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Blissful Ignorance of the Elites



In today's article, "If National Security is the Goal, Then Leaving TikTok Alone Is the Answer," (https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2024/03/22/if_national_security_is_the_goal_then_leaving_tiktok_alone_is_the_answer_1019738.html) Mr. John Tamny treats us to the following words of wisdom,


The simple, blindingly obvious truth is that the more that American businesses of all kinds enter China, and prosper there, the safer the country is from war with the United States. Call the ubiquity of American businesses throughout China, and the voracious appetite of Chinese consumers for all things American, a peaceful shield of sorts that make a U.S. invasion of the mainland highly unlikely. In other words, the U.S. could only invade China insofar as the U.S. economy and its stock markets would take hits that would make the 1929 stock-market crash and the 1930s economic sluggishness seem exuberant by comparison. War is seriously bad for business.


and


Since so much of TikTok’s value is rooted in its massive popularity stateside (a hint to Stephens, French and Gallagher that it’s not run by the CCP, no?), a calmer Stephens (along with French and Gallagher) would recognize that a thriving, ByteDance-owned TikTok is walking, talking “national security” for the U.S. precisely because any Chinese invasion of the United States would be so damaging not just to TikTok, but to the vast majority of China’s most prosperous companies.


For those ignorant of history, a prominent Brit named Norman Angell made a similar argument in his book, The Great Illusion. Angell argued that it was impossible to prosper by war, that finance and commerce were the true metrics of national power, and that -- as a result -- it was impossible to conceive of the European powers going to war because of the economic dependencies they had between them. The third edition of The Great Illusion was released in 1913 (the first having been released in 1909,) and even those blessed with only a high school history education should well remember what transpired in 1914.


Long ago, Thucydides wrote that political entities make war for three reasons -- fear, honor, and interest. Americans would do well to remember this lesson.

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