Marco Rubio: ‘Blissful Ignorance’ on Threat from China Is No Longer an Option

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned Americans on Monday evening in a Senate floor speech that the threat from China to the United States can no longer be ignored in favor of short-term economic gains.

“Blissful ignorance is no longer an option. We cannot overlook the obvious signs in favor of near-term economic gains. The world has reached a crossroads — one in which our inability to act will usher in a Chinese century. And that will have disastrous consequences,” he said.

Rubio argued that some in the West do not believe that China really poses a threat to the U.S., or they do not see the implications of China becoming the world’s dominant economic power.

“Unfortunately, there are too many in the western world and in the free world that refuse to see the challenges — indeed the threat — that is posed by the Communist Party of China’s vision of the world and the future,” he said.

Rubio argued that one only need listen to what the Chinese themselves are saying to understand the threat.

He cited a speech given last week by Huang Qifan, a former Central Committee member and recently retired Vice-Chair of the National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee.

“[Huang] said last week, ‘Our currency will become the world currency,'” he said. “And understand the implications of this stated goal.”

He continued:

China’s aim is to use economic power to displace the United States of America and the role it has played in the world since the end of the Second World War.

China’s message to the world is that its industries, its workers, its politics will be more productive than ours. The Chinese Communist Party says to foreign to countries, to investors, to businesses that the long-term play to keep their economies growing is by partnering with them, not partnering with us.

And some may say, well, what’s the big deal about that? Let’s just take care of our own problems. Here’s the big deal. Here’s what it would mean for Americans in real terms. If the world heads in the direction they advocate, it would mean lower wages for you. It would mean homes and mortgages that are unaffordable, and it would mean a world where what you can say and do abroad, but also at home, is increasingly dictated by the Chinese Communist Party and its benefactors in the United States and elsewhere.

Rubio also laid out the geopolitical implications of China as the dominant superpower:

If China becomes the world’s dominant economic power, they will become the world’s dominant military power. They will become the world’s dominant financial power. They will become the world’s dominant cultural power. And given their critique — and I would say disdain of our system — we can expect that in a future such as that, it will look much different than the reality that we live now.

“If China supplants America and the West, the world our children will inherit will be nothing like the one we grew up in and know,” he added.

Rubio, who co-chairs the Congressional Executive Commission on China, warned that China viewed current trade tensions with the U.S. as an “inevitable blip” in its long-term plan to supplant the U.S. and believes that it will win.

“The time has come for America and our allies who value freedom and liberty and free enterprise, democracy, human rights, the dignity of all people, the time has come for us to eagerly confront this assertion,” he said.

He contrasted the U.S.’s global leadership, which he said respects human dignity and stands up for those being crushed by totalitarianism around the world, to what leadership under China would look like.

“The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, cannot conceive of a world that’s not driven by status and hierarchy. They are not partners and they view no one as partners. They view them as vassal states,” he said.

He said the Party believes that those in China who deviate from their expectations deserve to be sent to forced labor camps:

The Chinese Communist Party power serves no purpose but to strengthen the Party’s rule and to spread its influence around the world. And for them, those who deviate from the Party’s expectations deserve to be sent to forced labor camps where they toil on the Party’s behalf, where mass surveillance is a necessary safeguard against deviants whose only crime is to want a private civic life.

Rubio said China will be a part of the future, and that the U.S. should welcome it, but make sure it plays by the rules.

“The bottom line is that China no matter what will continue to play a prominent role in the future of our world and frankly we should welcome a growing, thriving China, but one that plays by the rules. Today’s China, governed by the Chinese Communist Party, is not playing by any rules,” he said.

“It’s a predatory state in nature, and it actively seeks to supplant, not just the United States, but a world order committed to democracy, human rights, and the dignity of all. Since their induction into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has shown itself to be anything but a responsible global partner, and this is a dangerous recipe for conflict.”

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