The pandemic led to partial travel limitations that were never properly implemented or sustained, but another reminder that Chinese tourism may put some money in our pockets, but it takes a lot more out.
Speaking alongside his British counterpart in London on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray called China the “biggest long-term threat” to both the U.S. and the U.K.
“We’ve even caught people affiliated with Chinese companies out in the U.S. heartland, sneaking into fields to dig up proprietary, genetically modified seeds, which would have cost them nearly a decade and billions in research to develop themselves,” Wray said. “And those efforts pale in comparison to their lavishly-resourced hacking program that’s bigger than that of every other major country combined.”
The Chinese, Wray said, use cyber to “steal” volumes of information. He said U.S. officials are working with MI5, the British intelligence service, to identify other investments that the Chinese government makes in proxy relationships — a kind of third-party venue through which China steals information.
The big Cold War bet was that open societies and free markets would defeat closed Communist ones which would not be able to compete or deliver prosperity to their people, and that the dangers of opening our society was less for us than for them.
It was a good bet as far as Russia and most Communist systems went.
Most sane non-libertarian and CoC types, e.g. Mitt Romney, will acknowledge that we lost the bet with China.
The CCP was able to build a closed nationalistic society with a hybrid Communist-capitalist oligarchal system that takes advantage of our open society while maintaining a closed society. This was Lenin’s ideal that the Stalin era and Soviet bureaucracy wrecked and that later apparatchiks, culminating with Gorbachev, dreamed of recovering, but never could.
China pulled it off because of strong national cohesion, a strong work ethic, and our own weakness.
The internet is emblematic of how we try to open up while China maintains its great firewall while picking us clean and then building apps, like TikTok, targeting us.
But so is international travel. We have massive numbers of Chinese operatives on American soil. And the Biden administration has shut down efforts to stop them. Wray talks about stopping the espionage, but you can’t do that without border security. And we’ve already seen, our border is open, not just to illegals, but to travelers.
And that’s something else we may wish to rethink.