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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

OPINION:

The startlingly different views of the future direction of the U.S. and China could not be starker. The direction boils down to those who want to make money with the Chinese Communist Party regardless of the consequences and those who want to defend against Beijing’s whole-of-society espionage and subversion.

Veteran business leader Maurice R. Greenberg, who has been allied with the Chinese Communist Party, also known as CCP, for decades, encapsulated the first view in a recent Wall Street Journal commentary. He announced a new organization to improve the relationship between Americans and the CCP. Mr. Greenberg argues that business leaders in the two countries can help bridge the vast chasms that strain current bilateral tensions.


To Greenberg and his supporters, the tensions are merely economic issues to be resolved in a businesslike way. The reputable-looking group includes former U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue and former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Their polar opposites appeared in a historic joint news conference in early July. FBI Director Christopher Wray and British Domestic Intelligence (MI5) chief Ken McCallum took the unprecedented step of appearing together to warn business leaders about the CCP’s threat to free enterprise. Mr. Wray and Mr. McCallum described the full scope of dangers that American and British companies face from the CCP. They stressed that the CCP will use any and every tool it can to steal technology and intellectual property. The CCP uses everything from massive state-sponsored hacking to planting spies in Western companies and research institutes to steal corporate secrets.

The CCP, the FBI and MI5 leaders warned, does not want to compete with Western companies. It wants to destroy them.

Other Wall Street Journal coverage highlighted the CCP’s ongoing overt and covert operations to influence local and state governments and policies across the United States. The U.S. Counterintelligence Center issued the warning of aggressive CCP lobbying of policymakers and leveraging trade and investment efforts to reward or punish national, state and local government institutions based on their policies.

With the sharp decline in public trust in the FBI, many Americans are skeptical of the bureau’s leadership.

The business is an old one that has worked time and again. Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Donohue are poster boys for the CCP. In his commentary, Mr. Greenberg articulates the massive increase in bilateral trade made possible by China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

I remember those days. Mr. Donohue, then-president of the U.S. Chamber and now a member of this new group, ran ads in my congressional district encouraging constituents to call their congressman to support pro-communist China legislation. His strong Bronx accent grated on my West Michigan constituents, who responded strongly to his attempts to pressure me on China. They told me, “Pete, if this guy is mad at you, you must be doing something right.”

Twenty years of Beijing’s membership in the WTO made colossal sums of cash for globalized American companies but imposed crushing hardships on American factories and American workers.

Beijing never opened its markets to allow American workers to compete on a level playing field. The CCP’s U.S. surrogates are unapologetic. They sold out not only American workers and families, but, as the FBI director describes today’s dire situation, they sold the country.

Now, with the American public and lawmakers of both parties waking up to the extremely aggressive policies of the CCP under Xi Jinping, Mr. Xi’s unofficial American spokespeople have returned with the same tired argument that more trade with the Chinese communists is good for America.

Mr. Greenberg, Mr. Dononue and Mr. Lieberman lack the decency to reassess the mistakes of the past and how they’re pushing the Chinese Party line — with Mr. Lieberman as the real surprise, as he rose to national prominence as an unflinching defender of the United States against aggressive communist regimes. Now Mr. Lieberman has sold his good name as a mercenary for the CCP telecom giant ZTE.

In promoting more trade with Beijing, such business and political leaders whitewash the CCP-induced pandemic that killed more than a million American residents and citizens while the party covered up with disinformation and denial.

Just in time for Mr. Xi. The Biden administration, which has been waffling on key China policies, appears to be listening to the CCP’s American surrogates. The administration un-did the Trump administration’s aggressive and effective counterintelligence strategy against CCP espionage and subversion of American institutions. It recently sold off oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to CCP entities. Other reports indicate that the White House may begin lifting some Trump-era sanctions designed to confront the party’s unfair trade policies.

The FBI, the Counterintelligence Center and Britain’s MI5 have made extraordinary public statements to warn of the CCP espionage offensive against American and other Western businesses. All of America is now warned that their country and its institutions are under sustained CCP attack.

That’s why the communists’ paid talent in New York and Washington have started their coalition — to push back with money before too many Americans become too aware.

• Peter Hoekstra was U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as chair and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently chair of the Center for Security Policy’s board of advisers.


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