White House on Friday signaling his administration has ditched almost five decades of the American policy of engagement with China. It’s about time. China has been challenging the United States across the board, and Trump – with his comprehensive comments Friday – signaled the United States would defend itself across the board. Trump announced a series of actions, including: Terminating America’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Trump said the WHO is biased in favor of China and has failed to approve reforms arising out of its dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. The move cuts off about $450 million in U.S. funding for the WHO. Trump said the U.S. would use those funds for “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.” Suspending entry into the U.S. of Chinese nationals posing a security risk. Revoking almost all special exemptions and rules for Hong Kong and imposing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials. Studying the “differing practices” of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. The president signed a proclamation stating that he will block entry into the United States of Chinese students and researchers tied to U.S. military efforts. In his brief remarks, Trump also commented on other matters, especially the spreading of the coronavirus. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said. On the issue of Hong Kong, Chinese leaders were undoubtedly waiting to see if Trump would withdraw America’s special treatment of the beleaguered territory on trade and other issues. Some thought Trump would not do this, making this issue a test of his resolve. In meeting the test, the president showed political will rarely seen in American leaders. Most observers thought the president would concentrate his remarks on Hong Kong. The surprising aspect of the comments was their comprehensive nature. Moreover, the tone of the president’s words – he was not only adversarial but also angry – broke with decades of precedent. Chinese leaders have not heard an American leader talk to them this way in public. The range of announced actions should concern Chinese leaders. The actions suggest Trump is now leading a whole-of-government charge on China. Not everyone thought Trump was so resolute. The Financial Times, for instance, said Trump “pulled his punches,” not adopting a “range of measures” the markets feared. For instance, he did not terminate the Phase One trade deal, signed Jan. 15. Yet the trade agreement looks shaky – termination or no termination. There are signs China will not meet its principal commitment – increasing purchases of American goods and services by $200 billion over a two-year period. A result, the trade deal is in danger. The Financial Times also said the markets were relieved that Trump did not impose new tariffs or freeze assets of Chinese nationals. The markets should not break out the champagne just yet, however. The Trump administration will be announcing more actions in the weeks to come, probably including “full expensing” for costs to relocate factories from China and Hong Kong to the United States. Larry Kudlow, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, talked about such subsidies in an interview with Fox Business’ Stuart Varney on Tuesday. Moreover, Trump’s mentioning of the behavior of listed Chinese companies is a warning that investment is the next big area on the chopping block. China for months has been saying the “decoupling” of the United States from China was not possible. However, on Friday Trump was making the process look inevitable. Trump said he wanted “an open and constructive relationship with China” – but ultimately the state of relations is not up to him. Beijing, showing off its “wolf warrior diplomacy” has taken a series of aggressive actions since February including: invading India; engaging in boat-bumping and other incidents against six of its neighbors in the South China and East China Seas; threatening to invade Taiwan; breaking promises over Hong Kong; and increasing the tempo of dangerous intercepts of the U.S. Navy in China’s peripheral waters and airspace. It’s not entirely clear why China is lashing out at this moment. Some say it’s a sign of strength. Others says it is a sign of weakness. But it is evident that America’s engagement policy has failed. Engagers, adopting a long view, often ignored or condoned unacceptable Chinese behavior. That feckless policy approach – conducted by U.S. presidents of both parties and by liberals and conservatives alike – only emboldened the worst elements in Beijing by showing everybody else that aggression worked. The upshot is that there is now a perception that Chinese communism cannot be reformed – meaning the only thing the Trump administration can do to protect America is to reduce exposure to China. The underlying theme of the president’s actions Friday was that his administration is cutting ties with Chinese communism. That is the correct approach. The People’s Republic of China is more than just an adversary. A year ago the Communist Party declared a “people’s war” on America. That hostility means that apart from surrendering to Beijing, there is not much Trump can do to patch up relations with China. This is not a Trump issue; it is a China one. There will be costs in unwinding decades of misguided U.S. policies toward China – how could there not be? But Beijing is leaving Trump with little choice. It’s time an American leader did what is necessary: go after China on all fronts. And that’s what the world heard Friday from President Trump.

