Rep. Jim Banks and Dan Crenshaw at LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE DISCUSSION ON U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS July 2020
3:45PM Sep 8, 2021
Is your statement on the culpability of China's moral responsibility in this virus, let's go to you first, Congressman.
Yeah, well, first and foremost, there's what we know that we can talk about what we know that we can't talk about that we've been briefed on behind closed doors in a classified setting. What we can say is that we can get hung up on whether or not the Coronavirus was or COVID-19 was intentionally released and thrust upon the rest of the world and intended to destroy and effect harm on Americans, or we could put that discussion aside for a moment, which is I would I would I prefer to do what we know at the end of the day what we can talk about is that we know that, by, by China preventing the CDC and the who in January from coming into study COVID-19 at the beginnings of the outbreak. By refusing to allow two international organizations and an American organization, the CDC to study those Robert O'Brien The National Security Adviser says that, and he discusses a study that shows that 90% of cases of COVID-19 would have been avoided if we could have gone in and January when we tried to, to investigate the beginnings of COVID-19 to better understand it, that that alone is, is why, why China is morally culpable, why they should be held accountable for the spread of the Coronavirus back in 2005 China and the United States, and a number of other countries around the world signed on to an international health regulations, with the UN to stop the spread of a pandemic that are you hearken back to that and look at what we're dealing with now, they violated many of the regulations that they signed on to in 2005, and they should be held accountable for it, and right now they're not right now We fortunately have an administration in the White House who is intent upon holding them accountable. But I fear what that's going to look like after this next election, If things change, and we go back to an era in American politics where we turn a blind eye to not just the Coronavirus but to a lot of other activities on the part of the Chinese Communist Party, where we don't hold them accountable and
I want to get to that, because without being politically political at all. This is an educational not a political event, but without being political at all. There are two candidates in this race and both of them have laid out very binary plans that are not divergent really in any way. And not only that both of them have demonstrated, you know, Vice President Biden, as part of the Obama administration had a very distinct policy and plan right for the CCP and President Trump has taken a completely different plan different Lane different road, I want to get to that, but I want to move to you, Representative cruncher and I want you to talk about what should, what is the price that China should have to pay what should the reprisal be for what has happened.
I want to add a couple things as well to what Jim said, you know, China, China, knew there was a virus, they they cut off travel domestically inside of China, between Wuhan and other cities in China, but not internationally. So again, it, I completely agree with the take that Jim had on that so we can question that they're intense but we do know their actions. They did allow it to spread, and then they also spread misinformation, through their contacts the World Health Organization, and even, you know, even as recently, they would not allow scientists to investigate the origins of the virus. You know there's more than that, they actually prevented exports of PP, as well. So there's, there's, there's quite a few things to add to the list, they're not what should be the price of that that's where, of course the complication or the discussion gets rather complicated. First of all we need to realignment we need to we need to change in paradigm on how we view China we need to view them as what they are, they're in there it's an adversarial relationship. It's not quite like the Cold War where I think the Soviet you could argue the Soviet Union wanted to see America implode within it. I don't think that's what China necessarily wants and want to see the utter destruction of the United States where our economies are too closely intertwined but what they do want is to spread their domestic, I guess, their domestic outlook onto the world so we have a liberal global world order that has long been protected by the United States, the Chinese want to take that over and replace it with the mercantile mercantilist system with an authoritarian regime run by them. So that's how they, that's how they operate domestically and I think they want to export that internationally, that's what the Belton Road initiative is it's a, it's a Belt and Road Initiative which allows a market based system to work. But the rules of the road, they want to dictate. So that's what they want to export and we need to be fully conscious of that. And when you look at the difference between Biden and Trump, you know, Biden's been in office for quite a long time. Well before I was born, and there's, and he was he was part of this of this notion that we should help China's rise and that if we do that, they will enter the the liberal global order in a responsible way and adhere to our values. That is simply not true and it's certainly not clear to me that that Biden for one has realized that.
So backing up to their culpability responsibility on COVID What should the response of the United States be what price should China pay specifically, what does that look like in order to prevent perhaps the next pandemic we'll
have one bill that would make them free up quite a literal price. It basically allows us citizens to use our court system to sue China, for damages. Now in reality what that, what does that look like. It looks like, possibly a class action lawsuit that goes after their state owned enterprises do I expect, Xi Jinping to write us all a big check no I do not. But you know it's one thing among many that that we can do we need to we need to encourage these investigations we need to get to the bottom of it, and we need to come up with creative ideas because it's not as simple as that there's not a simple answer. How do we make them pay. Again, that's why I reverted to the broader discussion of like it's a realignment, it's competing with them on multiple fronts against intellectual property theft, we just closed down the the consulate in my district in Houston, which is being used again. So, which is being used to spy on the Texas Medical Center, to get access to the technologies and vaccines can so now they want to make money off of the virus that they were hiding from everybody. I mean, it says, you know, so we absolutely need to hold them accountable for this.
