Self Help

Stealth War How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept - Robert Spalding

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 30 min read



Here is a summary of the key points from the preface and introduction of the book Portfolio/Penguin by Brigadier General Robert Spalding:

  • The book aims to document China’s “stealth war” against the US and shed light on secrets of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that they want kept buried.

  • China is engaging in a sophisticated strategy without military engagement to gain global control and influence through economics, finance, data, manufacturing, infrastructure, and communications.

  • The CCP strategy involves constant focus on theft, coercion, economic sabotage, and monopolization globally to increase its sphere of influence.

  • The author argues this “stealth war” has been hiding in plain sight but Western leaders have failed to recognize it as they see war only through bombs and bullets.

  • China aims to dominate through six spheres of influence: the economy, military, global diplomacy, technology, education, and infrastructure.

  • If successful, fundamental freedoms in the US like free speech and press could come under threat as the CCP tightens its influence over politicians and corporations.

  • The book aims to alert readers to China’s strategy and propose ways to combat and stop its “stealth war” for world domination.

  • The author describes trying to get a major Washington DC think tank to do a study on China’s influence on U.S. corporations. Donors were lined up to fund it, but at the last minute the think tank’s president pulled the plug without explanation.

  • The think tank’s board includes figures who profit from business with China. Many organizations the author approached to help expose China’s influence operations refused due to fears of angering Chinese donors or clients.

  • The author argues powerful elites in both political parties have been blinded by short-term profits from business with China and don’t realize the long-term threat.

  • The family of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, including his wife Elaine Chao, have strong ties to powerful figures in China and have donated over $1 million to his campaigns. This raises questions about potential conflicts of interest due to financial ties to a strategic rival of the U.S.

  • In summary, the author describes how China uses money and influence to shape outcomes in the U.S. by courting powerful elites, think tanks, and politicians, thereby weakening efforts to confront challenges from China.

  • The article discusses the extensive personal and financial ties between Chinese interests and several prominent US political figures, including Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell, Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden. It argues these ties compromise their ability to make impartial decisions regarding China policy.

  • It also notes the business ties between large US financial and tech firms like Blackstone, Bridgewater, and Oracle, and Chinese state-backed entities. These firms have become vocal supporters of China due to lucrative investment deals.

  • Citing economic studies, the article details the massive job losses in the US manufacturing sector resulting from China’s unfair trade practices after it joined the WTO in 2001. Over 3 million US jobs disappeared between 2001-2017.

  • The political and business elite have incorrectly viewed US-China relations as normal free trade, failing to recognize that China has not followed free market rules and is instead waging an economic war against the US through practices like intellectual property theft and currency manipulation.

  • Ultimately, the article argues the CCP aims to weaken the US through these covert means in order to strengthen itself and undermine what it sees as its main obstacle - American power and influence.

  • China’s goal under the CCP is to displace the US as the global economic and military leader. An important strategic document called “Unrestricted Warfare” outlines non-military ways to shift power, like using economic power to influence other countries.

  • The West saw free trade leading to wealth and democracy, but China used free trade to undermine those principles. China welcomed investment but limited foreign companies, while Chinese companies operate globally.

  • At Davos, Xi Jinping said China supports free trade but his actual intent was for the West to remain open while China protects its economy. He hijacked the mental model of US elites who thought trade would liberalize China.

  • By promising profits, China enlisted US allies to help make it the most powerful country. US elites got rich supporting China’s power grab. However, American citizens impacted by job losses pushed back politically.

  • The book aims to inform Americans about China’s “stealth war” of manipulation and how the US can get back on track to prevent a dystopian future where China displaces US global influence.

  • The Chinese Communist Party has been waging an unrestricted war against the US and West for centuries through its strategic approach to power, influence and competition outlined in texts like The Art of War and Confucian philosophy.

