tv Dan Blumenthal The China Nightmare CSPAN January 18, 2021 9:20am-10:26am EST
go watch lebron james with new eyes. go watch lebron james. [laughter] >> you're watching book tv on c-span2. every weekend with the latest nonfiction books and authors. book tv on c-span2 created by america's cable television company. today we're brought to you by these television companies who provide book tv to viewers as a public service. >> i'm cory. and i lead the foreign and defense policy team at the american enterprise institute and i have the conversation moderating the conversation between two outstanding policy makers and scholars on china, the u.s.-china relationship. the first is dan blumenthal who
directs asian studies here at aei. he has worked in the defense department as senior director for china, taiwan and mongolia. he's been a commissioner on the congressionally mandated u.s.-china economic and security review commission. and he is the author of a terrific new book, which is called the china nightmare. the grand ambitions and also retired general mcmaster. former national security advisor, a distinguished soldier whose reputation in military service was was one of the most innovative and adaptive minds in the american military. i'm delighted to have them both with us today. i'm sorry i neglected to say hr is also the author of a new
book called "battle ground, the fight to defend the free world." so it is a great joy to have you both here. thank you both for making time to talk about china policy and dan blumenthal, let's start with you, my friend. >> thank you very much, kori, thank you very much for your leadership at aei. and thank you, general mcmaster for joining us as an ex-soldier, as an author, someone who helped to shape china policy over the last few years and i think a lot of people are viewing this event who worked with you to do that and i'm thankful as we all are for doing that. the china nightmare, what does my book mean by that? well, china certainly has grand ambitions and power, and if we read carefully, china
language documents, they speak about these weaknesses very often. the nightmare, the tagline is, a strong nation, a strong power beset by a strong and frustrated power poses a special kind of danger. so what is that danger? well, first, let's start with the strengths, which are probably much well-known to this crowd than the weaknesses. the strengths, well, first of all, china is an empire. that's key. it's often overlooked. china is the last, arguably the last remaining empire in the world. if you looked very carefully at a map of the last chinese dynasty, the ching dynasty, and juxtaposed that against a map of the people's republic of china today, it would look very, very similar. so, imagine that for a second. imagine for a second if the ottoman empire, if the turks
ruled the middle east and never broke up. china still min tapes that, and taiwan is considered the last, and hong kong and shen gen and tibet. and there was a genocidal way during the dynasty, are considered that places that china needs to keep under its toes to maintain the empire. it's a leninist empire meaning xi jinping has exerted control over this empire by these means. he's purged his enemies and taken control. policy making shops and bodies inside of china. we'll get into very soon.
and this also poses weaknesses. he's a powerful, powerful figure ap he's enshrined in the constitution, if you want to call it that of china, he has no successor. the regular successor process was supposed to be 2022, but now he's injected some enstability in the system because we don't know when success possibly could take place. strengths and ambition we know a lot about those. military power, china has become a lethal military force. the u.s. military sometimes says its afraid it could lose a war to china if it doesn't compete more effectively. it's not a passive military power, it use it is every day, taiwan, to intimidate taiwan. in the china sea to push its ambition. in india, and around the middle east and oil producing states
to procure oil. it wants to reshape the global order, it now talks about this openly, it uses terms that sound extremely beneficial to the world, benevolent, such as creating a community of common destiny, or the belten road initiative that we all know much about. and what china means about these initiatives, to reshape an order to create a reform that replaces u.s. alliance systems and puts china at the center of a network of new strategic partners that are part of this belten road initiative. it's more geopolitical than economic. in that said it's already made progress in its ambition. other strategies and tactics as found by our friends in australia and europe, chinese agents trying to co-op the
western, and with china's preferences. it has a very strong view, in short, the way it want the world order to look. much more authoritarian. by definition, it would be much more corrupt if china does succeed using technology as not for good purposes, but for neve fairions-- nefarious purposes and it's trying in the indo-pacific and elsewhere as well. this is not the whole china story. and my whole book talks about this in detail. china is beset by weaknesses
and insecurity and it says so itself. in a leaked document in 2013, document nye it says in english, it identifies in detail what it fears. one of its biggest fears is what is calls western spiritual pollution. what it means by that is that with all the contact and commerce with the west comes ideas about liberty and rule of law and governing and xi jinping is cracking down on that sort of teaching and education system. even in the businesses. because it terribly fears the western ideas. economy has been flowing for a long time. it's not well-known, but in 2008, 2009 depending where you calculate it. xi predecessor hu jintao was
under pressure to stop economic political reform, slow political reform, but economic market-based reform, but now the state sector in china has come roaring back and china talks about how it's going to have a socialist market economy. socialism with chinese characteristics it wants to see the rest of the world adopt, a state-run system. it's created a lot of debt in china, debt has doubled since 2008, a real drag on the economy and it's slowing down even before covid structurely. misallocation of capital. misallocation of land because of property rights, so a lot of rural poverty. and of course, there's the very vexing question of demography. it's getting old, the largest country to get old before it gets rich. its demography will look like why upper.
