Americans are now witnessing firsthand the unfolding of a dangerous irony that besets our great country—highlighted by the current coronavirus emergency. The danger? The United States has an out-of-control, seemingly wild-eyed overreliance on China, India, Russia, and some third-world dictatorships for many critical material imports needed to sustain our economy, military, and citizenry.
By Ann Bridges, Ned Mamula
SOURCE: CAPITAL RESEARCH CENTER
Alarms are now going off about medical equipment shortages spotlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, U.S. foreign import reliance has invaded our health care system. Much of the basic and high-tech critical medical equipment—surgical masks, respirators, protective gowns, medications, vaccines, penicillin, and MRI and CAT scan equipment—is imported from China and India—for some more than 90 percent is imported.
Dependence on Chinese Medical Supplies
Until 1993 it was illegal to make even hospital bedpans outside the U.S. for the American market. But starting in 1994, China was permitted to export disposable health care items to the U.S., and soon thereafter, life-saving medical supplies used in the U.S.—such as IV solutions, penicillin, and even aspirin—were made almost exclusively in China or India. In a cruel, little-known twist, this offshoring of health care production crippled the economy of Puerto Rico, where vast amounts of medical equipment had been safely and reliably manufactured for years.
These concerns about foreign imports of medical equipment echo previous worries about imports of critical minerals—including rare earths and technology metals—for which the nation is basically 100 percent reliant on imports from China. The critical mineral import dependency has been a creeping addiction for the past 20 years, and it is getting worse each year.
As with medical supplies, the U.S. was the undisputed leader in mining and mineral output in the early 1990s, but today is not even in the world’s top 15 mining economies. Thousands of American mining-related jobs were lost. The irony is that America has enormous, almost unimaginable amounts of untapped mineral wealth right beneath its citizens’ feet that it is prohibited from mining.
The nation’s economic and national security apparatus is at serious risk because of previous administrations’ mismanagement of our mineral wealth, and now its health care supplies are seemingly at risk, too. Recent events have proved that our country cannot wait around for imports of basic medical supplies in a pandemic.
Ironically, America is renowned for sending medical support to other countries in their times of need, but now the U.S. is left wanting in order to protect its own health care professionals! CONTINUE READING ABOUT THE GROWING US DEPENDENCY AND HOW TO REDUCE OVERRELIANCE TO FOREIGN SUPPLIERS HERE