Mansour: ‘Free Trade Absolutism’ Is Surrender in the Face of China’s ‘Economic Warfare’

President Xi Jinping's trip to celebrate 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China

Decades of “free trade absolutism” by America’s elites, “where we unilaterally disarm while our opponent commits economic warfare against us,” have undermined American national security, decimated the U.S. manufacturing base, and betrayed middle and working class Americans, said Breitbart News’s Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour during a opening monologue on Thursday’s edition of Breitbart News Tonight on SiriusXM.

Mansour praised President Donald Trump’s intention to go “full economic nationalist” by levying tariffs on China to “protect American industry” from China’s dumping of steel and aluminum.

Nearly 60 percent of American voters say imposing tariffs on Chinese dumping of steel and aluminum is crucial to the United States’ economic relationship with China, according to a Tuesday-published Morning Consult poll.

The status quo of trade between the U.S. and China — pushed by Washington and Wall Street elites — has harmed America’s national interest, said Mansour:

These policies of the free trade absolutists have put us in a dire situation. This free trade absolutism – where we unilaterally disarm while our opponent commits economic warfare against us – is not what our founders envisioned. And it is certainly not what made this country great. The American system that made this country great, that built this country into the strongest economic superpower the world has ever seen, was based on protecting our manufacturing and having a financial system that lends to our manufacturers.

Trump’s tariff proposal is about our national security and our economy. You have to understand, folks, the loss of our manufacturing base, which our founders clearly saw as crucial, is dangerous and destabilizing, not only because it hurts our workers, but also because it weakens our sovereignty by making us dependent on foreign nations. That’s what is happening right before our eyes. We’ve become dependent on China for the necessities of our national life and for the loans to pay for them.

I want to share a passage from a book that was written in 2011, by one of the smartest commentators, I think, of our times. It was called Suicide of a Superpower. It’s by Pat Buchanan. I want to read some of these passages for you to give you a picture of the state that we are in.

Mansour read from Pat Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower:

In the first decade of what was to be the Second American Century, a net of zero new jobs was created. Average households were earning less in real dollars at the end of the decade than at the beginning. The net worth of the American family, in stocks, bonds, savings, home values, receded 4 percent. Fifty thousand plants and factories shut down. As a source of jobs, manufacturing fell below health care and education in 2001, below retail sales in 2002, below local government in 2006, below leisure and hospitality — that’s restaurants and bars — in 2008, for the first time. Be it shoes, clothes, cars, furniture, radios, TVs, appliances, bicycles, toys, cameras, computers, we buy from abroad what we used to make here. Our economic independence is history….

Starting in the 1980s and accelerating with NAFTA and GATT, the United States set out to meld its economy with those of Europe and Japan and create a global economy. We decided to create the interdependent world envisioned by such nineteenth-century dreamers as David Ricardo, Richard Cobden, Frédéric Bastiat, and John Stuart Mill.

That experiment did not work out well for the free-trade British in the nineteenth century, who were shouldered aside in the struggle for world primacy by America. But our generation would make it work for the world. What happened was predictable and was, in fact, predicted. With the abolition of tariffs and with U.S. guarantees that goods made in foreign countries would enter America free of charge, manufacturers began to shut plants here and move production abroad to countries where U.S. wage-and-hour laws and health, safety, and environmental regulations did not apply, countries where there were no unions and workers’ wages were below the U.S. minimum wage. Competitors who stayed in America were undercut and run out of business, or forced to join the stampede abroad.

In that same first decade of the twenty-first century, the United States issued 10,300,000 green cards inviting foreigners to come compete for the remaining jobs of U.S. workers.

Mansour paused from the reading to emphasize the added betrayal of open borders immigration to working class Americans already harmed by bad trade policies: “As if they did not commit enough of an economic hate crime against us, our elites opened the gates and invited everybody else to fight for the scraps. And that number has only increased, folks.”

Mansour continued reading from Suicide of a Superpower, closing with a passage describing the national security danger of “our dependence on computers and vital components of our high-tech industries and weapons systems produced by a rival power run by a Communist politburo.”

