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Mon Jun 7, 2021, 04:18 PM

Josh Hawley vs. Rahm Emanuel - WSJ Editorial [View all]

Josh Hawley doesn’t think Rahm Emanuel is fit to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan because he “clearly does not understand the China threat.” The evidence? In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, the Missouri Republican cited Mr. Emanuel’s pursuit of Chinese investment as mayor of Chicago.

That’s a stretch. Part of a mayor’s job is to seek investment for his city. Until very recently, almost any mayor or governor would have welcomed Chinese investment. Even under Donald Trump, who has never been accused of being soft on Beijing, China wasn’t blocked from buying U.S. Treasury bonds. It still isn’t.

Sen. Hawley has a legitimate point about Chinese investment, but it has little to do with mayors. This is because Beijing has made clear its companies are expected to support its military and intelligence ambitions. The sheer size of China’s economy and its integration into global supply complicates decisions that would otherwise be left to the market.


Partly out of such concerns, Congress in 2018 passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. The law updated the rules for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to address security concerns. This week President Biden expanded to 59 the number of Chinese companies that Americans are barred from investing in. Selective decoupling from China is a better strategy than blacklisting from government any American who has dealt with China.

In any case Mr. Emanuel would be ambassador to Tokyo, not Beijing. Presidents make foreign policy. If it turns out the U.S. doesn’t appreciate the threat from China, that will be on Joe Biden, not Rahm Emanuel.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/josh-hawley-vs-rahm-emanuel-11622845531 (subscription)

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