each cohort in china according to well respected demographers is the 60 to 64 cohort, in a generation could be very, very large and you think about the public health strains on the if i am. the fiscal strain, productivity and the work force. this is a key weakness in china and frankly not one it's doing very much about. good money is leaving china to the tune of at least $700 billion. it's buying property in safe places like the united states and in australia. chinese elites are trying to send their kids abroad. they're not betting on the future of china. and there's more fractures by the regime, as my book gets into in some detail. the book gets into the detail about china's struggle with legitimacy, since abandoned communist revolution, legitimacy. it's terribly afraid that some
equivalent of gorbachev will take power who will make big mistakes and reform china too much. xi jinping is trying to fight against that. what's the nightmare? it's strong and it's weak. because it has these, it doesn't mean it's sitting back solving association problems. it's acting aggressively on the international stage. let's take covid-19 as one case study. obviously a prominent one right now. so, i argue, that because china is so embedded in the international system, its own political maladies and infirmties cannot be contained to china. so wuhan officials, december of 2019 who were starting to realize they had an epidemic on their hands that could turn into pandemic were too afraid because of the incentives in the political system, to report the problems to xi jinping. he clamped down on any bad news. the problem was festering in
wuhan. anyone who was discussing it, anyone coming forward to say we might have a pandemic on our hands was silent. obviously, we know what happened since then. millions of people left wuhan before the rest of the world was told about the drastic nature of this problem. millions of people left and infected the rest of the world. let me just say that we still don't know to this day how many people were in infected in china and how many died from the disease. the story what the economic wreckage is, we may never know. so the nightmare is that it cannot contain its own internal problems. it's too embedded into the international system, but again, a perfect case study of the fact that china does not sit still when it's under pressure. xi jinping is under tremendous pressure, i argue, facing a
backlash at home, criticized by prominent figure whom he's silencing, figures, a tycoon, who had a following of millions of people and he criticized him for being incompetent, xi for being incompetent, an emperor who had as no clothes. other prominent figures have been saying the same thing. and xi cannot mishandle covid and caused an international backlash against them. but xi doesn't back down from this pressure, he escalates. during the same year that china's been suffering from covid, it had a-- has picked a fight with india, and with australia, who says we need a thorough investigation of the origins of covid. pressuring europe to remove any chinese misinformation around
covid. it's intimidating taiwan and marched into hong kong and removed the status any hope of democracy during this time. and in the south china sea. and the nightmare is as xi gets more frustrated he'll try to compensate with more external aggression and that's what we have been seeing. let me just wrap up before i turn it over to general mcmaster for some comments and then to kori for questions and comments, by saying, the book is not-- doesn't have that many, let's say-- it doesn't have that many suggestions for policy. it has a way of thinking about policy and strategy, which is to say that any competitive strategy by definition has to put our strength against china's weaknesses just like it puts its strengths against our weaknesses. it has tremendous weaknesses,
one of the fear is being encircled by democracy. there's a lot more to do to show china that will come to fruition by working more closely with allies and keeping our military power around china. it's afraid of overstretch. emphasis of delegitimizization of xi's action and propaganda and influence campaigns. there are many more weaknesses we can press on. the key is to moderate china's behavior. the key is to make sure china's on defense and not offense, and not posing greater threats to us, rather having to defend its own system, more pressure on xi jinping and i hope to get more into that in the question and answer period. thank you very much. i hope you read the book. and i turn it over to general mcmaster. >> hey, dan, thanks for that excellent summary and kori,
thanks for the ability to be with you, and many, many years for the best scholarship and thinking about the challenges that we're facing internationalliment so, great to be ear at aei and dan, to celebrate the gift you've given us here. it's not a happy story, necessarily, but it's an important story at the right time. i'd just like to say, i think the china nightmare is arriving just in time, just in time because it's a dangerous time as dan has just talked about in connection with the increasing aggression of the chinese communist party during the global pandemic. it's dangerous because this increasingly aggressive chinese communist party is reacting as well with the changing administration in the united states, i think it's a dangerous time as chinese communist party leaders, despite these weaknesses and their fears pan concerns, i think they may also believe that the united states is weakened niece days, that they're watching kind of the
combination crisis that we're going through in connection with the pandemic, a recession, you know, the social and political divisions laid bare by george floyd's murder and our presidential election. i think it's dangerous as well because the leaders the chinese communist party may believe they're in a position of relative advantage and the anxiety that dan describes so much, so well in the book, may lead them to the belief that there is just only a fleeting window of opportunity, that they have to take advantage of now or maybe between now and the communist party congress in 2022. dangerous because the party is not only accelerateling its effort to extend and tighten it's exclusive grip on power internally, but the party is also exporting more aggressively authoritarian model as it employs the strategy of co-option,
