War with China – thoughts and how to prepare

One of the scenarios I am starting to seriously consider for preparedness is a potential war with China.  A few questions:

  • Is a potential war with China on your list of what you are preparing for?  If no, why not?  If yes, why? (looking for additional information to round out my viewpoints)
  • Regardless of whether you agree or disagree this is a scenario worth preparing for, what are some thoughts and suggestions on specifically how to prepare for this scenario?

So much of what we rely on in the United States is made in China, or has components that are made in China.  There is the cyber-attack potential by China during a conflict.  It’s blowing my mind a bit trying to work my way through this scenario and anticipate what shortages of goods there might be and impacts to all things online due to cyberattacks (online banking, the grid, etc).  

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and perspectives!


  • Comments (11)

    • 7

      LNMOt, In reply; No, not on list.  2 reasons: There is nothing I can do to prepare. I do not expect this confrontation to occur.

      Thoughts and Suggestions: Take mahjong lessons, acquire a taste for Mao Tai sorghum liquor, take conversational Chinese language lessons; first choice: Mandarin, second choice, if rich: Cantonese.

      It’s less about a shortage of goods (includes major components for Boeing civil aircraft) and more so about US morbidity and mortality rates. 

      I spent much of my career working in China.  The following quote, provided here is for the recent historical background, indirectly and partly focuses on your themed question;  This quote has since been removed from the web.  At an AFL- CIO meeting, First Lady Hillary Clinton was with some of the leaders of org. She was recorded as saying “It’s hard to threaten your creditor”.

    • 7

      Hi LNMOt

      A war with China is at the very bottom of my list  (actually its not there at all) simply because I do not feel a threat and there are many…. many…. concerns a lot closer to home…..

      A second point is that should it occur it is beyond the level I could have any effect……. (I am thinking they could probably get past my perimeter alarms without too much problem).

      A third point is why would they feel threatened enough to waste their ammunition on me? who’s only reply would be minimal and they achieve nothing at all! What a waste of ammo

      A Prepper like me is only concerned with the locality and its impossible for any of us to reach farther otherwise we get labelled crazies ……

      What……….. I wonder…………… is your interest in a country who has a huge firepower and can reply successfully to anything we could possibly throw at it when there are so many real threats locally and very close to the homes of each of us?

      And your second question….. Dont bother its a waste of your time.

    • 6

      Not on my radar either.  The world has changed since WWII.  We now have a global economy and the two biggest players are the US & China.  There is no economic reason for the two to fight… actually quite the opposite.  

      Of course you will hear a lot of saber rattling.  How else can government send so much money to their buddies in the military industrial complex?

      You want to worry about someone, worry about North Korea.  They have the means to hurt us badly and the country is run by an individual… an individual that wouldn’t be concerned if his whole country went up in smoke.

    • 6

      I’ll join the chorus, I don’t think war is likely. As was said, our economies are too intertwined for war to be advantageous. Espionage, cyber or analog will certainly continue but my WAG is this will be commercial in nature for the most part and not so provocative as to tap your bank account.

      The other reason is falling birth rates, most advanced countries including China and the US now have birth rates below replacement and China’s one-child policy made their situation even worse. The problem we both face is too many old people and not enough workers, not a wise move to kill youngsters off in war when you need them to support the old folks.

    • 8

      I certainly think China has expansion plans in and around its own corner of the world, But its not going to war with the US, If its anything it would be yet another proxy war like in Vietnam or Korea. Neither side stands to benefit from war, China  is making BILLIONS every year selling stuff to the US, and the US loves the cheaper imported goods and services it gets from China.

      Either way NEITHER side will use nukes because its a no win situation and NEITHER side is going to invade each other because it would drain the economy of the agressor trying to subjugate 350 million armed yanks or 1 billion Chinese.

      They will squabble like they always do over trade and satelite nation influence.

      America always appears to need a boogeyman to hate for reasons I’ll never understand, today China, previously Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea,  Japan, Germany (twice) , Spain, Canada, France, Britain (twice) .  I’m just waiting for Luxumbourg or Leichenstein’s turn to be the reason for all of Americas problems 🙂

      Ref Cyberwar, IF China hacked the US or EMPed the place they still could not invade or attack as the US military infrastructure is hardened, as is Chinas. I think conflict among BIG nations is going to be simple economics. Buying / Boycotting/ Embargoing etc.

      One thing about the US that many people do believe is that every time the wonderful US geting into economic dire straits it always seeks to blame foreign powers rather than its own government economic failures and short comings.

