EPISODE 250: The Terrifying Truth About China’s Grip on America | A New Cold War Unveiled – Frank Gaffney and Bradley Thayer
China is the single most formidable strategic threat the United States has ever faced. It alone has the potential to replace the United States as the world’s hegemon.
China is not a typical foreign adversary on another shore, gathering behind its army, aggressive, thinking about land warfare, even nuclear warfare. This is an enemy that’s permeated the United States, it’s infiltrated into our culture and China’s strategy of “elite capture” is working. A lot of the leadership class in America seems to be in the pocket of the Chinese.
Deng Xiaoping, probably the greatest strategist of the 20th century, determined that China was not going to be vulnerable the way the Soviets were and that he was going to enter the world’s economic and governance ecosystems with prodigious assistance from the West. He was going to make partners with Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce and of the Democrat, and in time the Republican, parties and the fear today is that he has succeeded.
Joining The Bill Walton Show in this episode to discuss the China Threat are:
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder and executive chairman of the Center for Security Policy. He’s coauthor of The Indictment: Prosecuting the Chinese Communist Party, vice chairman of the Committee on the Present Danger: China and the host of Securing America with Frank Gaffney on the Real America’s Voice Network, and
Bradley A. Thayer is Director of China Policy at the Center for Security Policy and the coauthor of Understanding the China Threat and How China Sees the World: Han-Centrism and the Balance of Power in International Politics.
Together Frank and Brad have a profound and clear eyed assessment of China’s history, its strengths and weaknesses, and its intentions on the world stage today.
Whether the United States can maintain its position as the preeminent force for free and open societies in the face of the China Threat is the defining element of international politics in the 21st-century.
After listening to this episode, you will understand China in an entirely new way.
EPISODE 250 TRANSCRIPT
Bill Walton (00:00:01):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton and today we’re talking about China. And to talk about this, I’ve brought in two of the men who know as much about this as anybody on the planet, I believe, maybe except the Chinese themselves. Starting off today will be Frank Gaffney, who’s the founder and executive chairman of the Center for Security Policy, and Frank has just recently authored a tremendous book called The Indictment, which is subtitled, ‘Prosecuting the Chinese Communist Party and its friends for Crimes against America, China, and the world’. Joining Frank is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, Bradley Thayer, who’s also come out with a terrific book: Understanding the China Threat. And I think together these are companion pieces for us to understand what’s been happening, what’s happening now, and what to do about it.
So Frank, you and I talk every Monday on your wonderful show, on Real America’s Voice, and I get to turn the tables and ask you the first question. So, you call me master of the universe. I’m going to call you master of the bigger universe. Frank, Paint the picture for us.
Frank Gaffney (00:01:17):
Thank you, Bill. Thank you for joining me each week and for the chance to be on this wonderful program as well. I think what we want to try to do today, and I couldn’t be more pleased to do it with a man who genuinely is a master of this particular topic, Brad Thayer, is connect a lot of dots, Bill. I think both of our books are rooted in the premise that the vast majority of Americans may have a sense, particularly after COVID, that something seriously wrong with China may be, but specifically the Chinese Communist Party. But they may not fully understand just how wrong and why, and most especially what we have to now do about it if we are to survive. Our country, yes, and I think you’re right, western civilization more generally.
So that’s our mission today as I see it, is to help people come away with a sense of what animates the Chinese Communist Party. Where will we be headed if they have their way? And if we don’t want to go there, and I think on the basis of our conversation today, it’s going to be pretty clear, we don’t want to go where they want to take us, what we are going to have to do as result.
Bill Walton (00:02:39):
Well, we talked about this before and I want Brad to weigh in on this, but this is not the typical foreign adversary on another shore, gathered behind its army, aggressive, thinking about land warfare, even nuclear warfare. This is an enemy that’s really permeated the United States and it’s part of our culture in a way, and we talk about elite capture. A lot of the leadership in America seems to be in the pocket of the Chinese.
Brad Thayer (00:03:13):
Indeed Bill, and it’s a great pleasure to join you on the show with Frank, of course, who’s the expert in this issue. In his book, The Indictment, does a wonderful job capturing this fundamental problem, which is indeed it is not the Soviet Union, it is not the Cold War that we fought after World War II until 1991. It’s a new Cold War that is defined by many different elements, one of which is the fact that the Chinese Communist Party learned from the mistakes of the Soviet Union. And what the Soviet Union did was to isolate itself from the western economic ecosystem and political system.
Deng Xiaoping, probably the greatest strategist of the 20th century, recognized that he was not going to be vulnerable the way the Soviets were and that he was going to enter with prodigious assistance from the West, the western economic ecosystem, and that is he was going to make partners of Wall Street, of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Democrat and in time Republican Party. And Frank’s book does an exceptional job of illuminating how that money came to distort, came to separate, disaggregate our ability to think strategically when it came to the China threat.
Bill Walton (00:04:36):
He was leading China in the ’90s?
Brad Thayer (00:04:40):
Well, essentially after Mao died.
Bill Walton (00:04:42):
Okay, so Mao died in ’80…
Brad Thayer (00:04:42):
Bill Walton (00:04:42):
Brad Thayer (00:04:44):
And so by 78, Deng Xiaoping was in charge and really was until his death in 1997.
Bill Walton (00:04:52):
Now, it was somebody who came after whom helped orchestrate their entry into the World Trade Organization.
Brad Thayer (00:04:58):
Jiang Zemin, yes, did, but it was Deng really working with the Clinton administration and the Clinton administration is odious for many reasons in this respect, but because they got rid of the linkage between human rights and the renewal of most-favored nation trade status, which was very important. One of the few tools that we had really to discipline the Chinese Communist Party was thrown overboard by the Clinton administration, who also put them on the path to the World Trade Organization. So the problem that Frank identifies has really, as its locust, that period in American history, the ’93, ’94, ’95.
Bill Walton (00:05:42):
Well, and with all these things, there are personal agendas and a lot of people in the Clinton administration were, for example, Goldman Sachs. Bob Rubin, Treasury Secretary. Goldman Sachs was making a fortune or wanted to make a fortune developing trade and financial business with China. So he was helping lead that effort.
