What to Do About China?

An Op/Ed By Doug Bandow

The United States is the world’s dominant power. America will remain influential for decades to come. But China is likely to eventually force Washington to share its leadership position.

Such a change would be uncomfortable for American policymakers. But Washington doesn’t have to dominate the world to guarantee U.S. security. Washington need only possess a military capable of preventing other nations or groups from threatening the United States. And that should become the basic objective of American foreign policy.

Today, the United States stands as an international colossus. America accounts for roughly half the world’s military outlays. Washington spends more on defense, even after adjusting for inflation, than at any point since World War II, including during two very hot wars in Vietnam and Korea.

Moreover, the United States is allied with every major industrialized state except China and Russia. Washington is friendly with most other countries, including middling and emerging powers such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, and South Africa.

The United States enjoys a more positive security environment than at any time during the Cold War. The world will always be dangerous and unpredictable. We hate having to go through metal detectors at airports, but school kids no longer practice getting under their desks for shelter during a Soviet nuclear strike. There are no Red Army tanks poised to invade Germany’s Fulda Gap.

We still worry about terrorism, as we must, but terrorists are no substitute for nation states with nuclear weapons, intercontinental missiles, carrier groups, armored divisions, and more. Terrorists attack civilians because they don’t have any of these weapons, and thus the ability to destroy nations. The United States faces no enemies of note: North Korea, Iran, and Cuba simply don’t make the grade. One American carrier group has more firepower than all of their decrepit militaries together.

Even Russia, not exactly friend or foe, is a military mess. Moscow can beat up on the country of Georgia, little more.

This leaves the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The PRC poses a number of challenges to America. Its economy continues to grow rapidly. China owns a lot of Uncle Sam’s debt, but Beijing can ill afford to dump its U.S. assets without wrecking the value of its own portfolio.

The human rights situation is bad. Nevertheless, there is a lot more individual space today than 20 or 30 years ago. And the horrid, murderous years of Mao Zedong are long past. The Communist Party cannot be certain of its ability to hold onto power over time.

Finally, Beijing resists U.S. foreign policy in a number of areas. The PRC opposes sanctioning Iran and aids Third World despots in Burma and Zimbabwe. They also have resisted applying tougher sanctions on North Korea. Yet even a cooperative China might not be enough for Washington to succeed in dealing with those nations.

Of greatest concern to many analysts is the PRC’s ongoing military buildup.

At a superficial level, the numbers look worrisome. Chinese spending has slowed this year, but outlays have been increasing at double-digit rates. Exact expenditures are difficult to estimate, but Beijing’s real defense budget probably runs between $70 billion and $100 billion.

Yet that number is less impressive than it sounds. First, the Chinese military starts at a low base. Beijing traditionally has had large quantities but low qualities of men and material. Much of the PRC’s recent spending has been devoted to the difficult task of reversing replacing quantity (by cutting numbers of soldiers and aircraft, for instance) with quality. Doing so takes

a lot of money and time.

Despite its efforts, China remains far behind on major measures of firepower. The United States possesses a vastly larger and more sophisticated nuclear arsenal and air force. Washington has 11 carrier groups; Beijing has none.

Second, Washington continues to spend far more than the PRC on the military. Total U.S. expenditures will hit $750 billion next year. Ignore the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and America still spends well over half a trillion dollars. Even taking into account higher personnel costs in America, Washington spends a multiple of China’s outlays. Beijing is not overtaking the United States.

Third, Washington is not alone. Close allies include Japan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and more. Russia, Vietnam, and especially India also are important counterweights to Beijing. All have an incentive to work to constrain the PRC. In fact, several Asian states are improving their navies.

In short, China is in no position, and will be in no position for years, or probably decades, to threaten the United States, or to exert the kind of global influence that America today enjoys. It’s difficult to predict the long term, but for Beijing to build the kind of force necessary to directly challenge America will take an extraordinary investment over a long period. During that time, the United States will be able to respond as necessary.

Still, none of this means the PRC’s military buildup is not having an impact. Beijing is focusing its investment on two objectives. The first is creating forces capable of intimidating Taiwan. The Taiwanese have created a capitalist and democratic state of which they should be proud. However, Chinese leaders view the island as part of a united China and, rather like Abraham Lincoln to the American South, aren’t inclined to take "no" for an answer.

The second is to create a military capable of preventing U.S. action against Beijing. In a word, the PRC is seeking to achieve deterrence.

China is investing in its nuclear forces, to prevent Washington from making nuclear threats. Beijing also is improving its missile and submarine capabilities, to sink U.S. carriers. The Chinese military is developing asymmetric warfare abilities, particularly to destroy American satellites and attack America’s information infrastructure.

These are formidable capabilities, but they offer little offensive potential. There will be no Red carrier forces steaming toward Hawaii. A nuclear strike against America would result in catastrophic retaliation. The People’s Liberation Army will not be deploying on U.S. territory. At base, China is seeking to counter America’s ability to attack China.

As a result, Washington will eventually face a world in which it no longer dominates every country at every point on every continent. Uncomfortable as that world might prove to be, it is inevitable. The United States simply cannot afford to spend what it will be necessary to overcome China’s (and other nations’) growing capabilities.

