By Geoff Metcalf
Steven W. Mosher makes it abundantly clear that the leaders of Communist China are dangerous people; they don't like the United States and regard this nation as their enemy. And, while the U.S. has been a nation for a couple of centuries, China has been a part of the global scene for about 50 centuries. WorldNetDaily reporter and talk show host Geoff Metcalf recently interviewed Mosher, author of "Hegemon: The Chinese Plan To Dominate Asia And The Rest Of The World" about his book and about what Americans can expect to see from China in the days ahead.
Question: For those folks who have bought into the pitch that if only we make nice with China, we can and will corrupt them and win them over to our capitalist way: True or false?
Answer: I think it is false anytime soon. The people who are saying trade will change China are thinking it will change China tomorrow or next year. It won't. The one-party dictatorship that rules China is well able to stay in power another 10 or 20 years. The problem is that they are rapidly becoming a super-power and they have ambitions that are even greater than super-power status. They want to become a super-super-power. They want to become the Hegemon, the dominant power in the world.
Q: I've been saying for a long time that one big problem our State Department seems to have in dealing with any foreign country is an inability to distinguish between cultural differences. Americans want instant gratification. Asians tend to not only develop long-term plans -- decade-long plans -- they also actually work their plans, don't they?
A: They do. They have plans for world domination that make reference to Chinese history 2500 years ago -- when the institution of Hegemon first developed -- when China first came together as a unified state and it sought to bring in peripheral areas under its dominance. That's a long-range plan by any standard.
Q: Allegedly, these guys who are sitting in the secretary of state's office, going back to Kissinger, aren't dummies -- these are supposed to be smart guys. What don't they get?
A: They are laboring under a number of misconceptions. The first is, that China is going our way. I mean 10 years ago, in Tiananmen Square, the students belonged to us, quite frankly. They quoted Jefferson and Lincoln and Washington. They built a statue of the Statue of Liberty.
Q: And they paid a price for it.
A: And they paid a price for it. The students now in China belong to them. They belong to the Chinese Communist Party because the educational system of the last 10 years has been restructured to turn out good Chinese patriots -- who may not be loyal to the communist ideology -- but they are certainly loyal to the country, loyal to the nation, and loyal to the political force that is holding it all together now.
Q: I have often complained that the problems we face in this country, the erosion of our republic, are a product of incrementalism. China's incrementalism is on a much grander scale. They really do intend to be the dominant force in Asia, right?
A: I believe they have a three-tiered plan for achieving hegemony (that means a single, all dominant power -- a single axis of power dominating the world). The first is local hegemony. They will move to take back Taiwan -- they are consolidating control over the South China Sea right now, an area about as big as the Mediterranean Sea.
The second stage of hegemony will be regional hegemony where they take back or bring under their control territories that China historically dominated but lost in recent decades. Territories like the Russian Far East, which was stolen from China in 1898 by the Czars, parts of Siberia south of the tundra, parts of central Asia and then southeast Asia, of course, where Burma and Thailand and Vietnam were, throughout history, either tributary states of China, or, in Vietnam's case, actually incorporated into China's territory for long periods of time. That's regional hegemony. After that you find global ...
Q: Hold on a minute, Steven. Before we get out of Asia, one thing that has always amazed me is how people talk about bigotry and racism in this country, but in Asia, although to someone from North Carolina they might all look alike, they are not. And there is really deep-seated antipathy between Koreans and Chinese -- and Japanese and Chinese -- and the reality is the Asian countries are not all one big happy family.
A: Oh, absolutely. There is no sense of a common homeland in Asia, such as you are now beginning to see in Europe, where even the French and the Germans seem to be getting along very well. In Asia, the Koreans still teach their children about the period of Japanese colonization where they were treated so badly. The Chinese still talk about, and teach their children about, the Japanese invasion that cost so many millions of Chinese lives during World War II. No one looks fondly upon neighboring peoples in that part of the world.
Q: And they don't forgive or forget. Years ago, I was talking with Col. David Hackworth; he was discussing the Balkans and I see a parallel between the two. He tells the story of being on patrol with some guys and they stopped in a cemetery and began digging up a grave. He didn't think too much of it, figuring they had probably cached weapons in the grave. When they got to the bottom of the grave there was a decayed corpse. The patrol emptied their magazines into the 50-year dead remains and then proceeded to urinate into the grave. Hack asked them, "Hey, what's that all about?" And he was told, "This was a very bad man during the war over 50 years ago." That same kind of deep-seated ethnic antipathy is even deeper seated in Asia, isn't it?