coercion. it's looking at exclusion areas across the indo-pacific and beyond and that the strategy employ pernicious means of persuasion and, you know, sophisticated forms of economic aggression that threaten to reshape the international order and to bend it towards china's interests. that's dangerous, of course, because this new order would advance the chinese communist position for a global economy and chief supremacy over global communications and it's dangerous because many leaders across the indo-pacific and the world are not doing enough to compete effectively. and i think some even today continue to help the party conceal its aggression. the party elites, free and open
societies with false promises of impending liberalization and the lure of vast profits. i think we should maybe consider and work on together across the free world, the recent opening of china's financial markets, so investors can help the party fund its unprecedented peace time military buildup, compensate more for the weaknesses that dan lays out in the book, especially those associated with the increasing levels of debt and then we maybe ought to help the party as much as we have in applying emerging technologies that are critical to achieving its vision of economic and military primacy and exporting its authoritarian merchantilist model. dan's book as i mentioned at the outset has arrived just in time. i think his book is a call for us to wake up from our nightmare and realize we do have agency and influence in this competition with the chinese communist party and dan, you know, i think that what your book argues for in
large measure is to turn what the party views as weaknesses, the fact that we actually have a say in ow we're governed, rule of law, freedom of speech, and turn those into our competitive advantages and so, i think we have an approach to this competition that should be a bit interspecktive, as well as the pernicious that the chinese party engaged in. this false dilemma how some interpreted the trap, and this, i think, this false dilemma is one between, you know, either accommodating with the party or welcoming what would be a disastrous war. and i think as dan lays out in the book, there's plenty of ground in between those extremes, and i would argue, again, that this approach of accommodation toward the party would actually make conflict more likely, rather than the
form of sensible competition that dan lays-- that dan advocates in the book. of course, i think his book has arrived just in time to provide to those in china and the free world who would argue in favor of accommodating and managing america's and the free world's decline because they see the party's vast strengths and overlook its weaknesses and these are those who also regard the diverse and vast chinese party as monolithic which it's not. the book is in time for a new administration, and no doubt, they view the chinese party aggression and look at issues like climate change or north korea nuclear missile program. it's a competitive strategy informed by not only the grave threat of the party's designs and the grand ambitions that
dan lays out in the book, but arguments that are extremely compelling. and if the chinese communist party realize the ambitions that dan describes our world will be less free, less prosperous and less safe. we have work to do. dan, i look forward to the conversation with you and kori and thanks for producing, really, the right book, an important book at the right time. >> so, your comments were a nice reminder that one of your less noted, but beautiful talents is as a book reviewer. i've long been a fan of the reviews that you would write in the double eye double edge journal and both of you make a strong case that china's behavior necessitated a change
in american attitudes and he'd be curious, when you think we should have noticed that change? when, you know, hr, you are the architect of the most important success of trump administration foreign policy, the national security strategy that highlighted the need to compete with china and to understand china as an aggressive, destructive power in the international order. i'd be interested in both of your perspectives. when that realization first came for you? when did china do something that alerted you that the notion that we could cooperate and include them into being a responsible stake holder, when did that fail? when should the rest of us have noticed? dan, maybe you start.
>> well, kori, i'm a bit of an outlier. i was in the pentagon in the first george w. bush term. and if you look at the military buildup and modernization program, i think there are a number of people advocating for a more intense focus on china's focus on us, frankly. china's focus on how successful we were in the wars of the 1990's and their view and how they were going to neutralize those advantages and were quite open about the fact that they had the taiwan straits in their sights. i think some caution back then would have been in orders. i think you can go through a whole list of things that were probably wrongheaded looking back, you know, trying to get china to join a 1,000 ship navy, as if it would be a collective security partner,
maybe some more and tougher action after a very provocative anti-satellite test in 2007. i think 2009, 2010 when china really started to push in terms of the south china sea and make very strong statements and block shipping and so forth, i think people tried in the obama administration, secretary clinton, secretary gates, to push back and we started to have a bit of a focus in southeast asia, but i think back then, you know, probably by 2009, 2010, 2011 when it was acting so, you know it had assessed we were on our heels because of the financial crisis and had an opportunity and they start today really throw their weight around inside the south china sea, east china sea, i think that really, we began to have a focus, but we should have really stuck with it back then and said, wow, they're really trying to undermine our
influence and our position in east asia. >> general mcmaster, did you have a different temporal a-ha moment about china than dan did? >> kori, i was the-- the education for me on china, i spent most of my career across in europe and southeast asia, i with as a special military officer and as a student of the international relations, i had followed, you know, the shift in the approach from xi jinping's, i think it was under hu jintao that china was going to be more aggressive. i think you go back to the george w. bush administration and dan covers this, there was a recognition, it was a military competition. i think it is the largest military buildup in history. 800% increase in their defense budget since the mid '90s.