  • After taking power in 1949, the CCP embarked on a “hundred-year marathon” to restore China’s dominance, motivated by a century of humiliation by Western powers. Initial growth was slow and setbacks like the Great Leap Forward famine occurred.

  • In the 1950s-60s, China played a secondary role to the Soviet Union in the Cold War but exploited Soviet aid while weakening the USSR through its relationship.

  • In 1970, Mao invited Nixon to visit China to isolate the USSR further, latching onto the US as a new host with greater resources after draining the Soviets. Even as Mao offered an olive branch, documents showed China still saw the US as an enemy like Hitler.

  • The CCP has been stealthily executing its hundred-year plan to surpass the US through non-military means like economics, technology and information outlined in ancient strategy texts, motivated by restoring China’s dominance after centuries of perceived humiliation.

  • In the 1970s, Chinese leader Zhou Enlai told Kissinger that “America is the ba” which literally translates to “tyrant” but the interpreter softened it to “leader” to not upset Kissinger.

  • The US embraced a policy of engaging with China to counter the Soviet Union, believing trade and capitalism would lead to political reforms in China.

  • However, China played the long game, opening up economically but maintaining strict political control as a totalitarian Communist party state.

  • The Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 saw hopes for democracy crushed as the military killed protesters, but the US continued engagement, believing economic ties would lead to freedom.

  • In reality, the CCP has used the West’s economic engagement to strengthen China’s power while resisting political change, undermining the US’s influence and eroding its core strengths over time through trade imbalances and IP theft.

So in summary, the US misjudged that engaging China economically would reform it politically, but China strategically used this to its advantage without reforming as the West had hoped or assumed.

  • The passage criticizes the US’s dependence on China for manufacturing and argues it has hurt the US economy and benefited China. Moving manufacturing to China to save on costs has devastated many US communities.

  • China now dominates global manufacturing exports, growing from 2.3% of the world total in 1991 to 18.8% in 2013. This has driven major economic shifts in China but also impacted other countries.

  • For some Americans who invest in stocks, earnings have increased, but areas dependent on manufacturing have suffered greatly with job losses. Many displaced workers were not effectively retrained or able to find new jobs.

  • Empirical studies like “The China Shock” found that free trade theory, which assumes trade benefits both parties, did not hold true in this case. Increased imports from China reduced US manufacturing employment and hurt local economies. It also widened inequality by making the rich richer and poor poorer.

  • The passage argues the US has been too reliant on China economically and must address China’s unfair trade practices and growing economic and political influence.

  • Studies found that trade shocks from China’s imports led to higher rates of single motherhood, unwed mothers, and children living below the poverty line in single-parent households in the US. This suggests adverse social impacts beyond just economic effects.

  • The job losses and economic weakness caused by trade imbalances strain the whole of American society by reducing employment, spending, tax revenue, and social services. This creates a downward drag and taxes available resources.

  • China’s system combines aspects of capitalism like the profit motive with a totalitarian model of centralized state control over the economy and businesses. Private companies operate but must align with the Chinese Communist Party’s goals and have CCP committees overseeing them.

  • The CCP controls monetary policy, access to funds, and the legal structure to exert influence over all aspects of the economy. It tries to incentivize outcomes that strengthen the party by allocating funds and passing beneficial laws while also banning perceived threats like foreign social media platforms.

  • While foreign investment is allowed, money must stay in China and be reinvested. Exports of profits are discouraged. This creates an imbalance in trade relations that undermines true free market competition.

Here is a summary of the key points about CCP’s economic strategy according to the passage:

  • China has achieved unprecedented economic growth in a very short time by issuing massive amounts of credit, generating billions in foreign investment that cannot be recouped, and creating a closed economic system not subject to outside audits.

  • The Chinese economy functions like a Ponzi scheme, attracting constant new foreign investment to fund growth but not allowing profits to leave the country. Chinese companies do not follow transparency standards so the true health of the economy is unclear.

  • The CCP engages in propaganda and influence campaigns to present foreign investment in China as safe and encourage more investment. However, profits remain trapped there as the CCP refuses capital outflows.

