The 1970s are being relived in America today.
Runaway inflation has reemerged as an economic adversary, inner-city violence is once more the norm, and humiliating foreign policy errors have returned to shame a country that has lost another decades-long war.
New faces who rule with the same flaws as the liberal politicians of the 1970s face the same issues. Only this time, Red China—the world’s communist power broker and nuclear weapons possessor poses the most significant geopolitical threat to the United States. Beijing’s imminent threat to invade Taiwan, the biggest producer of the computer processors that enable modern living, is comparable to the Soviet Union’s Cold War-era surveillance of Middle Eastern oil reserves.
The Western world’s fragility and reliance on foreign energy were made clear by the 1973 Arab oil embargo. When oil prices nearly quadrupled overnight while gas stations were forced to ration it, drivers back then encountered sticker shock at the pump, giving Americans reason to think that last summer’s record energy costs were terrible (which they were).
In the 1970s, gas queues and panic purchasing spread worldwide due to resource dependence on unreliable distant regimes that exposed consumers to supply disruptions. However, the Soviet Union posed an even more significant threat to the world’s gas supplies than the Ayatollah.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the USA and Great Britain devised plans to defend Middle Eastern oil supplies from a communist invasion, according to documents leaked from the Central Intelligence Agency starting in 1996. Western powers even prepared to use nuclear weapons to stop Moscow from gaining control of the world’s oil fields. With a Soviet hold on petroleum, such an invasion may have caused the global economy to collapse.
A communist takeover of Middle Eastern oil fields immediately beyond the evil empire’s southern border was all the more alluring at the time due to the faltering Soviet oil sector.
President Joe Biden is navigating a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, much as Presidents Carter and Reagan had to do while juggling delicate supply systems and intricate international affairs. The reunification of the 14,000 square-mile islands in the South China Sea has remained a top priority for Beijing’s global agenda for decades. It is also President Xi Jinping’s legacy project.
Taiwan supplies high-end semiconductors on an international scale. A new analysis from the RAND Corporation claims that the almost 24 million-person island produces virtually all of the high-tech stuff that serves as the backbone of the modern economy.
According to Jason Matheny, president of the RAND Corporation, the East Asian inflection point is the weak link in the global economy since Taiwan exports more than 90% of the world’s computer chips. He made this claim in “60 Minutes Australia.” According to Matheny, the destruction of the few chip manufacturing confined to a tiny land area would cause an economic catastrophe on a grand scale.
The Middle East’s oil was to Carter in the 1970s what Taiwanese computer chips are to Biden today. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would make matters considerably worse, assuming a nuclear disaster could be avoided, just as the Arab oil embargo almost ended the Western world.