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Obama's Max Baucus Debacle

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The appointment of Max Baucus to be the new Ambassador to China is a slap in the face to every working man and woman - and unemployed worker - in America. It's also a another electric shock and cigarette burn to every political dissident now working seven hour days in China's forced labor camps making Christmas lights, rubber boots, and other baubles for the American consumer.

As the Christian Science Monitor has aptly noted: "In the 1990s, [Baucus] was a crucial proponent of China's entry into the World Trade Organization, and he pressed to extend to China special US trade status known as Permanent Normal Trade Relations.

Of course, letting China into the WTO was the equivalent of letting a flood of illegally subsidized exports into American markets. As I document in my film Death By China, since China joined the WTO in 2001, we've shut down over 50,000 factories and now have more than 25 million Americans who can't find a decent jobs.

It wasn't just Baucus' support for the WTO that was galling. Extending Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China also took away the one stick the U.S. had to force China to liberalize its human rights policies.

Since 2001, Baucus has played a key role in Congress giving China a free ride on human rights in favoring of promoting economic development. The underlying assumption - proved wrong over and over - is that as China's economy grew and incomes rose, it would liberalize its political system. Instead, economic prosperity has only allowed the ruling Communist Party to invoke a more sophisticated form of authoritarianism. Thanks Max.

More broadly, one wonders what Ambassador Baucus is going to do the next time a Chinese ship interferes with U.S. naval operations or a Chinese fighter jet provokes a Japanese counterpart. The likely answer is that Baucus will put the welfare of his corporate donors operating in China over the national security interests of this country.

That's exactly what the Obama Administration has been doing throughout its term; and the results are disquieting: China is simply feeling more and more of its oats and challenging us militarily. American weakness and vacillation in the form of such Chinese strength is dangerous as it encourages Chinese revisionism in Asia and gives wings to the dreams of Chinese military commanders to ultimately rule the sea lines of Asia and the Pacific.

So the bottom line? Baucus couldn't be a better choice for the multinational companies that have offshored our jobs to China and finance much of our Congressional election budgets. However, Baucus is the absolutely worst choice for cracking down on Chinese unfair trade practices, China's military adventurism, and the Communist Party's continued Gulag-style repression of political and religious dissidents.

Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California-Irvine and director of the film Death By China. www.youtube.com/deathbychina