On October 18, 2019, the Defense Forum Foundation hosted its Congressional Defense and Foreign Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. Dr. John Lenczowski, Founder and President of IWP, addressed the Chinese threat to the U.S. and what must be done to develop a comprehensive integrated strategy. A transcript of the event is below.
Suzanne Scholte: Good afternoon, if I could have everybody’s attention, we are going to get started with our program. I am Suzanne Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation. It is my honor to welcome you to our Congressional Defense and Foreign Policy Forum. I want to thank you for being here. I know everybody’s got a very busy schedule, but I want to thank you for taking the time to join us today. Before I introduce our speaker, I want to recognize Ty McCoy, our Vice Chair, who is one of those people instrumental in making this forum today possible. I also want to introduce a hero to the people of China, and he’s an inspiration to freedom fighters all over the world, he’s one of my personal heroes as well, Dr. Yang Jianli, the President and Founder of Citizen Power Initiatives for China. He just got back from Prague. He rushed back here just so he could hear our speaker.
Our speaker today, Dr. John Lenczowski, is the Founder and President of The Institute of World Politics, the only academic institution dedicated to teaching all the arts of statecraft, everything from military strategy, to economic strategy, to moral leadership, and how to integrate these into a national strategy. In fact, he was the first person who coined the term full-spectrum diplomacy, which is an integrated strategy that encompasses all of the instruments of engagement, including both traditional diplomacy and public diplomacy, as well as cultural diplomacy, which is enhanced contact with people at a grassroots level, which is very near and dear to my heart, because many of you know we are affiliated with Free North Korea Radio, which is reaching the grassroots people in North Korea.
I want to tell you a little about what he was doing before he founded The Institute of World Politics. Back in the 1980s, he served at the U.S. State Department as a Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, where he was involved in making sure that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty had the necessary support to disseminate news rapidly and overcome the jamming attempts of the Soviet Union. He was able to get Congress to authorize $2.5 billion to modernize VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Simultaneously, he served as a member of the Active Measures Working Group, aimed at targeting Soviet disinformation. Following that, he served as Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, where he was the principal Soviet Affairs Advisor to President Ronald Reagan. In that role, he helped develop the very policies that helped collapse the Soviet Empire. So, as one of the individuals who helped the U.S. win the Cold War against the Soviet Union, it is most appropriate I have Dr. Lenczowski address the topic:“U.S. Strategy for the Growing China Threat.” John.
Dr. John Lenczowski: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much, Suzanne, for that very nice introduction. You really did your homework on my background, and I am very grateful that you did. I want to thank you for your ongoing heroic efforts for the cause of freedom and the security of this country, and the cause of oppressed people around the world, particularly in North Korea and China. You have been one of the stalwarts for the cause of our national security for many years. I am honored to have had this podium here, and you are the reason.
I would also like to thank Ty McCoy for his support of the Defense Forum Foundation. It happens that Ty is a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of The Institute of World Politics. He has been a wonderful supporter of our effort, and so I want to thank Ty for his extraordinary service to the country for many years.
Today, I would like to talk about how to develop an integrated strategy to deal with Communist China. Before I start talking about what we must do, I would like, as briefly as I can, to discuss the full extent of the Chinese threat to the United States and to the free world.
China has been conducting a Cold War against the United States for many years, or maybe you could say many decades.
China has been conducting a Cold War against the United States for many years, or maybe you could say many decades. We, however, have so many impediments to our ability to perceive this reality. We have utopian ideas about how China is going to transform itself internally. We are filled with wishful thinking, willful blindness – what Solzhenitsyn called “the desire not to know.” We don’t want to face the realities that are happening under our noses.
Then, of course, there are lots of people who already have been getting very good lessons in how to censor themselves in the way one must, to live under a totalitarian system. We see our businesses censoring themselves, whether it is people in the NBA, or in the hotel chains, or our airlines, and everybody else. It’s a pathetic and disgusting sight for those of us who believe that when you live in America, you still ought to be able to have the courage to tell some truth. But it is becoming less possible to do that, even in our own country, when our universities are amongst the greatest enemies of freedom of speech, and we have political correctness running rampant in our country.