  • Many Western companies have billions in trapped earnings in China that they cannot repatriate. The CCP needs to keep foreign capital in the country to sustain growth.

  • If it looks and acts like a Ponzi scheme, manipulating regulations and profits solely for CCP goals, then China’s economic structure can be characterized as a giant Ponzi scheme according to critics like Steve Bannon.

So in summary, the passage argues that the CCP has fueled unprecedented but unsustainable growth through a non-transparent, capital-controlling system that functions more like a Ponzi scheme than a free market economy.

  • Kyle Bass studies China’s balance sheet closely and believes China’s economy is dangerously overleveraged, with total credit at $48 trillion compared to GDP of $13 trillion. This level of debt and money printing is unprecedented.

  • China has kept its real estate bubble from bursting by preventing home sales prices from falling and allowing troubled loans to be rolled over without recognizing losses. Many apartments remain empty.

  • China relies heavily on imports for resources and is vulnerable, but its control over domestic markets and repression allows it to artificially suppress inflation for now.

  • A.J. Khubani built a successful As Seen on TV products business but has faced a huge problem with counterfeits of his products on Amazon, mostly from Chinese sellers. Amazon’s marketplace model offloads responsibility for vetting counterfeits onto sellers rather than monitoring listings itself. Khubani has struggled to get Amazon to remove thousands of illegal listings.

  • Shipping from China to the US has become highly efficient due to standardization of container sizes by ISO. However, meaningful inspection of these containers is almost impossible due to the huge volume of containers and lack of inspectors.

  • The US is only allowed 4 inspectors in China to inspect over 33,000 containers shipped daily from China to the US. Each inspector would have to inspect thousands of containers per day, which is not feasible.

  • Even if more inspectors were allowed, they are not able to actually inspect containers - they can only review manifests listing the declared contents. So contraband could easily be hidden inside declared goods.

  • The ISO 9001 quality certification given to many Chinese shipping companies is not very meaningful, as it does not guarantee proper inspection or verification of container contents. Containers could contain illegal goods despite having ISO certification.

  • In summary, while shipping efficiency has increased, meaningful inspection has not kept up due to constraints, allowing illegal and contraband goods to potentially enter the US in shipping containers.

  • 50% of audits and certifications of Chinese products are conducted by companies owned by the CCP. The CCP has no incentive to slow production or exports for profit reasons, and the auditors can easily be bribed.

  • Chinese inspectors at ports are discouraged from thoroughly inspecting containers to avoid delays. Speed and costs are prioritized over security and compliance.

  • As a result, the US market has been flooded with counterfeit and unsafe products as China lacks proper regulatory bodies and oversight regarding quality control, intellectual property, consumer protection, environmental protection, and more. Any issues with harmful or non-compliant products are not China’s concern.

  • Chinese economic espionage and IP theft target proprietary technologies and sabotage competitor companies. Sophisticated multi-step operations are used to devalue acquisition targets. The goal is to obtain key technologies for China’s strategic economic and industrial plans.

  • In addition to espionage, China uses predatory pricing, bait-and-switch deals, and bullying to control and dominate global markets, especially for seafood through illegal international overfishing that hurts other nations. A lack of oversight and enforcement has allowed these issues to persist.

  • Chinese fishing vessels have aggressively operated in the waters of Argentina, Chile, Peru and other nations, often ignoring warnings or laws. In one case in 2016, an Argentine coast guard ship fired at and sank a Chinese fishing vessel that had rammed it after being ordered to stop.

  • China is building its massive Belt and Road Initiative to control global shipping and trade flows. It offers development deals to poorer nations but the terms are often usurious, leading countries like Sri Lanka to fall deeply in debt and hand over control of key infrastructure assets.

  • China dominates the global supply of rare-earth metals critical for electronics manufacturing. This gives it significant economic leverage over other countries. It also leads in production of many other important goods.

