China is rather open about its ambitions for world dominance. Unlike other presidents, Trump is taking those ambitions head-on instead of funding them with weak trade deals. In response, China is doing what it can to throw the 2020 election to anyone but Trump.
Democracies are notoriously slow to react to foreign policy challenges. One of the worst examples of that in history was the lead-up to World War II. The free governments of Europe refused to recognize the gathering storm until it was upon them.
Trump, on the other hand, has been proactive on major foreign policy issues. He wasted no time in attacking and diminishing ISIS. Unlike former President Barack Obama, Trump treated ISIS as a pressing issue.
Trump also has taken on Russia—but in a peaceful manner.
Trump’s “America First” energy policy has meant more than just U.S. jobs and revenues for U.S. companies. It also promises to reduce Russian revenues short and long term. Every dollar Russia doesn’t get on the world market reduces funding for its ambitions.
Those policies are a far cry from the strategic blunder the United States made for decades. The United States sent and continues to send endless dollars to the Middle East. Those petro-dollars have funded terrorism, cost U.S. jobs, and drove up U.S. defense costs.
They also helped fund the dangerous and destabilizing ambitions of Iran.
All of which brings us to China. There can be little doubt of China’s ambitions near and far. They don’t just want to dominate Asia. They want to be the world’s preeminent military power. They are empire driven.
To become that power, China needs a vibrant economy that kicks off huge revenues for its totalitarian government. History proves that hegemonic military ambitions are only as good as a country’s long-term economic growth rates.
For years, China has been growing its economy and its military relatively unchecked. To do that, it has relied on a docile West and economic trade on its terms.
The world knows that China engages in economic espionage and steals intellectual property. By doing that, it helps grow its economy. The world knows China subsidizes home-grown industries and uses trade barriers to foster and protect them as well. That also helps grow its economy. Recently, China has begun “managing” its currency to allow it to weaken in an effort to boost exports in an attempt to keep its economy from faltering.
Despite its efforts, China’s economy has significantly weakened and a lot of that has to do with Trump’s trade war with China. The economist Stephen Moore recently said it could go into a free fall if the trade war goes on too much longer. Money is flowing out of its financial markets. Some manufacturers are moving operations out of the country to less political countries with lower labor costs, for instance, to Vietnam, to name one such locale.
So, what’s China to do under those circumstances? Obviously, fight back against its tormentor, Trump.
Despite a recent statement otherwise, there have also been hints that China would wait out the 2020 election before making any trade deal—a move which could hurt the U.S. economy and Trump’s reelection chances.
China’s attempt to influence the 2020 election doesn’t end there, however. Recently, China hinted at tariffs to come, and one of their targets may be more politically motivated than economically.
This headline could portend stark political consequences: “China Plans to Resume 25% Tariffs on US Car Imports.”
China is the world’s largest new car market and any such tariffs could hit U.S companies like Ford and Chrysler hard. Politically, that could hurt Trump among union members who supported him in 2016 and that includes in Michigan where Trump barely won in 2016—by just over 10,000 votes.
Will China succeed in influencing the 2020 election? Will Trump stick to his trade guns and lead the world in defunding China’s ambitions? And are Americans willing to peacefully sacrifice today so as not to have higher defense costs in the future?
Only time will tell the answers to those questions—but two things are for sure: (1) Trump is right to stop the United States from funding China’s ambitions by trading with China on its terms, and (2) China has no interest in a fair U.S. election that Trump wins in 2020.
Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer and the former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.