China's treatment of their Uighur Muslim minority and our response to it was a complicated issue even before former National Security Adviser John Bolton told us something we didn't already know.
Congress recently passed legislation authorizing sanctions against China's ruling party in response to their treatment of Muslims and Trump signed the bill into law yesterday.
China responded today by promising to retaliate if we don't reverse course.
"We again urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes and stop using this Xinjiang-related law to harm China's interests and interfere in China's internal affairs," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the region in the northwest of the country where many Uighurs live.
"Otherwise, China will resolutely take countermeasures, and all the consequences arising therefrom must be fully borne by the United States," it added, without detailing what such countermeasures might entail.
I would have said -- and indeed I have -- that our own treatment of immigrants from Central and South America erodes our moral credibility on this specific issue among others, but you know what else does?
An endorsement from Trump.
According to former United Nations ambassador and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Trump explicitly endorsed China's Muslim concentration camps and told Chinese President Xi Jinping that they're doing the right thing.
In a private meeting with Mr. Xi at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan last year, Mr. Bolton wrote, the president even accepted the rationale of Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, for the creation of a vast system of camps and surveillance in Xinjiang.
“According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do,” Mr. Bolton wrote.
According to Bolton, Trump also explicitly asked Xi Jinping to help him get reelected.
“He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes. “He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”
Even if we're technically correct when we speak out against China's treatment of Muslims, we have no moral ground to stand on under Trump.
I'm willing to accept or assume that most if not all of what Bolton says about Trump is true and that means Trump endorsed the ruling party's camps and asked Xi for help and then had the audacity to blame China for the coronavirus and impose sanctions for the camps he signed off on.
These events don't necessarily contradict the recent report that China's ruling party would like to see Trump get reelected because this is further evidence that he's doing more harm to us than them.
I figure other world leaders have said the United States is full of shit for a very long time and along came Trump to conclusively prove them right.
"America first" could be "America never" or at least it will be if we give Trump another four years to irrevocably change the world for the worse.