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Army Bob: We depend too much on Asian supply line

by Robert M. Traxler

A man ran a red light last week and hit my car, totaling it. Hats off to the American auto industry; we were hit in the side at 50 miles per hour. The gentleman who hit us said he had speeded up to try to make the light. He also told that to the police officer — I do not know if he was brutality honest or not too intelligent, confessing to running the light and speeding.

We were a bit bruised, but overall, just fine. The two-year-old car with 8,000 miles on it was totaled. It brings the news to your front door when it directly impacts you; I am looking at new vehicles (I am partial to American made), and the shortage of microchips (primarily coming from Asia) is limiting the production of vehicles, has run the cost of cars up and availability down. 

Darnn near everything we use today is dependent on micro-chips and micro-processors; heck, we have a plug-in air freshener with a micro-chip. All vehicles built before 1987, to include the agricultural equipment needed to produce our food, police vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, sewage pumps, medical devices, even thermometers for home use and most things we use on a daily basis are dependent on an electronic chip. We are totally dependent on our cellular phones, made primarily in China or with components made in China; cut off the supply of chips and we are swimming in crap. 

Army Bob Traxler

This is one example of the dependence we have on a supply chain in the hands of those, some who are belligerents, halfway around the world. The majority of micro processors come from Taiwan, a nation that may be invaded by China any day now. Even if China does not invade the main island of Taiwan, there are many smaller islands that could be used in the same way the Nazis used the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia — as precursors to a larger war and then the invasion of Poland.

The Japanese Imperial Army invaded Korea and China as a precursor to attacking Pearl Harbor; China may just repeat history and seize smaller islands around Taiwan. The problem is that before World War II, we were dependent on Asia and Europe for very little, rubber and some antibiotics, along with a few machined items. If we remove Taiwan and China from the supply chain today, we are in deep feces; our economy and indeed our health care system are dependent on those two nations for components that manufacture drugs in general but antibiotics and electronic components of medical devices in particular. We witnessed a shortage of medical masks in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, masks made mostly in China; substitute pain meds and antibiotics for N-95 masks and consider that for a minute or two.

I am sure the detractors of this column will state that the problem today is in offloading ships and a shortage of truck drivers — no questioning that. However, if the ships were not there to off load it would be a larger and longer problem, fatal to our economy. 

If we were dependent on other nations for designer clothing and shoes that’s one thing; our economy being dependent on China for life saving medicine, medical devices and electronics is potentially a disaster we must prevent. 

Communications with car dealers and manufacturers tell me that the make and model of vehicle I want will be available in March or April of 2022. Not the end of the world, an inconvenience at best, but an eye-opening lesson our nation must face; having our economic survival dependent on a nearly 7,000-mile supply line to a belligerent nation is a recipe for disaster.

My opinion.

5 Comments

  • Sir,

    Glad to hear you folks survived the accident well. We can not afford to lose voices like yours. Too many irresponsible drivers in the world today.

    Since the 1980’S, I have been stating we must maintain our USA manufacturing base. But as always the corperations greed exceeds patriotism. Sadly, our leaders think about next week or the next election. While China thinks about the next decade and century.

    • David,
      Thanks for the comment.
      A good way to understand the supply chain/manufacturing problem is to look at everything you need to live a normal life and see where it is made.
      Thanks again.

  • 100% agree. The US Government has completely failed its responsibility to properly identify and maintain strategic industries and a domestic capability to produce key materials and components.

    The pandemic exposed China’s Govenment for what it is and we are now being shown how vulnerable and weak we are by the supply chain crisis. China’s Communists and Russian neighborhood bullies are getting a hearty laugh at our blatantly stupid policies.

    Unfortunately only a portion of our citizens seem to understand the ultimate consequences of this situation if push comes to shove in a protracted international conflict with an enemy with a real military. This vulnerability also increases the likelihood of such a conflict developing into one where we are forced to contemplate the use of nuclear weapons.

    We are nearing a status of being a nation in name only, we the people have been divided and tricked into bickering about made up genders and imagined racism. It is clear that the young are not educated about history and have little understanding of geopolitics and its consequences. This seems to be a deliberate failure by those that have been entrusted to teach them.

    Our Govenment demonstrates our laughable complacency daily on our southern border. Add our experiences in recent conflicts where our our leaders have repeatedly lied to us and to our allies as they burned through thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on “nation building”, it’s easier to understand why we are where we are now.

    Unless we unite as a people, start seeing the big picture need to act as a sovereign nation while holding our politicians accountable and stop seeing ourselves as our own enemy, we may be doomed.

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