Foreign Policy

Trump's Travel Reminder: Communists Stick Together

The presidential visit to China — if successful — could have major implications for trade and security.

Robin Smith · Nov. 13, 2017

President Donald Trump’s nearly two-week trip through five key Asian countries — Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines — concludes today. Marked by talks of trade, diplomacy and dealing with a rogue Communist possessing a nuclear weapon, the grand sweep was one for the history books regarding pomp and circumstance. The symbolism, however, must yield substance for the sake of the Trump agenda, especially regarding the escalating war of words that could be punctuated with a nuclear-tipped missile from North Korea that would set off a cascade of war.

Let’s look at Trump’s travel and tally up a few items that may have escaped public view.

Stopping first in Japan, the Leftmedia began immediately with framing President Trump as a dunderhead who impatiently dumped an entire container of fish food into the koi pond instead of spooning out digestible portions, despite his mimicking the identical actions of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Once that pitiful narrative didn’t work, the substance of the stop was unearthed. Trump noted that while 53% of popular Japanese cars are made in the U.S., he asked that more of the supply sold in America be made in America — meaning American jobs.

Responding to a question offered to Abe in a press conference as to why the samurai nation had not shot down the North Korean ballistic missiles launched over Japanese territory on two occasions, Trump interrupted by noting that he will shoot them down, after the U.S. ally makes a purchase of “massive amounts of military equipment” from America.

So, at the first stop, the fish were fed, Trump addressed a trade deficit, pushed the value of American workers and products, and sent a message to Kim “Rocket Man” Jong-un that his illegal acts are eliciting a response.

On to South Korea, the symbolism was clear: The United States stands strongly with the neighbor of the rabid radical on China’s leash whose diligent work for more than two decades of impotent oversight of North Korea by Democrats and Republicans alike has permitted a dictator to possess nuclear weapons.

Addressing the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea in Seoul, where he was introduced as the “leader of the world,” President Trump retraced the line of time back to the Korean War in the relationship with America in this people’s effort to escape the grip of communism. Praising their government, their economy and their culture, mutual respect was shown to the South Koreans with a dramatic contrast painted referencing the “prison state” just 24 miles to the north.

President Trump not only forcefully addressed the risk of war at the provocation of North Korea, but also the poverty and depravity — including forced abortions and infanticide — that comes when freedom is the enemy. Through the “two Koreas” rhetoric, Trump touched on the human tragedy of tyranny but also put the Kim dictatorship on notice. “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty,” Trump declared. “We did not choose to draw here, on this peninsula … the thin line of civilization that runs around the world and down through time.”

The third stop, in China, was truly fit for royalty. In an abundant contrast to Barack Obama’s forced exit from the back of Air Force One when no jetway was provided during his official visit to China, President Trump was greeted with red carpet, honor guards and parades. A “state visit-plus” welcomed the American president and first lady into the Forbidden City, where no other head of state had gone into Beijing’s ancient imperial palace. It seems the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, spoke the language of Trump: pageantry and flattery.

Trump’s agenda in China was twofold: Address the enormous trade imbalance and the global security threat of North Korea with the ultimate goal of denuclearization.

According to reports by the BBC, agreements were made to ensure that China will “lower entry barriers in the banking, insurance, and finance sectors, and gradually reduce vehicle tariffs” to assist with American business within the largest holder of American debt outside the U.S. Treasury. President Xi Jinping even promised “healthy” and “balanced” economic and trade relations. Of course he did, but what do communist promises mean?

As a key manufacturer of cheap goods, China’s economy depends upon world consumption, especially by Americans. The U.S. imported $463 billion from the Asian giant in 2016 while exporting only $116 billion in return, creating the $347 billion trade imbalance that gnaws at a president who refuses multilateral trade deals and seeks one-on-one deals to leverage the value of the American retail appetite.

And, despite the over-the-top flattery and fawning, China has witnessed Trump exit the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement and watches as NAFTA is being retooled with Canada and Mexico to, again, prioritize the “America First” position staked out by the unconventional leader of the U.S. Trump, as we say in the South, was as happy as a pig in slop being courted and complimented, but he also knows the only audience who ultimately counts is American voters.

So, the end-result of the China visit, scored economically, will be seen over time. But don’t be misled. China loves capitalism as a consumer, not as a product of an open government. With its hybrid approach to the economy, China remains a communist nation — which brings us to its sponsored state of North Korea.

North Korea exists because of its lifeline into China’s provision of oil, food and almost all other commodities needed to function. President Trump’s Twitter account hummed within the closed Chinese society declaring that “President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against #NoKo. Said he wants them to denuclearize. Progress is being made.”

Following the severe economic sanctions signed in September by Trump and the two resolutions passed by the United Nations aimed at choking off North Korea’s blood flow until they fall back into compliance, the two world powers that keep the small communist nation alive are China and Russia. Incidentally, both powers voted to support both UN resolutions opposing Kim Jong-un in close proximity to joint naval drills. That could point to a military alliance that the U.S. should dread.

Neither of these global powers wants a nuclear-capable North Korea, but being identified as the rebellious nation’s keepers gives both Russia and China leverage on the world stage as they pretend this nuisance couldn’t be stopped in short measure.

The high-stakes maneuvers surrounding a rogue communist state reveal the level to which the possibility of a military conflict could be truly devastating. Piercing through the pomp and circumstance of diplomacy and state visits, America must never lose sight of the cold facts: China and Russia remain threats to America. A nuclear North Korea is a symptom of decades of failure that stretch back to at least Bill Clinton’s administration.

Yes, North Korea is an authentic security problem. But it exists because it’s tolerated by China as its primary sponsor and Russia as a secondary sponsor. Neither are partners in peace and expect little to no true aid in removing nuclear weapons from the Kim regime. Communists stick together.

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