The Cold War ended because we were the strongest military force in the world, backed by a unified NATO and strong allies in the Pacific. Times have changed. China challenges us as the number one military, and Russia is not far behind. NATO is no longer the cornerstone of European security and stability, and our allies in the Pacific are not a unified block, with China influencing defections or promoting fence sitting.1
We are now emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our military advantage has been eroding. Meanwhile, China is intimidating its neighbors while militarizing islands in the South China Sea and talks openly about invading Taiwan. The Hong Kong protests that began in the summer of 2019 continue to escalate, and it may be only a matter of time before China eliminates the “one country, two systems approach.”2 In this book, w1e will cover the details of China building one of the most advanced military powers in world history, including missiles, undersea weapons, anti-satellite weapons and a whole range of non-traditional warfare weapons such as EMP, cyber, AI and bio-terrorism. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations while it continues to build its nuclear arsenal, advance missiles, and build its submarine force. North Korea continues to build its nuclear program, despite the United Nations’ censure and sanctions. Iran continues to sow violence and undermine stability in the Middle East. Terrorist groups, sponsored by Iran, continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace. The greatest threat to United States military strength is the misconception that America can no longer afford military superiority. The force we need will not come cheaply, but the costs of weakness and complacency are far greater. The costs of failing to meet America’s crisis of national defense and national security will be measured in American lives, American treasure, and American security and prosperity. It will be a tragedy if the United Sates allows its national interests and national security to be compromised through an unwillingness to make hard choices and necessary investments. That tragedy will be more regrettable because it is within our power to avoid it.
NATO has faced criticism from American president Donald Trump for failing to live up to pledges for military expenditures. He pointed out that each member of NATO has pledged to devote 2 percent of its GDP to defense. Most members have failed to live up to this commitment, with Germany investing 1.2 percent of its GDP. President Trump also criticized a trade agreement that calls for Germany to buy billions of dollars in natural gas from Russia. “It certainly doesn’t seem to make sense that Germany paid billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia,” Trump said.3
United States military superiority has bred complacency among a population that has never known military defeat. Our military has been stretched to its limits, making do with aging ships, planes and tanks. The threats we face have grown increasingly sophisticated with cyber war, artificial intelligence and space weapons for which we have no defense.
Throughout our history, the United States has considered the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans wide and virtually impassable moats assuring our security. The time has arrived when we must be concerned that they are easy channels of access for enemies. To defend ourselves and carry out our urgent responsibilities around the world, we must fully commit to developing and maintaining the world’s best navy. We are not going to make the mistakes of the Allied powers in the 1930s of appeasing dictatorships bent on crushing democracies. We must be ready and willing to commit the resources needed to defend our cherished way of life. The United States trade deficit with China has climbed to more than $500 billion in hard currency, money that China uses to develop an array of advanced high technology weapons designed to defeat the United States in a future conflict. They include maneuverable missile warheads, hypersonic weapons, laser and beam weapons, electromagnetic rail guns, space weapons and artificial intelligence robots. Once characterized by slow development, China is moving rapidly in the area of special weapons in ways not for military parity with the United States but for military supremacy.
The Chinese have launched a massive campaign to become the world’s leading economic superpower. We know about the “Belt and Road Initiative,” a strategic undertaking to place huge segments of the world under China’s influence or outright control with their debt traps.4 We know about “Made in China 2025,” a strategy designed to dominate key technology sectors from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to hypersonic missiles and 5G.5 We know about China’s practice of forced technology transfers, requiring American companies to share their trade secrets and R&D in order to do business in China. We know about China’s predatory trade practices. We know many of these things only because President Trump has brought them to the forefront of national attention, for which he deserves credit. And the ongoing tariff war is a good thing in the sense that we’ve finally begun to take a stand.
Chinese have launched a massive campaign to become the world’s leading economic superpower. We know about the “Belt and Road Initiative,” a strategic undertaking to place huge segments of the world under China’s influence or outright control with their debt traps.4 We know about “Made in China 2025,” a strategy designed to dominate key technology sectors from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to hypersonic missiles and 5G.5 We know about China’s practice of forced technology transfers, requiring American companies to share their trade secrets and R&D in order to do business in China. We know about China’s predatory trade practices. We know many of these things only because President Trump has brought them to the forefront of national attention, for which he deserves credit. And the ongoing tariff war is a good thing in the sense that we’ve finally begun to take a stand.
