The Threat of China

China has been attacking the U.S.A. ever since the days of Richard Nixon, in many ways subtle and not subtle.   But their attacks have grown more devious, more corrupting, and are preparing them for assaults on America that will be devastating when they are unleashed.

Yes, they have been spying and stealing technical secrets, violating copyrights, trademarks and the plain language of contracts for decades.   But the current state of affairs calls for a confrontation, and I am glad to see President Trump bring a confrontation that is clever and likely to succeed.

I am not prepared to debate the trade issues in the tariffs dispute.   What has me concerned at the moment is the leverage China is gaining over our internet.   It appears that evil Google is preparing to act as an agent of China to destroy America.

I think that if things keep going the way they are, China will position themselves to be able to kill American internet and cellphone communications, while disabling large portions of basic utilities such as electric power transmission and landline phone communications.

I will put links in a comment.   The first item is testimony this week by FCC Chair Ajit Pai, regarding the threat posed by Huawei if they could get embedded into our cellphone services:

“What I will say,” Pai told [Sen. James] Lankford, “is I believe that certain Chinese suppliers, such as Huawei, do indeed present a threat to the United States, either on their own or because of Chinese domestic law. For example, China’s national intelligence law explicitly requires any individual or entity subject to that law to comply with requests to intelligence services.”    He said that poses a problem for 5G networks deployed in one country that could be managed by software that is resident in another country.

The second item is a column at American Greatness by Brandon J. Weichert:

“A greater synthesis between the national security sector, the business community, academia, and the political leadership of the United States is needed if we truly and effectively want to prevent American tech firms from building the weapons of tomorrow for China to use against us today.”

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30 thoughts on “The Threat of China”

  1. One of the many problems with globalism is national security is kicked to the curb for the almighty foreign dollar. How many of our leaders are indirectly bought by foreign commerce. Where is the republican party on this issue ?

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  2. 10 Cents:
    The threat is more from inside the US. We no longer know how to deal with enemies.

    I think the Don certainly does but I’m afraid we’ve elected a president far more savvy than the citizens of the U.S. This worries me.

    Just let him be and do what he does best. He can out-hustle anyone if he could only be allowed to do his job and focus on something other than fake collusions and his tax returns.

    BTW, those tax returns validated what I’ve always believed about the man: He is a master manipulator of money/debt and as a country that is $33 trillion dollars in the red, we better start listening to him.

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  3. 10 Cents:
    The threat is more from inside the US. We no longer know how to deal with enemies.

    Yes.   How many universities have Chinese spies in critical research labs?

    How many Democrat office holders have Chinese spies on their staff?

    How many Anti-American Leftists hold positions that would allow them access to computer databases owned by government or industry or utilities?

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  4. The fact that conservatives either don’t see China as a threat or are willfully blind to it has caused me to totally rethink my views (which were basically mainstream conservative, i.e. the belief in capitalism, the “free market” and limited government with a smattering of libertarianism) on just about everything. It has because painfully obvious that conservatives are just as stupid and ignorant as they accuse the left of being—perhaps even more so since they sincerely try to use facts and logic to justify their positions. The problem is that the system (in a thermodynamic sense) that conservatives are analysing is too narrowly defined and they do not consider all the inputs and outputs necessary to come to sensible conclusions. The “we have truth” mentality and general air of superiority combined with a generous helping of hubris, severely limits the conservative imagination and prevents them from recognizing and dealing with subtle and novel threats—it is amazing how mechanistic and formulaic the conservative mindset is. Perversely, while extolling the virtues of family, patriotism, religion and morality, conservatism has basically become the cult of Mammon where the maximization of resources, division of labor and pursuit of the almighty dollar has become the primary and all-encompassing force that drives the whole ideology. In fact, the word “conservative” in the political sense has become a complete misnomer—in the real world its policies don’t actually lead to the conservation of anything, including, ultimately, our Republic—a much better word is “neoliberal”.

