Josh Hawley vs. Rahm Emanuel

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Rahm Emanuel in 2017.



Photo:

Matt Marton/Associated Press

Josh Hawley

doesn’t think

Rahm Emanuel

is fit to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan because he “clearly does not understand the China threat.” The evidence? In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, the Missouri Republican cited Mr. Emanuel’s pursuit of Chinese investment as mayor of Chicago.

That’s a stretch. Part of a mayor’s job is to seek investment for his city. Until very recently, almost any mayor or governor would have welcomed Chinese investment. Even under

Donald Trump,

who has never been accused of being soft on Beijing, China wasn’t blocked from buying U.S. Treasury bonds. It still isn’t.

Sen. Hawley has a legitimate point about Chinese investment, but it has little to do with mayors. This is because Beijing has made clear its companies are expected to support its military and intelligence ambitions. The sheer size of China’s economy and its integration into global supply complicates decisions that would otherwise be left to the market.

We saw these concerns in last summer’s controversy with TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance. The Trump Administration tried to ban the popular app or force a sale on grounds it would provide China’s Communist government with personal data about U.S. citizens. The Trump Administration blocked U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese technology giant Huawei for similar reasons.

Partly out of such concerns, Congress in 2018 passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. The law updated the rules for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to address security concerns. This week President Biden expanded to 59 the number of Chinese companies that Americans are barred from investing in. Selective decoupling from China is a better strategy than blacklisting from government any American who has dealt with China.

In any case Mr. Emanuel would be ambassador to Tokyo, not Beijing. Presidents make foreign policy. If it turns out the U.S. doesn’t appreciate the threat from China, that will be on

Joe Biden,

not Rahm Emanuel.

Potomac Watch: As Democrats redefine infrastructure to include climate change, green energy and union worker protections, Republicans push for a bipartisan bill that’s not “socialism camouflaged as infrastructure.” Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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