Exactly right!!  Thanks to Gordon C. Chang, the author of that spot-on analysis.  Gordon is the author of “The Coming Collapse of China.” Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.  Excellent!!         🙂

Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn Plan Ends China-to-U.S. Student Visa Pipeline

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are looking to end China’s pipeline of foreign students to fill spots at American universities and take American STEM jobs. In the wake of the Chinese coronavirus crisis, Cotton and Blackburn — as well as Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) in the House — have filed legislation called the SECURE CAMPUS Act that ends the China-to-United States pipeline of Chinese nationals receiving student visas for STEM fields. “The Chinese Communist Party has long used American universities to conduct espionage on the United States,” Cotton said in a statement. “What’s worse is that their efforts exploit gaps in current law. It’s time for that to end.” In short, Cotton and Blackburn’s plan would: Ban Chinese nationals from receiving student visas to the U.S. for STEM fields Ban Chinese nationals from working on federal R&D grants in STEM fields Require universities, labs, and research institutes recieving federal taxpayer money to confirm that they will not knowingly employ participants in China’s foreign talent recruitment programs Require China’s foreign talent recruitment program participants to register as foreign agents Require the State Department to publish a list of China’s foreign talent recruitment programs Blackburn said in a statement: ” Beijing exploits student and research visas to steal science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing secrets from U.S. academic and research institutions. We’ve fed China’s innovation drought with American ingenuity and taxpayer dollars for too long; it’s time to secure the U.S. research enterprise against [China’s] economic espionage.” As Breitbart News has chronicled, the U.S. legal immigration system remains hugely beneficial to China. From 2008 to 2018, more than 825,000 Chinese nationals arrived in the U.S. on green cards — an immigration status that provides them with permanent residency, a pathway to American citizenship, and eventually the ability to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country through the process known as “chain migration.” There are nearly 500,000 Chinese students in the U.S. in any given year — more than any other country — taking seats in university classrooms and looking to eventually obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT) visas to take entry-level jobs in white-collar professions. In Fiscal Year 2019, alone, Chinese nationals secured about 170,000 F, J, and M visas to arrive in the U.S. as students — more than any other country in the world.

And it needs to end.  It’s ridiculous!  Major kudos to Sens. Cotton and Blackburn for spearheading this effort.  Let’s hope it turns into a bill, and then into law.  Excellent!!    🙂

Trump pulls U.S. out of World Health Organization, slaps penalties on China over Hong Kong action

President Trump announced Friday the U.S. is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronarvirus crisis, and took limited actions to punish China for misleading the world on the virus and for its security crackdown on Hong Kong. Mr. Trump also announced he was ending U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong, as Beijing moves to curb its autonomy. “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world,” Mr. Trump said in a Rose Garden announcement at the White House. “The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations. These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Trump said the U.S. will redirect certain funding, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars per year, that would normally go to the WHO. For weeks, the administration threatened to enlist other organizations to conduct health projects it would normally fund under the leadership of WHO. Mr. Trump also suggested China allowed the virus to spread around the world, but not within China. “The world needs answers from China on the virus,” Mr. Trump said. “We must have transparency.” Deaths in the U.S. from the virus topped 100,000 this week, and business shutdowns to slow the spread have thrown roughly 40 million Americans out of work in less than three months. The president will impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinse officials who are involved in restricting freedoms in Hong Kong. He also said the U.S. is suspending the entry of “certain foreign nationals from China” as potential security risks. He further announced a move to study “differing practices” of certain Chinese companies trading in U.S. financial markets “with the goal of protecting U.S. investors.” But the actions did not appear as broad or as harsh as U.S. investors had feared. Major stock indexes rose in trading after Mr. Trump’s announcement. Rep. Chris Smith, a leading congressional critic of China’s human rights record, said past administrations answered China with “cheap rhetoric,” emboldening Chinese President Xi Jinping to be ever more aggressive. “President Trump, however, is beginning to change that and is doing what previous presidents have failed to do,” the New Jersey Republican said. “For the sake of oppressed people, the United States — even if we have to go it alone — must impost sanctions.” The president said Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong “is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and indeed, the people of the world.”

Indeed..  And we need to do much more to punish China.  But, this is a good first step by the Trump Administration.  And, hey..  It’s far more than Hillary or Joe Biden would ever do.

