Josh Hawley vs. Rahm Emanuel

Close by the editorial staff

The editorial office

June 4, 2021 6:25 p.m. ET

Rahm Emanuel in 2017.


Matt Marton / Associated Press

Josh Hawley considers Rahm Emanuel unsuitable to serve as US ambassador to Japan because he “obviously does not understand the threat posed by China”. The proof? In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, the Missouri Republican quoted Emanuel’s drive for Chinese investment as Mayor of Chicago.

That’s a stretch. Part of a mayor’s job is to find investments for his city. Until recently, almost any mayor or governor would have welcomed Chinese investment. Even under

Donald Trump, which has never been accused of being compliant with Beijing, has not been prevented from buying US Treasuries. It’s still not.

Senator Hawley has a legitimate position on Chinese investment, but it has little to do with mayors. This is because Beijing has made it clear that its companies are expected to support its military and intelligence ambitions. The sheer size of the Chinese economy and its integration into global supply make it difficult to make decisions that would otherwise be left to the market.

We saw these concerns in the controversy last summer with TikTok, a video sharing social networking service owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. The Trump administration tried to ban the popular app or force a sale for it because it would provide the Chinese Communist government with personal information about US citizens. The Trump administration has prevented US companies from doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei for similar reasons.

Partly because of such concerns, in 2018 Congress passed the Foreign Investment Review Risk Modernization Act. The law updated the rules for the United States Foreign Investment Committee to address security concerns. This week, President Biden increased the number of Chinese companies Americans are not allowed to invest in to 59. Selective decoupling from China is a better strategy than blacklisting any American who has dealt with China by the government.

In any case, Mr Emanuel would be ambassador in Tokyo, not Beijing. Presidents do foreign policy. If the US turns out not to recognize the threat posed by China, it will be

Joe Biden, not cream Emanuel.

Potomac Watch: As Democrats redefine infrastructure to include climate change, green energy and union protection, Republicans are pushing for bipartisan law that is not “socialism disguised as infrastructure”. Pictures: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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