Former South Carolina governor and 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley has been saber-rattling against China for some time now. It’s only recently, though, that we have learned this rhetoric is rooted as much in self-interest (here and here) as it is in some perceived national interest.
Haley’s rhetoric is heating up, too. In 2020 and 2021, she was merely warning of China’s “growing influence” and urging U.S. president Joe Biden to boycott the 2022 Olympics “given China’s threats abroad and tyranny at home.”
Today? Haley is making it abundantly clear that if she is elected, America will be on a Cold War footing with China.
“The greatest threat facing the United States, number one, is China,” she said during a recent interview with Fox News, referring to the nation as leading a new “axis of evil.”
“They want to destroy America. They want to destroy our friends,” Haley said, adding that her “biggest fear” was that China would move to seize Taiwan before the next administration took office.
In fact, Haley went so far as to say America’s ongoing support of the Ukrainian war effort against Russia and Vladimir Putin was necessary because “if Ukraine wins, it will send the biggest message to China on invading Taiwan.”
Those are details the national press has not concerned itself with in fluffing Haley’s reckless brand of imperialist interventionism …
“America has never looked as weak as we do right now,” Haley continued. “Joe Biden has been trying to appease Putin, he has been trying to appease Xi Jinping – we are watching that and that is why China thinks they can invade Taiwan.”
In the same Fox News interview, Haley touted her economic record as governor of South Carolina from 2011-2017 – a record built on crony capitalist corporate welfare payouts specifically targeting Chinese-owned businesses.
Including businesses whose leaders had ties to the country’s communist leadership …
“Get excited!” Haley wrote on her Facebook page on June 1, 2016 when Jushi – a leading fiberblass manufacturer – announced its plans to locate a manufacturing facility on Shop Road just south of the state capital of Columbia, S.C.
Jushi was a “huge win” for the Palmetto State, Haley said at the time.
“We couldn’t be more excited to prove to this fantastic company that its first US fiberglass manufacturing facility is in great hands in Richland County,” she added.
Never mind the company featured communist party leaders on its board – and was recently fined for poisoning the air in South Carolina with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
Haley also led the charge in doling out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of corporate welfare to Chinese-owned Volvo – an investment which has failed to reap the promised return for Palmetto State taxpayers.
In April 2017 – when Haley had ascended to the role of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former president Donald Trump – she was still adopting pro-China positions. Specifically, she referred to China as a “great friend of ours” when it came to holding North Korea in check.
“I think China has been great at helping us do that,” Haley said, adding “we’ve worked well with China.”
Now, Haley claims China is mobilizing for war against America.
“The Communist Party’s endgame is clear,” she said during a July 2023 speech at the American Enterprise Institute. “China is preparing its people for war. President Xi has openly said it. We should take him at his word and act accordingly.”
When, exactly, did Haley change her tune on China? Easy: When neoconservatives started funding her political action committee as a precursor to her presidential bid. Now, even Trump’s China policies – which she helped effectuate as his U.N. ambassador – are insufficiently muscular in hindsight.
According to Haley, Trump showed “moral weakness” during his meetings with Chinese leaders.
“Trump was almost singularly focused on our trade relationship with China … but (he) did too little about the rest of the Chinese threat,” she during her July 2023 speech. “He did not put us on a stronger military foothold in Asia. He did not stop the flow of American technology and investment into the Chinese military. He did not effectively rally our allies against the Chinese threat. Even the trade deal he signed came up short when China predictably failed to live up to its commitments.”
To be clear: I do not agree with Haley’s dangerous, warmongering bombast. I think such rhetoric is reckless – and unsustainable fiscally. As I noted just last week, politicians like Haley and U.S. senator Lindsey Graham “have a costly lust for spending other people’s blood and treasure to pad the pockets of their wealthy military donors.”
With Haley, though, it’s even worse … it’s hypocritical opportunism geared toward personal enrichment. And frankly, it’s past time someone called her out on it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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