Let me review some of the Cold War actions that China has been taking against us.
First of all, there is the massive espionage against our country, truly massive. There are at least 50,000 Chinese intelligence collectors in this country, but it could be double that, for all we know. I don’t think U.S. counterintelligence could possibly give us a good estimate. All I know is that whenever I talk with our counter-intelligence authorities, every time I toss out 10,000, 25,000 or something like that, I am told that I am severely underestimating it. And so 50,000 seems like a more accurate figure.
There are over 350,000 Chinese students in this country, among whom, and in addition to, there are thousands of Chinese researchers. The Chinese make 5,000 visits a year to our national laboratories, where a visit constitutes a stay of two weeks to two years. We let them do this. We hand over our technology. Of course, we don’t just let them steal things; we actually give it to them. And for some three to four decades, we were covertly and deliberately assisting China in the development of something like 10,000 different technologies.
United States has deliberately built China into a superpower and into a mortal threat to our own existence.
United States has deliberately built China into a superpower and into a mortal threat to our own existence. We have done so on the basis of what I consider—and even at that time—to have been a very ill-advised policy of trying to play 19th century balance-of-power politics by pitting China against the Soviet Union. This policy ended up creating a gross moral-strategic confusion, which portrayed the Soviets as bad communists, and by implication, the Chinese into good communists.
The Obama Administration gave 10-year visas to 2 million Chinese. Among the Chinese who are coming into our country are women who are bearing their children here—who become American citizens—but then the mothers go back to China.
The Communist Chinese are conducting enormous data collection on Americans. Of course, you must know about 21 million background files of people with security clearances that Chinese intelligence stole from the Office of Personnel Management. We know that 78 million medical records were hacked and stolen from the Anthem medical insurance company. One of the major companies that can tell you whether you have some Neanderthal ancestors is owned by the Chinese, and they are collecting our DNA.
They are engaging in a massive military build-up, including space weapons. One can argue that they are ahead of us in the weaponization of space. In 2007, they conducted a laser test against U.S. satellites to demonstrate their capacity to blind them. They have direct-ascent kinetic anti-satellite weapons. We have no defenses against these things. They have a massive naval build-up, and as our ships start aging and our fleets are shrinking, the Chinese naval build-up continues at a very fast pace.
The Chinese have built the Underground Great Wall, which is a collection of steel and concrete-reinforced tunnels through which you can drive a truck, behind which is dragged a road-mobile ICBM launcher with nuclear weapons. How big is this collection of tunnels? The best estimate to date is something like 3,000 miles of tunnels. They are concealing their land-based nuclear missiles in these tunnels. People don’t know about this, because our major media don’t report this. The Chinese have developed a neutron bomb. They are developing and may have produced hypersonic weapons. They have developed a capacity to send an electromagnetic pulse that could wipe out our entire electrical grid. We have barely hardened it at all. There is so much more that could be said about the military. But those are just a few highlights.
Then there are their influence operations and their propaganda. China has massive propaganda operations going on around the world. They have something like 3,000 television stations, 2,500 radio stations. They control thousands of newspapers, at least six English language newspapers. They are broadcasting inside this country, from within our borders, and from Mexico.
They are corrupting our media. We all know about the traditional techniques about reporting from totalitarian countries. In the Soviet Union, it was the case, and it is the same thing in China, that our journalists will not write about what I call the four taboos. What are the four taboos? Don’t write about the Chinese military; don’t write about their espionage; don’t write about their active measures, propaganda, and covert influence operations; and don’t write about their human rights violations. If you censor yourself about all those things, you won’t do anything too offensive to the Mandarins of Beijing, and they might let you alone to report things that are much more ordinary.
American scholars, by the way, censor themselves as well, because if they write about any of the four taboos in a way that crosses the threshold of what is offensive to Beijing, they won’t get a visa to China. So, both journalists and the scholars are subject to the visa restrictions and other access restrictions. Reporters will obviously have to censor themselves, if they don’t want their bureau closed down in Beijing. But the best ones will then come back and perhaps write a book with facts that they couldn’t report on the front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Speaking of those two newspapers, the two most influential papers in the United States: both are taking millions of dollars from Beijing’s propaganda ministry to publish the periodic China Watch supplement, which is good old-fashioned Communist propaganda. To what extent does the China Watch supplement influence people? I am not exactly sure. I think it must have some kind of an effect. What it really does, is that it exploits the media’s power to ignore, and it basically bribes them into living according to the four taboos. Other major media, such as the television networks, take their lead from The New York Times and The Washington Post. If you want to learn anything about some of these matters amongst the four taboo subjects, you have to read The Washington Times, The Epoch Times, and other sources of media that are not corrupted by Beijing.
Beijing is corrupting our academic institutions, which host 107 Confucius Institutes. These are propaganda centers designed to kill academic criticism of Beijing’s policies. They are controlled by the Chinese and are subject to Chinese communist speech codes. We have 20 American cultural centers in China that are controlled by the Chinese and not by us.
The Chinese are giving lots of money to American universities. They gave $250 million dollars to Harvard, millions to Stanford. It has been credibly reported that a front organization of Communist Chinese intelligence has given money and engaged in joint projects with the Atlantic Council, the East-West Institute, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carter Center, and the Brookings Institution. There are more of them. My own alma mater, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has taken money from this front. This is all corruption. It is intolerable in a free society. Nobody seems to say very much about it.
China is busy trying to corrupt our politicians. They make well-documented campaign contributions, some of which have been enormous, going all the way back, at least, to the 1990s. They target Congressional staffers. They target the families of our politicians. They like to enrich the relatives of some of our prominent politicians. You can read a little bit about this in the newspapers. Then they target state and local politicians, because they know that the councilman might become a state senator, and a state senator may become a U.S. congressman: this is the so-called “rising tide” strategy.
The Chinese, of course, are busy influencing our business community. The political neutralization of the American business community is one of the most dramatic and most strategically significant phenomena that we have ever seen in any Cold War-type behavior over the course of the last century. Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov, Gorbachev, all of them—well, Gorbachev is still alive—but the rest of them must be all lying there green with envy in their graves as they look at the success of what China has done to politically neutralize our business community.
Many business leaders who are making lots of money doing business with China are on the boards of our universities and think tanks. Some of them are censoring the analysis that is going on in those think tanks. In one particular example, in a famous think tank here in town, a military analyst was writing about Chinese military developments dispassionately, clinically, factually, without any demagogy. A major business leader with huge China business interests who was a major donor to that think tank was very concerned about this expert’s analysis, because he thought that if more Americans started getting worried about the Chinese military build-up, that might be the source of U.S.-China tensions. He believed that if there were more U.S.-China tensions, that would rock the boat and adversely affect his business interests. He arranged to have that analyst fired and given a big dollop of hush money. He was fired; he went to another think tank where two trustees who were major financial contributors to that institution threatened to resign and withhold their financial support if this guy was not removed. He was removed.
I can tell you more stories about this, including one of our own professors who used to work at another major think tank. He started protesting publicly about how so many former Cabinet Members—Secretaries of State, Secretaries of Defense and Directors of Central Intelligence—were directly or indirectly on Beijing’s payroll. And yet they were coming up here to Congress, to buildings like this, to rooms nearby, and testifying as elder statesmen, apparently in the interest of the United States, without revealing their conflict of interest. They almost always downplay the China threat. That’s the main theme: downplay the China threat and encourage people to believe that the Chinese Communists are going to reform themselves internally and become a democracy. Well, it happens that one of those Cabinet Members was on the board of that think tank, and he engineered that this analyst be fired. We ended up hiring him at The Institute of World Politics.
China invests in targeted congressional districts. One of its main strategies is to do a joint venture with a local American company. If there is some threat to Chinese interests, that threat would also be shared by the American workforce in that company. We have recently seen one of our prominent leaders in this House of Congress step forth in defense of a U.S.-Chinese joint venture in his Congressional district in a way that was contrary to the national interests of the United States.
The Chinese are engaged in active measures. Active measures is an old KGB term that refers to disinformation, forgeries, covert political influence operations, provocations, diversions, black propaganda, all sorts of “propaganda of the deed,” which includes terrorism, and so forth. They have their United Front Work Department working on this. It is a massive operation. Xi Jinping added 40,000 new personnel to the United Front Work Department, on top of the thousands who were working there already (but I haven’t been able to come up with the exact previous staffing levels). These active measures are of a huge variety. I can’t go over all of the details today: suffice it to say that the Chinese are using social media as part of it, and a lot of the kinds of techniques that you see the Russians doing—their efforts are just as big as the Russian efforts—which were documented fairly well in the Mueller Report. But nobody seems to care much about the Chinese operations.
The Chinese have been penetrating the Chinese American diaspora communities around the world and in this country and have been attempting to take over and influence the Chinese American media. They attempt to silence dissidents who find asylum here in the United States.
The Chinese are influencing Hollywood. They restrict the number of movies that can be distributed inside China, and they induce Hollywood producers to censor themselves to shape the movies, including those that are only shown in the United States, in ways that are non-offensive to China—a huge issue. China owns the entire AMC theater chain.
Then they’ve got their economic strategy. It is a strategy that is characterized, in short, by a total lack of reciprocity. It is not free trade. It is mercantilistic, beggar-thy-neighbor, protectionist trade strategies that have been designed to undermine American corporations, to put them out of business, and to take over their market share in the United States. They buy American companies. They’ve got joint ventures with American companies. They finance American high-tech companies. They use American capital markets to get access to capital to fund their own technology development and their military build-up. Right now, there is some kind of effort, I don’t know exactly the details of this, where some rules might change here in the United States, which will enable our federal pension funds and military pension funds, to move from a 5% level of investment in Chinese companies, to something like a 20% or 25% level. This should be stopped. Maybe there is one person in this room who is capable of doing something about it.
The Chinese, of course, put conditions upon entry into the China market: You have to turn over your technology. You have to bring your research and development operations into China. They don’t let you have access to all their billion-plus consumers. They are producing counterfeit goods. Of course, they are using stolen technology. Frankly, I think we need to start using some better semantics about all of this. When one is buying a Chinese product, oftentimes one is buying de facto “stolen goods.” I don’t think it is honorable or moral, and perhaps it shouldn’t even be legal to buy stolen goods.
They are buying many of our best and our brightest and bringing them into their Thousand Talents campaign.
They have their personnel well-embedded into the most important accounting firms in this country. Those accounting firms see the inside books of many of our major corporations. So, Chinese intelligence has an inside track to insider information that enables them to participate in stock market transactions that are illegal. But because they have the advantage of their intelligence services helping them, they can conceal all of this in ways that the SEC and the other enforcers cannot handle.
The Chinese have engaged in cyber-interference with U.S. corporate transactions. They have been able to hack into the corporate servers where product orders are placed and reduce the size of those orders. Thus, they have sabotaged the success of burgeoning high-tech companies. And then, when the company starts teetering on the brink, they’ll come in and buy it for a drastically reduced price.
They have an economic warfare strategy that includes such maneuvers as naked short selling, which is illegal, and which has been detected in the past, particularly during the 2008 financial crisis, where both China and some Middle East sovereign wealth funds were involved in naked short selling, all through a rather obscure brokerage firm in Texas. Despite the fact that this is illegal, we don’t seem to pay a whole lot of attention to it, because economic warfare just doesn’t seem to be something that the U.S. government cares that much about.
Then there is the 5G threat, and I cannot even begin to describe the scope of the vulnerability of our country and the entire free world, if China succeeds in making a monopoly of 5G. They will have the capability of weaponizing the technology in every sphere: every connected and unsecured technology can be weaponized under 5G.
