The Coming China Wars

“People say China is a sleeping giant, but it’s wide awake. It’s the elephant creeping up behind us. Only, it’s so big we can scarcely see it moving.” – Zainab Bangura, Sierra Leone political activist

I’m reading a non-fiction book called The Coming China Wars by Peter Navarro. I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has made my jaw drop open every few pages the way this one does. Some of the information is just shocking. Here is a small sample:

Unsafe Food Supply:

Most people quite rightly think of China as a manufacturing powerhouse and the world’s “factory floor.” Increasingly, China is also becoming the world’s fish farm, fruit orchard, and vegetable garden.

Today China is the third largest exporter of food to the United States. China accounts for more than 50% of the garlic, 45% of the apple juice, roughly 20% of the honey and about 15% of the seafood imported into the United States. Incredibly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests less than 1% of all food imports into the U.S.

China is the leading exporter of catfish, eel, and tilapia to the United States and the second biggest shrimp supplier. China is also the world’s leading exporter of toxic seafood.

The surprising Darfur connection:

Much of the blood shed to date in Darfur is on the hands of the Chinese government. For the first four years of conflict, China steadfastly refused to allow the United Nations either to impose sanctions against the Sudan or to land a substantial peacekeeping force. In exchange for China’s diplomatic shield, the Sudan has responded by making China its biggest oil customer. To pay for that oil, China has also emerged as the Sudan’s largest supplier of weapons. Indeed, it has been Chinese-made tanks, fighter planes, bombers, machine guns, helicopters, and rocket-propelled grenades that have often been used in the campaign of genocide in Darfur.

More Corrupt dealings in Africa (and this is just the tip of the iceberg):

Zimbabwe doesn’t have oil, but it is the world’s second-largest exporter of platinum, a key import for China’s auto industry. Chinese radio-jamming devices block Zimbabwe’s dissident broadcasts, and Chinese workers built [President Robert] Mugabe’s new $9 million home, featuring a blue-tiled roof donated by the Chinese government. While Western politicians railed against Mugabe last year for flattening entire shantytowns, China was supplying him with fighter jets and troop carriers worth about $240 million in exchange for imports of gold and tobacco. – Fortune

China in Latin America:

Perhaps most troublesome of all of China’s Latin America tangos is its increasingly close relations with Fidel Castro’s Cuba… China has taken over the Cuban military, port, and electronic and satellite spying facilities once used by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.”

Environmental Fallout:

Much of the acid rain now falling on the forests, farmland, and rice fields of Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Taiwan originates in China. “Chinese made” acid rain is so bad that it approaches levels of acidity equal to that of vinegar.

…Chinese smog…is sucked up into the jet stream and then travels as far away as Canada and the United States…At times, as much as 25% of the air pollution in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco originates in China.

Slavery:

China has ten million slaves. The definition of a slave is someone who is given work and food but no wages. That’s what these people are. – Professor Zhou Ziaozheng, People’s University of China


So why can’t the U.S. do something about all this? (Currency manipulation)

…China has accumulated over one trillion dollars worth of U.S. government bonds. Now, anytime that U.S. politicians threaten to penalize China for its unfair trading practices, China routinely retaliates with threats of its “financial nuclear option.” Specifically, China threatens to destabilize the U.S. economy by dumping U.S. government bonds and dollars on world markets.

This is no idle threat. If China were to dump U.S. government bonds and dollars on the world markets, it would cause the value of the dollar to plummet, interest and mortgage rates to soar, inflation to spike, the housing market to collapse, and world financial markets to plunge into chaos. That’s precisely why even Chinese officials describe this dark side of currency manipulation as the “nuclear” equivalent of an attack on the U.S. financial system.

I could type excerpts from this book all day and not even begin to cover the scope of the problem. This book is a must read for every American. Know what’s out there, and know what’s coming.

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10 Comments

Filed under books, news, politics

10 responses to “The Coming China Wars

  1. Pol*

    3 things….
    first: any book that is that one-sided (and shocking) should be backed away from and approached cautiously and objectively.
    second: what are you going to do about it? As a consumer you have a tremendous amount of power! Can you live without chinese imported seafood, produce, petfood, toys, clothes, appliances, electronics, school supplies, gardening things, etc? Can YOU take CONTROL by being selective?
    third: as much as this phenomenom of Chinese super-power status has risen so quickly as to be truly astonishing, I still am compelled to respect the awesomely long cultural history that nation has! Literally THOUSANDS of uninterupted years of art, culture and learning… if it wasn’t for the british empire preying on the aristocracy with opium, they probably never would have slipped to secondworld status.
    In summary: I think they are looking for a piece of what we have in the west. And are happy to feed our insatiable dragon of cheap consumerism to line their own pockets for once.
    I personally applaud their ingeniuty and savvy business skills at very the same time that I tremble in fear of their might and shudder under the environmental toll they demand in an attempt to catch up to us! Heaven help our poor, overpopulated planet, the Chinese want to live like America!

  2. Tee

    Pol* – I don’t begrudge the Chinese their desire (or success) in becoming a world super power. I’m not the kind of American who has taken pride in being the “most powerful nation on Earth” – so China’s ability to usurp us in this way, isn’t what concerns me.

    I admire the Chinese people, and I love all culture.

    My problem is with the corruptness of their business dealings. (Again, this is nothing personal against the Chinese people — Just as I hope other countries don’t judge Americans by the disgraceful acts of those in power here.) …. While the book is certainly one sided, it points out many facts (with sources), that should give anyone, not just Americans, great concern.