so, i think that that perspective was a little bit ahead. i think a turning point a maybe around bob zellak's speech, in that speech he gets criticized for it. hey, they did become a stakeholder, but there's a chance that china is not going to get on this path of being a responsible stakeholder. there were those who were trying to raise the alarm bells, certainly. but it all came to a head by 2017 and we had clung to wishful thinking far too long, especially with the aggressive actions in the south china sea as dan mentions and especially back to the financial crisis of 2008. this is when china was emboldened, they thought maybe the west had something to teach them before that and when they saw the financial crisis, they thought maybe our system is
better, maybe we should be more aggressive exporting it as well. and kori, i came into the trump administration at this break point here. president trump had run on being a tough on china position already. and when i had the opportunity to convene the principles to the national security council, i read excerpts of the previous administration's policies toward china that revealed this fundamental assumption that china, having to welcome into the international order, it would play by the rules and as it would pro per, liberalize its government and that's not true. and at the meeting, the greatest shift in u.s. foreign policy since the end of the coal war. and you know, i'm proud of also the fact that this is a bipartisan approach now. i think there's a strong recognition, you know, across both parties, hey, we have to compete, right? we vacated critical arenas of competition based on that assumption and, you know, if
you're not on the field you're not going to be able to compete effectively. so we're essentially reentering a lot of these arenas. >> it seems to me, i'd be interested whether you guys disagree, it seems to me that we still have the same objective, which is a china that plays by the rules, as the international economy, of the existing international order, but that in the national security strategy, and in the policies, you are advocating in both of your very good books, that what you are arguing for isn't a different objective, it's a different strategy. it's a strategy that doesn't believe that the arc of history bends towards justice, that believes you have to actually bend the trajectory and you do it by competitive strategies, you do it by forcing the chinese off of their strong suits and onto their weak
suits. do you think that's correct? or do you believe that we have a different objective in mind than we did before? >> dan? >> yes. great question. so, objectives. i think, you know, so some of them are very short-term, which was we saw this enormous momentum that china has built up over the course of the last decade or so and blunting that momentum and in some cases blunt tools were necessary for that and sort of put china back on its heels, which i think has started to a certain extent. i think in terms of playing by the rules. so, i would say -- i would say that as long as-- as ccp under xi jinping rather than ccp under a hu jintao or others, doesn't want to play by
the rules. they have a lot of rules, they wanted to define themselves. they're very clear about what those rules should be and very clear in their party congress about what they should be, and so, we have to-- we have to either create tremendous pressure on the system so that china decides by itself that it's moving in the wrong direction while absolutely putting out a welcoming hand to say, we don't have anything against china. we've actually in the united states always been on the side of china. and this is in the book to quite an extent, from the u.s. missionary mission to the world war ii, to inviting a very weak and divided china into the u.s. charter as a charter member of the u.n. security council. we've always been on the side of china. it's that, we can't be on the side of this china, but we can certainly forsee a china that
is-- has a more decent and just and liberal government. a change from within, a more moderate ccp or something, you know, or something else. then we could see them really not just playing by the rules, but accepting that many of the rules benefit them. but i think right now, we're in this sort of shock where we have to compete in order to see-- to show that they have no plausible path to victory of success. >> hr. >> well, kori, i would say the chances of change of behavior under xi jinping or under the party are slim. i think that, you know, in the long run, i think that what you're laying out is exactly the right approach, right? which is convince maybe chinese leadership over time so that they can have enough of their china dream and achieve enough of national rejuvenation without doing so at the expense of the rights of their own people or at our expense
internationally through the promotion of this authoritarian merchantilist model to remake the national order in a way of the free world's profound disadvantage. i think going forward, it's important for us to really recognize the nature of this competition and to recognize the chinese communist party's role in perpetuating it. often times, our discussions about china policy are self-referential. we must have done something. it's just because donald trump is so mean that xi jinping is acting out. no, that's not it at all. in fact, the chinese communist party has its own opinions not our actions. i think it's important for us to recognize that this is not a u.s.-china problem. what dan outlined at the beginning, it shows, hey, this is a free world-china problem. and it's going to require a