But there is an issue more critical than trade that Americans, by and large, do not know about: China has more than 700 companies on our stock and bond markets or capital markets. It has about 86 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, about 62 in the NASDAQ, and more than 500 in the murky, poorly regulated over-the-counter market. Among these companies are some egregious bad actors. Hikvision, for example, is responsible for facial recognition technology that identifies and monitors the movement of ethnic Uyghurs, persecuted Muslims living in China’s northwest. It also produces the surveillance cameras placed atop the walls of Chinese concentration camps holding as many as two million Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Both its parent company and Hikvision itself are on the United States Commerce Department Entity List (what many describe as the “Blacklist”).
Many of these American listed companies have raised billions of hard currency dollars for China from American investors and pension funds. Do any of us have the financing of concentration camps in mind when we transfer money into our retirement and investment accounts? This sounds difficult to believe, but it is an empirical fact: the majority of American investors are unwittingly funding Chinese concentration camps, weapons systems for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and more. This is because the United States has no security-minded screening mechanism for our capital markets, which have roughly $35 trillion under management.
Then there is the question of China’s military. Is it better than the United States’ now? How about Russia? The United States may not stand a chance against a united Russia or China should World War III break out, analysts from the RAND Corporation concluded after performing simulated war scenarios concerning battles on land, sea and air and in space and cyberspace. In scenario after scenario, the United States suffered severe losses despite spending nearly $1 trillion annually on the military, exceeding the spending of any other country by more than double.
“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” David Ochmanek, a researcher for RAND, said. Though hypothetical, the simulated games warn that the world order America has fought to protect for more than a century could be at risk. “The brain and nervous system that connects all of these pieces is suppressed, if not shattered,” Ochmanek warns.6
Robert Work, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense and experienced war-gamer, warns that United States military bases across Europe and the Pacific are not equipped to handle the fire they would face in a high-end conflict. Work said China would focus on cyberspace with “system destruction warfare,” which involves targeting United States communications satellites, command and control systems, and wireless networks.7
If you thought the deadly coronavirus that broke out in Wuhan, China, and afflicted millions of people around the world originated in China, you’re wrong, according to the Chinese Communist Party. U.S. military athletes participating in sporting events in Wuhan in October 2019 brought the disease with them, China’s propaganda machine claims. China has been involved in a strategy of blame shifting ever since the virus was first identified. Dr. Li Wenliang will be remembered for the dangers of being a messenger of bad news in a dictatorship. A 34-year-old physician at Wuhan Central Hospital, he was examining a glaucoma patient on December 30, 2019, when he noticed symptoms of what was to become known as coronavirus infection. After several other patients exhibited these symptoms, which were like SARS—the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003—he sent out a warning over the We Chat messaging application advising fellow medical school grads to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.
While Dr. Wenliang was just one of eight whistleblowers who tried to sound an early alarm about the new virus, it was his warning that alarmed the authorities. Denounced for “rumormongering,” he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau and required to sign a letter in which he professed to have made “false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order.”8
Initially, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) silenced whistleblowers like Dr. Wenliang who tried to limit the spread of the disease domestically and abroad. The government subsequently repressed the freedom of speech of bloggers who tried to share accurate information about the spread of the disease, the mortality rate, and the challenges faced by medical professionals.
The CCP’s ongoing, systematic repression of both freedom of association and freedom of religion has stunted civil society’s capacity to respond to crises like infectious diseases—and the government has cracked down on private citizens’ attempts to help each other, including the donation of medical supplies. The CCP’s onerous requirements for international nongovernmental organizations and its current policies also prevented international humanitarian aid from reaching the Chinese people in their time of need.
The worldwide implications of the coronavirus virus should serve as a wake-up call for the United States and its allies. What if China were to develop another virus together with an antidote for its own people? It could release the virus and combine it with EMC attacks and space weapons that could compromise our global positioning stations.
The coronavirus pandemic also alerted the United States public to how dependent we have become on China for essential medical and health supplies. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most of the drugs in the United States are imported, some from Europe. However, Europe also places the production base of these drugs in China, so more than 90 percent of the United States’ imported drugs are in some way connected to China. The implication is that should China announce all drugs are needed for domestic consumption and ban exports, the United States could be virtually helpless in combatting a viral epidemic.
“It does fit a kind of scenario we have worried about in the field for a while now,” says Cornelius Clancy, associate professor of medicine and director of the XOR pathogen laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. “It wouldn’t take much to expose the vulnerabilities in the supply chain.”9
This is yet another lesson on the dangers of overreliance on foreign sources and just-in-time inventories for supplies that may be required to meet urgent needs. We cannot rely on others to take care of us when the chips are down. We cannot place our essential needs in the hands of others, particularly others with whom we have years of enmity. Having our medical imports cut off at any time would be extremely threatening and having that occur during a disease outbreak that China allowed to start and to spread would be catastrophic.10
Of course, medical services are—or should be—primarily civilian operations. It is when the United States only sources vital military supplies and components from China that alarms must really go off. The chemical Butanetriol is a propellant used in the HELLFIRE missile, one of the most effective and widely used United States military weapons since its introduction in 1985. Since securing the contract nearly 20 years ago, the missile propellant manufacturer—Copperhead Chemical Company, located in Pennsylvania—has relied on Shanghai Fuda Chemicals in China for the key propellant ingredient, Butanetriol (BT). Now the U.S. Government Accountability Office has ordered the military to fund a factory to produce the chemical.
