China is painstakingly implementing a 100-year strategic plan aimed at overtaking the United States as the world’s dominant superpower or hegemon by 2049 according to Michael Pillsbury’s authoritative 2015 national best seller, The Hundred Year Marathon. Pillsbury’s keen insights not only provide a foundation for understanding how China plans to supplant the US, but how it is covertly responding to the existence of secret space programs developed by the US military industrial complex, and what China plans to do in response in order to achieve dominance both on Earth and in space.
Pillsbury is a China expert who has worked with the US Department of Defense, State Department, and Congress for over four decades, since 1975. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he has had unrivaled access to top Chinese military and political leaders during his professional career and is very familiar with the policies and plans of China’s ruling Communist Party elite, especially the military hawks who exert great influence behind the scenes. Currently, Pillsbury is a top advisor to President Donald Trump on US-China relations.
Pillsbury begins his highly detailed book by describing how top Chinese leaders cunningly use the historical period of the Warring States (475-221 BC) to develop their strategic planning for engaging with the US. In short, the Warring States period was a time when up to seven ethnic Chinese kingdoms competed amongst themselves for hegemony and dominance over their rivals.
Pillsbury explains how a ruling hegemon (the US in contemporary times) would be undermined by an aspiring hegemon (China), by means of stealth, cunning, and deception as practiced by different kingdoms during the Warring States period. He cogently explains how such goals require long term thinking by China as the aspiring hegemon that lacks the political and military power to directly confront the ruling US hegemon until it has been sufficiently weakened by internal and external strife.
Chinese military and political leaders began their 100-year marathon in 1949, Pillsbury explains, after the victory of the Communist Party and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Initially, China relied on the Soviet Union to help it industrialize and to modernize its vast military. After their political falling out in the 1960’s and military clashes along their shared borders, China’s Communist Party began secret overtures to the West.
It was Chairman Mao who covertly reached out to President Nixon, Pillsbury points out, and not the other way around as many erroneously believe. Initial relations between China and the US were genuinely positive since both had much to fear from the Soviet Union. All that changed with the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Chinese school textbooks changed dramatically. Previously positive descriptions of US history and democratic ideals, which had been extensively cited by Chinese students at the Tiananmen protests, were now overwhelmingly negative. Future generations of Chinese students were indoctrinated to believe that the US has been humiliating and abusing China since the mid-1800s.
Previously positive descriptions of President Lincoln (1861-1865), for example, were now overwhelmingly negative. Pillsbury explained how Chinese students came to be taught the ridiculous proposition that Lincoln was busy undermining China’s sovereignty, during the US Civil War. Essentially, China’s Communist Party was ensuring that there would be no repeat of the Tiananmen Square protest were the youth were citing positive US democratic ideals and personalities, which had been deeply embarrassing to Party elders.
Pillsbury then explains how China opened its doors to western industries and economic innovation as part of its modernization effort. Using strategies taken directly from the Warring States period, the Communist Party feigned openness to democratic political ideals, while ruthlessly clamping down on ethnic minorities and political dissidents, and blocking genuine democratic reforms.
The goal was to lure Western nations into a false sense of complacency where the common assumption was that China would inevitably change in the future as its huge economy opened to Western influence. Pillsbury emphasized that such future democratic changes were a chimera since the Chinese military and political elite were driven not by Western ideals, but by their understanding of what history revealed about how an aspiring hegemon needed first to undermine and then supplant a ruling hegemon.
He points out that China had no intention of helping the US and its allies establish a stable world order, but instead aimed at undermining it so as to usher in a world order where China would be the dominant power.
Pillsbury provides many examples of how China has assisted various rogue states and groups around the world, such as Afghanistan’s Taliban. Just as the U.S. secretly used extremist groups to weaken the Soviet Union during the Cold War, now China was covertly doing the same through economic development and arms supplies to nations that challenged US policies.
As far as economic development is concerned, Pillsbury explains how China is at the forefront of industrial espionage, counterfeiting efforts, theft of intellectual property, hacking and other unscrupulous practices. The goal is to help China’s state-owned enterprises (which numbered over 140,000 companies in 2011), cheat, steal, manipulate, and outmaneuver Western companies that establish a commercial presence in mainland China.
When it comes to outer space, Pillsbury explains how China has been using these unscrupulous practices to develop its own conventional space program, with the goal of projecting a military presence into space. While the Trump administration is in the midst of creating of Space Force as the sixth branch of the US military, China has had an “Aerospace Force” up and running since 2014.
China’s Aerospace Force was created as the fifth branch of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) as explained in an article titled “China’s Military Creates New Space Force” published in The Diplomat by Zachary Keck on September 10, 2014. A speech by President Xi was summarized by a Chinese space expert cited by Keck as a clear endorsement of Chinese militarization of space in response to US and other nations already having done so:
The United States has paid considerable attention and resources to the integration of capabilities in both air and space, and other powers have also moved progressively toward space militarization… Though China has stated that it sticks to the peaceful use of space, we must make sure that we have the ability to cope with others’ operations in space.