    What they are doing in many African nations, alone, is cause for alarm. They are behind genocides, corrupt governments, and slave like conditions in various types of mines.

    As an American, I call my own government out on their corruption and dirty dealings and I hold any nation to the same standards.

    I agree that consumers must limit their purchases of products made in China, (although it’s increasingly difficult to do.) … This is something I began long ago when I had concerns about the safety of my children’s toys.

    As for their ingenuity and savvy business skills – much of the time that includes breaking environmental and safety laws, not paying employees and keeping them captive, and purposefully deceiving the company they’ve been commissioned by with an inferior product once the prototype is approved by skimping on materials and pocketing the money saved.

    There is a lack of morality in the business dealings that cuts deeply into my respect. It’s the difference between admiring a student who studies hard and passes the test, and a student who cheats and passes the test.

  3. Peter Navarro

    Thanks for taking the time to analyze my Coming China Wars book. The problems we face are unprecendented in both scale and implication. Only by becoming aware of them will they be solved.

  4. Pol*

    You are right Tee, I have actually met a couple businessmen from entirely separate backgrounds that have had issues with dealing with the Chinese. Strangely, they do not put the blame on the Chinese factories, but on their own $ greed and impatience asking for the prototype to be produced cheaper or lighter or faster. (Apparently they will not say NO, they’d rather find a way to cut costs until the terms you ask for can be delivered… at least that was what I was told— “be careful what you ask for”)
    In my limited opinion, the West has created a monster by exploiting the East’s cheap labour and using a completely different set of quality control and environmental rules…. it IS corrupt and manipulative and alarming by our western traditional expectations! Make no mistake, it is like that because the westerners are literally asking for it. Cheaper, faster, smaller, lighter, knock-offs and shady deals all at the expense of everything….
    Now that I have had my bit on the soap-box I will remove myself and go find that book! I think it will be good to be educated to face the changing world of distribution of material goods as we know it.

  5. Tee

    Mr. Navarro – Thank you for writing this informative book and for stopping by my blog. Best wishes!

    Pol – You make many great points that I don’t disagree with. It takes two to tango and the West is not without blame.

    This week my can opener broke and so today I had to purchase a new one. Every single can opener I came across was “Made in China”. I felt terrible buying it, understanding fully that I supported a factory where workers may be mistreated and where environmental standards are probably not upheld – but there was literally no alternative — and it’s the many years of “bargain shopping” I did that created that… Had I, and other westerners been better informed and cared about this so many years ago, maybe there would be a “Made in USA” or “Made in Canada” can opener on the shelf today.

    Live and learn. Hopefully we can help fix the mess we’ve all created.

  6. Pol*

    Yes. There isn’t an example in history (that I know of) quite like this, it is a global eye opener!

    Isn’t it amazing doing the mindful shopping? Thinking about what was involved in getting the product in your hands to purchase?! It blows my mind when I see trinkets that needed to be designed, marketed, manufactured, sold, shipped, warehoused, sold, stocked…. etc, etc, not to mention the extraction and refining of the raw materials! Phew!

    Tee, I hope your new can opener gives you years of great service.

  7. Tee – Wow, I’m really impressed with your grasp of the situation and your response to Pol. I think that people in America are too quick to gloss over and forgive the misdeeds of others, whether it be the people in our neighborhoods or the governments of other nations. It’s a knee-jerk reaction we’ve developed over time that needs to be checked. Of course its opposite needs also to be checked. I’ll put this on my library queue.

  8. Tee

    Pol – Thanks, me too. I also love thinking about the whole process that goes into making things. That’s why I enjoy shows like “How it’s made”, (here’s one on guitars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XfBRdxzshI )

    The ingenuity of humans never ceases to amaze me.

    Oh, and I really recommend this documentary I saw a few months ago. It’s about how Mardi Gras beads are made in China. It follows the whole process including interviews with the factory workers. They are so surprised by what the beads are used for when shown photos of women exposing themselves to get the beads. You can imagine how strange this is from their perspective.

    (Warning – No kids in the room. It’s about Mardi Gras after all!)

    [video src="http://www.mardigrasmadeinchina.com/assets/movies/trailer_small.mp4" /]

    Scott – See my comment above for some cool links to check out. I really think you’ll find this book interesting. It’s particularly interesting with the Olympics coming up. There’s a lot of “beautification” going on over there, which has involved destroying “unsightly” shanty towns so tourists won’t see them… I really can’t understand how we allowed China to host the Olympics at all.

  9. Peter Wang

    Tee:

    The book is EXTREMELY biased. As an example,”China has 10 million slaves”, is a twist of professor Zhou’s (People University, the best university in China for social science) statement who is cryng out from his heart for the lowly paid workers. The truth is, Chinese workers are lowly paid, so are workers for all developing countries. Yet the Chinese workers are getting double-digit pay raise for the last several years, and now are paid 3 times the Indian level and 4 times the bangladesh level.

    See ?

    It is true that China is, in certain sense, catching up with the us in trade and commerce. So a bunch of strange voices are saying: Let’s raise our military spending and build more bombs, while the US-China bomb ratio is already 50 : 1. – Is this just illogical or there is something sinister?

    Use our brain.

    Good luck.

  10. Tee

    Peter – No doubt there are 2 sides to every story and one would do well to read this book but also balance it with another before making up their own minds.

    I appreciate you sharing your perspective!

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