April 9, 2020


trading-with-the-enemyInterestingly, I came across this post on the Heritage Foundation’s Facebook page which admirably honored the causalities of Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989: “Today marks 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, a day that will live forever in Chinese history—no matter how hard the Chinese Communist government tries to deny it. The day is coming—and sooner than Beijing realizes—when Chinese Communism will collapse, and the most populous nation in the world will turn for the first time in its history toward freedom and democracy.”

While I applaud the Heritage Foundation for posting this remembrance of the victims of the massacre, they cannot hide their complicity in propping up the killers in Beijing. Many conservatives and libertarians, with corporate cash lining their pockets, lobbied intensely for MFN and PNTR for Red China. The Heritage Foundation engages in what I term the “conservative two step.” In other words, say you’re strong on national defense and anti-totalitarianism and simultaneously support the engagement of the same anti-US tyrannies.

When the Heritage Foundation was first formed in the late 1970s, it espoused a general anti-communism that was deeply suspicious of the intentions of the Soviet Union and Red China. While Heritage leaned in a free trade direction, it was critical of the multinational corporate lobby that promoted trade with the USSR. Even under the Reagan Administration, the Heritage Foundation also called out the State Department for supporting communist regimes in the Warsaw Pact and the Third World. However, in the late 1980s, the Heritage Foundation started to make friendly overtures to China. More than likely, the Chinese Communist Party utilized influence operations in an attempt to draw the Heritage Foundation away from its anti-Beijing stance. In March 1987, Huang Hua, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee met with Burton Yale Pines, Vice-President of Heritage Foundation and Martin Lasater, Director of Heritage’s Center of Asian Studies. The Heritage Foundation delegates who visited China were guests of the Chinese Association for International Understanding.[1] By the 1990s, the Heritage Foundation also commenced a hardcore campaign to promote globalist free trade. Its President, Edwin Feulner, made the promotion of free trade and “resist(ing) efforts to ‘protect’ certain national industries” at the top of his list of conservative priorities for the 1990s.[2] The Heritage Foundation’s shift to a pro-Beijing position was the result of two factors: ideological fealty to the concept of free trade, especially in the post-Cold War climate and the power of wealthy donors in corrupting scholarship.

This pro-Chinese shift resulted in the occasional squashing of studies critical of China that were produced by scholars at the Heritage Foundation. There was at least one example where an anti-communist analyst was allegedly purged from the Heritage Foundation at the behest of the multinational corporations allied with Red China. One notorious example was the case of Richard Fisher Jr., who was a China expert at the Heritage Foundation. Fisher was terminated as a result of pressure by the pro-Chinese Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg. A Congressional aide who worked with Fisher noted that “Elaine Chao was part of the deal that got Rick Fisher fired from Heritage…She pushed him out not because of free-trade issues, but because he raised national security concerns over China.” A Heritage insider reported that Chao “was not supportive of any of his writings on the Chinese military.” In 2000, AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg protested a Heritage Foundation paper by analyst Stephen J. Yates which urged the postponement of PNTR for China until security matters were adequately addressed. If this report was published, Greenberg threatened to cut off funding to the Heritage Foundation. In response to this pressure, Heritage issued a new report titled How Trade with China Benefits Americans, which was co-authored by the former American Military Attaché in Beijing, Larry M. Wortzel. Greenberg was also upset by Fisher’s papers which detailed Chinese war planning against the United States and Taiwan. A Congressional aide noted that Greenberg’s “benefactors in Beijing more than likely told him he’d be wise to oppose American national security if he wants to keep selling insurance policies out of Shanghai…That’s the way the communists do ‘business.’”[3]

