For years, DC decisionmakers have failed to understand the Chinese communist threat, and America is paying the price, says retired Air Force brigadier general Robert Spalding. He’s a leading expert on China and the author of “Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept.”
This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Robert Spalding, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Gen. Robert Spalding: Thank you. Great to be back.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, it’s good to have a little bit of time to chat. It’s an extremely busy time. There’s a lot of questions about what’s going to happen with this 2020 U.S. presidential election. What I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle is how the CCP has been involved in this election. This is something you have a lot of thoughts on, and I wanted to give you a chance to talk about that.
Gen. Spalding: Well, I think the entire premise of 2020 has been about the Chinese Communist Party because 2020 really has been about the coronavirus. If you look at the leadership of Beijing and their actions in the aftermath of discovering the release—however it was characterized, whether it was deliberate or accidental, I don’t typically talk about that—the spread of the virus itself was enabled by their actions.
What is interesting to know is that in addition to enabling the spread through international air travel, while blocking domestic air travel, they also locked down PPM masks around the world. They also put pressure on the World Health Organization not to talk about human-to-human transmission. They also created disinformation campaigns to make it seem like the virus originated in America and originated in Spain.
They also had social media campaigns to essentially encourage the lockdowns, encourage panic, and to encourage this idea that the U.S. and other countries weren’t doing as good a job at handling the coronavirus as China. So when you add all of these things together, the actions by the Chinese Communist Party deliberately impacted the U.S. election.
Not only did they impact it from this narrative that the U.S. and the president weren’t handling the coronavirus well—rather than on the Chinese Communist Party who was responsible for spreading it to the United States—but also from this entire idea of massive, massive mail-in voting.
When you start to get into the fact that not only did we end up doing massive mail-in voting for the election, all of the digital machines that are used for voting have either some bit of software or hardware that comes from China. This has been noted in study after study, that we have challenges with both mail-in ballots and digital machinery, particularly that have components from China.
So when you get right down to it, from A to Z, from beginning to end, 2020, an election year for the United States— a major election year because you’re choosing the chief executive of the executive branch, the commander-in-chief, the most important election in our nation—that entire year has been dominated by actions of the Chinese Communist Party.
If you don’t understand the Party and what they stand for, and particularly who they stand against, then you don’t understand the motivations they have to do all of this. Remember, don’t forget on January 15, the Chinese sent a delegation to America. Eight days earlier, Xi Jinping said “I am in charge in Wuhan.” Eight days later, he sends his delegation to Washington DC to sign phase one of the trade deal.
Now why are we signing phase one? Because a whole year prior the Chinese Communist Party rejected the trade deal that would force them to essentially modify their economy and put in enforcement mechanisms that would make sure that they played by the rules. [To understand why they would sign,] you have to understand the entire context of what the Trump administration tried to do, understand that the Chinese Communist Party was facing, essentially, the increase in unemployment in China, and their backs were against the wall.
And they find themselves in early January 2020, with an opportunity. Now they could have not done what they did. They could have locked everything down and moved on. But the other thing that you find out about the Chinese Communist Party—and this is particularly with regard to Deng Xiaoping. He similarly finds himself and the Party back against the wall in a corner when Mao dies. The country is in shambles. It’s just been destroyed with communism. That’s when he realizes it doesn’t matter if the cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.
In other words, let’s attach ourselves to the United States. Let’s move forward to the Tiananmen Square. They come together as a leadership in Zhongnanhai. They make the determination that this was a good idea to connect ourselves to the United States, but they’re trying to overthrow us with a color revolution.
It’s not the fact that we’re an oppressive regime. It’s the fact that the United States preaches liberalism, openness, democracy, free trade, the elevation of humanity. That’s what is causing this.
Therefore, we [the CCP] have to double our efforts to ensure that those values don’t come into our society. But we need the economics, the trade, the talent, and most importantly, the capital, to come in so that we can continue to grow our society. And so what do they do?
They basically make a deal with the United States which leads to the WTO in 2001 and leads to the destruction of the working class in America. And finally, in 2017, the national security strategy that comes out in December states that the United States has awoken from its slumber. It understands what has been going on, and then it begins to fix the problem.
That’s where we arrive in January of 2020. The Chinese Communist Party is once again, backed into a corner. But—and this is a big but, we don’t know how this virus release plays in—Xi Jinping finds himself in early January with a challenge. And when the Chinese think of crisis, it’s about danger and opportunity. The word crisis is about danger and opportunity—the Chinese word for crisis is danger and opportunity. The Chinese Communist Party realizes they can take this crisis and turn it into an opportunity. And that’s what they do.
So when you look from A to Z, this relationship with the Chinese Communist Party has led us to this point, whether you see the signs or not. Most people will refuse to see the signs because they’ll say, “Where’s the direct evidence? Where is the order that Xi Jinping gave to tank the elections in 2020? Show me that information.”
You can look at the articles that CGTN and People’s Daily did about the problems that they had with President Trump. You can look at the articles mocking the president after the election and praising who they call, “President-Elect Biden.” Now, you could come to the conclusion that that was completely, completely random—it had there’s no connection between all of those things. And the Chinese working to oust the president, you can say that there’s no evidence whatsoever.
This is frequently how journalism and the intelligence community arrive at an answer from a policymaker or the public about what does the Chinese Communist Party want, and what have they done? That’s where we are today. So you’re going to hear there is no evidence that the Chinese Communist Party had anything to do with what happened in 2020.
If we haven’t learned anything about their involvement in where we are today—it’s difficult for me to say how much clearer it could be. Do we need Sherlock Holmes? I think it’s very, very basic.
