Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is in an interesting predicament. The 37-year-old multimillionaire entrepreneur has impressed conservatives with his commonsense proposals from the moment he announced his candidacy, yet virtually no one believes he can win the nomination.
We’ll set aside the 2024 GOP presidential nomination business, for now, and focus on Ramaswamy’s recent comments about what he correctly sees as Telsa CEO Elon Musk and other American CEOs kowtowing to China for economic gain.
Musk met with China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing on Tuesday and said he was open to expanding Tesla’s business in Communist China. In what amounted to a propaganda statement, the Chinese ministry cited Musk saying he “opposes decoupling,” which, by today’s definition, refers to the West — including the U.S. — breaking economic links with China.
The ChiCom ministry reiterated its fears that the world may split into multiple markets with incompatible products if decoupling becomes a reality. China’s greatest (unstated) fear is that decoupling would lead to the elimination of many if not most of its abilities to steal Western technology and intellectual property before it attains its goal of world economic domination — at least.
Ramaswamy spoke out on Musk’s meeting with Qin and Qin’s subsequent statement.
I’m breaking an unspoken rule in the GOP, but I call it like I see it: it’s deeply concerning that Elon Musk met with China’s foreign minister yesterday to oppose decoupling and referred to the U.S. and Communist China as “conjoined twins.” Tesla’s VP in China reposted that statement on Weibo in China, but curiously not here in the U.S.
In October, Elon issued an unprompted call for “reunification” of Taiwan and won a favorable tax benefit in Shanghai days later. I’ve been one of the most vocal supporters of Elon’s effort to transform Twitter, but it’s a real risk to the U.S. when the CCP turns our most prominent business leaders and celebrities — Tim Cook, Larry Fink, LeBron James, Elon Musk — into puppets to advance their agenda.
That tilts the global scales of perception in China’s favor – and sadly, it’s working. The U.S. needs leaders who aren’t in China’s pocket, yet Biden is just another embodiment of that same problem.
None of the gentlemen to whom Ramaswamy referred were available for comment.
I’m breaking an unspoken rule in the GOP, but I call it like I see it: it’s deeply concerning that @elonmusk met with China’s foreign minister yesterday to oppose decoupling and referred to the U.S. & Communist China as “conjoined twins.” Tesla’s VP in China reposted that… pic.twitter.com/UD26pweilX
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 31, 2023
On an obvious roll, Musk continued:
Elon Musk’s recent comments are part of a broader pattern of U.S. CEOs pandering to the Chinese Communist Party in return for favorable access to the Chinese market. This is how the CCP turns American companies and executives into geopolitical pawns: the CCP dangles business benefits in return for prominent corporate executives speaking out and behaving in a manner that advances CCP objectives globally.
Musk was correct. Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin allegedly summed it up perfectly in the early 1920s:
The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.
A similar quote suggests: “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
Musk announced the construction of a new battery-pack factory in Shanghai in April, prompting Ramaswamy to refer to Musk’s meeting with Qin and his call for the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan and the CCP as an example of Musk’s dangerous praise of China.
While I respect Elon Musk’s laudable efforts to transform Twitter, that does not change the risks of his dependence on China and public proclamations in favor of Chinese geopolitical interests. Politicians, including even fellow GOP presidential contenders, who otherwise wax eloquent about the risks posed by China, are dependent on support from business leaders like Musk.
Disagree? Tell me why, if so. It’s been happening since Richard Nixon “opened” China in 1972, and it’s not dissimilar to “everyone complaining about the weather but doing nothing about it.”
Ramaswamy said Musk’s words and actions — along with those of other U.S. CEOs — cater to the ChiComs for economic benefit and therefore make him a “deputized vehicle” for the CCP:
This makes the likes of Elon Musk an even more attractive partner for the CCP to deputize as a vehicle for their political bidding on the global stage. America is in a codependent relationship with China. Our decoupling is inevitable. The only question is who ends it first. It is most advantageous for it to be done on U.S. terms, and the sooner we do it, the better for us.
Ramaswamy’s quintessential observation: “Decoupling is inevitable. The only question is who ends it first. It is most advantageous for it to be done on U.S. terms, and the sooner we do it, the better for us.” Why? (See: “rope.”)
Among the other corporations Ramaswamy called out was multi-national investment giant BlackRock — infamous for its adherence to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment standards — for placing Chinese interests over American values.
At the forefront of placing Chinese interests over American values, BlackRock was awarded a special license from the CCP to operate as the first foreign-approved asset manager over the summer of 2020.
Following long-term lobbying efforts and private joint ventures with China, BlackRock’s expansion in China was a long-term strategic goal.
Mr. Laurence Fink, BlackRock’s co-founder and CEO, reputation as a ‘self-appointed arbiter of corporate behavior’ was viewed as hypocritical and called into question by his close connection with the CCP.
As I referenced before the quote block, BlackRock’s adherence to ESG investment “standards” has been controversial leading Louisiana, in just one example as we reported at the time, to pull its nearly $800 million in state investments from the company in October 2022.
And as reported by Breitbart, the GOP presidential candidate also called out NBA Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta for denouncing his team’s general manager, Daryl Morey after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protesters in 2019, and Nike CEO John Donahoe for saying that the U.S.-made brand is “of China, for China.”
Finally, I’m reminded of an ominous 1905 quote from Spanish-American philosopher and essayist, George Santayana:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
In closing, think about that admonition for a minute. How many examples can we look to in 2023 America that ominously reminds us of Satanyana’s observation?
Elon is right. Case closed.