      The world is shrinking as are natural resources, whilst the population grows alarmingly, I think we as preppers can have ZERO influence on a global scale but we can have massive influence on a personal / family and local scale by constantly improving and upgrading both our PREPS and our levels of self reliance.

      • 6

        I don’t think of the USA as needing a “boogeyman to hate”.

        I feel that the USA is always called upon to step up and help everyone else in this world. It seems to follow the adage that when you are a big target, people take shots at you.

        It doesn’t seem fair to me that the USA is expected to babysit the rest of the world. They have their own issues to attend to, yet their military holds the line from other powers taking over this world. 

        When France had missiles aimed at Canadian territory, it was the USA – no one else, the USA that stepped and quietly informed France to take a look at Paris because they had a few pointed at them. So, yeah, I remember who had our backs.

        They shouldn’t have to babysit the world, but they do, and I am grateful for it.

    • 6

      Hi LNMOt – I remember your other post. You were prepping with a spouse/partner who was not supportive of your prepping efforts and calling you “crazy”. I hope that is going better for you now. It’s a big load to carry alone and can get very stressful.

      A war, any war, with China or anyone else is a terrifying thought. This old world has seen enough war.

      I don’t believe such a thing will happen from any Country with sane leadership. For the same reasons as others have already stated, there is global interdependence now. We all need each other to make it another day.

      We have bigger problems on this earth and need to direct our energy toward fixing those problems and every major Country knows this.

      You asked “Is a potential war with China on your list of what you are preparing for?”

      I don’t prepare for the “what.” I focus and prepare for the situation and conditions as my first priority, then round out my preparations based upon reasonable scenarios of the kind of additional problems I may face due to my situation, social conditions and region.

      It is impossible to prepare for every single threat out there. China covered check. Now on to asteroid hitting the Earth. You understand where that can start to go, right? Way too stressful for anyone’s brain.

      Cyber-attacks or attempts happen every day. You would be surprised at how many are generated out of Europe.

      I worked for 3 major banks and I don’t use online banking anymore, not because the grid could go down.

      Bank security is not infallible and they have the nifty little indemnification clauses in their customer account agreements to underscore that point. I use phone banking on a landline phone with my bank and sleep much better at night. Perhaps your bank has it also?

      Also emergency stash cash – put a little away every month no matter how tight your budget. Small denominations – you don’t want to be in a grid down situation and trying to get change for large bills (people have been ripped off that way in other crises – dishonest stores said “oh, I’m sorry, we can’t break a 20, 50, 100 dollar bill – yeah, but you really need this _____. Desperate people actually bought items this way and lost much money in the process.

      My remedy for anything happening to the grid from a prepping standpoint is simple. I worked in tech supported environments and this is what I was taught, including in school: “Get a hard copy of anything important. It is a machine, GIGO and stuff can happen, so back your work up and get a hard copy.” I mean also on paper not a drive – you ability to use that drive may be SOL.

      I have a zippered heavy duty prep binder. It contains the most vital information/instructions that may be required in a disaster. Everyone will have different things that they consider vital.

      I suggest that you print and laminate or put into protective sleeves anything that you won’t remember how to do or need to know. Remember you may be hungry, dehydrated, sleep deprived and/or stressed to the max. So consider important instructions relevant to your survival that you may not remember or remember correctly in those conditions.

      This exercise will help you to understand what is really important that you need to know. It is very easy to get overwhelmed with information when prepping.

      My binder is in sections: first aid, food, water, security, cooking, etc. It contains instructions for things I don’t use regularly like how to build a solar oven or a parabolic oven. How to make an electrolyte solution (not hard, but if one is dehydrated, also one is not thinking clearly).

      As for communications, you should have alternate methods of communication established with anyone you may need to contact before the emergency happens. Don’t just rely on cell phones. This is where pre-arrangements come into play. If not communication at all, then if x happens, we will go here or meet up here…

      There are also several books that are part of the emergency preparedness section of my library. These books are grab and go also.

      Prepare for the most likely reasonable scenarios and you will have the most important bases covered.

      • 6

        Good advice here.

        And wow!  I still don’t use online banking, and probably won’t after seeing a former bank industry person say they won’t use it. 

        Isn’t staff person Jon still waiting on supplies for his guest house? Not sure if the delayed items are sourced from overseas. 

        my own take on china – If you have waited on on items like appliances or supplies that come from china because of coronavirus issues, I’d take steps to to lessen your exposure. For example, I’m saving for a new house airconditioner, and will pick one made in Iowa (probably with some chinese parts), But I buy American and local whenever it’s an option (and my budget allows). And hopefully by doing this, I’m rewarding companies that treat their work force better than some of the labor stories I see coming out of china. 