Frank Gaffney (00:06:04):
Indeed, he wanted to, yes.
Bill Walton (00:06:06):
And who else did we have in the Clinton administration?
Brad Thayer (00:06:08):
Lloyd Benson as Treasury Secretary, who also was in first Clinton administration, obviously. Ron Brown, who became Secretary of Commerce was also instrumental in advancing this and Bill Clinton himself, who recognized that he could use Chinese money through cutouts and Al Gore, who realized the same, that they could use this money to fund their campaign and the campaigns of others, which sadly put us into really the first order of indictment, I suppose Frank, would be those individuals who in essence sold out the American domestic political system to the Chinese Communist Party.
Frank Gaffney (00:06:53):
Among other things. And Brad’s been very kind about my book. Let me just salute him for his as well, because I think both of them are really making the case that in addition to the political damage done to our system by virtue of this elite capture, many of the people that you’ve just mentioned were involved under the Goldman Sachs and BlackRock and Vanguard and State Street and many others of your old friends on Wall Street were instrumental in complimenting the political warfare piece with the financial warfare that the Chinese Communist Party perpetrated by transferring, by some estimates, 3 to $6 trillion from American public pension funds and mutual funds and exchange traded funds and other investment vehicles to the coffers of the Chinese Communist Party, albeit through various front companies that it owns basically.
Bill Walton (00:08:05):
And we now believe that this was part of a deeper, deeper, deeper long-term strategy the Chinese had.
Frank Gaffney (00:08:12):
Bill Walton (00:08:15):
Brad, Frank accuses me every week of being complicit in this. And in fact, I think I was. On Wall Street, it was basically accepted that we were going to work with China, we were going to trade with China, we were going to help them finance their businesses and by doing that, we’re going to make them wealthier. They’re going to become a liberal democracy and welcome to the world community, and I guess none of us had any feeling that this hide and buy, which I don’t think was known to us, was actually operating even at that time.
Frank Gaffney (00:08:50):
Well, especially I think people in the various sectors of the economy that were only too happy to try to cash in on this, were, if not totally oblivious to what was really going on, certainly looking the other way. And the trouble is Bill, that regrettably, the cumulative effect of that was basically to enable Deng Xiaoping to perpetrate exactly what Brad’s just talked about, which was essentially a capitalizing on the useful idiots and they’re greed or their, I don’t know, idealism to give them the maximum benefit of the doubt, to essentially transform their country, China’s country that is, the Chinese Communist party’s country, and ours as well.
Bill Walton (00:09:53):
Well, it seems like what the leadership did was they blended their communist agenda with a cultural and historical agenda and wasn’t their century of humiliation a big factor that they used to generate antipathy towards the West and really fueled everybody in China’s desire to execute on the strategy?
Brad Thayer (00:10:21):
Well, certainly they did the century of humiliation from the First Opium War, in 1839 to 1842, to the time when the Chinese Communist Party came into power, 1949. But that’s a ruse. The Chinese Communist Party sought to overthrow the United States since it came to power with Soviet help, with the help of the communist international, by-
Frank Gaffney (00:10:50):
And communists in our government.
Brad Thayer (00:10:51):
And communists in our government and elsewhere in 1949. So they’ve been at war with us for a very long time, although we haven’t recognized it and many still don’t recognize it until very recently.
Frank Gaffney (00:11:06):
But could I just say, and Brad’s the historian here, but they were building on a tradition of xenophobia in China.
Bill Walton (00:11:17):
That was the sense of my question, I think it was blatant, it was there.
Frank Gaffney (00:11:20):
They were the center of the universe, under successive emperors, right? So the Chinese were putting Chinese communist characteristics, they might say, on that particular animosity towards the west, but it was not entirely foreign to I think the Chinese tradition by any means, pre-CCP.
Brad Thayer (00:11:44):
Certainly. It also illuminates why Taiwan is such a threat. The existence of Taiwan is such a threat to the Chinese Communist Party, because Taiwan shows whatever difficulties the Chinese people suffered in the past, China can be a democratic state. It can be a free and democratic entity. It can go through a difficult political transition to become the state that it is now, which is a key partner of the United States and should be indeed an ally of the United States. But it shows that China can be a democracy. It does not have to suffer under the yoke of emperors in the past or of the Chinese Communist Party today, which is one of the reasons why-
Frank Gaffney (00:12:30):
And at least as prosperous as China is per capita.
Brad Thayer (00:12:33):
Indeed, and more so in reality it can have positive relations with the rest of the world, the Japanese, the Filipinos, the United States, and so many other states in international politics. So its existence is a threat, an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party, which is one of the reasons why they’re determined to destroy it, to invade it and conquer it.
Bill Walton (00:12:56):
This is Bill Walton. I’m here with Brad Thayer and Frank Gaffney, both with the Center for Security Policy and we’re talking about the roots of the problems that we’re facing today with China and why Taiwan is such an issue. Frank, is there a scenario where the desire to take back Taiwan goes away? Or is this going to be a permanent condition of the-
Frank Gaffney (00:13:21):
I think it goes away when the Chinese Communist Party goes away. I don’t see these guys doing it. In part, as Brad says, this is a threat to their entire house of cards, but it’s also I think typically the case that tyrants generally require some foreign adversary as a pretext for justifying the kind of repression that they practice against their own people. When I say repression, as you know Bill, in the book The Indictment, we’ve got nine charges. The first of which are the crimes against humanity that the Chinese Communist Party has inflicted upon its own people, by some estimates, as many as a hundred million of whom have been murdered, not counting the 400 million, at least, that they boast of having killed, mostly baby girls, in the womb.
Bill Walton (00:14:21):
The One Child policy.
Frank Gaffney (00:14:23):
As part of their population… Yeah. So there’s never really been anything quite like it. You started, your opening question was, is this unprecedented? In that respect alone, it’s on a scale that sets it apart from, I would argue, all of the other horrific regimes in history put together.
