China, Drugs, and National Security

Imagine a potential enemy possessing the keys to our national defense. In a deeply disturbing article published Thursday, Tim Johnson of McClatchey Newspapers raises the issue of China being capable of holding the West hostage in an anthrax scare, among other possible scenarios.

Johnson, Harking back to the anthrax scare in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, writes the following-

"A Portuguese company that ramped up doxycycline production in 2001 at Washington's request said China now controlled the flow of its crucial drug component.
'If we were asked to do this again, we would be dependent on China providing us with key starting materials that are unavailable in the rest of the world,' said Guy Villax, the chief executive of Hovione, a Lisbon -based fine chemicals company."

It is easy in the wake of the events of 9/11, to forget that the nation with which we have the most policy conflicts is also the nation we seem most determined to have a trading relationship. Yet, on April Fool's Day of 2001 a Chinese attempt at intimidation of an American spy plane went wrong. The Chinese Pilot and plane were lost and the American plane was forced down, making an emergency landing on Hainan Island. This international incident and the ensuing brief standoff were the result of tensions over our continuing support of Taiwan and China's attempts to test the then-new Bush administration's resolve over that support.

No one can deny that China has an ever increasing influence over American policy. Nor can they deny that the nation is determined to increase that influence by any means necessary.

As we fill our stockings with toys and games produced with precious little oversight in Chinese sweatshops this Christmas we might well ask ourselves how we benefit from giving the control of things such as the drugs on which our very nation's security could depend to a strategic adversary.

How might China test the next administration's resolve?

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at December 7, 2007 10:25 AM
Comments
Comment #240204

Lee, good article, I guess its better late than never for those in the red column to wise up to the obvious. IMHO its not if its when with the Chinese. Its time to get those corporate ne’er do wells out of Government decision making. How do we do that?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 7, 2007 11:13 AM
Comment #240206

It’s also a good idea not to give the Chineese long range missle technology in exchange for campaign financing.

This is somehow lost on some people. :(

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 7, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #240207

Exactly Rhinehold, public financing of elections would be an excellent step towards pushing the federal government to work in the best interests of the American people and not the corporations currently dictating the policy of this country.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 7, 2007 11:37 AM
Comment #240219

My greatest reservations over the subway candidates are about the influence of corporatists on the Republican side and the Chinese government itself on the Democrat side. Frankly, though I loved what Romney said yesterday (I’ve written something like nearly every paragraph myself over the last decade, so its not a little narcissistic to feel that way), HE is more than comfortably corporate.

The kudzu of Chinese influence is all over American politics.

Look at the way Japanese influence developed in advance of W.W.II and one wonders if China has gone to school, found their former occupier’s flaws, and improved on their example.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 7, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #240233

Lee, seems there is a lot of corporate money going to Hiliary as well this election cycle. With such a lack of choices what is the American voting public to do. Voting out Bush and voting in either of the “subway candidates” or any of those currently running doesnt seem to be the answer. Time to draft Lou Dobbs?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 7, 2007 3:08 PM
Comment #240272

j2t2
You would do well to consider Edwards or McCain. Edwards does not take corporate lobby money. IMO they are the only two plausable candidates out there that are not corporatist.

Lee
If you worry about Chinas hold on the drug supply in event of a confrontation you can stop. Its nothing compared to the shortage we would face for steel for the same reason.
In CA to rebuild some major bridges a Dem assembly woman(mine BTW) passed a measure calling for US made steel to be used. It was vetoed by then Governor Davis(a Dem) on the grounds that it was a violation trade treaties. The opponents of the measure complained that to produce that much steel we would have to actually build a plant! God forbid we build a modern steel mill that might employ Americans at decent wages.What a waste of tax dollars that would be.

Posted by: BillS at December 7, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #240285
Imagine a potential enemy possessing the keys to our national defense

Better be friendly with him then.
Or change you national defense keys.
And. Not or.

Don’t whin about the waste of money. What do you expect? That moving factories in China will cut cost and be profitable on the long term?

Yeah right.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 8, 2007 5:43 AM
Comment #240333

Philipe,

What is irrational is not that there are critical foreign supplies of strategic resources. It is that there is only one or two, particularly if the one or two are importan strategic rivals.

People act as though war was obsolete. That is a foolish conclusion when dealing with a nation with a tiny elite like China’s. In a world full of democracies war will be difficult to start and hard to wage, but as long as there are countries like China that continue to operate on semi-feudal systems (by whatever name one calls them) war will always be a threat.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 8, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #240359

“That is a foolish conclusion when dealing with a nation with a tiny elite like China‚Äôs. In a world full of democracies war will be difficult to start and hard to wage…”
Not that difficult Lee if Bush and the Neocons continue to have their way. Perhaps if we werent the agressor nation in the Iraq war the Chinese would see us in a different light.. nah their capitalist but their not a democracy.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #240407

j2t2,

You’ll have a little more credibility in such an argument if we find ourselves fighting France or Singapore or India.

The people on our side of the aisle who are suspicious of “neocons” believe one can’t make a democracy out of a place like Iraq, because it’s never been done. Then again, it’s never been tried, either. Iraq is an experiment which, more overtly than most experiments, expends human lives in its unfolding. It is a lightning rod because of that and it should be.

If it works and Iraq becomes something resembling a democracy as we would know one the Bush administration will have accomplished a miracle, pure and simple.

American-style democracy is the single most subversive idea to have found its way into human governance in the last millenium. I, for one, would not mind seeing it subvert the Middle East. However, we stupidly take it for granted, as though it could never be taken away from us, hence stories like the one above.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 9, 2007 7:39 PM
Comment #240419

Lee
Your regard for democracy is quaint. US support for democracy abroad has historically been case dependant. Where it has furthured our global strategic we have been supportive example: Western Europe. Where it has been counter to our strategic goals we have been against it example: Chile,Iran,Nicarauga.We can probably agree that support for democracy should be bedrock US forign policy but until those on the right come to terms with our spotted history regarding it and join with the left on insisting on it ,our less than honorable conduct will continue.That means respecting the results of fair legitimate elections in other countries regardless of who wins.That means not interfereing with the elections in other countries. That means respecting the constitutional perogatives of other countries even though they may differ from ours somewhat,so long as the people of that country are able to pick their leadership.

Posted by: BillS at December 9, 2007 10:49 PM
Comment #240448

BillS,

You seem to think you’re disagreeing with me.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 10, 2007 10:46 AM
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