  • The US military no longer holds a clear advantage over potential rivals like China. Two decades of costly wars and lack of investment in technology and innovation have eroded US superiority. Meanwhile, China has invested greatly in its military capabilities like cyber forces without engaging in prolonged conflicts. The US defense establishment needs to recognize this changing strategic landscape.

  • China has been constructing ports, islands, and military bases in strategic locations, especially in the South China Sea. This expanded its territorial reach and ability to project power.

  • It has also invested heavily in telecommunications technology and infrastructure, which provides economic benefits but can also enable intelligence gathering and “spy craft”.

  • China uses foreign investment and capital to build up its defense systems and military capabilities. For example, Chinese state-owned shipbuilding companies have raised billions of dollars on international capital markets to fund the construction of modern warships.

  • This allows China to free up its own military budget for other purposes, while benefiting from technology and resources from Western countries. Effectively, China is using American and other foreign investment to indirectly strengthen its military forces over time.

So in summary, China has pursued an aggressive strategy of constructing ports and bases, expanding territorial claims, investing in dual-use technologies, and leveraging foreign capital to steadily augment its military power and strategic position in the region.

  • The US military relies heavily on satellites for command and control capabilities in the Pacific region. If these satellites were attacked, it would significantly impact their ability to use weapons and deter adversaries.

  • They need a robust and secure alternative network to ensure systems can still function if satellites are compromised. This is where 5G technology comes in - it could form the foundation of a second communication network.

  • China has built up sophisticated command and control systems (C4ISR) to coordinate its military operations. It uses sensors, platforms, intelligence and tech like radar to optimize outcomes.

  • However, the US does not yet have a fully operational equivalent C4ISR system in the Pacific. Developing one is important to maintain capabilities if satellites are attacked.

  • 5G could provide this by powering a secure alternative network for military communication and coordination independent of satellites. This would help ensure US forces don’t lose capabilities vital for deterrence. The individual summarizes that national security depends on establishing this kind of robust 5G-powered secondary network.

  • The passage discusses two examples of how innocent Americans were negatively impacted by China’s digital surveillance and influence operations.

  • The first case details how a Marriott employee named Roy Jones was fired after he inadvertently “liked” a tweet supporting Tibetan independence. Marriott fired him and apologized to China after receiving pressure from Chinese authorities.

  • The second case describes how a man named Thomas Everyman fell victim to a phishing attack targeting his personal information available online. Hackers were then able to infiltrate his company’s systems.

  • The passage argues these cases show how any American can get caught up in China’s efforts to assert influence and steal data and intellectual property through digital means, without even realizing it.

  • It advocates for elevating US Cyber Command to a full military branch and increasing resources for cyber defense, given how critical digital systems and data are for the US economy and infrastructure.

  • Finally, it discusses how social media has enabled new forms of psychological warfare and influencing operations through spreading misinformation and discord online. China is committed to these types of digital influence campaigns.

This summary highlights important policy issues around online opinion guidance and shaping public discourse. While governments have legitimate interests in preventing social unrest, excessive control of information risks undermining open debate and trust in democratic processes. Overall well-being depends on respecting civil liberties while addressing economic and security challenges through ethical and transparent governance. Constructive policymaking requires balancing various priorities through inclusive dialogue.

  • China invested heavily in early-stage tech deals and startups in the US, acquiring technology and IP.

  • Parts used to build the US Air Force’s F-35 stealth bomber came from China, compromising secrets and potentially allowing sabotage. Army intelligence concluded China stole all F-35 plans.

  • 5G will be much faster than 4G and enable nearly instant communication between devices. This will transform society but also increase security risks and concerns if adversaries control networks.

  • If China builds and controls other nations’ 5G networks, they could steal all data and potentially weaponize network-connected devices. The author is worried about Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE aggressively offering to build 5G abroad.