Sen. Josh Hawley Explains How to Take on China and Save America

On May 20, speaking from the Senate floor, Josh Hawley, the youngest member of the chamber, laid out his plan for fixing international trade, taking on the People’s Republic of China, and thereby, too, saving America. In so doing, Hawley, populist firebrand that he is, showed that he was willing to overturn the stale orthodoxies that have mildewed our economy and undermined our security. In his speech, Hawley laid out the core problem: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has taken advantage of the flaws built into the current international economic system, embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO), that agglomeration of unelected globalcrats. As Hawley put it, “We must recognize that the economic system designed by Western policy makers at the end of the Cold War does not serve our purposes in this new era.” He added, “And we should admit that multiple of its founding premises were in error.” Those founding premises, Hawley continued, trace back to the save-the-world utopianism of our 28th president, Woodrow Wilson. Having entered World War One in 1917, Wilson had some strange ideas; for one thing, it would be “a war to end all war,” and, he added, we must strive for “peace without victory.” Yes, such concepts might seem a bit, well, unrealistic; you know, like the musings of an ivory-tower professor. In fact, Wilson had been a professor and subsequently, in fact, he held presidency of Princeton University before winning the White House. So maybe now we can see the origins of his vaulting but vacuous phrasemaking. Indeed, without a doubt, Wilson was a great talker; he wove webs of words and theories that have bewitched many politicians since, inspiring them to be wannabe Wilsonians. For instance, there was George W. Bush, who said he heard “a calling from beyond the stars,” summoning America to wars of choice, aimed at “ending tyranny in our world.” Well, we know how that worked out. As Hawley said, “During the past two decades, as we fought war after war in the Middle East, the Chinese government systematically built its military on the backs of our middle class.” Exactly. While we were liberating Fallujah for the third or fourth time, the Chinese were hollowing out our economy. Of course, Bush wasn’t our only warlike president in the past two decades; we also had Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom launched foreign interventions as well, even as they were welcoming Chinese products and influence into the U.S. Indeed, as an aside, one wonders what Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, thinks of all this: Has he learned the lesson of Iraq and other quagmires? Has he rethought trade with China? Those are certainly good questions to be answered during the remainder of the 2020 campaign season. Okay, back to Hawley. Having raised serious questions about the status quo, he offered three specific answers: First, we should withdraw from the World Trade Organization. As Hawley put it, the WTO was built on a false promise: the idea that the nations of the world would converge around a fair and non-manipulated trading system; as the Missourian put it, “they wanted a single liberal market to support a single, liberal international order that would bring peace in our time.” Yet in the decades of the WTO’s existence, the countries of the world haven’t come together on much of anything—except, perhaps, to snooker Uncle Sucker. And we might pause to note Hawley’s slyly ironic use of the words, “peace in our time.” That’s an allusion to the catastrophically mistaken statement of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain; back in 1938, Chamberlain made a wrongheaded deal with Adolf Hitler, which he said would bring “peace in our time.” Wrong! Yes, Hawley is saying, the stakes today are potentially that high; we can’t stay in an organization that has “not been kind to America.” He added, “The WTO’s dispute resolution process has systemically disfavored the United States”—and favored China. Second, Hawley says that having left the WTO, the U.S. should negotiate new trade deals on a more reciprocal and bilateral basis; that is, the U.S. should make a trade deal with, say, the United Kingdom—and then on to another deal with the next potential trading partner. As Hawley explained, “We must replace an empire of lawyers with a confederation of truly mutual trade.” Indeed, Hawley argues that a new focus on win-win trade deals—as freely determined by the two countries actually involved in the deal, as opposed supranational WTO-crats—deals that would offer a new opportunity for the U.S. to put together better alliances, based on mutually beneficial economic and strategic relationships: We benefit if countries that share our opposition to Chinese imperialism—countries like India and Japan, Vietnam, Australia and Taiwan—are economically independent of China, and standing shoulder to shoulder with us. So we should actively pursue new networks of mutual trade with key Asian and European partners, like the economic prosperity network recently mentioned by Secretary Pompeo. We might pause over one of the countries Hawley mentioned above, Taiwan. Its formal name is the Republic of China (ROC), an island nation whose capital is Taipei. In other words, the ROC is separate and very much distinct from the People’s Republic of China, whose capital, of course, is Beijing. The two nations split in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Soviet-backed communists took over the mainland. In the decades since, the ROC, population 23 million, has become a prosperous and free country, while the PRC is merely … prosperous. (And, of course, menacing.) So it’s notable that Hawley has become a strong champion of Taiwan, which stands not only as a bulwark against the PRC, but also as proof that the Chinese people, if given a choice, will choose freedom. Third, Hawley wants to crack down on the ability of international capital, including Wall Street, to hopscotch the world—and step all over the people of the world. As Hawley explains about the current WTO dominion,

To continue reading, or see the video of Sen. Hawley’s (R-MO) speech, click on the text above.   Excellent!!      🙂