In the context of Pelosi’s goofy trip to Taiwan I’ve referred several times to Yves Smith’s concept of “chokepoints”. Chokepoints are the points at which China has the potential to simply shut off crucial parts of the US economy. One seemingly minor example that I repeated in a comment was that China provides us with virtually all of our Vitamin C—which is not only popular as a supplement but is also a basic to food preservation.
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If you follow the link below to the Tucker Carlson video (h/t reader Robert), Tucker offers many more examples of such chokepoints. Many of those examples are consequential on their face:
I know that some readers will argue with Tucker—and me for running this—but think about what the following would mean even if China slowed things down—as we’ve found out to some degree with the shipping mess:
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Chinese pharmaceutical companies supply more than 90% of American antibiotics as well as ibuprofen, take Advil, vitamin C, hydrocortisone, which treats asthma and arthritis. China supplies more than 70% of acetaminophen, often called Tylenol. What else does China make? Well, China makes everything, for example, you need to transport goods across the country. China produces 96% of the world's shipping containers. They make 80% of the cranes that carry cargo from the ship to the dock.
Antagonizing China just seems like a bad idea. Sadly, however, it’s an easy posture for some Republicans:
… the Biden administration has allowed Nancy Pelosi to go over there to provoke a military confrontation with China. Is there any other explanation other than they are rooting for the destruction of the United States? If there is one, text us. Some Republicans, by the way, are for this. They're for all war. Mike Gallagher, who represents Wisconsin, just said, "I think it would be in keeping with that track record and very useful for American diplomacy and foreign policy for the speaker of the House to go to Taiwan." Yeah, whatever. Steve Chabot, a Republican representing Ohio, agrees with that, "I think it's important that we show solidarity with our ally, Taiwan," he said.
As if there are no other ways to support Taiwan without publicly poking China in the eye? Don’t we do diplomacy? It seems that we don’t. As in so many other areas of American life, virtue signalling has replaced rationality.
Now, if you just let the video run, it may or may not continue to a Tucker segment which features Doug Macgregor. It did for me the first time, but not the second time. However, you can for sure listen to Macgregor here.
Here’s the gist of what Macgregor says.
The United States is no more prepared for a successful war with China than it was with Russia. Which is to say, the US is not prepared for a conventional war with near peer adversaries such as those two countries, which are located many thousands of miles away from our shores. For starters, we’re simply not prepared to invade—it took us months and months to equip an invasion force against Iraq, against zero opposition, so how would we ever accomplish that daunting feat against really serious opposition? Nor is bombing those large and well defended countries back to the stone age, or even the 20th century, an alternative that would work, either. So, no, short of nuclear war, we’re not ready. Nuclear war may be good as a backup strategy against threats from hostile powers, but something is wrong when the country provoking other nuclear powers really has no other option. That’s crazy. And the US is the country doing the provoking—we are continually poking both China and Russia.
Macgregor points out the similarities between Russia in Ukraine and China’s relationship with Taiwan. Any fool—excepting the fools who run our country and its foreign policy—would have known that there was no possibility that Russia would allow Ukraine to become—either on its own or as a proxy—an existential threat to Russia. Elementary geopolitical awareness would have led to that conclusion. In the leadup to WW2 in the Pacific, Taiwan was an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the Imperial Japanese military—back in the days before ballistic missiles, when that concept was arguably a lot more meaningful. The Japanese invasion of China will never be forgotten and, as Macgregor says, there is no circumstance in which China will allow Taiwan to become a “garrison state” for any foreign country. Sympathy for the Taiwanese who are caught in the middle is not the basis for a rational policy. The US simply is no longer the world cop.
By allowing Pelosi’s trip we pointlessly provoked China over an issue that is at least as strategically important to China as Ukraine is to Russia. China and Russia are serious about these matters—which are existential for them, as they are not for us. As Macgregor argues, the US has become a country that lacks statesmen, a nation of poseurs. These types of provocations simply shut down avenues of communication, and the resulting unpredictability erodes the possibility for working our way out of difficulties. All of this points to something seriously wrong in contemporary American culture.
Yeah, there's something deeply wrong with "experts" who can't see what is clear to ordinary people. You don't start a fight you can't win, especially when the other side is wielding nukes. The Cold War planners understood this, preferring to use proxies, and when we did fight, it was against non-nuclear third-world nations (and we still lost!). But we could take a page out of the Chinese playbook, which requires that for every strategic loss the US must also suffer one (Gordon Chang wrote about this, but I can't remember the name for it). Just a thought which I'm sure will have people running for their vapors, but while Russia is fighting in Ukraine and China in Taiwan, why don't we make similar moves in our own region. South America is becoming a forward base for Iranian, Chinese and Russian hostiles. Let's take care of Venezuela while we have the chance. As I said, just a thought.
The 'adults are now in charge' was just another lie proffered by the left and the neocons. But our thoroughly discredited news media still carries their water; but their buckets are leaking like a sieve as fewer and fewer believe their bald-faced lies.
Not one of these over-educated under achieving clowns (Blinken, Kerry, Rice, Sullivan, et al) is qualified to shine the shoes of a Hull, Marshall, Dulles, Kissinger, etc. They are truly lacking in any foresight and forbearance, as well as a spirited and strong executive to guide them. The bottom of the barrel has been dredged and as expected up came the dregs.