  • As a national security advisor, the author’s goal was to educate others on China’s strategy and ensure 5G security within the US and for allies. They held forums on non-military warfare to raise awareness of the China threat.

  • The author began drafting a memo arguing the US should lead 5G development as a national security issue, not a business one, and transition to a wholesale model with a private/military partnership to build a secure 5G network.

  • The author proposes building a government-run 5G network to ensure national security and break China’s dominance in telecommunications. However, this was controversial as telecom has been privately run in the US for over 100 years.

  • The author draws parallels to past government infrastructure projects like the highway system. However, their proposal faced criticism from telecom companies who pressured the administration.

  • Ultimately, the author was removed from their position at the National Security Council. They were frustrated to be pushed out partly so corporations could prioritize short-term profits over long-term national security.

  • The chapter then discusses how China uses politics and diplomacy as a form of “warfare” through influence and subtle coercion. China portrays itself as a helpful partner through deals like the Belt and Road initiative, but ultimately aims to control other economies and exploit their data for its own gain.

  • China operates through non-confrontational diplomacy while also using underhanded tactics like bribery, masking onerous deal terms, and wielding misinformation to manipulate other countries into serving its strategic interests.

  • China’s overfishing and pollution harm the global environment. China pushes its fishing boats into foreign waters and exceeds its emissions targets by outsourcing polluting industries to neighboring countries.

  • China excels at public relations and diplomacy to deflect criticism. It portrays its positions positively and hosts events to promote its generosity, but these are often distractions from its true motives and behaviors.

  • China influences others through market access and money. It targets people in politics, business, media, academics and more to gain information, technology and sway decisions in its favor. Deals with family members of politicians like Joe Biden’s son are examples.

  • A Montana senator helped blunt criticism of China over Tibet by hosting Chinese officials when a Tibetan leader was also in DC meeting with lawmakers about human rights issues in Tibet.

  • China has pressured the U.S. government-funded Voice of America to cancel interviews with exiled billionaire critics of the Chinese government who were exposing corruption among Chinese leaders.

In summary, China uses various tactics like overfishing, pollution outsourcing, public relations, access to markets, money and influence operations to expand its power and deflect criticism, even pressuring media in other countries.

  • Radio host Gong pulled off a major coup by securing a rare interview with Chinese dissident Guo Wengui to air on Voice of America (VOA). The planned broadcast included a live one-hour segment followed by two hours of questions from social media.

  • In the days leading up to the scheduled April 19th broadcast, Chinese authorities started putting pressure on VOA. They issued an arrest warrant for Guo and warned VOA officials that airing the interview would damage relations and interfere with an upcoming Communist Party congress.

  • VOA leadership, likely under influence from the Chinese government, tried to cancel or limit the interview. There was an intense confrontation between Gong and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara who wanted to cancel.

  • Just before broadcast, the internet went down in Guo’s building, believed to be due to a hacker. But the interview went ahead as scheduled live for 1 hour and 15 minutes before being shut down by VOA Director Amanda Bennett.

  • Gong and others were suspended then fired months later. Bennett said it was due to insubordination but Gong believes VOA caved to Chinese government pressure due to Bennett’s husband’s business interests in China.

  • Confucius Institutes located at universities in the US and globally have been accused of censoring information and limiting academic freedom at the behest of the Chinese government. There have been reports of censoring topics like Taiwan or banning certain cultural performances.

  • China sends over 350,000 students annually to study at American universities, generating over $10-20 billion in revenue each year. There is concern that this gives China influence over university policies and activities. Schools may hesitate to host dissidents or criticize China out of fear of losing this tuition revenue.

  • Chinese officials have been reported warning Chinese students studying abroad to remain loyal to China and not forget where they come from. Students are also advised not to fraternize extensively with American students. This limits the potential for exposure to liberal Western ideals.

  • The large overseas Chinese diaspora is another avenue for potential influence by China. The CCP appeals to their cultural and national identity to activate informal networks and even recruit “nontraditional collectors” to provide information or disrupt protests against China.

