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It’s a good thing that conspiracy theories are never, ever true. Otherwise, several recent developments in U.S.-China relations would rightly alarm anyone hoping that U.S. policy toward the People’s Republic would reflect efforts to further American national interests rather than selfish special interests.

Those dangerously loony conspiracy theorists would probably begin by noting that last month, the State Department announced Secretary Antony J. Blinken’s appointments to a Foreign Affairs Policy Board that since 2011 has “provided independent advice on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy” on issues that today include “strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China.”

The new Board is chaired (as originally reported by The Washington Free Beacon) by Thomas E. Donilon, who the wingnuts would no doubt immediately observe was the White House National Security Advisor during the Obama administration, which compiled a consistent record of coddling China on both the national security and the economic fronts. And as the Free Beacon post makes clear, out office, Donilon had been a leading voice for continuing to coddle China, too. 

They’d surely further point out that he’s sure found lucrative employment in the right place. For Donilon is now Chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute, an arm of the finance company of the same name that happens to be the world’s largest asset manager. These conspiracy-mongers would likely explain that BlackRock has been one of Wall Street’s most enthusiastic boosters of sending huge amounts of capital from the United States and around the world into China. Indeed, it’s just become “the first foreign-owned company to operate a wholly owned business in China’s mutual fund industry,” in CNBC.com‘s words.

The strategy will of course net immense fees for BlackRock and the other finance giants pursuing it. And we’d probably hear from the loons that BlackRock has touted major benefits for the People’s Republlc other than making available to its dangerous totalitarian government oceans of new resources – specifically by helping China “to address its growing retirement crisis by providing retirement system expertise, products and services.”

Then these paranoiacs would presumably try to bolster their credibility by arguing that even lefty zillionaire George Soros has warned that BlackRock-like operations in China will “damage the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies.”

More grist for the conspiracy industry’s mills: Yesterday’s report in The Wall Street Journal that the Chinese government “is implementing changes to its rules governing publicly offered securities investment funds” that would “include requiring foreign-owned fund managers such as BlackRock and Fidelity to create Communist Party cells when operating in China.” Along with the failure of Donilon or BlackRock (or Fidelity, where I park most of my family’s financial accounts) to utter a peep of protest. Not to mention the silence of the Biden administration.

And the icing on this cake of delusion? Recent signs of a China policy shift by a Biden administration that had been surprisingly Trump-y on the subject given the President’s long history of supporting pre-Trump globalist policies of indiscriminately expanding trade and investment with China. Like the persistent talk of cutting tariffs on Chinese imports to help fight inflation. Like the suspension of new levies on Chinese solar panel imports that were transshipped through Southeast Asian countries to evade U.S. trade curbs. Like the sale of oil from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese entity (Unipec).

But obviously there’s nothing to see here. Because as I said, conspiracy theories are never, ever true.