Inside Trump’s Plan to Punish China

The pandemic was supposed to shut the world down. It did not. International politics are very perhaps more active than they were before the pandemic. Kim Jong Un appears to still be alive. Wars continue to rage across the Middle East. Venezuela is now officially endorsing drug running and piracy. And, in the midst of it all, China continues to strive to be the most evil regime on the planet.

They’ve done a lot wrong, and they have a lot of blood on their hands, but it looks like the reckoning might finally be here. President Trump is not overlooking the evils of China, and he has a plan to make them pay.

President Trump was hard on China long before he won the 2016 presidential election. It’s easy to forget, but we endured three years of a trade war to try and get China to be less of a problem around the world. It’s even easier to forget that they signed a preliminary agreement with the U.S. in early January. That’s right about the time they stopped being transparent about coronavirus, specifically they lied about the virus being able to spread from person to person. Now, the whole world is rightly blaming China for the spread and the scope of the pandemic resulting in the biggest global economic depression we’ve ever seen. It’s not exactly hard to imagine President Trump rallying the world against China.

Before the pandemic, President Trump was satisfied with forcing China to buy more American goods and getting them to acknowledge and protect our intellectual property. The stakes have raised considerably since then. While President Trump is still working on the formalized plan, the gist is that he’s going to offer repatriation subsidies to get American companies out of China for good. He’s even expressed that he’s ok with a lateral movement to another foreign country, as long as China is left in the dust. For those who don’t speak international trade, this is a scorched-earth policy.

It’s worth noting that other countries are already on board. Japan has committed to a similar deal. They’re paying their companies to leave China, and other countries are discussing jumping on the bandwagon.

It’s easy to underestimate how big of a deal this is. President Trump is leading the capitalist world to completely remove China from all trade and supply chains. While that won’t be a simple process, he has escalated far beyond tariffs and trade agreements (although those tools will remain in his bag). He’s primarily incentivizing companies to leave, and it’s likely to work very, very well.

China has made several fatal mistakes, all at the same time. They forgot that their economy entirely hinges on the grace of the west. Their communist policies have not built an economic power. Instead, that was done entirely with private, foreign investment. If those investments go away, China’s economy will crumble, and the early signs of that are already apparent.

China is directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. That won’t be forgotten, and it won’t be easily forgiven. Well done, Mr. President.

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