They have a global political strategy. You all know about the Belt and Road Initiative, a neo-colonial effort that involves the co-optation of the political elites in countries around the world. For years, they have had a global strategy of maintaining a demographic and infrastructural presence at every major strategic naval choke point in the world: at the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz, they are at the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb with their new base in Djibouti, they’ve been at the Suez Canal, they are in the Dardanelles, they are at both ends of the Panama Canal. I don’t know about Gibraltar. If anybody hears about a Chinese presence in Gibraltar, please let me know and I can add that to the litany.
Then there are miscellaneous acts of aggression. The fentanyl plague in this country is not an accident. The Chinese have been involved in narcotics warfare. As a matter of fact, the entire Soviet program called the Druzhba narodov, (friendship of the peoples), was a program developed by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s to get, not the KGB and the GRU, but the Soviet empire’s satellite intelligence services to push narcotics on the West: to pickle the brains of American youth; to earn lots of money—so much money, that they funded the entire intelligence services of the satellite countries with illegal narcotics revenues; and to gain dossiers on corrupt politicians in various countries so that they could be manipulated for intelligence purposes. How did Nikita Khrushchev do all this? He was inspired by the Chinese use of narcotics as a weapon of war during the Korean War. It was so effective, he wanted to replicate it for the Soviet cause in the Cold War.
About 15 years ago or so—I can’t remember the date exactly—one of our students at The Institute of World Politics, who was with the intelligence unit at U.S. Customs, told us about how U.S. Customs had just caught Chinese trying to export AK-47s to Los Angeles street gangs. The next weapons that they attempted to send to that destination were knock-offs of Stinger shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles.
Of course, so many of the threats that we face are the result of self-inflicted vulnerabilities. We have an incredible dependence upon China for our prescription drugs and other vital supply chains.
So, what to do? Well, I think the number one thing is to tell the truth. We haven’t been telling ourselves the truth for way, way too long. We are incredibly vulnerable as a result of this. This President, whatever you may think about him, is the first President to come along in many administrations, to tell some of the real truth about the threat from Communist China. I think that much more could still be done by the Administration.
The next thing: we have to erect defenses. I think one of the first defenses that we have to construct is a massive new effort in counterintelligence.
The next thing: we have to erect defenses. I think one of the first defenses that we have to construct is a massive new effort in counterintelligence. Currently, we are weak in counterintelligence. We’ve been weak for many years. There are lots of reasons for this. We at The Institute of World Politics study this very carefully. Those of you who are interested in this business should come and be our students. We have the first Master’s degree in Strategic Intelligence Studies outside the U.S. government, and we have the most serious counterintelligence program in the nation. All I can say is that this avalanche of intelligence assaults against our country must be stopped. We need to put more intellect behind it, and then more manpower behind it. Then, we need to enact a number of new, but very basic, policies.
We must start restricting access. During the Cold War, we did not let the Soviets travel any more than 25 miles beyond their diplomatic facilities in the national capital area, in New York (at the UN), and wherever they had a consulate, like in San Francisco, for example. The Chinese have a total run of this country, and this cannot continue. We don’t have the run of China. There needs to be reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the key word. If any single word should be taken out of this, it should be a recognition that reciprocity in relations with China needs to be implemented. We never actually implemented reciprocity with the Soviets. The Soviets had more KGB agents in the U.S. embassy in Moscow than there were Americans working in there. One can scarcely imagine a more epic manifestation of naiveté, foolishness, and imprudence. We like to give other people the benefit of the doubt even when there is no doubt. It is pathological. But that’s the way we are. We have to grow up and recognize that we are going to not have a country anymore, if we continue at the same pace we have been going the last two decades.
We need to restrict visas. When it comes to official media correspondents, China gives us two visas for Voice of America correspondents in Beijing. They wouldn’t give us a third one for a VOA correspondent in Shanghai. But we give them 860 official visas for their “journalist” propagandists to come to this country.
We should restrict access to our national laboratories, to our universities, to our corporate research facilities. I met a guy just a few weeks ago who got his engineering degree at the University of Maryland’s engineering school. He said the place was replete with Chinese engineering students, and they already had their engineering degrees before they started to study for a new identical degree at the University. Why did they have a degree already? So that they would be able to recognize the cutting-edge research of their engineering professors. So that they would know what technology to steal and avoid wasting their time. So, they come very well-prepared.
