The coronavirus pandemic has convinced many lawmakers that it’s time for the United States to drastically alter the way it does business with China, and no one is a bigger hardliner on that subject than Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Cotton said that it was nothing less than a “scandal” that the U.S. was continuing to educate Chinese citizens so they could go back home and use their educations against America.

“They go back to China to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people,” Cotton lamented. “If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America. They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”

Cotton said that China needs to be held liable for the damage they’ve done to the U.S. and the world through a combination of criminal negligence and deliberate, willful action.

“It was pretty well documented by Chinese scientists that it did not originate in the food market,” Cotton said Sunday. “But wherever it originated, we know that the Chinese Communist Party was both criminally negligent and incompetent at first and then deliberately, deliberately malevolent in the way they responded to this virus for their own people and the world as early as the second week of December.”

Cotton said that he continues to believe that the virus did not escape China’s borders by accident.

“I believe that was a deliberate and conscious choice by the Chinese communist leadership because they did not want to see their relative power and standing in the world decline because this virus was contained within China,” he surmised. “If we’re going to suffer an economic contraction, they were not going to allow the world to continue to prosper and China be the only country whose economy was declining. They might see an absolute decline in their economy, but they refuse to see a relative decline, especially relative to the United States.”

Much of what Cotton is saying will be dismissed as “xenophobia” or “racism” by the naïve left in this country, but that doesn’t detract from its truth. We’re not optimistic that the U.S. will learn the real lessons of this disaster, but the fact that Cotton is out there making his case is at least some reason to hope. There’s just no way we can responsibly go back to outsourcing our manufacturing to China – particularly the manufacture of life-saving medication. And Cotton makes a damn good point about the idiocy of educating Chinese students only for them to go back and use what they’ve learned at America’s finest institutions to give China a leg up on us.

This pandemic marks a turning point for U.S.-China relations. Let’s just pray that we turn in the right direction.