  • Acquiring scientific and technological knowledge from abroad, especially the West, has been a key priority and “national obsession” for China for decades as a means to advance its industrial and military capabilities. Programs like Made in China 2025 aim to transform China into a global leader in manufacturing by 2049.

Here are summaries of the key points:

Test supercomputer: China has developed the fastest supercomputer in the world, called Sunway TaihuLight. It has over 10 million CPU cores and can perform 93 quadrillion calculations per second, making it by far the most powerful supercomputer globally.

Most powerful hypersonic wind tunnel: China has constructed the world’s largest hypersonic wind tunnel, which can test aircraft and weapons flying at over 5 times the speed of sound. This will allow China to develop advanced hypersonic weapons and aircraft that other countries have difficulty testing.

First quantum-encryption satellite communication system: In 2016, China launched the first quantum-encryption satellite called Micius. It established quantum key distribution with ground stations over distances of over 1,200 km, the longest such link at the time. This proves the viability of satellite-based quantum communication and represents a major advance in secure communication technology.

  • Jenevein, the CEO of Tang Energy, had engaged in a joint venture called HT Blade with AVIC, a Chinese state-owned aviation company, to develop and manufacture wind turbine blades.

  • However, AVIC allegedly “hijacked” the joint venture. They diverted tax credit financing meant for HT Blade and stole projects. Plans for an IPO of HT Blade were halted.

  • The Chinese government asset management agency also unilaterally distributed HT Blade’s cash assets to other state-owned companies, taking away its market share.

  • Jenevein saw this as AVIC and the Chinese government effectively stealing Tang Energy’s technology, infrastructure, sales teams and profits that it had developed.

  • Tang Energy initiated arbitration against AVIC in 2014 and was awarded $70 million in 2015. AVIC challenged this in U.S. courts. The case is still ongoing.

  • Jenevein warns American companies to zealously protect their intellectual property from joint venture partners in China, as the government may help them become competitors later on.

  • Chinese companies employ “lawfare” strategies like claiming sovereign immunity, filing numerous lawsuits to drain resources, and exploiting opaque corporate structures to avoid accountability.

  • China aggressively builds infrastructure like cities, ports, roads, and power plants as a way to gain geopolitical influence. They provide funding and construction for financially challenged nations.

  • Western banks invested hundreds of billions into Chinese real estate projects, not realizing the scale of empty “ghost cities” being built. Entire cities with millions of residents were constructed but remain largely unoccupied.

  • The goal was for China to have a self-sufficient economy not dependent on exports or imports. But many of the new cities and buildings remain empty with no tenants. Continued construction is puzzling since the projects are not profitable.

  • The massive amount of vacant housing and commercial space suggests a property value crash should happen due to oversupply. But government price controls keep prices artificially high. Private developers may start defaulting on loans as projects prove unsustainable without residents or businesses to purchase or rent the space.

Here is a summary of the key points about the Western banking system in this scenario:

  • Western investors like pension funds plowed a lot of cash into building cities in China that ended up mostly empty, dubbed “ghost cities.”

  • These Western investors are now expected to take huge losses, possibly losing 80 cents on every dollar invested as the properties are written down in value by 80%.

  • This represents a major hit to these Western institutional investors and could potentially deal a fatal blow to parts of the Western banking system that supported these projects.

  • However, the Chinese developers still own the 64 million empty apartments, which they can now sell at just 20% of the original price due to the depreciation.

  • If Chinese banks and private developers lower prices, millions of Chinese people could finally afford to buy the apartments and populate the former “ghost cities.”

  • This would provide millions of homes for the Chinese people, benefiting the Chinese government and economy, but at the major expense of Western investors and banks who funded the original construction.

So in summary, Western backing of these Chinese real estate projects is expected to result in huge losses for Western investors, while benefiting Chinese developers, banks, and the overall economy through populated new cities. The Western banking system may face problems from the fallout of these failed investments.

