America • China • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Post

Who Is China’s Fifth Column?

As U.S. negotiators head to China for trade talks, President Trump says he doesn’t care if we don’t get a deal.

He shouldn’t. His tariffs are having their desired impact.

More than 50 major companies, from Apple to Nintendo to Samsung, have moved or have plans to move production out of China.

The CEO of Sharp’s PC unit explains the thinking behind the rush for the exits: “We need permanent measures to avoid the risk of tariffs and be eligible for U.S. government procurement.”

The United States has temporarily held off on imposing the last round of proposed tariffs, but that hasn’t reassured certainty-craving businesses. “We cannot tell what will happen or when,” Sharp’s astute executive observed.

Exports from China to the United States are down 12 percent compared to last year and Chinese factory workers are working fewer hours.

China has absorbed the cost of the tariffs, devaluing its currency and cutting prices to avoid losing customers to the competition—five of China’s top 10 exports to the U.S. are also available from Mexico.

While China’s economic growth is at a 27-year low, America’s economy is running strong. Unemployment is at historic lows, wages are rising and inflation is nonexistent at both the wholesale and consumer level.

This defies the predictions of “mainstream” economists who spend more time looking at textbooks than at what’s happening in the world around them.

But another study determined that making the 25 percent tariffs on China permanent—giving businesses “certainty”—would create 1 million jobs in the United States.

That makes sense. Recall that after the United States removed tariffs in 2000, American corporations moved their U.S. supply chains to mainland China.

With China stumbling and America chugging along nicely, with all this winning, you’d expect universal cheers from the grandstands.

Indeed, farmers, ranchers and blue-collar workers support President Trump for taking on China’s economic aggression, something they believe the U.S. government should have done a long time ago.

But two influential players in the U.S. are not just withholding their cheers, they are, for all intents and purposes, taking China’s side.

These two agents of influence are Wall Street and the corporate media.

Why are they on China’s side?

With Wall Street, you need to follow the money.

Start in Lower Manhattan, where big banks and brokerage houses earn billions from listing Chinese companies on the American stock exchanges. Those companies have a total market capitalization of $1.3 trillion.

Exchange-traded funds, such as MSCI, the largest index fund in the world, are invested heavily in domestic Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets.

One of those Chinese companies is Hikvision, supplier of surveillance technology to China’s concentration camps. The California State Teachers’ pension fund and the New York State Teachers’ pension fund are invested in MSCI—and therefore in Hikvision.

Morgan Stanley’s private equity funds have been burned numerous times by their Chinese investments, most notably with Tianhe Chemicals, a Chinese industrial firm accused of bilking investors out of $650 billion.

While American investors may unwittingly have their money tied up in Chinese companies, American regulators aren’t allowed to look at their books; Beijing regards them as “state secrets.” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation to delist companies from American exchanges that fail to meet our accounting and disclosure requirements.

As far as Wall Street is concerned, it doesn’t matter whether these Chinese investments make or lose money—the banks make money in the transaction fees.

For these reasons and others, as Peter Thiel explained at the National Conservatism Conference earlier this month, the interests of the money center banks are antithetical to America’s national interest when it comes to China.

Now let’s look at the corporate media. Beijing has found willing partners in the anti-Trump U.S. media, including marquee names such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Coincidentally, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Post. The world’s richest man made his fortune selling stuff made in China and imported tax-free into the United States. Bezos has a vested interest in the one-way trade with China that has destroyed millions of Americans jobs.

The Washington Post recently published an op-ed “China is winning the ideological battle with the U.S.” that repeats the talking points Chinese propagandists have been making for decades that its authoritarian model is more appealing than Western democracy.

If that’s not bad enough, the Post this month ran an open letter to President Trump titled “China is not an enemy,” signed by the policymaker geniuses who created the China Frankenstein monster. (American Greatness recently published a rejoinder.)

The authors say, “We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted.” Need we say more? Xi Xinping or Joe Biden could not have said it better.

The New York Times, for its part, doesn’t rely on the opinion pages to make the same point. It ran a piece in its news columns under the headline, “A New Red Scare is Reshaping Washington.”

The term “red scare” is, of course, a loaded term with pejorative connotations evoking the Palmer raids, Joe McCarthy, and blacklists. (All of which, by the way, were grounded in more than paranoia, contrary to the standard liberal version of history.)

This conceit, this inference of groundless paranoia, permeates the story.

We are told of “growing concerns” that the Trump Administration is “fueling discrimination against students, scientists and companies with ties to China,” creating a “climate of fear” and “stoking a new red scare.”

We are told “the United States is at risk of being gripped by ‘an anti-Chinese version of the Red Scare,’” that “Chinese Americans feel targeted,” and “that’s really hurtful.”

We are led to believe it’s because of “Fox News hosts and others” that “skepticism has seeped into nearly every aspect of China’s interaction with the United States, with officials questioning China’s presence on American stock markets, its construction of American subway cars and its purchase of social media networks.”

Politico, an ever-reliable barometer of conventional Establishment thinking, is more explicit, telling us “people of Chinese descent, including U.S. citizens, could face discrimination,” especially now “when there’s so much racism, so much anti-immigration sentiment.”

It’s no exaggeration to say these “red scare” scares are a regurgitation of the Chinese Communist party line.

We know that because Global Times, the official mouthpiece of the CCP, helpfully informs us the Trump Administration’s China policy revives “anti-communist hysteria of neo-McCarthyism, which has echoes of the Cold War,” and “reflects populism, nationalism, and even racism.”

Political opinion warfare” is part of the influence operations Beijing uses to shape public opinion and influence foreign decision-makers, consistent with classic Chinese military strategy: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

And so we see Beijing’s Confucius Institutes spread the Chinese Communist Party’s worldview on American campuses and its United Front department mobilize overseas Chinese to support friendly politicians and official CCP narratives.

Beijing tells U.S. corporations to lobby Washington on its behalf and uses U.S. corporate media to spread its propaganda talking points. Talk about interfering in our political process! Somebody call Adam Schiff!

Photo Credit: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

China • Podcast

Brandon J. Weichert on the John Batchelor Show

Brandon J. Weichert, a contributing editor at American Greatness, has been at the forefront of the Google deal with China to develop AI and, potentially, quantum computing. He joins Gordon G. Chang on The John Batchelor Show to discuss his reportage. Tune in below.

Photo Credit: Zhejiang Daily/VCG via Getty Images

Big Media • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post

Dear President Trump: Stay the Course on China

Editor’s note: The Washington Post on July 3 published an open letter to President Trump titled, “China is not an enemy.” Signed by 95 self-described “members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business communities”—many of whom have played a role in shaping U.S. policy with China over the past 40 years—the letter criticizes the president’s approach to China as “fundamentally counterproductive” and urges a “balance of competition and cooperation.”

In response, more than 135 foreign policy experts, scholars, writers, ex-military officers, and business people signed an open letter authored by retired U.S. Navy Captain James E. Fanell, the former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, rebutting the Post letter and urging the president to “stay the course.”

The letter first appeared at the Journal of Political Risk.

Dear President Trump,

Over America’s exceptional history, successive generations have risen to the challenge of protecting and furthering our founding principles, and defeating existential threats to our liberties and those of our allies. Today, our generation is challenged to do the same by a virulent and increasingly dangerous threat to human freedoms—the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the nation it misrules: the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Chinese Communists’ stated ambitions are antithetical to America’s strategic interests, and the PRC is increasingly taking actions that imperil the United States and our allies. The past forty years during which America pursued an open policy of “engagement” with the PRC have contributed materially to the incremental erosion of U.S. national security.

This cannot be permitted to continue.

China is not as we wish it to be. In our political system, politics is the norm, and war is the exception. It is explicitly the opposite in the PRC’s worldview. Going forward, we must better understand and deal with this dangerous asymmetry.

We the undersigned, are encouraged by the broad and coherent strategy of robust, alternative policies you have adopted to confront the PRC’s campaign to undermine the national interests of the United States and its allies. We encourage you to stay the course on your path of countering Communist China.

We acknowledge and support your robust National Security Strategy that properly sets forth why the United States must counter the PRC. Opposing the advance of tyranny is fully in keeping with the founding principles of America and our rich heritage of defending freedom and liberty, both at home and, where necessary, abroad.

We note the PRC does not recognize the principles and rules of the existing international order, which under a Pax Americana has enabled the greatest period of peace and global prosperity in mankind’s history. The PRC rejects this order both ideologically and in practice. China’s rulers openly proclaim and insist on a new set of rules to which other nations must conform, such as their efforts to dominate the East and South China Seas and the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative,” with its debt-trap diplomacy, designed to extend such hegemony worldwide. The only persistently defining principle of the CCP is the sustainment and expansion of its power.

Over the past forty years of Sino-American relations, many American foreign policy experts did not accurately assess the PRC’s intentions or attributed the CCP’s reprehensible conduct to the difficulties of governing a country of 1.3 billion people. American policymakers were told time and again by these adherents of the China-engagement school that the PRC would become a “responsible stakeholder” once a sufficient level of economic modernization was achieved. This did not happen and cannot so long as the CCP rules China.

The PRC routinely and systematically suppresses religious freedom and free speech, including the imprisonment of over one million citizens in Xinjiang and the growing suppression of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The PRC also routinely violates its obligations, as it does with the World Trade Organization, freedom of navigation and the protection of coral reefs in the South China Sea. Beijing then demands that its own people and the rest of the world accept their false narratives and justifications, demands aptly termed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is not and never has been a peaceful regime. It uses economic and military force—what it calls its “comprehensive national power”—to bully and intimidate others. The PRC threatens to wage war against a free and democratically led Taiwan.

It is expanding its reach around the globe, co-opting our allies and other nations with the promise of economic gain, often with authoritarian capitalism posing as free commerce, corrupt business practices that go-unchecked, state-controlled entities posing as objective academic, scientific or media institutions and trade and development deals that lack reciprocity, transparency and sustainability. The CCP corrupts everything it touches.

This expansionism is not random or ephemeral. It is manifestly the unfolding of the CCP’s grand strategy. The Party’s ambitions have been given many names, most recently the “China Dream,” the “great rejuvenation” of China, or the “Community of Common Destiny.” The “Dream” envisioned by the Communist Party is a nightmare for the Chinese people and the rest of the world.

We firmly support the Chinese people, the vast majority of whom want to live peaceful lives.

But we do not support the Communist government of China, nor its control by the dangerous Xi Jinping clique. We welcome the measures you have taken to confront Xi’s government and selectively to decouple the U.S. economy from China’s insidious efforts to weaken it. No amount of U.S. diplomatic, economic, or military “engagement” will disrupt the CCP’s grand strategy.

If there is any sure guide to diplomatic success, it is that when America leads—other nations follow. If history has taught us anything it is that clarity and commitment of leadership in addressing existential threats, like from the PRC, will be followed by our allies when policy prescriptions such as yours become a reality. The PRC’s immediate strategy is to delay, stall, and otherwise wait out your presidency. Every effort must be made therefore to institutionalize now the policies and capabilities that can rebalance our economic relations with China, strengthen our alliances with like-minded democracies and ultimately to defeat the PRC’s global ambitions to suppress freedom and liberty.

Stay the course!

