Dispatches From CPAC: Is China The New Great Menace?

China’s President Xi Jinping, takes his seat for the first closed session of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, July 26, 2018. Putin arrived in South Africa Thursday, the last head of state to arrive for the Summit. (Mike Hutchings/Pool Photo via AP)

In May 2018, a writer at PJ Media recounted a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence panel on “China’s Worldwide Military Expansion.” In it, the writer remarked one of the people testifying that day — retired U.S. Navy Captain James Fanell — offered a “vital” warning about China and Xi Jinping’s move toward military dominance.

In this statement, Fanell draws on open sources. Anyone can look up the information he provides, and we have all seen smatterings of it, or even great heaping doses, spread through the news. He brings it all together. Here is his summary of the menace of the “China Dream” that Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled in a speech in 2013:

If one has not read Xi Jingping’s words and realized the supremacist nature of the “China Dream” and carefully watched the nature of China’s “rise,” then one might innocently ask the obvious question: “Why does it matter that the PRC seeks regional or even global hegemony?”

That is, why can’t the world simply abide a “rising China,” a seemingly benign term so often employed by Beijing’s propaganda organs and PRC supporters worldwide. After all, fewer would be concerned if, say, a “rising Brazil” or a “rising India” sought regional hegemony and proclaimed a desire to “lead the world into the 21st century.”

The answer goes to the heart of the nature of China’s leadership, and what it does. Under the [Chinese Communist Party] the PRC is an expansionist, coercive, hyper-nationalistic, military and economically powerful, brutally repressive, totalitarian state.

The world has seen what happens when expansionist totalitarian regimes such as this are left unchallenged and unchecked.

Fanell was part of a panel Thursday evening in Washington, DC at CPAC, where he reiterated the danger of ignoring China’s intent to use its navy and military dominance to realize a dream of global hegemony by 2049 — which marks the the 100th anniversary of Mao’s founding of the People’s Republic.

Fanell referred to 2020-30 in American history as a coming “Decade of Concern,” where America has choices to make: do we get serious about countering China as it attempts to renew itself on the world stage, or do we continue a policy of appeasement, in which the U.S. lacks a political will to battle a country that “has been at war with U.S. for two decades,” as his panel mate Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy noted.

Fanell and Gaffney were joined by moderator Gordan Chang (“The Coming Collapse of China”) and Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. For an hour, the men on stage told a packed room of the advancements China has made in satellite and laser technology, telecom technology like 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the new moon landing race, and Chinese advancements in GPS technology, which the panel said Xi hopes will supplant U.S. dominance in that space.

They also touched on China’s relationship to what’s going on in Latin America, specifically a satellite tracking station in Argentina and the fact that the Chinese have developed a way to take American satellites out of the sky (while the U.S. has no such capability). Hence, the panel members agreed, the dire need for a space force like the one the Trump administration is in the process of building. (“Our ability to fight an earth-bound war depends on space-based assets,” Fanell said.)

The primary question all men on the panel seemed to be posing and trying to answer: is it too late?

Framing these technological advancements are the movements China has made to control the trade route in the South China Sea and their attempts to build a massive military, the panelists said.

“The evidence is increasing that they are preparing for war,” Gaffney said Thursday.

While the consensus from the panel members was that China would like to avoid war if possible, they are preparing in the event they need to go that route.

“And there will come a time when there will be the temptation to use their prodigious military,” Gaffney said, ominously.

After a lightening round of questions posed by Chang to the panel regarding whether any of them see a way for the U.S. to avoid war with China in the coming “Decade of Concern,” the room was left with the opinions of men who believe it’s possible (but not likely, according to Gaffney). And that there is a doctrine in American history that might help pave the way for how the U.S. deals with China: President Ronald Reagan’s approach to Russia during the Cold War, known by the innocuous bureaucratic moniker “Decision Doc. 75.”

“It was about taking on the Soviet Union comprehensively, with all instruments of national power,” Gaffney said to a room newly awakened to what they may not have known before Thursday was a serious and growing threat.