Repeatedly, Republicans voted to extend most-favored-nation status to China. Dissenters were castigated as "isolationists and protectionists."
Under Bush II, the GOP made MFN permanent and sponsored Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization, despite China's downing of a U.S. surveillance plane and incarceration of its American crew on Hainan Island. Colin Powell was forced to apologize.
For decades, corporate America championed investing in China and trade with China, though the massive transfer of U.S. factories, technologies and jobs was clearly empowering China and weakening America.
Now, with U.S. political, military, industrial and strategic decline vis a vis China manifest to the world, we hear the wails of American businessmen that they are not being treated fairly by the Chinese. And the politicians responsible for building up China are now talking tough about confronting and containing China.
Sorry, but that cat cannot be walked back.
Review commission chair Dan Slane says his members have concluded that "China is adopting a highly discriminatory policy of favoring domestic producers over foreign manufacturers. Under the guise of fostering 'indigenous innovation' ... the government of China appears determined to exclude foreigners from bidding on government contracts at the central, provincial and local levels."
Imagine that! The Chinese are ignoring WTO rules and putting China first. Don't they understand how the Global Economy works? You're not supposed to tilt the field in favor of the home team.
One knows not whether to laugh or cry.
The policy the Chinese are pursuing, economic nationalism, was virtually invented by the Republican Party. Protectionism was the declared policy of the GOP from the day its first president took office in 1861 to the day Calvin Coolidge left in 1929.
Free trade was the policy of a Great Britain whose clocks those generations of Americans cleaned, even as the Chinese are cleaning ours.
As for a U.S. policy of containment, we have no vital interest in China's border dispute with India, or Beijing's claims to islands in the South and East China seas, or in China's claims against Russia dating to the ninth century.
Time for our Asians friends to take responsibility for defending their own claims. As LBJ said in 1964, "We are not about to send Americans boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." This time, let's mean it.
The day of the globalist has come and gone.