The threat to our nation's defense from Chinese spy balloons may be the least of it.
In the 19th Century, the British military confronted and defeated Chinese forces, allowing British drug dealers to reap fortunes selling addictive opium to the Chinese population. So powerful was the poppy that Chinese society, for all intents and purposes, collapsed. The destructive force of opium would ensure that the Chinese would suffer centuries of occupation, civil war, economic collapse, and the loss of empire.
The Chinese have never forgotten their humiliation by Western forces. Nor have they forgotten the role of illicit drugs in destroying a once might kingdom.
So while we are not surprised that the Biden Administration can't seem to get its story straight regarding Chinese spy satellites, we are beyond outraged that the White House has failed to respond to China's role of manufacturing in huge amounts the drug fentanyl, which kills at least 70,000 Americans every year. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, it is "the leading cause of death for ages 25-44... far exceeding homicide, suicide, and traffic accidents."
Perhaps better than any other nation on the planet, the Chinese know how illicit drugs can destroy a nation's next generation of leaders, dismantle an economy, impair the strategic defense of a sovereign country, and topple a global power. It happened to them with British sales of opium to their citizens. Now the Chinese are doing the same to the United States with fentanyl.
This Administration has failed to recognize the Chinese threat from above and below. They have either refused to confront the wholesale manufacturing of Chinese fentanyl or cannot devise a strategy to block its import, given the fact that our economy depends on a broad range of Chinese imports. Because President Joe Biden has no answers, even threatening an embargo of Chinese goods would be a self-inflicted wound on our national economy. That has to change.
Perhaps the spy balloons that have humiliated our air defense system may be the spur to finally make America aware of a threat to our shared future.
The award winning historian Niall Ferguson has written an essay that warns, "If a major conflict breaks out with China, America's once-vaunted defense industrial base will be exposed as a comatose geriatric, not a sleeping giant...."
His essay reminds us that a global economy may be a powerful force, but if it robs a once vibrant nation of its ability to manufacture its own essential products, and services, it sets the stage for self-destruction. China's current aerial espionage to take the measure of our military, combined with its insidious drug assault on our youth, sets the stage for America to consider its best defense against a China that seeks to own this century at our expense: Made in America.
Lawrence Kadish serves on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute.