Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Biowarfare is as the ancients dumping corpses in each other’s wells, and by the Cold War, both sides had developed storehouses of biological weapons alongside their nuclear weapons.
Mutually Assured Destruction kept the world from dying from radiation poisoning or plague.
The deadly weapons of the Cold War stalemated each other so that neither side could use its weapons without unleashing massive destruction. Both the US and the USSR wargamed the use of ‘low-yield’ battlefield nuclear weapons that would allow for strategic victories without triggering a full-scale nuclear war that would kill billions of people and wreck both sides.
The consensus was that any use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield would be apocalyptic.
The People’s Republic of China may have disproven that theory using not nuclear, but biological weapons, to secure a strategic victory while avoiding any retaliation for its biowarfare attack.
Instead of escalating military tensions, the PRC made itself economically indispensable to America’s elites allowing it to carry out an attack under the cover of plausible deniability. The purpose of the first biowarfare strike wasn’t mass death. The dead were collateral damage.
Communist China’s goal is economic supremacy. Its biological attack wasn’t aimed exclusively at America, but at the high-functioning economies in open societies who are its customers and enemies. And the attack succeeded in crippling the world’s top two economies while making them more dependent on China’s economic machine.
China’s image has taken a beating around the world for unleashing the virus, lying about it, and then cashing in on the disaster, but it has come out of it with more money and power than ever. Its moves against India and in the South China Sea show it would rather be feared than loved.
Most importantly, China has learned that it can unleash chaos while profiting from the disaster.
If the current coronavirus wasn’t made in a lab, the odds are that the next one will be. The past year provided the Communist regime with a blueprint for getting rich by weakening its enemies.
Now that China knows that it can unleash a virus, lie about it, and come out stronger than ever, why wouldn’t it do it again?
China has come out of the plague year stronger than ever by spreading the virus and then selling America and Europe, battered by the pandemic, lockdowns, and turmoil, the masks and base compounds to protect itself. The biological attack allowed China to not only test us, but to test its own society, using the pandemic to centralize and solidify control over its population.
The real weapon wasn’t the virus. It was chaos.
Chaos is the weapon of the insurgency, political, international, and ideological, against an open society. It’s a familiar weapon that China is currently better built to endure than we are.
When the Soviet Union kickstarted the new age of Islamic terrorism, it was betting that the chaos of bombings and airline hijackings would take a more serious toll on open societies that care about civil rights and the judicial system. Communist regimes were much better suited to suppressing terrorism and to expecting their citizens to shrug off acts of random terror.
The Russians took quite a beating in Afghanistan and Chechnya from the virus they originally unleashed, and there have been devastating acts of terrorism, most notably in Beslan, but domestic terrorism was never much of an issue until the fall of the USSR. And despite the growing Muslim population in the territories under its control, terrorism hasn’t crippled Russia to the extent that it has Europe. Nor did it make Russia spin out of control the way it did America.
The pandemic, like terrorism and online hacking, is the latest in a series of chaos weapons directed at our society. And it may be the most effective of the chaos weapons to date.
Like terrorism, the virus shuts down travel, collapses economies, and creates uncertainty and doubt. These are conditions that weaken open societies, but strengthen closed ones. Even a sizable death toll doesn’t worry a country that has spent generations struggling to roll back an excess population. The people most likely to die in a pandemic, older men or lower class male workers, are considered a burden or surplus to the new Chinese economy anyway.
The virus, from the PRC’s perspective, helps shed the dead weight of useless people.
The Chinese perspective is horrifying but not that foreign. Did the Democrat administrations, hospital systems and health care experts that forced nursing homes in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California, among others, to accept infected patients not know what would happen? Or did they think that “the old man’s friend” would rid them of useless people?
While the pandemic and their policies have been devastating for America, they’ve been mostly helpful to Democrats from a demographic and political perspective. The people most likely to die of the virus are older, and therefore statistically more conservative. The lockdowns broke down small businesses, another conservative demographic, and shattered health care systems, accelerating the collapse of the healthcare industry, and its takeover by the government.
Before the pandemic, Democrats were going up against a 2020 incumbent with a booming economy. By Election Day, the country had turned into a very different place than it had been.