Bill Walton (00:14:42):
Well, Brad, you just wrote a piece not too long ago about the conditions that would cause the Chinese Communist Party to meet its end. Is that something that’s imminent? What is happening that makes Xi and the communist party vulnerable?
Brad Thayer (00:15:03):
Within the realm of possibility, certainly, and particularly if we push the issue, which it’s not clear that we will. The problems of the Chinese Communist Party are multiple, but fundamentally they are that they’re communists, which is divorced from Chinese civilization, from Chinese historical experience, and from Chinese political systems. There’s nothing Chinese about the Chinese Communist Party. There’s a lot that’s communist, very, very little that’s Chinese. Communism everywhere fails. It works by repression, it works by the crackdown, the human rights violations that Frank was just noting. So the ideology is incoherent to begin with. They’ve survived by squeezing the Chinese people, by having the, quote-unquote, Friends of China like Henry Kissinger and so many others on Wall Street in centers of power in the western world, that allowed them to penetrate the Western economic ecosystem and as a result of that thrive, but fundamentally they are facing dire problems.
Those are demographic problems, those are economic problems. The real estate market, of course, which has been so important for their own funding is collapsing, endemic corruption and the misrule of the party, and specifically of Xi Jinping and his paranoid crackdowns against his ministers. Defense ministers disappear. Foreign ministers disappear. Generals disappear through anti-corruption campaigns and other elements which are driven by his paranoia, his fear that there will be a coup against him and that he will be overthrown. So their own misrule and the burden and the tyranny that the Chinese people have had to incur has reached a point now, which is, to my mind, is a pivot point.
Bill Walton (00:17:04):
Well, it’s an unusual type of communism, though Frank and I’ve talked about this, in that China has more billionaires than the United States, and they allowed a hybrid system where a lot of entrepreneurs were encouraged to build their business and many of them [inaudible 00:17:20], many of them in just mundane businesses like tutoring. And then Xi decides somehow that these people are a threat to your point, and he starts shutting everything down and he shut down the private tutoring industry overnight. And a lot of my friends in the private equity business that thought that was a great investment found it was worth zero within a week.
Frank Gaffney (00:17:48):
A related point.
Bill Walton (00:17:49):
Yeah, sure. I was going to you.
Frank Gaffney (00:17:51):
You mentioned Henry Kissinger, Brad, and you’re talking about the caprice that operates inside of China, specifically that of Xi Jinping. One of the things that has just been infuriating to me is that a guy who enabled so much of this is the former Vice President of the United States, currently the President of the United States, in his engineering of a deal back in May of 2013, at a moment when, like with the World Trade Organization, the Chinese were looking for new access to western markets or western capital in this case. Joe Biden helped get a memorandum of understanding agreed between the United States and China that gave the Chinese Communist Party’s companies preferential access, as you know Bill, to our capital markets.
And it is by virtue of the fact that companies that have since gone belly up or had Xi Jinping knock the pegs out from under them have never had to be subjected to the kind of transparency and accountability and just audits that any other company registered on our capital markets has to undergo, that has enabled them to have this kind of access. I mentioned 3 to $6 trillion. That is a direct result, I believe, of essentially American investors specifically being denied the kind of knowledge that they have to have. You’ve been in the material risk business all your life, to make informed judgements about what they’re doing. And I fear that a lot of them, probably tens of millions of us who have money unwittingly in China, thanks to Larry Fink and Steve Schwarzman and Ray Dalio and the like, are going to lose their shirts when this thing goes seriously sideways, as Brad is suggesting it might.
Bill Walton (00:20:18):
Well, it’s becoming uninvestible, and some of this is Xi’s paranoia. He shut down the security firms in China. If you’re an investor, you all know this and you want to invest in a country or company, you do due diligence and you find out about how it’s organized, who owns it, what the market is, who the competitors are, key risk.
Frank Gaffney (00:20:40):
Unless it’s a state secret.
Bill Walton (00:20:43):
Frank, we’ve had this conversation before when I’m on your show, you always take my punchlines.
Frank Gaffney (00:20:49):
Just wanted to get to the point.
Bill Walton (00:20:53):
Do you come as a guest on Frank’s show and he… This was supposed to-
Frank Gaffney (00:20:56):
I never interrupt him.
Bill Walton (00:20:57):
You see, he’s still doing it. Anyway, that’s the point though is, it’s become uninvestible, because if you’re investor, you can’t find out what’s really happening and that’s on purpose and they’ve invaded… The police have come to the offices, like I think Bain and Company in Beijing.
Brad Thayer (00:21:16):
Well, indeed they have. And it of course compels us to ask, “Well, why was there any investment in the People’s Republic of China to begin with?” When indeed, there shouldn’t have been any, we should not have invested 1 cent. The fact that we did, again, help them with the rise and has now made them that existential threat that it is to the United States, but their own laws, which have recently since 2017, there have been a series of laws that have passed, including a national security law, that compels any Chinese entity that’s doing business with anyone to share information with the Chinese intelligence service or ultimately with the Party.
So, no American should have anything to do with the People’s Republic of any entity in Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China, because of, you’ve mentioned due diligence, right? If you want to protect the privacy, if you want to protect your own information, you should have nothing to do with them. By law, they’re required to share any information with the Party that the Party asks or that they would volunteer for their own reasons. And that puts every American investor in great jeopardy, and it won’t be long, I think, Bill, before this really comes home through lawsuits or through other means.
And Frank, I know you’ve talked about this on your show as well, that it really comes to the fore and it compels us, again, also to ask, that it’s just time to break with China. Just say no to the PRC. There’s no reason whatsoever to invest in them, to have anything to do with them. There are other sources. You could invest in the United States, heaven forbid, that anyone-
Frank Gaffney (00:23:14):
Brad Thayer (00:23:15):
… that anyone invest in the United States or Vietnam or India, Indonesia. There are always alternatives. We’re always taught in economics 101 that there are always alternatives to any good or service which is offered, and it’s time to compel us to recognize that’s the case. We need to do that today. We should have done it a long, long time ago, but it must be done today.