A: Yes, it is. And the Chinese people are now being taught by the one party dictatorship that rules them that the glories of China's imperial past can be recaptured if everyone simply follows the Chinese Communist Party. And that the long night of China's national humiliation from the first and second opium wars in the last century -- and China's defeat at the hands of the Japanese in World War II -- all of that can be avenged in the years to come.
Q: Our State Department: It's kind of like these guys want to believe something that there are no facts to support. China's rhetoric has been incredibly harsh. They consider us the enemy -- they have said as much for God and everybody to hear.
A: Well, they have and it amazes me that more of this overheated rhetoric doesn't wind up on the ABC nightly news or on the front page of the New York Times. When China calls us ...
Q: ... they threatened to fire a nuke at L.A. if we gave them any grief over Taiwan.
A: They have actually done that now several times. They did that in 1996 during the Taiwan Straits crisis when they were lobbing missiles off Taiwan. They told us we would not come to Taipei's defense because we would not want to sacrifice Los Angeles for Taipei. They sent us last October their War Plans for the invasion of Taiwan. An incredibly blunt and heavy-handed act. And the War Plan calls for their missiles to attack our cities if we intervene and try to defend Taiwan. These people in Beijing, the old men who rule China, have not been secret about their plans.
Q: I was astonished to read a story about a bunch of Chinese colonels who are attending some school at Harvard and that they are being counseled about how the United States would respond in the event of an assault on Taiwan. Basically, we're teaching them how to fight us. This kind of brain flatulence is amazing.
A: We think that we are so powerful that if we simply take selected elements of the Peoples Liberation Army -- the generals and the leading members in the party -- and let them visit military bases, let them visit our top secret research laboratories at Los Alamos and elsewhere, that they will be so overwhelmed by what they see that they will kowtow; they will want to trade with us, they won't want to seek a conflict with us. In fact, I believe those visits serve another purpose: They serve the purpose of espionage very well. They serve to alert the Chinese to what areas we have, that we call our strengths, and they are working very, very diligently to try to catch up to us in those areas.
Q: Steven, I'm a talk-show host and writer who reads a lot. But I would never presume to suggest I am in the same intellectual league as the people who reside in the State Department. Why do these supposedly smart people buy into this fiction that if we just make nice with China everything will be fine?
A: I think there is a certain amount of overconfidence in their own abilities. They think if they sit down with anybody in the world, be he democrat or dictator, that they can negotiate a peaceful solution to any problem. Well, they haven't been able to effect a peaceful solution for the Chinese people who are constantly brutalized by this one-party dictatorship. Nor have they been able to prevent China, over the last 50 years, from having armed conflict with nearly all of its neighbors: Russia in '69, India in '61, Taiwan repeatedly, Korea against us and the Koreans in the early '50s, Vietnam in '79. This is a country that has a history of resorting to violence to settle its international disputes. Our State Department types don't seem to realize that. They suffer from clientism. They identify with the country in which they serve, they learn the language, they understand the culture and, to a certain extent, I think they come to subconsciously sympathize with that country.
You shouldn't sympathize with a country that doesn't share our values and institutions. We should sympathize with the people who are oppressed by that oppressive communist dictatorship -- not the diplomats that sit across from you at the tables.
Q: The other point is the facts in evidence. It's been a while since I talked with folks in the War Colleges but, last time I went through the exercise, about a year ago, they all said basically the same thing -- that by from about 2011 to 2014, the Communist Chinese will have a military force superior to the United States. And I don't even think it is arguable that once they achieve that, they are going to use it.
A: I too think they are building it to use it. That's why I wrote the book "Hegemon," because it's one thing to do bean counting -- you know, count the number of planes and tanks and ships -- but it's another thing to get a sense of what the intention is. What is the will of the Chinese leadership with regard to using this force? I think it's very clear that if you look at Chinese history, they have a will -- an intention -- to recover their lost place in the world, to once again become the Middle Kingdom. The kingdom at the center of the earth to which other countries bring tribute and kowtow.
