Warning: China Will Attack
Colonel Grant Newsham (USMC-Ret.) has a warning for us. The question is not will China attack. It is when will China attack. Newsham challenges the reader to think about what that attack will look like. The short answer is bloody and destructive.
Are we ready for it? Can America fully comprehend the reality of what happens when China attacks ?
The answer is no. I can speak personally. As I read the chapter where Newsham hypothesizes what the kinetic attack will be like, I found myself thinking, “That sounds ridiculous.” At that point, I realized how inconceivable an attack appears to most Americans. Newsham deserves credit for thinking outside of the box and challenging the reader to think seriously.
Has the China attack already happened?
While Newsham speculates on the future, he makes it clear that an attack has already happened. It has not occurred with guns and tanks. However, China has attacked the US on a series of fronts that include: Political warfare, economic warfare, information operations, chemical warfare, and influence operations.
When China Attacks pulls back the curtain on dozens of key events that have emboldened China to push harder and act more aggressively. Newsham makes it clear that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) goal is to dominate and impose their Marxist-Leninist vision of governance on the world. If America does not grow a spine, we will soon become a vassal state under the thumb of Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Why should Americans care about opposing China? We have reached a low point in American society where we need to proselytize to our fellow citizens that America is good and worth defending and that China does pose an existential threat to our way of life.
Counting the Costs
The most immediate way in which China has destabilized and physically hurt America has been through the spread of COVID-19 and the proliferation of deadly drugs like fentanyl. Regarding COVID-19, Newsham does not suggest that China intentionally leaked the virus. However, he makes the case that China’s actions during the initial outbreak allowed the virus to spread throughout the world. Furthermore, they have not allowed any investigation into the origins of the pandemic. The PRC continues to use their influence at the World Health Organization (WHO) to deflect all blame and avoid any responsibility.
On the issue of fentanyl, America’s drug epidemic has become a national security imperative. Americans are dying at staggering rates with 70,000 deaths in 2021 tied to fentanyl. This casualty count is higher than the number of Americans that were killed during the eight years that America was at war in Vietnam. Fentanyl is a deadly drug coming from America’s southern border. However, its chemicals are manufactured in China. Beyond the high death count, the second and third order effects of fentanyl is that it leaves American communities devastated by loss and despair.
On the topic of loss and despair, Newsham uses the city of Baltimore as the poster child for a de-industrialized America. Baltimore was a once thriving port city before the ravages of globalization and the outsourcing of trade and manufacturing to China. With the decline of the American middle class, cities like Baltimore have been degraded by crime and poverty. Newsham believes that China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) was a tipping point in US history that opened the door for jobs to exit the US in search of cheaper labor in China.
How the elites have enabled China
Going further on the economic front, Newsham has very few kind words for Wall Street. Who can blame him? Wall Street banks are willfully blind when it comes to the China threat. The goal is to make money here and now. It is a short-sighted industry that makes no moral distinction about its actions unless told to do so by policymakers. And what happens when US policymakers shows some backbone and stand up to China, for example, through tariffs and sanctions? Wall Street goes ballistic and uses all of its high paid lobbyists not to mention its own people within government to stop it. As Newsham reminds us, President Trump’s own Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, was a former Goldman Sachs executive.
Wall Street is not the only industry to be cowed by Chinese influence. They are emblematic of an elite part of American society that always caves to the Chinese. China’s influence extends into many other American institutions to include the government, Hollywood, higher education, and even the military. By the end of the book, the reader comes away shocked by how deeply embedded China is into all facets of US society. However, on an optimistic note, the fact that our society has not completely capitulated to China seems somewhat of a miracle.
Stiffening the American Will
Additional shades of optimism percolate through the book in that opposition to China is increasingly becoming a bipartisan issue in Washington. While the Trump administration was the first admin to take a hard stand against China, the Biden administration has continued many (but not all) of the Trump-era policies.
Nevertheless, even with the growing recognition that China poses a real threat to America, Newsham makes it clear that our political leaders are still timid. There is still a fear of how China will perceive certain actions. American leaders worry more about how China will respond. They live with a naïve hope that we need China to solve issues like North Korea and climate change. We don’t.
America can still counter China from a position of strength. However, the window of opportunity closes more every year. China’s military continues to grow larger and improve its capabilities. China continues to build new alliances and partners around the globe. Finally, they are unwavering in their determination to attack and seize Taiwan. Again, it a matter of time. The sand in the hourglass is piling up.
Newsham’s book is coming at a critical time. It is a shrill alarm clock telling us to wake up. Don’t hit the snooze button and rollover on this issue. We can and should take actions to deter a Chinese attack. But America must have the will to do so.
Newsham’s concluding words should inspire us to harden our will. He writes, “An enemy always looks formidable. We tend to look at the People’s Republic of China as ten feet tall. They aren’t ten feet tall. We’ve just been on our knees.”
It’s time to stand up!