In The Coming China Wars, author Peter Navarro outlines the startling evidence of how China is becoming a world leader and the frightening side effects of their policies. This expanded and updated version of Navarro's findings is broken into various areas of China's dominance or attempts to dominate with experts and scientific studies quoted to support the author's thesis. It would be a rare reader who wasn't concerned or even alarmed after reading the facts laid out by the author.
One of the first areas, familiar to all,
is the explosion of Chinese products on the American consumer market. Many remember the recent scandals and recalls of items from pet food to toys,
yet most don't stop to think of the implications of China winning market after market. Jobs are exported overseas as manufacturers look for decreased costs of production. These costs are often achieved at the expense of horrific working conditions, little if any quality control, government disregard of counterfeited name brand products, and little concern for environmental factors. That results in Chinese goods of inferior quality flooding markets.
While many consumers are aware of fake brand name pocketbooks or watches and may see little reason to worry about them, the picture changes rapidly when the counterfeit goods happen to be the pharmaceuticals that consumers count on to save lives or alleviate medical conditions. This was
a topic I'd never heard addressed before reading this book, and it is truly frightening. Imagine relying on a medication to lower your cholesterol or diabetic condition, and after a tragedy, finding out that what you were taking wasn't the real product at all. Navarro mentions two areas that are particularly prone to these products. He speculates that small, locally owned pharmacies might be willing to buy products that are cheaper in order to compete with the large drugstore chain's discount purchases. He also points out that most of the medication purchased on Internet sites is in fact this adulterated medication.
Another side effect slowly becoming evident is the financial implication of purchasing such a large amount of Chinese goods. This results in large trade deficits for the American economy, pumping billions into the Chinese economy to fuel their projects. American jobs are being outsourced at an alarming rate. This cash drain leads to the need for the federal government to borrow vast amounts on the international financial markets. China then turns around and uses these dollars to buy up our debt. This scenario is being played out right now in the current financial straits that the country finds itself in. It leaves the country dependant on the whims of another country which can dry up the credit market at will, forcing policies to be initiated that are not in our best interest or that divert money from projects we need.
As a result of the lax industrial policies of China, the environment suffers. Working conditions are horrific in Chinese factories, many workers toiling away at little better than slave labor. Industrial accidents abound and the victims are rarely compensated,
simply released from their job to make their way as best they can. Toxic ingredients are released into the air or water; China's rivers and water supply are so polluted that cancers and other illnesses are on a steep incline. Worse, China is becoming a major exporter of food products, spreading that exposure throughout the world. The need for large dams to provide the electricity needed
changes the natural rise and fall of rivers, diverting water and interrupting natural food chains. The toxic waste in the air results in large acid rain areas, both within China and in neighboring countries.
China seems to be on the rise in international matters. Their increasing need for energy translates into oil and natural gas,
and they have no qualms about exporting weapons and technology to smaller nations that could be terrorist nations in exchange for access to their natural resources. China also wants to corner supplies of various minerals. They come in and provide technology and infrastructure to small nations, which seems like a good relationship to the country that wants to modernize. But in return, the natural resources of the country are stripped and sent to China, draining the supplying nation of resources needed
for self-sufficiency down the road.
Concern also abounds about China's military rise and future intentions. The large cash flows into the country fuel expansion of their military arsenal,
growing stockpiles of missiles, aircraft, nuclear submarines and other weapons.
What is unclear is the intent of such a massive arms buildup. Various trouble spots
where China is involved could trigger international warfare, including Taiwan, a conflict with India, the funding of Iran which might then attack Israel, a Russian conflict, or Korea. In addition, China has entered the space race and seems to be making progress on this front also. Again, the secrecy that characterizes this country makes it difficult to discern their goals in this area.
The final chapter in the book outlines various steps that Navarro believes can stem some of the rising problems that China presents to the United States, and indeed, to the world. He provides items that consumers and governments can pursue in each of the areas outlined in the book.
The Coming China Wars makes for compelling reading. It opens the curtain on issues that most Americans are unaware of, except in a dim recognition that more and more of what they buy seems to have a
Made In China sticker on it. Even when noticed, we are largely unaware of the implications of allowing another country to
be on the other end of such a large cash drain from us, or that this cash then funds negative
effects in the environment or military issues. The Coming China Wars is recommended for those readers concerned about the world and the realities
it faces from a rising supernation.