Frank Gaffney (00:23:43):
Bill Walton (00:23:43):
This is Bill Walton and I’m here with Brad Thayer and Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy. And I hope you’ve been listening carefully and we don’t give investment advice on this show, but we want to be clear that we think the proper allocation to China, in your investment portfolio, is zero. And if it’s not already zero, you ought to be calling your broker to talk with them about what you have in your portfolio that might be related to China. And we want to talk about the mutual funds and the indexes that the Chinese companies are in.
But before we get to that, I have a question. Why did Xi drop the hide and bide? Because China was doing great. They had everybody going in there, they were taking all… They were making joint ventures, and they were saying, “We’ll do a joint venture if you give us all your intellectual property. And it was working and we were lulled and they were making people rich. And Bob Lighthizer was the US trade representative, will say, “I dealt with all these companies.” And point-blank, you’re not going to make money in China unless they want you to make money in China. And the instant you don’t, you’re out. But Xi changed that. Was this hubris? Was this something else? Was he-
Brad Thayer (00:25:03):
Well, it’s the nature of communism. The antecedents of what Xi has done were present in rulers before, but what Xi Jinping, through his megalomania, has identified himself as greater than Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China. And so you have three fundamental problems that make the PRC a threat. Just like cops investigating a car crash, Bill, cops look first at the driver. Was the driver drunk? Well, then that explains the car crash. The driver of the People’s Republic of China is a megalomaniac named Xi Jinping who’s determined to achieve, in the near term, some dire objectives, including the conquest of Taiwan and the overthrow of the United States as the dominant state in international politics.
If the driver is as sober as a judge, the cops look at the car or the brakes pad. Well, the car is a Soviet knockoff. It’s called the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a threat to every other vehicle on the road, every pedestrian, every entity on it. So the car is a threat, and you could get rid of Xi tomorrow, he could pass away today. He does have serious health problems, but we need to recognize that. But the new driver of the car is going to be heavily influenced by the Soviet knockoff car itself.
And then finally, if the car is brand new, it’s in great shape, cops look at the road conditions, and all of us are great drivers when we’re driving on Interstate 80 in Iowa, where the road is flat and goes on forever. But we’re not good drivers in a whiteout on hairpin turns. So the road conditions are dire road conditions. They’re very dangerous road conditions. And what this means is that China has continually grown. Its military power has grown, diplomatic might, technological might, an economy has grown, again because we let it into the Western ecosystem. So why do we have a threat from the PRC? The driver is dangerous, the car is dangerous, and the road conditions are dangerous. And so we need to recognize that this is a complicated problem and an immediate problem, and it needs to be recognized as such.
Bill Walton (00:27:23):
Yeah, but we’re always asking ourselves with the tin pot dictators in all the third-world countries, how does this dictator last so long? Well, it turns out the dictators surrounded by cronies who are doing very well with the system, thank you. And so their incentive to get rid of that person is low, because they’re big beneficiaries In China though, you’ve got 80 million members of the party in a population, we don’t know what the real population is. They’re probably orchestrating the number.
Frank Gaffney (00:27:50):
Bill Walton (00:27:50):
It’s declining. So what about the 80 million members of the Chinese Communist Party who are benefiting from the system?
Frank Gaffney (00:27:58):
Well, I would just add that in addition to this brilliant analogy, it’s not just the cronies around Xi in China. It’s his cronies here. And what Brad didn’t quite get to is one of the reasons why I think he feels that it’s safe to drop the mask, expose the true intentions and become very explicitly aggressive, is the correlation of forces or what they call, I guess, comprehensive national power is such now, that that can be done with impunity, starting with, for example, the fact that that guy I mentioned, who helped engineer the financing of so much of this transformation, is now the President of the United States. He’s also, as we’ve talked about on many occasions, Bill, another distinguished member of our Committee on the Present Danger: China, and I thank you for being one, and I thank you for being one, is Sam Faddis, who has made the point very explicitly as a career undercover operative for the Central Intelligence Agency that in the language of that trade, Joe Biden would be characterized as a “controlled asset of the Chinese Communist Party.” I think that is one of the things, in addition to what Brad started with, Xi Jinping is determined to surpass Mao Zedong and do things that he didn’t get done, like take Taiwan. And I think he knows that he’s not got a lot of time.
Bill Walton (00:29:36):
But as Brad pointed out though, even though he’s enabled, through their very successful execution of their elite capture strategy, enabled by many, many people in leadership in this country, he still has a problem in China. The real estate market’s imploded. Evergrande, which has got $260 billion in debt, it may go into liquidation. It is teetering on the brink. I mentioned he’s made the country uninvestible, so it’s not attracting capital. The consumer market is flat, and people are cranky. He locked them down pretty aggressively with the zero COVID thing and people are cranky.
Frank Gaffney (00:30:17):
But as we talked about in one of our Committee on the Present Danger: China webinars, that would appear to be good news for us.
Bill Walton (00:30:23):
By the way, let’s plug those webinars.
Frank Gaffney (00:30:24):
But maybe not. Please.
Bill Walton (00:30:26):
Because we’re only going to touch the tip of the iceberg here. This is a massive, massive subject.
Frank Gaffney (00:30:30):
We have drilled down on most of the things that we’ve talked about.
Bill Walton (00:30:34):
When and where are your webinars?
Frank Gaffney (00:30:35):
They’re all available-
Bill Walton (00:30:36):
Where can we find them?
Frank Gaffney (00:30:37):
… for free at presentdangerchina.org. There’s a subscription option there so that you can make sure you get every one of them. Each week we do at least one. And in this case, we talked Bill about whether it’s good news or bad news that the sorts of things that you’ve just described, Brad, are happening to China. You did too. And the bottom line seems to be, as I said earlier, in response to your question about their attitude towards the rest of us, having a foreign adversary that enables them to justify or at least to assert the imperative of sacrifice and submission and repression, on their own people-
Bill Walton (00:31:23):
Well, we wondered whether their lockdown [inaudible 00:31:25].
