Op/Ed: The China Threat

The China Threat

 

By Allan Topol*

President Obama’s trip to the Asia Pacific Region in mid-November of 2011 demonstrated that at long last leaders in the administration recognize the military threat posed by China.  Unfortunately, Obama’s language and his actions are not sufficient to persuade China and other nations of the Region that the United States is a credible counterweight to China’s growing military power.

For five decades after the end of the Second World War, the United States has been far and away the dominant power, militarily and economically, in the Pacific.  While the U.S. maintained bases in Japan, Guam, and South Korea, except for the wars in Korea and Vietnam, no one threatened American interests or military superiority.  The U.S. and Japan have had an effective economic partnership; and Tokyo hasn’t made an effort to rebuild its military following the disastrous conclusion to the Second World War.

The United States was also the largest trading partner with the nations in the region. American Naval vessels moved freely in the Pacific.  The U.S. was the de facto policeman to ensure freedom of navigation throughout the entire area, including the critical navigation lanes of the South China Sea.  United States Admiral Robert F. Willard, Commander of the United States Pacific Command, has stated that these navigation lanes “account for $5.3 trillion in bilateral annual trade, of which $1.2 trillion is American.”[i]

All of this has changed in the last decade with the emergence of China as a Superpower.  The Chinese economy has been growing at roughly a ten percent annual rate.  China has become the largest trading partner with most of the countries in the region, undercutting American economic influence.  At the same time, the Chinese have undertaken one of the largest military expansions in history.  China’s defense spending has risen by twelve percent or more a year during this decade.[ii]

The Chinese now have 2.29 million active duty forces compared with 1.56 for the U.S.  Moreover, the Chinese arms expansion is characterized by quality as well as quantity, leaving no doubt that Beijing will be able to challenge the United States for military control in the Pacific.

In January of 2011, at the time of then U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates’ visit to Beijing, the Chinese, in a bold in your face move, tested their new stealth jet which will rival the U.S.’s F-22 Raptor, the world’s only operational stealth fighter.  Larger than the F-22, with bigger fuel tanks, the Chinese jet will fly higher, faster, and with less chance of detection.[iii]

On the seas, China has created the largest force of submarines and amphibious warfare ships in the Pacific.  It has launched its first aircraft carrier and is developing long range anti-ship missiles.[iv]

Moreover, China has been using its new military prowess for commercial advantage.  The Chinese Navy has destroyed oil and gas exploration equipment being used by Vietnam and the Philippines in maritime areas in which China is making a power grab for these natural resources.  The Chinese have also fired threatening missiles in the direction of Taiwan, which the United States has a duty to defend.[v]

Against the backdrop of these developments, commentators have warned of the risk of war between the United States and China.[vi]  In my new novel, The China Gambit, a Chinese General’s attempt to cut off the flow of oil to the United States, sets China and the U.S. on the path to war.

Despite all of this, the Obama Administration has until the President’s November trip to the Asia Pacific Region, been surprisingly mute about the increasing Chinese military threat in the Pacific.  Then suddenly, Obama focused on the issue.  Unfortunately, his rhetoric was weak.

Despite efforts by Administration officials to strengthen the message, here is what Obama said: “The notion that we fear China is mistaken.  Rather, the United States wants a clear set of principles that all of us can abide by so all of us can succeed.”

Then later, “If Beijing does not respect international rules, we will send a clear message to them that we think that they need to be on track in terms of accepting the rules and responsibilities that come with being a world power.”[vii]

This mumbo-jumbo was accompanied by equally weak action.  The United States will be sending 250 Marines to Australia for 6 month tours starting next summer.  No American base will be established.  They will be housed in Australian facilities.  Their mission was not specified.  Sounds like a vacation.

The size of the American force is so small that the move didn’t even evoke a strong rebuke from Beijing.  Instead, a Chinese spokesman merely questioned whether this “is in line with the common interest” of countries in the region.

It is unfortunate that Obama wasn’t stronger.  The Chinese leaders have watched the United States withdraw from Iraq leaving behind an unstable country.  They are following the ambivalent U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, which is increasingly criticized by a growing war weary American populace.

