by Joseph W. Sullivan
Former Staff Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers
I don't remember World War Two.
I wasn't alive then.
I have seen enough newsreels, movies and read enough history to know that America knew it faced a threat.
The threat was on two fronts.
The Pacific and the Atlantic.
Japan provoked the war by attacking the U.S. at Pearl Harbor.
Did they do this because they were just a bunch of belligerent meanies spoiling for a fight?
The Japanese were a militant society that felt that they were entitled to control the Pacific Economic and Political sphere.
They wanted to control all the trade in that sphere.
This put them at odds with the United States who had a large economic presence in the Pacific and didn't want that infringed upon.
The Philippines were an American territory and in our sphere of influence, but the Japanese felt entitled to that action.
There was a conflict in trade interests between us and Japan.
They were putting pressure on us and we reciprocated.
This is simplistic but a valid summary.
Eventually, we demanded that they pull out of China, which they had invaded.
China had been one of our markets, and in the Depression of the 30's, you didn't want to lose market share.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor at that.
That's how wars start.
Hitler (and Mussolini) only screwed up by honoring their treaties with Japan, otherwise we not have gone to war with them.
Well, as they say, history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
We are in a trade war with China.
That word "war" is not a light one.
China has a huge military capacity and is growing it (like Japan was) and ours is not as strong as we need it to be.
Our Navy (our military projection in the Pacific) is ill-prepared for war.
Our ships in the Pacific are becoming more prominent for colliding into other ships and making costly mistakes in critical situations.
No mistaking it, we are pushing the Chinese, hard.
Just like in the 30s.
Yet should "something" happen, I doubt we'd be fighting a two front war this time.
However, as you may have noticed, China is a dictatorship.
They are under stress on their home front, but they don't have elections of the voting sort.
They can enact policy that may impact the home front, but they expect their people to suck it up and bear it. For the motherland.
In WW2, we had a national unity against the threat.
Scrap drives, rations, patriotic fervor, national resolve.
Today, we have political factions questioning the wisdom of not caving into Chinese demands.
Willing to continue the game of cashing in now, neglecting the threat on the horizon.
Should a Joe Biden replace Trump, make no mistake, it's back to placating the Chinese.
Hell, the Clintons were giving them our secrets, whether as president or Secretary of State.
Hillary's emails were (no exaggeration) being forwarded to China!
So, are the Chinese manipulating our upcoming national election by escalating the Tariff War?
Can we convince the American People of the long term threat to our nation (our economy, sovereignty, well-being) or will they cave?
I talked about this topic on The Drift Radio Show Saturday.