Op/Ed:The United States versus China

By Allan Topol*

The greatest threat facing the United States in the twenty first century is the risk of war with China.  That issue is rarely discussed in the popular media.

Rather, our military obsession is with the three ongoing wars:  Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.  We agonize over whether those wars are “winnable,” when can we reduce our troops and military expenditures, and whether these wars are spreading our army too thin, driving the country further into debt, and producing unacceptable casualties in view of the benefits.  In fact, none of these wars poses an existential threat to the United States.

We do have an enormous concern with China.  However, economic issues predominate.  It is only a question of time, decades at most, until China surpasses the United States as the world’s largest economy.  Chinese universities are graduating five times as many engineers as the United States.  They are now our bankers holding the treasury bonds and notes which keep the United States afloat.

History is change.  Unless the United States does something radically different or unless the Chinese miracle of operating a booming economy in a repressive society implodes, the question is when China will surpass us economically.  Not whether.

Last month, I was having dinner in Washington with a couple who had just returned from their first trip to China.  They spoke about what they saw:  The enormous building; the overnight development of huge factories and mega cities; and the incessant energy.  I imagined that similar conversations took place a hundred or so years ago in London when a couple returned from a visit to the United States.

It would be convenient to view China’s competition with the United States in purely economic terms.  But that would be naive and foolish.  We can no longer close our eyes to the growing Chinese military and to the risk that the United States and China could be drawn into a large scale war with horrendous consequences for both nations.

The March/April 2011 issue of the respected Foreign Affairs had on its cover:  “Will China’s Rise Lead to War?”  And I know from a source in the Pentagon that a special unit is dedicated to carefully monitoring China’s military expansion, while at the same time playing war games that pit the United States against China.

Recent developments underscore this looming threat.  In January of this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China with the objective of improving defense ties. While he was there, China’s military conducted a test flight of a new stealth fighter jet.  This bold, in your face, show of force was bad enough.  What made it even worse was that the civilian leadership, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, claimed that they were uninformed that this test would be taking place.  But were they?  Was this really a rogue operation?

What occurred is so close to the plot of my newest novel, The China Gambit, which will be published in January, that I had to remind myself the book was completed.  The plot wasn’t stolen from the headlines.

Then on June 4, Defense Secretary Gates had a response to the Chinese provocation.  Gates was in Singapore addressing a high ranking delegation of Asian defense ministers and military commanders, including China’s Minister of Defense, Gen. Liang Guanglie.  Gates threw down the gauntlet to China by declaring that the United States would not be denied access to key sea routes and lines of communication by “new and disruptive technologies” being developed by China.  And that the United States was developing a new air-sea battle strategy “in defense of our allies and vital interests” in Asia.[1]

Secretary Gates’s comments do not suggest that a military confrontation between the United States and China is inevitable.  However, it is certainly possible.  Our “vital interests,” using the Secretary’s term, could collide with those of China at a multitude of potential flashpoints.  One is Taiwan.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade Chinese province, not an independent nation.  And the Chinese have reserved the right to retake Taiwan by force.  On the other hand, the United States not only has treaty commitments to defend Taiwan, but continues to sell arms to Taiwan despite Chinese objections.

It is possible that the decisionmakers in Beijing are biding their time on Taiwan while their military continues its exponential growth and the United States reduces its defense budget.  Under this scenario, some time in this decade Beijing may launch an attack to retake Taiwan.  Then the United States President will have a choice:  Going to war to honor our commitment to Taiwan, or backing down and virtually ceding military dominance in Asia to China.[2]

A second potential flashpoint is oil.[3] China has surpassed Japan as the second largest consumer and importer of oil. For both the United States and China, oil is the lifeblood of the economy, and oil is a limited resource, which moves on the seas and often through narrow straits.

Beijing has cultivated increasingly close ties with Iran, our avowed enemy, with both oil and military components.  This is part of China’s larger effort to tie up oil supplies around the world in a throwback to mercantilism.[4] A war over oil supply or its movement on the seas could easily occur.  All it would take is a bellicose Chinese leader who wants to hasten their economic domination by limiting the United States’ oil supply.

A third potential flashpoint is Japan.  The Chinese still have a score to settle with Japan for World War II, and there are plenty of issues between those two nations, including such topics as fishing and navigation rights.[5] Moreover, a Chinese attack against Japan would be a way of asserting Chinese hegemony in Asia.  At the same time, the United States has treaty obligations to Japan.  Thus, the United States could be drawn into the conflict.

In these and in other scenarios, war between the United States and China is not inevitable. However, it’s time we began confronting the risk of this occurring and revising our military preparedness and diplomacy to deal with this possibility.

The views in opinion pieces and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of Glenn Beck or Mercury Radio Arts.


