66 years later, it’s deja vu all over again

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

As most nona­ge­nar­i­ans will re­call, Amer­i­cansen­joye­dreal­ly­cheap­Ja­pane­seim­ports­dur­ing the 1930s. Toys of all sorts, noise­mak­ers, fire­works, ev­ery sort of house­hold good from lamps to lace, frames, clocks, cloth­ing, shoes. You name it, they made (copied) it — and on the cheap. Our de­pres­sion helped.

Yes, there was a “catch.” The func­tion and dura­bil­ity of Ja­panese goods was con­sis­tently so in­fe­rior as to even­tu­ally mock even the cheap­ness of their prices. “Made in Ja­pan” be­came the joke of the times. Ja­pan’s army was the world’s largest. Then, Amer­ica re­ceived a bonus from the Ja­panese em­peror for be­ing his num­ber one trad­ing im­porter: De­cem­ber 7, 1941. In World War II, 20 mil­lion died.

To­day’s news re­ports are promi­nently declar­ing hor­ren­dous vi­o­la­tions of Amer­ica’s im­port­codes­byChina.Harm­ful­com­po­nentsof­pet food, fer­til­izer, toys, tooth­paste and ce­re­als im­ported from China are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ap­ple juice, xan­than gum, glyc­erin, wheat gluten, soy pro­tein, frozen shrimp and some fish, even syn­thetic Vi­ta­min C from China are be­lieved tainted. The crash of an SUV re­cently on an Amer­i­can high­way re­sulted from a tire ex­plod­ing, killing two oc­cu­pants. The tire was found to be in vi­o­la­tion of au­to­mo­tive safety stan­dards, lack­ing re­quired cir­cu­lar ex­pan­sion band­ing. You guessed it: Made in China. Thou­sands more Amer­i­cans are rid­ing on sim­i­lar tires at this mo­ment.

On the morn­ing of Dec. 7, 1941, a large pho­to­graph ap­peared on the front page of the New York Her­ald-Tri­bune doc­u­ment­ing the Ja­panese am­bas­sador and party mak­ing a good­will call on Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt, in “peace­ful” pur­suit of a Pa­cific trade agree­ment. Nine hours later, the Ja­panese plunged their dag­ger into Oahu.

Should an of­fi­cial Chi­nese am­bas­sado­rial party present it­self on the steps of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue for any rea­son, I only hope there would be time to bat­ten down the hatches, prime our de­fense and mis­sile sys­tems and this time find our­selves truly pre­pared to give any devil his due. Pre­emp­tion, too, must al­ways re­main an op­tion. Richard Bow­ers Sara­sota, Florida

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