It was a very strange moment at the end of a very strange debate last week betwen the three Republican U.S. Senate contenders. In response to a question about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a conservative who is running third, took a strange -- and never explained -- turn away from that country to declare that the U.S. military needs to prepare for the "next enemy."
Which is, at least in DeVore's mind, China.
It was a strange thing to say, particularly for someone running for statewide office in California. This state's economy is globally oriented, particularly towards Asia. China is California's fourth largest trading partner (Can you guess who are the top 3? Answer at the end of this post). California and China are so intertwined -- just drive through Southern California's Inland Empire and note all the trucks and warehouses, full of goods coming from China and other Asian countries -- that a fight with China would be, in an economic sense, an attack on California.
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But this was not a new thought for DeVore. The assemblyman feels so strongly that China represents a national security threat to the United States that he co-authored a novel called China Attacks. (To be fair, the country China attacks in the novel is Taiwan). You can read all about it here.
And those top three trading partners?