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NY Post Editorial Board Calls for Restoring Pharmaceutical Production in Puerto Rico

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The editorial board of the New York Post called for bringing back pharmaceutical production to America on March 7, 2020.

In light of the coronavirus spreading across the globe and China’s growing influence on the world stage, conservatives are beginning to question some of the merits of globalism.

Conventional wisdom has held that increased global trade would be overwhelmingly beneficial to the U.S. and help reform governments abroad. However, all it has done is make the U.S. over-reliant on China for pharmaceutical production and leave it susceptible to the negative externalities of globalism such as the coronavirus pandemic.

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The editorial board is of the opinion that D.C. lawmakers could “consider killing two birds with one stone by using the issue as a chance to give Puerto Rico a leg up” by bringing pharmaceutical production back to the island.

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For decades, the island territory was “a central hub of U.S. drug manufacturing” and trying to bring back manufacturing to the island would be a good way of boosting American manufacturing while keeping China at bay.

Approximately 90 percent of the active ingredients that U.S. drugmakers use come from China these days. With Chinese factories shutting down due to the outbreak, America’s pharmaceutical supplies face major risks as the coronavirus is spreading throughout here. The Food and Drug Administration is worried that a shortage of generic drugs could occur.

This makes trying to bring pharmaceutical production back to Puerto Rico with the purpose of maintaining some domestic capacity a commonsense proposal.

In the 1970s, Congress facilitated the passage of tax breaks for companies that base their operations in Puerto Rico. Drug manufacturers took advantage of these benefits and converted the island into one of the world’s pharma production hubs.

However, President Bill Clinton signed a law that started to phase out the tax breaks during the 1990s. Once these tax breaks fully expire in 2006, the industry started to leave the island.

Policymakers should consider bringing back these strategic tax breaks.

This kind of “nationalist capitalism” is what’s needed to maintain America’s capitalism while balancing national interests.

We should not have our industries being captured by authoritarian governments such as China, when we could have policies that are able to keep manufacturing inside of the U.S.’s jurisdiction.

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Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?

America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad

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Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.

Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards  questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy. 

In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”

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Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.

That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.

Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:

Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”

Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans. 

After looking at the list of people who have been tapped to join the Biden administration, Hawley tweeted, “What a group of corporatists and war enthusiasts – and #BigTech sellouts.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”

The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change. 

Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.

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