Walter Lohman has always been supportive of Taiwan. I’ve usually enjoyed that. Consequently, his article in the Taipei Times on Monday, July 23, 2018 entitled Walter Lohman on Taiwan: A free-market approach to US-China trade troubles was shockingly apologetic for Communist China (almost appalling). Here are my comments on the article.
“There is another way to approach China” – anytime you see this it means this: kowtow, kowtow, kowtow to get China to throw some scraps. First, China=the Chinese Communist Party, which has absolute power conferred on the Emperor Xi. Secondly, I don’t care how many technical geopolitical economic arguments you make, it boils down to “don’t antagonize China”. Well. My response to that is kowtow this, China. Make my day. Really.
“Its first rule is “economics is economics and politics are something else.” In the relationship with China, the US has to keep these separate. It cannot be naive. ” What the hell? Everything involving Communist China is political, everything, including whether US airlines say “Taiwan, China” or “Taiwan”. Political correctness is hopefully out the window now that feckless Obama is history. To say that economics and politics must be kept separate when dealing with China is naive, not the other way around, principally because every single thing China does is political, especially economics. See, e.g., One Belt One Road (One Noose One Way) a Chinese Communist Party Trojan horse to control as many nations along the way as possible, for political-economic reasons. Money is China’s bait. Everything is political.
“Still, these differences need not interfere with the way the US conducts its economic relationship with China”. Awww…poor little China, upset by US pressure. Now, who is being naive? “Need not interfere” – I believe just the opposite, it is absolutely necessary, nothing could be more important than to bring total and complete pressure to bear until China begs for relief.
“No, the Chinese state-led capitalism does not lend itself to a similar firewall. But the US need not become more like China in order to secure its interests.” What?!! Are you kidding? It’s okay for China to mix politics and economics, but not the US? Really? We should be nice and polite to China? [head shaking, laughing, eye rolling]. What a joke. It is because China plays this game 24/7 that the US must be vigilant, and relentless.
“The second rule is “it is better to open markets than to close them.” If the US has a problem with market access in China, it should put them on the table, and use the leverage of its market to address them, not close its market with unilateral tariffs”. Ha ha ha. Right. Put them on the table….for how many years? Ten, twenty, thirty? Screw that. Full speed ahead, maximum pressure, make China feel the pain. Let them know how no matter how proud they are, they need the US so much more than the US needs them. Previous administrations tip-toed. Now it is time to employ the heavy boot.
And Lohman says this in response to what I just said – “Critics will say this has been tried and failed, and there is some truth to this. The Chinese repeat many of the same promises and never deliver. However, there has been incremental progress, in financial services, for example. Is it sufficient? No. But if the US is not seriously talking to them, it is difficult to shape outcomes.” Are you freaking kidding me? Not serious? Oh, yeah, it’s the fault of the US. What planet are you from? You admit China is playing games, but we should not respond forcefully? Yeah, let’s keep doing the same stupid things over and over and over. Yeah. Like Beijing was ever afraid of Obama for one second. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Okay, halfway through the article, the theme is this: “Please, please, please, please don’t affect business between the US and China. Please, please, please.” This is why people like Mr. Lohman and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce cannot make policy, especially on bended knee.
“The third rule is “when bilateral talks fail, go multilateral.”” Ha ha ha ha ha. Okay, hard to breathe after ten minutes of hysterical laughter. Are you kidding me? Depend on the WTO? Depend on the EU? Really? After we pulled the plug on Iran, who was the first guy on a plane to Teheran from Paris to make sure the business deals were still in place? There is no help, there is no cavalry, there are no joint efforts, there is nothing but American resolve. That’s it.
“First, we have to acknowledge one uncomfortable fact. Not all the American companies who have given their technology to the Chinese are innocent victims. Joint ventures are more than Chinese schemes to bilk foreign companies. For some American companies sharing technology with their partners was part of their business plans.” OMG. That statement is totally la di sai (B.S.) Totally. China is one of the few countries in the world that makes divulging trade secrets a cost of doing business in China. It is heinous, and there is a high price of doing business in China. It is despicable and nothing about China is an “open market”. It is a honey pot.
“Second, we have to put China’s abuses in some context. The US Chamber of Commerce’s International IP Index ranks China 25th out of 50 countries in terms of IP protection and enforcement. Granted, what China does on these issues is more consequential than some of the countries, like Russia and Thailand, that it outperforms. But its middling ranking is a good indication that the problem is not as dramatic as it is portrayed, and therefore subject to resolution.” Again. OMG. How do you spell A-P-O-L-O-G-I-S-T? 25th out of 50 countries? American Chamber of Commerce a/k/a “Do Business Anywhere No Matter How Evil, Let’s Make a Deal”? That Chamber of Commerce? Give me a break. Does Lohman actually believe these are rational excuses for evil?
“It is worth taking another look at this judgement. The EU has also filed a case, yet its case is broader, and it managed to pursue it without resort to unilateral sanctions.” Geez. I hope you are not suggesting the US should be more like the EU, where fecklessness is a Unionwide policy. Don’t offer the EU as an example of what the US should do. Ever. We are not them. We had 8 years of Obamunism and Oppeasement, we don’t need any more of that crap.
“Fourth, when it comes to cyber-espionage the US is well within its right to retaliate against the Chinese companies that perpetrate the theft and/or benefit from it. It should single out these entities and impose appropriate penalties on them.” I’m sorry, are you actually suggesting that all of that is not at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party? Really? Who is being naive now?
“Finally, the administration has to be clear and consistent that addressing Chinese IP abuses is its aim, not paring back Chinese industrial policy — which is unrealistic in any regard — or negotiating transactional arrangements designed to reduce the trade deficit — which is also unrealistic. If talks have any prospect of succeeding, they must narrow in on the matter at hand and set specific, detailed expectations.” What? What!? Focus on only IP? This is apples and oranges, this is watering down this dispute to how crispy is the crust…The dispute is all about stopping China’s animus of taking over the world and remaking it into a world with Chinese Characteristics. But it sounds like that would be okay with Lohman. If not, please get another writer at the Heritage Foundation, or get articles vetted by someone who isn’t on their knees, because this sure sounds like a huge apology for the Chinese Communist Party’s decades of bad acts and evil designs, and appeasement for its end-game.
Finally, Lohman offers this: “one that has at its heart less state-led design and more economic freedom.” What? China is all about and only about “State-led design”. The Chinese Communist Party and the Emperor Xi need to be stopped cold. If you cannot sign onto that, just go sell it elsewhere where such nonsense can get past people who don’t know the truth. [More head shaking, laughing, eye rolling].
What a joke. This apology for China disappoints me in so many ways.