Confronting China Over COVID 19

This past week marked two significant milestones in COVID 19 related deaths.  The total number of deaths in the United States exceeded 100,000 and that number meant that more Americans died of the coronavirus than died in the Korean and Viet Nam wars.  The Chinese Communist government* is directly responsible for each and every one of those deaths. To some degree they were aided and abetted by the governors of California, New York and New Jersey who each ordered nursing homes and graduated care facilities to accept patients who had tested positive for the coronavirus despite its highly contagious properties and the knowledge that it had a more severe effect on the elderly and those with compromised immune systems (including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and pulmonary disease).

The number of deaths in America is only a small percentage of the real total number of deaths that have or will occur because of this pandemic.  Yes, I realize that the numbers reported daily by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that America represents a much higher percentages but the CDC simply accepts the reports from other nations without any attempt to determine their accuracy and we know that at least three of the nations effected most severely routinely lie about everything – Communist China, Russia and Iran.  And we know that WHO is simply a stooge for Communist China.
On September 11, 2001, a handful of Islamic terrorists affiliated with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda skyjacked four commercial jets and flew two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the fourth one was destined for the White House but passengers fought with the hijackers until the plane crashed in a field in western Pennsylvania.  The death toll between passengers and occupants of the targeted buildings totaled nearly 3,000.  Another 6,000 persons were injured and numerous deaths to first responders in the aftermath have been attributed to the devastation wrought by these hijackers.
And we retaliated.
The first response came from invading Afghanistan and driving the Taliban from power.  The Taliban had actively provided sanctuary to bin Laden and al-Qaeda and were explicitly or implicitly complicit in the planning and execution of the September 11 attacks.  Slightly over a year later we invaded Iraq because intelligence operations determined that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was still pursuing weapons of mass destruction and was providing aid and assistance to international terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.  In both instances the actual war lasted a very short period of time with the Taliban being driven from power and into the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and Saddam Hussein and his government being driven from power with Mr. Hussein and senior leaders of his government being arrested, tried and either executed or imprisoned. 
History has taught us that attempts at establishing democratic governments in these two countries – countries that were largely created as a result of United Nation’s mandates without regard to their tribal histories – was an exercise in futility.  Worse yet, we ignored the futility of extended armed occupation by foreign governments taught by the original occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.  (A lesson we should have learned during the Viet Nam war.)
The deaths of over 100,000 Americans and well over a million worldwide, the devastation of the American economy caused by the virtual shutdown ordered to protect Americans from the spread of the coronavirus, and the accompanying and similar devastation to the economies of over 180 countries infected by the virus cannot be ignored – particularly when we know that the source of the virus is China and the cover up by the communist government there inflamed an already dangerous spread of the highly infectious disease.
And so retaliation against China is still warranted.  However, we know that a military war with China would be catastrophic for both sides leaving others to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.  China has a population of about 1.4 Billion people – that is more than four times the population of the United States.  Worse yet, the communist government of China doesn’t give a damn about its people – they are simply a supply line for whatever ambitions the government is seeking to pursue.  There are food shortages, the pollution of air and water is extreme, the people are shoved together in multi-generational hovels and there are virtually no safety requirements regarding working conditions.  For the communist government, the people are just numbers, just fodder.  Loss of life, even massive loss of life, in a war would be acceptable to the Chinese government.  Unless attacked, the American public would not stand for such sacrifices by its people – particularly if a ground war became a guerilla theatre like Viet Nam, Afghanistan, or Iraq.
The most effective weapon possessed by the United States is NOT its vast supply of nuclear weapons, not its superbly trained and effective military, and not its huge array of technological weapons and wizardry.
The most effective weapon is our gold platted diverse and modern economy.  President Donald Trump has been critical of past administrations for their timid responses to China’s aggressive economic and military policies – particularly with regard to a lack of reciprocity on trade restrictions and the ongoing theft of American technology.  Mr. Trump was criticized roundly by Democrats and even some Republicans for imposing a series of tariffs and economic sanctions on China as a means to correct the economic imbalance between China and America.  You may remember that former Vice-president Joe Biden (D) laughed off those efforts by stating:
“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.
“I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.” 
But then again, you may also want to remember what former President Barack Obama’s highly regarded Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said of Mr. Biden:
“I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Some may believe that Mr. Biden’s comments about China are influenced by his son’s financial dealing with the Chinese government but it is more likely attributable to the fact that Mr. Biden is just not very bright.
That kind of naivete by more than just Mr. Biden was given the lie by the fact of the successful implementation of an extraordinary array of tariffs imposed by Mr. Trump.  Thank God he didn’t have to seek or get permission from the do nothing Congress – particularly the Democrat controlled House which was busy chasing shadows as it tried to find a reason to impeach Mr. Trump.
