Voters in a small Michigan township ousted their entire township board over the board's support for building a Michigan-taxpayer subsidized, Chinese battery manufacturing plant in their midst. History might not remember them as among the first Americans to take a stand against the creeping Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence growing in the United States, but their vote should serve as a historic and valiant wake-up call for all Americans and their leaders.
How then should their leaders respond to the valid concerns over the threat posed by the CCP's efforts in America?
The Israeli government's political response to the barbaric Hamas terrorist attack on October 7 shows one potential avenue of response to Communist China's rapidly increasing national security threat – critically, before a crisis or an attack forces a response.
Later on the day of the attack, leaders of four of Israel's opposition parties issued a joint statement in which they said, "In times like these, there is no opposition and coalition in Israel." The statement reinforced the unity of nearly all political parties in Israel to defeat the existential threat posed to Israel by Hamas and Iran.
On October 11, a war cabinet was formed. There was a unity of purpose to protect the Israel today and in the future.
While China has not launched a direct military attack against the United States, it has become conventional wisdom that China poses the greatest geostrategic threat to the U.S. and the West. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CCP, "represents both the leading and most consequential threat to U.S. national security and leadership globally." The U.S. National Defense Strategy also lists China as the top threat, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stating:
"The [People's Republic of China] is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, a power to do so."
The U.S. and its "Five Eyes" national security partners—composed of the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—warned of an existential threat from the Chinese Communist Party that cannot be ignored. In an unprecedented series of meetings in Silicon Valley and with media, the senior officials representing the Five Eyes issued a sharp call to their governments, businesses, and the public about the threat from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the CCP. This is the first time in the more than 80-year existence of the Five Eyes partnership that its leaders have met to share publicly concerns they have.
Summing up the unified message from the Five Eyes partners, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated:
"The People's Republic of China represents the defining threat of this generation this era. There is no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our - our innovation, our economic security, and ultimately our national security."
The head of Australia's security service, Mike Burgess, added:
"All countries seek strategic advantage. But the [PRC's] behavior we're talking about here goes well beyond traditional espionage. This scale of theft is unprecedented in human history."
In the same interview, the Five Eyes officials noted, "Chinese companies are overseen by the Communist Party, and for many, espionage is a sideline on behalf of the PRC." They also raised alarms about the building of industrial sites in Five Eye countries that actually might be covers for Chinese spying, with Wray confirming that the FBI sees economic projects in the U.S. by Chinese companies that clearly raise national security concerns. He added:
"We have seen over and over again [China's] efforts to really stop at almost nothing to intimidate people who would have the audacity here in the United States where we have freedom of speech to express criticism of the [Chinese] regime."
The threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party is further magnified by the massive U.S. national debt that exceeds $33 trillion and counting. There are multiple reasons why excessively high national debt may be dangerous, including the interest on the national debt that now exceeds $1 trillion a year – before we pay any other expense. Not only could this force cutbacks in key programs; the most significant reason the national debt is a strategic problem is that if China attacks the U.S. or U.S. interests abroad, it will make responding more difficult due to fiscal constraints.
In World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill formed a wartime cabinet to unify the UK to fight the threats the country faced.
In 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a war cabinet to confront and defeat Hamas.
In light of the recent, stark warnings given by the Five Eyes security leaders on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and so many others, it is time for the U.S. to propose an economic and national security "war" cabinet to coordinate, strategize, and implement plans to address the China challenge as well as the national debt's impact on our ability to confront it.
Peter Hoekstra is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. He was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He also served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Second District of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.