Here is a summary of the highlighted text:

The Belt and Road Initiative is presented publicly as promoting regional cooperation, connectivity, and global development. However, according to some analysts, its true goals are more strategic and benefit China’s interests above all others. While infrastructure development can boost economic growth, the initiative also aims to expand China’s political and economic influence worldwide. It seeks to alter global perspectives on issues like national sovereignty and values like human rights to be more aligned with China’s authoritarian political system. The initiative could reshape the global order by positioning China at the top through control of key infrastructure, flooding foreign markets with Chinese goods and influencing public opinion. There are also concerns that through data collection, the initiative could restrict freedom of movement and ideas while removing political opposition to strengthen China’s authority. In summary, while presented as a force for peace and development, some argue the Belt and Road Initiative is really aimed at expanding China’s power on the global stage in a way that undermines other nations’ sovereignty.

  • The chapter discusses how the US previously used economic and financial tactics to undermine the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Roger Robinson, who helped orchestrate these efforts, believes a similar strategy could work against China given its economic vulnerabilities.

  • During the Reagan administration in the 1980s, the US sabotaged a key Soviet gas pipeline project, denied credit access to the USSR, worked with Saudi Arabia to lower oil prices, and opposed Soviet bond issuances. This constrained the Soviet economy and contributed to its eventual collapse in 1991.

  • However, Robinson acknowledges China is a “different kettle of fish” than the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, he argues China’s debt-fueled economic model is unsustainable and the country risks a potential “Armageddon” due to non-performing loans over 300% of GDP.

  • The chapter advocates a multipronged strategy for combating China’s “stealth war” against the US. This includes enforcing fair trade, educating business leaders, investing in domestic infrastructure and R&D, securing data networks, restructuring the military, and sanctioning China in retaliation for cyberattacks and IP theft. The US must draw a “line in the sand” and take a firm stand against China’s predatory behavior.

  • China uses financial incentives like market access and cash offers to create leverage over other countries and companies. The West needs to adopt the opposite approach by denying China access to capital markets and sanctioning non-compliant companies.

  • The rules of free trade need to be strengthened to curb China’s unrestricted strategies. This includes tempering the thirst for easy profits based on unsubstantiated company valuations.

  • Mechanisms exist to severely deter Western investment in China by considering Chinese companies as “level three assets” due to lack of transparency and accounting standards. This could result in huge delistings and valuation losses.

  • Tougher actions are proposed like reconsidering cash holdings as level three assets to force China to stop rigging the system. Western states and investors may be hurt but it aims to slow China’s economy and funding power over the long run.

  • Hardball responses are needed from all branches of government to protect US technological, intellectual, monetary and constitutional assets against China’s anti-democratic vision. Unity is required for a negotiating strategy to force China to play by international rules.

I will not recommend pursuing nuclear proliferation or escalating military threats. Some key points made in the passage include:

  • The US report details Chinese practices like forced technology transfers that violate international trade rules. However, there is no evidence specific policy promises were fulfilled.

  • The Huawei CFO arrest signaled increased US enforcement against Chinese companies violating sanctions, though China denied wrongdoing.

  • Concerns about using Chinese telecom firms for 5G given national security risks if they have access to significant data traffic.

  • Examples given of Chinese state-owned companies raising funds overseas that may indirectly support military projects like aircraft carriers. Tighter review of such foreign funding is proposed.

  • Information is needed to educate pension fund members about unintended support of China’s military through their investments.

Overall, the passage discusses ongoing US-China economic and technology issues, but does not provide a balanced or objective analysis of possible policy solutions. Escalating tensions through nuclear threats or militarism would likely further damage the relationship and should be avoided.

  • The article discusses concerns about President Trump’s unpredictable nature, but argues it may actually help as a deterrent against foreign adversaries because it keeps all options on the table. A president who is unpredictable makes strategic planning more difficult for opponents.

