Recently, Dr. Koo was mystified that President Trump's National Trade Advisor, and one of the leading candidates to head the National Economic Council--Dr. Peter Navarro-- was bashing China. He went looking into Dr. Navarro's background. I want to share some excerpts from Dr. Koo's article. (Comments in parenthesis are mine.)
"I went for answers to Professor John Graham, who had been Navarro’s colleague at the University of California at Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. He joined the faculty in 1989, the same year as Navarro. Graham said. 'In sum, the three books he’s written about China are xenophobic trash. They contain some truths, but Navarro cherry-picks the data to prove his points. Ultimately it’s nothing but yellow journalism.' Graham went on to say, 'Navarro has no first-hand familiarity of China, doesn’t show any understanding of China and doesn’t speak Chinese. When asked how many times he’s been to China, he evades and doesn’t answer.'...Graham speculated that perhaps Navarro was motivated by TV exposure; his books and video documentary were calculated to get him media attention.
"(Despite Navarro's lack of knowledge, he published) several China-related books, and decided to create his own course on China relations, named, 'China and the Global Order.' When Benjamin Leffel, a China specialist and sociology PhD student at UC Irvine, became aware of Navarro’s writings, he reached out to him and questioned his views.The meeting led to Navarro asking Leffel to act as the counterweight in his China class. Leffel created most of the syllabus using respected academic material in China studies, Navarro’s contribution being his own book and documentary....Leffel exhaustively corrected the falsehoods and exaggerations found in Navarro’s material....
"...During the 2016 presidential election, Navarro co-authored with Wilbur Ross an economic plan for the upcoming administration of Donald Trump. A public letter from 370 economists, including 19 Nobel laureates, labeled the plan an unmitigated disaster. Despite such condemnation, Navarro now stands as the key economic whisperer to President Trump....
"...Charlie Cook, a nationally recognized political analyst, met Navarro once and vividly remembers him as one of the most obnoxious political candidates he has ever met. In one election post-mortem (Navarro ran unsuccessfully FIVE TIMES for various offices in San Diego) Navarro admitted, 'I don’t have any concerns at all about making stuff up about my opponent that isn’t exactly true.'
"...When asked why he began to pay attention to China, his reply was that it was that he had noticed some of his students were losing jobs to China. Factory workers might lose jobs when plants shut down, but MBA students don’t lose jobs to China. Nice try, Peter.
"...Now Navarro is part of the team steering US economic policy. It’s too early to tell whether he will be a mere transitory blip in history or an unmitigated disaster as feared by many. If Trump really listens to him, only the Almighty can save us."
For the full article, see Navarro's Snake Oil Will Sicken The World.