A Pentagon commission ordered by President Trump identified hundreds of instances where the United States military depends on foreign countries, especially China, for critical materials. The commission determined that the United States is too dependent on foreign suppliers for a range of items, including microelectronics, tiny components such as integrated circuits and transistors. These kinds of essential components are embedded in advanced electronics used in everything from satellites and cruise missiles to drones and cell phones. The focus on China reflects an effort under Trump to address the risks to the United States’ national security from Beijing’s growing military and economic clout. Pentagon officials want to be sure China is not able to hobble America’s military by cutting off supplies of materials or by sabotaging technology it exports. The Trump Administration’s “Buy American” initiative aims to help drum up billions of dollars more in arms sales for United States manufacturers and create more jobs. One recommendation is “to ensure a robust, resilient, secure and ready manufacturing and defense industrial base.”11 China, which has also become the main supplier of many of the rare earth minerals used by the United States, was given special emphasis in the report. An analysis from the United States Geological Survey states that this county had produced no rare earth minerals in 2017, while China accounted for 81 percent of global mine production. Rare earth minerals are used in magnets, radars and consumer electronics
Aside from the risk that a foreign power could cut off vital supplies needed to keep the United States military up and running, other risks include the threat of sabotaged equipment or espionage. The Pentagon has long fretted that “kill switches”12 could be embedded in transistors that could turn off our sensitive systems in a conflict. Our intelligence officials also warned about the possibility China could use Chinese-made mobile phones and network equipment to spy on Americans. United States shortcomings that contribute to purchases from foreign companies include roller coaster defense budgets that make it difficult for companies to predict government demand. Another weakness is in our science and technology education. Ways must be found to address America’s loss of manufacturing, whose toll on national security gets far less attention than the jobs lost.
Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” plan is a model of astonishing economic ambition and potential global hegemony. Achieved, it would carry China to the top in 10 major areas: robotics, ships, railway transport, next-generation vehicles, air and space, medicine, new materials, electronics, energy equipment and agriculture equipment. From the perspective of 2020, however, “Made in China 2025” appears to be more of a rally cry for political support than a potentially done deal.
Chief among the obstacles to the plan is the ongoing trade war with the United States, identified as the main cause of the fall in advanced industrial output as high tariffs cut into demand, causing business and consumer confidence to shrink and so perpetuating a downward spiral in economic activity. Of course, Beijing could still pursue dominance in these high-tech areas within a smaller and contracting global economy. But the country would be operating against the economic headwinds of a domestic population dissatisfied with government requirements and restrictions.
The plan triggered a backlash from the European Union as well as the United States, China’s biggest trading partners, who complained that Beijing’s state-subsidized industrial strategy was unfair to foreign firms and, worse, would lead to market distortions. The United States has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods—and has threatened duties on double that value of products, responding to what Washington has claimed as unfair trade practices in China.
As of this writing, the traffic truce agreed to by presidents Trump and Xi Jinping in late 2019 had gone no further, and analysts believe even if the two nations agree on no additional tariffs, manufacturers may still contemplate making their products in other locations that are less sensitive politically. Clearly, that is not a path toward “Made in China 2025.”
