After decades of watching “China become the world’s workshop as it snatches up industries, jobs and critical supply chains, [i]t’s time to restructure the global economy in our favor, and that means decisive action to shore up our most important industries,” writes Brig. Gen. John Adams (U.S. Army, retired), president of national security consulting firm Guardian Six LLC, in a recent piece for Industry Week.
COVID – which he says was “[t]the straw that broke the camel’s back,” left “[l]arge swaths of our economy (…) without an industrial base to ramp up in times of crisis, even when doing so is a matter of life and death. Scrambling to have auto manufacturers produce ventilators during a pandemic has certainly clarified the crisis.”
“Our mining industry is one of the most important pieces of the industrial supply chain that must be restored to American shores. China’s unrivaled position in mining and mineral supply chains provides an alarming view into how a dominant position in just one strategic industry can become a source of immense economic and geopolitical leverage.”
Using the United States’ reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earths as an example, Adams goes on to analyze the scope of our mineral resource security woes, most of which are home-grown.
“Admittedly, China isn’t solely to blame for our current highly vulnerable situation. If it could be made for less in China, U.S. industries picked up and left. We knew China was subsidizing its own industries to outcompete ours, and we failed to address the imbalance. But our adherence to the capitalist principle of comparative advantage failed to address competition from China’s command economy. The status quo must not continue.
We can’t afford to wait to reorient our policy and hold China to account. We must bring essential industries back home and reestablish our vital supply chains. The crisis borne from China’s predation and our own neglect is no longer theoretical. It’s past time we act.”