* Allan Topol’s newest thriller novel, The China Gambit, will be published in January 2012.  Visit his website at www.AllanTopol.com.

[1] New York Times, A5, June 4, 2011.

[2] For a discussion of the Taiwan issue, see Glaser, Charles, Will China’s Rise Lead to War?, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011, pp. 86-88.

[3] For a discussion of the pending squeeze of oil supplies, see Deffeyes, Kenneth S., Beyond Oil, Hill and Wang, 2006; and Simmons, Matthew R., Twilight In the Desert, Wiley, 2005.

[4] For a discussion of China’s aggressive approach to tying up world oil supplies, see China’s Energy Industry Makes a Bold Push Into Developed Markets, New York Times, B7, March 15, 2011.

[5] For a discussion of the depth of animosity between China and Japan, see, Chang, Yung and Halliday, Jon, Mao, Globalflair Ltd., 2005.

Apparel company The North Face recently stated that it would no longer make jackets for oil and gas companies because it doesn't want to be associated with the fossil fuel industry. In response, Colorado-based oil and gas company Liberty Oilfield Services rented full billboard ads to remind The North Face of the truth: "Globally, 60% of all clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas. For North Face, it is likely 90% or more."

Liberty CEO Chris Wright joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss just how much of our economy — beyond outdoor apparel and energy — wouldn't exist in a world without fossil fuels. And he warns that many companies are now deeming this truth to be "controversial."

"I have been for years, trying to get a real, honest dialogue about energy going," Chris told Glenn. "So we took this opportunity to point out that North Face jackets are ... almost completely made out of oil and gas. How can you choose not to associate with the essential material your equipment [is] made out of? So we put a billboard up ... the billboard says, 'That North Face puffer looks good on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.'"

"Most billboard companies did not want to run that billboard. They thought it was controversial," he added. "And Facebook put a hold on our brief video just saying the jacket looks good, this is what it's made out of. In today's world, that is controversial."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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During a lecture at the Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Center, a New York City-based psychiatrist told students and faculty that she fantasizes about "unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way," among several other shockingly race-hating statements.

In April, Dr. Aruna Khilanani — a New York-based forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst — delivered the talk called "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind" virtually as part of the Yale School of Medicine's "Child Study Center Grand Rounds," a lecture program for "trainees in child psychiatry, psychology, and social work, faculty, clinicians, and scientists."

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck shared several quotes from an audio recording of the lecture provided by Bari Weiss, a former opinion writer and editor for the New York Times.

Here are a few of Khilanani's statements from the audio:

  • "This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil."
  • "I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f***ing favor."
  • "White people are out of their minds. And they have been for a long time."
  • "White people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath."
  • "We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain't gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It's like banging your head against a brick wall. It's just like sort of not a good idea."

"We must take a stand. We must speak out, because this is evil," Glenn said in response to Khilanani's shocking lecture. "I don't care who you voted for, you know this is evil."

Watch the video below for more details:

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The prices of our houses and food are already rising fast, but they will skyrocket to record highs if we don't fix the problem soon. So what's causing the inflation?

On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck said he doesn't believe it's the fault of our loggers, farmers, or truckers — many of them are really struggling. But the big corporations that control these industries are making record profits, all while the Biden administration is making some very odd decisions that could make the crises even worse.

Watch the video below for more details:

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The crisis at the border continues to worsen, with the U.S. Border Patrol recently releasing some shocking statistics that illuminate just how bad the situation has become. But Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is doing everything he can to prevent any additional unlawful crossings into the Lone Star State.

Abbott joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to describe recent action he has taken to ensure that those who do cross into Texas illegally know they came to the "wrong state."

After noting that both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris "have completely abandoned post as it concerns the Texas border," Abbott explained how "Texas is stepping up" to combat the flood of dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers and drugs he says are pouring into border communities.

"Beginning in March, I deployed a thousand Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border. I deployed the National Guard to the border. And they made well over a thousand arrests of some of these criminals we talked about. They've apprehended more than 33,000 illegal immigrants coming across the border." Abbott said. "But because of the way the Biden administration has abandoned the border, we are now elevating our game. What I did yesterday, in response to more than a dozen counties along the border ... I granted their request for a disaster declaration," he added.

Abbott went on to describe how his disaster declaration gives Texas the authority to toughen penalties for lawbreakers, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking.

"We're going to begin arresting everybody coming across the border and charging them with criminal trespass and putting them in jail. They are coming in here, thinking they'll get the Biden free-ride, and go wherever they want to go. Not in the state of Texas. We'll start arresting them right and left, and putting them behind bars, and saying they came in to the wrong state."

Asked by Glenn if he is prepared for the inevitable "media onslaught", Abbott simply answered, "We're prepared to see a reduction in the number of people coming across the border — because Texas is enforcing the law, period."

Watch the video clip below for more:


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