Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

China greatest threat to American security, prosperity

Who or what is the biggest threat to American prosperity in the first part of the 21st century? If you said Muslim extremists or illegal immigrants you’re wrong.

It’s China.

Much ado was made two weeks ago by the media about how Afghanistan has become America’s “longest war.” The yardstick used to attach that label was the Aug. 7, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave President Johnson military carte blanche in Southeast Asia and Vietnam, and the March 1973 withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam, all told 103 months. We’ve been in Afghanistan 104 months.

But as U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke pointed out in an interview on NPR last week, American involvement in Vietnam started in the 1950s. And have we forgotten that we spent 200 years fighting the Indians?

Debating how long we’ve been in Afghanistan is the wrong argument. We should be debating the benefit of fighting this conflict and whether it’s worth it. The “it’s keeping us safe from terrorists” mantra is false at worst and misleading at best. We’re no safer now from terrorists than we were on Sept. 10, 2001. The failed bombing attempt of Times Square two months ago proved that.

We’ve spent nearly $2 trillion fighting the Global War on Terror the past nine years and have little to show for it.

In the nine years since we invaded Afghanistan, China has gone from a second-rate manufacturer of cheap goods to the most significant economic power in the world. While the rest of the industrial world spent the past two years in recession, China’s economy expanded by 5 percent.

While we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on bullets, armored vehicles and prosthetic limbs, China has invested hundreds of billions in its energy grid, its cellular and Internet networks, its roads and its ports. The most modern industrial economy in the world is now in China (it used to be Japan, but they’re in worse shape than we are, these days).

There’s no such thing as a dropped cell phone call in China’s major cities. Yet Steve Jobs, the leader of the one of the world’s greatest technology companies, couldn’t get a signal on his snazzy new iPhone when he introduced it to the world earlier this month during a trade show at one of our most technologically advanced cities. Guess where that phone was made? China.

Last week, U.S. officials announced that a literal gold mine of mineral treasures had been found in the mountains of Afghanistan, more than $1 trillion worth. The immediate speculation was that China would be the greatest beneficiary of that mineral wealth, not the Americans whose brethren are dying in those mountains to make them safe for mining.

While we shed blood in Iraq, China is securing rights to its oil and landing reconstruction contracts. While we try to keep Iran from building a nuclear bomb, China secures rights to its oil and stands in the way of severe sanctions by the U.N.

While North Korea, China’s desolated stooge, sinks South Korean navy destroyers we stand by emasculated, unable to respond in any significant way lest we offend the Dear Leader’s Big Brother, the holder of $2.5 trillion U.S. dollars. (Perhaps China’s foreign policy motto should be a co-option of Teddy Roosevelt’s, “Speak Softly and Carry Trillions of U.S. Dollars”).

While we try to end the genocide and civil war in Sudan, China foments dissent so that it can continue to rape the country of its mineral wealth.

We need to ask ourselves why we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on our military every year so Chinese communist industrialists can safely travel the globe securing the resources it needs to become the greatest economic power on the planet?

Is this what we fought the Cold War for, so communist China could take over the world’s economy?

Meanwhile, back at home, we wallow in partisan mud holes debating the birth place of our president, so consumed with hating each other that we’re unable to recognize the true enemy at our gates.

And China laughs.

We need to get the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq and invest the billions we’re spending on armaments and reinvest in our national infrastructure, science and research.

We need to end our dependence on foreign oil so that we can resurrect our strategies of the Cold War post-Vietnam and fight proxy wars against the Muslim extremists (let Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, Chechnya, Turkey, Israel, et al fight the Taliban and al Qaida. We might have to back a few despots to do so, but they’ll be our despots).

Meanwhile, we need to rebuild our human intelligence capabilities to augment our electronic spying capabilities so that combined with our proxy despotic allies, we’ll be able to fight Muslim terrorism better and far, far more cost effectively than we are now.

The Muslim terrorists are a scourge. China is the enemy. We need to stop fighting with ourselves and start fighting for our economic future.

Either that, or we all need to learn to speak Chinese.

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