Opinion

What If Trump’s ‘Dark Prince’ Is Right about China’s Plan for Global Conquest?

Ousted advisor Steve Bannon warns West at risk of losing economic war — while Trudeau government seeks free trade deal with China.

By Bill Tieleman 22 Aug 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist whose clients include unions and businesses in the resource and public sector. Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. Email him at weststar@telus.net see Twitter @BillTieleman or visit his blog.

“We’re at economic war with China... and they’re crushing us.” — Former Donald Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon.

What if U.S. President Donald Trump’s hard right-wing, ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon is right about China waging total economic war on the West — just as Canada tries to do a deal with the country’s dictatorship?

And why did Bannon reach out to The American Prospect, a left-wing publication, to make provocative statements about China just days before he left the White House?

Those are important questions Canadians should be asking as Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempts to quietly reach a bilateral free trade agreement with the world’s second biggest economy, run by an authoritarian Communist government.

It’s an idea most Canadians strongly oppose — 88 per cent were “uncomfortable” with opening up Canada to Chinese state-owned corporations according to an April 2017 Nanos poll. And two-thirds of Canadians polled also wanted human rights linked to any China trade deal.

While most media commentary on Bannon’s apparent firing focused on White House intrigue and his comments that there is “no military solution” in the dispute with North Korea, contradicting Trump’s belligerent threats, Bannon’s key point about China has received less attention.

So has his argument that the left and right need to work together to avoid disaster in China’s economic war against the U.S.

“To me, the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, 10 years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover,” Bannon told The American Prospect.

“It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow,” Bannon concludes.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government blindly drools at the “great untapped potential and many existing challenges in doing business with China,” as a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson told the South Asia Post last week.

“This is why Canada and China are conducting exploratory discussions to determine whether and how to pursue a possible free trade agreement,” Brittany Venhola-Fletcher said. 

And while Liberal Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland acknowledges that “we all need to be clear that China is an authoritarian communist regime,” at the same time she is working to get a deal that will likely ignore China’s deplorable human rights record.

Any question about whether China’s anti-democratic approach changing was answered last week when three young Hong Kong democracy activists were jailed for six to eight months.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang led civil disobedience occupations of government offices to protest Chinese repression of democracy.

They initially received lighter sentences that were appealed by the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government. The longer jail time will prevent them from running in local elections for five years. On Sunday tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens rallied against their jailing.

Last month, Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo died of cancer in jail, where he was serving an 11-year sentence for “subversion” for demanding an end to the one-party state.

Closer to home, Lulu Island Winery owner John Chang of Richmond, B.C., remains imprisoned in China after allegedly undervaluing wine sent to China, while his wife Lan Fed Lu has been released from jail but ordered to stay in China. Both are Canadian citizens.

China’s ambassador to Canada Shaye Lu says that their plight “should not be politicized” and criticized media coverage.

But Justin Trudeau doesn’t seem to worry about China — he has previously actually marvelled at its authoritarian government.

“There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know, investing in solar,” Trudeau said in 2013 to widespread condemnation.

And on China’s trading approach, Trudeau isn’t any more reassuring.

“We deceive ourselves by thinking that trade with Asia can be squeezed into the 20th-century mould. China, for one, sets its own rules and will continue to do so because it can. China has a game plan. There is nothing inherently sinister about that,” Trudeau said in 2012.

Those kind of comments mean both Canada’s left and right should be ringing alarm bells about what the Liberals might do in a China free trade deal.

And it should be very disconcerting to all Canadians that when it comes to dealing with China’s dictatorship and its intent on economic world domination, Donald’s Trump right-wing former strategist has a more supportable view than Canada’s prime minister.  [Tyee]

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