National Security

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: China Has Plenty Of Proxies. In America, There’s Probably A Waiting List

NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Grant Newsham Contributor
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The following is an excerpt from “When China Attacks” by Col. Grant Newsham. It can be purchased here.

There is a whole other set of attacks that have come via Beijing’s proxies. Proxies? Those are surrogates or, in simple terms, getting someone else to do your work for you, whether they realize it or not.

The PRC touts its so-called principle of non-interference and insists it never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs. Indeed, Beijing likes to present itself as just minding its own business and leaving everyone else alone—while just desiring to trade and do some business.

That’s not true. For many years, the Chinese Communist Party has used a breathtaking range of proxies—military, business, and political—throughout the world. And it still does. The proxies target America’s allies and friends, or at least countries where the United States has an interest or there is something Beijing wants. Remember, with Comprehensive National Power, the goal is to weaken the enemy or strengthen yourself—either is a win…

Chinese Proxies in the United States

Before we get to the U.S. mainland, spare a moment for Chinese proxy warfare on Saipan in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)—a strategic U.S. territory in the Central Pacific. In the 2010s, a Chinese casino company serving as a CCP proxy turned Saipan’s governor into a proxy as well.

Casino developers funded several candidates in the 2018 elections, and Saipan’s governor also announced a $20.8 million special funding measure described as being generated by casino tax payments. The money appeared right before the election and included $3.5 million for CNMI retiree fund member bonuses and a $150,000 grant for the Marianas Political Status Commission, a body created solely to decide how to become independent from the United States—something that would suit Beijing and, even if not successful, sow domestic discord. Standard PRC win-win.

But being a proxy doesn’t always mean Beijing has total control or forever. When the FBI took an interest in the governor, and also in the Beijing-approved casino that was funding the proxy activity, things hit a brick wall. For now. You can bet that Beijing’s local agents are sniffing around for new openings.

Now Let’s Head to the Mainland

China’s hunt for sympathetic allies in the United States goes back decades. For example, on the entropic warfare front, in 1963, Mao—not generally concerned for those fighting for more representation—made a speech denouncing racism in the United States.

From there, China started a focused and funded outreach program that resulted in, among other things, Malcolm X talking positively about Mao and Black Panther founder Huey Newton visiting China in 1971 to meet Zhou Enlai. The Black Panthers, Young Lords, and other revolutionaries even set up an “acupuncture collective” staffed by “barefoot doctors” in the Bronx.

At least one of those involved in the clinic later served, according to Snopes, “as vice chair of the board of directors for Thousand Currents, an organization that provides fundraising and fiscal sponsorship for the Black Lives Matter Global Movement.”

Black Lives Matter turned American society upside down in summer 2020. They call themselves Marxists, and China treats them and speaks of them like a proxy.

China has equally spent decades developing its many proxies in America’s business, financial, education, civil society, and political classes—though they will all fiercely deny it and may genuinely believe they are not.

But look at what they do and say, and one fairly thinks their interests and activities coincide with the Chinese Communist Party’s, to the point it’s hard to find another word besides proxy—even if unwitting. And that is maybe the best kind of proxy—one who believes what they are doing is right and even moral.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at President Biden’s family members who made a fortune from the People’s Republic of China. Even during the 2020 presidential campaign, then candidate Biden dismissed talk of the PRC threat with these remarks: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.” And: “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

Henry Kissinger also deserves special mention—he’d insist he was not a proxy, but look at his body of work since putting out his shingle as China consultant nearly fifty years ago. It’s hard to find anything that China wouldn’t like. Kissinger is influential, maybe less so these days, but for many years, he was the Delphic Oracle of all things China-related.

Large swathes of America’s financial class are effectively proxies that would make third-world dictators blush—and envious.

When the Trump administration was just getting started on reversing America’s five-decades-long appeasement of the PRC, Beijing’s Wall Street proxies fought it tooth and nail. They had their influence inside the administration, with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, arguing for not upsetting things with Beijing.

According to one participant, when President Trump first traveled to Beijing with a combative mindset, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and some others practically forced their way onto the airplane.

And then there are the financial masters of the universe—the Ray Dalio, Steven Schwartzman, Larry Fink, and Jamie Dimon sort—who run, or once ran, vast hedge fund operations, huge banks, and the like.

All have been loath to say anything bad about the Chinese communists or the China market, and all have insisted that investment in China is a business—if not a moral imperative.

They are experts at explaining away the obvious. In 2021, after the multibillion-dollar wipeout when the CCP went after the not-compliant-enough Chinese tech companies, Goldman Sachs and others were saying things like: “The uncertain trading environment wasn’t likely to hurt the case for buying Chinese equities too much” and “China has strong economic and earnings growth potential in a global context.”

Apparently, the Chinese Communist Party intervening in China’s financial markets, throttling so-called private Chinese companies and costing investors (including foreign ones) massive losses, is just an “uncertain trading environment.”

Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, a major player in China, dismissed China’s torment of its Uighur population and Beijing’s brutal snuffing out of freedom in Hong Kong. He explained it is just the understandable outcome of the CCP’s “sacrosanct” desire for sovereignty. After Xi Jinping grabbed near-total power at the 20th Communist Party Congress in November 2022, Dalio offered the comforting assessment that none of Xi’s new leadership team appear to be “extremists.” Tell that to Taiwan….

Bottom line: China has plenty of proxies and, at least in the United States, there’s probably a waiting list.

Colonel Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine, served in the Indo-Pacific in intelligence and liaison roles, and is now the author of the brand new book: When China Attacks: A Warning to America.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.