China’s leadership seemed pretty busy today with all the Second World Internet Conference hullabaloo going on in Wuzhen, but if they happened to turn on CNN earlier this morning they might have been disappointed to find the eight major Republican presidential hopefuls (and Rand Paul) not saying all that much about them in the latest GOP debate.
The last time the candidates gathered, Chris Christie said he would fly Air Force One over the South China Sea and promised cyberwarfare “like they have never seen before.” This time around, Christie was more toned down, merely arguing that the U.S. should leak embarrassing information concerning the corruption of top Chinese officials. That’ll show ’em!
So if they want to come in and attack all the personnel records in the federal government, which they’ve done, and which — they now have my Social Security number and my fingerprints, as well as maybe some other folks’ who are on this stage.
The fact is, they need to be fought back on. And what we need to do is go at the things that they are most sensitive and most embarrassing to them; that they’re hiding; get that information and put it out in public. Let the Chinese people start to digest how corrupt the Chinese government is; how they steal from the Chinese people; and how they’re enriching oligarchs all throughout China.
Of course, the Chinese could have also got Christie’s fingerprints back in February when he hosted the Chinese ambassador at the Statehouse:
Christie hosts China's ambassador at Statehouse February 2015 https://t.co/4zn7VUiUmK
— Evan Osnos (@eosnos) December 16, 2015
The well-funded and connected Jeb Bush responded that he agreed with Christie’s approach, saying:
They’ll respect that. They’ll respect a United States that is serious about protecting our — our infrastructure. If we don’t do it, we’ll continue to see what’s —exactly what’s happening, not just from the Chinese, by the way. The Russians and rogue actors, including ISIS — this is a serious part of the 21st century security challenge that we face.
Here is Jeb getting serious in 2012:
Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina mentioned that the U.S. will need China to join them in isolating Kim Jong-un, reasoning that the only way to get Beijing’s support is by battling them at every front:
China is a rising adversary… We have to push back on their desire to control the trade route through the South China Sea through which flows $5 trillion worth of goods and services every year. We cannot let them control the disputed islands, and we must work with the Australians, the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Filipinos to contain China.
Apart from those strong if nonsensical statements, China didn’t really come up during the debate. There was no more calls to throw Xi Jinping in a woodshed with a Big Mac or to label China as a currency manipulator. It’s like infamous China lover/hater/sayer Donald Trump’s attention span has shifted elsewhere…
By Mary DeMay