We need to restrict the travel of Chinese putative immigrants who are living in this country and working in sensitive industries. I know of examples of Chinese immigrants who work on software development for secure communications for our armed forces on the battlefield, and they go back to China every year. They are working in classified activities, and then we let them go back to China every year. What do you think they do in China? They get debriefed by the MSS. This is breathtaking.
We must prohibit American lawyers from overtly teaching Chinese spies how to circumvent our export controls and other technology security measures. American lawyers do this, and they get paid a lot of money to teach Chinese spies how to do this.
We need a national campaign of public service announcements to enhance the cyber-threat awareness, which is still pathetic.
We need to conduct offensive counterintelligence operations, which means doing things like doctoring the blueprints and the technical specifications for the development of high technologies, so that when the Chinese steal them, and they try to put them together, they will have a very bad day.
We need to restore our armed forces. Where does one begin? One of our problems is that we have undertaken what the German Nazis did. They always had the highest quality weapons with every bell and whistle. But the American strategy during World War II was to have very good quality things, maybe not every bell and whistle on every aircraft, ship, and tank, and so on, but massive quantitative superiority. I think that we need to add much bigger quantity to our Navy, to our Air Force, and all our services.
We need to develop space weapons. We need to develop defenses for our satellites. We need to develop defense systems for high hypersonic missiles. To protect against the threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack, we need to harden our electric grid, which, in national strategic terms, is extremely cheap. We need to develop aircraft with much longer range for our aircraft carriers, which are incredibly vulnerable when they are stationed too close to Chinese anti-ship missiles. We need to restore our defense industrial base and end our dependence upon foreign parts for our defense systems.
We need to strengthen our alliances, especially in East Asia. We need to stand by Taiwan. We need to make sure that Taiwan gets serious arms. We need to stand by the Philippines and make sure that China doesn’t walk all over it in its international legal combat with China over ownership of those rocky island outcroppings. I think we need to think seriously about permitting South Korea to develop a just-below-the-threshold nuclear capability, so that if, all of a sudden, it seemed necessary, South Korea could have a capability within, say, six months. Japan too, I think Japan already has that capability.
We need to restore COCOM, the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls. This was an alliance-wide, NATO-wide effort (but it included Japan) to ensure that one ally did not undercut another ally by selling technologies to the Soviet Bloc. It was a remarkably successful arrangement. It required a lot of serious cooperative diplomacy.
We need to implement a global information campaign to inform the world about Chinese methods. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has an element of surprise in its implementation in many countries. These countries need to be informed about it. China does not deserve the reputation that it has in many parts of the world. But it has been very serious in its cultural diplomacy and its information and propaganda operations. We need to warn the rest of the world, before it is too late.
We need to develop our own economic strategy, and this has to be a strategy of reciprocity. This means, in my view, de facto gradual disengagement between the two economies. China is not going to change its habits. It is going to keep doing what it is doing because of its DNA. As I like to explain to my students, there are two different types of animals in the forest. There are carnivores and there are herbivores, and you are just not going to change a carnivore from wanting to eat herbivores. It is in the nature of the Chinese regime to behave the way it does, and we finally have to come to that realization.
We haven’t enforced our securities laws. We must enforce transparency in all the different kinds of commercial relations that we have with the Chinese. We don’t do a good job of this, and this is a huge field about which others have written. Most recently, General Rob Spalding has his new book, Stealth War, to which I commend your attention—a brilliant analysis by a great American patriot, who has served this country in so many different excellent ways. He addresses key elements of the necessary strategy.
We need to encourage alternative sources of supply from other countries and from within our own country. We have to decrease our dependency on China. And however harmful tariffs can be—and I acknowledge that they can be—there is no alternative to them. They are necessary and effective when strategically targeted, if we are to restore reciprocity in commercial relations.