Mr. Jekielek: Robert Spalding, you’ve written the book, “Stealth War.” You document some of these methods—the hybrid warfare techniques and so forth—that the Chinese Communist Party has been using for decades to subvert America. Excellent book, and I highly recommend that anyone watching right now read it, because it builds on the ideas that you’re just describing. Basically, people will say, “Massive mail ballots, what does that have to do with the CCP?”
Gen. Spalding: Absolutely. What does it have to do with the CCP? Why did we have massive mail-in ballots? Because of the coronavirus. Why do we have the coronavirus? Because of the Chinese Communist Party. Why do they have this opportunity? Because we brought them into the WTO, because we welcomed them into the community of nations. It all comes together.
For once the American people have been able to see what I have been trying to tell people is there. But you’re not going to get this message from the journalists; you’re not going to get this message from the media. I daresay you’re not going to get it from the intelligence community, because what they are looking for—it is a product of our own reality—is a paper trail.
That there is evidence that shows direct involvement of a bad actor in some event. But what you learned from watching movies like mafia movies and Al Capone, these organizations, very similar to the Chinese Communist Party, are some of the most secretive organizations in the world. They don’t telegraph what they’re doing. The only time that you find out what’s going on behind the curtain is when you have a major, major crisis in the country.
We had it during the Tiananmen Square, then the Tiananmen papers came out. There was a major crisis when Xi Jinping was elevated to General Secretary, and that is with the tug of war between himself and Bo Xilai. So we see then, “Document Number Nine” comes out. There’s a lot of inner party discussions that are leaked and translated. And then with President Trump, you have the “Xinjiang Papers.”
Again, I had major company officials, Chinese company officials, when I was a defense attaché, get in my face ask me, “What is America going to do about Xi Jinping?” What are we going to do? Because he’s taking China over a cliff. It was because of the pressure the President was putting on the Chinese Communist Party.
Now, there’s a belief that there’s a good Party and a bad Party. No, they’re all the same. They just have a difference of opinion on how to get there. So you can’t go to the Chinese Communist Party and say, “Hey, well, you guys that are a little bit more not like Xi Jinping, work with us to get to a better future.” No, they both agree on the future.
The future is one where the Chinese Communist Party exists in a world where it preferences authoritarian regimes, and the leaders of countries work together, much like the kings in Europe, prior to the Peace of Westphalia. That is what China wants. They want only strong leaders around the world. This narrative that has been concocted by the media, makes it sound like President Trump was that strong leader.
But in fact, what the Chinese Communist Party wants in America is essentially this idea of a partnership between the corporate side of the United States and both political parties that enable profits for the wealthy and suppress the interests of the working class.
Because in order to do that, or in order to remain in power in China, the Chinese Communist Party must take jobs out of free societies. So this idea of a globalized internet-connected world was a perfect environment for them to wage what Mao called “people’s war.” We are in 2020 in the midst of a people’s war waged by the Chinese Communist Party around the world to essentially destroy liberalism.
In many ways we’re cooperating because we censor ourselves. This is the most incredible thing, because as I was working in China, and understanding the Chinese Communist Party, I could look at the United States and see many of the same things happening in China. In other words, widespread censorship and widespread oppression of views.
In other words, there’s only one truth and that’s the truth of the Chinese Communist Party. If you have another opinion, then you’re isolated. There’s a thing called a social credit score. If you speak up—if you have a different opinion—then your score goes down and your access to services and your access to capital is taken away, essentially. You’re shunned and you have a scarlet letter, a digital scarlet letter.
These are the things that the Chinese Communist Party is working on very closely with our own corporate sector, our own academia, and our all own political institutions— to essentially promote things like critical race theory, things like applied postmodernism, things like social justice, that really have less to do with equality under the law, and more to do with a very particular form of racism. This feeds right into what the Chinese Communist Party wants to do.
And look, there’s a number of people that have pointed this out, that understand it, that are fighting to do the right thing, on the left, on the political left in the United States, and on the political right. And it’s not about America; it’s not about the left and the right. It’s about recognizing what’s happening to our society and recognizing the desire of many within our society now.
These programs, these critical race theory and social justice programs in the humanities and in the culture of our universities, have promoted this. It is the Chinese social and political system that they have created, and increasingly, the social and political systems of the West.
Mr. Jekielek: Many media in the U.S. have actually ended up calling the election for Vice President Biden. We haven’t done that at the Epoch Times. We want to see how things play out with all the different challenges that are in play right now. But it’s notable that the Chinese Communist Party has not come out, while other world leaders have, to congratulate a potential President Biden. What are your thoughts on why that might be?
Gen. Spalding: First of all, the news media, which controls the narrative in the United States, and is owned by six major corporations, essentially have all come together to create this environment where there’s one truth. It very much goes along with what I was just saying.
Why Russia and why China have not rushed to congratulate the president-elect, whoever it is, is because they both understand that. In America, you still have rule of law. They saw in 2000 that there was a disputed election. For 37 days somebody was promoted as the president-elect. Then on the 37th day, we had somebody else.
So they understand that, as much as some people would like it to be one way or the other, we have rule of law and we have due process. These are not things that exist in Russia or China. They’re hedging their bets. Again, the one thing that you can count on the Chinese for is that they are always pragmatic and opportunistic. So they’re watching and they’re waiting. They are not going to be too hasty. They want to understand who’s actually inaugurated.
Mr. Jekielek: Rob Spalding, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you.
Gen. Spalding: Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.