The problem is that Pillsbury, and the US public more generally, is largely unaware of the extent of the US military’s true presence in outer space, and mistakenly assume that Space Force will be the official start of US militarization of space. However, as I have extensively documented in my Secret Space Program Book series, both the US Air Force and the US Navy have independent secret space programs that have projected their respective military power deep into space.
These two parallel US military-run space programs have been in operation since the 1970s, while the general public was hoodwinked into believing that the only US presence in space was through NASA’s civilian-run space program.
China, however, is well aware of the truth behind covert US military space operations once it began sending satellites into Earth orbit in the 1970s. China’s growing space surveillance capacities allowed it to track US military space operations, especially the construction of secret military space stations operated by the USAF and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
In Book Four of my series, the USAF Secret Space Program, I discuss 825 declassified NRO documents that show how the USAF and NRO used the allegedly discontinued Manned Orbiting Laboratory project as the cover for sending laboratory modules into space that could be configured to establish Von Braun type space stations, i.e., modules assembled into a circular configuration.
These secret USAF/NRO space stations provide ideal weapons platforms capable of extending US military force all over the planet from the high ground of space. China, like other major nations with satellite surveillance capacities, is well aware of the USAF/NRO space stations and their potential military capabilities.
China insists that it is only attempting to match the US militarization of space, but given the gap between the development of the US military’s presence in space, and China’s more recent efforts, it will take China many years to catch up. This is why Pillsbury’s book is important since it outlines the unscrupulous practices China is willing to adopt in order to bridge the gap in space technologies.
For example, the real scandal behind the hacking of the Hillary Clinton email servers during her tenure as Secretary of State (2009-2013), is the role played by China, and the likelihood that it was all part of an elaborate pay-to-play scheme to leak classified space technologies. As I have written previously, Clinton had security access to Talent Keyhole space technologies classified within Special Access Programs (SAPs) and discussed these in emails stored on her servers.
This was corroborated by no less than the Inspector General for the US Intelligence Community who identified the various security levels of emails stored on Clinton’s hacked servers:
To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET/SAP levels. According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources.
According to the anonymous military intelligence group QAnon, Clinton was indeed involved in a pay-to-play scheme with China to leak advanced technology secrets.
Pillsbury’s conclusions dictate the different steps the US needs to take to stop China from achieving its goals and appear very sensible given what he has outlined. His influence can be seen in President Trump’s increasingly tough policies on China, which have ushered in a new era in US-China relations.
Despite the incisive analysis provided by Pillsbury, there are a number of deficiencies in his book which largely reflect a conventional world view that nation-state behaviors are driven by public officials nominally in charge of major political, military and economic institutions.
Pillsbury shows no understanding or recognition of the existence of a Deep State and how it manipulates public officials to pass policies that promote a hidden agenda. A good example is how President Trump’s first two years in office were hamstrung by Russia collusion claims that poisoned prospects of Trump and Putin collaborating to solve major world problems. The Deep State had no intention of the US and Russia collaborating on the world scene and used compromised public officials to promote a false narrative that was aided and abetted by the mainstream media.
Most disturbing is growing evidence that the Deep State is actively assisting China in its covert efforts to lie, steal and cheat its way to technological parity with the US both on Earth and in outer space. It’s no accident that Clinton and other leading US politicians such as Joe Biden and Diane Feinstein have been accused of helping China gain access to sensitive technologies, which is precisely what the Deep State wants as QAnon has been revealing for well over a year.
Is it a good or bad thing if China continues to use unscrupulous practices to catch up to what the US military has secretly developed and deployed in space? From a Chinese national security perspective, it is entirely understandable why China is doing whatever it can to bridge a technological gap in outer space since this gap makes China vulnerable to US political and military pressure.
From the US national security perspective, China is a totalitarian communist state that is profiting from the West’s naivety in opening their economies in the forlorn hope that China will usher in democratic reforms. The danger is that as China grows into the world’s largest economy, it will use its economic clout to prop up repressive political systems that will be natural allies to its one-party totalitarian system.
China’s totalitarian system is something that the Deep State desperately wants to expand onto the world stage since a concentration of political power will be far easier to infiltrate and take over than democratic political systems with their complex system of checks and balances, as exemplified in the US.
That is why the Deep State is currently helping China bridge the technology gap with the US, and helping them develop a secret space program that rivals what the US Air Force and Navy have secretly developed. Space is where the real battle between the ruling hegemon (US) and the aspiring hegemon (China) will be determined, and where China’s plans to supplant the US as the ruling hegemon will be ultimately resolved.
© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice
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