Big Tent Ideas

MORGAN MURPHY: Red China Is Watching

(Photo by ALET PRETORIUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Morgan Murphy Morgan Murphy is military thought leader, captain in the U.S. Navy reserve, and former press secretary to the Secretary of Defense and national security advisor in the U.S. Senate
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Horror movie plot twist: the terrorized teenage heroine finally gets a phone to call the authorities. “Hello! I need help! Someone is stalking me and I think he may want to kill me!”

“Hold on ma’am. We’re tracing the call. Wait. It looks like he is there in the house with you.”

Cue audience gasp.

America’s enemy is here in the house with us. Yet here we are, calmly showering like it’s 1995.  If we don’t wake up to the threat, this movie won’t end well.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party spends billions tracking and monitoring their own people with facial recognition, social scores, and a growing web of dystopian devices and methods.

These same tools are being used against the American public.

China’s Trojan Horse

TikTok boasts 150 million American users—nearly half the country—making it the largest foreign influencer operation in history.  It keeps a data lake that would make J. Edgar Hoover blush right down to his bloomers. Imagine: the company knows your basic demographics, but also harvests your location, interests, sexuality, politics, religion, beliefs, friends, income, and urges.

TikTok’s algorithm knows secrets yesterday’s gumshoes could only dream of: which Taylor Swift tune you like, the Bolognese ravioli recipe that will make you salivate, and the video about politics that will rile you up. There exist no laws, no wall, no doctrine or ethical guidelines that prevent the Chinese communists from using their digital Tokyo Rose against our own government. In fact, they’re already doing it. On March 7, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives to stop foreign adversaries from receiving American’s private data. That day, TikTok sent a message to the phone of every U.S. user: “TikTok is at risk of being shut down in the U.S. Call your representative now.”

No elected official in the history of our country has held the power to text 150 million Americans to change a vote.

Beyond TikTok

That DJI drone you bought your son for Christmas? Sure, it works great. And, yep, there wasn’t an American-made drone that was as inexpensive and easy to use.  That’s because China seized the market through illegal dumping.  But so what?  American’s don’t seem to mind that the Chinese now have an exquisite map and 4k footage of every street, building, hill and dale in the U.S. What could go wrong?

Did we care when China started making all our shower curtain rings and picture frames? Or all our toaster ovens?  How about slave labor to make sneakers and electronic gadgets?  Sure, the quality might be spotty—toxic drywall and tainted baby formula, but hey, it’s so cheap!  As China’s industrial capacity and expertise moved up in complexity and sophistication, maybe a few folks like Robert Lighthizer said it might not be a good idea to have your enemy making, oh, say, all your cell phone nodes and infrastructure, but globalists trashed Lighthizer for undermining 70+ years of world order.

Those same globalists don’t seem to know or care that our whole national security apparatus is dependent on China for the very raw materials we use to build our planes, ships, and weapons systems. If “the balloon goes up,” the euphemism the military uses for full-scale war, do  wereally think the Chinese will supply us with the chromium, titanium, aluminum, and dozens of other critical materials we need in order to shoot it back at them?

The Arsenal of Communism

There’s a creeping sensation growing among Washington’s national security establishment that we’ve been asleep to the China threat. China boasts a vastly bigger army, a bigger navy, more planes, more missiles, and more satellites to watch our movements.

As China’s investment in its own military grows ever closer to our own defense spending, President Biden’s proposed 1% boost to the military’s budget doesn’t even pretend to keep up with our own (rampant) inflation.

And it’s not just military spending. For 50 years, the U.S. has watched a steady erosion of its manufacturing base in favor of a service-based economy. Our industrial base is just a fraction of the “arsenal of democracy” that fueled an Allied victory in WW2. In 1942, Ford Motor Company converted automobile know-how to produce an astonishing 8,645 B-24s for the war. At peak production, Michigan’s finest produced one Liberator an hour.

Good luck retraining YouTubers to weld in 2024.

Friend of Foe?

The United States hasn’t faced a peer nation since the late 1800s, when our GDP surpassed that of Great Britain’s. The British were our founding cousins with whom we shared a language, religion, belief in capitalism and free markets, representative government, laws, and a tradition of rights dating back to the Magna Carta.

Today’s two superpowers nation share none of these core values.

So, while it’s popular in Washington to call China our “strategic competitor,” make no mistake—China sees the U.S. as an adversary. The Chinese Communist Party sees the United States as, at best, a power to be tamed in their quest to dominate Taiwan and their Pacific neighbors.

It’s time for a wake-up call—the enemy is in the house.

Morgan Murphy is a former DoD press secretary, national security advisor in the U.S. Senate, a veteran of Afghanistan.

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

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