Ideal Taxes Association

Raymond Richman       -       Jesse Richman       -       Howard Richman

 Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog

Book Review: Peter Navarro, Crouching Tiger, What CHINA’S MILITARISM Means for the World,(Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2015)  
Raymond Richman, 12/19/2015

Peter Navarro is a professor in the School of Business at the University of California. Irvine campus. He has written previous books about China including Death by China, Seeds of Destruction, Always a Winner, and The Coming China  Wars. In the prologue he writes the “each chapter that follows will provide and important clue presented in the form of a key question leading off each chapter. Each question will then be followed by possible answers across the range of opinion and thought”.

Ch 1.” Based on the historical record, how likely is war between a rising power like China and an established superpower like the United State?” As Thucydides wrote in his History of the Polynesian War, “What made the war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.” The war destroyed both states. Citing the competition between England and  Germany for hegemony as the cause of WWI, he concludes that war between China and the U.S.A. is likely but not inevitable.

Ch. 2. Which countries have invaded China over the past two hundred years? France, Germany, Britain,. Japan, Russia, and the USA, an “indelible history of humiliation”. “China’s military buildup is not the end of our detective story—it is simply the beginning.”

Ch.3. “Is China building up its military to guard the trading routes and global investments it needs for robust economic growth.” China embarked on a mercantilist “state capitalism” strategy, encouraging exports and restricting imports. China’s huge oil imports and its exports move through the Malacca Strait.

Ch. 4. “Should China truly fear an oil embargo by the United States and its allies?” The U.S. did that to Japan and it led to our war with Japan. The USA also imposed an embargo on U.S. trade will China which lasted twenty years after China invaded Korea. And more recently, it imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of the Crimea. Similarly, China has to fear the closing of the Suez Canal to Chinese shipping. And the U.S. maintains dozens of naval and air bases in the countries surrounding China.

Ch. 5. “Will China become a 'revisionist' power or a 'status quo' power?” 

The Chinese have committed numerous acts of aggression successfully since 1950. Its conquest of Tibet, its entry into the Korean War by invading Korea, Chinese missiles helped shoot down over a thousand American aircraft over Hanoi and Haiphong, annexing the Vietnamese Paracel Islands. But he U.S. since the birth of Communist China n 1949, “fought major wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan;  invaded Iraq twice; bombed Bosnia, Cambodia, Libya, Serbia and Syria; engineered regime change in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Iran, and Kosovo….”

The author then assesses the military actions and capabilities of the two countries.  China’s ambition is to drive the U.S. out of Asia. China is developing an anti-battleship missile which may be able to threaten the U.S. fleet. In addition, China has a vast nuclear capability, including a hypersonic glide missile. And China is developing its mine-warfare capability and its diesel-submarine fleet with the help of France, Germany and Russia that are capable of destroying American, Japanese, and Vietnamese naval vessels.  In addition , it has been developing missile-carrying catamarans each of which carries two cruise missiles, travel at speeds up to 40  knots,  Australian-designed and equipped with French diesel engines firing Russian bought missiles. China’s space capabilities have made the U.S. preeminence in space vulnerable.

China lays claim to islands and reefs in the China Sea which “encompasses almost 90 percent of the South China Sea” ranging from Hainan Island near Hanoi, south to islands off the Vietnam coast,  Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and north to Taiwan. China has gradually – which the author refers to as “salami slicing”—taken possession of one reef after another and is building an island fortress on one of them. The danger appears to be that action by the Philippines may drag the U.S. into a war with China it wants to avoid.

China has also been asserting a right to ban freedom of navigation and over flight within two hundred miles of its controlled territory. India, which under Nehru supported Maoist China, concluded a non-aggression pact with China in 1954. Nehru’s maps of India showed Aksai Chin as Indian. In 1958, China did so similarly. China began building roads in Aksai Chin and its control of Tibet and Xinjiang amounts to a threat against India itself. India resents China’s arms sales to Pakistan.

The author argues that nationalism not ideology is the coming driving force among China’s Communist rulers and that war would unite the country behind the regime. In actuality, economic and political changes have created a wide range of special interest pressures which can lead to actions and decisions driven by such forces. The U.S. while militarily and technologically superior at present may not be militarily superior as China grows and some of the U.S. exposed military bases may become vulnerable to Chinese attack. And  “in the meantime, America’s forward bases and aircraft-carrier strike groups remain extremely vulnerable to a well-coordinated missile attack from the Chinese mainland.” Probably the main deterrent to a Chinese attack on the U.S. fleet and forward bases is the likelihood of a U.S. blockage of China’s vulnerable dependency on energy imports and Chinese exports.

