Armando J. Ibarra: America’s leaders must meet the China challenge head on
Image via AP.

China U.S. Confucius Institute AP
It’s critical that state and federal policymakers continue to meet this challenge head-on.

China is intent on bending the international order to its will, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) grows more brazen every day. Flying a spy balloon over the continental United States was a wake-up call to many Americans, highlighting the CCP threat to U.S. sovereignty and the rules-based international order.

While provocative acts like the spy balloon incident draw international headlines and attention, often unseen are incremental strategic threats from the CCP.

Central to the CCP’s long-term plans are technological and economic dominance. And, technological power, rather than military strength, may serve as China’s primary sword in the near term. It’s well-documented that the CCP is actively using tech to export its authoritarian values. Surveillance, censorship, and manipulation designed to control the dissemination of information around the world could become the international norm if the U.S. and its allies fail to act.

There is an alternate reality where the U.S. is forced to depend on the technology and equipment of adversaries seeking to impose their values upon us and our allies. Sen. Marco Rubio — often outspoken against China — has recently called China “the primary strategic adversary of the United States” and called China out for injecting itself into “our infrastructure and our telecommunications.”

For instance, just one Chinese-based company controls nearly 70% of the world’s market for cranes, meaning the CCP has eyes at nearly every major port across the globe and the ability to disrupt our supply chains and the distribution of food, energy, and goods.

Similarly, China seeks to dominate global telecommunications infrastructure, stealing trillions of dollars of intellectual property and technology, violating international trade agreements, and using state power and subsidies in an attempt to control the world’s means of communication.

Fortunately for Floridians, our state has led the way in rolling back CCP influence. What started a few years ago with our successful initiative to shut down a Confucius Institute and prevent the CCP from getting a foothold in our transit infrastructure, has grown to a robust set of laws to prevent the CCP from indoctrinating our residents, interfering in our state or threatening our infrastructure.

Florida leaders understand the threat and have confronted it head-on, serving as a model for states across America. This year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed historic bills into law, sponsored by Rep. David Borrero and Sens. Tom Collins and Bryan Avila, to protect our food supply and critical infrastructure, defend our children from indoctrination or manipulation, and secure our private health care data from the CCP threat.

As it relates to technology and economic power, the best defense may be a good offense. Policymakers must continue to foster core technologies to ensure we win the high-tech race for global leadership. In an increasingly technology-first world, leading in cutting-edge innovations is critical to advancing and protecting U.S. national, cyber, and economic security.

We must continue to act at all levels of government, to revitalize our industrial base and reshore manufacturing in key sectors. At the national level, we must pass national permitting reform to accelerate the construction of new factories and infrastructure. At the state level, we must pursue creative public-private partnerships to recruit and train a new generation of workers for advanced manufacturing and critical occupations.

Whether we care to admit it or not, we are in the midst of a struggle to redefine international norms. China believes that its strategic advances over decades will allow it to assert its dominance and rewrite the international order, pushing aside the values that we hold dear and threatening American prosperity. It’s critical that state and federal policymakers continue to meet this challenge head-on.

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Armando J. Ibarra is a government affairs executive and policy adviser for companies, organizations, and leaders in the U.S. and Latin America. He serves as President of the Miami Young Republicans and Secretary of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans.

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One comment

  • ScienceBLVR

    May 24, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Oh Armando, I think we Americans already met the enemy and it’s us. Don’t need China to use tech to export its authoritarian values here, have you met our governor and GOP led fascist regime? DeSantis’s policies with regards to public schools, colleges, women, teachers, minorities, LGBTQ* are right out of the CCP playbook. And besides, America just loves that cheap Dollar Tree made in China sheeettt.

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