The problem is that offense costs far more than defense. The PRC doesn’t need 11 carrier groups to fight America’s 11 carrier groups. Beijing only needs enough subs and missiles to put U.S. naval forces at serious risk. Then no president is likely to send the fleet into the Taiwan Strait.

Washington is likely to face similar challenges from other emerging powers in the years ahead. For instance, India is unlikely to attack the United States. But India likely will develop a military capable of deterring Washington from ever attempting to coerce India.

The United States should adopt a similar strategy involving its friends and allies. The best way to constrain Beijing, to ensure that the PRC’s rise proves to be truly peaceful, as Chinese officials routinely claim it will be, is to encourage other states to deter China.

For example, it is in neither America’s nor Japan’s interest if the only way Tokyo can be defended is by the United States risking Los Angeles. Far better for Japan to create a potent military to secure its own territory and protect its own commerce. Nations like Australia, South Korea, Philippines, and Singapore need to get over their war-time fears of Tokyo and cooperate with Japan to safeguard East Asia.

India also can play a role. It has held naval maneuvers with Vietnam and battled China for influence in Burma. One of America’s great advantages is its strong ties to so many of the world’s prosperous democracies, which are now capable of protecting themselves and their regions.

This doesn’t mean the United States should ignore Asia. But it suggests a new role for Washington. Rather than put allied states on an international dole, essentially turning them into a foreign version of the welfare queens that President Ronald Reagan long ago criticized, the United States should help them become independent.

America should watch from afar to guard against extraordinary threats that friendly countries cannot handle. But the United States should not spend Americans’ time, resources, money, and especially lives in an attempt to micro-manage the globe. Attempting social engineering at home is bad. Attempting social engineering abroad is far worse.

Defending America is a vital interest. We should spare no expense to secure our people, liberties, and territory.

In contrast, intervening everywhere around the globe is not a vital interest. With a $1.6 trillion deficit this year and another $10 trillion in red ink expected over the next decade, Washington can no longer afford to act as the global policeman. We have no choice but to make defense of America the basis of our foreign policy.

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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon Press).


 



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For the first time in the history of "The Glenn Beck Program," former President Donald Trump joined Glenn to give his take on America's direction under President Joe Biden compared to his own administration. He explained why Biden's horrific Afghanistan withdrawal was "not even a little bit" like his plan, and why he thinks it was "the most embarrassing event in the history of our country."

Plus, the former president gave his opinion on China's potential takeover of Bagram Air Base, the Pakistani Prime Minister, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Glenn asked President Trump how similar the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan was to his administration's plan.

"Not even a little bit," Trump answered. "We had a great plan, but it was a very tenuous plan. It was based on many conditions. For instance, you can't kill American soldiers. ... You have to understand, I did want to get out. But I wanted to get out with dignity, and I wanted to take our equipment out. And I didn't want soldiers killed. ... What [Biden] did was just indefensible. He took the military out first and he left all the people. And then we became beggars to get the people out. I had a plan to get them out very quickly. But first, the Americans would go out."

Trump told Glenn that his plan included maintaining Bagram Air Base and explained why he would not have left "a single nail" behind in Afghanistan for the Taliban to seize.

"We were going to keep Bagram open," he explained. "We were never going to close that because, frankly, Bagram is more about China than it is about Afghanistan. It was practically on the other border of China. And now we've lost that. And you know who is taking it over? China is taking it over. We spend $10 billion to build that base. It's got the longest, most powerful runways in the world. And China has now got its representatives there and it looks like they'll take it over. Glenn, it's not believable what's happened. You know, they have Apache helicopters. These are really expensive weapons, and they have 28 of them. And they're brand-new. The latest model."

Glenn mentioned recent reports that Gen. Milley, America's top military officer, made "secret phone calls" to his counterpart in China while President Trump was in office.

"I learned early on that he was a dope," Trump said of Gen. Milley. "He made a statement to me — and I guarantee that's what happened to Biden — because I said, 'We're getting out of Afghanistan. We have to do it.' And I said, 'I want every nail. I want every screw. I want every bolt. I want every plane. I want every tank. I want it all out, down to the nails, screws, bolts ... I want every single thing. And he said, 'Sir, it's cheaper to leave it than it is to bring it.'

"The airplane might have cost $40 million, $50 million ... millions and millions of dollars. So, you think it's cheaper to leave it than to have 200 pilots fly over and fly all the equipment out? ... I said, you've got to be nuts. I mean, give me a tank of gas and a pilot and I just picked up a $40 million-dollar airplane. It was amazing. So, I learned early that this guy is a dope. But what he did, is he hurt our country ... and he shouldn't have been allowed to do it. And bad things should happen to him."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation or find the full interview on BlazeTV:


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In a shocking but underreported conversation ahead of the G7 Speakers' meeting in London last week, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted that the administration knows China is committing "genocide" against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, but thinks working with the regime on climate change is more important.

On the radio program, an outraged Glenn Beck dissected Pelosi's speech and broke down how — along with the Biden administration's abandonment of Americans in Afghanistan, and the Democrat decision to follow measures of medical "equity" — the far left is revealing how little they really care about human life.

