Rob Schwarzwalder: China: America’s Greatest Threat

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By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, October 5, 2018

Rob SchwarzwalderChina is America’s greatest potential enemy. Not Russia? Not Iran? No, China. That nation has a thorough plan to displace America as the world’s greatest power.

Consider the ways.

China’s Aggressions

Artificial Intelligence: “If the development of artificial intelligence is an arms race, then China wants to become the world’s unchallenged AI superpower.” So wrote Louis Lucas last fall in the Financial Times. “Beijing’s blueprint for investing in artificial intelligence — creating a $150bn industry by 2030 — underlines its desire to beat the US.”

Cyber Security: “Chinese state hackers are once again penetrating networks at a range of U.S. corporations,” McClathey warns. Why? to “steal secrets and leapfrog ahead in a race for global technology supremacy.” Firms in biomedicine, robotics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence have been hit.

Theft of intellectual property (IP): In 2013, a U.S. Commission on IP theft found that as much as 80 percent of this kind of theft – stealing America’s private sector and national defense secrets – comes from China. China’s government encourages this.

Meddling in American elections: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats talked about this last month. “The Chinese government uses all of the capabilities at their disposal to influence U.S. policies, spread propaganda, manipulate the media and pressure individuals, including students, critical of Chinese policies.”

A Military build-up: The Defense Department reports that China’s People’s Liberation Army “seeks to transform itself into a force capable of conducting advanced joint operations and fighting and winning regional conflicts defined by real-time, data-networked command and control, and precision strike.” In other words, China’s military is high-tech, large, and ready to attempt regional power-grabs.

Brutal Men

China’s Communist leadership has no intention of giving up power. This past March, President Xi Jinping “set China on course to follow his hard-line authoritarian rule far into the future,” the New York Times reported. The national legislature rubber-stamped his demand that the presidential term limit be lifted.

The lawmakers also changed the constitution to give more power to the Communist Party. “Among the 21 changes made to the Chinese Constitution, one of them “elevated ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ into the preamble of the Constitution, honoring him alongside leaders like China’s founding father, Mao Zedong.”

Regardless of their public smiles, these are brutal men. “Oppression of Christians in China is intensifying. Authorities have demolished hundreds of Protestant churches, knocking crosses off steeples and evicting congregations,” reports the New York Times. And now the government “has also banned online sales of the Bible and called for the development of a Chinese-style Christian theology.”

This last effort is as evil as it is laughable. “The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China’s national condition and integrate with Chinese culture,” proclaims Wang Zuoan, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

Poor Mr. Wang: How little he and his colleagues understand about the written, God-breathed text of Scripture. Writing from prison, Paul the apostle wrote that although he might be in chains, “the Word of God is not bound!” (II Timothy 2:9). Tampering with the Bible invites the judgment of its Author. Enough said.

What Will America Do?

What is America doing about the Chinese threat? The Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods have sent a strong message to Beijing’s leadership: the days of papering-over Chinese economic combat with the U.S. are over. The more potent message? America is tired of being pushed around by China.

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The Defense Department is very aware of the Chinese threat. In its 2018 annual report to Congress on the Chinese military, the Pentagon reported: “The United States will adapt its forces, posture, investments, and operational concepts to ensure it retains the ability to defend the homeland, deter aggression, protect our allies and partners, and preserve regional peace, prosperity, and freedom.”

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller recently summarized what America needs to do:

  1. Prioritize and invest in resilience for nuclear strike systems and for long-range conventional platforms.

  2. Work hard on the critical infrastructure and maintain a threshold so that terrorist groups and lesser powers (e.g. North Korea and Iran) do not have the capability of holding the nation at risk through cyberattacks.

  3. Develop a playbook of sorts, in advance, to guide response to significant cyberattack.

What We Should Hope

A final note: America’s various security agencies do a lot of things that never get a whisper in public. That’s a good thing, and it’s vital to our country’s security. We can only hope that behind the scenes, we are disrupting China’s technology efforts against the United States.

Let’s hope and pray that the President, our key national defense leaders, and the men and women who put their expertise to work and, in many cases, their lives at risk to defend us, will have the wisdom and courage they need going forward.


Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from