Last week we reviewed the collision course we are on with China. This week we conclude with our options and imperatives for moving forward.
Beijing is on a mission, a mission totally opposed to America’s values as encapsulated in our founding documents. We believe in democracy, where the people freely join together to form a government to serve the people. China holds an opposite view, of a government of the elite. This elite draws ever greater power to itself to rule its people, and from there, the world.
As the Chinese grow in commercial and industrial strength, augmented by cyber theft of technological knowhow from the West, they are increasingly turning that might against us and the rest of the world. Robert Burns, in the Philadelphia Inquirer March 17, 2019, wrote: “Chinese bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese antisatellite weapons. To a remarkable degree, the 2020 Pentagon budget proposal is shaped by national security threats that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has summarized in three words: ‘China, China, China.’ China is aggressively modernizing its military, systematically stealing science and technology, and seeking military advantage.”
Mark Helprin, a senior fellow of the Clermont Institute, in the March 4, 2019 Wall Street Journal, underscored the necessity of building up the Navy, Marines, and long-range air power to counter China’s growing military power. Rebuilding our military might not only makes us stronger, it fortifies our military alliances -- failure to do so will lead to a catastrophic breakdown of our alliances with our Pacific partners.
Let us turn to free speech; Chinese citizens don’t possess this fundamental American freedom. Furthermore, the Chinese government, via intimidation, is using its economic leverage to suppress criticism beyond China’s national borders. On the other hand, America’s ability to get our message to the Chinese people is being severely limited. Orville Schell and Larry Diamond penned an article in the Dec. 22, 2018 Wall Street Journal that states that Beijing has open access to the American people, while simultaneously blocking American media outlets. They also hinder independent scholars and limit Washington’s public diplomacy outreach.
In his book on China, “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” Michael Pillsbury notes that China spends billions on “overseas propaganda” projects which “expressly advocates autocratic forms of government.” The Chinese elite don’t want the people’s voices heard, not in China, not anywhere. Further, “China’s goal is partly to decrease the influence of world powers such as the United States by proliferating weapons to autocratic and often anti-Western governments,” where the people, not the elite, rule, such as we see in Venezuela.
How do we counter the Chinese government’s self-seeking, predatory nature? We do what we have been doing: opening our eyes and strengthening our resolve to see this dark government for what it is – a monstrous threat to freedom, world order and peace.
In the decades ahead, China, under its present evil government, will be the largest threat America has ever faced. Now is the appropriate time to revisit John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the American people, to our allies and our enemies: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”