James E. Fanell

Captain, USN (Ret)

Former Director of Intelligence & Information Operations U.S. Pacific Fleet

List of U.S. Signatures (Alphabetically as of July 18, 2019)

Willard Anderson

Clarence Anthony
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Rod Azama
Director, The Chancellor Group

Bob Baker
Former US Army Intelligence Analyst

Tim Beard
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

Michael Bender
Commander, USN (Ret)

Kenneth Benway
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
U.S. Army Special Forces

Paul Berkowitz
Former Staff Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Joseph Bosco
Retired, Department of Defense

E. Bostwick Jr.
Senior Intelligence Officer, GS-15 (Ret) USPACOM

Christopher Brassard
President, Ten Eyck Group

Robert Brodsky
Captain, USN (Ret)

Nick Buck
Captain, USN (Ret)

Naushard Cader
Board Member/Director
Center for War and Peace Studies

Roger Canfield
Author and

Kevin Carrico
Senior Lecturer
Monash University

Dennis Carroll

Gordon Chang

Edward Connelly, Ph.D.
Chinese, Australian National University
Independent Translator

David Connelly III
Captain, USN (Ret)

Henry F. Cooper
Ambassador, former Chief Defense & Space Negotiator with the Soviet Union, SDI Director

Anders Corr, Ph.D.
Publisher, Journal of Political Risk

Demetrius Cox
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
U.S. Pacific Fleet Veteran Intelligence Officer

Michael Craven

Iara Celeste Diaz

Kenneth deGraffenreid
Former Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director of Intelligence Programs, Ronald Reagan National Security Council

Donny DeLeon
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance

Chuck DeVore
Lieutenant Colonel, USAR (Ret)
California State Assemblyman, 2004-2010; Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1986-1988

Markham Dossett
Commander, USNR (ret)

June Teufel-Dreyer
Professor of Political Science University of Miami

Ian Easton
Research Fellow, Project 2049 Institute

Robert D. Eldridge
President, The Eldridge Think Tank

Richard Fisher

Nels Frye

Art Furtney
Major, USMC, (Ret)

Frank J. Gaffney
Vice Chairman, Committee on the Present Danger: China

Samantha Gay

Kerry K. Gershaneck
Professor & Senior Research Associate, Thammasat University Faculty of Law (CPG)

Bill Gertz
Author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy

Paul Giarra
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret)

Jose Gonzalez

Chadwick Gore
Former Staff Director House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia, Emerging Threats subcommittee

James Grundvig
Freelance Investigative Journalist

Ilango Gurusamy
Owner, Freedom on Wheels LLC and Propellant Software

Lianchao Han
Vice-President Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Heath Hansen
Specialist, USA (Ret)
Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan

William Hawkins
President Hamilton Center for National Strategy

Donald Henry
Captain, USN, (Ret)

William C. Horn
Captain, USN (Ret)

Bradley Johnson
President Americans for Intelligence Reform

Frank Kelly
Captain, USN (Ret)

James D. Kelly
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
President Center for International Exchange-US (NPO)

Miles Killoch

Roy Kirvan, Ph.D.
U.S. Intelligence Community (Ret)

Ted Kresge
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Former Vice Commander U.S. Pacific Air Forces

Emil Levine
Captain, USNR (Ret)

Steve Lewandowski

Claire Lopez
VP for Research & Analysis
Center for Security Policy

Ben Lowsen
China Strategist U.S. Air Force / Sawdey Solution Services, LLC

Holly Lynch
Democrat Candidate for NY’s 10th Congressional District

Tim Lyon
Captain, USN (Ret)

Victor Mair
Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Rod Martin
Founder & CEO The Martin Organization, Inc.

Tidal W. McCoy
Former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Air Force

Thomas G. McInerney
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force

Randy McSmith
Master Chief Petty Officer, USN (Ret)

John Mengel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Paul Midler
Author of What’s Wrong with China

John Mills
Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Director (Ret) Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs

James Mishina
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)

Wayne Morris
Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Steven Mosher
President, Population Research Institute

Denis Muller
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Merle Mulvaney
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

Charles “Chuck” Nash
Captain USN (Ret)

Jim Newman
Captain, USN (Ret)

Grant Newsham
Colonel, USMCR (retired)
Visiting Scholar, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Roscoe Nicholson II
International Consultant

Peter O’Brien
Captain, USN (Ret)

Edward O’Dowd
Ph.D. and Colonel, USA (Ret)

Kyle Olbert
Director of Operations, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement

Don Oliphant
President, DWO Enterprises

Robert Oster
Private Investor

Rebeca Page
SD Metro Magazine

Robert Page
Chairman/CEO, REP Publishing, Inc.

Russ Penniman
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
Former Reserve Deputy Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet

Lawrence Peter
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)

Peter Pry
Doctor and Director, EMP Task Force

Robert Rector

Eric Reddig
U.S. Navy Veteran

J.R. Reddig
Captain, USN (Ret)

Louis Riggio

Eric Rohrbach

Robert Rohrer

Gerard Roncolato
Captain, USN (Ret.)

Warren Henry Rothman

Robert Rubel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Mark Safranski

Junko Sakamoto

Michael Schauf
Captain USN (Ret)
Military Intelligence

Stuart Schippereit
Commander, USN (Ret)
Former naval intelligence analyst

Paul Schmehl

Suzanne Scholte
President, Defense Forum Foundation
Carl Schuster

Captain, USN (Ret)
Adjunct Faculty, Hawaii Pacific University

Dan Seesholtz
Captain, USN (Ret)
Lawrence Sellin

Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran

William Sharp
Former Host, Asia in Review

Stephen Sherman
Director, RADIX Foundation

Scott Shipman
Owner, B.B. Hoss, Inc.

Joseph Smith
President (Ret), Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals

Fred Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)
Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Peter Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)

Pete Speer
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

William A. Stanton
Former Director of the American Institute in Taiwan

Guy Stitt
CEO AMI International

Duane Stober
Captain, USNR (Ret)
Former Reserve Intelligence Coordinator Area One

Mark Stokes
Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute

Fred Stratton
Commander, USN (Ret)

Gary Stubblefield
Commander, USN (Ret)

John Tate
Commander, USN (Ret)

Bradley Thayer
Professor, University of Texas San Antonio

Mark Tiernan
Captain, USNR (Ret)

John J. Tkacik
Director, Future Asia Project International Assessment and Strategy Center

Don Tse
Lead researcher, SinoInsider

Paul Valleley
Major General, USA (Ret)
Chairman Stand Up America

John E. Vinson
Captain, USN (Ret)

Thomas Wade

Arthur Waldron
Lauder Professor of International Relations
University of Pennsylvania

Yana Way
Educator, Way Tutoring

Toshi Yoshihara
Ph.D., Author Red Star Over the Pacific

James Zumwalt
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Jennifer Zeng
Author of Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong

Foreign Signatures (As of July 18, 2019)

Terence Russell
Senior Scholar University of Manitoba

Doris Liu
Independent documentary journalist

Jianli Yang
Founder & President Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Elena Bernini
CEO Oxford Omnia International

Satoshi Nishihata
Washington Bureau Chief The Liberty, Happy Science USA

Larry Ong
Senior analyst, SinoInsider

Chu-cheng Ming
Senior researcher SinoInsider

Photo Credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Books & Culture • Center for American Greatness • China • Hollywood

Pop Gun 2: ‘Resistance’ Hollywood Kowtows to China

Hollywood, the cultural epicenter of the “resistance” to the faux totalitarianism attributed to President Trump, has a vastly different approach to the real totalitarianism of Communist China: capitulation and self-censorship.

As noted by Mark MacKinnon, the senior international correspondent for The Globe and Mail, the sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun”—which, after 33 years of intermittent thought, the creative geniuses behind the project have christened with the inspired title “Top Gun: Maverick”—has the rare quality of being a nostalgia trip that performs the deft, duplicitous trick of including a bitter dose of revisionist history.

“There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket—only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone . . . ”

Why did Hollywood change the patch and stuff the Japanese and Taiwanese flags down the memory hole?

“‘Mystery’ solved,” MacKinnon reports. “China’s Tencent Pictures is one of the main producers of Top Gun: Maverick.”

In agreement is Alan Tonelson, the founder of RealityChek, which is “a blog covering economics, national security, tech, and their intersections”: “i.e., Hollywood Values . . . the filmmakers clearly bowed to the censorship demands of a major China investor.”

Spoiler alert: for a dumpster full of money and access to the censored Chinese marketplace, Hollywood is more than happy to self-censor and pretend (like the Beijing regime does in its heartless soul) Taiwan and Japan have gone into the ashcan of history.

This is “Resistance” Hollywood, which falsely accuses the United States of operating “concentration camps” on its southern borders, while simultaneously kowtowing to a barbarous Beijing regime that is running actual concentration camps for Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.

There is no mystery to this state of affairs. Dumping on the United States is box office gold in the eyes of Communist China’s totalitarian rulers, who will deign to grant access to Hollywood’s venal, beautiful people desiring to line their pockets from a literally captive audience; and, of course, these sanctimonious celebrities know a dirty but not so little secret: there’s no box office bank in decrying the Beijing barbarians’ oppression of the Uyghurs.

This sequel is less “Top Gun 2” than “Pop Gun 2,” with its  self-censorship in deference to a Communist junta that spent this summer censoring all reference to the 30th commemoration of its butchering young freedom-seekers in Tiananmen Square. This is yet another despicable exhibit in the decades long amorality of the American business community, in which Hollywood is just another fellow traveler appeasing a heinous regime to enrich itself at the expense of the Chinese people, the American people, and indeed all who yearn for a world free of totalitarian oppression.

True, too, Hollywood’s kowtowing to the Communist regime once again reveals that “progressive” policies and practices are actually regressive.

Merriam-Webster defines “kowtow” as “to show obsequious deference: fawn” and, more specifically, “to kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in token of homage, worship, or deep respect.” Historically, the word derives from the “Chinese ‘koutou,’ formed by combining the verb ‘kou’ (‘to knock’) with the noun ‘tou’ (‘head’).”

In imperial China, this groveling was required when appearing before a “revered authority,” such as “commoners making requests to the local magistrate, by the emperor to the shrine of Confucius, or by foreign representatives appearing before the emperor to establish trade relations.” (Emphasis mine.) “In the late 18th century, some Western nations resisted performing the ritual, which acknowledged the Chinese emperor as the “son of heaven.”

Recognizing no master but mammon, Hollywood’s “Pop Gun 2” nostalgia trip includes a servile return to the days when a totalitarian’s every sin may be overlooked without even bothering to ascribe its omission to some enlightened, albeit bogus pretext. Nope, Hollywood’s shameful self-censorship is about naked self-interest—and not of the kind one finds in an “art film.”

Oh, Hollywood! Thy name is hypocrisy!

That, you can bank on.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Skydance/Jerry Bruckheimer Films

America • China • Foreign Policy • Post

The South China Sea of the Moon

If you want to control maritime traffic among the most populous nations on earth, you have to control the South China Sea. Over one-third of all global shipping passes through the South China Sea, transporting raw materials, fuel, and manufactured goods to and from the great economies of Asia: China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. The South China Sea is also resource rich, with abundant fisheries and vast reserves of oil and gas waiting to be tapped beneath its shallow waters.

On the surface of the new world of the 21st century, the eighth continent, otherwise known as the moon, there is another area of even greater strategic significance than the South China Sea—the water-rich polar regions of the moon. Controlling this portion of the lunar surface could be a prerequisite to more quickly establishing a permanent presence in space. Confirmed less than a year ago, these water resources are frozen in the shadows of the craters, especially around the lunar south pole.

Much has been made of the potential for humans to colonize Mars. With abundant water, a thin atmosphere, a 25-hour day, and mineral resources, it certainly is feasible to eventually colonize Mars. But in our enthusiasm to launch a Mars mission, we risk overlooking the strategic imperative to establish bases that can access water resources on the moon. Here are some benefits of such a moon base:

  • Only four days from Earth versus a minimum of 90 days to reach Mars.
  • Only one-sixth of Earth’s gravity versus Mars having one-third Earth’s gravity, meaning far less fuel required to lift payloads off the lunar surface.
  •  No atmosphere, meaning landing on the lunar surface requires less complex spacecraft engineering and less maneuvering payload.
  • Strategically located with military benefits including a platform to launch killer satellites in retrograde orbits around Earth.
  •  Land based which creates the ability to establish a harder target, far less vulnerable to attack compared to space stations orbiting Earth or the Moon.
  • Water and minerals sufficient to generate habitat atmosphere, rocket fuel, and raw materials for base infrastructure.
  •  By virtue of the polar location, it is possible to set up solar power collectors on the lunar peaks that can generate continuous power.
  • Capable of becoming a self-sufficient base from which to provision and launch robotic mining expeditions to asteroids, as well as shipping lunar-sourced finished goods back to Earth or to build a Mars colony.
  •  Potential to become a source of materials with which to build satellite solar power stations in Earth orbit, along with limitless other manufacturing possibilities.