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  5. Black Prince:
    …  The “we have truth” mentality and general air of superiority combined with a generous helping of hubris, severely limits the conservative imagination and prevents them from recognizing and dealing with subtle and novel threats—it is amazing how mechanistic and formulaic the conservative mindset is. Perversely, while extolling the virtues of family, patriotism, religion and morality, conservatism has basically become the cult of Mammon where the maximization of resources and pursuit of the almighty dollar has become the primary and all-encompassing force that drives the whole ideology.  …

    I blame the focus on quarterly reports and charts limited to twelve months.   Capitalists have trained themselves to think short-term.   Also I blame the America-centric mindset that ignores the motivations and interests of our geopolitical opponents.   In striving for lower prices and higher margins, we have created great gaping security breaches in vulnerable systems that are being exploited by the Chinese, Russians and others, including the Norks and the Islamicists.

    Chief among our cyber enemies are the Anti-American Leftists at Google and Microsoft, who are going to betray us to the Chinese at a critical moment.

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  6. MJBubba:
    The first item is testimony this week by FCC Chair Ajit Pai, regarding the threat posed by Huawei if they could get embedded into our cellphone services.

    Yesterday I listened to last week’s flagship podcast from the legacy podcast site.  The guest was Larry Kudlow, and when asked about the Chinese risk in deployment of G5 infrastructure and Huawei in particular, he said that at the present time Huawei was banned from selling their gear to U.S. carriers in this market, and that, while admitting the U.S. does not manufacture such equipment, the infrastructure was being procured from vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung (all of which AT&T is using), whose products are considered secure and adequately transparent.

    He went on to say that Huawei’s access to this market was a contentious point in the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations, but that he was satisfied they would not be allowed to sell unless safeguards were put in place against a Trojan Horse attack.

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  7. In my mind the Huawai issue, while important in the sense that it may make China’s subversion of our systems slightly easier while simultaneously eliminating our options, is a red-herring because a whole stable of Chinese Trojan horses already exist inside the wall. China doesn’t need us to buy Huawei hardware—we are completely exposed right now.

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  8. Black Prince:
    In my mind the Huawai issue, while important in the sense that it may make China’s subversion of our systems slightly easier while simultaneously eliminating our options, is a red-herring because a whole stable of Chinese Trojan horses already exist inside the wall. China doesn’t need us to buy Huawei hardware—we are completely exposed right now.

    Why are we so trusting of Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung?   They employ Leftists with unchecked personal entanglements.

    I would think that for something so essential as communications relied on by every business, household, industry and government that we would implement a stronger “buy-American” requirement.   Republican insistence on open bidding to reduce costs is going to cause us major grief.

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  9. MJBubba:
    Capitalists have trained themselves to think short-term.

    Huh?

    Everything is based in the short term. While there are systemic issues that resolve in the long term (see subprime mortgages) even those lead people to think short term. Because we are really bad at forecasting long term trends.

    Remember, please the litany of media reports and pop culture paeans to the Japanese takeover of the US in the 1980-1990s.

    Rubbish, all of it.

    The dominant generation changes every 20 years. Elections last for 6, 4, and 2 years in the US. Nothing last more than a decade. (Except the Supreme Court, which is why getting the values in that institution right is so important.)

    Flipping Kodak was the largest company in the world until they weren’t. Neither will Apple be.

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  10. Instugator:

    Black Prince:
    we are completely exposed right now

    To what, exactly?

    To spying and spoofing through our computer networks.

    Remember Stuxnet?  It was a virus that first copied itself as widely as possible, and then was triggered by date to seek computer controls and disable communications from the user, seek any routine that controlled a physical device and set all processes to max, and then disable further instructions.   It caused Iranian centrifuges to spin at their highest possible rates without any way to reduce their speed or turn them off, with the result that most of them spun themselves to failure before the Iranians figured out that they needed to kill the power by physically disconnecting the power.   It put the Iranian uranium enrichment program out of business.   It also caused lots of ancillary damage to other computer-controlled devices like water pumps and fans, all over Iran.

    Remember the cyber attack that caused Maersk, FedEx and several banks to have to replace all their computers in Europe?   That was a Russian military intelligence attack against Ukraine.   It went through government offices and got out to a bank in Ukraine, and went through the bank into some other banks and to Maersk, and through Maersk to FedEx via account links.   It caused each computer to overwrite file registries with gibberish, wake up all the drives it was connected to and set them to spin as fast as they could go, and then disabled further controls.   The result was that every file was lost and all the hardware was trashed.   FedEx was able to back up from a backup housed in the U.S.   Maersk had fourteen of their fifteen backup sites around the world trashed by the virus.   The only thing that allowed Maersk to restore their business was the dumb luck that their fifteenth backup site, in Africa, just happened to be in a city that had a power outage and was offline on the day it hit.

