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Ep 22: Understanding China's Threat to the United States

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In 1989 the free world rejoiced as the Berlin Wall was torn down. Cheers went up again as the United States’ cold war adversary, the Soviet Union, collapsed in 1992. Some historians speculated that we had come to the end of history, that democracy and freedom, as articulated by America’s founders, would expand around the globe.

But it was not to be.

Starting with Deng Tse Peng’s pivot to state capitalism in 1979, the rush to outsource manufacturing to China in the 1990s, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, the world has watched in amazement as China has risen economically to the point of eclipsing the United States as the world’s largest economy.

But this extraordinary economic achievement has not been accompanied by a hoped for pivot to greater freedom for the Chinese people or China’s trading partners. On the contrary, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has cemented its authoritarian control over the Chinese people, implemented frightening Orwellian high tech surveillance, and is expanding its authoritarian values and oppression through its trillion dollar Belt Road Initiative, which now reaches over 70 countries, includes two-thirds of the world’s population, and one third of its economic output.

My guest today is Col. Sean O’Brien, a professor and department head at the National Defense University and a career intelligence officer with the US Air Force. Col. O’Brien offers his personal assessment of the threats China’s poses the United States and its allies as well as his views of opportunities companies have to push back against this totalitarian threat.
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