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Christian Whiton was a senior advisor for strategic communications in the Trump State Department and an advisor to the Trump presidential transition team

Less than a week before Communist China floated a spy balloon over the United States, a four-star Air Force general warned his officers that America may be at war with Beijing in two years.

‘I hope I am wrong,’ read General Mike Minihan’s memo, dated Feb. 1. ‘My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.’

According to Minihan, a Chinese attack on nearby Taiwan would necessitate American intervention. And he wanted his airmen to be ready when the bullets start flying.

On February 3rd, CIA Director William Burns revealed Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed the ‘People’s Liberation Army to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion’ of Taiwan.

It’s unclear that if indicates a clear Chinese determination to attack. But it’s hardly the behavior of a peaceful neighbor.

And last week, days ahead of Biden’s second State of the Union address, the surveillance balloon marked another turning point – when China’s malign intentions became frighteningly obvious to millions of Americans.

In the past, U.S. officials have been hesitant to recognize that we are in a new Cold War. The Chinese government loves to condemn hawkish Americans for having a ‘Cold War mindset.’

But it’s an opinion shared widely on Capitol Hill – that between creeping surveillance inside America and threatening actions on the world stage – Washington DC and Beijing are headed for greater conflict.

Last week, days ahead of Biden's second State of the Union address, the surveillance balloon marked another turning point – when China's malign intentions became frighteningly obvious to millions of Americans. (Above) Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on March 1, 2022

Last week, days ahead of Biden’s second State of the Union address, the surveillance balloon marked another turning point – when China’s malign intentions became frighteningly obvious to millions of Americans. (Above) Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on March 1, 2022

If Biden wants his State of the Union address to mean anything, he should begin by laying out a strategy to counter China – and that starts by shoring up America’s incredible vulnerabilities by ending our suicidal reliance on this dangerous regime.

Chinese imports peaked in 2018 at $539 billion with Americans purchasing $418 billion more goods from the Chinese than they buy from us.

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In 2018, tariffs enacted by the Trump administration narrowed the trade gap. And the trade deficit dropped from $418 billion to $308 billion in 2020. But then, amid the pandemic, the deficit rebounded to $359 billion in 2022.

For years America has relied on Chinese producers for our manufactured goods, but many are particularly critical life necessities.

A terrifying percentage of America’s active pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China, according to Republican Senator Tom Cotton. That includes 95% of imports of ibuprofen, 70% of acetaminophen and up to 45% of the imported penicillin supply.

What would happen if China simply turned that supply off? They could.

A bill to address this glaring weakness in a vital U.S. supply chain sits dormant in Congress. The ‘Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act’ was introduced just last year. There’s has been no official action on it since March.

America and the free world have also stood by while China dominates the mining and processing of ‘rare earth’ minerals, which are essential to the manufacturing of advanced commercial and military technology.

A terrifying percentage of America's active pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China, according to Republican Senator Tom Cotton. That includes 95% of imports of ibuprofen, 70% of acetaminophen and up to 45% of the imported penicillin supply.

A terrifying percentage of America’s active pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China, according to Republican Senator Tom Cotton. That includes 95% of imports of ibuprofen, 70% of acetaminophen and up to 45% of the imported penicillin supply.

Today, China operates more than 60% of the world’s rare earth mining and more than 90% of rare earth magnet production – a critical item in war-fighting equipment from missiles to radars.

In a prolonged conflict, America could find itself fighting with one-arm tied behind its back as essential components face shortages.

Taiwan, the object of China’s short-term expansion strategy, produces most of the world’s microchips. A Chinese invasion would threaten America’s supply of semiconductors, which are needed to run everything from cars to refrigerators.

How can America possibly still be relying on China for these items three years after the COVID pandemic began and supply chains proved so vulnerable?

There is no good answer to that question.

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Shockingly, the U.S. doesn’t even have sufficient capacity to move goods around the world.

In the 1980s, a Congressional committee determined that America required a fleet of 650 cargo ships to transport the material necessary to fulfill its military and domestic needs, as noted by the Heritage Foundation’s Brent Sadler.

