Back in 1971, when I was a teenage sailor serving on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, I recall when a Communist Chinese minesweeper came dangerously close to the carrier as we sailed from “Yankee Station” off the coast of North Vietnam to the Philippines.
The Chinese warship was adorned with oversized white propaganda banners in Chinese, so most of the American sailors couldn’t read them, but our captain had an intelligence officer translate the banners. The captain announced over the ship’s public address system that the banners read, “Down with U.S. Imperialism,” “Down with Nixon” and “Down with U.S. Navy war criminals.”
The captain informed us that he had sent the Chinese a message in response to the banners, “Since you are so down with everything, up yours!”
The Chinese made no secret that America was their avowed enemy in 1971, and according to Bill Gertz’s “Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy,” we remain their avowed enemy today.
Mr. Gertz, a Washington Times national security columnist and author of several books on intelligence, the military and national security threats, offers a sobering look at the growing threat from Communist China and its ambition to replace the United States as the world’s No. 1 military and economic power in the world.
In “Deceiving the Sky,” a follow-up to Mr. Gertz’s “The China Threat: How the People’s Republic Targets America,” which was published in 2000, Mr. Gertz notes that for more than 20 years, a willful blindness had descended over both Democratic and Republican administrations that operated on a false assumption: They believed that by simply conducting business with China, the Communist Chinese would eventually evolve into a free market and democratic system.
“Today, however, the failure of that decades-long policy has resulted in an expansive hard-line Communist regime headed by a supreme leader with unchecked powers matching those of Mao — General Secretary Xi Jinping,” Mr. Gertz writes. “The new leader who took power in 2012 has ruled with an iron fist and made Communist ideology the centerpiece of a Chinese drive for world domination, not just China.”
How that failure came about is the subject of “Deceiving the Sky.”
“China is steeped in ancient strategy, and the title, ‘Deceiving the Sky,’ comes from an ancient Chinese strategy used by generals to win battles called ‘Deceive the sky to cross the ocean,’” Mr. Gertz explains.
According to legend, Mr. Gertz tells us, an emperor was hesitant to launch a military campaign against neighboring Koguryo (now Korea). One of his generals had the emperor go to dinner at the home of a wealthy peasant. As the emperor entered the house, the house moved. The emperor had been tricked onto a boat headed for battle. Rather than disembark, he ordered the military campaign to go forward and the battle was won.
“For Chinese Communist leaders, deceiving the sky is integral to masking true goals and intentions — first to achieve regional hegemony and ultimately world domination under the boot of the Communist Party of China,” Mr. Getz writes. “For China today, the strategy reflects the Marxist maxim that the ends justify the means.”
The author explains that it is another way of describing the Communist strategy of using all means of warfare against the United States — the sole obstacle to China becoming the most powerful nation on Earth.
In one chapter, Mr. Gertz recounts the Obama administration’s disgraceful response to a Chinese official who was what is called in the intel game, a “walk-in.” In the Chinese city of Chongqing, the city’s vice mayor and a senior Chinese Communist Party security official named Wang Lijun entered the U.S. Consulate in 2012.
He had top-secret intelligence that he was willing to give America in return for asylum. But due to President Obama’s policy of appeasing China, we handed him back to the Chinese to be imprisoned and perhaps killed, and we lost out on vital intelligence about the Chinese.
The book also details the Chinese military build-up, especially in space, and how Chinese spies who are stealing American corporate and government secrets aid that build-up. The book further describes how China is a technological totalitarian government that monitors their people to eliminate dissent, as well as the government’s attempt to control the Internet.
Mr. Gertz describes President Trump as a powerful hawk on China who is adamant that dealing with the Chinese threat be among his highest priorities, so the tide is turning.
“Deceiving the Sky” is a well-researched and well-written clarion call for the United States and other Western nations to truly understand Communist China’s dangerous ambitions, and to take the necessary steps to counter China’s evil empire.
• Paul Davis covers crime, espionage and terrorism.
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DECEIVING THE SKY: INSIDE COMMUNIST CHINA’S DRIVE FOR GLOBAL SUPREMACY
By Bill Gertz
Encounter Books, $25.99, 256 pages
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.