And and and congressmen banks if you would speak to what degree of help do we expect from our allies in this
last week, Secretary Pompeo gave what I believe is the most significant speech that he's given during his time in the Trump administration of Secretary of State. Coincidentally, he gave it at the Richard Nixon library which is symbolic, in and of itself, as the President who opened the door to normal, that and let that lead down to the path to normalizing relations with China. In that speech, Secretary Pompeo talked about leveraging the, our allies abroad and and and in creating a coalition of the, of the free world versus Communist China, not just in an effort to hold them accountable to but this realignment that Dan is talking about much in the same way that we formed coalition's around our activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's time that we begin to build that coalition of Western countries, who believe in western values. I mean, if, if you really boil this down, it's the it's the repressive authoritarian regime, and values of the Chinese Communist Party versus the free and open democratic values of the United States of America and most of our allies, and it's, that's the, that's the dividing line what Dan is describing, whether we have, we have incredible significant examples. In recent months, whether it's the NBA. I'm from Indiana we like, we love basketball in Indiana. And I can't tell you how sick in the stomach, it made me feel when the leadership, and many of the best basketball players of our day grovel to China, and to Chinese Communist Party values versus the values of the country that they come from.
those powerful examples show you what we're up against. Well, well the next American Century be one that's governed by American interest or Well, we all subject ourselves to what LeBron James and so many other NBA players have and, in, in chasing the almighty dollar in the interest of what China wants us to believe in and that's what we're up against. That's what we can't allow to happen. And that's why Secretary Pompey owes historic speech at the Nixon library last week, this administration. Bottom line is the only administration in my lifetime that is sought to be tough on China through tougher trade deals, building up our military, in a way that could combat that the Chinese military. This administration in his very first year, released the national security strategy that called for great power competition with China and getting ourselves out of other important, I mean, Dan and I both agree that what's going on to the Middle East is not just important today and yesterday was going to be important for a long time to come, but to build up a military that can combat the China threat, in a way that our military. Over the last decade really the last generation has not been able to do so that that powerful statement by Secretary Pompey on rallying our allies to join us in that in that endeavor is, is something significant that we shouldn't lose sight of.
So you bring up a great point, how do we classify, whatever it is we're engaged in, I mean if it's a war is it an informational war is that a technological war. Is it a is a medical war I mean there, we know that, you know there's a lot, a lot of battle on that front. What is this, that we are engaged in how do you classify it.
Well, the administration goes a great power competition, at least it did in 2017. And since then, as, as this administration builds upon that this administration, it seems, you know, all of us feel like we've been through a very long movie right the last four years, where we are today with Secretary Pompeo, National Security Advisor Oh Brian. This President has surrounded himself with the leading minds of our time that understand that the greatest existential threat that we face in America today is China economically and militarily.
