Trading with the Enemy

A letter writer in The Wall Street Journal‘s Sunday Letters section put it succinctly regarding free global trade:

I support free global trade except with countries that cheat and steal and use slave labor.

He wrote that in the context of his decrial of the People’s Republic of China as attempting to rule all of Asia and the global economy.

The PRC’s goal is broader than that; PRC President Xi Jinping has said in so many words that his goal for the PRC is to supplant the US as the world’s sole superpower, which would give the PRC the political, economic, and military power to control our own national actions.

From that, I would add to the letter-writer’s criteria for free global trade: no trade, free or otherwise (beyond, perhaps, non-critical commodity goods), with enemy nations. That would include Russia, Iran, and northern Korea, as well as the PRC.

An aside (but not too far over): it’s common to decry northern Korea’s use of slave labor, but I submit that that is something of a misnomer. Using slave labor implies that other laborers aren’t slaves, holding their jobs—or not—voluntarily. In northern Korea, though, all of the unfortunates resident there—every single one of them—are slaves of the thugs that rule over that gang territory.

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