Conventional wisdom would suggest that Robert Mueller would be an obvious choice for Person of the Year, because so much attention revolved around his ultimately anti-climactic report.
However, if the selection is based on which individual’s actions, comments, or persona will have the greatest impact on future generations, it’s a far more obscure choice, that being President Trump’s economic advisor, Peter Navarro.
Navarro is the contrarian who, early on, through his books "Death by China" and "The Coming China Wars," was blasting out a warning about China’s unchallenged arrogance and dominance throughout the world. He was often mocked, criticized and isolated from the deep state and the media, but as time has progressed, Navarro’s perspective is winning out.
The impeachment process will be remembered forever, but it is our tectonic shift in dealing with China over this last year that will have a far greater impact on America and the world.
For the past two decades, our nation engaged in a failed policy of seeking to coax China into the world economy with the hope that they would behave in a more civil manner. We crossed our fingers, and China laughed, as evidenced by their establishment of Muslim concentration camps, their suppression of freedom in Hong Kong, and the continued Maoist surveillance of its citizens. Under Xi Jinping, its recently declared dictator for life, China has proven itself to be the type of “Evil Empire” President Reagan argued we confront.
Navarro recognized this long before the elites in Washington or their compatriots in the media.
He has been urging that we challenge this beast head on, even if it means economic short-term dislocation by imposing tariffs. Early on, this was seen as economically heretical, impulsive, and tainted with a dash of warmongering. Indeed, just last year, Time Magazine’s liberal correspondent, Molly Ball, was disparaging Navarro as an economy wrecker and ally betrayer, highlighting quotes from Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist and Bush advisor, who claimed: “You could make a list of the 100 most prominent economists in the world, and Peter Navarro wouldn’t be on it. His views are very, very far from the mainstream.”
But Navarro‘s policy redirection was allowed to gain steam only because his boss was one of the few politicians in this nation who was in agreement from the start. In fact, while one can fairly label Donald Trump a transactional politician, as he was a real estate developer, there has been at least one policy position that he has held consistently since he started to gain fame in the 1980s. That is, America is being taken advantage of by other countries, especially on the trade front. In the 80s, it was all about Japan cleaning our clock, but in the last decade, it’s been all about China.
Trump has many flaws, but the thing he may be remembered for most a half a century down the line, may very well be how he forced our nation to finally confront a hostile nation in China that we had been appeasing for decades prior.
One could say that we were engaged in a process of committing national suicide. The Clinton administration willfully allowed our high-tech industries to share coveted technology that we knew could one day be converted by the Chinese for military purposes. If only we had a Peter Navarro back then!
Subsequent administrations looked the other way as China mandated that companies wishing to do business with their expensive markets would first have to cede management control to the Communists. Hundreds of billions of dollars of patented technology were being, and continue to be, stolen by the Chinese government. But, Wall Street was willing to put up with this theft, because it meant short-term profits on their ledger sheets.
What’s worse is that our American companies were willing to put up with Chinese imposed censorship upon their free speech, in a way they would never tolerate from the American government.
It took a tweet, forced retraction, and sheepish apology from an NBA executive to bring to light just how dangerous this acquiescence to Communist totalitarianism had become.
We are finally waking up to the realization that China needs us more than we need them and that we can do business elsewhere. There will be a day where America joins forces with other Western democracies to finally tell China that they are truly going to have to play by the rules or lose our business. This is perhaps the most significant global impact that occurred over this past year, far exceeding the feel good, unaccomplished protests of the climate change virtue signalers.
And it all traces back to a fellow named Peter Navarro, the one-time Democrat, who years ago sounded the clarion call that playing ball with a corrupt Chinese Communist government was going to lead to our own downfall. At this point, we don’t know how this saga will turn out, but we do know that the conversation about China has been changed forever. For that, Peter Navarro is owed our collective thanks. He truly is the Person of the Year.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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