Trump Is Disarming America In the Face-off Against China

In Economy, FOREIGN RELATIONS -- articles only On

As the United States and China face off, President Trump seems determined to disarm his own country — to undermine our greatest strengths.

I’m not talking about tariffs or trade rules, soybeans or steel, or whatever else Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping jawboned about Saturday in Buenos Aires as they negotiated a 90-day truce in their commercial disputes.

I’m talking about something more fundamental. Long after the truce expires, China will be promoting its authoritarian model throughout the world as a superior alternative to Western democracy.

In that competition, China boasts that one-party rule enables long-term planning and follow-through. It can complete huge infrastructure projects without pesky citizen opposition or time-sucking environmental studies. It can offer loans to small-country dictators without bothering about corruption, transparency or human rights. Its huge internal market, shielded from outside competitors, nurtures homegrown companies. Its vast storehouse of data on every citizen, collected without permission or respect for privacy, gives its companies an invaluable resource.

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We all want the same things – a safe, prosperous, free, democratic nation with opportunity for all. At the same time, we will all be harmed if our democracy, our free press, our Constitution and our core American values are threatened. We will all certainly be harmed if reckless behavior triggers any number of potential armed conflicts.

None of us know how this will all play out so let's make a deal. Let’s get up to speed on the issues, establish some facts, take action and watch what happens together . . .