But it's interesting and I want to stop you for just one second because I want you to address that, if you watch the news today on any network except perhaps the one that I work for. In very few other exceptions, you're going to hear that the greatest threat we have today is Russia not China. So continue
or those mainstream media outlets will tell you that the greatest threat we face today is the president of our own country, sadly, when this President is only present my lifetime that's identified the true threat that we face in China, I would say this. We can't. We can't fight the new, and when the new Cold War, if we're constantly engaged in the civil war that we are engaged in in American society today, that's what I'm concerned about and this election. Well this isn't a political conference, I understand that. The challenges are the restrictions that we haven't talked about politics, the election November is all about whether or not we will continue down a path of recognizing the Great, the greatest threat that we face in China, or whether it will retreat to pass, not just the Obama administration but Republican administrations too, who have fully turned a blind eye to the China threat, whether allowing them to join the WTO, or altogether ignoring their, their violations of many international laws or stealing our IP stealing our jobs are thrusting Coronavirus on us, without ever being without being ever, ever being held accountable for
it. I think the best way to describe it as a conflict of visions, we have a different vision for how to govern and so our vision is one where people are allowed to self govern live freely choose their own government, and pursue their own happiness that's, that's a particular vision, where, where human nature can be can be the left and right parameters can be set by democratic institutions but not funded you cannot fundamentally change the nature of man, the vision of the Chinese as much different. They do believe in the ability to form human nature and to create a collective, and, and, and any. Basically, any, any means justify those ends. I mean, you can see it now you're putting you're putting wiegers they're putting wiegers and and concentration camps, shaving their heads, there was, there was a, an instance we just saw where our customs seized a bunch of human hair that had come from wiegers it was being shipped here, to, to make hair braids. I mean this is, it's, it's horrible what's what's happening over there and this is because they have a totally different vision of humanity they have a different vision for civilization and they want to support that vision and this is this this is the essential conflict on how, how they perceive the freedom of the individual. What scares me the most is is that vision is, is it's not as toxic as you might think to American minds, especially young ones. So what are we seeing right now in America, what's our, you know, civil war. It is also a conflict of visions and it's fundamentally that as well. You know the progressive belief is a top down belief that people should think the way they want them to that people should speak the way they want them to. And again, means justify the ends, because there's always some kind of utopia that they're trying to achieve. Now utopian ism has a pretty bad history in humanity, it always results in a lot of people dead. Just like Maoism resulted in 10s of millions of people dead and now they're basically just re energizing that same kind of vision and what and again what skip the when you talk about utopianism again it's very romantic, it's very, it's, it's, it's people are susceptible to it, especially young people, because you know maybe deep down they are morally good and they want to achieve something better, but what they fail to understand is the foundations for success that created America, the foundations of economic freedom of personal freedom of rights. A culture of rights. That is something that only we have in America, and I mean it, only we have that, there is no bill of rights in Great Britain or even Canada, they can their their freedom of speech can be trampled on ours, cannot be by law. Now it is okay and that's a different discussion about canceled culture, but at least we have a culture of rights and but we're losing that to this conflicting vision, And the Chinese are happy to perpetuate that, and it's not to say the Russians aren't a threat the Russians are very good at this information warfare because they've been doing it for very long time, they've been playing this conflict of visions game, you know, for a century, and they're very good at it. The Chinese are getting better at it. And we need to be, we need to be going into this with eyes wide open.
When you talk to people about this topic, which obviously you must have to do every single day. When you have the opportunity to try to wake them up. What what is, what is that lightbulb moment look like like how because I feel like, so much of the country is asleep on this like it's it's technical, it's over their head, they don't understand the geopolitics, they don't understand the history or children aren't even taught that in school anymore, so you can't really harken back to, you know, Mao because they don't even really know what you're talking about. You can't even harken back as far as World War Two because they don't even really know that history. So, so, Congressman, what is how do you wake up, the population that doesn't understand history doesn't understand the geopolitical situation doesn't even really understand our Constitution. Yeah, what's that light
bulb look like. That's That's the million dollar question. And that's why that's why we're in such a difficult battle here because it takes too. It takes another generation of teaching the right principles to counter generations of teaching the wrong principles that
we don't have time. So where do we as an audience today, where do we start on this, I mean,
in your in your, in your individual conversations, you know, ask questions of the person if you're trying to persuade somebody my again without knowing the topic that we're in that person's demeanor and how they're coming at it, in which misconceptions they already have built into their mind, right, you know, it depends. Right. And so, what I find best to do is to is to simply ask question, ask the questions that you wish a reporter would ask them, you know, don't don't confront them with, with your ideology because what does somebody do they automatically get defensive and it's very hard to change somebody's mind the facts, do not matter. At a certain point, once you're emotionally attached to an argument. And so helping them reason through and sort of the Socratic method is, generally speaking, my best advice without knowing the context of that particular conversation. My best advice for how to persuade somebody but it takes work. It takes work, and you know, that's why I say it's a generation, it's a generational battle.
I actually find where I come from, people do get it, I don't have to. I don't have to educate them about it because farmers in northeast Indiana have seen what bad trade deals with China have done to devastate their markets where I come from, we make things we have more manufacturing jobs per capita in my district than any district in the country we make, we make cars make medical devices, and I talk to businesses every day who have experienced either themselves or someone in their supply chain has experienced IP theft. So they, in working class, hard working middle class families in my district have seen China wreak havoc on our economy. This is why Donald Trump was elected in 2016 to begin with and why he got over 70% of the vote, and a district like mine, which is, is one of these blue collar type districts that that he's always done very well and I think, Because of this, this China issue. So, today most of the same people are sitting back and wondering, why aren't we doing enough to hold them accountable for what we're suffering through at the moment, and I don't, I don't have a lot of complaints about Vietnam.