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How to cut ties with China once and for all

China presents the greatest threat to the United States today, and that threat is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate.

We need to stop feeding the beast. China’s economy has grown more than anything else due to its sales to the United States. If we do not stop feeding this beast, it will bite off our arms or consume us whole.

Its intentions are clear – world domination.

In 2008, I had the chance to spend time with a Chinese government official tasked with dealing with a rise in rabies infections in the nation. He told me that the government announced that dogs threatened the health of all Chinese people. Within a week municipal services reported having to dispose of the bodies of tens of thousands of dogs killed by their owners or by neighbors.

Autocracies do not have the restraints imposed upon them that are customarily operational in democracies. You cannot trust that a mugger will only take your wallet and leave you and your family unharmed.

The U.S. consumer became addicted to the low cost of goods from China, made possible by the low cost of labor, which includes the abusive mistreatment of workers, including children and oppressed peoples.

The United States, as a matter of the highest national security threat, should begin an intensive effort to end all imports from China. We could potentially do that within 10 years, though I fear that that may already be too late. We could probably reduce our purchases from China by 80 percent within just five years.

What would it take?

First, there should be a clear recognition by American businesses that their interests are not safe. In an autocracy, especially where one individual is inordinately consolidating power, much as it has by Vladimir Putin in Russia, the rule of law is by fiat of the leader.

When China inevitably does precisely as it has said it will and wages war on Taiwan – whether by strangulating blockade or direct invasion – then all of the American companies doing business in China will suffer the same fate as befell McDonald’s in Russia.

Second, what moved U.S. auto production to Mexico was cheap labor and tax policy. Yes, moving companies’ means of production from China will be inconvenient, and there will be costs in setting up new facilities elsewhere. But on the flip side, there will be long-term investment security and tremendous long-term savings from far less expensive labor.

Now is the time for us to repatriate the production of national security-dependent and high-tech goods, such as is being done with the CHIPS Act, back to the United States.

And, now is the time for us to move the production of all other labor-dependent goods from China to a more benign place with even lower labor costs. While there is a long list of such places, we must not cede Africa to China, and thus this provides a clear opportunity.

There are currently more than 1.4 billion people living in Africa. Approximately 500 million live in extreme poverty (defined as less than $2 per day). Presently, more than half of those are in danger of death by starvation.

China is already eyeing Africa for its abundance of natural resources. By financing the construction of the transportation infrastructure required to export the desired materials, China is placing sovereign nations in a stranglehold of debt.

While educational opportunities vary from place to place, innate intelligence does not. The means of manufacturing goods can be set up anywhere in the world, as the displacement of U.S auto production to Mexico has proven.

It is possible to teach someone without formal education how to perform a particular task or series of tasks, to perfection, on an assembly line. So by ending all imports from China and moving production to Africa, we can achieve all of the following:

  1. Slow down economic support for China’s march to world economic domination.
  2. Counter China’s accelerating interest in gaining economic control of Africa’s resources and placing the poorer countries of that continent in its debt.
  3. Lift the most economically impoverished people in the world, and expand opportunities for them to prosper.
  4. Strengthen the basis for economically stable democracies in Africa.
  5. Create new markets for U.S. technologies, products and services.
  6. Protect U.S. companies doing business in China from a sudden and complete loss of their investments.

Gary K. Michelson, M.D. is the founder and co-chair of the Michelson Center for Public Policy

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This story was originally published August 29, 2022 4:00 PM.

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