great deal of international cooperation. it's ongoing and needs to be expanded and so i think that we can compete effectively, certainly if the world's largest economies come together, and tell china, hey, you're not going to be able to remake the world order in a way that's favorable to you and unfavorable to us. you know, there's the saying that, you know, that the phrase that that president obama used during the last days of this cooperation engagement strategy that was a hopeful strategy that was not really grounded in reality, which is that we have more to fear from a weak china than a strong china. well, we're not trying to keep china down, but we do have quite a bit to fear from a strong china under the direction of the chinese communist party. so, it's just going to require us to be much more competitive. >> we have an avalanche of great questions from people
participating in the call. the first from mark reedy from uc dafls. was the suppression of covid information in wuhan driven by local officials for central officials? what indications does sh have for reforms and centralization in the party? dan, i'm going to give that one to you. >> great question. absolutely fear of reporting to the central authority. so xi jinping has created is a party that-- and a bureaucracy that's frozen, cannot function without his decision making and without his decision making and a few of his key lieutenants. so, all the incentives in the localities are essentially to not bring bad information. i mean, again, not a big surprise and in an authoritarian system. it's just, you know, a sort of going to combine that with hr's
great point not being self referential. the system has changed, the system has changed, something that we missed as to why they didn't open up to cooperation or rules-based order, but there's no question that wuhan officials were waiting for guidance from the center, were afraid to give them bad news, were not going to act without guidance from the center and that's the system that xi has created, a much more centralized totalitarian system and that's why it's so hard and that's why i'm not giving up on reforms in south china, but many people are. there used to be a lot more room for localities and provinces to experiment with policy particularly when it came to public health. this shows that xi jinping is governing with an iron fist and he is paralyzing the functioning of the chinese state. >> hr, i'd appreciate it if you
would take a swing at the next one from richard from eagle capital management. if china wants to change the world order, are they willing and/or able to lead that new order? what's the end goal. if it's difficult to govern a large country like china, can they take on the greater china area? >> yeah, well, you know, it's a great question and, dan, you might want to comment as well. but i think that china's actually pretty successful so far, right, in terms of creating servile relationships with those. and there's a backlash. when we hear from our singaporion friends or vietnamese friends, don't ask us to choose between the united states and china, i think our response should be we're not asking you to choose between the united states and china. we're asking you to choose between sovereignty and
servitude, indebting future generations of these countries so china can have control over strategic infrastructure, whether it's physical infrastructure, the port in sri lanka, or whether it's communications infrastructure, generations with communication data flows. so i think that that's -- that china is actually succeeding. now, which countries they're succeeding significantly, or enjoying significant success is typically in corrupt regimes because the new vanguard of the communist chinese party is the bang along with the party official. and this goes to dan's point of turning-- we're trying to look at weaknesses and strengths and that's why it's so important in our efforts to help countries develop a rule of law, to develop freedom of the press and a fourth estate that can pull the curtain back on this
behavior and it's really been -- it's really been people having a stay in elections. it's been the exposure of these pernicious forms of aggression in the press that have been most important. i mean, one of the best, you know, journalists on china, worked in china for years, john garnow, his study in australia was groundbreaking showing the full range of the party in for example, sri lanka, ecuador, many examples of successful responses to china's aggression, and so, i think to answer the question more directly, they're doing it, we have to be concerned. but you know, we're not hopeless here, we can compete effectively. we being the united states and other free societies. >> i really loved the way you
framed the choice, not one between the u.s. and china, but one between sovereignty and servitude. i think that's really powerful, hr. next question, i want both of you to take a shot at, first you, dan. mark is interested in both of your perspectives on the membership dynamic between xi jinping and kim jong-un, in particular over north korea's nuclear posture. ... the traditional, to the point about what global order does china want, they articulated it in their report. it is a lot to do with survival
in china but korea and vietnam in particular, i say this in the book as well, so korea and vietnam where the most -- are assigned a very particular role of playing a servile role of deference. we see echoes today as i argue in the book, by the way china used to do with these countries in the past, so as confusion in the past as confusion and chinese oriented as possible so that automatically want to do what you say, that is been in korea, that was carried on through mao and the revolution but recently kim jong-un is refusing a lot of both because he's rejecting many of his fathers relationships with china but also just because he feels like the chinese big brother