As our largest creditor, Beijing is following the United States financial travails, which are likely to result in a reduced defense budget.  In order to send a credible message to Beijing, Obama had to say more.  He had to do more than he did on his November trip.

We are dealing with the same party in Beijing which perpetrated the harsh massacre in Tiananmen’s Square.  The Chinese leaders are tough minded people who will not back down as a result of wishy-washy language and meaningless symbolic acts.

They will consider Obama’s words and action a green light for full steam ahead in their arrogant Pacific expansion.  They will never believe that the United States is prepared to go to war in the Pacific in defense of our allies and comme



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

[i] New York Times, November 16, 2011, p. A14.

[ii] Barron’s, June 27, 2011, p. 21.

[iii] Barron’s, June 27, 2011, p. 22.

[iv] USA Today, July 28, 2011, p. 2A.

[v] USA Today, July 28, 2011, p. 2A.

[vi] Glaser Charles, Will China’s Rise Lead to War?, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011, pp. 86-88.

[vii] The quotes of Obama’s speech are from the Washington Post, November 17, 2011, p. A10.


Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving for radical leftists. This charade goes on year after year, where decent folks across America try to enjoy and celebrate Christmas, and a few militant progressives disapprove. It's exhausting. We get it, you don't like Christmas. And that's totally fine. But entire communities of people who do like to celebrate Christmas are tired of their celebration being held hostage by an extreme minority—sometimes just one person—getting offended.

This year, a self-described “Unintentional Grinch who stole Christmas" is in the lead to win Scrooge of the Year. The principal at Manchester Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska sent her teachers a memo this week outlining all the Christmas-related items and activities that will not be allowed in their classrooms.

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The banned list includes:

  • Santa
  • Christmas trees
  • Elf on the Shelf
  • Singing Christmas carols
  • Playing Christmas music
  • Making an ornament as a gift
  • Any red and green items
  • Reindeer
  • And, of course, candy canes. Not because the sugar will make the children hyper, but because, as the principal explains, the candy cane is shaped like a “J" for Jesus.

She writes, “the red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection." In case you try to cheat, different-colored candy canes are not allowed either.

Why is this principal going out of her way to delete any trace of Christmas in her school? She explains:

“I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools…"

Her list, “aligns with my interpretation of our expectations as a public school who seeks to be inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of our students."

What about being culturally sensitive toward students who do celebrate Christmas?

Kids will survive if they're accidentally exposed to a Santa.

The irony here, for this principal and others who hate Christmas and the Christianity that undergirds it, is that Christmas has long existed on two parallel tracks. You've got the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ on one, and you've got the Santa Claus, secular mythology on the other. That means there is more than enough about the Christmas season that has nothing to do with Jesus if that's your thing.

You don't need a totalitarian list of forbidden things to protect the children from a 2,000-year-old holiday. Kids will survive if they're accidentally exposed to a Santa, or a Christmas carol, or—heaven forbid—a manger scene.

Avenatti bails on 2020 presidential run, leaving Biden as 'most qualified' — really?

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon

Well, that de-escalated quickly. Michael Avenatti, lawyer of Stormy Daniels, announced he will not run for president in 2020 after all. That takes the number of Democrats planning to challenge Trump down to around 724.

In a statement, Avenatti said he would still run, but he decided not to out of respect for his family's “concerns." He didn't list their concerns, but said:

“We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one."

Speaking of — if you've been wondering who's the most qualified person in America to be president, wonder no more. It's former vice president Joe Biden.

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How do we know? Because ol' Joe told us so, at a book tour stop in Montana. The 76-year-old says he'll make a decision about a 2020 bid within the next two months, which is campaign-speak for “I'm definitely running, so get out your checkbooks."

Biden admitted:

“I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth."