Q: And once they have achieved the Asian dominance, then what?
A: I think we are already seeing signs of China's reach for global hegemony. They've taken over the old Soviet eavesdropping stations in Cuba for example. They've positioned themselves at both ends of the Panama Canal in the hope, I think, of denying us the ability to use that canal in the event of hostilities.
Q: I want to talk about Panama. There has been a lot of talk about China having both ports at each end of the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone itself. Do you see this strategically as an espionage nexus or as some place they can bring in and marshal troops, and/or establish missile sites that could threatened southern CONUS (Continental United States)?
A: I don't see it as a site for missiles so much as I see it as a strategic choke point. One of the things that the British navy did so successfully for a couple of hundred years was control maritime choke points like the Suez Canal and the Straights of Malaco through their naval base in Singapore (through which goes all the traffic from the Indian Ocean into the Pacific). And China is attempting to acquire by hook or by crook these different maritime choke points.
Q: They're in Jamaica too, right?
A: There is a Chinese presence in Jamaica. But think of what happens in the event of hostilities. In the Pacific, we try to move assets from the First Fleet and the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through the Panama Canal. If the Chinese are there, the ships don't go through.
Q: I had a big argument with a guy several months ago when he said, "But our carriers can't even go through the Panama Canal, they're too big."
A: But everything else can.
Q: Yeah, everything else can. And the carriers aren't worth anything if they can't have fuel and all the necessary logistical support and that stuff does move through the canal.
A: All of our ships, except the carriers, are made with a 38-foot or narrower beam, which means they can transit the canal. They are designed specifically for that purpose. Otherwise you have to spend an extra two weeks going around the Cape Horn and the tip of South America.
Q: Allegedly the Chinese were bringing vast quantities of troops, although I personally think the numbers were exaggerated significantly, into Africa and the Sudan to protect an oil pipeline.
A: That was a London Sunday Telegraph report several weeks ago ...
Q: Yeah, but they said 700,000 troops ...
A: What happened was this: The black Christian militia in the south who have been waging a war against the Muslim Arab government in the north captured a document from the Khartoum government which said that as many as 700,000 Chinese troops were available for action in the Sudan to support the Muslims in their fight against the Christians in the south. Now that number seems to me to be exaggerated.
Q: That's even more troops than we assembled during the Gulf War.
A: We had an expeditionary force of about 600,000 men. But we do know this: The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation has entered into an agreement with the Khartoum government, the rulers of the Sudan, to develop the oil fields in the Sudan. And we know this too: that whenever China goes into a country to develop the oil fields, it insists on bringing in its own workers and its own guards. So the oil fields, the oil refinery that is built basically becomes a Chinese base -- developed by and guarded by Chinese troops and soldiers. So we know there is a military presence of China in the Sudan. And even if it's only 70,000 ...
Q: That's the number I guessed it to be.
A: That's still a massive force by African standards.
Q: I suspect all the diplomats and China-types probably don't like your book too much.
A: (laughing) I'll tell you what. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a number of disturbing signs that I think underline the message of "Hegemon" -- three very disturbing things in particular. One is that the minister of defense of the People's Republic of China, Minister Chi Haotian, said that, "War with the United States was inevitable." He didn't say "possible," he didn't say "probable," he said, "inevitable."
Q: Swell. What is the second item?
A: The second thing that we heard from the Hong Kong press, a very good listening post for China, a very accurate listening post for China, was that President Jiang Zemin, the head of the country, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, said to his central military commission, the leading generals in the People's Liberation Army, air force and navy, that they should "... prepare for war with the United States by the year 2008." That is not that many years in the future.
And, if you read the writings of Chinese strategists, they believe China can win such a conflict with the United States in Asia. We're talking about a regional conflict in Asia between the Chinese military and U.S. forward-deployed forces in Korea, Japan and other parts of Asia. China's planning on a conflict -- they think they can win such a conflict. And they believe that at the end of the day, which means 20 to 30 years down the road, that there will only be one country left standing -- a Hegemon -- and they intend for China to be the Hegemon.
Q: Steven, this recent Russian-Chinese strategic partnership has sparked a couple of schools of thought. One is that they never really parted company and the schism was really just sandbagging. But the big question I have for you regarding Russia and China is: Who is using whom? Is China using Russia or is Russia using China?
