Republicans Fight Over China

Past ties to Beijing are rightly an issue in the primaries

Republicans Fight Over China
The U.S. Capitol on March 8, 2021. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Anders Corr

Politicians are bashing each other over China. Any links to the totalitarian state, past or present, are being hauled before voters for all to see. Candidates who have ever had such links must put on their hair shirts and explain themselves, usually failing in the process.

Like winnowing at harvest, the bashing is a good thing in that it removes the chaff from the grain. Many of the China links indicate failures in judgment or ethics that should disqualify candidates from office. Exposing them now during the primaries, and removing those found wanting, helps their political parties—and America.

The mutual thrashing of Republicans is covered in detail by Josh Dawsey in The Washington Post. He spoke with Tony Fabrizio, a pollster who works for Donald Trump.

“If you coddle China, or you are soft on China, that makes you not so much America first and not so tough,” the pollster said. “Being tagged as soft on China is not a good thing. ... China has been seen as the primary world foe for at least the last decade or more.”

One of Fabrizio’s recent polls shows that Republican voters view Beijing as a bigger threat than Moscow, and rightly so, given that China’s economy is approximately 10 times larger than its Russian counterpart. That translates into military power, and unlike Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is keeping his powder dry.

There are plenty of China transgressions among the latest crop of candidates.

David Perdue, who threw his hat in the ring for the Georgia senatorial race, is accused of a long business career of outsourcing U.S. jobs.

“As a top executive at companies including Reebok, Sara Lee and Dollar General, he was often deeply involved in the shift of manufacturing, and jobs, to low-wage factories in China and other Asian countries,” according to The New York Times.

David McCormick allegedly conducted business deals in China as CEO of Bridgewater, a hedge fund. On his watch, according to a Wall Street Journal source last year, Bridgewater raised the equivalent of $1.25 billion in a Beijing-approved yuan-denominated fund. In 2007, as a Treasury Department official, McCormick said in a speech in Beijing that “when China succeeds, the United States succeeds.”

McCormick is running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania against Mehmet Oz, himself accused of making money by syndicating his Dr. Oz show on China’s state television and allowing his bedding company to contract with a company in China. Oz made between $1 million and $5 million in the process.

The same thrashing should happen between Democrats, although it rarely does. That lack of due diligence will cost them at the polls when they run against Republicans, who will be vetted for their China ties in the primaries.

Consider Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. President Joe Biden nominated him for ambassador to India in December. His confirmation has been dogged by allegations of racism and sexual harassment committed by his political adviser.
Less frequently mentioned are Garcetti’s ties to China. Garcetti has been involved with Asia Society, headquartered in New York, but with multiple connections to China, including through corporate funding and Xi himself. Garcetti had a friendly meeting with Carrie Lam, former leader of Hong Kong, who answered to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Several Democratic foreign policy elites, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell are linked to Asia Society, which may have ties to the CCP.

Many U.S. politicians from both parties are too close to Beijing, either directly or through nonprofit organizations that rely on donations from corporations dependent on profits from the CCP. This biases U.S. policy toward appeasing China to keep more than $600 billion worth of trade flowing each year.

The scrutiny of links to the CCP among U.S. politicians will only grow. The heightened distrust that we now see for the CCP among Republican voters, we will also see among Democrats as they get spun up on the issue. The thrashing that results is a necessary part of democracy, which simultaneously rejects those unfit to serve, finds the best candidates for U.S. leadership now, and defines acceptable behavior for future U.S. leaders.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).
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