In a 1983 speech before the National Association of Evangelicals, President Ronald Reagan labeled the Soviet Union the “evil empire;” perfectly capturing the moral and political danger presented by that communist regime. Reagan properly cautioned Americans not to “ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses” of an enemy that was “the focus of evil in the modern world.”
Unfortunately, what was clear to Reagan about the Soviet Union in 1983 appears only as a blur to Joe Biden about China today.
If the Soviet Union were the evil empire, then China is surely the evilest empire. The Soviet Union’s global ambitions for its evil empire were hampered by its own incompetence. China, however, actively spreads its insidious tentacles across the world with a shocking mastery, facilitated by the apparent unwillingness of global leaders, including Biden, to take the threat seriously.
Today’s China presents for the United States and other western powers a far more complex and multi-faceted danger than that posed by the Soviet Union in the second half of the last century. While China’s military build-up, and its well-documented willingness to use that power (especially as it relates to Taiwan) is a real concern, it is but one dimension of the broader threat, and in some ways not the most serious.
Take, for instance, China’s push for greater influence in American academic institutions by way of funding educational programs and centers, under the guise of benignly teaching Chinese language and culture. As a white paper published at the Heritage Institute earlier this year suggests, this funding is a Trojan horse for Beijing to expand its influence in American culture more broadly. Strings attached to such financial largesse ensure that recipient universities carefully avoid saying or doing anything that Beijing considers insulting or critical of its policies. This is, of course, when Chinese students themselves are not agents for their government, as the FBI itself had warned.
In the global economy, state-based hacking of U.S. companies operating in China to steal trade secrets and reverse engineer products for theft is common knowledge. However, consumer goods produced from Chinese companies are also routinely – and often literally – weaponized for the communist government and its military.
China made headlines a few years ago when it was discovered it used compromised microchips to infiltrate several major U.S. companies.
Evidence that the COVID-19 virus was the byproduct of Chinese military research persists, despite being routinely downplayed by the Biden Administration and other governments and international organizations. As I have written previously, even prior to the arrival last year of the COVID virus, it is insane that American companies and other institutions remain willing, and are permitted by our own government, to engage in highly sensitive research that can and will be used by China’s military.
Just this month it was revealed that a prenatal genetic screening test sold by a Chinese company was developed in tandem with the Chinese military and used to harvest genetic material for military and social research. If secretly stealing the genetic material of unsuspecting women is not the definition of evil, one might wonder what is.
China’s domestic agenda, with its brutal crackdowns on minority groups and on Hong Kong citizens, provides a horrifyingly clear picture for what this truly evil empire would have in store for the rest of the world.
Despite the naivety with which many commentators from both the left and right fawn over China’s booming “private” sector, this faux capitalism is simply another weapon for China to use against its global adversaries. The illusion of Chinese markets ready and waiting for foreign investors is merely the bait in the trap. After those investments are made, investors like Disney, Google, and the NBA discover that doing business in China comes with many “conditions.” It is no coincidence that the hyper-political NBA is deathly silent on China’s human rights abuses.
Unlike the Soviets, who were consumed with immediate expansion of their influence and power, ultimately leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union, China is committed to playing the long game. A crucial part of this plan is undermining America’s historic role as the world’s moral compass. China does this by compelling our silence through political intimidation or economic ransom, thus giving tacit consent to their evil deeds.
Not only are the Biden Administration and its cohorts in the Congress blissfully ignorant of Reagan’s prescient warnings about dealing with evil empires, but they appear to be willing facilitators of China’s strategic goals.