Henry Olsen, Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said “re-balancing our trade relationship with China” is President Donald Trump’s “most important” priority, offering his remarks in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.
Olsen warned of America’s “addiction to profits and goods from China,” casting the status quo of American-Chinese trade as fueling the latter’s geopolitical ascendance. China’s rise, he added, is an existential threat to the continuity of American values.
Olsen stated, “If we want to be addicted to — and it’s really what it is, is an addiction — to profits and goods from a country that doesn’t share our values and is actively building an economy and military that can challenge freedom-loving peoples in the Pacific and elsewhere, then we’re making a choice that we no longer want to be great, and we are making a choice that we don’t want to fight for the values that have made us great.”
“Thucydides wrote thousands of years ago that the strong can do what they can and the weak suffer what they must, and the question is, do we want to be strong or do we want to be weak? I think we want to be strong,” added Olsen.
America will suffer a “loss of freedom,” “loss of jobs,” and “another World War” if it fails to counter China’s ascent, assessed Olsen. He called on the Republican Party to express support for Trump’s trade policies towards China in order to enhance the president’s credibility in ongoing international trade negotiations.
“The Republican Party not only has to stand behind him, but make a public declaration of that so that China knows that we stand united behind the president on this,” advised Olsen. “Everyone seems to agree that China is a country that we should stand tall against. Let’s make them put their money where their mouth is.”
In a May 6 column, Olsen wrote:
The president should ask for a public display of support from congressional Republicans should he have to act this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should propose a resolution expressing support for the president and make it clear that he is not a lone wolf on U.S.-China trade policy. Past experience has taught China that it can weaken U.S. resolve by creating powerful friendships with those dependent on Chinese trade favors. The time is now for China to learn that Americans disagree about many things but on this they stand united.
Olsen advised conservative political advocates to speak of justice as much as they speak of liberty and freedom.
“Conservatives of all stripes are really good when they’re talking about liberty,” observed Olsen. “We’re really good when we’re talking about American tradition. We’re not as good when we’re talking about justice, and there are a lot of people in America who, for good reason, have felt that their ancestors did not share completely in the American promise, and they want people who will affirm that they are equal citizens, too. A conservatism that has a problem saying that is a conservatism that alienates supporters and continually makes mistakes. Donald Trump, for all the ways he is not perfect, is somebody who has expressed — in things tariffs — the idea of justice as being something that is equal to liberty in the conservative pantheon, and consequently attracted non-traditional voters.
Olsen echoed David Horowitz’s call for conservatives to “go for the heart” when proselytizing their philosophical values, concluding, “‘With liberty and justice for all’ is in the Pledge of Allegiance for good reason, and we need to believe in all six of those words if we want to be the party that represents America.”
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