Frank Gaffney (00:31:24):
… is one of those things that they often do. Well, I think they certainly were here, but the point is what they were doing then and what they’re doing now is parlaying these internal difficulties, I think, into elevating this idea that China is facing these foreign threats and war is now in prospect. And you ought to hear from Brad on just how often Xi Jinping talks that up with his people.
Bill Walton (00:31:52):
Well, his internal speeches are very, very militant, and he is preparing his people for war.
Brad Thayer (00:32:00):
Well, we need to recognize that he’s a communist. And so he’s determined to bring about the changes that communists want to see, and that includes the destruction of the United States, the international liberal order that the United States created with the British, in the wake of World War Two. He wants to crush human liberty and human rights. He’s done that successfully within China, increasingly becoming draconian. He wants to do that globally as well.
Everything he touches is defined by exploitation of people in the environment. Wherever China, any Chinese entity goes abroad, those elements define it. So, you asked why he dropped hide and bide. Well, he dropped it, because they’re powerful enough to begin asserting themselves in a way… Deng adopted hide and bide, and Deng Xiaoping was a communist just as Xi Jinping was, but he was a weak communist. Xi Jinping is a communist, but now he’s a strong communist, because China’s strong, because the PRC has grown in every aspect of comprehensive national power. So it can now begin to put the rubber on the road in terms of bringing about those changes as it’s done through Belt and Road Initiative and political penetration. But again, when we recognize he’s a communist, communists want to wage war, but a kinetic component of warfare is to be avoided, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Political warfare is what he has done part in a way which is absolutely superb and essentially is the archetype of how to do this, to bring about the expansion of your interests without meeting any resistance. China has risen-
Bill Walton (00:33:54):
But he’s created an enormous amount of resistance. The Belt and Road Initiative has become the loan to own business. People who have been the beneficiaries of this money are now waking up to the fact that they owe their soul to the company store, and the company store is China, and people are beginning wary, very, very wary of dealing with them.
Brad Thayer (00:34:14):
But Bill, think about what the PRC has done. In 1990, the PRC was about, let’s say, 1.8% of world gross domestic product. Before COVID, it was approximately between 18 and 19% of world gross domestic product. So you’ve gone from a trivial, barely a great power to now a rival of the United States, and you’ve done that in a generation. Now, not even Bismarck did that. This ranks Chinese leaders as, it’s horrible to say, but we have to recognize reality and face it directly, that they have gone from a very weak state, which might’ve very easily had regime change in the wake of Tiananmen Square in June of 1989, to now a state which is very forcefully showing its military power, whether those are intercepts of United States aircraft operating in international airspace or pressure against the Japanese, Australians, Canadians, Taiwanese, the world over. You are seeing a state now, which is increasingly segueing from political warfare to kinetic warfare. And so we may be on the cusp of whatever the horrors of Ukraine, of course, of the war between Hamas and Israel, we may be in the very near term facing a massive conflict between the United States and the People’s Republic.
Bill Walton (00:35:53):
Well, people speculated about Xi’s health.
Brad Thayer (00:35:56):
Bill Walton (00:35:57):
What happens if Xi drops dead?
Frank Gaffney (00:35:59):
They got more where he came from.
Bill Walton (00:36:03):
Well, that’s my question. Who and why? What’s that look like?
Frank Gaffney (00:36:07):
But could I just add one last thing? It depends, in part, on what we do. After Tiananmen Square, we had exacerbated the problems for the Chinese, instead of sending Brent Scowcroft over to tell them that it’s going to be business as usual, we’ll get you into the World Trade Organization, among other things. If Joe Biden hadn’t bailed them out with that memorandum of understanding, and if we don’t bail them out now, Bill, the answer to your question could well be, it’s the end of the party. It’s over.
Bill Walton (00:36:45):
Well, we’re in the midst of bailing them out.
Frank Gaffney (00:36:46):
We are trying.
Bill Walton (00:36:47):
We’ve sent over four cabinet level officials to China in the last, what, eight months, nine months. And every single one of them seemed to do a better job of bowing down to the emperor. The other, I mean. Yellen, in particular, the body language there was egregious. And Biden, they didn’t they have him sitting at the kids’ table at a state dinner.
Frank Gaffney (00:37:11):
Bill Walton (00:37:13):
Blinken, Biden? Yes. Well, they’ve kind of merged together.
Frank Gaffney (00:37:17):
Biden, Blinken and nod, I guess they say.
Bill Walton (00:37:19):
Because Blinken was at… What foundation did he run that was a beneficiary of millions of dollars of Chinese money?
Brad Thayer (00:37:26):
The Penn Biden Center. It was one of the-
Bill Walton (00:37:27):
The Penn Biden Center. Well, that’s why I conflated the two.
Brad Thayer (00:37:32):
Which was in excess of $60 million, we expect-
Bill Walton (00:37:36):
Brad Thayer (00:37:37):
… from China.
Frank Gaffney (00:37:38):
Bill Walton (00:37:39):
But rather than exploiting the weakness now and figuring out strategies to exacerbate that and maybe make Taiwan safe and create a peaceful South China Sea, we’re engaging. I guess their words engagement. They want to keep them going.
Frank Gaffney (00:38:01):
Brad Thayer (00:38:02):
Indeed, they do. And that has been a major failing of the United States. It has been a major failing of American strategists to allow this to happen. And it’s been a major failing of the American elite to allow this. For the sake of a little bit more of profit, what you’re doing is you’re sacrificing your birthright. What you’re doing is you’re allowing an entity to continue to grow, an entity that conceivably could destroy the United States and is doing everything it can through fentanyl, which is chemical warfare directed against the United States, or hollowing out American industrial base or doing everything it can to dishearten American citizens, to weaken American citizens. And this has to end and it has to end today.
This is absolutely the critical point. They’re an enemy of the United States. They always have been. They worked in conjunction, sadly, with many in the American elite who’ve profited. But the cost of that has been, in many respects, it raises the risk of the existential loss of the United States, of our defeat in a kinetic war or a slower defeat in a longer political warfare campaign. And this compels all Americans today to recognize that they’re the enemy and demand change, to demand that we no longer identify it as a partner. And those who seek to continue any type of relationship with the PRC are no friends of the United States of the American people.
