Trump's tough action against China is long overdue – Beijing must pay for its misconduct

By Christian Whiton | Fox News

President Trump spoke Friday with more clarity about China than any previous president, referencing the “malfeasance” of the Chinese government and its outrageous “cover-up of the Wuhan virus” as he announced his latest tough action against the communist regime.

Trump spoke in the wake of Beijing’s progressive assault on freedom in Hong Kong, and as China continued to refuse to come clean about the coronavirus pandemic it started.

Invoking human rights that we often take for granted in America, Trump cited the Chinese Communist Party’s refusal to see the benefits of the liberty and human rights that existed in Hong Kong and that China solemnly promised to preserve when Britain handed back the colony in 1997. We now see that China’s pledge is another in a long line of its broken promises.

Unlike his predecessors in the White House, Trump followed tough words with tough action Friday. He terminated U.S. membership in the corrupt and pro-Chinese World Health Organization. This is another welcome blow to globalist bureaucracies that mainly serve the purposes of the world’s bad guys.

Trump put an end to visas for graduate students with links to China’s People Liberation Army. This step is fundamentally important. China’s outright theft of the free world’s technology prevents the kleptocracy there from falling too far behind.

But China’s real dream is to beat America and its allies, and that means having doctoral and post-doctoral science and technology students learn from masters in the United States and then bring their way of thinking back to China.

Ultimately we should halt all student visas for Chinese nationals, who displace American students and harm Asian-Americans in particular, given that many institutions have tacit quotas that limit Asian students.

Colleges would scream at the loss of revue from Communist China, but frankly, those institutions deserve it given their lack of patriotism and their fleecing of Americans in exchange for degrees of decreasing usefulness.

Trump also moved closer to delisting Chinese equities from U.S. stock exchanges, where they pose a systemic risk given the penchant of Chinese companies for corruption and opacity. It is a testament to Wall Street’s cluelessness about the threat from China that the Chinese companies were allowed to list on U.S. exchanges in the first place.

Finally, Trump threatened targeted sanctions against Chinese officials involved in undermining freedom in Hong Kong in violation of China’s explicit promises. He also vowed to adjust Hong Kong’s status as a separate trade entity from mainland China that enjoys low-tariff trade with the United States. In stopping short of fully revoking this status, Trump maintained leverage against China for future use.

Overall, Trump made a strong move to begin making China pay for its misconduct. However, Trump still has not laid out a clear overall vision for how to beat China. We are still left mostly with tactics and sentiment, as opposed to a strategy the whole of our government and the American people can get behind.

Trump and his aides should look back at the Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman administrations, which both understood how to construct a coherent plan to wage cold war and how to communicate it to the public.

Truman promulgated “NSC 68,” a reference to the policy compiled by his National Security Council, which was a blueprint for resisting Soviet expansionism through military and other means.

Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 75, titled “U.S. Relations with the USSR” two years into his administration. On a single page, it outlined a three-fold strategy that helped undermine the Soviet threat and that caused the demise of the Soviet Union itself: contain Soviet expansionism with military deterrence; promote political change inside the Soviet Union; and engage in negotiations without a double standard that favored the opposition.

While the documents were classified at the time, each administration’s public statements stemmed from these clear policies.

Today the idea of putting political pressure on the Chinese Communist Party is still anathema to some. Indeed, a report the Trump administration sent to Congress last week said: “United States policies are not premised on an attempt to change [China’s] domestic governance model.” In fact, that is precisely what we should do, because when the Chinese Communist Party is forced to play defense at home, it will have less bandwidth and ability to be aggressive with America and the free world.

Perhaps someday the Trump administration can back into a strategy from the various tactics it has employed. Fighting China through nonviolent means is one of the few issues for which there is bipartisan support in Washington and across the country.

Nevertheless, Trump has made clear that America will fight China using the timing and tactics of our choice. The zealots who run the Chinese government are on notice.

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