The truth of the matter is that the transfer to China of America’s industrial infrastructure is the single largest industrial event in modern history.
Establishment Democrats and Republicans want to kill President Trump, and they are using the Russian “excuse” to try and do it. But the real reason they want to kill Trump has nothing to do with Russians, in fact, the Russians are mostly irrelevant. The real reason is a Chinese-form of Globalism.
First, let’s take up the case of the Russians. The presumption made by the establishment is that Russian interference in the election was successful and enabled Mr. Trump to win the American presidency. Of course, this is not something that can be demonstrated by any reasonable empirical analysis: what can be shown is that the Russians tried to somehow interfere in the electoral process. The danger for the establishment promoting the claim that “it was the Russians,” is the fact such a declaration is a direct insult to the American people, essentially saying they were duped by the nefarious Russians into voting for someone who did not deserve their support.
Now that the Department of Justice has decided to raise indictments against the Russian military (which is a political act, not a legal one), the DOJ knows the Russians will never have to deal with such an indictment whose only purpose is to try and embarrass the President of the United States on the cusp of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. No doubt Putin is wondering why he isn’t being indicted for much more heinous crimes, like poisoning his adversaries in Britain or assassinating some of them in Washington DC.
While Russia is a peer competitor of sorts to the United States, it is a fading star in most military and strategic categories notwithstanding Russian boastfulness and its persistent efforts to bare its teeth confronting American and allied military exercises. Buzzing ships and confronting American spy planes may be a good game, but it is only a game and one that carries serious risks.
Today Russia spends around 3.1% of its shrinking GDP on defense, which in dollar terms if around $42 billion annually. That is truly small potatoes compared to the United States. The much richer United States (in 2017) spent some $523.9 billion on national defense, or about 3.5% of the US GDP, more than 12 times more than Russia. Even taking into account wastage and frivolous wars, the gap is huge. On top of that, American technology remains significantly ahead of Russia’s when applied to military systems. The same sort of American technology that enabled Israel to decimate the Syrian Air Force over the Bekaa Valley in 1982 still applies in any possible confrontation with the Russians today.
In fact, the reason the Russians are concentrating on nuclear weapons is mostly because they have far too few decent conventional weapons available. For example, Russia has decided to start buying new semi-stealth Su-57 aircraft and have ordered 12 of them! The US is building the F-35 stealth jet and plans to buy 2,400 of them. Russia cannot compete on the numbers.
Ever wonder why Russia did not send anyone to the moon? They certainly wanted to do so, and they saw how the US moon shots proved embarrassing to them. But Russia just did not have the technology. Even though Russia’s space program is well regarded, it needed massive rocket engine power to put men on the moon, and its N1 engines could not do the job. The Russians tried to string 30 of the N1 engines together in a sort of circle, but every test shot failed.
Russia, of course, is not a paper tiger. It does have a formidable navy, especially nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines; Russia does have plenty of rockets and its air force, although still burdened by old and obsolete equipment, shows some significant progress in high-performance fighters, especially the Su-35 series.
But the establishment provocateurs don’t care about Russia. They are just trying to use the Russians for a political purpose.
What is really behind the attack on Trump and, shall we say Trumpism is that he is leading an attack on globalization. Globalization is what the establishment cares most about for the simple reason that American politicians get a lot of money from globalized companies. These companies, who today increasingly manufacture outside the United States deeply oppose trade barriers, tariffs and other actions that would hobble their businesses. Such companies have a very low interest in the US labor market and spend very little on training Americans for domestic jobs. In fact, they exploit visa programs to import foreign labor to the United States, since in the end, they are cheaper and much more under the control of the companies that bring them to the States.
It was the opening to China that changed America because the Chinese were smart enough to sell their people (in the form of cheap labor) to US companies that invested in production in China. The result of this is plain to see: most of America’s high tech is produced in China, and most of America’s critical industrial infrastructure has been shifted over to China. While there are some ups and downs, the truth of the matter is that the transfer of industrial infrastructure is the single largest industrial event in modern history. Globalism is not global: it is really about China. And American politicians, who always must have their hand out for contributions and jobs when they are not in office is beholden to the 21st Century China “globalist” Lobby. Because Trump is a direct threat to that Lobby, or at least is perceived as such, the China “globalist” Lobby wants to kill him.
Their problem is that China is deeply unpopular in America, and defending the transfer of trade and jobs to China is not likely to get a strong endorsement from the American people.
Russia is a different matter. It exports almost nothing to the United States and is not an economic factor. And while it looks like a military factor, the truth is that Russia is a weak country, but Russia’s leader keeps playing into the establishment’s hands by being the bad boy on the block. It hardly buys Russia anything, but it fuels the China “globalist” Lobby with arguments that Trump has somehow colluded with the Big (Bad) Bear.
It is far from clear whether Trump can prevail against a political elite that hates him and sees him as a threat to their collective well-being. Certainly, he has held up in the opinion polls even in the midst of an unprecedented media hate campaign which is never-ceasing. He will likely hold up against Federal prosecutors who are in league with the China “globalist” Lobby. But for Trump to survive, he will have to be far more clever at handling the opposition and lining up allies. Who knows if he can.
*This commentary has been posted on Bryen’s Blog, on July 13, 2018.