pursues heavy-handed. i feel like xi jinping doesn't control kim jong-un. the pressure campaign that h.r. and his staff designed put a lot, a lot of incentives to put more pressure on cam but i think it was like pulling teeth. it's not something they wanted to do but in and of itself after so many years of the source of talks what we realized is china and our interest actually don't really a line. we would like them to. the only time that i live is when china sees the alternative which is immense pressure from the united states on china as something much worse than living with the status quo. that's a very hard policy to sustain. >> h.r.? >> i think we have a north korea strategy and china has a your strategy. they do at how they can use the north korea problem set to push
us out of northeast asia as the first step in isolating their main regional rival, japan. they see the nuclear and missile programs primarily through that lens. we did at some initial success with reframing it with chinese counterparts and trying to convince them this is not in china's interest from both great that the most destructive weapons on earth not only because it's aa direct threat to countries around the world but the nonproliferation regime and also the fact that north korea has never met a weapon it didn't try to sell somebody including its nuclear program to syria. we made some progress. we got on president sanctions in place thanks to the herculean efforts of nikki haley but those remain to be really enforced by china who controls 95% of the trade with north korea. there are more means available to this. i don't know what direction the
biden administration will go but we haven't put secondary sanctions on banks. they're facilitating illicit financial flows into north korea. we haven't used the president article ii authorities which may be sufficient for this to work with other countries to interdict some of the smuggling operations in the maritime domain, for example. there's a lot more that could be done on pressure but as soon as the summit, the first summit was announced in singapore, i think xi jinping had what my daughters would call formal, he had fear of missing out. what he didn't want was for used to be able to solve this problem without china. that would become he saw that as a and this is when the elder branch was offered to kim jong-un would never spoken to xi jinping. i think china sees the whole problem differently from others. they view it as a u.s. problem.
i wish it would get better because that is a lot to do with being able to convince china to act against north korea's nuclear and missile programs. every provocation i think ought to be seen as pushing us together closer together because really what china wants to do is use the north korea issue is way too dry for which between us, between us and her allies and between japan and south korea. >> i want to ask you to take the next question, then. it's from doug. how possible is it for xi jinping to decide the climb after time to reclaim taiwan is at hand cards while he still at the height of his power and for these military is fully prepared for the china threat. >> it's something we all should be extremely concerned about, given the level of military power that china is projecting over around the taiwan strait right now, given the kind of
flybys they are doing, , the various fighter aircraft over taiwan, missile grades that moving. we should be extremely concerned, and also but use distraction at this moment. u.s. is not taking it all that seriously. what i think china wants to do, having observed for many, many years china's strategy on taiwan, is not do a full invasion. what they want to do, they view -- taiwan's success being one of the biggest threats to china that there is. why? because it's a democracy and a chinese cultural content. in some ways more chinese than chided because it didn't go through the communist revolution. what they want to do and tsai as president of taiwan leader, is
an affront to the mindset and an affront to xi jinping's rule, authoritarian rule. they want to bring her down. how do you do that? grabbed an offshore il and show the taiwan and u.s. are impotent. you can fly your aircraft over taipei without any answer. you can force the tray to respond. the message if you read very carefully in the book gets into this somewhat is chinese uses of force are different from our own. so using force without necessary thinking you achieve a military victory, but you rearrange the entire geostrategic framework. they did that when they fought vietnam in 79. they lost the military operations but they won the geostrategic battle. they broke an alliance between the soviets and vietnam. that's what you're looking for, let's say uses the force that of less than innovation and shows
the u.s. to be pivoted and tells the taiwanese you are alone, pick a more accommodating leader and we will work with you. >> related taiwan question i i would like to get you, h.r., from spike is if they pull the trigger on a forceful reification with taiwan and the u.s. does not directly intervene, how does the indo-pacific region respond, with u.s. reputation as reliable military partner be damaged the on repair? >> that's a great question. i don't know. i mean i think it could also be an effect of really countries in the region recognizing the grave danger there. what you would have is you would have an acceleration of improved capabilities in japan, for example. of the countries in the region would also improve their ability to deter conflict with china by
denial, by convincing the pla and the chinese communist party they can't do that in this region. i think strategic ambiguity is good. china should assume the united states will not respond. this is the assumption that north korea and encouraged by the russians and the chinese to a certain extent made in june of 1950. they made the wrong calculation. i think conventional deterrence is immensely important. the top priority now ought to be the increase to those of the taiwanese armed forces. i'm glad to see the expediting of arms sales to taiwan and i think president tsai wins military form efforts. she recognizes seat in a race, a race to be able to establish deterrence by denial.
