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Chinese threat is here, but not everyone in Congress wants to talk about it

OpinionChinese threat is here, but not everyone in Congress wants to talk about it

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I testified before the House Oversight Committee about Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence in the United States. For an American of my generation, testifying before a congressional committee is a big deal, and an honor.

But, I suspected the hearing could be derailed for political purposes – and it was. Maybe you saw the headlines about the hearing’s “chaos”?

As a result, there were several crucial topics I didn’t cover in my testimony.  I’ll get to them, but first, here’s what I did cover. 

Chinas Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at an event to introduce new members of the Politburo Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Bottom line: America no longer enjoys the protection of “distance” that our strategic community has taken for granted for centuries. The last time the American mainland faced a serious invasion by a foreign power was the War of 1812.

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The CCP has systematically taken away that advantage through a multifront political warfare campaign against us. 

CCP Has Erased Our Border In More Ways Than You Think

The most obvious way is CCP cyber penetration of America and Americans.  Communists sitting in China are in our critical infrastructure, communications systems, cars, health care, genetic data and schools. China’s 2015 hacking of OPM gave extremely personal files on 22 million Americans holding security clearances.

The same Americans who were furious about a Chinese spy balloon floating over their heads have Chinese spy apps loaded on their phones, sitting in their pockets.

Distance doesn’t protect us from their devastating chemical warfare either. Chinese-origin fentanyl killed over 70,000 Americans last year alone, and is destroying families and communities and cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia.

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Beijing could stop it if it wants. But why should it? It is weakening its greatest enemy, and we aren’t doing anything about it.

Same thing on the economic front. The PRC has, in a targeted way, been destroying our manufacturing and other commercial sectors, including ones critical for defense, like shipbuilding and critical minerals. We’ve lost millions of jobs over the last 20 years, hundreds of billions in revenue a year, and are dependent on China for everything from pharmaceuticals to components in F-35s.

We are deeply penetrated, damaged and there is barely a response.

How To Fight An Enemy Inside

For the first time in our history, our distance can’t protect us. We have never faced anything like this. We are under constant attack from within.

Among the recommendations I made to start fighting back are that the U.S. government needs to relearn political warfare and someone needs to be responsible for the political warfare effort – and its success or failure. Currently, nobody is.

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And, at a minimum, we should implement a reciprocity standard. We can’t buy land near a military base in China. They shouldn’t be able to buy land near ours. 

On the economic and technology fronts, we should do nothing that helps the PRC, including letting them raid our research institutes. 

We should also make it too costly for American proxies – in Washington, Wall Street, Capitol Hill and on campuses – to do China’s bidding. 

We should make PRC human rights an issue – constantly.  Oppressing people is necessary for the survival of the CCP system. Everyone should know that. And we should protect all people of Chinese descent in the U.S. from intimidation by CCP agents.

What I Didn’t Say

If some on the committee hadn’t been determined to derail the hearing, here’s what I would have said.

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Ukraine

Ukraine is important and if Putin “wins,” you can bet the PRC will be emboldened.

But as a basic miliary principle, if you focus on one front and ignore other important fronts – particularly “behind your front lines” – you lose. 

The border

Our wide-open borders are setting us up for defeat. Theatrics about Ukraine are just that, theatrics, if the borders are being ignored. 

Through the fentanyl pouring across our border, the Chinese have killed more Americans than Putin has killed Ukrainians.

That emboldens the Chinese to hit us more than any Russian win against Ukraine does.

The Chinese are not Putin’s puppets. If anything, it’s getting close to the other way around.

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The CCP has been conducting political war from the time of their founding – and against us for at least 50 years. For the CCP, Ukraine is a side-show. It’ll take advantage of it, but its attack on us won’t stop. Until we do something about it.

I’m glad I testified, and still consider it an honor.

But if asked how serious Congress is about taking on the Chinese threat, I’d have to say “some of them are. But only some of them.”

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And if a young Marine asked me if it is worth dying for America? “Maybe. Maybe not.”

The only people who should be happy about the theatrics at that hearing are in Beijing.

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