Where the South China Sea has strategic archipelagos of islands, the polar regions of the Moon have strategic archipelagos of water rich craters. Principle among these, with the lunar south pole forming a bullseye almost dead center inside of it, is the Shackleton Crater, named after Ernest Shackleton, the first human to explore Antarctica. Sprinkled around Shackleton are other strategic craters, Sverdrup, Haworth, Shoemaker, and Faustini.

As the image below shows, surface ice is concentrated at the moon’s south pole. Because portions of the craters in the moon’s polar regions are in permanent shadow, ice is able to form without getting burned off. Surface ice has also been detected on the moon’s north pole, although surveys so far show much less of it by comparison.

When talking about strategic risks and opportunities, it is important not to get mired in the technology of our time and ignore the unknown unknowns, those unforeseeable technological breakthroughs that will leapfrog existing economic and military barriers. The islands of the South China Sea are now fortresses, occupied by the Chinese military. But these fortresses cannot withstand a surgical strike using hypersonic projectiles, or particle beams, or a swarm of attack drones, much less from systems we can’t yet imagine.

Nevertheless, possession is nine-tenths of the law. The Law of the Sea, much like the laws and treaties currently governing development in outer space, is just words. When an international tribunal at The Hague ruled against China in 2016 in a dispute over its illegal occupation of the islands of the South China Sea, the Chinese shrugged their shoulders, and deployed another missile battery.

Notwithstanding technological breakthroughs that surely will occur in the next 50 years, the presence of water on the moon means that the primary resources necessary for rocket fuel, along with water and atmosphere for human habitats, do not have to be lifted off of earth. In the here and now, these craters have compelling strategic value.

Not only is the south pole of the moon a strategic site because of its water resources and potential to generate uninterruptible solar energy, it is near the location of the Aitken basin, a massive crater stretching 1,240 miles across the far side of the moon. Scientists recently have determined there is a deposit of extremely dense material buried in this crater—possibly the remnants of a massive asteroid that crashed into the moon. The potential mineral riches in this crater offer additional motivation to establish bases on the south pole of the moon.

China has taken notice. It is not a coincidence that their recent, and first, successful Chang’e 4 moon landing was in the center of the Aitken basin, which is only a few hundred miles from the moon’s south pole. China’s not alone. India intends to land a rover on the moon’s south pole this September. Even a private spacefaring company, Blue Origin, owned by Amazon titan Jeff Bezos, has announced its intention to send its Blue Moon lander to the lunar south pole

The technological spin-offs that accrued to America’s space programs of the 20th century are well documented. America’s investments in the Apollo program, in its heyday exactly 50 years ago, hastened the development of the integrated circuit, dramatic advances in rocketry, “remarkable discoveries in civil, electrical, aeronautical and engineering science,” complex software, lightweight and incredibly durable composite materials, and—for a few specifics—everything from CT scanners to liquid-cooled garments to freeze-dried food.

Surely an accelerated program to establish bases on the moon would help ensure American technological preeminence in the 21st century. But that’s not the only reason to do it.

Bases on the south pole of the moon are critical for establishing a military and economic presence in outer space. They are the source of raw materials for exploration further into the solar system; they also constitute the high ground in the great game back here on Earth. NASA has announced plans to send astronauts to the lunar south pole by 2024. Let’s hope that will not be too late.

The space lanes of tomorrow, like the sea lanes of today, will have choke points, ports, supply chains, and trading hubs. The south pole of the moon is the South China Sea of Earth. And just like the South China Sea, it will be stealthily and deceitfully occupied and militarized by a foreign power, a fait accompli, unless we get there first.

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China • Foreign Policy • military • Post

We Must Mine Space Before China Does

The object of the Chinese game of “Go” is to outmaneuver your adversary by surrounding him until he has nowhere else to go. Once totally encircled, your rival is forced to surrender and you are victorious. It has become passé to claim that China has been playing “Go” while the United States has been playing checkers, but it is closer to the truth than we care to admit.

Since opening itself up to the West in the 1970s, China has been striving to insert itself into every aspect of the world’s economy. Once it integrated itself within this framework, Beijing worked assiduously to dominate the most strategic sectors. If the Chinese could not dominate these sectors, then they sought to become so important that refusing to do business with China would be financially detrimental.

China Corners Rare Earth Metals
China’s encirclement strategy continues today, even as the trade war rages between the two titans.

China has become so enmeshed in the global supply chain that, for years, they have managed to work themselves into an important position in the vital rare earth metals market. For the record, rare earth metals are essential for any and all modern pieces of technology. Everything from your iPad to a cruise missile requires rare earths to function.

Beijing has endeavored to have an outsized influence in this market not only for the sake of making money (although they do plenty of that) but also because Beijing knows such an outsized influence would complicate the ability of the rest of the world—specifically the United States and its allies—to have access to these important minerals.

There is some debate as to whether the Chinese could actually deprive the United States of the vital rare earths. In 2010, the Chinese attempted to restrict access to rare earths and the world market was able to correct for this flagrant abuse and keep trade going.

Rare earth metals get their name not because they are hard to find. Instead, they are called “rare” because they are hard to reach. China’s mercantilist trade policy is akin to staking out every waterhole in the desert—only rather than cutting off access to water (although, that’s not beyond them—just ask the Indians), the Chinese are doing it with rare earth metals.

Even if China cannot restrict American access to rare earths, the fact that 35 percent of global reserves (the most in the world) are in Chinese control, and that China produced 70 percent of total rare earths in 2018, and that 80 percent of rare earths consumed by the United States in 2018 came from China, means the threat to American high-tech is real. Still, the United States is working with its partners to overcome this apparent deficit.

Meanwhile, America is focusing on getting its own rare earth mines back online after decades of neglect. Yet, the Chinese have the United States by the short hairs—at least for the time being. Until the United States and its partners can secure the rare earth metals they need, the risk will increase, meaning that global prices will increase. This is another example of China outmaneuvering the United States.

To Break China’s Encirclement, We Must Go to Space
There is one, unconventional long term strategy for overcoming the Chinese advantage in this vital industry. That strategy is space mining.

China has encircled the United States in the rare earth industry. But the United States can still look up and go above the Chinese encirclement, thereby breaking it. Many of the celestial bodies in the solar system—including the moon and the millions of asteroids that separate the inner solar system from the outer planets—are chock full of these rare earths.

Once the United States establishes the infrastructure necessary for space mining, gaining access to a steady stream of these vital resources will be relatively easy. Besides, space mining could be a new market that would be worth trillions of dollars.

Yet, America has little time to implement a robust plan for capturing essential asteroids (and laying claim to resource-rich areas of the moon). China is already on the moon, testing the lunar surface to see where a viable mining colony can be established. The United States cannot simply hope that it can overcome the advantages China has spent years building up in the rare earth metals market.

What’s more, the current trade war with China is not going away anytime soon. The United States nevertheless has comparative advantages in the strategic domain of space. Those advantages are in danger of eroding, however, so time is of the essence.

By maximizing American commitment to space mining now, the United States can hope to never again be fearful of the Chinese in the essential rare earth metals market. Therefore, Congress must move federal research and development dollars into the budding space mining industry while at the same time encouraging American start-up firms to get to the moon and nearby resource-rich asteroids. Fast.

Space holds the key to America’s (and humanity’s) future. It is only a matter of time before a nation-state captures the strategic high ground of space and fully exploits it to their advantage. Chinese investment and commitment to space development means that the United States stands a real chance of losing out. And, as America’s comparative advantages in space recede, Washington will find itself increasingly hamstrung on Earth.

China has managed to corner key markets and integrate itself in the world economy. It has effectively encircled the United States in key areas. The only way to break Beijing’s encirclement, then, is to go above them and harness the seemingly limitless bounty that space has to offer before Beijing blocks that last refuge in their pernicious encirclement campaign.

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America • China • Foreign Policy • Post • Technology

A Court Win for China Spells Trouble for U.S. Security

On the heels of President Trump’s executive order in May recognizing the national security threat posed by China’s Huawei, a federal judge in California has issued a major ruling that hands Huawei a huge, if inadvertent, victory.

Although Huawei now claims that Trump’s order would cost the company some $30 billion over the next two years, the court’s ruling in a case involving its chief American rival may soften the blow.

In its long-running feud with U.S. chip-maker Qualcomm, the Federal Trade Commission launched a lawsuit in the closing days of the Obama Administration. The attack on the company, which develops chips and other technology to power smartphones, was based on no evidence of harm. Many antitrust experts said the lawsuit was based on testing novel theories of antitrust law.

Qualcomm is viewed largely as America’s best chance of maintaining global 5G leadership as the company is the current leader in developing 5G technology and standards. Huawei, essentially an extension of the Chinese government, is quickly moving to overtake that lead—with the unlimited support of the Chinese government. Given these facts, an antitrust assault on Qualcomm—based on exotic legal theories and no identifiable consumer harm—is reckless and absurd.

It is also bizarre when one considers that the government defied common sense and allowed the unchecked growth of other more threatening and massive monopolies, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, yet now targets Qualcomm as uniquely dangerous.

According to media reports, leaders of the national security community strongly urged the FTC to reach a reasonable settlement with Qualcomm to end the case. They understood what is at stake. Hobbling Qualcomm, given the critical global 5G battle under way, would undermine our national security. In fact, the FTC, unbelievably, called a Huawei executive as its lead witness in the trial.

The concern has not been limited to national security officials. The Department of Justice filed a motion with the judge in the case a few weeks ago urging her to hold hearings as a possible remedy if she rules against Qualcomm. “There is a plausible prospect that an overly broad remedy in this case could reduce competition and innovation in markets for 5G technology and downstream applications that rely on that technology,” the Justice Department lawyers wrote. This came after Qualcomm reached a major settlement with Apple on patent licensing—which was a key component of the FTC case. The settlement included an agreement for Qualcomm to provide 5G chips for Apple phones, a win for consumers.

Judge Lucy Koh ignored the government filing and issued a ruling that included exactly the over-broad remedies that the Justice department warned her against. Koh’s decision lets regulators and judges dictate how much a company like Qualcomm can charge for its patents—a kind of power grab typical of adherents to the administrative state mentality. The ruling will damage Qualcomm’s intellectual property rights and undermine innovation.

Right after Koh’s decision was announced, a number of industry and investment analysts said the clear winner was Huawei and that an American judge essentially ruled for Huawei.

Let that sink in. We are in a struggle with China—the world’s largest authoritarian police state—as to who will control the technology of the future. That’s what the current tariff and trade fight ultimately is about; yes, it’s about unfair trade deals and shifting manufacturing away from China and potentially back to the United States. But really this is about who controls the technology of the future, where that technology is manufactured, who sets the standards for data privacy, and how free the flow of information will work.

Do we want the world’s greatest free-market economy to be the primary influence on this technology and setting the standards for it? Or the Chinese Communists who have already via artificial intelligence, social credit scores, facial recognition software, and hundreds of millions of cameras, created a deeply invasive surveillance state inside of China? Is that the model we want here? Do we want to assist their ambitions to control our population as well as their own?

It is almost impossible to fathom how a federal judge and a government agency could be taking action to help Huawei, while the Trump Administration (and many of our allies) are working to stop Huawei from dominating 5G. The stupidity is staggering.

Qualcomm is planning to appeal and stay the remedies, and one hopes the company will be successful. But let’s also hope that a remedy comes before it is too late for Qualcomm and for America’s 5G leadership.

Photo Credit: Zhang Hengwei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • military • Post • Trade

To Beat China, Recognize Taiwan

The Sino-American trade war is only just beginning. Initial reports show that the American side is faring better than the Chinese, but these reports are hardly conclusive. As David P. Goldman has assessed, China still has a great deal of maneuvering room with which to bludgeon the United States.

What Washington needs in its ongoing trade war is greater leverage. And, that leverage will not be found in the economic realm.

True leverage would keep China’s leadership off-balance. To that end, the United States should recognize Taiwan’s independence.

Beijing has long insisted that Taiwan is part of China and that the two “will be united” . . . someday. Chinese President Xi Jinping, moreover, won’t rule out the use of force in achieving this long-standing aim. Beijing believes it is a fait accompli that Taiwan will be returned to Chinese rule just as the British ultimately gave up prosperous Hong Kong. And once Taiwan is brought under its dominion, China will have secured its maritime border.

