Trump Punishes China by Hurting Hong Kong
Acting in sympathy with the people of Hong Kong, who have just been told by China that they are being subjected to a new Chinese law to protect “national security,” President Trump has announced that he is taking measures to retaliate against … Hong Kong! Why, that sure makes a lot of sense, right! What better way to sympathize with people than to enact retaliatory measures against them?
Reacting to China’s new “national-security law” over Hong Kong, Trump says that he intends to strip Hong Kong of the special privileged relationship that it has long had with the United States.
According to the New York Times,
Under the special status, the U.S. dollar can be freely exchanged with the Hong Kong dollar, which makes the city a particularly attractive place for American companies to do business. Hong Kong gets preferential treatment on trade, meaning little to no tariffs or other costs. Americans enjoy visa-free travel, making it easy for business executives to come and go.
This special relationship between the United States and Hong Kong has resulted in $38 billion in annual U.S.-Hong Kong trade. It will, of course, come to an end with Trump’s decision to retaliate against Hong Kong to punish China for its law to protect “national security” in Hong Kong.
The controversy raises important questions for the American people:
Why does the United States have privileged special statuses for any countries? Why shouldn’t Americans be free to trade with anyone in the world, including China, without tariffs or other restrictive measures being imposed on them by their own government? Why shouldn’t Americans be free to travel anywhere in the world without permission or interference by their own government? Isn’t political control over trade and travel what communist regimes have?
Why is the United States still a national-security state, like China is? Why was the U.S. government converted to a national-security state in the first place? Why does the U.S. government have national-security laws, just as China does? Why don’t the American people have the right to have their founding governmental system of a limited-government restored to them?
Why does President Trump wield the unilateral power to take retaliatory measures against Hong Kong? Isn’t that the type of power that characterizes dictators, in both communist and non=communist countries? Why isn’t the enactment of laws the responsibility of Congress?
The practical result of Trump’s retaliatory measures against Hong Kong will be that the vicious and destructive trade war that he unilaterally launched against China will now be extended to the people of Hong Kong.That will mean a severe constriction of trade between the United States and Hong Kong, which will inevitably cause severe economic damage for people both here and in Hong Kong. Let’s not forget, after all, that Trump’s trade war against China has ended up bankrupting American farmers here at home or put them on Trump’s farm welfare dole.
The situation will be aggravated by the war that Trump is waging against people around the world who do business with China in violation of his sanctions system. Countless foreign businesses will cut off economic ties with Hong Kong to avoid encountering the wrath of Trump and his national-security establishment.
Moreover, Hong Kong officials will soon find themselves on the receiving end of criminal prosecutions if they are suspected of violating U.S. economic sanctions against other countries, such as Iran. That’s of course what happened to Meng Wanzhou, a high executive of the Chinese technology giant Hua Wei, who is under arrest in Canada as part of extradition proceedings to stand trial in the United States for purportedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In their blind acceptance of China as a new official enemy of the U.S. national-security establishment, what all too many Americans failed to realize was that Trump’s trade war furthered the destruction of economic liberty here at home. How can people be considered free when their political ruler can unilaterally order them not to trade with others and to punish them for violating his orders? Isn’t that the way things are done in communist countries, like China?
Almost 60 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans about the dangers of the national-security state type of governmental structure that the United States had adopted. Referring to this structure as the “military-industrial complex,” Eisenhower observed that it posed a grave threat to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people.
Isn’t it interesting that Americans can so quickly and easily recognize the wisdom of Ike’s warnings when it come to China’s national-security state but, at the same time, remain blind when it come to America’s national-security state? Of course, the same phenomenon exists in China, where the average citizen can see easily see the tyranny and oppression of the U.S. national-security state while, at the same time, remained convinced of the need of the Chinese national-security state to protect “national security” in Hong Kong.
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