Imperiled Circumstance. USA is convulsed by urgent crises + systemic issues contributing to these very crises. The danger lies in not addressing them. China will thereby further disadvantage USA.
Bottom line. America’s challenge involves correcting issues-turned-vulnerabilities-now liabilities in an atmosphere of angst about “Advantage China”. Resolution of accumulated liabilities means re-balancing the field of play with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Minus this, America’s progress will be hobbled no matter how much anger and effort are mustered.
On the Road to Solutions
All China Factor reports to date have a single goal: Situation awareness of CCP devastations to USA and allies. Following reports will transition to solutions. This report #010 is the bridge.
- What will keep America from its own undoing?
- Can a politically-divided government and society focus on both urgent and systemic issues during an election year?
- Which issues are most vital to remedy in urgent crises?
- Which focal points are vital to address for the mid- to long-term?
- Who and what will prevent corrective action? Why?
- What unacceptable risks arise from inattention to vital issues; especially those where dereliction of duty is apparent?
- Who can credibly oversee the remediation of systemic disabilities?
- Who will exploit US vulnerabilities arising from its in-attentions?
- How will exploiters gain new power and advantage by US omissions?
- What is the visibility and accountability of total damage done to date by US neglect?
Opportunity. COVID-19 has aroused awareness of CCP’s aggressions exposing devastating “dragons”. “Below the radar” harm done and ongoing by six dragons is an issue in and of itself:
- Dragon #1. The Chinese Communist Party
- Dragon #2. PRC’s Surrogates and Appeasers
- Dragon #3. US Lack of Resolve
- Dragon #4. Foreign and Internal Opportunists
Report #010 adds these:
- Dragon #5. The American Way (The 5th Dragon)
- The Last Dragon. Artificial Intelligence and 5G Communications Infrastructure
Perspective. This report synthesizes inputs from the Left, Right and Center in a focus called The China Factor. In doing this, “The American Factor” emerged. This revealed itself in 17 issues. The sum of these constitutes systemic strategic, organizational, institutional, conceptual, and moral neglect. America and Americans have the prerogative to not to be self-victimized by this.
Macro Context. The US Superpower got sloppy “ignoring the details” from strategic to local settings. Money, military muscle and diplomacy could not remedy this. There were devils in those details. USA is consequently at the point of greatest peril in its history. Crippling US partisan politics now aid China.
Scenarios. Why so grim? No choice. We ran out of time and buffers for assured national resilience.
- Worst-case scenario = Exposed Chinese communist leadership decides in despair to press advantage by all means.
- Most likely scenario = CCP leadership’s exploitation of USA and allies continues. In other words: “It may not get any better than this.”
- Best-case scenario = US and allies are able to sufficiently rebalance the competitive field to compete with the CCP short of kinetic warfare. New steady-state East-West competition.
Competition Matters. The New Dark Ages is an open-ended era of no-rules unrestricted competition for perpetual positional advantage. China has long understood this, prepared for it, and mastered it. America has not. USA now faces overmatch on many fronts, across many frontiers, and behind the guise of many front organizations.
Target: China. In this context, the natural inclination is “China Bashing”. This is a fear-based impulse by those who have been “had”. USA, The West and The Rest, however, are not clean themselves. “Getting it right” demands introspection and retrospection. Promoting the virtues of “inclusive prosperity” is a potent counter-measure to the CCP’s “winner take all” mentality. But this must be authentic.
“Show Time”. Regardless of scenario, urgency, and crisis, this report orients on American systemic issues empowering the Chinese Communist Party. These are long-standing and deep-seated. China has been smart enough to exploit them. USA has been diminished and disadvantaged by them. The full extent of accumulated damage is unclear.
17 Issues. In the existential contest between Authoritarianism and The Rights of Human, it is best for USA to take a clear stand before the concrete we are all swimming in dries. This is not only about trying harder. It is about abandoning old patterns by which USA undercuts itself. Neglected issues have piled up. This results in diminished national sovereignty, national self-determination, national resilience, enduring allegiances and more. These impact variably in the midst of pressing crises.
For the purpose of brevity, eight essential core issues are front loaded below. The remaining equally important issues #9 to #17 are provided at this link: https://thechinafactor.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/17-Strategic-Issues.pdf
- The American Way (The 5th Dragon). Since the end of World War II, USA has had a tumultuous rise on a zig-zag course with strategic highs and lows. It now settles into a position of tormented disadvantage in the face of an ever-adaptive China Superpower in a continually changing world. “US change”, however, could significantly unsettle CCP confidence. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2826
- “The Devil May Care”. Over the years, the US Superpower has conveyed an attitude of arrogance, indifference, obliviousness, and or belligerence toward a mix of national, sub-national, transnational and hard-to-categorize power brokers around the world. Today it seems that “the devils, indeed, do care” in terms of effectively targeting the US Superpower. America’s attentiveness to “the details” in highly unforgiving contests, could lend it fresh vitality. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2745
- The Cognitive Domain. 48 years of being “had” by China: USA as the casualty across The Cognitive Domain. Americans’ grasp of this is fundamental to contesting CCP’s informational-ized strategies, weaponry and strategic edge. Effective counter-action demands a tectonic shift in senior US leaderships’ emphasis on this decisive domain. This is final frontier for USA to embrace.
- Strategic Space. The main obstacle lies in fathoming Modern Strategic Competitive Space. USA has a geo-terrain concept of “space” toward which it projects various forms of power. China thinks and acts in terms of controlling key terrain features within and across various types of competitive space. Goal? Perpetual positional advantage in each competitive dimension. America’s confidence and competence across these spaces are key to American and Allies’ competitive and combative advantage. See this link with two presentations: https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2749
- War and Competition. US Government narrowly relies on a platform-centric approach to national defense. Combat systems are the heart of “power projection”. American commerce is protected by this. US diplomacy is furthered by it. Somewhere along the way, USA lost allegiances. China “bought them”. Along with this came expansive capacities. America’s future success is much about counter-competing to earn allegiances. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2747
- “Borrowed Swords”. CCP’s Fail Safe architecture draws upon “borrowed-bought-bullied” sources of power dispersed globally. Control of key persons means: control of decision-making, control of laws, policies, organizations, actions, influences, resources, products, services, and impacts. CCP’s wealth of non-traditional competitive concepts and methods is considerable. USA’s adaptation of asymmetric methods could help contest China’s trajectory and velocity. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2763
- The COVID-19 Phenomenon. COVID-19 is the essence of modern no-rules unrestricted competition. Direct and indirect consequences reflect strategic punch that has sent USA and allies reeling. Americans, however, have unconventional revolutionary roots to draw upon, if they chose to do so. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2771
- The Last Dragon. 5G + Artificial Intelligence = “Game over.” Under CCP authoritarianism, all competition, opposition, resistance, difference of opinion, and individuality will be crushed by this technology. Everything the CCP is doing – everything – is ultimately focused on mastering this hyper-deadly Dragon. America has expertise to contest this devastation, if not win this contest. Anything less will be disastrous. It is that bad. https://thechinafactor.org/?page_id=2844
- National Elections. A politically combative American society might weigh the value of strategic and systemic matters in Presidential debates. The People will likely listen to whatever rings relevant at a personal level by the authenticity of points made. This is an opportunity for broad national grasp of strategic realities impacting at all levels of society. Such dialogue clears the air of years of spin and counter-spin by each candidate’s voice being directly heard in this final face-off. Voters will determine what resonates.
- The Continuing American Revolution. The United States of America, by name and inclination, became a living experiment in the integration of unique human diversities. The CCP’s clear intent is to crush this unity and diversity, because these directly threaten CCP’s strategy and survival. CCP wants to expand its advantage. USA and others around the world are now alert to oppose this. Facing critical issues cited in this report, as well as many others, provides solid footing for USA’s essential evolution and revolution. “What got us here, won’t get us there”.
American innovation can be fully harnessed only if those in power in public and private sector leadership positions are willing to change old ways or are driven by circumstance to do so.