Alibaba, Andrew Ross Sorking, Biden, Biden administration, China, foreign policy, globalism, globalists, health security, Henry Kissinger, Im-Politic, Jamie Dimon, Joseph C. Tsai, JPMorgan Chase, multilateralism, nationalism, The New York Times, Tony Blair
All Americans of good will should hope for the Biden administration’s success. In fact, on a trouble-shadowed Inauguration Day, it seems especially appropriate to create and nurture the brightest feel-good glow possible.
Nonetheless, it’s also vital to keep something else in mind: Powerful forces are acting more determined than ever to convince the public that the new President should double down on the same major policy blunders that ensured the elites’ own power and wealth, but that dangerously weakened U.S. security and prosperity. For good measure, of course, these decisions brought hardship, despair, and (as demonstrated by the country’s deep polarization), bitterness to tens of millions of Americans. And there’s every reason to believe they have a willing audience.
And before you dismiss those thoughts as the sour grapes of a Trump policy supporter, I hope you’ll read this column from Monday by The New York Times‘ Andrew Ross Sorkin, who the paper seems to be enabling to settle into a role of out-and-out establishment mouthpiece.
According to Sorkin, “a provocative memo [is] being circulated among policymakers on both sides of the aisle and the Biden transition team ahead of his inauguration.”
Continues Sorkin, “It is even more notable for who wrote it….an under-the-radar group of global boldfaced names that act as a private advisory committee to JPMorgan Chase. Among others, they include Tony Blair, the former British prime minister; Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, two former secretaries of state; Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense; Alex Gorsky, chief executive of Johnson & Johnson; Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH; and Joseph C. Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba.”
These globalist A-listers “typically [meet] once a year in a far-flung location with JPMorgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon.” Their discussions “are usually kept private. But given the precarious state of the world during a pandemic and change in leadership in Washington, the group put its views on paper in hopes of persuading policymakers to address what it sees as the most pressing priorities.”
Sorkin at least has the…honesty?…to describe their musings as “ a manifesto of sorts calling for a reset, a return to the pre-Trump days. It seeks to turn back the clock to a time when being called a globalist wasn’t an epithet….”
And although he adds that it “acknowledges the failures of globalism and seeks to correct them,” the group’s intentions (which readers need to take on face value, since the full document itself isn’t reproduced), justify deep skepticism for several reasons, starting with its make-up.
After all, it’s one thing to include a former foreign leader (the United Kingdom’s Tony Blair) and the head of a foreign multinational company (French-owned luxury goods maker LVMH). There’s no reason to believe that they have any special concern for America’s security and well-being, but at least they come from allied democracies.
But Joseph C. Tsai, a bigwig at Alibaba? JP Morgan’s Dimon is of course free to seek his advice on various matters, too, but maybe a senior executive from a Chinese entity that by definition is ultimately controlled by China’s hostile thug dictatorship could have been included out of the group’s effort to provide advice to an American President?
So not that other members of the group (like Kissinger for much of his post-government career) don’t have long records as China apologists and lobbyists for companies hungry to do business with and therefore curry favor with Beijing.
But Tsai’s involvement casts in an especially suspicious – and suspiciously defeatist – light the recommendation that “The best outcome for U.S.-China relations is likely managed competition — an accommodation that avoids military conflict while allowing for limited cooperation. It is impractical to think that supply chains and manufacturing can be moved simply, affordably or comprehensively out of China.”
If anything’s impractical, and indeed a spectacularly proven failure, it’s their stated belief that (in Sorkin’s words), U.S. interests can adequately be served by “a return to engaging with China, especially on climate issues and global health, while acknowledging the ‘significant challenge’ the country poses.” This soothing formula is exactly what’s led to the U.S. economic and technology policies that led directly to the rise of the Chinese threat.
The group’s perspectives on the CCP Virus and what it’s taught us about global supply chains and public health security and the like is no more impressive: “The near-total absence of American leadership, coupled with the nationalist approach of too many countries, have come at the expense of a strategically coherent, international response to the pandemic.”
Of course, it’s precisely because so many countries responded nationalistically to the virus – ostensibly when a globalist perspective was needed most – in particular blocking the export of crucial healthcare goods to ensure that their own supplies would be sufficient, that the United States can’t afford to be an exception, and needs to achieve self-sufficiency.
As for the group’s notion (as explained in the words of member Robert Gates, a former U.S. defense secretary) that “international cooperation and engagement on the international front and the relationships with our allies, …serves America’s self-interest,” it simply doesn’t suffice in bromide form any more. Now’s the time to explain exactly why this stance amounts to something more than what it turned into under the last few pre-Trump Presidents – a formula for needlessly risking nuclear war by coddling wealthy but militarily free-riding allies, and winning international friends and influencing people by giving away huge chunks of the U.S. economy’s productive heart.
Perhaps most revealing of all – both of the group’s cynicism and possibly Sorkin’s – was Dimon’s statement to the latter that “The first thing businesses should do is separate their company’s interests from what’s in the interest of the country.” This from a finance sector that has worked tirelessly for decades to push the offshoring of American manufacturing, with all the national security dangers and economic ruin it’s produced – as Sorkin conspicuously failed to point out.
Sorkin’s contention that “the message the group is advancing is common sense” makes clear that he’ll be an eager collaborator. And that probably goes for much of the rest of the establishment-idolizing and Never Trumper Mainstream Media. Fortunately for these elites, but worrisomely for the American people, everything known about Mr. Biden’s career is telling us that he will be, too.
Note: Eagle-eye readers may notice that I just called the new President “Mr. Biden” rather than “Biden.” That’s because he’s the new President, and therefore, at least in my view, deserves to be identified in a manner as distinctive as the authority of his office when the name is being used as a noun. By the same token, Donald Trump will be called “Trump” – a designation I’ve used for all other individuals I’ve written about in RealityChek, except when referring to them for the first time in a particular article.
But I’ll still restrict myself to using the family name when it functions as an adjective (e.g., “Biden administration,” “Biden policy”).
Truth to tell, I’ve had some ongoing trouble figuring out how to treat former Presidents. The tentative solution I’ve come up with is using that last-name-only form when they’re recent (e.g., “Obama”) and tending (not entirely consistently, I’m sure) to use their full names more frequently the further back in time we travel. (E.g., “former President Richard Nixon” or “former President Ulysses S Grant.”)
Even in such instances, though, I’ve struggled to be consistent without being overly pedantic with the exceptionally well known Presidents (like Washington and Lincoln). And when it comes to “Bush” and “Johnson” and “Roosevelt” and “Adams” I’ve needed to make clear whether I’m talking about George H.W. or George W.; Lyndon Baines or Andrew; Franklin D. or Theodore; and John or John Quincy, respectively.
And another complication: Sometimes, the temptations of stylistic diversity have led me to refer to former Presidents by their first and last names (e.g., “Barack Obama,” “Bill Clinton”). I’m sure these temptations will continue, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m trying to be as consistent as possible. Kapische?