- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2000

You probably are not aware that Chinese government and military leaders are preparing for war with the United States around the year 2030. The Chinese believe that it will take them that long to get geared up and that our power will be on the wane by the time they are ready.

Think about it for a moment. How does it strike you that a large country with a population four times the size of ours, equipped by the Clinton administration with our latest nuclear missile and warhead technology and supercomputers, is preparing to take our place as the "hegemonic" power?

It's not true, you say. A comforting response, but, alas, unless the Pentagon fabricated the 600 strategic writings by 200 Chinese authors that it analyzed in a recent study, it is true.

Keep in mind, also, that this study came out of a very China-friendly Pentagon. It is also the work of a feminized Defense Department that is a far cry from the swashbucklers of old.

In other words, the situation is, no doubt, worse than the Pentagon has comprehended.

Confronting the Chinese war plan on a personal level is stressful, so let's confront it as a society. But first, we have to learn about it, something we cannot take for granted considering the politicized character of our media.

If the story gets out as much as I regret it, not enough people see this column the media will focus on the Pentagon's motives and not the Chinese's. The Pentagon's study will be ruthlessly attacked as a ploy for a bigger defense budget or as propaganda in behalf of a "Star Wars" missile defense system.

Another line of response will be that, although some Chinese are thinking war, the Chinese people would never support such a plan. China, a closed society endeavoring to open itself in order to overcome economic backwardness, is itself under stress and could fall apart, as the Soviet Union did, long before it is ready to challenge the United States. The appropriate response for us, cool heads will say, is to foster cooperation, interdependence and open lines of communication.

Together these two responses discredit "alarmists" and reassure the population. China, with the patience of a civilization thousands of years old, prepares, while a two-century-old immature "hegemon" disarms itself with words.

This is, of course, not how the Romans would have handled China. It is not easy to imagine Romans learning over their morning beverage that "Carthage is preparing for war with Rome" and forgetting the news by the time they arrived at work.

If Rome had come across information that another country was preparing to challenge it, the Romans would have disposed of the potential threat before it could materialize.

If we were to respond in a Roman way, we would be denounced as hegemonic warmongers. Our universities would erupt with protests, and the media would denounce our leaders. The U.N. would declare them to be war criminals.

All we can do is produce a limited-circulation report, watch the situation, try to stay technologically ahead and hope the Chinese change.

Romans could be resolute with their foes because they valued what they had and intended to keep it. This remained true even after Rome became a multicultural empire.

For us, multiculturalism is a weapon for splintering consensus and afflicting the white population with guilt. Any white person who undergoes a university education comes out either ashamed of his country or aware of the impotence of truth in the face of phony historical myths, which are infecting our population with a growing indifference to the fate of our country.

If the Chinese were to comprehend the damage that our own elites have done to our self-confidence and sense of worth as a people, they might decide to move up their timetable. With so much under assault from within, Chinese strategic thinkers may be overestimating the difficulty they will have with us.

Paul Craig Roberts is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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