Our tensions with China have been a matter of ongoing negotiation for years, but have reached a fevered pitch under President Trump, most notably of late over trade issues. A while back I received a copy of “The Hundred-Year Marathon” from my neighbor, Tony DiSimone, along with a note stating the reasons I should read it. Michael Pillsbury is director of Chinese strategy at the Hudson Institute and author of “The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America As the Global Superpower.” I read it with great interest.
Pillsbury, quoting Chinese scholar William A. Callahan, informs us that the Chinese see themselves as the “superior civilization” at the top of a unified global system. “Other civilizations, such as the United States, are part of the ‘barbarian wilderness.’… (the Chinese) empire ‘values order over freedom, ethics over law, and elite governance over democracy and human rights.’”
Our trade imbalance strengthens their hand in their battle to dominate us
China is on a mission and is just as intent on dominating the U.S. as Hitler was in dominating Europe. But just as Hitler took bold, aggressive steps to build up Germany’s power base before pouncing; China has been doing the same, with a 100-year plan.
Before we dismiss Pillsbury’s alarm bell, let’s recall that the world dismissed Hitler’s plans of domination throughout the 1930s. We cannot now imagine that any nation could substantively threaten our security. The facts, however, increasingly indicate otherwise.
Coming from relative insignificance only a few decades ago, China is now the second largest economy in the world, funding a growing military, cyber and commercial challenge. According to credible estimates, their economy will be three times our size by 2049, funding massively their overall contest. Our reaction to that alarm could be: Great Britain was once the undisputed economic power, and they lost that position – and life went on as normal for them. China’s population is four times that of the U.S., so why fight the inevitable – life will just go on.
Unfortunately, China’s leaders have another plan. When they abandoned the communistic economic model and opened their nation to a capitalistic structure, they did so in a way totally at odds with existing international trade norms. As Pillsbury explained it in the Wall Street Journal on May 7, 2019, they do not undertake to trade on a level playing field. Instead, they commit cyber intrusions into U.S. business networks, which Chinese companies gain advantages in key high-tech areas. What this means is, America can’t maintain its technological supremacy if this continues.
What Pillsbury concludes is, don’t look for them to change, unless forced to do so, “Because for Beijing, crime pays too well.”
China forces American companies to transfer their know-how in order to have access to China’s markets.
“Given these challenges, it’s hardly surprising that the long-negotiated deal appears to be falling apart. China has been busy in these final three weeks trying to weaken the deal. That’s Beijing’s modus operandi: String the West along, then renegotiate and take back earlier concessions from the gullible ‘barbarians.’
A tough U.S. policy is necessary to prepare a better defense against Chinese economic aggression.
“China has a clear strategic choice: establish a real accord that will lead to better growth for both nations, or continue its predatory mercantilist reliance on national champions, beginning the descent into a cold war that portends security concerns and slower growth rates for all.”
We have just taken a look at our current sobering relationship with China, enabling us to see why their cheap imports are a Trojan horse. This situation requires that we call a halt to the status quo. Next week we will conclude with our options and imperatives for moving forward.