The world’s third largest economy and the second largest party of the world’s largest economy had common interests that the pandemic fulfilled. Pandemic America is more like China, more centralized, more dependent on the Big Tech oligarchy, and more willing to set aside its basic freedoms to cope with a crisis. Everything that the Left claimed was true of 9/11, but wasn’t, has proven all too true of the COVID-19 crisis which replaced civil liberties with emergency rule.
And normalized collectivism under the rule of unelected officials bolstered by mass propaganda.
All China has to do if it wants to keep turning America into an inept socialist kleptocracy with no economy to speak of, a vast underclass, and a small corrupt overclass, is keep feeding the chaos. What the Russians tried to do in their usual clunky and showy way by utilizing the inherent chaos of the internet, the Chinese did much more smoothly and cleanly with a virus.
China wants America broken, but not destroyed. We are their best customers.
From China’s perspective, the pandemic showcased the superiority of their society, their system and their culture, while highlighting the inferiority of our own. The cheering crowds in Wuhan were meant to show the superiority of the Communist regime to that of the United States.
And to remind Chinese citizens not to long for the political and cultural freedoms of Americans.
Mutually Assured Destruction was based on the idea that neither side would be willing to flirt with destruction. But China’s biowarfare attack ‘nuked’ itself, before going on to cause destruction among the economies targeted by the Communist regime. The Communist grip on power had been based on this fundamental willingness to sacrifice millions for its goals. And while the Communist regime maintained its popularity by offering social mobility and consumer gadgets, its elite remain committed to that same genocidal maoist willingness to kill millions.
China’s biowarfare lab in Wuhan infected its own city before going on to release deadlier strains of the virus in Europe. The Wuhan release tested China’s own society and demonstrated the regime’s willingness to kill its own people in unknown numbers for the sake of the greater good.
All of this makes Communist China a deadlier enemy than the Soviet Union ever was.
The challenge of this century is how America can meet an enemy that is both seductive and ruthless, capturing our economy at the source and then killing us by the hundreds of thousands.
America has faltered in the face of the chaos weapons of terrorism and internet attacks. The biowarfare attack of 2020 proved to be even more effective at bringing down our society.
The American experiment departed from previous governing philosophies by not using government to manage chaos, but trusting to the people to do their own managing. Leftist movements met such open societies by exploiting their openness to spread chaos. The Soviet and then the Chinese Communist strategy was to boost the chaos with state sponsorship.
The stakes of the virus cold war are much the same as those of previous chaos campaigns. The fundamental question is whether we can defeat chaos assaults without turning into our enemies.
The Democrats met the pandemic, as they have met other crises in the last generation, by wishing that we were more like China. But a Democrat America would be a very poor man’s China, a nationwide California run by men and women lacking China’s nationalism, solidarity, and efficiency, while adopting its totalitarian technocracy with brutal incompetence.
America can’t beat China by becoming China. No more than it could beat Russia by becoming Russia. The only meaningful American victory is one that makes us a stronger America.
Europe and America have tried responding to the pandemic with government control. And we failed. Government is not our strength. The rule of experts is not what makes us great. The power of our people has been in individual initiative, in volunteerism, innovation, and the wisdom of crowds. That is what the Communists of every generation have feared about us.
Every time we respond to chaos with government, we become more vulnerable to chaos.
American resilience lies in our individuality. The Chinese endure collectively. We innovate individually. When the government takes away our individuality, we become third-rate Communists, outsourcing our products to China and demanding government handouts, while our government leaders party in pricey restaurants. We must become Americans again.
The only way America will survive this new coronavirus cold war is to reclaim its heritage.
We can survive and thrive on chaos, not because we are obedient collectivists like the citizens of the PRC, but because we are individuals who crowdsource solutions on our initiative.
This was a nation built on chaos. Americans not only built the first true free society, but they did it out of the refugees, exiles, and leavings of Europe. This was a nation built by individualists and nonconformists who tamed the wilderness and conquered the frontier. Government did not build this nation, as Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama falsely claimed, pioneers built it.
Government can only destroy it.
Americans can’t be better collectivists than Chinese Communists. The new Cold War can only be fought and won by a free people. Any other kind will lose.