As we commemorate the 81st anniversary of the infamous Pearl Harbor attack which stirred the American colossus and brought us into the second World War, it is critical to not only mourn the dead, but also to learn the historical lessons that day left for us to discover. Primarily, that means being clear-eyed about the dangers we face and pursuing a policy of deterrence through strength. Today, we face a more existential threat to our nation than even our forebears in the 1930s did: a rising, militaristic, aggressive China led by the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party. Recent events have proven that peril to be just as real.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, hackers linked to the Chinese government have stolen at least $20 million in coronavirus relief funds over the past two years. Compared to the total fraud (nearly $1.5 billion worth) seen in the relief programs passed by Congress since 2020, this is a drop in the bucket. But it speaks to a deeper challenge. It is only one of the hundreds of hacking attacks the group known as APT41 has conducted in the United States or against U.S. actors since the start of the Biden administration. This includes hacks of U.S. state agencies, private companies, and databases with the personal information of millions of Americans. These cyberattacks, conducted with a pretense of plausible deniability by the Chinese Communist Party, are themselves a drop in the bucket of the overall Chinese assault on American hegemony.
China has aggressively militarized international waters and menaced private shipping in one of the busiest transit corridors on the planet. It has expanded its international reach through predatory investment programs, the cooption of international institutions like the World Health Organization to fit its authoritarian agenda, and the establishment of military bases throughout the world. It has weaponized technology through the penetration of 5G systems and its pernicious TikTok app. It has been preparing for a military invasion of Taiwan, a sovereign democratic American ally, for years now. And, of course, it has lied about the spread and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic since late 2019.
All of this shows that China is a major threat to American power and prosperity, seeking to overturn American hegemony and the world order that has made us the preeminent global player. Still, it seems like far too many in our government, business community, and the general public are ignorant of this dangerous challenge — especially as they believe that it has not yet hit us here at home. Unfortunately, this ignorance is a common thread in American history.
The most well-known instance of this trend came on a clear Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On that day of infamy, the United States lost 2,400 servicemen, over a dozen warships, and nearly 300 aircraft to a surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy against our key Pacific naval base. The raid itself may have been a shock to many, but the warning signs were clear, as
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