The Moral Case for Decoupling from China
One of the first people to see that the infatuation with China would end in tears was Robert Kaplan. In 2005 he wrote an article entitled “How We Would Fight China”, though he didn’t say when or why we will be doing that fighting, or even the how as per the title.
Well the tears are flowing now as the relationship is mostly over. China’s share of world exports peaked just shy of 15% in 2015 and is now contracting. China’s share of world GDP is also about 15% and that too will contract.
In Carroll Quigley’s ‘Tragedy and Hope’ first published in 1966, he wrote that the Chinese Communist regime in the first years after its founding was “insanely aggressive.” The Chicoms reverted to type about ten years ago and went back to ‘snarl diplomacy.’ Only being poor had kept them from trying to impose their will on others.
The corporate retreat from China is proceeding as fast as factory production can be relocated. But even if China wasn’t in breach of its WTO obligations to have a free market economy and a convertible currency, didn’t steal intellectual property, and wasn’t bullying its neighbours, there is another reason why we should completely decouple from China and it is a reason that is overarching and critical to our self-worth as a civilisation.
Dr Arthur Waldron, now a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying China for over 50 years. He married a Chinese lady so his views are not those of an inherent Sinophobe. In an online interview he provides interesting detail on the mistakes made in our relationship with China, starting with Nixon.
YouTube screen grab
Dr Waldron starts the interview by reminding us that:
China is the most evil regime the world has seen since the Third Reich, setting aside the Soviet Union.
The whole 68-minute interview is interesting but where he is a thought leader is in his parable of the delicatessen, transcribed below:
Suppose you lived on 86th st and at the local delicatessen with fine produce, at the front of the shop were all these goodies.
But if you went to the very back of the shop there were sort of vats which were kept just above freezing which had freshly harvested kidneys and livers and hearts and all the things which are used at this moment. …
People are being killed so their organs can be used for transplants. Many of which go to the very elderly Chinese leadership or their children. The son of one of the recent leaders of China has had cancer and he has had many organs replaced.
Well, what would you say about this shop. Would you say, well, I think I’ll just shop in the front of the shop and I won’t pay any attention to the fact that there are all these living human organs, God knows where they came from, that are in the back.
What you would say is ‘What the heck is this shop doing in America?’
You can’t decouple these things. This is one integral system.
And that is one of the reasons we have to quarantine China economically.
A rationalisation for saying ‘Well yes it’s true that there is some question with what Hitler is doing with the gypsies and the Jews but Leica still makes a hell of a good camera.”
In the late 1930s when it was quite evident that Hitler was persecuting and killing minorities, would you have bought any German goods, knowing that in doing so you were an enabler of that evil regime? It is no different today. Every Chinese plastic toy or Christmas decoration plucked off the shelves at Walmart contributes to a future U.S. combat death, but beyond that there are also metaphorical vats of human organs at the back of the Walmart store that the buyer is enabling.
Thankfully killing people for their organs is repugnant to us and that needs to continue if we are to remain a good and kind civilisation. But trading with, speaking with, interacting with people who kill people for their organs debases us.
If we continue trading with such people that makes us morally complicit in their barbarism. For our souls, for our self-respect at least, we must stop trading with such people, and training them in our universities, and letting them into the country.
Dr Waldron’s view is that without our trade the Chinese polity will disintegrate; their state-owned enterprises aren’t enough to sustain their economy. The Chinese people’s best chance of liberation is if we nudge things in that direction.
Thank-you Dr Waldron for your insights.
David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.