i hope they are also doing or think about what dan talked about, which is how to defend and deter against actions that fall below the threshold of what might elicit concerted conventional military response. this is a dangerous time, i think. >> another question i want to go first to you, h.r., from anthony from corbin university. what are the unforeseen consequences for an american strategy that desires to further boost military restrictions on japan so they can offset some chinese regional expansion in east asia? namely, the downside to emboldening japan to be a greater military actor in asia? >> i don't think so. i really feel now that japan is one of our strongest allies in terms of how we see our interests but also of course
it's a thriving democracy and a free market economic system. they have their own challenges with the demographics and so forth but they will get through that. i think that the vision that japan has for the region has been immensely positive in terms of the free and open indo-pacific. they're on the side of sovereignty rather than servitude, and unlike most of the chinese investments, their investments have been beneficial to people in the region because you get returns on investments and they create lasting employment and so forth. i think japan has looked at quite favorably in the region. it's a strong partner but when you look at the threats at the secaucus, it's pretty much analogous to the threat to taiwan and the types of capability japan without i think would strengthen deterrence in a region would help convince china not to be more aggressive military perspective, and it think a strong stf, japan stf would help preserve peace in the
region. >> next you, dan, trump luisa from the weaker human rights project. we talk about russia's near abroad and then applies the term to china in the book. what is china's near abroad and what role has a plate in the ccp terms to a police terms to a police state of government? >> thank you. the way i talk about it is again going back to this often overlooked fact that china is a continental empire. so it's still sitting on those lands conquered, still rolling over parts of mongolia, rolling over xinjiang, rolling over tibet, we and the united states about strategic narcissism, we look at china as a maritime threat, as a time nation. we look basically at that one
coast that it has. its attempts to get out into the pacific ocean from the indian ocean, the south china sea to create a maritime force that is able to do that. but if you are sitting in central asia to a certain extent in russia, india, you're very much looking at china as a continental power. the term near abroad again and directed to so because a lot of both paramilitary force as well as pla force, the top rating in those areas. when it comes to near abroad, the first strategy and the first desire of china when it came to turning to central asia after the soviet union fell was to put down what they viewed as the quote weaker threat, , weaker activism, uighur awakening relationships, turkish and ethnicity some relationships with turkey in turkey groups. unfortunately, very unfortunate,
unforgivably this was a turn from concerns with uighur activism and cultural demands to blatant concentration camps and even worse, and the use of orwellian systems to suppress, use of biometrics to figure out the dna of uighur families, you know, the suppression of religious rights. there's a shaving of beards of muslim men and not giving them all their food. awful. one thing that's been very disappointing, so talk about in terms of u.s. grand strategy has to look at china from a continental and maritime perspective, and again turning that into a weakness because the more we have relationships come better relationship with india and central asia, the more we multiply china's problems come the more you multiply china's things went to worry about. russian obviously did it with russia's is usually competent
issue. but you also have to look at it from this awful human rights situation and we haven't empire that believes they are the only ruling nation, then you'll end up by putting down all religious minorities and all ethnic minorities, and that's what's happening. >> son going to give the penultimate question to h.r. it's from john. how dependent have we become on china in the manufacturing sector? what do we do about it? do we have the political will to see a significant rise in the price of imported goods? i know you been doing some work with a good economist at the hoover institute so that's i'm directing it to you. >> i don't know if -- i do know some economist here, as you know, but i do think that you can't look at our academic
relationship with china separate from the security relationship, and that's because i may be you can comment on this, but, of course, chinese companies have to live act as an extension of the chinese communist party. it's important i think that to do business in china we ought to have kind of like an economic equivalent of the hippocratic oath come to not do any harm especially to her self but also to the chinese people. the first rule ought to be we should engage in business relationships or finance any chinese efforts -- shouldn't -- that help them perfect this orwellian technologically enabled surveillance police state. we shouldn't participate in that clearly. second, think we we should also not participate, to paraphrase lenin would say this, we shouldn't sell them the rope so they can angus. we shouldn't be transferring technologies that allow china to gain an unfair and dominant
position in the emerging data driven global economy or to give the people's liberation army differential advantages over our armed forces. i think the third, which is more difficult, is that we should not engage its business relationships that sacrifice long-term viability of our companies and the jobs of our workers is on the lord of short-term profits and access to the market. this is of course the forced transfer of intellectual property and sensitive technologies that are applied in the chinese companies that enjoy state support and then manufactured goods at artificially low prices, dump them on international market and reduce our companies market share. the big examples of this are solar panels and wind turbines and a density batteries. there are many, many examples, even the automotive industry to a certain extent. i think those are the rules that
got to try to follow. we need some international grievance to do that because companies will not offer, there will not give up their market share in china if they know a competitor will just move it that's a disincentive. there ought to be an international agreement that our companies because the free and open societies to other democracies willing to buy local rules but only do so when they don't violate the universal declaration on human rights, for example. another measure we can take is to offer visas to chinese nationals and their families who are employed by u.s. companies but are subjected to the course and part of the chinese communist party. people think china, restrict visas. i think make the more available and create initiatives for a brain drain if the parties going to put them under that kind of course of power. there's a lot we can do from economic competition standpoint.