Then there are positive things we can do. There is the whole idea of the Pacific Charter. Paul Berkowitz, a longtime House Foreign Affairs Committee staff member who is with us here today. Paul, I salute you for the work that you’ve done in this field for many years. When Paul worked for Congressman Ben Gilman, the Chairman of the Committee, the Congress passed legislation to set up a Commission on a Pacific Charter, which is a new version of the Atlantic Charter. The Pacific Charter involves working with our allies to promote democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and regional economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and to enhance the credibility of U.S. leadership in the region. I think that we have to stand up for our principles. We still do represent these great ideas. As much as Americans are at each other’s throats in domestic politics, I think we still do believe in the rule of law. We still do believe in inalienable rights and the dignity of the individual human person—all things that are completely at odds with the Communist Chinese regime.
We have to start conducting Cold War policies too, not just defense. We need to have offense.
Here is the last thing I want to say—which may be amongst the most important if we really want to win the Cold War with China. That is: we have to start conducting Cold War policies too, not just defense. We need to have offense. We need to restore reciprocity in this relationship. In war, offense means attacking the enemy’s center of gravity. The center of gravity is that without which the enemy cannot make war, that without which the enemy cannot survive. What is the center of gravity in China, and North Korea for that matter? In China, North Korea, and similar regimes, that center of gravity is the internal security system of the state.
The central fact of political life in China and North Korea and other totalitarian states is the illegitimacy of the regime; the regime rules without the consent of the governed. When you are an illegitimate regime, you have a massive internal security problem. You are afraid of your own people—that is the central factor of political life. You are afraid of anything that can incite your people to resist you and maybe even overthrow you. That is why China fears the truth, why it has to control all information and communications, why it jams foreign broadcasts, why it forbids the free flow of information. Of course, the internal security system has its system of informants and the Laogai—the Gulag Archipelago of China about which nobody knows, because The New York Times and The Washington Post never print the word Laogai on their pages. You should know what it is. I repeat: the Laogai is the Gulag Archipelago of China: slave labor and the punishment of prisoners of conscience, Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, Muslims, and political dissidents.
Communist China is one massive human rights violating machine. And this is because the regime is afraid of its own people.
In my view, our greatest allies in all of this—our potential allies—are the Chinese people.
One of the soundest principles of strategy is that you have to know who your allies are. In my view, our greatest allies in all of this—our potential allies—are the Chinese people: the people whose human rights are being violated, who are not part of the privileged nomenklatura class of big shots who are getting rich and enjoying the protections of the Party.
These are our allies. There are something like 70,000-plus civil disturbances every year in China. There are demonstrations, riots, whatever kind of disturbances, usually protesting local Communist Party corruption. Do they know about the existence of the other disturbances? They don’t. Because the way Communist regimes work is, when there is a civil disturbance in some given region, the regime cuts off all communications to that locality. And only then, when the communications are cut off, do they go in and crush the thing physically. So that if other people ever end up learning that there was a demonstration, or a strike, or a riot, or something like that, the message really is that it was crushed, and therefore, it is futile to even try to do something like that again.
The entire psychological strategy of the internal security system of the Chinese Communist State is to get the people into a state of futile resignation. To get people to believe that resistance against this regime is futile. Once they succumb to this, it results in the atomization of society. What is that? It is when you separate every single individual from everybody else. The individual stands alone against the all-powerful Party-state. So, how is this done? It is done by a pervasive system of secret informants. I don’t know how many secret informants there are in China, but in East Germany—the Germans kept some good statistics—it was a full 30% of the population, thirty percent! That means somebody in your family was an informant, but you didn’t know it. He couldn’t tell you. And they would test you. He may not have wanted to be an informant. He may have been forced to be one. They would test him to see if he would inform, by committing an economic crime, or something else in front of his nose. And then, if he didn’t inform, then he would be punished. The pervasive atmosphere of mistrust: you can’t even trust people when it really gets bad, even in your own family.
So then there is the ideology, which is the drum beating for the soldiers marching. It sets the standard against which deviation is measured. It is the standard of conformity. It is political correctness, that’s what political correctness is. Everybody has to march according to that drum, and if you don’t, you can be identified by the sergeant and taken out of the formation and disciplined. And so this is all bolstered and all kept together by this monopoly of information and communication.
