Bringing our manufacturing back from overseas will reverse the 40-year-long slide of the American middle class and rebuild our nation’s security & economy
That’s right about not being over dependent on an unfriendly nation, and we’ve certainly slipped from what America used to produce. Even if we had the skilled workers, right now this country doesn’t have the factories to meet the industrial challenge of World War 2.
But if you read about how humiliated and exploited China was by Japan and the West it’s understandable why this country wants to flex its military and economic muscles. Visiting there I loved seeing the thousands of years of history, and yet one can’t forget that while from 1800 to 1950 the West was industrializing, the average Chinese was also becoming poorer. A reaction to those abusive years is normal, though China is certainly pushing out hard, such as the “9 Dash Line” showing what it wants to control in the sea east of it, massive construction and trade projects around the world, and very overtly spreading its influence across the Indian Ocean. Their strategy is smart, planning decades ahead and unlike the U.S. sending in business rather than military people. And they certainly don’t rile local regimes by saying they should be democracies with civil rights.
But the situation is complicated because a lot of those Taiwanese chips are sent to mainland China for processing into devices like phones and computers. So it’s just not a matter of making chips here, but actually being able to do something with them. That means recreating a manufacturing base, with presumably decent wages (and hopefully energetic unions) as well as doing environmental controls right this time. And to make this work an educated workforce with decent transportation to reach the factories is also needed. Of course all this will cost a lot of money and what is produced will be more expensive than what we’re now buying. So those are real political concerns too.
Of course no one knows where they future is going to go, though we can steer things a bit. Having grown up with periodic war scares when China threatened to invade Taiwan I’d hate to go back to the bad old days. After reneging on the same promises to Hong Kong, nobody is buying Beijing’s offer to make Taiwan a self-governing part of the People’s Republic. One thing is clear though, like oil and other critical commodities, being over dependent for them from a shaky part of the world is not good for any country.
“China broke away from Taiwan in 1949”. I learned that Chang Kai-Chek fled mainland China with the remnant of his army after being defeated in their civil war. That would be more correctly stated as “Taiwan broke away from China in 1949” would it not?
My friends went to China when they first opened the country to tourism. The Chinese plane they took from modern Hong Kong was scary, the food was scary, and the Communist Party "handler" that never let them get off the beaten path was scary. They said it was like you opened a door and traveled 100 years back in time. Fifty years later they are trying to economically rule the world. It was awful for their people then, and now it's a new kind of awful for them, because the Communist Party is "handling" them with data and cameras.
It's difficult to separate what their government is doing from the folks working their ass off to make all the goods. Working in a factory is a miserable job for most people, and the more we automate them the better. To hell with those kinds of jobs. I question whether we could get people back to the factory floors in the numbers we might need.
They are going to have to pay people top dollar to work the clean rooms needed to manufacture those chips. If you hate wearing a mask, try wearing that gear! Regardless, we have to try to temper our relationship with China and return to making things here. Time to review the property and businesses we have let them buy; Canadians are up in arms about their holdings there. We should be too.
China did not "break away from Taiwan". Formosa was occupied by the Japanese and at the conclusion of WW II there were two factions in China. There were the forces led by the future repressive dictator, Mao Zedong, and the forces led by the equally despotic General Chaing Kai-shek. The communist army prevailed and the former elites of China fled to Formosa and took control of the island. The native people of Formosa were pushed aside much as the United States did in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, as well as in North America and elsewhere.
The government of China wants total control and this extends to the island of Taiwan. No different than the U.S. doing as much as possible to control the islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. If a high ranking official from China landed in Puerto Rico it would make waves.
Thom does excellent research and this is a superbly informative article - BUT -(there's always a "but" when we readers comment), it doesn't tell the whole story.
Let me add three more facts.
#1, China as least as dependent on the USA as vice versa. Never mind dollars and percentages, most Chinese are psychologically favorable towards the USA and will pressure their government to get along. It's not like the USA where the response to everything is a call for violence.
#2, Leonard Shlain pointed out that societies fail when they adopt an alphabet. China's written language is pictorial, so reading helps balance the brain. Hope they don't switch to English. I called a friend in finance to discuss this, and she brought in a Chinese language expert, but we live in three quite different time zones and haven't talked yet. Should be interesting.
#3, I lived and/or worked in what you might call "Chinese dominant" countries for decades. I can tell you first hand that my experience with Chinese people is their focus is family and money, usually in that order but they have a few TrumPutins. When something upsets the population, 30-50% of Americans mutter about violence, but in Chinese dominant countries, everyone mutters about the effect on business. I've always thought about the (largely true) statement that Jews brought banking and finance and business ethics to the planet. Yeah, but one Chinese family I knew in Brunei had been living there and running businesses there for over 600 years.
To me, the ideal situation is if every country on the planet MUST maintain peaceful cooperation with every other country on the planet.
It's a GOOD thing to be dependent on China, as it will stop the most violent, selfish, and unreasonable nation on earth from invading China.
Because of Joe Biden, the USA is at serious risk of the endless, pointless wars ending.