Yeah, about that… the first time Biden ran for president, in 1987, he was actually pulling ahead of the Democratic pack until his campaign got snagged on plagiarism. He got caught lifting entire sections of a speech by Neil Kinnock, a British Labor Party candidate who ran for Prime Minister and lost to Margaret Thatcher. It wasn't just the fact that Biden copied exact sections of Kinnock's speech, he also stole biographical facts from Kinnock's life and tried to pass them off as his own — like saying his ancestors were coal miners.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Perhaps in the pre-Internet era, Biden thought he could get away with it. But he didn't. An adviser for Michael Dukakis' campaign saw a tape of Kinnock's speech and put together a side-by-side comparison video of Biden's plagiarizing, then sent the tape to the New York Times. As reporters dug further into the story, they found that Biden had also lifted large portions of speeches by Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

Those revelations led Biden to admit he got an “F" for a course in law school after he plagiarized five pages for a term paper. Biden was caught in more lies about his academic credentials and enough embarrassments mounted that he finally withdrew from the race.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel, an Emmy-nominated comedian, is the latest victim in campus culture's wacky game. Patel is the first Indian-American writer for SNL, so by the usual standards of identity politics, he should be safe. Not the case. All of the rules went out the window when he was performing a stand-up comedy set for an event called "cultureSHOCK: Reclaim" at Columbia University hosted by the Asian American Alliance.

He joked that being gay cannot be a choice because “no one looks in the mirror and thinks, 'this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.'"

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For one, that's less of a joke and more of a statement. It's exactly the kind of safe, pro-LGBT statement that you would think campus feminists and trans activists would squeal with glee to hear.

According to Columbia's school paper, student organizers, offended by Patel's joke, rushed the stage 30 minutes into the set and told Patel that he needed to finish his set and say a few closing remarks.

Patel argued that his jokes were not offensive, and that they were actually much-needed insights into the real world. He also made it clear that he stands in solidarity with the Asian American Alliance.

They still cut his microphone off and booted him off stage.

Patel hasn't commented on the uproar, but here are a few comments from people who were in the audience:

The Columbia Spectator quoted three students who were in the audience. One of them said:

“The message they were trying to send with the event was opposite to the jokes he was making, and using people's ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive... He definitely wasn't the most crass comedian I've ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate."

Another student said:

“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world. Obviously the world is not a safe space but just accepting that it's not and continuing to perpetuate the un-safeness of it… is saying that it can't be changed," said Jao. “When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it's like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer."

The radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses... will eat their own without thinking twice.

The third student wasn't bothered by the jokes:

“While what some of the things that he said might have been a bit provoking to some of the audience, as someone who watches comedy a lot, none of them were jokes that I hadn't heard before and none of them were jokes that elicited such a response in my experience."

The third student is a little ray of hope in all of this, but I'm afraid that people like her are increasingly outnumbered and unwilling to speak up.

The jokes were clearly not racist or homophobic. If anything, they seem to have been designed to pander to overly sensitive campus activists who all too often cry “racist" and “homophobic" and all their other insults.

It just goes to show that the left, particularly the radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses, will stop at nothing to push its postmodern narrative. They'll spare nobody. And they will eat their own without thinking twice.

Forbes recently described student loan debt as the $1.5 trillion crisis, adding that "Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt - and higher than both credit cards and auto loans," which is affecting 44 million borrowers in the U.S.

There's also the cultural effect that college is having, the indoctrination that young people are being subjected to. More and more powerful people are recognizing that college as an institution is a problem.

Last Friday, Peter Thiel gave a keynote speech at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Collegiate Network editors' conference. He told a roomful of 100 students:

Universities today are as corrupt as the Catholic Church of 500 years ago. At some point, if it's 100 to zero, you start to suspect you're in North Korea. Does the unanimity mean you've gotten to the truth, or does it mean you're in a totalitarian state. We have this illusion that all sorts of important decisions have been decided.

He added:

We are not on the losing side of history. The other side is on the losing side. The reformation is going to happen, and it won't come from within, but from the outside.

Thiel has worked actively to bring about the change that he's talking about here. The lawsuit he led against Gawker helped topple their empire of filth and lowest-level journalism. He has also created The Thiel Fellowship, which "gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom. The idea that we are on the losing side is a form of psychological warfare."

We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest.

And he's right. We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest. We're on the up-and-up. Things are only going to get better from here.