When Attorney General William Barr spoke at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Thursday and raked China over the coals, he expected the country to respond. Like other U.S. leaders, he's learned to wear China's criticism as a badge of honor. "I told [FBI Director Chris Wray] that I was going to aim today to be 'despicable,'" Barr joked. "But I'll settle for 'especially disgusting.'"
Barr, who took an equally hard line on Hollywood and Big Tech, knows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won't be the only ones smarting. In a blistering speech, Barr pulled no punches in one of his toughest talks yet on the dangerous relationship between American CEOs and their puppeteers in Beijing. His message to U.S. businesses? You're being played. And the world is paying for it.
"The ultimate ambition of China's rulers isn't to trade with the United States; it is to raid the United States," he warned. "If you are an American business leader, appeasing the [People's Republic of China] may bring short-term rewards. But in the end, the PRC's goal is to replace you." Too many companies are selling their souls to China to make a fast buck, and that "kowtow[ing]" is only giving the regime more leverage to use over us. "Hiding behind American voices allows the Chinese government to elevate its influence and put a 'friendly face' on pro-regime policies," Barr argued.
Taking aim at China's biggest collaborators -- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple -- he made sure Americans knew how little they cared about their customers' safety. Barr called Apple on the carpet for refusing to help with terrorist investigations, while at the same time transferring some of its iCloud data to servers in China. So, they won't give information to the U.S. authorities, but they will compromise their users by giving Chinese officials "easier access to emails, text messages, and other user [data] stored in the cloud." The double standards abound.
But Barr saved some of his fiercest fire for Hollywood, which has made fools out of America by bowing down to the foreign tyrants of our day. "Hollywood actors, producers, and directors pride themselves on celebrating freedom and the human spirit. And every year at the Academy Awards, Americans are lectured about how this country falls short of Hollywood's ideals of social justice. But Hollywood now regularly censors its own movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world's most powerful violator of human rights." At this rate, China won't need its own propaganda machine, Barr said. "Hollywood will be doing the work for them."
Walt Disney, the attorney general shook his head, would be disheartened. Because even these entertainment titans -- who insist they know more than anyone else in this country -- don't realize: China isn't interested in cooperating with Hollywood. They're interested in co-opting Hollywood.
And the American people, who've had their entire way of life upended -- losing their jobs and loved ones to a pandemic that China started -- aren't going to take kindly to anyone cozying up to the source of their troubles. The last thing they want is for the villains who unleashed this virus on the world to skate off scot free. So if these companies think that people don't care that they're facilitating tyrants abroad, think again. Most Americans understand what these moguls don't: if the virus doesn't destroy us, China will find something that does. And the last thing anyone should be doing is helping them.