A: I think it is of great importance to us which way Russia goes. Whether Russia goes west toward Europe -- toward trading and becoming a normal nation with democratic values and institutions -- or whether Russia goes east, back to its despotic roots, its Czarist roots where human rights are disrespected and they form an alliance with the People's Republic of China. We saw such an alliance before in our lifetime in the '50s. The Sino-Soviet Alliance stretched from China all the way to central Europe. That alliance broke apart and there were even skirmishes between battalion size units on the Russian-Chinese border in 1969 and 1970s. So I think the falling-out was real.
Q: You really think it was real.
A: Oh yeah, I think it was real. The satellite photos of the battlefields show something that looked like the craters of the moon. These guys were shooting a lot of ordinance at one another. It's hard to believe that was all just play-acting.
Q: In the wake of this Putin deal -- now they have renewed this strategic relationship -- neither side really trusts the other, do they?
A: No, they don't. I mean, it is obviously an alliance of convenience. In World War II, we were the arsenal of democracy. In this era, Russia is now the arsenal of despair. They are selling weapons at fire-sale prices to China because they are desperate for hard currency to keep their economy afloat. And China wants access to Russian weapons. It wants access to Russian raw materials.
If I were Russia, I'd be very leery of too close an embrace by the dragon. Because there are only 8-million Russians east of the Yural mountains. There are five to seven million illegal Chinese immigrants throughout the length and breath of Russia and the Russian Far East and Siberia. That means the number of illegal Chinese immigrants is almost as great as the number of ethnic Russians there. I would be afraid if I were Russia that China was undertaking a kind of secret conquest of Siberia by illegal immigration.
Q: Despite the scholarly work of Steven Mosher and the vitriolic rants of talk show hosts, what about the facts, history and rhetoric? At some point, is anyone in a position of leadership in this country going to have the epiphany or wake-up call? They have to know this is a significant strategic threat.
A: I think a lot of people in Washington and around the country know that China is an increasing military threat. If you take polls of the country, two thirds of Americans, something like 73 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats, say that China is a growing military threat, that we should address human rights issues in our dealings with China. And they put trade third after human rights and after the military question. So the American people have their priorities in the right order.
What happened in the Senate and the House so that both of the Houses of Congress voted to approve permanent normal trade relations with China with virtually no conditions? Money talks in politics and all of the Fortune 500 companies are heavily invested in China -- and all of them were pushing very hard, through their lobbyists in Washington, for permanent normal trade relations with China with no conditions whatsoever.
Q: What incensed me about that so much was every year they'd have the debate and, yeah, it was a dog and pony show -- nothing every came of it and they were always granted most favored nation status. However, if that drill had stayed in place, at least once a year, when they had to go through that dog and pony show, if nothing else, maybe, just maybe, there would be an impediment to any further aggression or human rights abuses and all the bad stuff that they routinely and consistently do.
A: Absolutely. And we saw every year in the weeks leading up to the vote on most favored nation status for China, this annual dog and pony show as you called it, (which had to be decided by May 31st each year) the Chinese government would release a few dissidents -- they would loosen the screws a little bit instead of tightening the screws on the underground Church or the home church movement.
Q: But there is no longer any incentive or disincentive for them.
A: No longer. This was our one bit of leverage against the People's Republic and now we've given it away. There is still the State Department's annual human rights report but they release that at midnight on Saturday -- so it gets no press attention whatsoever.
Q: You say the Chinese have said they should prepare for war with the U.S. by 2008: That's earlier than all the war college reports that I've looked at.
A: What's happened over the last few years is this: In 1994, the Pentagon did an analysis of China's war-making abilities and concluded that in 25 years they would have the ability to successfully carry out and engage our forces in Asia. That would have put it at about the year 2020. And then, there was another estimate a couple of years ago that moved it up to 2014 to 2012. So, as China is moving ahead economically, it has moving ahead militarily even faster. China is developing capabilities that we thought they wouldn't develop for another generation.
Q: They also have the added benefit of a big boost from us regarding satellite technology and a lot more. I asked this question over a year ago about all the money that was funneled into the presidential campaign of 1996 -- was it a gratuity or a bribe? And I'm still not sure what it was.
A: And they have moved beyond that now. The Russians were never very astute at manipulating the American system. They funded this silly thing called the Communist Party of the United States that never had more than a few thousand members. But China in '96 began to try to corrupt the system in a big way by campaign contributions. But they've moved ahead even since then.
Q: How so?
A: During this most favored nations status debate, they actually used the American system to manipulate the American system. They went to the Fortune 500 companies invested in China and said, look, you have to get this passed. You need to help us. So those thousands upon thousands of lobbyists employed by the Fortune 500 companies in Washington, D.C., all went to work. China began using -- manipulating -- the capitalist system to make it work in their favor. The long-term danger of that is this: that they are getting better and better at pulsing the system and making the system work for them. Through these lobbyists -- and through the think tanks that receive grants from companies that are friendly to China -- we end up crafting a foreign policy of the United States that's not in our interest but in China's interest.
Q: I have to disagree with you on one thing. You say that China is involved in a worldwide contest with the United States?
Q: We're not in the contest. We've got to get in the game.
A: (laughing) Well, that's true. We're ignoring the China threat. We're blithely pretending it doesn't exist. You know, we've got a lot of second and third tier people in Washington at the National Security Agency, at the CIA and the Pentagon who are very concerned about the China threat. The problem is, they are being set upon by the political types who will not allow a word of criticism of China to be breathed in any official report. So they write their reports and they don't get published or, if they are published, they get edited before they appear to the light of day.
Q: You might know the numbers, I can't remember, but I was told when the Soviet Union was cooking we had massive teams involved in all variety of Soviet watching and analysis. Yet despite the fact that the Communist Chinese are arguably a greater threat, there are only a handful of guys who are even tasked to work on this stuff.
A: That's right. The numbers are not there and also another problem is that so many people who go into the China field are compromised. They are compromised in two ways. First, by their desire to make money off the China market -- so they don't want to offend their Chinese hosts while they are busily taking consulting fees. The second way they are compromised is that China is much more effective than the Soviet Union ever was at using visas and access to gain leverage over China watchers. If you publish an article critical of China, you can bet that the next time you go to the Chinese Embassy they are going to turn down your visa application. You will be denied entry to the country. And that affects a lot of people who are not willing to criticize China because they want to preserve their access.
In the run-up to the turnover of Hong Kong to the Chinese Communist Government, we held a couple of conferences in Hong Kong and journalists there told us they were already engaging in self-censorship because they were afraid to offend the Beijing regime that would one day soon have the power to strip them of their press credentials. Well journalists in the United States are now engaging in self-censorship because so many of the major dailies and major news networks are interested in going to China and doing business there. So they pull their punches. They won't report news critical of China.
Q: People complain about the Jewish lobby and how much influence they exert in D.C.. From what I'm seeing in the last couple of years, the Chinese lobby -- although they may not be as overt as the Jewish lobby -- they are certainly a heck of a lot more effective at achieving goals and controlling the field.
A: They certainly are -- and they are getting more effective by the day. As I say, they have enlisted these Fortune 500 companies to fight their battles for them. And some of these companies are now pulling the plug on certain grants they've been giving to think tanks when those think tanks become critical of the China trade or publish reports critical of human rights abuses in China. The whole system of observing China and getting accurate information is getting skewed and biased and it's going to make it increasingly hard for us to defend ourselves in years to come.
Q: I've asked others this same question: China and Taiwan -- it is inevitable that eventually, sometime in the not-too-distant future, they are going to do it. When do you think China hits Taiwan?
A: I think they showed their hand a little bit this last summer when they held amphibious landing exercises involving 110,000 troops. These are not just regimental or divisional size exercises -- these are group army-size exercises. 110,000 troops launched against Taiwan would be a very significant invasion force. And Taiwan has to be defended. It's not only the right thing for the United States to do because Taiwan is a democracy that respects human rights, it's in our national security interests to defend Taiwan because Taiwan is a democratic dagger pointed at the heart of totalitarian China. Taiwan gives the Chinese people on the mainland hope that they, too, one day will enjoy a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Q: We have heard that the invasion wouldn't be all troops but that China would first bomb the heck out of Taiwan with missiles -- and then invade. The question is, if assimilation of Taiwan is the objective and Taiwan is economically successful, why would they want to destroy the infrastructure?