Bill Walton (00:39:46):
Well, most of the people I know on Wall Street and in the business community just hope this unpleasantness will pass, so they can go back doing business the way they did before.
Brad Thayer (00:39:56):
Bill Walton (00:39:57):
And make more money. So the recognition is not there, that this is a fundamental, long-term trend, rather they just think it’s a cyclical thing that’ll pass with the next political win.
Frank Gaffney (00:40:10):
Could I go back to what I said at the beginning?
Bill Walton (00:40:12):
Frank Gaffney (00:40:12):
We’re here trying to connect dots.
Bill Walton (00:40:14):
Yeah, let’s do it.
Frank Gaffney (00:40:15):
I think Brad and you both have talked about this, it is not an accident comrade, as communists like to say, that you are seeing a conflagration on the continent of Europe. You’re now seeing a conflagration in the Middle East. There may yet be one or more fronts opened up yet, but what’s coming for sure as a result, I believe, of the Chinese Communist Party deliberately setting those fires, encouraging their proxies to act aggressively, to distract us, to deplete our resources and perhaps even render us incapable of defending ourselves, when they act aggressively, whether it’s against Taiwan or any of the other places that Brad has just enumerated. But I’m reasonably sure having another critical dot that needs to be connected here is the deployment inside our country in recent months of tens of thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army special operators, there’s every reason to believe that another front, another place where those arsonists will be lighting fires is right here in America.
Bill Walton (00:41:45):
So, let me connect the dots, or let me recount the dots you just gave me. You’re saying that the Chinese said to Putin, “If you go into Ukraine, we won’t get in your way. That’s okay.”
Frank Gaffney (00:41:58):
Not only we won’t get in your way. We’ll help you.
Bill Walton (00:42:00):
[inaudible 00:42:00] We’ll help.
Frank Gaffney (00:42:00):
We’ll hold your coat at the least.
Bill Walton (00:42:00):
We’ll become your ally. Okay, so that’s one dot.
Frank Gaffney (00:42:03):
He was supposed to get it done in 72 days, 72 hours rather.
Bill Walton (00:42:06):
Well, he didn’t.
Frank Gaffney (00:42:07):
But, it’s involved as long as they didn’t interfere with the genocide games, the Olympics.
Bill Walton (00:42:14):
And you’re saying now also that China was in the relationship with Iran, and Hamas, also was saying, “This is a good time for you to act.”
Frank Gaffney (00:42:26):
Go for it.
Bill Walton (00:42:27):
And you look at the spectacle of two of our aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, pulling them out of the South Sea. I think one is actually still here, but it could have been used in the South-
Frank Gaffney (00:42:39):
There’s one in the West Bank right now.
Bill Walton (00:42:43):
And then the other massive dot is the open border we have and the number of people that have come into this country, young men come into this country that first we thought… Well, I don’t know what we… Because there are all sorts of categories of people who would want to harm the United States. It’s a long list.
Frank Gaffney (00:43:02):
And they’re working together.
Bill Walton (00:43:03):
So all these pieces are working together.
Frank Gaffney (00:43:06):
Part of the very unsavory picture picture.
Bill Walton (00:43:11):
This is the Bill Walton show, and this is a sort of dismayed Bill Walton talking with Frank Gaffney and Brad Thayer about connecting the dots and looking at events on the world stage right no, and they all point towards some sort of coordination and perhaps the, Brad, what do you call it the head of the snake?
Brad Thayer (00:43:31):
Yes. The CCP, it’s the Chinese Communist Party. It’s the source of evil in the modern world, to borrow from Ronald Reagan’s March 1983 speech, very famous address that he gave in Florida and Orlando-
Frank Gaffney (00:43:46):
Before he took down the last one.
Brad Thayer (00:43:48):
… before determining the Soviet Union as the center of evil in the modern world. We need to recognize that the CCP is all of that. Putin would not have invaded Ukraine. Hamas would’ve not acted at the behest of Iran with the green light from the Chinese Communist Party. So we need to recognize the CCP is the source of enormous instability in international politics and great danger for the United States and its allies in international politics.
Bill Walton (00:44:17):
How many people-
Brad Thayer (00:44:18):
It’s also tremendously vulnerable as a snake is tremendously vulnerable in the right circumstances. This is an entity which is extremely vulnerable. If we had leadership to act against it, there’s the possibility, working with the diaspora and with good people, people of goodwill around the world, but certainly within China to overthrow it. But sadly, we don’t have that leadership.
Bill Walton (00:44:45):
Well, just to take your point and push it further, I don’t think most people are aware of how many millions of Chinese have spread out all over the world and working on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. And you look at the Western hemisphere, you look at Central and South America, just from an economic standpoint, I think China’s become one of the largest trading partners with almost all the countries in China. And they had a hand in flipping all the-
Frank Gaffney (00:45:12):
In all of Central and Latin America.
Bill Walton (00:45:13):
Central and Latin America. Pardon me, I misspoke. They had a hand, I think, also in the fact that the governments are all left of center in the Americas.
Frank Gaffney (00:45:22):
Again, not an accident government.
Bill Walton (00:45:24):
Frank Gaffney (00:45:26):
Those are people who have been helped to gain power in part by those very relationships and the presence of the Chinese Communist Party and its strategic interests, the Belt and Road Initiative among other things, to bring them into a global sphere. You talked about the post World War Two era that we’ve ushered in, we’re in a different era now.
Bill Walton (00:45:49):
Once you’ve seen this paradigm, once you see these patterns, it’s hard to unsee them. Let me play the skeptic here, is there another explanation? Is this just; communism’s in the air? Or what is it? Do you think the Chinese have been actively working this strategy in each one of the-
Brad Thayer (00:46:12):
Absolutely. I think a problem that we face as well is that there’s a lack of understanding of communist ideology and an unwillingness to take it seriously, when in fact, that’s exactly what we should do to recognize that they’re at war with us. They’ve proclaimed it, most recently when Xi Jinping proclaimed people’s war in 2019 against the United States as a way of mobilizing the Chinese people, as a way of telling the Chinese people there are going to be hard times ahead. When conflict comes, the Chinese people are going to incur the costs of war against the United States and its allies.
