The International Development Finance Corporation was pretty excited earlier this week to announce that it was helping to create alternatives to supply chains originating in China by lending $500 million to First Solar for a factory to make solar panels … in India.
Please don’t misunderstand; it’s great that we are not trying to not rely on slavery in China to make solar panels (or anything really). But is it too much to ask that our government focus on investing in alternative supply chains that originate in America?
Similarly, the Biden administration took a good half-measure recently in announcing a diplomatic boycott (whatever that is) of the Winter Olympics being held in China in February.
While that is commendable, Team Biden needs to pick a side.
They seem to spend most of their time trying to make sure that American companies toe the party line on environmental, social and governance concerns, which includes, of course, the very top priority of the left — climate change.
The Biden crew, mainly through the Securities and Exchange Commission, but using every governmental authority they can think of, presses companies on whether they have gotten religion on all sorts of things from climate change to environmental justice to political giving.
But they manage to turn a blind eye to questions about supply chains for companies such as Nike and Apple that almost certainly rely on slavery in China or companies that buy large-scale batteries using cobalt (just every battery on the planet) mined by children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
They also ignore propagandists for the Communist regime like Disney or the NBA. It is so bad that Disney removed a Simpsons episode from its streaming service because it contained an oblique reference to the Communist Party’s memory-holing of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
President Biden likes to say that climate change poses an “existential” threat. I imagine the slaves in China and the children working in open-pit mines in the Congo have a slightly different sense of what might constitute an “existential” threat.
The good news is that Mr. Biden doesn’t believe that climate change is an existential threat. If Uncle Joe really did, he would not routinely jet off to his beach house or beach houses of his billionaire pals.
Do you know what is a legitimate, real-world, existential threat to the United States? Nuclear warheads atop missiles operated by the Communist Chinese and aimed at us. Do you know who is enabling some of those warheads to be constructed through policies that subsidize the Chinese Communist Party? The Biden administration.
Mr. Biden’s energy and environmental policy will make China richer and Americans poorer and trade our current energy strength for dependence on materials controlled by the Communists in China. At the moment, China owns or controls 80% of the rare earths and other minerals needed to make the batteries that power electric vehicles and the necessary batteries to enable the installation of more solar and wind power on the electric grid.
At the height of our reliance on the Middle East for oil, we imported less than one-quarter of our oil from that region, or about 10% of our total energy use. Under the electrification regime being driven by Mr. Biden, we essentially would be reliant on China for 80% of our energy.
Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better legislation would expand already generous taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles, solar panels and large batteries.
Tax credits or mandates for electric vehicles are subsidies to the regime in China. Tax credits for batteries and solar panels are subsidies to the regime in China. Those who buy electric vehicles support — probably and hopefully unwittingly — slave labor in China, child labor in the Congo, suppression of individual rights and the eventual invasion of Taiwan.
As far as Mr. Biden is concerned, that all seems to be OK. American companies and citizens are required to be woke at home. At the same time, the federal government pursues policies that will increase American taxpayers’ already extensive financial support for the CCP’s genocide, torture, slavery, suppression of rights, the jailing of reporters and international hooliganism.
• Michael McKenna was a fellow at the Dole Institute at the University of Kansas.