On Thursday, Xi Jinping addressed his 1.4 billion citizens in celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary. Xi said he would spare no effort in ensuring that China becomes a “great modern socialist country” by 2049. Those who sought to restrain China’s advance, Xi said, would face a bloody riposte. Xi Jinping. (Andy Wong/AP)

Communist China at 100

Washington Examiner July 05, 10:07 AM July 05, 10:07 AM

On Thursday, Xi Jinping addressed his 1.4 billion citizens in celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary. Xi said he would spare no effort in ensuring that China becomes a “great modern socialist country” by 2049. Those who sought to restrain China’s advance, Xi said, would face a bloody riposte.

China intends to displace the United States as the preeminent global power, ordering the world around autocracy and feudal mercantilism. The U.S. has a duty to stop China’s march.

Were Xi to succeed, it would mean China’s ability to leverage trade in return for political appeasement. It would mean Beijing’s ability to set the rules of international order in subservience to its interests.

How can the U.S. ensure that our and the world’s interests sustain in the 21st century?

A strong economy and credible military will be important. But so also must we engage in some introspection. The measure of China’s challenge demands that we reconsider some of the easy choices we make as citizens and in government.

Amid our widening partisan fracture, it has become clear that too many view even the very act of debate as up for debate. Conservatives see our First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly under attack. Liberals see Donald Trump looming once again on the political ramparts, ready to unleash another mob. All of us see rising crime and disorder. Very few of us want to pursue serious bipartisan solutions. But it will be near impossible to constrain Chinese authoritarianism if we forget what makes America so special: our freedom, our small communities that exist within our larger community of the nation.

We must do better. Pausing before leaping to offense. Pausing before leaping to hyperbole and conspiracies. Pausing before insulting each other. Pausing to consider each other and the country before ourselves. Ironically, China’s unique challenge appears to be one area where we can begin to strengthen our national bonds. With bipartisan support, the Senate recently passed a major bill that would invest and insulate areas of strategic vulnerability with regards to China. Let us hope the House of Representatives now endorses this legislation.

Second, what patriotic responsibilities do we expect of our biggest companies?

It is outrageous that titans of the American economy have made themselves poodles of the Chinese Communist Party. Hollywood and the NBA are perhaps the worst offenders. Always proclaiming their human rights credentials at home, they are equally proud to provide cover for China’s grotesque human rights abuses. But the rot spreads further. Firms such as Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Pepsi, and Walmart dedicate entire sections of their websites to what they say is their unbreakable commitment to human dignity. But when asked for their response to what China is doing in Hong Kong, for example, they remain silent. Nike CEO John Donahoe recently encapsulated this dynamic. Nike, he said, is “a brand of China and for China.” Americans must start asking themselves: is it patriotic to buy from businesses that support a regime dedicated to subjugating American values and a better American future?

Third, what do we need our military to do?

If the objective of our military is to ensure the deterrent-defense of the U.S., our allies, and our interests, we need to have a frank conversation. Because when it comes to the threat posed by China, we continue to prioritize the military-industrial complex over and above what is needed to defeat China. Let’s examine two specific examples.

For a start, the aircraft carriers. Costing billions of dollars apiece, the Navy’s aircraft carrier fleet remains the darling of the admirals. Unfortunately, the carriers also appear to be the darling of the People’s Liberation Army missile forces. Carrying 6,000 Americans and jets that might struggle to get anywhere near Chinese forces (see our F-35 friend below), the carriers are increasingly vulnerable to a range of potent Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile platforms.

Then there’s the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Long delayed, fraught with resolved and unresolved weaknesses, and projected to approach $1.75 trillion in lifetime costs, the jet’s utility in a prospective conflict with China is also highly questionable. The F-35 is a boondoggle. Many members of Congress like it because it creates jobs and pleases Lockheed Martin.

Our point is simple. China has a clear game plan as to how it will subjugate America in the 21st century. Xi just laid it out. If we’re not so keen on seeing Xi reign supreme, Americans better start asking some hard questions.

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