Guest Opinion: U.S.-China Dialogue is “Chasing the Wrong Rabbits”

Guest Opinion: U.S.-China Dialogue is “Chasing the Wrong Rabbits”

Remove Most Favored Nation status for China


When I was a young man—and just out of university—I worked at Cummins Allison. Our CEO at the time, William Klotz, was a World War II sergeant who fought many battles in the Pacific. He was an amazing leader, and he loved America. We loved, feared, and adored Mr. Klotz because he was a great mentor. 

Mr. Klotz had many pithy sayings that he would often use to make a point. One of his great lines was, “You guys are chasing the wrong rabbits.” He would say that when young team members were chasing the wrong objective, or a goal that would not produce concrete results. The point was to think objectively—and achieve goals in the real world. Theory, or wanting the world to be different than reality, was a nice academic exercise. But it had no place in the operational success of a business. 

Now, when it comes to China, we have the U.S. Treasury and State Departments “Chasing the Wrong Rabbits.” And the Defense Department seems to be in a deep sleep—ignoring the fundamental problem.

The “right” rabbit to be chasing is the threat that China poses to America’s national security. We should not be “dialoguing” with China. Instead, we should be taking action to protect America’s national security interests.

Consider that China is aiding and abetting Iran in the Middle East—and has been doing so for years. Iran, in turn is causing most of the instability in the Middle East. And both Israel and the Arab Sunni Muslim nations in the Middle East are all concerned about Iran’s aggression.

To put it in blunt terms:

If the Biden administration wants to “chase the right rabbit,” then it (along with Congress) should take immediate, punitive action against Beijing. And that includes removing China’s Most Favored Nation status (MFN), effective immediately. The United States should also act to decouple its economy from China.

The instability in the Middle East caused by Iran and its surrogates is costing precious American resources. And as tensions escalate, it will surely cost the lives of young American soldiers. This can be tamped down and avoided with appropriate U.S. policy.

China helps Iran by giving Tehran the money it desperately needs to make trouble in the Middle East. As such, how can the U.S. continue to trade with China when it uses the benefits of this trade to fund an American adversary?

A significant portion of the U.S. Navy is now being tied up in the Middle East. That makes it more difficult for our navy to sustain a strong presence in the western Pacific for our allies, including Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

The only solution is to shut down Iran economically. China will not cooperate. So, we must cause great pain to China. Can Janet Yellen and others in the administration connect the dots? Or will American soldiers’ lives be lost because of Yellen’s and others misguided dialogue with China?

If we fail to take action soon, and continue to trade with China, we’ll keep funding our enemies. Our national security will be compromised. Iran will become more aggressive in the Middle East. China will move to increase its control in the Pacific, which may include an invasion of Taiwan. American naval vessels and American soldiers will be at risk.

How bad does Beijing’s behavior have to become before the United States stops talking with China? It’s time to take pragmatic steps, including the removal of China’s MFN, to protect our national interest.

Bill Jones is a CPA Board Member and former chairman of Cummins American Corporation, a manufacturing company in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.


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