As Buchanan notes, the consequences of these trade “imbalances” have been the “deindustrialization of America. A growing dependence on China for the necessities of our national life and the loans to pay for them. A loss of millions of the best jobs Americans ever had. A median wage and family income that have been stagnant for a decade. A steep decline in the global purchasing power of the dollar. A loss of national dynamism. A debt bomb that went off in our face in September 2008.”

Buchanan quoted former South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings who wrote in 2010, “The defense industry has been off-shored. We had to wait months to get flat panel displays from Japan before we launched Desert Storm. Boeing can’t build a fighter plane except for the parts from India. Sikorsky can’t build a helicopter except for the tail motor from Turkey… Today, we can’t go to war except for the favor of a foreign country.”

President Donald Trump’s campaign promises to combat the status quo of international trade brought him to the White House, said Mansour:

That’s what we’re talking about when we say, “national security.” President Trump ran on this issue, and he won on this issue, and God bless him, he’s sticking to his promise despite all of these Wall Street Goldman Sachs guys around him who are trying to tackle him, saying, ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that. You can’t follow the crazy things you told the American people you were going to do, Mr. President. Let’s continue these policies that have brought us to this ridiculous point.’ You just heard what I read to you, folks. I’m not making this up. That’s there for anybody see.

Decades of losses of manufacturing jobs have wrought economic ruin across the Rust Belt, said Mansour. Adversaries such as China are “laughing” at American political incompetence, she added:

You take a car drive throughout the heartland and you go look at the closed factories, the rusted out factories that I grew up looking at in the Midwest. I grew up looking at these factories, and looking at the devastation that the policies out of Washington, DC, and out of Wall Street have done to the heartland of this country. They have committed an economic hate crime against the American working and middle classes. Let me tell you something, either they committed it, or they sat by and didn’t do anything about it.

Mansour closed by saying the policies of America’s political and financial elites confirm “that famous quote from [Vladimir] Lenin: ‘The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.'”

“That’s what the Chinese are doing to us,” said Mansour. “We’re selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us. They’re laughing their asses off as we sit here and allow them to cheat us and do nothing to fight back.”

Mansour revisited the importance of protecting America’s domestic steel industry from China’s “economic warfare” in response to a caller on Friday’s show:

Steel is not just any other industry. We need steel for a plethora of other things. It is vital to our national security. We cannot build planes [or] vehicles to fight our wars without steel. And it is not an industry where you can just let it die and then in the middle of a war just spring it into life. No. This is something that has to be already established. It takes a long time. This is not something like flipping a light on and letting go.

What China is doing, they are willing to take a loss on steel and dump steel below the price of what it costs them to make it simply because they want to destroy our industry for a strategic reason. They want the world to be dependent on them. They want to take the market, that’s why they’re dumping steel. This is an act of war. This is economic warfare.

There is literally no way that our industry can fight, innovate, or do anything to a country that is willing to undercut us so much that they will sell at a loss in a marketplace just to drive us out of business. That is warfare. You cannot bring a butter knife when someone is bringing an Uzi and spraying you. They are dropping the equivalent of an atom bomb on us and we want to go at them with what, a Nerf football? It doesn’t work that way.

This is not about subsidizing an industry. It is about fighting back against a country that is committing economic warfare against us in order to destroy an industry that is vital to our national security.

Keep in mind, folks, if it weren’t for our steel industry and manufacturing base, this whole world would be under totalitarianism and Nazism because World War II would have been lost. The thing that won World War II was the American arsenal of democracy. It was the fact that we could build these planes and get them over there. We could build the tanks and arm the western and eastern fronts. We armed our allies, and we kept arming them… That’s what won the war. That is our security. You cannot have a secure nation without a secure manufacturing base. Steel is important to that. That’s what’s going on here.

Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).

LISTEN to Mansour’s Thursday monologue:

LISTEN to Mansour’s answer to a caller on Friday’s show:


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