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America Is Dangerously Out of Balance and Needs Self-Reliance

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China is looking at their interdependence with us through a national security lens, and we should, too.

I'm typing this into a computer made in China, reading it on a screen made in China. The WiFi router that's connecting me to the internet was made in China, as is the cable modem my internet service provider put in my house. The external keyboard and backup drives are made in China, as are most of the lamps, bulbs and other appliances on my desk. My eyeglasses and the shirt I'm wearing were made in China (the pants are from Malaysia, the shoes from Korea), as is the coat I wear outside. The one medication I take is made in India out of ingredients from China.

Meanwhile, this is the year - 2022 - that the government of China has ordered that all "government offices and public institutions" nationwide must "remove foreign computer equipment and software."

This is, wrote Yuan Yang and Nian Liu from Beijing for theFinancial Times back in December of 2019, "part of a drive for China's government agencies and critical infrastructure operators to use 'secure and controllable' technology, as enshrined in the country's Cyber Security Law passed in 2017."

Thus, the effort to purge American cyber products from China began in 2019 and is supposed to wrap up this year. The nation is becoming digitally self-sufficient.

Given that pretty much everything you see in any American store was made in China, it's a safe bet that the country long ago became self-reliant in everything from clothes to building materials to electronics to toys and household furnishings. And, of course, military hardware and weaponry.

There are those who suggest that China is moving quickly to become self-reliant in that final arena of computers and software because they're preparing for a war with the US over Taiwan.

That scenario, well within the realm of possibility, means China could throw the US into utter and devastating chaos simply by stopping the export of everything we're now buying from China.

They wouldn't even need to attack us militarily: they could bring America to our knees with a single trade decree.

Look at how a few supply chain slowdowns have created chaos and inflation here: imagine if the Chinese cut us off like the Arab countries did with oil back in the 1970s when they were pissed off at us for supporting Israel in their war with Egypt.

We had mile-long lines for gas, inflation hit almost 20 percent, and chaos reigned in our cities as supermarket shelves emptied out in days when the trucks stopped rolling (partly from fuel shortages; partly from protests over high fuel prices).

Clearly, when a superpower who's threatening your friends and "practice bombing" your aircraft carriers controls the majority of your entire economy, you're in no position to make threats or demands.

Imagine if when Pearl Harbor was bombed and we entered World War II there were no American ladies' nylon factories to convert to parachute manufacturing; no American-owned car factories that could be converted to making tanks and bombers; no domestic garment industry that could make uniforms and tents.

China is looking at their interdependence with us through a national security lens, and we should, too.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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