It’s an old and familiar saying: “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.”
Not to mention:
- Poisoned, fake-brand THC vapes killing our kids via the vaping lung illness outbreak of last summer. (Oh. You missed that foreign-sourced public health crisis?) Plus floods of counterfeit nicotine e-cigarette brands habitualizing high-schoolers and undermining heavy-handed efforts at home to keep the products away from kids.
- Thousands of dangerous, fraudulent, mis- and wrongly-labeled, and even banned products swamping the world’s largest retail platform – and driven to the top of listings, claiming a coveted but misleading “Amazon Choice,” through lies, bogus sales and bribes.
- Decades of systematic cheating on trade agreements hollowing out America’s industrial base.
- Blatant and ubiquitous identity theft, cyberfraud and cyberattacks – including, ironically, unrelenting unleashing of computer “viruses.”
- Sponsorship of rogue nations rushing headlong to develop nukes that can take out Los Angeles.
- Of course, pandemics that, in flea-like fashion, rapidly infest the entire globe.
- And resulting record stock-market crashes, free falls in energy and other commodity markets, plummeting bond yields, and maybe, a recession that could undo the unparalleled job gains of the last few years.
Hey, Wall Street! Ya maybe paying attention yet?
One hates to say “We told you so.” But we told you so: that there was a plethora of grounds beyond illegal trade practices not to do business with China.
And with the coronavirus and its far-reaching effects across our public health, society and now economy, we’ve just been reminded of another reason – one bringing new meaning to the term “economic contagion.”
By the way – before we get started on empty charges of “racism,” the opening aphorism does not imply in any way that Chinese people are “dogs.”
Although to say that their government and business leadership are such would be to insult every canine species.
What might have been your first hint that China’s tyrants are not reliable, benign and mutually beneficial business partners?
The tanks running down protesting students even as their dispatchers were seeking to normalize relations and gain access to our markets?
Demonstrations of benevolence in blowing up churches, enslaving pastors, harvesting religious dissidents’ organs, imprisoning ethnic minorities in concentration camps and deploying expropriated technology to create the world’s most pervasive surveillance state?
The massive and abiding competitive advantage gained by forcing laborers to toil hundreds of hours of overtime for months on end – under constant watch (even in the toilet) and in unsafe, unsanitary working and living conditions?
Rampant looting and forced surrender of prized intellectual property as a price of doing business?
Previous scandals involving tainted crayons, toys, lumber, drywall and personal care products?
The lack of financial safeguards that one day could catch up the entire world in the collapse of a Potemkin village economic system?
Or how about earlier global epidemics such as SARS and other various forms of flu that leaked into the world from a medieval public health infrastructure and unconstrained and disgusting dietary habits – specifically, unregulated meat markets peddling civet cats, pangolins and the like?
However serious it may turn out to be, this flareup has given all of us, including Wall Street, a serious and painful wake-up call: that coronavirus and the resulting panics are what happens when a nation – seemingly inextricably – links its economy and entire way of life to a country whose system is completely inimical.
But also an opportunity to prove the coupling is extricable after all – by pressing, Hillary Clinton-style, the famous “reset” button, this time with China. Perhaps spelled right (however it’s rendered in Mandarin). And policy-wise, in an opposite, decidedly less accommodative direction.
Now that this frightening outbreak has captured our collective consciousness, the president should seize the opportunity to take his tough posture vis-à-vis the Chinese to a whole new level – and announce that for the sake of our economic wellbeing, national security, public health and consumer safety, America is indeed going to recast our relationship.
That we will progressively wean ourselves off the Middle Kingdom’s brutal, criminal dictatorship; its crooked, immoral, hazardous and larcenous business activities; its unhygienic practices; and its antagonistic rhetoric and actions.
That, until and unless China cleans up its act, we will promote and even mandate the shift of business and commerce to safer, saner, more reliable, less hostile and most important, more humane locations – including and especially the good old US of A.
In short, that America is going to stop lying down with depraved, despotic dogs and waking up fleeced — in every sense.