Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
In the 90s, Russia was a spent force. The consensus was that free enterprise had defeated Communism. And it had. Russia isn’t fighting for Communism, but for market dominance.
A generation later we’re watching what may be the largest outsourcing war of a new century.
Russia, like China, rebooted its economy by exploiting the growing desire of western liberalism to accommodate environmentalists and socialists by offshoring their ‘dirty’ industries.
The United States outsourced its manufacturing to China which took on everything from making dollar store trinkets to recycling our used soda bottles while our elites focused on preparing the populace for the “jobs of the future” that would all involve using a computer. Now the PRC has a rising middle class and America has a falling one. China is building entire new cities for its middle class while the American middle class can no longer afford to buy a house or a car.
Europeans outsourced the responsibilities of powering their cities and heating their homes to Russia. While they tinkered with windmills and solar panels, Russia built an energy monopoly. Now it’s expanding its monopolistic control the way that most powers and empires used to.
Russia may want all or part of Ukraine for nationalistic reasons, but, more importantly, because of pipeline routes and energy reserves. The underlying motive for this war is gas and the European nations decrying the invasion were the ones who provided the motive for the war.
The PRC may also be obsessed with claiming Taiwan because of its nationalistic One China program, but the island refuge also possesses TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry which dominates chip manufacturing. If China were to take Taiwan and then help North Korea swallow up South Korea, the PRC and its allies would control over 80% of global semiconductor contract manufacturing. And that would provide China with a virtual monopoly on the future.
The Clinton administration’s vision of a world in which the dirty work of manufacturing could be outsourced to China because we would all be working on computers is colliding with the reality that Communist China is bent on controlling the tech industry. China manufactures 90% of laptops and 70% of the smartphones that we use. Solidifying control over Hong Kong and then taking Taiwan is Xi’s equivalent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with tech instead of energy.
Western imperialism once sought to monopolize control over international resources. And then the nations that had once colonized America, Africa, and parts of Asia decided that imperialism was a bad thing and that it ought to be replaced by an international system in which some of those colonized nations would be offered the opportunity to meet the needs of the West in exchange for limited profit margins. Generations of liberal diplomats foolishly thought that such a system would be sustainable and that the wealth would not be used to build new empires.
But that’s exactly what happened.
The flow of oil money into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, and Iraq was used to finance everything from the Islamization of Pakistan to the Iran-Iraq War, the Jihad against Israel, the attacks of September 11, the Arab Spring, and numberless other expansionistic wars and conspiracies.
All of these are ultimately aimed at building a Caliphate, an Islamic empire, that would reclaim the old glories of the Mohammedan conquests. They appear so chaotic and scattershot because, unlike Russia and China, there isn’t a single imperial entity, but a hundred aspiring ones all of whom, like ISIS, claim that they have the blueprint for a single unified Ummah.
The common denominator is that the vast majority of Islamic terrorism is financed by oil money.
China and Russia, likewise, had no interest in playing second fiddle to America or Europe. They used the influx of money to expand control over resources and rebuild their old empires.
American and European elites had become finicky about dirty work. The added cost of leftist policies, whether labor or environmental, made it easier to turn over the problem, whether it was making overpriced sneakers, hardware, or providing reliable energy to former enemies. Even the most socialist leaders had come to think of the world as a set of commodity exchanges. They outsourced the dirty work and salved their conscience by financing some local NGOs.
That’s how we ended up with the War on Terror, now the Ukraine war, and quite possibly a Taiwan war before too long. Western nations may have decided to abandon imperialism, but all they did was outsource it to the Muslim world, to Russia, and China who are happy to take it on.
Outsourcing has a high cost and not just in the human rights abuses that Western companies like to ignore. The plight of women dying in Vietnamese sweatshops or African 8-year-olds working on cocoa plantations has evolved into regional and even global wars.
Two decades into the new century, we are in the middle of two outsourcing wars. Is there any doubt that as China, Russia, and the Muslim world strive to reclaim their empires using the consumer spending and energy needs of Western nations, that these will not be the last wars?
Or that if we continue to outsource our industries, we will also be outsourcing our future?
Empires and poor nations outsource vital resources and industries. We can either build empires, grow poor, or become self-sufficient. What we cannot do is try to have an empire that can sustain global supply chains and give us favorable access to resources without the imperialism.
That is a foolish post-war fantasy that had us playing the American grasshopper to China’s ant.
America can be self-sufficient to a large degree, but there’s no evading the price that we pay for the lives that we want to live. We will have to come to terms with ugly realities about human nature, politics, and dirty work. Because there’s more than one kind of dirty work out there.
The green fantasy in which we can leave behind pollution and unsightly factories by embracing solar panels, electric cars, and products with green labels is a lie. Green products are no cleaner, they’re just marketed that way. Behind the scenes there are still strip mines, grimy factories, and exploited workers because it takes even more dirty work to make something look shiny and clean.
Outsourcing has come to mean paying China, Russia, and the Muslim world to allow our elites to live in a fantasy world. That has devastated the American working class far more than all the pollution in the world could. And it has unleashed a series of wars which are only beginning.
It’s all a question of what sort of dirty work we’re comfortable with.
Will American elites reconcile themselves to factories and offshore oil rigs or to foreign wars? Or will they go on pretending that there is some magical clean solution to the dirty realities of life?
America can reclaim its industries or be forced to fight foreign wars to protect its outsourcing.
The outsourcing wars have already killed over ten thousand Americans. And as they escalate into potentially direct confrontations with China and Russia, not to mention Iran and Pakistan, they could easily kill tens of millions. If we want to stop the wars, we have to stop funding Chinese, Russian and Islamic imperialism with our wealth and our industries.
The only way to bring the troops home is to bring the industries and resources home.