One China, Two Systems?
The United States, for its part, has for 40 years tried to thread the needle between appeasing China and backing Taiwan’s independence in all but name.

Under the naïve leadership of President Jimmy Carter, U.S. policy shifted away from active support of Taiwanese independence. Instead, Carter embraced the Chinese concept of “One China, Two Systems.” This was a shocking giveaway to Beijing, trading real leverage for empty rhetoric. Ever since, Taiwan has existed in a precarious diplomatic gray zone: it is neither totally sovereign nor subordinate to China. What’s more, China has been emboldened to wage a ceaseless, decades-long economic war upon the United States.

“One China, Two Systems” is a lie. There is only one China, with its Communist system, and one Taiwan, with its democracy.

Given 40 years of history, China wouldn’t expect the United States to be so bold so suddenly—even with a disruptor like Donald Trump in the White House. In the past, the Chinese have said Americans would be unwilling to trade Los Angeles for Taipei—a thinly veiled warning that Beijing would respond to U.S.-backed Taiwanese independence with nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Perils
Would the Chinese go nuclear over Taiwan’s independence? China certainly poses a serious nuclear threat. Beijing has spent much time and effort building its “underground Great Wall,” an intricate, 3,107-mile system of concrete tunnels where the Chinese store and transport an unknown number of nuclear weapons.  

And certainly, China would increase its military brinkmanship. But China would also have to contend with the judgment of the world as its leaders make short-sighted decisions in competition with the United States.

And what would the United States do? Until recently, our options were limited. U.S. missile defenses are sparse. But what we do have is deterrence. It should come as no surprise that China has expressed concerns about the Trump Administration’s decision, at long last, to pull the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Cold War-era treaty barred the United States from developing intermediate-range ballistic missiles. China never signed the INF Treaty and so has pursued its mid-range missile program unhindered.

Today, as tensions between Beijing and Washington intensify—and as China has grown wealthier and more militarily capable—Beijing has become more bellicose toward Taiwan. Xi Jinping has not only vowed that Taiwan will be brought to heel at some point in his lifelong presidency, but under Xi, China’s military has made investments in amphibious warfare capabilities that would make an invasion feasible. China-watcher Ian Easton is concerned that China will act aggressively toward Taiwan within the decade.

Thus, the Trump Administration must take bold steps in not only increasing its defense of the besieged island of Taiwan, but Washington must officially recognize Taiwan as a separate state from China—privy to all of the same protections and benefits that are given to sovereign states.

Fall Like a Thunderbolt
Douglas MacArthur once described Taiwan as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier.” From the U.S. perspective, the island provides an advantageous geostrategic position for American and allied forces to undermine China’s hegemonic grand strategy. Lose that, and China has the ability to push beyond its maritime borders and threaten Japan, the Philippines, and other distant places.

For their part, the leaders of Taiwan have long abandoned the pretense that theirs is the only legitimate government of China and favored independence from their larger, authoritarian neighbor.

As the great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu once said, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” If Trump were to suddenly announce a complete reorganization of America’s defense posture in northeastern Asia, the Chinese would be off-balance.

America’s goal is to either force China to comport with a “rules-based order” (which is unlikely) or to weaken China so much that it cannot threaten the U.S.-led international order any longer. Recognizing Taiwanese independence would completely upend the Chinese position.

Consider, too, if the United States announced that it would most—if not all—of its forces from South Korea and reposition them in Taiwan, this might also prompt Kim Jong-un to seek accommodation with the West rather than continue to let himself be used as China’s pawn.

Each time tensions between China and the United States increase, North Korea has conveniently been stirred into taking action that distracts Washington from dealing more forcefully with Beijing. At some point, Kim will want to remove himself from China’s vice-grip and secure his own interests.

Right now, the Chinese are convinced they can weather the Trump trade storm. But as Trump said in The Art of the Deal, “My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.”

The president can live up to those words with Taiwan. Let’s keep the Chinese off-kilter, right a historic wrong perpetrated by short-sighted U.S. leaders, draw Taiwan closer to the United States—and in the process ensure that China will never achieve hegemony over the Asia-Pacific, let alone the world.

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China • Democrats • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post

The China Problem—Or Is It the Joe Biden Problem?

Joe Biden is a nice guy, they say, but his statement on China should alarm not just his campaign staff but the rest of us as well. After all, he might (if the gods are snoozing) become president.

Last week, the former vice president said this: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west. [Those pesky directions.] They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

That’s dumb, man.

Or maybe devious. Readers of Peter Schweizer’s book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, may remember the account of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, flying to China with his then-vice president father and 10 days later signing an exclusive mega-deal with the Bank of China, the most powerful financial institution in the country. No wonder Joe Biden doesn’t want folks focusing on China.

It is true that Biden’s comments may reflect the received wisdom on China of 20 years ago (when he was 56), but not now. Which raises the question: Is Biden simply out to lunch, covering for his son, or is he perhaps . . . a Chinese agent?!

Bob Mueller: Call your office.

While Biden has been snoozing, China has been developing cutting-edge military technology. As a U.S. defense intelligence analysis makes clear, although China’s double-digit economic growth may have slowed recently, it has served to fund several successive defense modernization five-year plans. In addition, China has sought to acquire technology by any means available.

As has been reported repeatedly in the U.S. press, China has required foreign partners of Chinese-based joint ventures to “share” their technology in exchange for the right to do business in China’s lucrative market. China has also used other means (e.g., theft) to secure technology and expertise useful to its military buildup.

The result: China is on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world.

China also has a fast-growing economy (which has supported its military efforts), aided often by theft of intellectual property. The Chinese are investing heavily in tech talent. China has eight times as many STEM graduates as the United States has. Three of the top eight internet companies are Chinese, including Tencent, Ali Baba, and Baidu (which most Americans have never even heard of). The four largest banks in the world are Chinese. Last year the Chinese bought twice as many German luxury automobiles as we did.

During the Cold War there was a saying: if command economies worked, we’d all be speaking Russian. We’re not speaking Chinese, yet, partially because we still have freedom and the rule of law. And we live in a system that makes decisions democratically. But democracy has its own built-in challenges.

Ivory tower economists are always telling us that trading with China isn’t dangerous because trade deficits don’t matter. Trade deficits, they say, are an accounting concept. In markets with transparency and without tariffs or tariff-like requirements, a deficit doesn’t matter. Most discussions of “trade deficits” focus on the deficit in goods, where economists point out that there may be a surplus in payments for services (the “other ledger”). The usual “offset” is that when the U.S. purchases more from one country than that country purchases from the United States, the mirror image of that deficit in goods is a surplus of payments to foreigners.

Question: What are the foreigners going to do with the money (i.e., the claim on U.S. resources)? Often, but not always, they invest it in the United States, and often in real estate.

No problem, here, folks. Keep moving.

The real takeaway, however, is this: trade is making the Chinese rich. It’s rather odd to hear economists tell us that trading with China isn’t dangerous, when the economists have told us for years, and are still telling us, that trade makes nations rich.

Exactly! Trading with China has made them rich and will make them richer in the future, raising the question: Why do we want to make China rich?

Trade may not be the only way the Chinese are becoming rich: abandoning collectivism and the Communist economic system has assisted them dramatically, of course.

But the central question remains: Why should the U.S. trade with China if China is our enemy? Would the United States be poorer if it stopped trading with China? Of course. But we are so much richer than the Chinese that we could take that hit to our economy far more easily than the Chinese could. They may start discovering that this week.

The lesson here is at least that President Trump should drive a hard bargain in our trade negotiations with the Chinese.

Our democratic system may be far superior to theirs, both for encouraging production and for living free. But our system makes it vastly more difficult to have (i.e., to get Congress to pass) a defense budget that is adequate to meet the threat from our enemies; a governance problem China doesn’t have.

And still won’t have even if Joe Biden gets elected president. Everyone says Biden is a nice fellow. That may be, but that’s not enough.

Asked about a potential Biden-Trump match-up in 2020, Rudy Giuliani said, “Joe Biden is a moron. I’m calling Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot.”

Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo why he had said that, Giuliani asked, “You mean that he’s dumb?”

“No,” said Cuomo, “that would have been a compliment.”

Giuliani explained: “I didn’t mean [that he was mentally deficient]. I meant he’s dumb. . . . Joe was last in his law school class.”

Cuomo attempted to rehabilitate: “He wasn’t last in his class. He was low.”

Giuliani: “Actually, he was second to last, and then the other guy died.”

Guess Biden’s not a Chinese agent after all, just a guy (and a devoted father) who finished last, or second to last, in his law school class.

Whatever. Biden, and our economist friends who are still promoting “free” trade with China, need to wake up and smell the rice paddies—before we have to fight in them.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post • Technology

Trump Shuts China’s ‘Backdoor’ to Cyber Spying

President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order in a prescient move to defend America’s national security against Chinese cyber espionage. Invoking his powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the president gave the Commerce Department 150 days to devise methods of implementing new rules for American companies that wish to trade with “foreign adversaries” designated as an “unacceptable risk” to U.S. national security.

While not specifically named in the president’s order, the Communist Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei, and some 70 affiliates are expected to be on the Commerce Department’s risk list.

The Trump Administration earlier precluded the U.S. government and its contractors from using Huawei products, for a host of reasons. The Justice Department has issued criminal charges against a top Huawei executive, the company, and several of its many subsidiaries for stealing trade secrets, as well as misleading banks in order to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran. The government further alleges that Huawei stole trade secrets from U.S. companies and competitors. Overall, Huawei is widely believed to engage economic espionage.

No wonder that in 2012, the House Intelligence Committee reported that Huawei and ZTE (China’s second-largest telecommunications company) facilitate the regime’s cyberespionage and should be banned from partnering and trading with American companies.

Given this congressional history, in a rare instance of bipartisanship in Washington, Democrats such as U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) have hailed the president’s executive order as “a needed step,” due to the law in Communist China that mandates such companies must “act as an agent of the state.”

Critically, this cyber espionage threat stems from the potential of “backdoor” technologies being implanted in Huawei products and, hence, being used as a tool of intelligence gathering and cyberware by the Chinese; and it has spurred the United States to urge its allies to not partner with Huawei in developing their 5G infrastructures.

Huawei Fights Back
In light of President Trump’s executive order, Huawei continues to maintain its innocence of all allegations. The company has even gone to U.S. federal court to overturn the administration’s previous ban on the federal government and its contractors dealing with the company.

In particular, Huawei strenuously objects to the claim that their product has been found to have such a “backdoor” to aid Beijing’s cyber espionage in America or anywhere else. Further, the company is incensed CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on the outstanding U.S. warrant, and is currently fighting extradition. Indeed, Huawei is almost as incensed as the Communist Chinese government that has detained two Canadians (though, of course, the Beijing regime swears the two matters are unrelated).

Moreover, Huawei contends President Trump’s executive order hinders the development of “next-generation” technologies; “will not make the U.S. more secure or stronger”; and, will result in “inferior yet more expensive alternatives” that will hurt companies and customers and retard the implementation of 5G infrastructure in rural America.

Huawei does have a point here, as there will be an impact on the American economy—Huawei spends about $11 billion on purchases from numerous American companies. Yet the economic damage to Huawei will be greater, because in a poignant irony the Communist Chinese telecommunications juggernaut cannot potentially bestride and “backdoor” the world’s 5G infrastructure without U.S. technologies. No wonder, Huawei soothingly assures Washington, “We are ready and willing to engage with the U.S. government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security.”

Risible Assurances
Fortunately, the Trump Administration and the increasing bipartisan congressional consensus are unassuaged, for they understand such assurances are meaningless the minute the Beijing regime instructs Huawei otherwise—if it hasn’t already.

A cursory understanding of Communist ideology reveals that, no matter what “market reforms” are implemented, the party owns the means of production in a command and control economy. Should the Beijing regime decide to nationalize Huawei, the company would have no recourse but to submit.

Hard to imagine, then, Huawei refusing to comply with a directive to engage in cyber espionage at the insistence of a Communist regime that ignores international laws, treaties, and norms unless, of course, they are willfully and deliberately violating them.

Honestly, what kind of fools would swallow such risible assurances?