i think the trump administration did put a lot of important measures in place but there's much more that we could get. >> and, can ask you to fold in an answer to the question about what you think about the regional comprehensive economic partnership? >> okay. that one is easy. it's not much of a trade agreement. it's certainly not china driven. it doesn't consorts not much of a trade agreement. it's a way below the sort of standard trade agreements that we sign. it's a political sign for sure that asean southeast asian nations, are going to move forward with their visions of regionalization. it's extremely important to them and we have to take it seriously. i hope that the next administration can overcome this sort of bipartisan turn against trade because when it comes to southeast asia, it, access to a
marker such a powerful tool without causing cause ad too many distortions that we were worried about with signature is because china. our stuff is important for their political or geo- political standpoint of the support from an economic standpoint. we can do better in terms of what's good from economic and geopolitical standpoint it in terms of the comment on the comments about, so think will have this debate particularly in free-market circles, ai and elsewhere. the way i would put it is we are in an economic competition. we've never live it and it economic competition with a strategic competitor, a military competitor, and the question, and they are trying to erode up advantages, no question, trying avoid our technological advantages. the questions were trying to be debating our how much government intervention is necessary in the
markets when it comes to critical supply chains and when it comes to military use technology. so much of that is off the shelf. if i go too far with too much government intervention, obviously all kinds of problems for our competitors. but it's a moment right now where there's going to be government intervention in the marketplace, and that's how i would put it and that's what i would sort of put our intellectual energy and policy energy and focus on, what, where and for what purposes. >> band, your partial answer this but i want to ask it overtly because it's a question from the father of an outstanding up-and-coming scholar at the american enterprise institute, linda. her dad asks, what u.s. policy towards china significantly change under president elect biden's administration? >> of all, sir, you have a terrific and highly skilled come to fore daughter who is ten great work for this book, "the china nightmare" and so many
other projects. i don't think it's going to get a significant change. maybe h.r. has a different point of view. i think what h.r. and others did in the trump administration has been widely accepted, at least in concept. that we are in a strategic competition. it's a competition that needs to top china from reviving the global order. i think that certain policies once the biden team gets in they will see after the heated rhetoric of the campaign they will see american introspect the damage done to huawei reputation as well as attempts to stop us and allies from selling certain capabilities to huawei. other companies like that have very big effect on china, big political effect on china. other attempts the way were talking about china as competitor, talking about the
chinese communist party as different from china. hopefully the relationship with taiwan remains as good and as fulsome. that h.r. come his team and others have managed to change the way the united states is talking about china as competitor, as a problem. other initiatives that need to continue. of course this matters to a degree, and h.r. pointed out that president-elect biden has talked about the importance of climate change. there's all kinds of ways that tcp and xi can manipulate your desires, so if we come for example, just one scenario go forward and ask xi jinping to pledge to lower carbon emissions in an accelerated fashion, his list of requests and asked if there happened to be related to climate change. it would be related to taiwan, related to huawei and we've seen that before.
hopefully president-elect biden has had enough experience with that to see, you know what, we talking about, , going to slidef these issues come we will not start giving way strategic, other strategic things that matter to us in return for something that is supposed be good for climate change. the our gang just when off saying there are areas we need to cooperate with china. on the public health front that's a a mistake because cha still has to pay the price for its, still to this day, lack of transparency at best and other malignant behavior when it comes to covid. so to go forward and say let's cooperate on covid and public health i think would be a a mistake without holding them accountable. >> general mcmaster, any closing comments? >> it was just a pleasure to be with you. >> thank you both for this excellent master class on how u.s. policy should deal with a malignant china.
thank you much for joining in. thank you for your smart questions and go read both of these books. they are both terrific. >> congratulation. great to be with you. see you guys, , thanks much. take care everybody. >> thanks everyone for viewing this. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 every week and with the latest nonfiction books and authors. booktv on c-span2 created by america's cable-television companies. today we are brought to you by these television companies who provide booktv to viewers as a public service. >> as part of ongoing interview series with members of congress booktv recently asked republican representative jeff fortenberry of nebraska what are you reading? >> before answer the question i want to commend c-span for doing these interviews. congress is