trade-war-made-china-12417648As I previously stated, the Heritage Foundation commenced open relations with the Chinese Communist Party in the late 1980s. Eventually, they adopted a fully pro-free trade position towards Red China. Its chief proponent was Derek Scissors. Scissors reportedly counseled mostly multinational corporate CEOs concerning their Red Chinese operations.[4] Scissors’ profile on LinkedIn confirmed what was previously posted on the website of the Heritage Foundation: “For a decade before that, I worked in the private sector as a business consultant to companies interested in China.”[5] It would appear that Scissors viewed trade with Red China through the lens of the “stateless merchant” who previously conducted business with Beijing. Scissors was previously involved in global business, which more than likely allowed him to become culturally de-nationalized away from serving as an unconditional defender of the national interest. It was also possible that avarice clouded his judgment when compiling policy reports regarding China. In all probability, Scissors possessed contacts with American multinational corporations that were leftover from his work as a consultant. Such multinational firms could be potential donors to Heritage, especially in light of its increasingly pro-Beijing stance. Heritage also received donations from various major multinationals which conducted business in Russia, Vietnam, and/or Red China. Donors to the Heritage Foundation included Koch Industries, Boeing, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart. These firms also conducted varying levels of business with American adversaries.[6]

In a Heritage Foundation report, Scissors observed US-China relations through the romantic lens of a classical liberal free trader. Despite the destruction of American manufacturing from dumping and outsourcing, Scissors noted that “China doesn’t hurt the US by trading with us.” Scissors selectively ignored the national security dilemma posed by Chinese threats to dump their investments in US Treasury notes: “…Chinese purchases of federal debt don’t hurt us. Unfortunately, these purchases don’t help us much either. By buying our bonds, the PRC makes it easier for the U.S. to run large budget deficits, which damages the private sector and reduces long-term economic growth. That isn’t China’s fault, it’s ours. There’s your bottom line. We need to get our own house in order. If we do, we can much more easily cope with the genuine problems that we have with China. If we don’t, we’ll hurt ourselves far more than the Chinese ever could. The American future doesn’t rest with China. It rests where it always has: with us.”[7] Scissors took a Blame America First position that has become endemic of many “conservatives” and libertarians regarding the trade relationship with Red China. Typically, they ignored the predatory trade practices of the communists in Beijing and the lobbying by their enablers in the United States. As my book Red Dawn In Retrospect discussed, foreign purchases of American debt arose as a result of the influence of free traders and internationalists looking to finance the growing trade deficits. In reality, trade deficits and flawed tax policies drove our policies of deficit domestic spending. C. Fred Bergsten director of the Institute for International Economics noted in the spring of 1987 that “The source of the ‘miracle’ of supply side economics has now been revealed: foreigners supplied many of the goods and most of the money.”[8] A former Treasury Secretary noted in 1988 that “the worrisome aspect of today’s trade deficit is that foreign funds are borrowed, not for investment in the future, but selfishly to finance present consumption.”[9] In other words, the policies prescribed by organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and left-liberal centralizers led us to our increasing dependence on foreign nations to finance our consumption and public spending.

Sadly, the Chairman of the Heritage Foundation is the long time China-booster Jim DeMint. At one time, DeMint was one of the most influential free trade “conservatives” in the US House of Representatives and Senate. His free trade stance, especially in respect to communist China and other statist-mercantilist countries made him very unpopular with elements of his state’s GOP, conservatives, anti-communists, and economically-nationalist Democrats. DeMint’s support for MFN and PNTR for Beijing came under sustained attack from authentic conservative anti-communists. When DeMint ran for Congress for a second term, his support for the economic appeasement of Red China came under fire from his conservative primary opponent Frank Raddish. Raddish called DeMint “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” for supporting trade with China. Raddish also noted that “DeMint has again sided with the radical left in putting the dollar ahead of principle.”[10] When voting for PNTR for Red China, DeMint noted that “Communist leaders have made major concessions to the United States…Isolating ourselves from China will reduce accountability inside China…This trade agreement gives America a historic opportunity to make the changes in China we have always dreamed of.”[11]

Congressman DeMint also wasted no time in supporting subsidized economic cooperation with Red China. DeMint assisted Harsco Corporation and Image Map in procuring financing from the US Export-Import Bank. Harsco and Image Map exported railroad related equipment to China.[12]