As it has in the instance of sanctioning the barbarous Iranian regime, Europe, however, resolutely vows to not “backing down” to the United States’ importuning to ban Huawei from their 5G infrastructure; and, as is its wont, promises to continue routinely bending over backwards for China, its second-largest trading partner. (Guess who is Europe’s largest trading partner?) Citing their fear of escalating the U.S.-China trade war and their own economic interests, the British, German, and French governments are poised to use Huawei.

As for potential risks to their own nations’ security interests, as well as those of their American ally?

Speaking at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, and knowing his audience, Vincent Pang, Huawei’s head of Western European business, noted that “in past 30 years, Huawei hasn’t had any cyber security issues”; and, in an intriguing, ironic echo of the “Open Door Policy,” said “closed doors doesn’t make it better for anybody.”

Neither do “backdoors” on telecommunications products to cyber spy on free peoples at the fiat of a nuclear-armed Communist dictatorship.

Such a Manichean Cold War-era mindset is pooh-poohed by the nuanced European diplomats and policymakers whose sophisticated 20th-century résumés include two world wars. Cue French President Emmanuel Macron:

Our perspective is not to block Huawei or any company . . . France and Europe are pragmatic and realistic. We do believe in cooperation and multilateralism. At the same time, we are extremely careful about access to good technology and to preserve our national security and all the safety rules . . . I think launching a trade or tech war vis-a-vis any country is not appropriate. First, it’s not best way to defend national security, second it’s not best way to defend the ecosystem.

First, I have no idea why he’s dragged the ecosystem into this argument. Communist China is one of the most polluted countries on earth. But, OK.

Second, as history teeters on the abyss of repeating itself, if European governments want to solely concern themselves with “practical” economic concerns, they need to recall the predatory economic policies of the Beijing regime that have never ceased and are only intensifying.

And, yes, again realize that an imperiled nation is an impoverished nation—as is a continent. No person can be secure or prosperous if Communist China has a backdoor to the communications of free nations.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post • Trade

The U.S. Doesn’t Need China to Prosper

The latest numbers on U.S. economic growth are astonishingly good. The land of the free enjoyed 3.2 percent annual real GDP growth for the first quarter of 2019. It would have been even higher—3.5 percent—without the government shutdown.

The numbers vindicate President Trump’s position on trade. The dealmaker-in-chief has been saying for decades that a trade deficit is a drag on growth. And we now learn that almost 1 percent of our GDP growth was a result of a reduction in imports.

Imports are down because Trump’s tariffs are driving down the trade deficit with China. Now that he’s increased tariffs on $200 billion more of Chinese goods, expect the U.S. economy to grow even faster.

Even investors, who have long been wary of tariffs, are now beginning to understand this. Despite the uncertainty surrounding trade with China, the stock market has experienced only modest losses, reflecting the overall strength of the U.S. economy.

The United States has put up with Chinese economic aggression for far too long, under both Democrat and Republican presidents. The Trump Administration has taken a decidedly different tack, pursuing an economic nationalist agenda that insists:

  • We must defend ourselves against China’s relentless cyberattacks on American businesses, and its theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in intellectual property each year.
  • We must stop China’s state-owned, state-subsidized and state-controlled enterprises from the wholesale dumping of products. Flooding foreign markets with steel and aluminum, not to mention autos and robotics, is only the first step. The end game is the destruction of free-market capitalism altogether.
  • We must stop China from forcing America companies to hand over their cutting-edge technology as a condition of doing business there. Forced technology transfer is theft, pure and simply.
  • We must stop China from manipulating its currency to gain an unfair advantage in trade.
  • Finally, we must defend Americans from the flood of fentanyl and other dangerous opioids that are killing them by the tens of thousands. The first two Opium Wars were waged by Great Britain against China. The Third is being waged by China against the United States and its people, and it must stop.

For the past two years, President Trump has sought to reach an agreement with Xi Jinping on these and other issues. And when Xi, meeting with Trump at the G20 Summit in Argentina, asked for more time, the president generously extended the tariff deadline by six more months. The Chinese agreed.

As that June 1 deadline approached, Trump stated publicly that he was looking forward to inking a trade deal with Xi before the end of the month. But the Chinese quickly rebuffed the idea, suggesting that the U.S. president was simply trying to pressure them into a deal.

Then Chinese leaders reneged on large parts of the trade agreement that had already been negotiated—literally at the last minute.

It was a textbook example of bad-faith dealing.

Did Xi ever intend to keep his promises, or was everything he said in Buenos Aires a strategic deception, intended to lull the United States into complacency about China’s intentions and buy time?

Communist strongmen generally hold Western politicians in contempt. Xi may have believed that Trump would go for a soft deal that China could ink and then go back to cheating as usual. Or that he could string out the negotiations until the 2020 presidential election.

If so, it didn’t work. It was evident to Trump—as it should by now be evident to every American—that China simply refuses to play by the rules.

Indeed, in internal party documents, China’s leaders scoff at the very notion of “the rule of law,” viewing it as a Western plot to undermine their continued rule.

Fortunately, we have a president who is now more determined than ever to defend us, our jobs, and our industries from this unprovoked Chinese aggression.

And the first line of defense in the war of aggression being waged by China is tariffs.

The tariffs are bad for China but very good for America. American companies that in the past would have offshored production to China will stay put. Some companies that have already left will be coming back. Whatever the opposite of “offshoring” is—inshoring? reshoring?—we are about to see it happen.

We should expect that China—the Bully of Asia—will try to retaliate. In fact, they have already begun to threaten to do just that. It’s unlikely that President Trump will back down, however. He understands that we buy $5 worth of goods from China for every $1 the Chinese buy from us. That gives us much more leverage.

As far as the soybeans and other grains that China will no longer buy from us, Trump has already announced a plan to make sure that America’s farmers are not hurt. Some of the tariff money will be used to buy and ship grain to parts of the world suffering from chronic food shortages.

If there ever was a time for politics to stop at the water’s edge it is now. The good news is that there is growing bipartisan support for the president to stand up to China.

After decades of cheating in every way imaginable, China has finally worn out its welcome in Washington.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post

Freedom at Stake in the Emerging U.S.-China 5G Fight

As the China trade talks apparently have stalled, we would do well to remember what a very real part about this struggle with Beijing is about: it’s not just trade and jobs, but about who will control the technology of the future.

Above all, we are talking about the coming global 5G cellular networks. By all accounts, 5G is set to revolutionize industries. The question is who will control the networks and set the standards for 5G when it comes to privacy and the free flow of information.

China’s proxy in the fight is Huawei, which is really just an extension of the Communist government. One of our proxies in the struggle is the chipmaker giant Qualcomm. Yet in spite of the willingness of the Trump Administration to take this question seriously, one real danger to U.S. leadership on 5G is our own Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its baseless lawsuit against Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has been the worldwide leader in mobile technology—leading the development of technology and it set the standards for 3G and 4G, most recently. According to many experts, Qualcomm currently has the advantage in leading 5G development for the world—giving the United States a strong position.

China’s Huawei, however, is making aggressive moves to catch up—with the unlimited support and finances of the Chinese government behind them. Allowing Huawei to win the battle for 5G would pose a danger for our national security and America’s economic interests.

Yet here we are. The Obama FTC launched an 11th-hour lawsuit against Qualcomm on questionable antitrust grounds, which were criticized by many antitrust experts, including Maureen Ohlhausen, the one Republican commissioner on the FTC at the time. She, and others, argued that there was no evidence of harm to consumers who preferred Qualcomm’s competitors from Qualcomm’s market position or actions and that the FTC was merely testing legal theories. Given Qualcomm’s critical role in American 5G leadership, it is dangerous to target the leading American 5G company with baseless lawsuits on novel theories.

In a bizarre move, the FTC even kicked off its lawsuit (which has now concluded and is awaiting a ruling from the judge) with a Huawei executive as its lead witness. We are turning to China’s lead 5G company—which our government has labeled a national security threat—to testify against a leading American company. Only in Washington D.C., a world detached from reality and common sense, would this even come close to making sense.

Just recently, Qualcomm and Apple reached a major settlement of all their legal disputes around the world. Apple will pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount and the company reached a licensing deal for Qualcomm to supply 5G chips for Apple’s phones. This is a fantastic development that will help advance U.S. 5G leadership as Qualcomm will help Apple deliver 5G phone capability to its customers. The FTC’s complaint was virtually identical to many of the issues raised by Apple in this dispute—and Apple lobbied hard for the FTC to launch a case against Qualcomm. The settlement of these key issues between these two powerful companies presents a great opportunity to bring an end to the FTC’s case and remove the threat hanging over our leading 5G company.

A Wall Street Journal editorial after the settlement lauded the “peace in the tech patent wars” and argued that the FTC, “should now drop its lawsuit against Qualcomm to prevent more harm to markets and innovation.” The Journal argued that continuing the case would only give Huawei a competitive advantage.

In a sign that there is a great deal at stake in this FTC lawsuit, the Trump Department of Justice submitted a filing late last week asking the judge to grant a hearing on possible remedies should she rule against Qualcomm. The filing makes clear that the Justice Department is worried that an overly aggressive remedy would harm American innovation and 5G leadership. In the filing they wrote, “[t]here is a plausible prospect that an overly broad remedy in this case could reduce competition and innovation in markets for 5G . . . .” They added it may harm, rather than help competition.

While thankfully the Trump Administration appears to be taking the right steps on the Qualcomm front, it should also be remembered there is another key aspect to winning the 5G battle: the potential merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.

While some have argued that allowing that merger would amount to government intervention, what it actually would do is allow the new company to join AT&T and Verizon as a third strong competitor for America on the 5G front. It would lead to an innovation “arms” race and deployment, which benefits the American people on the domestic front, but also promotes and protects our national interests, and quite frankly, our standards on speech and the free flow of information on the international stage.

Make no mistake: China is coming for us. The world’s largest authoritarian police state wants to displace the world’s greatest free market economy as the center of the world’s economy, and if they succeed, it will make us, essentially, a tributary state. Whereas previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have actually participated in helping China reach this goal through terrible trade deals and the almost consequence free theft of intellectual property, Donald Trump has said, “No more.”

We can no longer tolerate this behavior. Let us hope for all of our sakes, and for the future of our children, that he is successful in bringing China to heel. Our future freedoms depend on it.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Post • Technology

Deregulation Will Keep U.S. Biotech Out of China

China’s biotechnology industry, like so many high-tech fields in China, has grown at an unbelievable clip in the last decade. In fact, China’s leadership has identified biotechnology as a “strategic emerging industry” that is integral both to Xi Jinping’s “Made in China 2025” program as well as the Chinese Communist Party’s 13th five-year plan.

Since I first wrote last year about the national security threat that China’s copious investments in biotechnology posed to the national security of the United States, a spate of articles in the Western press have appeared proving my fears were well-founded.

In February, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission published a groundbreaking report arguing that China’s biotechnology investments that are developed with the stated purpose of healing diseases “could be used for malicious purposes.” In other words, China views biotechnology the same way Iran looks at nuclear power: it is a dual-use technology.

Fact is, China would not pose a threat to the United States in biotech if American firms, scientists, and investors were not willingly doing business in China to develop biotech there. These Americans who are helping to build China’s biotech sector have little understanding of the national security threat Chinese biotechnology poses to Americans, as they are focused solely on making money and increasing their share of knowledge.

The People’s Liberation Army and Biotech Weapons
For decades, China’s leadership has conducted themselves according to the “Three Warfares” strategy. According to official Chinese People’s Liberation Army documents, the Three Warfares are designed to “Give full play to the combat function of political work: organize public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, and legal warfare; do a good job of dis-integrating [sic] the enemy’s activity; and prevent the enemy’s efforts to incite discord.”

Chinese strategists view warfare in holistic terms; physical combat is but one (small) component of the larger, non-kinetic, political objective of warfare. Therefore, China must continue its full-throated development of advanced technology and infrastructure to make China a truly great power that can compete with—and eventually defeat—the United States (without ever having to engage the American military).

China’s obsession with biotechnology plays heavily into this mindset. After all, biotechnology allows them to manipulate the basic building blocks of life. Yes, it may hold the keys to curing cancer but is curing cancer high on the list of priorities for a nation with what it considers to be a “surplus population”?  This same technology can, however, be fashioned into a devastating—invisible—weapon that could cripple entire nations without ever deploying troops.

