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Counterpoint: China's 27-Year Undeclared War on the U.S.

China’s state-run media is predictably apoplectic over Trump’s new national security strategy, unveiled on December 18, which calls China a "strategic competitor." 

The headline in Beijing’s principal propaganda mouthpiece, the Global Times, screamed “US security strategy blinded by arrogance, false beliefs.” The People’s Daily was only slightly more restrained, saying “Trump plays Trump China Speechup competition in national security, while China lays out cooperation strategy.”

Who was it that said: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

The truth of the matter is that it was China that declared itself to be in a Cold War with the U.S., not the reverse. Trump’s description of “revisionist” China as “challenging American power, influence, and interests, [and] attempting to erode American security and prosperity” is nothing more than a long overdue recognition of the existing reality.

China's assault on America began in 1991. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 shocked the Chinese Communist Party leadership, which feared the People's Republic of China was next. Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping sought to reassure his colleagues, reportedly telling them that “The old Cold War between the America and the Soviet Union is over and America won. The new Cold War between China and America has begun.” 

China has been at war with us ever since.  And when your enemy says you are at war, then you are at war, whether you want to be or not. 

But America was not supposed to notice that China was at war with us, stealing our factories and jobs, warring against us in cyberspace, spiriting away our intellectual property, and opposing us internationally at every turn. We were supposed to turn a blind eye to China’s systematic efforts to destroy entire sectors of the U.S. economy to gain a strategic advantage.

What the Global Times op-ed calls “the tremendous efforts Beijing has dedicated to promoting a constructive partnership between the two sides” over the years has resulted in the forced transfer of trillions of dollars of wealth, technology, and intellectual property from America to China.  This was, on America’s part, a strategic blunder of historic proportions.

Trump has now drawn back the curtain on China’s machinations, and the Chinese Party-State is predictably upset at having its strategic deceptions exposed to the world.

China’s foreign ministry literally went into paroxysms of denial, saying Washington should “abandon outdated notions.” “No country or report will succeed in distorting facts or deploying malicious slander," its spokeswoman declared. "We urge the US side to stop intentionally distorting China’s strategic intentions and to abandon outdated ideas of Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game.”  

All warfare is deception, said China’s ancient strategist Sun Tzu. The above duplicitous and misleading statements on China's part are simply more of the same.

The reality of the Cold War with China that America finds itself in is that:

  • * China itself clings to an outdated notion that past is prologue, and that China will one day soon utterly dominate those countries which once humiliated it. 
  • * China’s strategic intentions are expressed in Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” of achieving first regional, and then global hegemony.
  • * Chinese strategists imagine “the end of history” arriving in a stark “China wins, America loses”, a zero-sum game if there ever was one.

The instinct to deceive is so ingrained in the psyche of China’s communist leaders and their mouthpieces that they can’t help but lie about China’s intentions. Even when China’s aggressive actions are on display for the whole world to see--as they are, for instance, in the militarization of sand bars in the South China Sea--they still lie, insisting that they are only building safe havens for fishermen.

Lurking behind such deceptions are often veiled threats. As the Global Times recently editorialized, “Beijing has no interest in seeking global hegemony, and yet it will realize its goal of development. Such a process cannot be blocked by any force.”

The Bully of Asia consistently over plays its hand. The fear that China’s actions have generated among its neighbors and the world at large can no longer be masked by soothing rhetoric.

President Trump, with his National Security Strategy, has ripped the mask off the cuddly panda revealing the red dragon underneath.

Steven W. Mosher is the author of the newly published Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order (Regnery)

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