Glenn played a video clip of Pelosi making the following statement:

We've always felt connected to China, but with their military aggression in the South China Sea, with their continuation of genocide with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province there, with their violation of the cultural, linguistic, religious priority of Tibet, with their suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China, as well – they're just getting worse in terms of suppression, and freedom of speech. So, human rights, security, economically [sic].

Having said all of that ... we have to work together on climate. Climate is an overriding issue and China is the leading emitter in the world, the U.S. too and developed world too, but we must work together.

"We have Nancy Pelosi admitting the United States of America knows that they're not only committing [genocide], they're continuing to commit it. Which means, we've known for a while," Glenn noted. "And what does she say? She goes on to say, yes, they're committing genocide against the Uyghurs, but having said that, I'm quoting, 'the overriding issue,' is working together on climate change.

"Would we have worked with Hitler on climate change? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the bomb? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the Autobahn? Would we have worked with Hitler on his socialized medicine? Would we have worked with Hitler on any of his national, socialist ideas?" he asked.

"The answer is no. No. When you're committing genocide, no! She said 'we have to work together on climate,' because climate is the 'overriding issue.' The overriding issue? There is no way to describe this mindset. That, yes, they are killing an entire group of people because of their ethnicity or religion. They are systematically rounding them up, using them for slave labor, and killing them, using their organs and selling them on the open market. They are nothing more than cattle. For us to recognize it and do nothing about it is bad enough. But to say, 'we recognize it, but we have bigger things to talk to them about,' is a horror show."

Glenn went on to urge Americans to "stand up together in love, peace, and harmony," or risk watching our nation become the worst plague on human life yet.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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The fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008 marked the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and economic collapse was felt throughout the world. But now China's own version of Lehman Brothers, Evergrande, is teetering closer and closer to that edge, too. On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck gave the latest update and predicted how it will affect Asian markets and what it could mean for America's economy.

Glenn explained why he believes a major collapse that is happening now in China will have a cascading effect into a "controlled collapse," a managed decline that will dramatically change America's economy and the way we all live.

"You will not recognize your lifestyle. Hear me," Glenn warned. "And that's not a right-left thing. That's a right-wrong thing. We're on the wrong track. I'm telling you now, there's new information and you are not going to recognize the American lifestyle. ... It could happen tomorrow. It could happen in five years from now, but it will happen. We are headed for a very different country. One where you don't have the rights that you have. And you certainly don't have the economic privileges that Americans are used to."

"The same thing that happened in 2008 is now happening in China," Glenn continued. "This time, it's going to take everything down. When it collapses, it will take everything down."

Watch the video below to hear Glenn break down the details:

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Justin Haskins, editorial director of the Heartland Institute, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to expose a shocking conversation between two Great Reset proponents — Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (Europe's equivalent to the Fed).

The way Schwab and Lagarde discuss the role central banks should play in establishing societal norms, determining your way of life, and defending against potential crisis is proof that the Great Reset is upon us, Justin explained. And the scariest part is that they're not even trying to hide it. The entire, unbelievable conversation has been published on the WEF website, which you can read here.

Glenn read an excerpt from the conversation:

Christine Lagarde: At the ECB, we have now wrapped up and concluded our strategy review, which was the first one in 17 years. And I was blessed to have an entire Governing Council unanimously agree that the fight against climate change should be one of the considerations that we take when we determine monetary policy. So at least the European Central Bank is of the view that climate change is an important component in order to decide on monetary policy. ...

Can we arrive at that trade-off between fighting climate change, preserving biodiversity and yet securing enough growth to respond to legitimate demands of the population? And my first answer, Klaus, to be firm, is that to have a way of life, we need life. And in the medium term, we do have major threats on the horizon that could cause the death of hundreds of thousands of people. So we have to think life, first. We have to think way of life, second. ...

So we have to think life, first. We have to think way of life, second. How can we come together to make sure that we secure the first priority, which is life, and also protect the way of life that people have? And make sure that the cost of it is not so high for some people, that they just cannot tolerate it. I think that the trade-off that we reach will probably require some redistribution, because it is clear that the most exposed people, the less privileged people are those that are going to need some help.

"Do you understand, America, what that means?" Glenn exclaimed. "You have elites, that you never elected, that are having these meetings ... deciding what is a legitimate need for you. And telling you that your needs are going to go away in your lifetime. You may not see a time where you get wants again. Just your needs are going to be addressed. Am I reading this wrong?"

"This is absolutely what is being said here," Justin agreed. "She's very clear that we need to make sure that way of life is second to life. We have to save all these people, hundreds of thousands of people are going to die from this supposedly existential threat of climate change. And their wants, and their desires, and their quality of living, all of that has to come second."

"This is a central bank saying this. This is not an elected official, who is accountable directly to the people. This is a central bank saying, we're going to print money. We're going to use monetary policy, to impose these ideas, to rework society in order to accomplish our goals," Justin added, addressing Lagarde's call for "some redistribution."

Will Great Reset elites — not elected by the U.S. — soon be dictating to the rest of the world? Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn and Justin break it down:

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