During DeMint’s first Senate run in 2004, anti-communist conservative patriots held him accountable for supporting the ambitions of Red China. DeMint denied that Red China was an enemy of the United States. DeMint asserted that “To call China an enemy is irresponsible.”[13] Congressman DeMint elaborated on another occasion: “It is really irresponsible to try to position or try to cast China as an enemy with huge military buildup because, in effect, they have become at least in some ways an ally, (such as their talks with North Korea to end the nuclear crisis there.) While the government is certainly hard-line, they could be a friend and a great trading partner.”[14]

Inside the US Senate, DeMint proved to be a stalwart proponent and guardian of the unbalanced trading relationship with Red China. In 2011, Senator DeMint noted his opposition to a Senate bill which would have blunted some of Red China’s predatory trade practices, such as currency manipulation.[15]

Hence, Heritage has a firm booster and enabler of communist China’s dictatorship at the helm of that organization. It is imperative that honest, patriotic conservatives and Republicans call out the hypocrisy of the Heritage Foundation and other like minded organizations who preach the virtues of “freedom,” yet reject that very concept when the topic of engagement with totalitarian states appear. It is more likely that conservatives and libertarians embedded in the Heritage Foundation (and other like minded think tanks) view “freedom” as the carte blanche given to major corporations to generate massive profits, no matter what cost to national security and our economic sovereignty. America’s long range survival demands better leadership in political, economic, and intellectual circles.

  1. “Huang Hua Meets US Heritage Foundation Vice-President” Xinhua General Overseas News Service March 23, 1987
  2. Judis, John. “The Conservative Crackup” The American Prospect December 4, 2000 Accessed From: https://prospect.org/article/conservative-crackup
  3. Sperry, Paul. “Chao’s Pro-China Coup at Heritage?” Worldnetdaily January 16, 2001 Accessed From: http://www.wnd.com/2001/01/7851/
  4. This detail concerning Scissors involvement with CEOs who invested in China was erased from his updated biography on the Heritage Foundation website. The original citation is “About: Derek Scissors” Heritage Foundation Accessed From: http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/s/derek-scissors
  5. “Derek Scissors” LinkedIn Profile Accessed From: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/derek-scissors/87/5a5/626
  6. “Heritage Foundation” Accessed From: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Heritage_Foundation#Funding
  7. Scissors, Derek. “The U.S. and China: Jobs, Trade, and More” Heritage Foundation October 11, 2012 Accessed From: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/the-us-and-china-jobs-trade-and-more
  8. Quoted from Harrigan, Anthony and Hawkins, William R. American Economic Pre-Eminence (USIC Educational Foundation, 1989) page 21.
  9. Ibid, page 32.
  10. “SC4: DeMint Slammed Over China Deal” The Bulletin’s Frontrunner May 24, 2000
  11. DeMint, Jim. “Trade Pact Is Ideal Way to Conquer Communism” Spartanburg Herald Journal May 21, 2000 page 11.
  12. Dalton, Robert W. “Governor Helps Close Trade Deal” Spartanburg Herald Journal October 29, 2003 page 15.
  13. “South Carolina: Drumbeat for Beasley Continues” The Hotline November 21, 2003
  14. “South Carolina: Condon Blasts DeMint for Pro-China Views” The Hotline April 23, 2004
  15. “Statement by Senator Jim DeMint” S. 1619: Congressional Record, October 5, 2011 Accessed From: http://www.prosperousamerica.org/2011/10/21/s-1619-floor-remarks-october-5-2011/


Nevin Gussack is a professional librarian, political commentator, and writer. His works appeared on the webpages of the Center for Intelligence Studies, Accuracy in Media, Economy in Crisis, and JRNyquist.com. He also appeared on America’s Survival Roku television program, WEI’s Make the Call radio program, and the veteran broadcaster Chuck Harder’s radio program For the People. Nevin received a double major from the State University of New York at Albany in History and Political Science. Since that time, he also received two Master’s Degrees in Social Studies Education from Florida Atlantic University and Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. He has published two books, The Manifesto of constitutional American Nationalism and Sowing the Seeds of our Destruction: Useful Idiots on the “Right”, available on Amazon.   Nevin is the Director of Bear Witness Central in the Palm Beach area.