The White House Is Trying to Have It Both Ways on China

The future is particularly murky these days. It’s anybody’s guess how the pandemic, the presidential election, and the economy are going to play out. Just about the only thing that’s assured is that U.S. relations with China will never be the same.

Businesses are radically rethinking their supply chains, and whether you call the rest of us voters or consumers, attitudes toward China are souring. A Harris poll last month found that two-thirds of Democrats and 9 out of 10 Republicans hold China responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. Already, a slew of lawsuits have been leveled against the Chinese government. The West’s political orientation toward China is shifting too, as countries around the world increasingly point fingers at Beijing.

The issue isn’t whether a China-U.S. reckoning is coming, only whether we’re smart or dumb about it.

Early on, the knee-jerk response from Democrats, the World Health Organization, much of the media, and the Chinese government itself was to claim that any criticism of the Chinese government’s actions was bigoted or xenophobic.

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