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Nov. 3, 2020, 11:30 a.m. EST

The case for giving Trump four more years in the White House

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By Peter Morici

The president’s primary responsibilities are to protect national security and enable inclusive prosperity. President Donald Trump’s record and former Vice President Joe Biden’s facile vision make the incumbent the better choice.

China is poised to have the  largest economy  and most powerful n avy  in the world in the 2030s. It’s  bent on stifling criticism  of its repressive practices, continuing protectionism harmful to the West, and offering its brand of authoritarian capitalism as a model to others.

Democrats  and  European leaders  recognize the  threats posed by China’s mercantilism and technology theft . Biden would relent more to European sensibilities and rely more on the World Trade Organization than Trump to address China.

Whereas the Europeans,  save the U.K. , seem little interested in confronting Chinese power,  Japan, Australia, India  and  South Korea  have active policies to disengage supply chains from China  and   increase   defense   spendingOther Asian states , like the  Philippines  and  Vietnam , won’t be able to play both sides.

The world is devolving into competing spheres with growth driven by high-tech behemoths. China offers other nations the means to control domestic populations—facial recognition and individual tracking technologies undergirding its  Social Credit System  and repression of  Muslims in Xinjian —and Trojan horses like Huawei’s 5G and TikTok.

America offers an open technology system where entrepreneurs can build wealth and create jobs. Businesses are prospering on Amazon’s /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +2.21% and Microsoft’s /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.03% clouds, and  manufacturers  and  traditional service enterprises  are finding better ways to compete with robotics and artificial intelligence.

China’s growing military power makes  America’s defense commitment to Taiwan increasingly precarious . Unless we shift resources from the Middle East and Europe to the Pacific, spend more on defense and establish a forward deployment base—finally replace  Subic Bay —our friends in the region will see the futility in relying on America.

Trump has engineered detente between Israel and Arab Gulf states. With the  tentative   approval  of Saudi Arabia, the  U.A.E and Bahrain have established diplomatic relations with the Jewish state  and a Semitic alliance appears forming to confront Iran.

He has engineered newly initiated peace talks between the  Taliban and government in Afghanistan .

After decades of frustrated diplomacy, Trump is getting the  Europeans to recognize they must take more responsibility for regional defense .

These should permit the U.S. military’s shift toward Asia, whereas Biden would  falsely seek to resurrect the old regime in NATO  and overburden our forces with responsibilities both on the continent and in the Middle East.

He has said little about shoring up America’s navy and other military assets. He heads a party with an influential left wing that advocates isolationist trade policies and less military spending—the  Obama/Biden administration cut the Pentagon’s budget .

For American high tech to thrive and create opportunities for better jobs, it requires broad global markets. Access in Asia and elsewhere requires our allies feel secure and not throw their lot with China.

Biden’s has said too little about these issues, and America can’t afford to vote for an unknown quantity.

Domestically, he advocates  a European-style industrial policy —forcing the great transformation from a fossil fuel to a renewable-energy-based economy quicker than the science permits by forcing America into electric vehicles and other green technologies sooner than those are economically viable.

The Obama/Biden experience with  high-speed rail  illustrate where that can lead but this time on a grander scale.

Enabling violent radical groups  to hijack peaceful demonstrations by handicapping police and promoting progressive policies with histories of failure would worsen conditions and harden inequality.

The  Obama-Biden administration aggressively promoted systemic changes in policing in cities  like Chicago, but those often hosted this summer’s violence and destruction of property. Civil disorder hardly opens doors to jobs creating investments in minority communities.

The Obama-Biden recovery did too little to improve the relative economic status of Blacks and Hispanics . Whereas poverty declined and the incomes of those groups relative to whites improved more during the Trump expansion until interrupted by the pandemic.

Growth —not raising taxes, more spending on social programs and intervention into private employment decisions—is the best prescription for raising wages and reducing inequality.

Personal style aside, Trump sees our choices as they are. Biden’s return to normalcy would take America back to policies that experience shows don’t work.

Peter Morici is an economist and emeritus business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.

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