Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz said Tuesday that the United States is in a cold war with the Chinese Communist Party waged globally and tactically in small theaters like the Panama Canal and the mountains of western Argentina.
Waltz has grown increasingly vocal with hawkish views of the American relationship with China, joining two other Florida Republicans, Sen. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, in a drumbeat of criticism and alarm over China’s agenda and means to counter American global power. Scott earlier had declared he believes the United States and China are in a cold war, akin to the 45-year dangerous rivalry between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Rubio has been almost as hawkish but hasn’t quite used the words “cold war” yet to describe the relationship.
Waltz has now.
“We are, I believe, in a cold war with the Chinese Community Party. They are certainly in one with us,” Waltz said as the guest speaker at a U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Zoom conference on foreign affairs, for military veterans.
“As a country, we need to get on that footing,” Waltz said. “It’s not just a whole-of-a-government response. It’s a whole-of-society response. When we look at things that are happening in the technology, space, in our universities, in our capital markets, where the Chinese are rapidly pulling ahead, and talking about, openly, replacing the American Dream and American leadership around the world with the Chinese Dream and Chinese leadership.”
Waltz is a Green Beret combat veteran, a former senior policy adviser in the Pentagon, and currently a colonel in the Army National Guard.
In his comments to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, he also expressed his commitment to diplomacy and to American spending to support diplomatic efforts and development around the world, provided they are backed by American military strength.
Waltz expressed strong concerns about the United Nations’ efforts, and President Joe Biden‘s support for them, to create a new balance of power in Afghanistan involving the Taliban.
He also expressed his observation that in countries that encourage the education of girls and empowerment of women, women thrive in the society and economy, while “extremism does not.” He noted he is Co-Chair of the House’s Women, Peace and Security Caucus “with one of the more liberal members of Congress,” Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach.
But it was China that got Waltz rolling Tuesday. He called for a broader and deeper response to the Chinese government that he said is not only pushing toward world dominance but is in many ways being bankrolled by American capitalism happy to seek profits there. That has to stop, he said.
Waltz said China, in part using money raised from America, has bought up ports in Panama and is in position to control access to both sides of the canal, or at least to control access to the commercial infrastructure. “While I was down there, one of our frigates, wanted to — at least as I was told — wanted to stop in for repairs, and was denied,” Waltz said.
He said China was able to leverage debts from the Argentinian government to gain control of a mountain range. Now China has placed a satellite tracking station in those mountains that is in line with the polar-orbital routes used by the American military for launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
“They’re doing this around the world, with ports, with grids, with key terrain as they expand their presence in space, on both sides of the Suez Canal as well, buying into both of those free trade zones, so they are using economic tools to seize critical terrain that has key military applications,” Waltz said.