So when you take that seriously, Bill, you’re exactly right, you do see the world in a different way. And these changes through the Belt and Road Initiative or in governments in Central, South America or the world over are part of the fruits of the political warfare campaign that they’ve been waging against us. It’s all warfare, all the time directed against us and unrestricted warfare. So that takes place in the political realm. It takes place in an economic realm. It takes place in the fact that they’ve penetrated our electrical grid with transformers that are built in China and that are known to have-
Frank Gaffney (00:47:32):
400 of them.
Brad Thayer (00:47:33):
… are known to have a back doors and that also physically could be destroyed as well, but also could be destroyed through cyber means. And we did this, because we didn’t take them seriously. It was the Chinese transformer was a few dollars cheaper. So you bought the Chinese transformer and for a few dollars, what did you get? You got the destruction of the American electrical grid, because you weren’t seriously thinking about security, because you didn’t understand the threat that the PRC posed. So you got a few dollars and it costs you your electrical grid. So who’s-
Frank Gaffney (00:48:16):
Or just a further point, or you didn’t want to understand. It’s that willful blindness thing. And we’ve had just recently an expose by a group we work with called the Coalition for a Prosperous America, in which they’ve established that Vanguard, one of the largest, as you know, of the funds in which Americans are invested, has in addition to the 200 or so Chinese companies that are registered on the US capital markets, thousands of Chinese companies that don’t get even minimal scrutiny, that are so-called A-shares that are bought up by Vanguard and FTSE Russell and outfits like it.
And the point of all of that is to say, Bill, that they were, leaders of the Vanguard Fund were interviewed by the Financial Times for their comments on what’s going on here. Are you doing any due diligence on these firms? As I recall, something like 60 of them work directly, not just indirectly, but directly for the People’s Liberation Army. And eight of them were actually sanctioned by the United States Government. And the answer that they got from Vanguard, and I’m sure it’s from lots of your friends on Wall Street, they get the same.
Bill Walton (00:49:44):
Here he goes again, it’s my fault.
Frank Gaffney (00:49:46):
Well, you copped to it. I’m just noting it. The point is, they were told very bluntly, “If it’s not illegal, we’re going to do it.” So that’s the willful blindness.
Bill Walton (00:49:59):
Vanguard said that?
Frank Gaffney (00:50:00):
That’s what they told-
Bill Walton (00:50:01):
Yeah, that’s what they would say.
Frank Gaffney (00:50:02):
… the Financial Times.
Bill Walton (00:50:02):
That doesn’t surprise me.
Brad Thayer (00:50:03):
And our great colleague, Roger Robinson, has just done work without parallel on this threat.
Bill Walton (00:50:11):
Well, that’s concerning. But in terms of the dots, having operated a company, your degrees of freedom to do things when you’re running a company are limited. Now, you can be manufacturing military technology, you can be stealing military technology, that sort of thing. What I worry about is the dot that we didn’t really talk about, which is the WHO and the international organizations that China’s begun to dominate, and they practically have, talk about elite capture, they have the head of the WHO as their operative.
Frank Gaffney (00:50:48):
Bill Walton (00:50:49):
And now the Biden administration wants to turn our sovereignty over to the WHO, so they can declare any little thing that comes up as an emergency and claim all the powers that they had during the lockdown.
Frank Gaffney (00:51:03):
I confess, when we put this book to bed, shortly thereafter, we realized that a whole ‘nother line of attack of this unrestricted warfare, that Brad talked about, is what they call global governance. And just as you say, Bill, in the microcosm of the World Health Organization, it’s true of the United Nations, it’s true of any number of other outfits, The World Economic Forum included, these guys have, the Chinese Communist Party, has found willing partners. Some of them are communists, some of them are go along to get along folks, capitalists, globalists, what have you. Even Islamists, by the way, are willing to play ball, not withstanding the fact that the Chinese Communist Party, those crimes against humanity, is engaged in genocidal murder of millions of Uyghur Muslims. But the point is that through this vehicle of taking over these international organizations, you can get accomplished the takedown of Western civilization and the rule-based order as they like to say.
Bill Walton (00:52:12):
That to me, you go to the heart of the matter. That would be the one thing you cant control.
Frank Gaffney (00:52:17):
It’s the object.
Bill Walton (00:52:18):
You can have the capital markets. I’ll take the ability to shut down society.
Brad Thayer (00:52:23):
Frank Gaffney (00:52:24):
Bill Walton (00:52:25):
Health and everything becomes a health issue. Now, to what extent do you think the climate change agenda is driven by China? And they are the chief beneficiary of the climate change agenda. They make all the components of wind and solar. They control all the rare earth minerals that go into it.
Frank Gaffney (00:52:47):
Bill Walton (00:52:48):
And they understand that if it succeeds, it’s going to shut down the western economies, the civilized economies. It’s going to further impoverish-
Frank Gaffney (00:52:58):
Especially if we give up fossil fuels, which we have-
Bill Walton (00:53:01):
We give up fossil fuels.
Frank Gaffney (00:53:02):
… a preponderance of.
Bill Walton (00:53:02):
And meantime, what are they building now? Two coal plants a week in China?
Frank Gaffney (00:53:07):
At least one.
Bill Walton (00:53:07):
They’re utterly unconcerned about what this is. Do you think that’s part of the… Is that also on their, do they have… In their war room, do they have-
Frank Gaffney (00:53:18):
Bill Walton (00:53:18):
We talk about the warfares. Do they have a climate warfare room?
Brad Thayer (00:53:23):
Of course, it weakens the west. And so it introduces vulnerabilities that they can exploit. So of course they’re supported. Of course, they’re doing everything they can, while at the same time being the world’s worst polluters and destroying the environment, destroying flora and fauna in the entire region and seeking to spread that.
