North America have spent the past 20 years yapping about and reacting to a fringe Muslim threat. Meanwhile, the Chinese have taken over the planet. One of my best friends - someone who's business takes him all over the world told me this was happening, right after 9/11.The same American CEOs and celebrities who publish bold op-eds and stand up for social issues in the U.S. are playing censor for Beijing and cozying up to the Saudi royals, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.
The latest: China has been twisting the NBA's arm over a single pro-Hong Kong tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
- Why it matters: Never before have authoritarian governments' ability to silence America's rich and powerful been so starkly on display.
The big picture: It's not just China. American companies have long ignored attacks against democratic values in authoritarian countries that are willing to shell out for their products or services.
- The threat of losing access to the massive, lucrative Chinese market has pushed the NBA, Morey and even LeBron James to bend to the Chinese Communist Party.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudi royal family, but it's business as usual between U.S. companies and the Saudi government.
- The American intelligence community acknowledges that the Kremlin interfered in an American presidential election and committed a nerve agent attack on British soil. But American corporations still maintain strong ties to the regime, even though the U.S. has had sanctions in place against Russia since 2014.
But no country has pushed American people and companies around like China.
- The Saudis are the biggest customers for American weapons and the biggest source of capital for Silicon Valley startups.
- Wall Street is still vying for the IPO of Saudi oil giant Aramco — a deal that could be worth up to $2 trillion.
What to watch: China is only getting richer.
- The list is almost endless. The American companies that have apologized to China or censored themselves to please the Chinese Communist Party include Marriott, the Gap, all three big airlines, shoemaker Vans and gaming company Activision Blizzard.