New Op-Ed: Why disarm ourselves in face of Chinese aggression?
Why disarm ourselves in face of Chinese aggression?
In the face of unrestricted warfare, we cannot unilaterally disarm.
That seems like pretty basic common-sense reasoning.
But since common sense is the least common of all senses, it bears repeating.
The unrestricted warfare of which we speak is being waged by the Peoples Republic of China against the United States of America.
And the unilateral disarmament being discussed is the addled notion that the U.S. should let the Export-Import Bank die.
Ex-Im, as it’s commonly known, is the export credit agency of the U.S. government, facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services by providing American businesses with the financing necessary to compete for global sales.
Unlike most government undertakings, Ex-Im actually turns a profit, returning billions to the Treasury as exporters repay their loans.
But for some bizarre reason ideologues on both the left and the right have made eliminating this obscure agency their top priority.
Left-wing zealots call Ex-Im “corporate welfare” (never mind that no welfare program has ever returned money to the Treasury), making it the one welfare program they oppose.
Nominally on the right, libertarian fundamentalists condemn Ex-Im as “crony capitalism.” This crew, funded by the Koch brothers, also supports abolishing borders, along with all immigration and trade enforcement, their magical formula for manifesting universal peace and prosperity. We’ve seen how well that’s worked out.
In reality, the United States and China are in a contest for global economic supremacy. The National Security Strategy of the United States explicitly identifies China’s economic challenge is a threat to our national security as well our opulence. Twenty-first-century warfare is about economics.
To achieve its goal, the Chinese Communist government is the world’s largest provider of export subsidies, and it is using them to outmaneuver the U.S. in Latin America, Africa, Asia and even Europe.
In 2009, it handed out over $174 billion in export subsidies to help its national champions win lucrative contracts. This “free money” allowed Chinese companies to beat out American companies in the competition to build dams, ports and other infrastructure projects around the world.
Due in no small part to Beijing’s rich export subsidies, seven of the top 10 global construction contractors are Chinese. Chinese contractors are now involved in over half of the hydro-power projects in the world. Bye bye, Bechtel – Beijing just underbid you.
China uses export subsidies that take the form of low-interest financing to lock down natural resources in Africa and Latin America. China is expected to invest $1 trillion in Africa alone over the next decade.
Export subsidies enable the Chinese espionage-cum-telecom company Huawei to offer zero-interest financing on 5G internet infrastructure. Once China controls 5G information infrastructure, it controls everything.
The global economy is the battlefield in China’s bid for global dominance, and we must engage them with every resource at our disposal.
President Trump understands the crucial role of the Export-Import Bank in defending America’s national interest.
“It’s a very good thing and it actually makes money,” President Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “I was very much opposed to Ex-Im Bank, because I said what do we need that for IBM and for General Electric and all these – it turns out that, first of all lots of small companies will really be helped, the vendor companies, but also maybe more importantly, other countries give it. And when other countries give it, we lose a tremendous amount of business.”
In addition to China, some 85 other countries have export credit agencies to help their national champions win contracts – and jobs.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – the point man in holding the line against Communist China’s economic aggression – says the lack of a functioning Export-Import Bank “is having an impact, and it is way beyond China and is costing us jobs and there is no excuse for it.”
Peter Navarro, the director of the White House office of trade and manufacturing and the architect of the administration’s tough trade policy, put it bluntly: “The costs of keeping the Ex-Im Bank on the sidelines can be measured in the tens of billions of dollars of products we fail to export – and in the thousands of jobs we fail to create when this country does not have a fully functioning export credit agency to compete with its counterparts around the world.”
It’s well past time for Congress to put America’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and workers first and fully fund the Export-Import Bank.
Anything less would amount to unilateral disarmament in the face of China’s economic aggression.
-Curtis Ellis is the Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.