China also lives in a G7 world

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

But by the second day of the Ukraine war, Beijing realised that China also lives in a G7 world, Edward Luttwak notes, with its economy utterly dependent on the daily arrival of bulk carriers loaded with animal and human food:

China’s economy was self-sufficient if miserably poor in 1976 when I first visited, with a population on the edge of malnutrition. But today’s citizens will not grin and bear it without their meat, eggs, or milk. Last year, Xi Jinping’s naval groupies, including the jovial retired Admiral Luo Yuan, suggested that the US could be scared off from defending Taiwan against a Chinese invasion by sinking a US warship or two, perhaps even an aircraft carrier. Now Xi must realise that if a US warship is sunk, the supply of animal feed would end.


  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Luttwak is letting his enthusiasm for war (against anyone) run away with him.

    First point is that (reportedly) China has been stockpiling grains and other foods for a period of about 2 years. And they are obviously going to get first call on Russian exports of grain by rail. So they would have some time before termination of sea transport became an existential issue.

    Second point is that marine transport runs both ways. When China stops shipping manufactured goods to the US — things we can no longer make for ourselves, like medications, electronics, nuts & bolts — the shelves of Walmart will soon be bare, and panic buying will lead to disruption & violence. And the US does not have a year or so of those goods in stockpiles.

    Which side would crack first if ocean transport ceases? Let’s hope we never find out.

  2. Bob Sykes says:

    Gavin has it right. We suffer, too. But note that an embargo of China is also an embargo of Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and, since China and North Korea have submarines, Japan and Philippines, too.

    There would also likely be a shooting war throughout the Pacific, so all Pacific trade would be curtailed or at least disrupted.

    Do you think this generation of American boys can replicate the island-hopping campaign of the 40′s? Who would you bet on in Guadalcanal?

  3. Harry Jones says:

    When it comes to supply chains and resources, keep in mind that China inhabits a much larger continent than the US does.

    Oceans insulate. If the US had never laid claim to Hawaii and certain other islands, the entire Pacific theater of World War II need never have involved America at all.

  4. VXXC says:

    China will be fine, Russia produces all it needs.

    Luttwak has sold his soul on this Ukraine matter. He knows better. I’ve read him extensively.

  5. Chairman Meow says:

    The author refers to a China of the Cultural Revolution era as a reference. That is not realistic to his premise. The economic shambles of Maoism is something that the present CCP prefers to keep in the rear view mirror. That one can get his ass kicked on the Mainland for calling the wrong person ‘Comrade’ should tell us all we need to know about the change in Chinese polity. That ‘Comrade’ is a slang for homosexual and the government is virulently anti-LBGTetc indicates that the poverty-for-all era of China is over and done. Funny how they seem to base their domestic policies to be inverse of those of the modern West. While the West destroys the middle class with a multi-pronged attack, China builds through legislation and media.

    China wants an Eastern version of 1950s America it would seem. So where is the Yellow Peril now?

  6. Lucklucky says:

    I think the idea has merit, looking at how China did not put their weight fully behind Russia despite the close military relationship.

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