Profits or Patriotism: Which is more important?

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Profits or Patriotism: Which is more important?

Today we remember Pearl Harbor…

Did you know that December 7, 2021 was the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii? To quote the NY Post

The attack on Dec. 7, 1941, shook a country that had been so focused on World War Two in Europe that it had lost sight of the threat posed by Japan, according to historians. The attack killed 2,390 Americans, and the United States declared war on Japan the next day.

For me, today is an eerie reminder that we are in the same type of danger today. Perhaps even moreso now because the USA is in the cross hairs of 3 imminent global threats. To quote the Wall Street Journal

Three potential crises are proceeding in tandem: a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, continuing Chinese pressure on Taiwan and the potential collapse of Iran nuclear talks.

Any one of these standoffs has the potential to shake the world order and produce wider conflict. Taken together, they signal that the U.S. and its allies are at a dangerous moment—perhaps more dangerous than many Americans realize. The challenge for President Biden and the democratic leaders he’ll be consulting with this week is to find a way to show firmness on each front without provoking a crisis.

And all of this happening as President Biden’s disapproval numbers continue to climb. As a matter of fact, if you were to aggregate the data from major political polls and average it out as FiveThirtyEight does, you would see what many see as endemic of hard-left liberal policies.

But, I digress. Back in World War 2, some American companies chose profits over patriotism by doing business with the Nazis. To quote Factual

The German branch of Kodak used Jewish slave labor from concentration camps but continued to produce film stock for the Axis Powers during the War.

Chase Bank was one of many around the world that continued to work with Nazi during World War II. They also froze the assets of many European Jewish customers as a common practice to cooperate with the Third Reich.

Believe it or not, Henry Ford was an anti-Semite and was awarded a Nazi medal, designed for “distinguished foreigners” in 1938. Ford continued to sell and make cars with Russian slave labor for American and Germans during World War II.

As surprising as that may be to some of you, the pattern is repeating itself today. There are many pundits, on both sides of the aisle, who see China and America coming dangerously close to war. For example, in The Atlantic, this was said on November 24, 2021.

China’s massive investment in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may show China is preparing to fundamentally change the status quo and preparing for possible war with the United States over Taiwan. To deter China, the United States must rapidly build up its forces in the Pacific, continue to strengthen military alliances in the region to ensure access to bases in time of conflict, and accelerate deliveries of purchased military equipment to Taiwan.

Taiwan is of vital geopolitical importance to the United States. Its thriving democracy is one of the freest societies on the planet. As World War II U.S. Navy Adm. Ernest King said, Taiwan is the “cork in the bottle” for Japan. Whoever controls Taiwan will control Japan and the Republic of Korea’s shipping lifelines. Chinese control of Taiwan will give it enormous influence over both Japan and Korea, fundamentally altering the strategic calculus in East Asia and give China its long sought-after opportunity to Finlandize both countries.

Perhaps most importantly, Taiwan is the center for advanced semiconductor production; the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) boasts that it has the most advanced foundry in the world. Chinese control of TSMC would provide it enormous economic benefit and would result in the world being dependent on an authoritarian regime for advanced semiconductors – and all that would mean for the integrity of supply chains. Advanced semiconductors are the petroleum of the digital age. America must not let an authoritarian regime bent on supplanting the United States seize these vital production facilities.

And that was a viewpoint from the liberal side of the media. So, its not a stretch to believe that there are many on the left and right who are concerned about Apple’s secret deals with China. To quote MacRumors

Apple CEO Tim Cook “secretly” signed an agreement worth more than $275 billion with Chinese officials, promising that Apple would help to develop China’s economy and technological capabilities, The Information reports.

In an extensive paywalled report based on interviews and purported internal Apple documents, The Information revealed that ‌Tim Cook‌ personally forged a five-year agreement with the Chinese government during a series of in-person visits to the country in 2016. The need to push for a closer alliance with the Chinese government reportedly came from a number of Apple executives who were concerned about bad publicity in China and the company’s poor relationship with Chinese officials, who believed that Apple was not contributing enough to the local economy.

As tensions mount between China and the USA, will Apple see the light and support its country and divest from China? I doubt it. Simply put, they are making too much money to change direction. Consider this quote from GizChina.

Market research organization CINNO Research announced the sales data of the five major brands in the Chinese smartphone market. The report shows that Apple returns to the top position in China. This is the first time in six years that Apple will be on top of the Chinese smartphone market. The iPhone 13 series is the major reason for Apple’s latest performance. In October stand-alone sales, the iPhone 13 series sales hit 2.67 million units.

In terms of market share, Apple has 22% of the Chinese market in October. It surpasses Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi to claim the top spot for the first time since December 2015.

And on May 10, 2021, Business insider reported this

Seven of Apple’s suppliers were found to be linked to suspected forced labor of Uyghur Muslims and other persecuted groups sourced from the Xinjiang region, according to an investigation by The Information.

Apple has previously denied using suppliers that rely on the forced labor of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group that has faced persecution in China. The Information’s investigation suggests the use of forced labor by some of Apple’s largest suppliers is more widespread than previously reported.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

And this was after Apple’s own investigation (one year prior) concluded that it ‘found no evidence’ of Uighur Muslim forced labor in its supply chain. If Apple is okay with using slaves to make its products and make money with America’s biggest rival then, I have no reason to believe that they will choose patriotism over profits. At least, no time soon. But on a more positive note, the iPhone 14 will be out soon. So, there’s that.


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