Frank Gaffney (00:53:48):
Helped along by their friends like John Kerry, who is perfectly prepared to go there and help them, legitimate them, reward them, all the while they’re very much part of this problem. If you believe that mankind is making a measurable impact on the climate, they’re at the forefront of doing so.
Bill Walton (00:54:12):
China’s making the-
Frank Gaffney (00:54:13):
The Chinese Communist Party.
Bill Walton (00:54:14):
Well, they’ve also maybe had some help with some other Asian countries, but there’s a Texas-sized [inaudible 00:54:21] of plastic waste, and most of that comes out of the rivers in China.
Brad Thayer (00:54:25):
Bill Walton (00:54:27):
They’ve got the dirtiest rivers on the planet.
Frank Gaffney (00:54:29):
It’s about the dirtiest everything. It’s the dirtiest dirt, the dirtiest water, the the dirtiest lakes and streams and so on.
Brad Thayer (00:54:37):
And yet it gets a pass. Again, John Kerry will lecture us on this, that, or the other thing, the way we need to change or the vulnerabilities we need to introduce to our already stressed electrical grid. And yet China is asked to do, in essence, nothing with respect to it. It’s worse than a fantasy. It’s the recognition, it’s another avenue of attack and we should see it as such.
Bill Walton (00:55:05):
So you two, and I want to plug the book again, The Indictment, Frank Gaffney, you wrote it with your friend Dede Laugesen, and you’ve written your book-
Brad Thayer (00:55:14):
With Liancao Han.
Bill Walton (00:55:15):
… with Liancao Han, the Understanding the China threat, and I think taken together, they’re not 900 page books. They’re very, very digestible. And if you read these, you’ll understand even more about what we’ve been talking about for the last hour. I highly recommended it. We’ve got a couple minutes. I’m trying to find how we fix this, how we do something about it. Is there The Center for Security policy or the Committee for the Present Danger: China, what lines of action are we encouraging people to take?
Frank Gaffney (00:55:51):
Well, we actually have 20 discreet steps that we recommend in The Indictment, as not panaceas, but the sorts of things that will help. And it starts with what I consider to be the single most critical of these problems. And the thing, therefore, that singly most importantly needs to be rectified, and that is the elite capture. If you remove from positions of power and influence, people who are working for the enemy, whether it’s by forced resignation, whether it’s by, where appropriate, impeachment or whether it’s by prosecution, you will make a material difference in everything else. Everything else will become easier to do. Nothing’s easy, but it’s easier to do if you don’t have people playing for the other team, as Joe Biden likes to say, running ours.
Bill Walton (00:56:51):
Have you thought about… One of the things that kind of gets buried is that this elite capture is not something we made up to term what’s in fact happened, which is a lot of leaders in the United States seem to be playing for the other team, as Joe Biden would call it.
Frank Gaffney (00:57:07):
That’s their term.
Bill Walton (00:57:08):
That’s their term. They have an actual playbook that says, “Let’s go into every country we do business with and try to own the leadership.” And they’ve done it not just here in the United States, but all those central and South American countries we were talking about. And in Africa.
Brad Thayer (00:57:24):
In the South Pacific.
Bill Walton (00:57:25):
Brad Thayer (00:57:25):
Frank Gaffney (00:57:26):
Bill Walton (00:57:29):
So, do we have a list? It’s a little dangerous, I think, to come up with these names, because they’re tremendous personal vulnerability, because these are very powerful people.
Frank Gaffney (00:57:40):
Well, we’ve named a number of them on this show, starting with Henry Kissinger, who arguably was the first captured elite by the Chinese guys.
Bill Walton (00:57:48):
And I’ve been working so hard to not have my show censored.
Frank Gaffney (00:57:53):
Sorry. Now you tell us.
Bill Walton (00:57:57):
I’m afraid. Oh well, you got to tell the truth. You’re a truth teller.
Brad Thayer (00:58:04):
Bill Walton (00:58:05):
Brad, lines of action?
Brad Thayer (00:58:07):
Education. Americans need to educate themselves about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party. And that’s able to be done by looking at the literature on this, by informing themselves through the resources Frank mentioned. The webinars are great places to get started. That education allows us to recognize that they’re an enemy. This is not a misunderstanding. It’s a question of whether the dispositive question of this century or the 21st century is, will freedom and liberal thought, the world that the United States created, will that continue or will it be crushed by totalitarianism?
Now, that was fought in the 20th century, and thankfully it was resolved to our favor in the last century. It’s not at all clear that we’ll have the same result in this century, the 21st century, because of the problems that we’ve identified. But fundamentally, Americans are good people, decent people, fair people. They recognize that communism is odious and they recognize the value of the freedoms that our political system, that our political culture, that our history have provided, that we’re able to make a better world. We’re able to correct problems that we have within our own societies, and that offers, not just for the American people, but for global populations, a far brighter future than the tyranny that the CCP is offering. And so that recognition, I think, is the start of bringing about all of the subsequent and necessary, equally necessary, steps that need to be done, whether that’s on Wall Street or New York financial markets, or whether that’s in the Pentagon or our alliance relationships.
But the start of that is becoming cognizant of the threat and recognizing what’s at stake. And what’s at stake is the freedom that we’ve enjoyed in our society versus tyranny. So the question will be resolved and let us hope that it’ll be resolved to our favor.
Bill Walton (01:00:14):
Amen. Brad Thayer, Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy. If you found this video, the show, illuminating, please press the like button. Doesn’t mean you like what we’re saying necessarily, but it is the truth and something we need to deal with. And please subscribe to the show. I’m sure we’ll have Brad and Frank back on to go deeper into what we’ve been talking about and bring us up to date with the latest events. Also, please recommend the Bill Walton show to your friends. I think you’ll find we have conversations here you won’t find elsewhere. And we will continue to endeavor to bring you more. So anyway, thanks for joining and you can find us in all the major podcast platforms and YouTube and Rumble and on CPAC, and we’ll be talking with you soon.
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