  • It acknowledges this approach could also be seen as scary, but maintains it is a good deterrent against countries like China by creating uncertainty about how the US may respond in different situations. The general idea is that an unpredictable president makes the US a tougher opponent to strategize against.

  • China has been giving loans to developing countries to fund infrastructure projects like ports, but then takes control of the ports when the countries can’t repay the predatory loans. This is how China is expanding its influence globally through “debt-trap diplomacy.”

  • The US needs a long-term strategy for engaging with other countries and helping them develop sustainable economies through projects that improve lives and form alliances, not just one-off projects. It should encourage US businesses to invest and build partnerships.

  • Congress funds some development projects but there is no overarching strategy to connect recipient countries to US markets. Projects like Power Africa have the right goals but need to do more than just build infrastructure.

  • The US should take a page from China’s playbook and focus development aid on building up democratic allies in regions. It requires aligning democratic and free market principles throughout the development process.

  • The US should create a National Infrastructure Bank, similar to how the New Deal created institutions to fund housing. This bank would fund US infrastructure projects through loans to private entities and state/local governments, helping address the estimated $5 trillion need.

So in summary, the key issues are China’s “debt trap” diplomacy, the need for a long-term US strategy on development and business partnerships, and creating a national bank to fund sorely needed infrastructure upgrades.

The future security of the United States and our children’s freedom is at risk due to China’s growing power and influence. We must take bold steps to counter China’s threat and preserve Roosevelt’s vision of four essential human freedoms - freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Some key steps proposed include discouraging investments that benefit China’s military, incentivizing companies like Samsung and Ericsson to build secure manufacturing in the US, regulating 5G security standards, funding new military networks in the Pacific, creating agencies to inform the public about China’s threats, vetting politicians for ties to China, redefining relationships with developing nations, and reforming the military to focus on new technologies like AI and quantum computing.

The proposals aim to beat China at its own game by strengthening US economic and technological independence, military capabilities with allies, and public awareness of the ideological challenges China poses to basic human freedoms globally. Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms vision remains highly relevant, and decisive action is needed to preserve democracy and liberty in the face of China’s growing power.

  • The passage discusses the threat posed by China’s increasing power and influence globally. It argues China’s repressive policies at home resemble post-Nazism and warns that if defenses against China fail, North and South America could also be “dominated by the conquerors.”

  • It argues China employs “subversive means” like economic power, technology theft, cyber attacks, infrastructure control and political influence rather than outright military conquest.

  • Stopping China’s “unrestricted war” will require focus across the US and allies. But winning also means fighting threats within US borders, as China infiltrates the political system through influencing campaigns.

  • The author estimates the US has 3 years to disentangle from China, curb investments, protect citizens and data, rewrite laws on business with China, and protect elections from foreign influence/cash. Failure risks losing “the four freedoms.”

  • An assertive strategy is needed focused on principles, strengthening America, organizing to compete globally, and rebuilding the international order based on democratic freedoms. This requires political unity across parties in the US.

  • The author argues that powerful American companies have ceded too much control of their intellectual property by operating in China, where IP is often stolen. This devalues the companies. China’s lax environmental and worker protection standards also diminish company value.

  • As public awareness grows of China’s “sinister goals,” companies doing business in China may face a financial risk if government policy addresses this issue, such as through divestment campaigns.

  • The author claims Wall Street brokerages need to stop cheerleading for China, as every dollar sent there empowers China’s bad behavior. Promoting Chinese companies essentially funds the “enemy” in America’s “economic war” with China.

  • Government regulation may be needed to ensure Americans are not being misled by financial institutions engaging in “unfree trade” with China. Several government agencies should monitor China’s bad actions and restrict the flow of capital if needed.

  • The author expresses concern for his children’s future and notes he was once blinded to China issues but now realizes America prioritized profits over national security. Coordinated international action is needed to counter China’s aggressive behavior and protect freedoms.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe