“Borrowed Swords”. Surrogates, Proxies, Mercenaries and Traitors are part of the CCP’s Fail Safe architecture’s use of “borrowed-bought-bullied” capacities dispersed around the world. This reflects Chinese communist reliance on key persons’ decision-making control, as well as their actions, influences, resources, products, services, and impacts. Serious, systemic adoption of asymmetric methods would help USA overcome the CCPs present advantages. This is bread and butter for USA at least staying apace with the CCP’s wide array of competitive methods.
Surrogates. China’s modern surrogates span the horizon of competition, coercion, subversion and warfare. This brand of sword tends to be witting and willing to serve the needs of its master. “Owned congressmen and parliamentarians” are the prize because of law-making manipulations. At mid-levels, US businesses addicted to China come to mind. At lower levels, the American consumer and investor are the deadliest of all obedient surrogates in terms of assuring steady “life blood” cash flow for CCP strategy implementation.
Proxies. These may or may not be witting accomplices. They are human, organizational and circumstantial. Regardless, they wind up doing the bidding of the CCP or enabling the accomplishment of CCP agendas. Peace-keeping missions are an example of “UN proxy access and proxy opportunity” for the People’s Liberation Army to get greened internationally, as well as accomplish a wide range of intelligence and influence tasks. https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/china-takes-the-lead-in-un-peacekeeping/ US universities today function as Chinese proxy think tanks. Walmart, The Dollar Store and Hobby Lobby among countless others, are essentially proxy economic outposts and points of economic attack. Google, Facebook and Twitter represent gray actors with strong indicators of proxy-hood.
Mercenaries. Globalization has spawned a wide array of “hired guns” ready for the asking. This is not only a rent-an-army capacity to draw upon at will, it represents force-in-being, force-in-place presence and persistence. Hackers-for-hire are just as mercenary as Russian force packages-for-hire. All this can provide strategic-operational-tactical reach beyond the PRC’s organic means. See this 2 June 2020 link for a recent example: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102688/magnum_opus_the_real_secret_soldiers_of_benghazi
Traitors. Malice toward nation, society or government is the distinguishing characteristic, as is national citizenship or trusted allied allegiance. Congressmen “on the take” may or may not fit this category. The quality of treason has legal definitions, though the impacts of it are limitless. Treachery has a broader interpretation, because this can involve betrayal to those who believe in the ideals we profess or to those who trusted the assumed integrity of public and private sector decision makers.
- China gains extraordinary Mass, Maneuver, Reach, Presence and Persistence by such swords.
- All this without the overhead costs, other than cash distribution.
- This is a plug-and-play capacity generator as long as the bills are paid.
- Aggression “on the cheap”.
- “Keep the cash flowing” or fail.
- A network of “owned” island nation leaders across the south and western Pacific amount to a “surrogate archipelago” supportive of China’s naval expansion and onward reach.
- A network of “owned” or “influenced” media constitutes massive proxy capacity for influence operations.
- The monopolization of pharmaceuticals and ingredients is itself a kind of sword in that “the withholding or manipulation of product” leverages others’ crippling fear capacities.
- The previous bullet opens exploration into the borrowing of all sorts of traditional, non-traditional, direct and indirect capacities for the purpose of gaining advantage. By this logic, it is not hard to imagine that CCP baits and borrows investors’ hopes, no less than the narcotic additions from the methamphetamines pushed by China to both destroy communities, kill local economies, and keep local leaders’ “on the take”. A most devastating sword, indeed, which allows CCP to grab strategic lands around the world.
Such points described above, provide a starting point for both USA’s and allies’ own sword borrowing, as well as countering CCP’s sword wielding in this most potent art of war.