The imposition of tariffs and trade restrictions imposed against China have shown the vulnerability of its economy.  Without a thriving and growing economy China becomes just another military bully in Asia.  Its allies dwindle as it is limited in providing financial favors for those countries it wishes to align with its international positions.  China’s economy is its Achilles heel and attacking it provides the most effective response and least violent means of affecting change.
That last sentence is important because it is beneficial to have a nation as large as China with a readily available workforce as an active participant in the global economy.  Additionally, active participation in the global economy mitigates the urge to engage in military excesses.  (Thus far, because the global economy has let China get away with maintaining a closed trade system internally while benefiting from the riches of external trading, the mitigating effect has not been seen.) 
So the object of economic pressure should be two-fold: provide financial relief for those in America who have lost family members to the COVID 19 pandemic, AND affect change in the policies of China to ensure that there is reciprocal transparency in the actions of its government.  (For those of you forced to endure a teachers’ union led education in the Portland public school system a reciprocal transparency means that if should be at least equal to any country with which it deals, including America.)  So let’s deal with the financial relief for those adversely effected by the COVID 19 pandemic.
America’s trial lawyers (as opposed to the American Trial Lawyers Association) have demonstrated a remarkable ability to seek and win relief against some of the largest and most complex entities in the world.  They have even engaged foreign governments – Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack by Islamic terrorists, Argentina and Venezuela in a series of bond defaults, and so on.  These trial lawyers do not need the assistance or direction of the state or federal governments.  In fact, governmental participation – with the exception of what follows – will likely interfere with the normal course of justice.  However, there are some governmental actions required.
First, Congress needs to remove the protection of sovereign immunity for China as it relates to its government’s participation in the release and spread of the COVID 19 virus, particularly with regard to the suppression of information about the source and nature of the virus as well as its internal efforts to suppress the spread of the virus within China.  It is basically the same action taken by Congress to remove sovereign immunity protection from Saudi Arabia and its royal family for any participation it may have had in the terrorist attack on 9/11.  The second action required of Congress is to remove any barriers regarding access to the nearly $1.2 Trillion of United States debt currently held by the Chinese government and entities under its control, including reassignment of ownership upon judgement.  A judgement against China, its leaders and/or the entities control by the government is pointless without access to the assets held by them.  Access to this debt has a two-fold benefit: first it provides perhaps the soundest asset available to fund any judgments; and second, it removes any possible ability of the Chinese government to manipulate the debt as leverage against America.
After that, just let the trial lawyers utilize the American jurisprudence system in the same manner and with the same priority as given them for lawsuits already pending against various state and local governments for actions they have taken or failed to have taken that caused death and damage to individuals and/or their property as a result of the COVID 19.  Surely if American jurisprudence is going to hold state and local governments liable for their action or inaction regarding COVID 19, then likewise should we hold China, its leaders and the entities controlled by them liable.  The resolution of private lawsuits tried in American courts – as they should be – will provide a much more effective resolution than the mewing of politicians as they jockey for political advantage as opposed to real solutions.  The most important thing about this process is it remains in the control of private individuals and cannot be reviewed or controlled by local, state or federal governments.
The federal government’s role in holding China accountable should be directed toward using all of the economic levers available in much the same fashion as it is using them against North Korea, Iran, Russia and China (to a limited extent).  You use tariffs, travel restrictions, access to international banking, passport and visa limitations, freezing of assets, and every other means available as it relates to international trade.  You impose these limitations not only against the government of China in general but also against the individuals directly responsible for the decisions in government.  (One of the hallmarks of socialist regimes is that while the general population remains relatively poor, the leaders become instantly wealthy.  (For instance, the secretive Russian President, Vladmir Putin, is estimated to be worth between $40 Billion on the low end to $200 Billion on the high end, while the average Russian family scrapes by with less than $10,000 in annual income and less than $12,000 in net worth.  An estimate of China’s president Xi Jinping wealth is impossible to guesstimate but his $100,000 a year salary didn’t pay for his daughter’s attendance at Harvard University.)
These sanctions form the means of affecting change in China’s dealings with the world and can be increased and decreased as progress is made or not made.  The use of these sanctions have proven effective in dealing with China to date without using greater economic leverage such as that used with North Korea and Iran.  At a point in time one of the three things will happen: their actions will improve, the sanctions will cause an internal uprising resulting in change, or a future weak leader (such as former president Barack Obama) will decrease the sanctions under the mistaken belief that such actions will affect change and we will be back to square one.
How sanctions are used is the business of the government – particularly the President – the use, or failure to use, those sanctions are the business of the voters.  Let’s hope both choose wisely.
*In fact in all three instances communist led governments were the primary cause.