Today, even as the US economy and population have grown substantially, the country has only 180 ships that would be useful in wartime.

Beijing is fully aware of this and would not hesitate to use it to their advantage.

So, what can Biden say in his State of the Union address?

For one, he should pledge to strategically decouple the United States from the Chinese economy. Biden has largely kept up the trade war started by Trump, but it isn’t enough.

He should pledge to raise tariffs even further forcing our supply chain to shift elsewhere. Some manufacturing would come back to the United States, especially if Biden got Congress to write tariffs into law to signal a long-term policy.

America and the free world have also stood by while China dominates the mining and processing of 'rare earth' minerals, which are essential to the manufacturing of advanced commercial and military technology. (Above) Bayan Obo mine containing rare earth minerals, in Inner Mongolia, China on July 16, 2011

America and the free world have also stood by while China dominates the mining and processing of ‘rare earth’ minerals, which are essential to the manufacturing of advanced commercial and military technology. (Above) Bayan Obo mine containing rare earth minerals, in Inner Mongolia, China on July 16, 2011

Taiwan, the object of China's short-term expansion strategy, produces most of the world's microchips. A Chinese invasion would threaten America's supply of semiconductors, which are needed to run everything from cars to refrigerators. (Above) Workers assemble Chevy Bolt EV cars at the General Motors assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan in 2016

Taiwan, the object of China’s short-term expansion strategy, produces most of the world’s microchips. A Chinese invasion would threaten America’s supply of semiconductors, which are needed to run everything from cars to refrigerators. (Above) Workers assemble Chevy Bolt EV cars at the General Motors assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan in 2016

Biden should rhetorically wage political warfare against China’s unpopular government. He can start by spotlighting the oppression of political prisoners, like billionaire media mogul Jimmy Lai, who was arrested in a sickening crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and now faces life in prison.

Biden should treat Taiwan as an asset instead of a liability: the economically vibrant island nation demonstrates that an ethnically Chinese culture can thrive under democracy. It’s a gutting rebuke to Beijing’s tyrannical one-party state.

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Here in the U.S., Biden should call for an end of Chinese regime funding of U.S. universities and a prohibition on Chinese students in technical fields. Beijing has displaced Asian Americans from top American schools with Chinese nationals paying full tuition only to acquire skills to take back to their home country.

And finally, the representatives of would-be global partners – from capitalist Singapore to communist Vietnam – should be in attendance for the address. What could be more poignant than an image of members of a united Congress and Executive branch – making common cause with our allies in the East?

No one wants to be dominated by China. But the region needs explicit presidential encouragement, which is sorely lacking.

Japan is talking about nearly doubling its defense budget but could benefit from a new, bigger allied force. Instead, the administration recently moved some aging F-15 fighter jets out of a U.S. base in Okinawa and replaced them with… nothing.

Today, China operates more than 60% of the world's rare earth mining and more than 90% of rare earth magnet production – a critical item in war-fighting equipment from missiles to radars. (Above) Javelin missile fired by soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team heads toward a target during a live-fire training exercise on April 28, 2022 in Fort Carson, Colorado

Today, China operates more than 60% of the world’s rare earth mining and more than 90% of rare earth magnet production – a critical item in war-fighting equipment from missiles to radars. (Above) Javelin missile fired by soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team heads toward a target during a live-fire training exercise on April 28, 2022 in Fort Carson, Colorado

President Biden repeats – ad nauseum – a story from of one his many conversations with China’s Xi. Whether or not it happened is beside the point.

In this tale, Biden claims Xi told him, ‘democracies cannot be sustained in the 21st century, autocracies will run the world.’

Why?

Because Joe recounts, ‘Things are changing so rapidly. Democracies require consensus, and it takes time, and you don’t have the time.’

Well, Mr. President: Will America prove Xi wrong?

Can America meet the challenge of rising Chinese Communist power with a coherent strategy that starts with an honest assessment of America’s vulnerabilities.

This is your moment to demonstrate that democracies have the will to survive.

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