Aadland: China’s efforts to diminish U.S. power and influence

By Erik Aadland

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a despotic regime with eyes on global domination, and there is no doubt that China regards the United States as an adversary. We need look no further than their plan known as the Great Rejuvenation of 2049 to see how they are committed to supplanting America’s partnerships and alliances in the Pacific region, with an eye towards becoming the sole superpower in that part of the world.

America must prove her strength in order to turn back this challenge from a purveyor of an unfree world order. There are three key ways this must happen: renewed partnerships and alliances in the Pacific region, bringing the rest of the Western world into our efforts, and reining in companies that are U.S.-based but caving to pressure from the CCP. It is critical that our leadership in Washington recognize the grave threat posed by Chinese aggression and act to counter it before it is too late.

We must reduce our dependence on China economically, shorten our supply chains, move American companies and jobs back to the United States, and develop sources for rare earth metals outside of China and preferably within the United States.  Ultimately, our economy should be independent of China’s influence.  I propose that we also pass legislation to prevent foreign entities from China and other hostile countries from purchasing US land.

China is not simply competing with the United States with the intent to move her economy ahead and improve the lives of their people. The CCP leaders are intent on international dominance. They are willing to use the full spectrum of their government’s power to achieve that goal, including economic strong-arm tactics and military intimidation.

One example of China’s efforts to disrupt the status quo in the Pacific has occurred in the Solomon Islands. The small nation, with a population of about 700,000, signed a security agreement with China for no obvious reason. Indeed, the Solomon Islands already has Australian troops present in the country for the very purpose of security. 

China, however, stands to gain potential military basing opportunities and perhaps the purchase of a major port just 1000 miles off Australia’s shores. Thus, the CCP has used dubious diplomatic cover to gain leverage over a bigger target. The greater method and strategy is clear: take small geopolitical steps that can later be used to coerce concessions from countries that would never otherwise be bullied by the tyrants in the CCP. 

China is also using broader economic means to squeeze other nations. For instance, China is the largest creditor of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt. With Sri Lanka having defaulted on that debt, the country is now at the mercy of China. 

Previously, China built and financed Sri Lanka’s Hamabantota port in 2017. While the port was “a money loser,” China leveraged this fact to sign a 99-year lease of the port “as part of a plan to convert (Sri Lanka’s) $6 billion debt to Beijing into equity.” China is, in effect, the owner and director of all activities at this port. Likewise, China continues to make moves to control ports and shipping around the world, including ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, in Djibouti, and in Nigeria. The upshot of this exercise of economic muscle is that these ports could quickly be fitted for Chinese military use, increasing China’s force projection abilities to rival those of the United States.

Of course, the most recent major actions concern China’s ongoing threat to Taiwan. The CCP has long desired to take over Taiwan, but lately has spoken and acted more aggressively towards that nation. The Chinese military has been conducting massive exercises following the visit to the island by the U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. These exercises have made a point of showing off new military equipment such as sophisticated warships, jet aircraft, and hypersonic missiles. It is apparent that China used Speaker Pelosi’svisit merely as a pretext to increase her bluster towards Taiwan and by extension the United States.

Finally, China is using her extraordinary investment in U.S. firms and products to create pressure on U.S. companies and individuals. 

For example, this month, Mars Wrigley, the maker of the famous Snickers candy bars, made an apology to China for using an advertisement that referred to Taiwan as a country. The CCP in turn gloated on its state-run Global Times Twitter account that said “Mars Wrigley said it respects China’s natl (sic) sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 

China is using all of the methods at her disposal to gain power at the expense of the U.S. and her allies. They want control on their terms and are intent on using whatever means necessary to harm the U.S. economically, militarily, and diplomatically. 

We must take the aforementioned steps immediately to check the rise of China and actively contain their threat to global freedom.

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About the Author:

Erik Aadland is a Republican running for Congress in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District.