Our strategic task is to break that monopoly. That means helping the Chinese people communicate among themselves, communicating with them on a mass scale. That’s why when Suzanne introduced me and talked about Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, this was the strategy that we used. We did a lot of things in the material sphere: we denied the Soviets, our currency, we denied the technology. We did counter-intelligence operations. We did our military build-up. We put pressure on them. We developed SDI. It was a punitive trumping of the first strike capability of just their SS-18 ICBM force alone. We did all these things. We helped the anti-communist resistance in Afghanistan, in Southern Africa, and in Central America.
But those were all material things. And none of those material things explain how a million people took to the streets in Moscow, when they darn well knew that by taking to the streets, they could be arrested, tortured, thrown into the gulag. And yet, they had the courage to do that. It was our public diplomacy that helped give them that courage. We communicated with them. We sympathized with them. We stood up for their human rights. “You people who are oppressed under this regime are not alone! We are not going to send our armies in there, but we are behind you and we think that change is possible, but the decision of what to do is in your hands.” The decision of what to do in Hong Kong is in the people of Hong Kong’s hands. What we are seeing now is absolutely a magnificent display of public resistance to the totalitarian regime. I don’t know how they are going to handle it. But don’t underestimate the power of the gun.
We need to start broadcasting in a very big way, many more hours a day, many more frequencies. We have been giving up our frequencies. We have been shutting down many of our major broadcasting services in the Voice of America. The last administration tried to shut down the Mandarin and the Cantonese services. If it weren’t for a few heroic people coming out of the VOA to try to save this, it would be shut down, all in favor of the Internet. But there are more Internet police in China than there are members of the People’s Liberation Army. You cannot surf the Internet anonymously—you can listen anonymously.
But then there are new technologies. There is DRM, Digital Radio Mondiale. This is harnessing the digital revolution to international shortwave radio broadcasting. By the way, this cannot be, because it is not just shortwave, not just TV, not just Internet, every one of this, this offensive against the center of gravity has to be multi-media. Every medium you can get. In North Korea they put little USB sticks in a bottle, and the bottle has a bunch of rice in it. They throw these bottles in the river and they go down the river and the starving North Koreans find the bottle, they have some rice and they’ve got an alternative information source. Every method possible.
We used to bring in fax machines, we brought in copy machines, we brought in mimeograph machines. Most people don’t even know what a mimeograph machine is. It’s how they made our tests sometimes in elementary school. You put a piece of paper in there, and you turn this crank, it is a mechanical machine that produces copies without having a photocopier. We sent in scores of mimeograph machines behind the Iron Curtain. We sent in paper, because the regime had a monopoly of paper. In the Soviet Union, there was an armed guard by every photocopy machine. Every method, multi-media. DRM is one way. By the way, DRM will not only send voice, it will send text too. It can even send video, but I have been told by certain technical experts that as a practical matter, we don’t have the bandwidth for sending video. But you can look at it anonymously. Well, you need to have DRM receivers. Well, let’s make DRM receivers. They are a lot cheaper than fighter aircraft. You can make millions of them and you can flood the world with them.
Then there are broadcast satellites, and there are apparently some new kinds that are tiny little battery sized satellites that can broadcast, and you can put thousands of them in the sky and broadcast directly below to totalitarian regimes. We need to have a full-court press in information warfare. Because they are doing it against us; they are shaping our perceptions. They are controlling our discourse. They are causing us to censor ourselves. We are losing our freedom in the process, and we are doing nothing in return that is at a truly national strategic level. We have to stop being so materialistic as a foreign policy culture. The Russians understand this, the Chinese understand this. The Russians say that victory in information warfare can be more powerful than a classic military victory. That comes from the chief of the Russian general staff, The chief of the Russian general staff, a kinetic warrior is saying an information war is the thing that can make a more devastating victory. I could have talked for a little while longer, but I have exceeded my allotted time. Thank you.