SEN. GRASSLEY: China has been playing us for suckers

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I want to discuss the national security threats facing our country.



A recent poll showed that 45 percent of Americans acknowledge that China is the greatest threat to the United States. 


A year ago, only half that number thought so.


Frankly, this year, no other nation came particularly close: Russia, North Korea, Iran, were all far behind.


Half of Americans believe China is the world’s leading economic power, a record 63 percent say the economic power of China is a critical threat to the US.


The American people are smart.


They are perceiving exactly what is happening.


China wants to supplant the United States as the greatest nation and the greatest economy in the world.


And China will do it, if we are blind to the danger.


Everywhere I see the threat of China’s rise minimized. 


Just yesterday, I saw a very curious thing in a Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Foreign Threats to the 2020 US Federal Elections.


The Intelligence Community determined that China did not engage in pervasive election meddling, but noted that it was in part because of risks associated with doing so.


The IC determined that China would not be excited if former President Trump had won the 2020 election because he would, and I quote, “challenge China’s rise.”


The National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues, in particular, found that the government of China wanted former President Trump to be defeated in the general election, preferring, and I quote, “the election of a more predictable member of the establishment instead” and “China took at least some steps to undermine former President Trump’s reelection chances, primarily through social media and official public statements and media.”


Yet some in the news media read this same report I read and declared triumphantly, and falsely, that there was nothing to fear from China in terms of influencing our elections. 


It’s pretty clear why China would not want a president unafraid to assert American national interests.


That means demanding reciprocal trade, secure borders and a defense policy focused on American national security.


China has been playing us for suckers.


China continues to try to expand its influence globally, including in international bodies like the World Bank and the World Health Organization, for example. 


It doesn’t seek to play by the rules, but to exploit its influence for its own advantage at the expense of the United States and other free countries.


In this same assessment, I saw that Iran, another enemy, also wanted to defeat a strong American president, and sow division.


Many others: Lebanese Hizballah, the government of Cuba and the Maduro government of Venezuela – they all had the same idea.


They all wanted to defeat President Trump.


Only Russia seems to have preferred him according to this assessment.


Although, I remember reading a year ago, during the primaries, that Senator Bernie Sanders was also a favorite of Russia.


He had to have a defensive briefing, because Russia wanted to help his campaign. 


Also, remember it was then Vice President Biden who first announced the naive and disastrous Obama “reset” appeasement policy toward Russia.  


This coming in the wake of Russia’s invasion of our ally, Georgia, arguably gave Putin the idea he could get away with invading Ukraine.


Let’s also take this moment to recall that when the Obama Justice Department and FBI saw threats from Russia during the 2016 election, they didn’t defensively brief Trump and his team. 


Instead, they opened Crossfire Hurricane, and outrageously used briefings to Trump and his associates as intelligence gathering operations and ultimately wasted years of taxpayer money and time.


Abraham Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we lose our freedoms it will be because we have destroyed ourselves from within.”


In fact, the goal of what the KGB calls “active measures” like disinformation since Soviet times has been to pit Americans against each other to cause us to destroy ourselves.


Which brings me to another related point.


As I see this seat of democracy fortified with walls and barbed wire, while the people – the citizen, the taxpayer – are kept out, I can’t help but think about where we go from here.


Yet, the Democrats can only speak of destroying the filibuster during these difficult times.


When I hear talk of destroying the filibuster, the very tool that forces bipartisanship and ensures that those representing all Americans are heard, and that Americans act as one, being abolished forever, I am worried.


If the slimmest of majorities is about to impose its will on the other half of the country from inside an armed bunker, the Russians will have achieved their ultimate goal.


We are not our own enemies, to be silenced and fenced out.


We are one nation.


And we must pull together and acknowledge what it means when countries like China and Iran – our enemies and adversaries – don’t want us to put our own country’s interests first.


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