Does China's Growing Power Threaten America?

"It’s not as much fun as it used to be," “said Ronald N. Montaperto, a professor at the National Defense University whom the Blue Team considers soft on China." Debate has become very personal and very political, and frequently generates more heat than light." This quote is from a Washington Post interview in 2000. Montaperto recently admitted he was a spy for China.

I read with keen interest Edward Timperlake’s article in HUMAN EVENTS on Montaperto last week titled, "Spy Case May Offer Clues How Chinese Missile Ended Up in Hezbollah’s Arsenal."

For more than a decade there has been divisive debate within the U.S. foreign policy community centered on whether China’s growing power is a threat to America’s national security. In a nut shell, there are two camps, the so-called “Blue and Red Teams.” Simply put, the Blue teamers consider China’s rising power a threat, whereas Red teamers believe Beijing poses little threat to the United States. Mr. Montaperto, advocated a policy of cooperation with China and for years was influential in defense policy circles, first as a DIA analyst, and most recently as Dean of Academics at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

For the most part, Red team views have dominated within government and academia with Blue teamers often excluded from participation in academic fora, shut out of key policy positions, and ridiculed as right wing cold warriors.

My own experience as a senior national security analyst on the congressionally mandated U.S. China Commission is illustrative of the often subtle dominance of red team influence and the impact on American policy.

Several Commissioners, and certain staff members, sought to focus the China Commission’s efforts on the threats posed by Beijing’s failure to curb the proliferation of a range of weaponry and technology, its military build up, and its assistance to Iran as well as other state sponsors of terror.

Early on, my work on the Commission led me to conclude that China was trading weapons and technology with Middle Eastern countries opposed to the United States.

In exchange for oil concessions, countries such as Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, became major beneficiaries of China’s arms trade and other technical assistance.

Beijing’s “oil diplomacy,” is part of a larger geopolitical objective; to cultivate influence with anti-American governments and counter U.S. global power. This is evident in the United Nations Security Council where China consistently blocks U.S. initiatives such as attempts to sanction Iran. The research was based on unclassified open sources of material, and was first reported in one chapter of the Commission’s 2002 report to Congress.

Despite the increasing threats to national security, and against the backdrop of September 11th, 2001, the Commission’s limited resources were directed to trade and economic issues. No argument, the impact of our trade imbalance with the People’s Republic is important, but the issue of WMD in the hands of terrorists should be a significantly higher priority.

During my three year tenure, the “security hardliners” were marginalized and quit in frustration or were forced out. Amazingly many analysts are surprised to find that Iran’s surrogate, Hezbollah, possesses Chinese missiles being used to attack Israel.

Blue team analysts have been raising red flags for years, and a look at even unclassified material lays bare the facts. One wonders what color eye shades many U.S. China “experts” use in their assessments .

Chalk one up for the red team.