The all-encompassing geopolitical, military, diplomatic, cultural and economic threat posed by the thuggish Chinese Communist Party represents America's generational challenge. Decades from now, historians will assess the rising generation based, in no small part, upon how we do in mitigating, confronting and ultimately thwarting the ambitions of a CCP that aspires to nothing less than nonpareil global hegemony. It is the one issue that ought to permeate every policy discussion and lurk in the background of every national-level decision.
The idiosyncratic backdrop for this necessary reprioritization is, of course, a pandemic that likely represents the single-most disruptive global event since World War II — a pandemic that was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, in Chernobyl-like fashion, by the deceitful malefactors of the CCP. The early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak shined a bright spotlight upon China's troubling dominance of the global personal protective equipment market — a direct negative consequence of decades of neoliberalism and economic globalization run amok.
Further harrowing metrics abound: An astonishing 97% of all American antibiotics, and roughly half of the world's circuit boards, come from China. Equally worrisome, CCP-cozy Chinese firms like telecom giant Huawei and video-sharing site TikTok, giants in their own right, serve as thinly veiled subversive spyware — coming courtesy of our No. 1 geopolitical archfoe. Oh, and that archfoe happens to be an infamous currency manipulator and intellectual property thief that tramples its jackboot over once-free Hong Kong and forcibly ships certain ethnic minorities to Orwellian "re-education camps."
Younger Americans would be readily forgiven for wondering how in the world America — and, by extension, large swaths of the West — got itself into this mess. The answer is just as straightforward as it is depressing. In the nearly half-century that has followed President Nixon's famous 1972 visit to meet Chairman Mao, American elites of all stripes — with the ostensible imprimatur of a CCP willing to make risible pledges for good global citizenship — have abetted China's ascendance into the interconnected global economy. We the People are only now suffering the disastrous consequences of the ruling class's self-interested myopia.
American leaders, both Democratic and Republican, repeatedly touted the purported ability of increased economic liberalization and marketization to effectuate political liberalization. The laundry list of nadirs include President George H.W. Bush's much-ballyhooed pronunciation of a "New World Order," then-Senator Joe Biden's helping to usher in most-favored-nation trading status and World Trade Organization membership for the People's Republic, and Senator Dianne Feinstein's going so far as to advocate de-linking that most-favored-nation trading status from the Communist regime's manifold human rights abuses, including the forced abortions and sterilizations that proliferated during the era of the repulsive one-child policy.
To be sure, there have been rare bright spots. Deng Xiaoping, while orchestrating the Tiananmen Square massacre and generally known for his authoritarian streak, at least quelled the influence of China's socialist hard-liners and helped raise standards of living for a terribly impoverished populace. But overall, a bipartisan American consensus of neoliberalism run amok has helped create a vicious, domineering monster of a geopolitical arch-foe. The neoliberals were dead wrong; there has not been substantial political liberalization. If anything, the CCP has only been emboldened by increased interconnectedness, encouraging it to double-down on its deceptions, pilfering, malice, militarization and hegemony. But hey, at least corporate valuations and index funds have soared — and Wall Street is rewarding longtime CCP sycophant Biden by donating to his presidential campaign at a much higher rate than China-skeptic President Trump's.
Everywhere one looks in America today, it is impossible to miss the seductive allure of China's cheap (slave) labor, mass consumer market and affordable (when not spyware) goods. Thus we see the National Basketball Association, a leftist outfit all-in for the pseudo-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, beclown itself by briefly banning the sale of "Free Hong Kong" custom merchandise. We see TikTok still flourishing, notwithstanding that its parent company is an effective Chinese government offshoot. We see diminished industrial strength, shuttered manufacturing plants all across the Rust Belt and byproducts like mass despondency and drug overdoses that can only be understood as downstream effects of mass offshoring's concomitant joblessness. We see our No. 1 national security threat presiding over precious personal protective equipment. And we see a menacing geopolitical power, already able to capture international institutions such as the World Health Organization, fixing its envious gaze upon Westernized outposts like Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The American people must make the ruling class pay for the harm it has wrought. The ballot box is one promising method of doing so.
To find out more about Josh Hammer and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.