When Trump came into office making big and bold statements about challenging China’s trade supremacy and negotiating better terms with them, the Jim Acosta set on the left began wringing their hands about his “dangerous” rhetoric. They said he was going to start a trade war that would decimate the American economy. They said he would start World War III. They said he would lose against China.
Trump just kept on Trump-ing. He told us he didn’t think the trade deals were fair – they weren’t. But he told us something else that few people were really paying attention to in all the media-driven hysteria. Trump told us even from the beginning of his 2016 run that our dependence on China was reaching dangerous levels and we needed to return to a time when we didn’t depend on them for so much.
For too many decades, the American economy has sold out to cheap Chinese labor and goods. We were all fine with it (hey, I love my iPhone as much as the next spoiled American) until China started flexing. They have every right to flex. They own our film industry, our manufacturing industry, and much of our debt. When certain NBA personalities became vocal about the oppression in Hong Kong, China stomped her feet and the NBA folded like a cheap suit stuffed with yuan. It was a bit of a wake-up call for most of us. We had to ask ourselves, are our cheap electronics and blockbuster Hollywood movies worth trading American values of free enterprise and free speech for?
Last month, Trump went to India. The progressive media talking heads made the same unsurprising complaints about Trump’s visit, what Melania and Ivanka were wearing and the large stadium crowds that gathered to welcome him to their eager nation. What they barely mentioned — either intentionally or simply out of ignorance — was that Trump spent a large portion of the visit sussing out India’s supply chain and business environment. Trump knew what we’re only just beginning to figure out — there’s a whole wide world of trade out there that doesn’t involve China in any capacity.
India is an amazing country to replace the value of Chinese trade. They have about the same population but without all that messy communism stuff. They’re a powerhouse in the Asian bloc of countries and they’re open. It isn’t just India. Countries like Vietnam and Thailand and Indonesia are also extremely eager to become major trade partners. They are not without their own issues, but China’s brand of communism has been presenting a unique problem…a problem that doesn’t come with a bolstered trade expansion into other Asian nations. We could be doing the same kind of business with these other countries that we’re doing with China while at the same time diversifying our trade base so we are not so financially beholden to a single nation.
Think about the effect on the film industry alone. People complain about the waning selection of mainstream films to choose from. It seems these days we can count on reboots, blockbuster comic book movies or animated films and not much more. That’s because Hollywood isn’t just making movies for you anymore, they’re making them for China. The problem with that is that Chinese audiences aren’t very sophisticated in their tastes. Don’t forget that their gorgeous and diverse culture was basically outlawed and cut off at the roots during the Communist Revolution. The goal was to erase identity and that is exactly what the state did. A community without a past is left to flounder for depth. When it comes to our film offerings, everything gets watered down in order to please the communist overlords and appeal to that unsophisticated mass Chinese market.
Imagine if our international box office numbers depended more on an Indian market than a Chinese market. India’s culture has had colonial challenges but their culture has never been deliberately burned from public memory like the Chinese Communists did to their own people. India is a rich, vibrant and free culture. These are the people that gave us Bollywood. Bollywood is actually more influential on American cinema at the moment than vice versa. Imagine the marriage of Bollywood and Hollywood. It would be glorious! Making India a trade partner on par with China could change everything about how we do business and art in this country.
Trump knew it. He’s been right about China this whole time, and nothing has made that more clear than the Coronavirus panic. The interruption of goods from China is crippling. Their deliberately opaque governing process puts us at a disadvantage when trying to continue business as usual while they deal with whatever it is they’re dealing with. We have been fools to let ourselves become so dependent on the Chinese market. There’s a good chance China created this virus, and maybe they’ve overplayed their hand here. Maybe, finally, the world is realizing that getting into bed with the communists and pretending they were just misunderstood capitalists is a fatal mistake.
Trump has every right to wag his finger at his critics and say, “I told you so!” and I hope he does one day soon. Because he is right. It’s time to cut the cord with China. We don’t need their business.
Trump has been right this whole time.