        A lot of chinese companies appear to have connections to their military (see link below) ,and I really don’t feel especially good funding a foreign power that might turn more hostile someday. I try not to fret about it, or annoy my friends talking about it endlessly. I just stick to my plan because China influence simply isn’t on most peoples radar. 

        I am more worried about China infiltration – influence , than outright war.

        Again, please see the logistics guy below    

        this huntsman guy writes about china frequently.

        Chinese military


        Chinese vertical integration of American agriculture. (yes, I’m a farmer)


      • 5

        hi iowa guy,

        I choose not to use online banking, but I know people in the banking industry who do use it. It’s a matter of choice and preference.

        I am very careful online and that includes online shopping. It is important to pay attention to every website that you land on. What was secure today may be compromised tomorrow or 5 minutes from now.

        There is global interdependence now. In the 1960 and 70’s I told people over and over that we had to develop our secondary and tertiary industry in Canada and stop shipping our resources out of the country in a raw state. No one listened.

        Years later, I’m in small town Canada. Family farms are gone in the face of big factory grain farms. The small towns are dying. There are local economic development officers around me who have no clue how to develop business. They think another mom and pop cafe is going to get the kids to stop moving to the city and the retirees to stay.

        They wouldn’t listen when I told them all you have to do is go where the booms have been across Canada. Kelowna BC couldn’t get anyone to work because it was so expensive and folks were moving away to cheaper places to live. Their McDonalds actually closed at supper time because they had no staff!

        Pacific Safety Products was an excellent company who make protective gear for military, police and so on. They had won awards for being “Best Employer.” They wanted to relocate partly because of staffing issues. It would have been an excellent company to bring to town. Jobs in a clean factory, shipping and receiving, office jobs. Plus all the other related business we could have had. 

        No one listened to me. You know where they went? Ontario. 

        Everytime some idiot retail store selling dried flowers opens up in my town, they run it up the flag pole. Great, they just created one job in a store that is probably going to to out of business in a matter of months.

        In another time, at another bank, I watched first hand how our factories in Canada were dismantled and shipped to various places overseas. Some of the equipment was irreplaceable. I can still remember how that felt. We were being gutted for the sake of Canadian companies who wanted cheap labour.

        Now we are all looking around at what is left of our manufacturing. We are a nation of consumers.

        I miss going across the line and shopping in Grand Forks or Fargo for fabric, jeans and linens. They had the nicest fabric and the best cotton anywhere. It’s all gone now.

        I try to shop Canada, USA first, but it’s hard to find some items that aren’t partly made overseas. You really have to read the information carefully.

        I still think we can turn this around. The young business people need to be supported in manufacturing and the technology industry, so we can grow companies again.

    • 3

      To prepare for a potential war with China, or any other country in that matter, I think looking back to the past two world wars could give us some valuable knowledge. If something like Red Dawn happens (both the 1984 and 2012 versions) where the country actually invades and is taking over the US, then looking at how Germany took over various countries and how the citizens reacted and their challenges could be valuable. Now, my entire knowledge of this issue is based off of movies, so take that with a grain of salt, but from what I’ve seen in those movies, the citizens had small rebel forces, suffered from lack of food, and had occasional home searches. (store ammo, have food storage, and have good hiding places)

      I really don’t know much about global politics to know if this is a threat or not. Hopefully you all are right on here and it will never happen though.

      I was glancing some news articles this week and noticed one that could apply to this topic. I didn’t read it all, but here it is: ‘We’re going to lose fast’: U.S. Air Force held a war game that started with a Chinese biological attack

      • 2

        One needs to understand that when Germany invaded much of Europe that FAR RIGHT politics (Republicanism / Fascism / National Socialism was very socially acceptable in many countries as a counter to far left politics in other countries. And more importantly unlike the United States gun ownership was far lower and more strictly controlled making it much easier for Germany to take and hold land. In MANY countries the germans were welcomed with open arms by huge numbers of people.   The United States as a target for invasion still would be insanity for any nation wanting to try it.   I still believe China does not want to kill the Goose that laid the Golden egg. American governments and consumers have made China insanely wealthy.   Why bomb America when they can simply BUY it? 

        HOWEVER if China goes after the massive mineral wealth of Australia I can see the US / NATO having to fight to protect Australia, Neither China nor America wants war on its own land, but just like during the Cold war both sides are happy to fight PROXY wars. Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Vietnam, Korea., Cuba, Columbia etc.