We are seeing the folly of past administrations of both parties playing out in real time, illuminated by a deadly virus out of the heart of China. And it is making something abundantly clear.
President Trump was more right on trade and border security than even I thought — and those were the two areas I considered him strongest in 2016. In fact, no one else was even talking about trade agreements.
The underlying thesis of Donald Trump’s push to re-do trade agreements with China and our North American neighbors — which might be called the Trump Doctrine — was to restore manufacturing at every level. The idea is that the world’s industrial democracies, led by the U.S., should not be beholden to the world’s largest Communist tyrants in order to simply have the basics required for their economies to operate.
This is literally the supply chain that is now threatening to crater the world economy because lousy, weak, vision-less American leadership has left us vulnerable. We should have understood that trade agreements favoring countries with cheap labor and allowing them to cheat endlessly and blackmail U.S. companies was not only wrong, it was dangerous. Trump saw that.
National security and now, obviously, health security are inextricably tied to better trade deals and more border security. I’m not saying Trump foresaw the coronavirus issue. There’s no evidence of that. But he saw American workers being hurt and he saw America and our allies being made vulnerable.
And boy was he ever right.
This clarity of vision, absent among his opponents to this day, is why he ordered the shutdown of most flights from China to America in late January, more than a month ago. At the time, Democrats, including Joe Biden, rattled out on their rickety carts the same old tired, hackneyed dogmas: This is xenophobic! It’s racist! Discrimination! Ugh. It’s exhibit 4,871 why they should not be in charge of anything.
Trump’s quick, bold actions are likely why our reported cases of coronavirus are so relatively small, even though of course they will rise like everyone else’s for a period of time. We are China’s biggest trading partner, with enormous amounts of travel between the nations. But his quick actions shutting that down undoubtedly slowed it. Democrats paralyzed by intersectionality and grievances, would have been much slower to act and we would be seeing many more cases in the U.S.
Notice how some countries are beginning to close their borders to stop the spread of a pandemic, including the Europeans. But we are unable to do that effectively on our southern border until we have some sort of wall that turns floods of people into trickles, and funnels them to legal ports of entry. Everyone is safer then.
The new North American trade agreement with Canada and Mexico is fortunately in place, laying the groundwork for a more vibrant manufacturing base and safer supply chain as Western companies begin seriously re-thinking using China for all their cheapo manufacturing needs. This third world virus in a row emanating from China, and its mishandling, is making clear to the private sector that China is just too risky.
This will not be a quick change, and companies will always be looking for cheap labor, but they will have to factor in much more now. And with the improved trade agreements, the highly productive American labor force will be much more competitive and attractive.
Down the road, we will be less at the mercy of China and other unscrupulous countries, and more in charge of our own destiny, just as we are now with energy independence — thanks to innovative American fracking that Democrats vow to ban.
This better future will be largely due to the clarity of vision of one man: Donald Trump.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.