U.S. withdrawal from Asia means abandonment of its defense alliances with Australia, Japan and South Korea as well as friendly nations like the Philippines, Taiwan, not to speak of Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, so that is unlikely to occur. Peace and prosperity in these countries depend on their relations with the USA. The U.S. can rely on its military superiority to keep China from directly challenging the U.S. and on China’s continued economic development to modify its political behavior.  But at some point we are going to have to sit down with them and discuss our future relations. As the author points out: ”In particular, we have learned that economic engagement, economic interdependence, and nuclear weapons, are unlikely either alone or together to keep the peace. We have also determined that a neo-isolationist US-military withdrawal may well lead to more , rather than less, conflict and instability while fruitful negotiations with an opaque and truculent China are likely to be very, very difficult. If follows from these sobering conclusions that if a grand bargain is also unfeasible—indeed, perhaps well-nigh impossible—the only option seemingly to consider is that of ‘peace through strength.”

The author asserts the primacy of peace through economic strength, with all the difficulties we seem to be having with achieving sustained economic growth, a new strategy for peace through military strength with our sitting-duck strategy of fixed military bases in Asia and reliance on aircraft carriers. Instead, greater reliance has to be based on nuclear submarines, an expanded space program, an expanded new bomber program, and long-range strike missiles. Imperative is a policy of reciprocal response and building of strong alliances with the countries of East Asia. Finally, Congress is going to have to get its house in order. None of this is possible with divisions at home on the strategy we must pursue.  

It is hard to argue with the author’s arguments. But given the political disunity between the President and the Congress, the U.S. needs new leadership, a new President and a new set of Congressional leaders. The state of our inferior educational system is almost beyond belief. While our military is still number one in the world, our space program is in shambles.  Much needs to be domestically before we can contain the expansion of Chinese influence in Asia.  At the moment, the preponderance of forces is growing in China’s favor.

This is an important book. Our leaders need to read it. So do all our intelligent citizens. World peace is in the balance.

Your Name:

Post a Comment:

  • Richmans' Blog    RSS
  • Our New Book - Balanced Trade
  • Buy Trading Away Our Future
  • Read Trading Away Our Future
  • Richmans' Commentaries
  • ITA Working Papers
  • ITA on Facebook
  • Contact Us

    Sep 2021
    May 2021
    Apr 2021
    Feb 2021
    Jan 2021
    Dec 2020
    Nov 2020
    Oct 2020
    Jul 2020
    Jun 2020
    May 2020
    Apr 2020
    Mar 2020
    Dec 2019
    Nov 2019
    Oct 2019
    Sep 2019
    Aug 2019
    Jun 2019
    May 2019
    Apr 2019
    Mar 2019
    Feb 2019
    Jan 2019
    Dec 2018
    Nov 2018
    Aug 2018
    Jul 2018
    Jun 2018
    May 2018
    Apr 2018
    Mar 2018
    Feb 2018
    Dec 2017
    Nov 2017
    Oct 2017
    Sep 2017
    Aug 2017
    Jul 2017
    Jun 2017
    May 2017
    Apr 2017
    Mar 2017
    Feb 2017
    Jan 2017
    Dec 2016
    Nov 2016
    Oct 2016
    Sep 2016
    Aug 2016
    Jul 2016
    Jun 2016
    May 2016
    Apr 2016
    Mar 2016
    Feb 2016
    Jan 2016
    Dec 2015

    November 2015
    October 2015
    September 2015
    August 2015
    July 2015
    June 2015
    May 2015
    April 2015
    March 2015
    February 2015
    January 2015
    December 2014
    November 2014
    October 2014
    September 2014
    August 2014
    July 2014
    June 2014
    May 2014
    April 2014
    March 2014
    February 2014
    January 2014
    December 2013
    November 2013
    October 2013
    September 2013
    August 2013
    July 2013
    June 2013
    May 2013
    April 2013
    March 2013
    February 2013
    January 2013
    December 2012
    November 2012
    October 2012
    September 2012
    August 2012
    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012
    February 2012
    January 2012
    December 2011
    November 2011
    October 2011
    September 2011
    August 2011
    July 2011
    June 2011
    May 2011
    April 2011
    March 2011
    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010
    September 2010
    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010
    April 2010
    March 2010
    February 2010
    January 2010

    Book Reviews

    Capital Gains Taxation
    Corporate Income Tax
    Consumption Taxes
    Economy - Long Term
    Economy - Short Term
    Environmental Regulation
    Last 100 Years
    Real Estate Taxation

    Outside Links:

  • American Economic Alert
  • American Jobs Alliance
  • Angry Bear Blog
  • Economy in Crisis
  • Econbrowser
  • Emmanuel Goldstein's Blog
  • Levy Economics Institute
  • McKeever Institute
  • Michael Pettis Blog
  • Naked Capitalism
  • Natural Born Conservative
  • Science & Public Policy Inst.
  • Votersway Blog
  • Watt's Up With That


  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

    Atlantic Economic Journal:

  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]