In terms of the threat posed to the United States, we’ve already seen examples of China employing unorthodox technology, such as lasers, used to blind American pilots taking off from an air base in Ethiopia. Further, sonic attacks are believed to be behind incidents in Cuba and China where a number of American diplomatic staff became ill. While these harassment tactics won’t by themselves defeat the United States, they are meant to reduce American capabilities throughout the world and confuse American leaders. Imagine what China could do with biotechnology.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report from earlier this year cautions American leaders that China could obtain and use information on health conditions “to conduct a targeted attack against diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials, or military leaders to induce an allergic reaction or fatal injury.”

That’s just the start, though. The greater level of investment in Chinese biotech and the proliferation of talent there inevitably will allow for Chinese firms to conduct unethical, cutting-edge research into overt biotech weapons. A strategic gap in biotech is arising and will not be fully felt for another decade.

Once China has managed to absorb as much investment and knowledge from the West as it can, then it will have the ability to build out its biotech threat to the United States. The ability to manipulate the building blocks of life is a serious strategic advantage, and it seems that Beijing soon will possess those capabilities unless Washington takes drastic action to mitigate the threat now.

No Country For Ethical Men (and Women)
Recently, Bing Su, a Chinese geneticist working at the state-run Kunming Institute of Zoology, inserted the human MCPH1 gene into a monkey. This gene is believed to have played an important role in the evolution of human brains. In essence, the inclusion of the MCPH1 gene in the test monkey is believed to have made that monkey’s intelligence more human than primate.

Bing Su went on to tell the MIT Technology Review that his next experiment will involve merging the SRGAP2C gene, another ancient gene believed to have played a pivotal role in the development of human intelligence, as well as the FOXP2 gene, which scientists believe allowed for the development of human language, with that of a monkey. Bing Su insists that his experiments are done, in part, to help humanity learn how it evolved by tracking those evolutionary changes in real-time with these monkeys.

The totalitarian nature of China’s political system, coupled with its unquenchable thirst for greater capabilities and knowledge, means that the ethical hurdles facing biotech firms in the United States are not present in China. In fact, while the United States has made it increasingly difficult for biotech companies to conduct research with primates out of ethical concerns, China consistently has lowered the ethical bar. As a result, costs for primate-oriented research in China are much lower than they are in the United States. This has attracted greater levels of Western investment and interest from American universities which means that there is less investment in the United States, giving China a growing advantage over their American rivals in this key industry.

In the past five years, the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences has cloned primates at a research institution in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Chinese biotech firms (with assistance from American researchers and firms) have genetically engineered monkeys in ways that are said to be designed to help with research that could help with the curing of Parkinson’s, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and a spate of other horrific illnesses.

What happens, though, when these same methods are employed in ways that may develop weapons designed to be used against the United States?

Given the slapdash nature of Chinese biotech development, what’s to stop Chinese scientists from making a mistake that accidentally kills many people? After all, China’s rapid industrialization has led to horrific environmental damage to their country (which even Beijing acknowledges is a threat to China’s continued economic development).

So long as America cedes ground to China in biotechnology development, all of these concerns will become exacerbated over time.

Deregulate American Biotech
As is the case with every Chinese industry today, the West is now helping to build a new Chinese capability that will be used to threaten us in the future.

One reason that biotechnologists and investors are flocking to China from the United States is that China has a much lower barrier for entry into their market than we have here in the United States. This explains why America’s biotech sector has not grown relative to that of China’s in the last decade. There are too many government regulations that complicate the development of biotechnology in the United States. So long as these government barriers exist in biotech, China will remain the destination of choice for budding biotechnologists and investors.

Recently, I wrote a article advocating greater regulation on U.S. technology firms, such as Google, that seek to do business with China at the expense of U.S. national security. Yet, until the rise of Donald Trump, Google and the other Silicon Valley tech firms rose to prominence in a relatively regulation-free environment.

For example, Amazon, a firm that reported $11.2 billion in profits last year, has not paid federal income taxes for the past two years because of rules in the U.S. tax code that were designed to give American technology companies a competitive advantage. Now that the tech sector has achieved something approximating financial security, the industry needn’t remain as unregulated as it traditionally has been.

American biotechnology, however, has always been a tightly regulated industry, which explains why there has never been the kind of amazing innovative leaps in that industry that are comparable to those experienced by the tech sector over the last 30 years.

The answer is not to end American biotechnology research. Rather, the U.S. government would do well to make biotechnology research and development more attractive and encourage it to happen here. Thus, Washington must deregulate the life sciences sector while allotting a greater share of federal research and development funds for investment in budding biotech innovations.

Remember, the early tech sector was heavily propped up by federal research and development funds. It was only thanks to the presence of those federal dollars that prompted venture capitalists to take interest in further developing the tech sector, allowing for Silicon Valley to become the dominant industry that it is today. Something similar needs to happen in biotech to goose the development along here in the States.

At the same time, U.S. policymakers must strive to make it more difficult for American know-how and money to flow into the coffers of Chinese state owned enterprises conducting cutting edge research in China.

It is only through competition with China in the biotech market that Washington will ensure advanced capabilities are not so readily handed over to Chinese biotech firms (and, therefore, the Chinese military). In this way we may slow China’s development into a biotechnology superpower and give ourselves the time we need to better compete with China in this vital area.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Government Reform • Infrastructure • Post • Technology • Trade

Stop Whining About Google and Do Something

Some friends on the Right are angry about Google’s opaque efforts to block prominent conservative personalities and think tanks from the search engine and the company’s advertising program. Their anger is understandable, but why is anyone surprised? Despite a short-lived and undeserved reputation for libertarianism, the tech industry has always leaned left. Today, Silicon Valley is evangelically liberal and very rich—a nasty combination.

A move toward a kind of left-wing, techno-totalitarianism was predictable—and predicted.

Why else do you think Google happily made common cause with the most totalitarian state in the world, the People’s Republic of China, while at the same time repressing American conservative groups and individuals?

Don’t forget that the Department of Defense, in dire need of support from American tech firms, last year offered a $10 billion contract to whichever American tech firm could build the Pentagon’s cloud computing system. Google was among one of the top bidders. Google would have been a natural fit for the project, since the tech giant is a pioneer in cloud computing. But, following a protest from some employees about helping America’s “war machine,” Google took itself out of contention. Amazon remains a competitive bidder, but the fact that Google abandoned the project not because it might damage their financial interests, but instead out of ideological opposition to the U.S. military, is—to say the least—disturbing.

This occurred, incidentally, as Google was moving its artificial intelligence research arm into China. Undoubtedly, the move to China will help Google’s bottom line. After all, China is a massive untapped market and it is rapidly growing into the world’s most dynamic technology innovation hub. But everyone knows that China has a pernicious state capitalist system. Therefore, any American firm doing business in China will be required to share proprietary data with Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Even if Google desires to keep their artificial intelligence research confined to the civilian realm, they will be unable to keep it that way for long. Inevitably, Chinese entities will get their hands on Google’s research and reproduce it indigenously—and not merely for civilian consumption. In effect, the next generation of advanced Chinese weapons might be run by an artificial intelligence that Google helped to develop, even as they refused to do business with the U.S. military.

While this occurs, Google creates algorithms meant to stymie the free speech of conservative Americans. Many Google employees believe we Rightists are racists, fascists, bigots, war mongers, and homophobes. They hate those of us on the Right for the same reason they refuse to do business with the U.S. military (missing, apparently, the fact that today’s military is increasingly Left-leaning itself). We embody the America of their fathers and grandfathers; we symbolize the America they hate. It also happens to be the America that the Chinese Communist Party despises. So that’s two things they have in common.

Rightists should stop being outraged that their free speech is being infringed upon by a corporation that routinely collects and sells the personal data of its users to the highest bidder, refuses to work with the “warmongering” Pentagon, and gladly jumps into bed with the Chinese Communist Party. Instead, we should support calls to better regulate Google and other tech firms, so that they cannot act with as much impunity as they have done.

Meanwhile, conservatives should drop their obsession with Ayn Rand for a moment and recognize that the U.S. government needs more power to prevent American tech firms from doing business with China.

In that regard, the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should be greatly expanded. This group is the best way to complicate Google’s (and other corporations’) attempts to sell us out to China. According to the United States Treasury Department, “CFIUS is an interagency committee authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States (‘covered transactions’), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.” If a foreign trade is determined to be a national security threat, then CFIUS can block that trade. This happened several years ago when Fairchild Semiconductor was forced to reject an acquisition offer from a Chinese firm. CFIUS blocked the deal out of fear that China would be able to corner the all-important semiconductor industry. CFIUS needs more robust powers, though, to fully defend against Chinese attempts to gain access to critical American technology through trade.

Also, the Pentagon should increase its understanding of the threat that unfettered free trade between U.S. tech companies and China poses to our country.

Few may realize it, but our leaders are woefully uninformed about the extent and nature of the threat that doing trade with China poses the United States, especially in the high-tech sector. This is partly because the private sector and public sector are both terrible about sharing information with each other. This is also because the incentives for American businesses to deal with China are fundamentally different from the incentives for America’s defense establishment to stunt trade with China.

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) was a great first step toward bridging this knowledge gap. Established in 2015 by the Department of Defense, the DIU is headquartered in Mountain View, California with offices in Boston and Austin (two other major tech corridors in the United States). Currently, the group is focused on providing funds to tech companies that assist the Department of Defense in resolving critical national security issues. It is staffed by a who’s-who compendium of tech sector notables, academics, military officials, and hedge fund types who specialize in funding technology firms.

Yet, it is not enough.

A greater synthesis between the national security sector, the business community, academia, and the political leadership of the United States is needed if we truly and effectively want to prevent American tech firms from building the weapons of tomorrow for China to use against us today. The goal should be to create a comprehensive capability that can protect vital intellectual property and punish corporations acting against America’s best interests. DIU would complement an expanded CFIUS—as well as a stricter regulatory policy for U.S. tech firms—by providing key insights and intelligence to policymakers charged with oversight of the tech sector.

The time for outrage over Google’s transgressions against the American people has long passed. We on the Right have an ally in the White House with a skeptical view both of the tech industry and China’s intentions. What’s more, President Trump is more willing than his predecessors to make corporations pay for their actions when they harm America.

Rightists everywhere would do well to use this to their advantage. The administration has an opportunity to rein in Google and other tech giants that, left to their own devices, would sell out this country, trample our God-given freedom of speech, and empower the Chinese Communist Party. Time is of the essence.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Deterrence • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • military • North Korea • Post • Russia • Technology

Washington Is Still Not Getting Space Force Right

At this year’s Space Symposium in Washington, D.C., Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan opened his remarks by indicating the United States government takes seriously the threat that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose to our country’s space systems. We rely too much on satellites to provide the necessary bandwidth that our highly technological and interconnected society—as well as our advanced military—requires to function.

While these linkages in space are key for America’s survival (and our global dominance), they are surprisingly poorly defended. Our enemies know this and they’ve made preparations to hold these systems hostage, should tensions escalate between us.

Shanahan’s starkest comments revolved around his claim that China already had deployed advanced ground-based lasers intended to blind and dazzle sensitive American satellites in low-earth orbit. He cautioned that in time, Beijing undoubtedly would seek to deploy laser weapons not only on the ground but ultimately in space itself. Shanahan further stressed that Russia was mirroring China’s development of what’s known in the trade as “counterspace” capabilities.

But, suppose China (and Russia) is much further along in these projects than previously thought.

For those of us who have worked on national security space policy, the threat posed to America’s satellites is nothing new. That the Trump Administration is taking the threat seriously after his predecessors all but ignored it is refreshing. Even so, the fact that the elites in Washington are only now responding to the threat in space is terrifying. After all, China tested its first ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in 2008. Chinese academics and foreign policy leaders have written an avalanche of papers advocating for the placement of laser weapons in space going back to 2005.

Our enemies now have significant capabilities in space and pose a direct threat to our systems there precisely because Washington ignored the threat for so long.

