China is no friend to US — Trump’s putting a stop to these unfair trade deals

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For all of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) faults, which are legion, he does have this one right: President Trump is entirely within his legal rights to call for tariffs for national security reasons. So Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other Republican Senators need to simmer down.

We need to remember where all of this tariff kerfuffle began. Trump, after a nearly year-long study by the Commerce Department, decided that for national security reasons, our steel and aluminum industries needed to be protected. While it’s apparently lost on some, no superpower for national security reasons would ever allow another country to decimate its steel and aluminum industries.

{mosads}This is what China is doing by dumping artificially cheap steel on the world market. Nor would any superpower watch its allies bow to China instead of standing with it to oppose its unfair trade practices, especially when that superpower, in many cases, has been their strongest ally for decades.

The United States is under no obligation to let China decimate key industries and, while we’re at it, gut us with forced technology transfers. Not all wars are fought on battlefields; between China’s behavior on steel and aluminum, and the estimated trillions in forced technology transfers over the last decade, it declared economic war on us years ago. Our previous leaders were willing to naively sell us out to China, letting the proverbial fox into the chicken coop, and Trump is putting a hard stop to all of that by pointing out that in fact China is a fox, not a friend.

What is taking place right now is a great readjustment period with China and many of our allies as Trump brings real clarity to our relationship with China. With its aggressive behavior, faux market economy, and our massive trade deficit with them, China’s not really looking for trade partners.

Many of the so called free traders are being deeply naïve if they think current circumstances with Chinese trade will continue in perpetuity: we shouldn’t forget that China wants to domestically control upwards of 80 percent of 10 significant industries with its “Made in China 2025” efforts.

Right now, we’re funding these efforts with our behavior and making this happen by allowing the current trajectory to continue. If we continue down this path with China, we are letting China try to turn us into a tributary state in the not too distant future. The good news is that something happened that threw a wrench into China’s 100-year plan for world domination: Donald Trump.

Trump fundamentally understands something that’s not been discussed as much as it should be: the Chinese economy is more fragile than people think. If it goes down, the regime goes down. Ergo, the regime doesn’t want a trade war and that is precisely why Trump is applying pressure right now. The initial response to the pressure has been for China to agree they’ll buy $70 billion more in U.S. products a year.

While this is a positive step, it doesn’t matter if the figure is $70 billion or $100 billion or $500 billion. The goal must be that China stops cheating, stops dumping and other illegal practices, and to get our allies to support us in this. All we want is that everyone follows the rules because we know the United States will compete just fine on a fair court.

As for the other tariffs regarding Canada, Mexico and the EU, let’s not forget that when confronted with steel and aluminum tariffs, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea struck deals to avoid them. One of Trump’s underreported victories is the trade deal with South Korea where U.S. car companies got to double their imports into the country while limiting steel exports.

As with China, Trump is not-too-subtly signaling to our allies that it’s time for new rules of engagement. It would be nice if our European allies remembered the time United States came and rescued Europe after a series of terrible decisions it made, from a draconian Treaty of Versailles, which helped launch a madman in Germany whose behavior was coddled by Neville Chamberlain’s effete “Peace for our time” absurdity. Then in the aftermath of WWII, the United States rebuilt nations and economies and has been shouldering the significant portion of the “common defense” ever since.

We’re not in those post-WWII decades anymore. We’re in the 21st century now: Time for a paradigm shift. The United States no longer needs to get the short end of the stick on trade deals, and it’s time for European NATO allies to step up to the plate and fund their 2 percent GDP on defense per NATO agreements; yes, those are all interconnected. If that means those countries have to readjust the funding of their social welfare programs and make hard decisions on immigration, so be it.

The American taxpayer should no longer have to fund European nation’s terrible decisions. We’re not our allies’ ATM, nor should we be their defense financiers. It’s time for a coalition of adult nations who have a clear-eyed view of the world.

So Canada, Mexico and the EU should make a deal, or better yet, they should drop their tariffs and the United States will remove its. To the 24 of the 29 NATO nations not meeting their 2 percent requirements — pony up.

There are reports that over half the NATO nations will meet their requirements, they plan on doing so by 2025. Germany, however, is in the other 14 nations who won’t be meeting its 2 percent defense spending: it currently is at 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense, claiming it will get to 1.5 percent by 2025.

While the elites in the United States and Europe are currently swooning and pearl clutching, sputtering about how Trump is ruining relationships with allies near and far, this is all really about creating true alliances and true friendships. One-way friendships and alliances aren’t really those at all and Trump is inviting our allies to join the United States in a more realistic, fair and brighter future for everyone.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for President George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority, which trains conservative political candidates and activists.

Tags Bob Corker China Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Trade trade tariffs

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