China a Threat to 'Our Way of Life in the US,' Top Pentagon Official Says
John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy warns of country's growth
A top Pentagon official has warned that strategists continue to underestimate China as a threat to the United States as it rises as a global power.
John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said:
“The top of the list is China in terms of [being] the one country, the largest country, with the ability to change our way of life in the United States and to change the global order for good or ill."
“It’s not well-understood by security thinkers that we are again in an ideological competition.”
Rood echoed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent warnings of China’s expanding influence in the Arctic and South America.
He also warned against the notion that China is just a rising economic competitor.
“It's promoting an authoritarian model, and it's closely coupled with military activities: Strategic military activities, intelligence activities and the line between commercial activities in today’s China and those of the state is a very, very thin line that exists mostly on paper,” Rood said.
That habit of mind has driven a diplomatic campaign to discourage allies from partnering with Huawei, the 5G technological pioneer that U.S. officials say is a spying tool.
The Pentagon official said he is not calling for “a return to the Cold War” strategy.
“Trade, commerce, investment all welcome,” he said at the 2019 Aspen Security Forum.
Rood emphasized the importance of maintaining superiority over China in terms of technology.
He noted the Defense Department had requested more funding for research and development than at any point in the last 70 years, with a focus on artificial intelligence.
“I feel very confident if we can get to the point where we are just competing on models for innovation, our model for innovation will beat theirs any day of the week,” Rood said.
“The Chinese recognize that. They know it because they have to steal from it, and that's the central organizing principle of how they’re going to fuel their innovation engine.”
According to predictions from new financial rankings report, the United States will be relegated to the world's third-largest economy by 2030, with China taking the top spot and India in second place.
A British financial services firm is predicting that China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy in a decade while India will assume second place.
This shift in global dominance was predicted by Standard Chartered, which unveils its rankings of the world’s ten largest economies each year.