For decades, before a heedless congregation, some of us have preached the old Hamiltonian gospel.
Great nations do not have trade partners. They have trade competitors and rivals. Trade surpluses are superior to trade deficits. Tariffs on foreign goods are preferable to taxes on U.S. producers. Manufacturing, not finance, is the muscle of the nation.
Economic independence is vital to political independence.
Following Hamiltonian precepts, the United States grew from 13 rural and agricultural colonies into the greatest industrial power in all history, producing 42 percent of the world's manufactured goods. We were the awe and envy of mankind, the self-sufficient republic, maker of half of the armaments produced by all the nations in World War II.
That is the America we grew up in -- that has now vanished.
Chrysler, Ford, perhaps GM, may be dying. Manufacturing has sunk to 10 percent of U.S. employment, a level unseen since before the Civil War. Europeans and Asians are to assemble in Washington this week to impose upon the United States a New World Economic Order like the one we imposed on them at Bretton Woods in 1944.
Such are the fruits of free-trade ideology.
Across the Pacific, a nation that studied how America rose, and watched as America declined, chose a different path. China adopted and pursued a China First policy of economic nationalism.
In July, Charles McMillion of MBG Services testified to the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China's progress.
Beijing began its astonishing rise by devaluing its currency 45 percent in 1994, slashing the prices of exports in half and making imports twice as expensive. As America threw open her market and invited China to come in and capture it, China had erected a Great Wall around her own.
Results: China's worldwide trade surplus in manufactures, $31 billion in 2001, hit $401 billion in 2007, a 1,300 percent increase, and may reach $500 billion in 2008. China has shoved Germany aside to become the world's greatest exporter and now leads the world in the export of manufactured goods to Japan and the European Union, as well as the United States.
While running trade deficits with Asian neighbors like Taiwan, to tie them politically to Beijing, China is running record trade surpluses with the European Union and the United States, making America and the West as dependent upon China for our manufactures as we are on OPEC for our oil.