Populism: The Answer to China’s Co-optation of Corporate America

The Chinese Communist Party no longer acts in ways its 20th-century kingpins had outlined in the party’s founding principles.  Domestically, it employs technologically repressive tools to force its population to abide by ideological dictates of obedience and collectivism.  However, its strategy abroad has dramatically shifted to one which relies on the goodwill, narcissism, and stupidity of global elites.  In its five-year plans, China has laid out in plain sight its desire to eliminate the economic and political sovereignty of nations both developed and poor.  Its ambitions are reliant on a steady stream of capital inflows from financial institutions in order to fuel its globalist and expansionist agenda.  By following the tenets of realist-leaning international relations theory, the CCP is playing a zero-sum geopolitical game to remake the world order to accommodate its rise.  The U.S. government and intelligence community have given countless briefings and warnings to elected officials, financial hegemons, and corporate officers regarding their continued complicity and passivity vis-à-vis China.  Yet, we have seen the admonitions fall not on deaf ears, but those of willful disdain for any sovereign-based approach to doing business.  Populism, in its economic, political, and technological forms, may be the only hope for reversing course on our society’s path toward the edge of the cliff. 

Global elites have strategically championed the use of populism as a dirty word in the modern American lexicon to counteract its potent force for change.  Mainstream media entities and their television lackeys have pushed a narrative of nativism and isolationism to make the term less palatable to the public.  However, the populace is simply too vast and diverse to actually believe this propagandistic messaging for long.  Populism, at its core, enforces the people’s will and claims against social hierarchies that are no longer willing to listen to their constituents.  This potent force for change is required as the corporate internationalists have continued to refuse to abide by their governments’ requests to halt their sovereignty-diminishing business practices.  In the face of government threats, legislation, and even corporate takeovers, the elites have continued to find alternate ways of engaging in semi-licit activities that ignore the people’s demands for economic safety and security.  As a result, it is high time the public demand, and elect, leaders who envision a world in which the people have a say in domestic and foreign policy. 

The CCP has quietly co-opted global elites for years, utilizing its influence organizations such as the United Front Work Department, to garner geopolitical wins for the CCP abroad.  Ironically, these methods are quite similar to how U.S. institutions and Wall Street shaped the global order in the post-War World II era.  If we are to counteract this strategy, utilizing globalist-centered policies will only exacerbate the problem, as fighting fire with fire portends idiocrasy.  Corporate institutions will never listen to the will of the people unless they are forced to do so, and populist-centered economic and political legislation is the only legitimate tool that the government can utilize.  Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to employ export and trade restrictions on Chinese firms engaging in outright theft of sensitive technologies, capital markets have remained wide open and U.S. dollars continue to fund CCP-backed entities that create technologies aimed at rendering U.S. military and economic dominance useless.  It is no coincidence that while Goldman Sachs alumni, among others, have conveniently dominated seats of power in the U.S. government since China had announced its “reform and opening up” strategy to the world, we have seen a slow-rolling of economic strategy toward combatting Chinese aggressiveness.  For example, the Trump administration had envisaged greater economic freedom and decoupling from Chinese institutions.  Yet, following the appointment of Goldman alum Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary, many of the policies that the campaign had formulated to properly secure American financial interests had been watered down.  The valiant efforts of the hawks in the administration were tamed, and Munchin’s clique was able to pacify Wall Street by leaving capital markets virtually untouched. 

The next U.S. administration must focus on ensuring that it is staffed by national security and economic experts whose focus will, and always will, be ensuring that the American populace’s interest is at the forefront of every policy issue.  The corporate internationalist sentiment that is still so entrenched in policymaking today is only feeding China’s expansionist agenda.  Organizations like the Association of Republican Presidential Appointees are needed to ensure that future administrations are staffed with employees loyal to the country first, above any personal or corporate interest.  Populist officials must work downstream to win national and subnational elections to prop up the necessary human infrastructure to enable economic and national security policy that protects American innovation, security, and financial strategy.  The new administration will also have to limit China’s access to backdoor relationships with legacy officials, within both the foreign policy establishment and financial markets, in order to pursue a truly independent and forward-leaning competitive strategy.  The U.S. has a systemic issue of allowing prior officials, often with antithetical views to the current administration, to exercise undue influence on and subvert U.S. domestic and foreign policy.  In order to actually implement populist policies that benefit American workers, these practices must be halted immediately. 

Global media will lambast any notion of populist sentiment in American policymaking as being combative with U.S. allies overseas.  This, again, is a false idea.  If nations acted in ways that are truly responsible to the sovereign, then global relations between the sovereign would naturally align.  Unelected despots have compromised the idea that nationalism would actually bring populations closer together by allowing governments to freely define their shared interests, without the fear of upsetting their corporate financiers.  The CCP is continuing to use the co-opted internationalist middlemen to obstruct cooperative economic and security policies among like-minded nations.  America, because of its security and currency-based dominance, must set the example that obstruction in policy will no longer be tolerated.  The result will be twofold: the ability of governments to finally rid themselves of the CCP’s exploitative initiatives and the potential for the American public to once again speak for itself.

Image: Gage Skidmore

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