295. Will China Attack the United States?

John Mac Ghlionn

John Mac Ghlionn
July 14, 2021

Commentary

On July 11, shortly after the United States added 23 Chinese entities to an economic blacklist, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded with an inflammatory statement. The Party, we’re told, “resolutely opposes” the “unreasonable suppression” of Chinese companies. The irony of the CCP, very much the masters of “unreasonable suppression,” releasing such a statement is as striking as it is amusing. The CCP, however, is not amused. In fact, the Party is downright furious. The blacklisting, which was a “serious breach of international economic and trade rules,” has infuriated leaders in Beijing, who have vowed to take “necessary measures to safeguard” Chinese “interests.” A few weeks before the blacklisting, during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the CCP’s founding, Xi Jinping had some strong words for any foreign enemies looking “to bully, oppress or enslave” its citizens. An enemy of China, he warned, can expect “broken heads and bloodshed.”

Should the United States be concerned by such harsh rhetoric? If a senior Japanese defense official is to be believed, then the answer is most definitely yes. The CCP, according to the official, is planning to attack the United States with bombs and bullets. With help from the Russians, the Chinese, we’re told, could launch a “Pearl Harbor” style attack on Hawaii in the near future. Although it’s true that Russia and China have formed a close alliance, it’s important to remember what Russians are particularly good at—and no, it has nothing to do with the consumption of vodka.

Exposing America’s Cyber Weaknesses

Many security experts believe Russia is home to the best cyber hackers in the world. This has been the case for well over 20 years. China also poses a significant cyber threat. Together, the two countries should be viewed as an extremely potent force. With cyber-attacks becoming more a regular occurrence, expect Russia and China to put their skills to good use.

Traditional warfare is messy and expensive. Cyberwarfare, however, is a cost-effective way of bringing an enemy to its knees. In the eyes of both Chinese and Russian officials, the United States is enemy number one. Although the United States is very strong militarily, from a cybersecurity perspective, it’s extremely weak. If and when China aims for America’s jugular, there won’t be any need for bombs and bullets. As Sun Tzu, a man who knew one or two things about war, once said, “Be so mysterious that you are intangible. Then you will control your rivals’ fate.” With cyberwarfare, invisibility is guaranteed. Faceless predators, often situated in a distant land, can attack at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With the click of a button, a bad actor can bring a country to its knees. Worryingly for the United States, both Russia and China have already exploited the country’s cybersecurity weaknesses.

In early July, the Republican National Committee announced that it had been targeted by hackers. There is reason to believe that the criminals work for the Kremlin. Last month, JBS, one of the world’s largest meat suppliers, was hacked by REvil, a Russian-based group of cybercriminals.

In March, Microsoft accused Hafnium, a cyber-espionage group with ties to the Chinese regime, of hacking into its mail. Then, just a month later, Mandarit, a leading cybersecurity firm, accused Chinese-based hackers of targeting a host of American businesses and branches of office, including the U.S. government, a number of private companies and even the country’s critical infrastructure, which includes electrical grids and water supplies. With hacking becoming more sophisticated in nature, the likes of New York City could find themselves plunged into complete darkness. With crime rates already soaring in the city, imagine scenes from “The Purge” playing out in reality. The possibility of this, I must stress, is no longer the stuff of dystopian science fiction.

Together, Russia and China make a formidable, criminal team. As European countries apply more pressure on Putin’s Russia, expect Moscow to become closer with Beijing. This should worry us all, especially members of the Biden administration. As The National Interest’s Andranik Migranyan writes, “Both the Russian establishment and Putin personally understand that a growing China” presents “a real opportunity.” Today, according to Migranyan, “China in many areas of high technology has not only caught up with Europe and the United States, but also sets itself the task of leaving Western countries far behind (in 5G technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and so on).”

On July 12, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced its plans to pump billions of dollars into developing the country’s cybersecurity industry. Russia knows an ally when it sees one, and China appears to be a valuable one. According to the Global Times, a daily provi

der of CCP propaganda, the China Russian alliance is now unbreakable.

So, back to the initial question: will China attack the United States? Yes. It already has, numerous times. Times are changing, and acts of warfare are evolving. The CCP already spies on American citizens, steals data, steals intellectual property, and steals money. As Beijing and Moscow strengthen ties, expect such brazen acts of criminality to continue. More worryingly, expect cyberattacks to increase in both frequency and magnitude. The Biden administration should prepare itself, because more attacks are coming. It’s not a question of if, but a question of when.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, The American Conservative, National Review, The Public Discourse, and other respectable outlets. He is also a columnist at Cointelegraph.

Follow John on Twitter: @@ghlionn
https://www.theepochtimes.com/will-china-attack-the-united-states_3899959.html

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