Is China Weaponizing the Moon?
It’s not just ground-based counterspace weapons, such as lasers and anti-satellite missiles, that threaten our satellites. There is some evidence suggesting that China is already placing rudimentary weapons systems in orbit—not just around Earth, but also near the moon. When China launched its historic Chang’e-4 mission to explore the dark side of the moon, they also deployed some micro-satellites around the moon.

Placed in what’s known as Lagrangian Point-2 (L2), which is an orbit between Earth and the moon, China told the world that the micro-satellites were meant to serve as communication relays between the Chang’e-4 and Beijing. But, some defense experts worry that the orbits of the Chinese microsatellites place them precariously close to America’s critical defense satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) around Earth.

The Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) constellation of satellites exists in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), which links together America’s military deployed around the world. There are other critical satellites in geosynchronous orbits, such as key spy satellites as well as early missile warning satellites. Due to their distance from Earth and their complexity, these American military satellites are extremely hard to replace in the event of an emergency. Should those systems be lost or degraded, the U.S. military could be left deaf, dumb, and blind.

As Jeff Gossel, the top intelligence engineer at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center told Defense One in October:

You could fly some sort of a weapon around the moon and it comes back—it could literally come at [objects] in GEO . . . And we would never know because there is nothing watching in that direction . . . Why do you need a relay satellite flying around L2? So you can communicate with something that’s going to land on the other side of the moon—or so you can fly around the other side of the moon? And what would that mean for our assets at GEO?

How could a defense establishment that is spending $787 billion on itself have let the Chinese gain on America’s once-unquestioned dominance in space in such a short period of time? What’s more, why haven’t we done more to counter the threat posed in the strategic high ground of space?

People should not assume that just because President Trump has spoken (and tweeted) in favor of the creation of a space force that America’s bloated defense bureaucracy will allow it to happen. In fact, the Pentagon already has been resisting the creation of a fully independent, sixth branch of the United States military, by ensuring that any space force would be subordinate to the Department of the Air Force. As the bureaucratic battle intensifies, the Chinese continue developing and deploying systems with which to render our Armed Forces (and, potentially, even America’s civilian population) deaf, dumb, and blind through dazzling anti-satellite attacks.

The United States is still trying to fight and win World War II without realizing that the world has moved beyond those geopolitical realities because the battlefield has expanded. Our adversaries don’t want to engage in a fair fight and technology exists that will help them avoid a fair fight with the U.S. military while still achieving their strategic objectives. Space plays a significant part in these unconventional strategies for defeating the United States. But, don’t tell the Pentagon. They’re too busy purchasing another $13 billion aircraft carrier that will be useless, thanks to Chinese defenses, should we ever really need to fight Beijing.

We Needed a Space Force Yesterday
In 2000, when Donald Rumsfeld headed the Space Commission, he advised the Pentagon to go slow and start small when creating a space force. At the time, the threats posed to America’s space architecture were negligible.

That was then. Almost 20 years on, things have changed dramatically. The threats to American satellite constellations are immense and growing while America’s ability to defend itself in space is getting weaker. Because Washington delayed creating a true space force for the last 20 years, bigger, bolder, and more immediate action to counter the newer and larger threats today is vital.

But the Pentagon essentially disregards the president’s calls for an independent space force, with only half-hearted responses. The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, still “needs more convincing!” It will take a full-on Chinese or Russian Pearl Harbor-style attack on America’s satellite constellations to convince the Senate to fund a space force in the same way it took 9/11 to generate a serious response to what was then the growing scourge of terrorism.

A robust space force that is detached from the other branches is the only way effectively to defend our satellites. In order to achieve the mission goal of preserving America’s long-held dominance in space, such a force will also require unconventional leadership willing to experiment with new methods of warfare. But for that to happen, Washington’s bureaucrats must wake up to the real threats we face and undertake to defend America in spite of their patent dislike for the man who happens to be president.

Washington’s Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party will be our undoing. Either we act decisively today or we risk a Pearl Harbor in space tomorrow.

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America • China • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post • Trade • Trump White House

China vs. A Liberal World Order

For six decades after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Great Britain was able to underwrite a liberal world order based on freedom of navigation and free trade. The unification of Germany in the early 1870s threatened this system. Although Great Britain was willing to accommodate Germany, Germany did not wish to be accommodated. Instead, it followed a mercantilist trade policy and sought to challenge Great Britain at sea.

The resulting tensions arising from Germany’s trade policies and its decision to build a navy capable of challenging the Royal Navy set the world on the path to the Great War of 1914.

One must always be careful with historical analogies, but there are some striking similarities between the British-German relationship in the latter 19th century and the United States-Chinese relationship today.

Since the end of World War II, the United States, like Great Britain in the 19th century, has underwritten a liberal world order, seeking to accommodate any countries willing to follow the rules of international cooperation. For historical and cultural reasons, the Peoples’ Republic of China, like Germany before it, has rejected accommodation. Instead, China has used its Belt-Road Initiative to extend its economic and political influence over the Asian continent. Especially worrisome has been its attempt to dominate the South China Sea.

Read the rest at the Providence Journal.

America • China • Economy • Greatness Agenda • Infrastructure • military • Trade

Jones Act Ensures U.S. Military Dominance and Civilian Jobs

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America’s armed forces are the most powerful on earth. While other countries can boast significant ground forces and nuclear capabilities, the factor that separates the United States and places her at the top of the military food chain is the United States Navy.

With a total of 24 total aircraft carriers, 19 more than the next closest country (Italy), and as many as 15 more in the planning phases, a continued commitment to the conditions that fostered this extraordinary advantage in military mobility is crucial. That commitment begins with defending the Jones Act against the recent slew of off the mark critiques lobbed against it, especially in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season and its effects on Puerto Rico.

Many on the Right, including noted columnist George Will, have attempted to marginalize the importance of the Jones Act. Will wrote in National Review that, “Spurious ‘national security’ concerns tend to descend into slapstick.”

On the contrary, the Jones Act is key to maintaining many economic and manufacturing advantages against an increasingly influential China. Just last year, China’s Tsingshan Group, the world’s largest steel manufacturer, struck a controversial deal with U.S.-based stainless-steel manufacturer Allegheny Technology Incorporated (ATI).

The deal came together quietly, with many American observers now looking for answers from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as to how and why a heavily subsidized Chinese company could receive such advantageous treatment. But to see China’s attempt to further deepen its influence and increase America’s dependence on its supply chain of raw materials should not come as a shock considering the massive trade imbalances and unchecked and repeated abuses in intellectual property theft, espionage, and cyber-crimes carried out by the Chinese against the United States in recent history.

At its core, the Jones Act mandates that all goods, including those needed to carry out military operations, must be transported by water between U.S. ports on U.S. flagged ships that are constructed in the United States and owned by U.S. citizens. They must also be manned by U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

That is a good thing for American workers in the shipbuilding, shipping, and general maritime industry as it protects their roles from the job-crushing outsourcing that exists in so many other industries.

The Jones Act also has positive effects elsewhere in the American economy. The Foundation of the U.S. Domestic Maritime Industry estimates the Jones Act contributes $100 billion to the economy, including $29 billion in annual wages as well as the creation of 500,000 jobs—one shipyard job is estimated to create four others across other corresponding industries in the economy.

It can be argued that in light of Tsingshan Group’s deal with ATI, perhaps some expansion of the Jones Act may be in order. If the worst-case scenario of a massive global conflict presents itself down the road, the United States faces a logistical nightmare should our opponent in any aggression be a country relied upon by the United States for the raw materials needed.

In other words, if China decides to “cut off” America in the case of total war, the United States would need to rely further on its domestic raw materials industry that saw an almost 5 percent spike in shipments in 2018 as a result of President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The issue of reliance on foreign production of raw materials should also receive increased scrutiny in light of last month’s cyber-attack against Norsk Hydro, a raw materials producer that boasts the 10th-largest output of aluminum in the world. The attack was carried out via ransomware known as LockerGoga.

Moreover, the importance of domestic raw materials production should also be highlighted as America eventually moves towards another round of major infrastructure spending. With the possibility of a $1 trillion bill materializing during the current legislative session, it would behoove the Trump Administration to keep the monies allocated for the raw materials needed to rebuild America actually in America.

Whether through ignorance or a lack of foresight, voices critical of the Jones Act have clearly missed the point.  Our national security needs are promoted by the Jones Act now more than ever.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Foreign Policy • Post

China Is Slowly Killing King Dollar

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China’s economic war against the United States has entered a new and deadlier phase. After gutting U.S. manufacturing under the guise of “free” trade, China is co-opting America’s high-tech dominance by wooing tech giants, like Apple and Google.

Meanwhile, China expands its reach by building out its Belt and Road Initiative (also known as One Belt, One Road), aimed at linking all of Eurasia and Africa together under Chinese-dominated trading routes. As this has occurred, Beijing has taken aim at the very heart of America’s global dominance: the U.S. dollar.

Herein lies the most significant threat to the American-led world order since its inception following the end of World War II. And, unlike previous threats to that order, China’s attempt to kill King Dollar just might work.

Durable Disorder and the 100-Year Marathon
Sean McFate makes the case that we are living in an era of “durable disorder” in his new book, The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder. McFate also asserts that China is likely already at war with the United States—it’s just that Washington can’t comprehend the style of shadow warfare that Beijing is waging.

In his 2015 book, The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower, Michael Pillsbury of the Hudson Institute claims the Chinese Communist Party has identified 2049 as the final year of its shadow war against the United States (which began the moment that Mao defeated the nationalists in the Chinese Civil War in 1949). By 2049, Beijing expects not only to have become an equal power to the United States, but to have displaced the United States as the world’s ba, or hegemon.

Military power is only an ancillary component of China’s grand strategy of displacement and eventual world domination. This is especially shocking, as Washington pours more and more money (that it doesn’t have) into its defense establishment—thinking that a larger military budget will deter upstart rivals such as China from challenging the United States.

For all the money Washington has poured into the Pentagon, however, Beijing remains undeterred. The United States spent $1.5 trillion over 10 years on the F-35 fighter and builds Ford-class supercarriers at a cost of $13 billion each. Meantime, Beijing spends a fraction of that on initiatives aimed at displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and replacing it with China’s renminbi.

Check Your “Exorbitant Privilege”
Since 1945, the U.S. dollar has reigned as the world’s reserve currency mainly because oil has been traded in dollars. Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing enviously referred to the dollar’s hegemony as an “exorbitant privilege.” Since then, various countries ranging from rivals, like China and Russia; to “allies,” such as France, have yearned for a multipolar financial system not grounded in the dollar. Such a reality would ensure that the American “hyperpower” was permanently weakened and restrained.

Should the U.S. dollar cease to be the world’s reserve currency then Washington not only would have to reform its absurd spending policies virtually overnight (fat chance of that happening), but America would be on the proverbial hook to quickly repay its vast international debt—which is almost impossible.

With a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100 percent, there is no realistic way for the United States to pay down its debt should those foreign powers demand it. In essence, it would lead to the end of the American world order and it would cause utter chaos in the U.S. socio-economic and political system as America struggled to repay its onerous debt.

Given this reality, Beijing does not need to wage a world war or to defeat the United States in combat. Instead, Beijing only needs to win the economic war it has been fighting against the United States for decades and continue strategically to invest in its One Belt, One Road initiative, advancing its economic interests at America’s expense. Meanwhile, America chases its tail in the Middle East or vainly expands a military that already costs us $787 billion a year.

The final, decisive battle in China’s ongoing economic war against the United States will be when the petro-yuan, not the petrodollar, reigns supreme.

The Real End to American Hegemony
In 2018, China made an historic deal with Saudi Arabia that allowed for some oil to be traded in China’s currency. Thus, the petro-yuan was born.

The move had significant backing in places like Saudi Arabia and France. Russia, which has been squeezed hard by American sanctions since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, supported the move to allow for oil to be traded on the petro-yuan as well.

Other American rivals, including Iran and Venezuela, have long desired to trade oil in currencies other than the dollar, so as to avoid U.S. sanctions. As the global power center shifts away from the West and toward Asia, coupled with Washington’s unpopular foreign policy, the end of King Dollar approaches. As the dollar goes, so goes one of America’s greatest advantages in geopolitics.