“People used to think you could outsource the manufacturing base without any repercussions on national security,” noted one high-ranking official. “But now we know that’s not the case.” One alarmed and expert observer of the foreign supply problem is Army Brigadier General (ret.) John Adams who argues:
• Outsourcing America’s Defense Industry Makes Us Vulnerable. The threat of military supply chain disruptions due to natural disasters, traversing disputes in the South China Sea, foreign unrest, regime change, or price manipulation could result in a lack of needed materials like the components that we import for night vision goggles, communications equipment, missile guidance systems and other mission critical assets. And if China (whom we rely upon heavily for defense components) decides to cut shipments, then America’s military will be left non-mission capable. • Overseas Production Reduces Standards in Quality. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines depend on equipment that is reliable and of the highest quality. Foreign supply chains have allowed the infiltration of counterfeit parts into some of our most advanced machinery. An investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee found upwards of one million counterfeit components destined for use in “critical” defense systems. • Eroding Our Defense Industrial Base Costs Innovation, Knowledge Base and Jobs. America is losing the knowledge and innovation bases that are vital to staying on the cutting edge of new military technology that puts our warfighters a step ahead of our enemies. A growing reliance on foreign suppliers for military needs is resulting in the closure of our factories, meaning fewer job opportunities for everyday Americans—including veterans, who are more likely to work in manufacturing than non-veterans.13
Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, has publicly spoken about the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, which allows the president to incentivize domestic producers of critical materials through purchase commitments and other guarantees. Lord said the government should step in to offer such support if businesses would be unable to ensure a “reasonable profit.”14
Politicians have long argued that the United States spends much more on defense than any other country. But those figures are misleading, according to Army Chief of Staff General Mark Millay. “I’ve seen comparative numbers of United States defense budget versus China and Russia,” General Millay said. “What is not often commented on is the cost of labor. We’re the best-paid military in the world. The cost of Russian or Chinese soldiers is a tiny fraction. Our military spends almost half its budget on pay and benefits for uniformed and civilian personnel. China and Russia spend the bulk of their budgets on weapons, R&D, operations and training. The purchasing power of China and Russia’s defense budgets increases China’s to $434.5 billion and Russia’s to $157.6 billion.”15
The “tooth to tail ratio” refers to the amount of money, personnel or other resources needed for a deployed ship, aircraft squadron, or ground force compared to the money, personnel or other resources needed to train, equip and sustain those deployed forces (training pipeline, major maintenance, etc.). China and Russia’s “tooth to tail ratio” is far more efficient than that of the United States and its allies. Understanding the connection between Chinese military spending and Chinese military power is complicated by a lack of transparency. Although Beijing provides figures for its defense spending each year, outside estimates of China’s budget are often significantly higher than the official numbers. China provides limited information on the distribution of its military spending which further obscures spending patterns. Experts agree that China spends more on the military than Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam combined.
China’s rising defense spending follows from more than two decades of modernization efforts. China began modernization in earnest after the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in China’s ability to deter foreign intervention in sovereignty disputes. The increase in China’s defense spending during this period was a response to domestic policies that left China’s budget relatively stagnant in the 2000s. Russia is expected to begin gradually increasing its defense budget in 2020. After years of decline, Russia has been rebuilding its military power in recent years. Moscow claims that the share of new equipment in the Russian military is expected to reach 70 percent in 2020.
Flash Points That Could Trigger World War III
Another part of the problem in Venezuela is the presence of 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban security officials. Communist-run Cuba has been a key backer of the Venezuelan government since the Bolivarian Revolution that began under former leader Hugo Chávez in 1998.
John Bolton, former National Security Advisor, warned that the administration might use the Monroe Doctrine to force Russian troops to withdraw from Venezuela. Bolton was referring to an 1820 policy from President James Monroe, when the United States moved to prevent European colonization or intervention in the Western Hemisphere’s newly independent nations. “This is a country in our hemisphere. It’s been the objective of American presidents going back to Ronald Reagan to have a completely democratic hemisphere,” Bolton said.18
Spending money on social programs at the expense of national defense has left the United States Navy in a vulnerable position to carry out its mission. In 1917, our navy had 245 active ships. The number peaked at a massive 6,758 ships during World War II. Then the number drifted down during most of the 20th century, with slight upticks during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. As of 2015, the number of active ships stood at 272, which is the lowest since 1917. After considering its future military needs, the navy has set a goal for a fleet of 308 ships by 2022 at the earliest.
There are two reasons why we need a strong military budget: (1) to make up for the savage cuts made by previous administrations and (2) to deal with the fact that the world has gotten so much more dangerous with Russia and China possessing precision-strike capabilities, integrated air defenses, cruise and ballistic missiles, advanced cyber warfare and anti-satellite capabilities. If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan, we could face a decisive military defeat.
Over the past 80 years, I have had several direct and indirect brushes with communism. In the early 1940s, the communist John Reed Society and its dreams of nirvana were popular with a number of my classmates at Harvard. To entice me to join, I was visited by three beautiful young ladies wearing Hawaiian grass skirts, indicating possible promises of future benefits of membership. I did not join. Year later, I reflected on the importance of this decision when I appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee as a candidate for Secretary of the Navy.
Unfortunately, communist members of the Dumas prevented many of our key recommendations from going into effect. William Eggers, a member of the Russian Republic Heritage Privatization Team, and I wrote a letter to President Yeltsin and other leaders of the Soviet republic expressing our concern about the lack of progress in privatization efforts. Here are three paragraphs excerpted from our letter:
The universal goal of freedom-loving people in America and throughout the world remains unchanged: Peace through strength. Achieving peace through strength demands not only new and exotic weapons such as hypersonic missiles, or artificial intelligence-powered drones. It will require new strategies and new ways of thinking about mitigating existing and future threats.