    The worry is that American electric utilities, water utilities, industries of all sorts, and government agencies are all vulnerable to something like that.   There is special concern about deeply-embedded sleeper routines that may or may not be included in or have openings provided for future exploitation by, bad guys who are working right now with the manufacturers of our computers and control systems.

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  11. Instugator:

    MJBubba:
    stronger “buy-American” requirement

    Except that those companies suck at actually making things too.

    Then maybe we should insist on security-clearance skunk works manufacture for all critical systems, and then enlarge the list of systems classed as “critical.”

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  12. Instugator:

    MJBubba:
    Capitalists have trained themselves to think short-term.

    Huh?

    Everything is based in the short term. While there are systemic issues that resolve in the long term (see subprime mortgages) even those lead people to think short term. Because we are really bad at forecasting long term trends.

    Remember, please the litany of media reports and pop culture paeans to the Japanese takeover of the US in the 1980-1990s.

    Rubbish, all of it.

    The dominant generation changes every 20 years. Elections last for 6, 4, and 2 years in the US. Nothing last more than a decade. (Except the Supreme Court, which is why getting the values in that institution right is so important.)

    Flipping Kodak was the largest company in the world until they weren’t. Neither will Apple be.

    But China will still have over a billion people.   China works to a longer horizon, longer than the Russians and longer than the Muslims, who think they are working for eternity.   China is content to build openings that can be exploited later, even if later is a generation away.

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  13. MJBubba:

    Instugator:

    MJBubba:
    Capitalists have trained themselves to think short-term.

    Huh?

    Everything is based in the short term. While there are systemic issues that resolve in the long term (see subprime mortgages) even those lead people to think short term. Because we are really bad at forecasting long term trends.

    Remember, please the litany of media reports and pop culture paeans to the Japanese takeover of the US in the 1980-1990s.

    Rubbish, all of it.

    The dominant generation changes every 20 years. Elections last for 6, 4, and 2 years in the US. Nothing last more than a decade. (Except the Supreme Court, which is why getting the values in that institution right is so important.)

    Flipping Kodak was the largest company in the world until they weren’t. Neither will Apple be.

    But China will still have over a billion people.   China works to a longer horizon, longer than the Russians and longer than the Muslims, who think they are working for eternity.   China is content to build openings that can be exploited later, even if later is a generation away.

    Very astute analysis and one that is obvious the Feds don’t get. Why, I cannot tell you.

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  14. MJBubba

    Except that those companies suck at actually making things too.

    Forcing them to compete to get better seems like the only solution.

    When I worked at itty-bitty chip design company, the actual silicon was manufactured in Taiwan which didn’t seem too bad.  Then, we got acquired by humongous company and even though they had their own manufacturing facilities in the US, they outsourced the production to China.  I never understood that.  It was pretty well known that China would make knock-off copies of chips.

    Years ago, Apple was bragging about the automated facility they were building in the US to make iPhones. Now, that is also outsourced.

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  15. WillowSpring:
    Years ago, Apple was bragging about the automated facility they were building in the US to make iPhones. Now, that is also outsourced.

    I know a lot about this subject. Jobs did what he had to do to grow his business and met with BHO twice to give him this message:

    You better create an environment on college campuses that support American engineering students or import more of them and stop allowing unskilled workers to use our resources. Otherwise, you’re a one-term president and I don’t care how friendly my wife is with Valerie Jarrett.

    Never one to mince words, he traveled constantly while he was healthy to college campuses to spread the entrepreneurial gospel. He was incredibly angry that, in his eyes, America had dropped the ball.

    He is my hero, bipolar disorder and all.

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  16. MJBubba:
    China works to a longer horizon, longer than the Russians and longer than the Muslims, who think they are working for eternity.

    If this was true, they wouldn’t have needed to reset their guy to be a hardliner. Nah, they are just as short term as the rest of us.

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  17. MJBubba:
    China works to a longer horizon

    There is no proof of this. They change focus every 10-20 years when new leadership takes the helm. New leader like to rebrand too much to remain committed to some mythical “long term plan”

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