Many elites in Washington have scoffed at the ability of China to push the U.S. dollar from its hegemonic position. But these are the same people who missed the threat that China posed to America’s working-class when they enticed American manufacturing firms to leave the United States 30 years ago and move to China. From that moment on, China’s rapid rise from backwater agrarian country to a major world power was made possible.

Many global commodities traders are taking the Chinese effort more seriously—particularly those at multinational commodity firms, such as Glencore. Yes, the Chinese effort remains small and restrained. But this is precisely how other significant Chinese efforts to displace the United States have started. What’s more, just as with those other Chinese efforts, foreign powers that are increasingly incensed with the United States have expressed interest in the Chinese initiative. Inevitably many more powers will bandwagon with China.

With Friends Like These…
For example, the United States continues threatening to pass the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act, which aims to remove sovereign immunity from U.S. antitrust laws. Should NOPEC become law, the OPEC states—notably Saudi Arabia—would  be open to massive lawsuits because their efforts to curb oil output in order to raise prices violate U.S. antitrust laws. In response to the most recent attempt to pass the NOPEC bill, Riyadh threatened to stop trading oil in U.S. dollars entirely.

While it is unlikely that NOPEC will become law anytime soon—or that Saudi Arabia would be able to switch overnight from relying on King Dollar—the mere fact that Riyadh issued such a threat implies one thing: America’s dollar hegemony is waning even among allies.

The most likely beneficiary of the Saudi threat, of course, would be China.

Therefore, Washington must address its egregious spending problem. This dire turn of circumstances also should inspire American leaders to devise a more restrained foreign policy that enticed others to join with us, rather than stand against us. And, rather than lambasting the search for alternative energy, such as the development of both nuclear fission and fusion technology, American policymakers should engage in a new Manhattan Project to allow for America, rather than another state, to pioneer what could be the nuclear energy revolution (thereby negating the entire basis of a petro-currency).

Losing the petrodollar to China would be the coup de grace that Beijing has been seeking against the United States since 1949. Sean McFate believes that there will only be two types of states in this age of durable disorder: those who exploit the chaos for their benefit and those who are exploited. China is exploiting the chaos through its mastery of guile. Meanwhile, according to McFate, the United States is rapidly becoming an exploited nation because of its “ossified” strategic culture.

Once King Dollar is dead, the U.S.-led world order is truly gone, and China wins—without ever having fired a shot.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Asia • China • Foreign Policy • Post

China’s Han Superstate: The New Third Reich

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More than a million people, for no reason other than their ethnicity or religion, are held in concentration camps in what Beijing calls the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and what traditional inhabitants of the area, the Uighurs, say is East Turkestan. In addition to Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs are also held in these facilities.

Families in this troubled area, shown on maps as the northwestern portion of the People’s Republic of China, are being torn apart. The children of imprisoned Uighur and Kazakh parents are “confined” to “schools” that are separated from the outside by barbed wire and heavy police patrols. They are denied instruction in their own language, forced to learn Mandarin Chinese. The controls are part of a so-called “Hanification” policy, a program of forced assimilation. “Han” is the name of China’s dominant ethnic group.

Because Uighurs and Kazakhs are dying in the camps in considerable numbers, Beijing is building crematoria to eradicate burial traditions while disposing of corpses.

The camps, a crime against humanity, are spreading. China is now building similar facilities, given various euphemistic names such as “vocational training centers,” in Tibet, in China’s southwest.

At the same time, Beijing is renewing its attempt to eliminate religion country-wide. Christians have come under even greater attack across China, as have Buddhists. China’s ruler, Xi Jinping, demands that the five recognized religions—official recognition is a control mechanism—”Sinicize.” The Chinese, as a part of this ruthless and relentless effort, are destroying mosques and churches, forcing devout Muslims to drink alcohol and eat pork, inserting Han officials to live in Muslim homes, and ending religious instruction for minors.

These attempts, which have antecedents in Chinese history, have been intensified since Xi became the Communist Party’s general secretary in November 2012.

At the same time, Xi, far more than his predecessors, has been promoting the concept of a world order ruled by only one sovereign, a Chinese one.

In broad outline, Xi’s vision of the world is remarkably similar to that of the Third Reich, at least before the mass murders.

The Third Reich and the People’s Republic share a virulent racism, in China politely referred to as “Han chauvinism.” The Han category, which is said to include about 92% of the population of the People’s Republic, is in truth the amalgamation of related ethnic groups.

Chinese mythology holds that all Chinese are descendants of the Yellow Emperor, who is thought to have ruled in the third millennium BCE. The Chinese consider themselves to be a branch of humanity separate from the rest of the world, a view reinforced by indoctrination in schools, among other means.

Chinese scholars support this notion of Chinese separateness with the “Peking Man” theory of evolution, which holds the Chinese do not share a common African ancestor with the remainder of humankind. This theory of the unique evolution of the Chinese has, not surprisingly, reinforced racist views.

As a result of racism, many in China, including officials, “believe themselves to be categorically different from and impliedly superior to the rest of the humankind,” writes Fei-Ling Wang, author of The China Order: Centralia, World Empire, and the Nature of Chinese Power.

The racism, therefore, is institutionalized and openly promoted. That was painfully evident last year in the 13-minute skit on China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala, the premier television show in China. In “Let’s Celebrate Together,” a Chinese actress in blackface played a Kenyan mother, who had an enormous bosom and ridiculously large buttocks. Worse, her sidekick was a human-size monkey. The combination of the monkey and the woman was an echo of the Hubei Provincial Museum exhibit, “This is Africa,” which in 2017 displayed photographs of Africans flush next to images of primates.

In recent years, there have been many ugly portrayals of Africans in Chinese media, and although the skit last year was not the worst, it was striking because the main state broadcaster, by airing it to about 800 million viewers, made it clear Chinese officials think of Africans as both objects of derision and subhuman. In these circumstances, it is a safe assumption that these views are shared by the Beijing leadership, which, alarmingly, is making more frequent race-based appeals to Chinese people—and not only those in China.

This century’s master race has a problem, however. China, now the world’s most populous state, faces rapid demographic decline. Last year’s birth rate was the lowest since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. The country’s population will peak in 2029, according to the World Population Prospects 2017, published by the United Nations Population Division. But the high-point could in fact come in just the next couple years, as the U.N. numbers are based on Beijing’s overly optimistic assumptions. China’s official demographers, for instance, did not foresee the near-collapse of the birthrate last year.

In 2024, another momentous event will occur. Then, for the first time in at least 300 years—and maybe for the first time in recorded history—China will not be the world’s most populous society. That honor will go to a country the Chinese generally both detest and fear, India. When India peaks in 2061, it will have a population 398,088 million larger than China’s.

Once China begins to shrink, it will shrink fast. In 2018, China’s population was 4.3 times larger than America’s. By 2100, China is projected to have a population only 2.3 times larger.

China’s demographic path is set for decades, and it will have momentous—and extremely adverse—consequences for Chinese society and the country’s “comprehensive national strength.” Perhaps that is why Beijing looks as if it may be trying to compensate for collapsing demography by laying the groundwork for a race of superhuman Chinese.

He Jiankui of Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology announced in November that he had used CRISPR to edit human embryos that produced live births, in this case twins girls. He claimed he was making the babies resistant to HIV, but there is speculation he was also trying to enhance intelligence. In any event, the announcement evoked Nazi eugenics experiments, especially because there is evidence that the Chinese government had backed He’s “world’s first” experiment, considered unethical and dangerous.

Certainly dangerous is Xi Jinping. “Mao Zedong may have played on the Third World’s racial resentments when trying to unite former colonial peoples against white imperialists, but he thought that Communism was a global phenomenon that would eventually find a home everywhere and Mao’s utopia was in the future,” the Hudson Institute’s Charles Horner told Gatestone. “Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party is not global or utopian in this way; instead, it seems in thrall to an essential ‘Chinese-ness.'”

Horner sees disconcerting similarities between Xi’s China and 1930s Imperial Japan. “Like Imperial Japan then,” Horner said, “Xi and the Party look backward to a mythologized past when a benign Emperor brought the whole world together to bask in his glory and share his munificence.”

Concentration camps, racism, eugenics, ambitions of world domination. Sound familiar?

There is a new Third Reich, and it is China.

Editor’s note: This article was first published by the Gatestone Institute and is republished here by permission.

Photo Credit: Guang Niu/Getty Images

China • Donald Trump • Economy • Post

The 21st Century Belongs to China? Don’t Buy It

From across the pond comes an English academic to tell us that democracy (by which he means the United States) is in decline, while autocracy (by which he means China) is on the rise.

This is a restatement of the “China Century” thesis, which argues that the 21st century will be dominated by China in the same way that the 20th century was dominated by America.

America’s best days are behind it, says David Runciman, in his book, How Democracy Ends.

Runciman sounds for all the world like a big “D” Democrat—a member of the political party that, at least since the time of Jimmy Carter, has specialized in “malaise.” The Democrat “two-step” goes like this. First, they cause “malaise” by hamstringing the economy, then they highlight it as an excuse to enact government programs that make even more people dependent upon the welfare state they control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, specializes in “robust good health.” His booming optimism is reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt’s. You can almost imagine him charging up San Juan Hill. How invigorating and refreshing to see energy, rather than excuses, in the Oval Office.

Like Roosevelt and Reagan, Trump believes that America’s best days are ahead of it.

Runciman and others who predict the death of democracy because of their inclination to be impressed with China are simply wrong. Democracy is not in decline. Autocracy is.

As the first American social scientist allowed to conduct field research in China in 1979, I have kept a careful eye on that country’s politics for nearly 40 years. The specter of China trying to bully and bluster its way to dominance increasingly is uniting the world against it.

Had Hillary Clinton been elected president in 2016, of course, I might well find myself agreeing with Runciman that, “The democratic cause is on the defensive today.” In her headlong rush toward higher taxes and more government regulations, Madam President further would have crippled an American economy already burdened with too much of both.

Fortunately, the surprise election of an American original has forestalled such a calamity. Trump believes, with Calvin Coolidge, that “the chief business of the American people is business,” and has jumpstarted that enormous engine of progress known as the free market.

While the Brits may not have caught on to the fact that America’s best days are ahead of it, the Democrats have. Witness the increasingly panicky calls for impeachment.

When their chief initiative is to carry out a political coup to remove their political opponent from office they are truly out of ideas.

If men of the Left like Runciman are mistaken about what lies across the Atlantic, they are even more mistaken about what lies on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. “Pragmatic authoritarianism” may have been an accurate description of Chinese political practices under Deng Xiaoping, at least until he massacred defenseless students in the main square of his capital city. But it completely miscasts the present reality of life under the increasingly dictatorial rule of presumed president-for-life Xi Jinping.

As I write in Bully of Asia, China is becoming more totalitarian almost by the day. To give just one example, everyone’s social media is monitored all the time, and used as the basis for a “social credit score” that goes down if you criticize the regime, and goes up if you flatter it.

This score is then used by Beijing to determine whether you will be allowed to travel outside the country, obtain a low-interest rate loan, or even buy an in-country plane ticket. If your social credit score falls low enough, you will be sent to a re-education camp even if you have not committed a crime.

Runciman, our British cousin, argues that China’s lack of “individual dignity” is more than compensated for by a surfeit of “national dignity.” In this he is parroting the current party leadership which, in effect, proposes just such a trade-off to the people it oppresses.

Here is, in essence, what the Chinese Communist Party tells the masses: You may be under constant state surveillance, unable to speak freely, and prevented from forming political associations. But remember that to be Chinese is to be part of the greatest phenomenon in human history, and China’s growing economic and military greatness is your greatness.

The national narcissism that such xenophobic and nationalistic appeals are intended to stoke, however, are a poor substitute for the universally recognized human rights that the Chinese people are being systematically deprived of.

And Xi’s one-man rule will ensure that corruption will grow, innovation will be stifled, and capital increasingly will seek to flee the country for safe havens abroad.

Runciman see the rise of authoritarianism and the decline of democracy. I see the amazing spectacle of both countries reverting to type.

America under Trump is returning to the market principles that have made it the dominant power in the world for over a century, and its economy is booming.

China under Xi is reverting to the totalitarian despotism that gave it birth in 220 B.C. and its economy its going downhill fast.

My money is on the market.

Photo Credit: Getty Images