The comprehensive nature of issues discussed during Xi Jinping’s visit once again illuminated the extent of China’s political and social influence in the United States. On October 6, The Heritage Foundation, in cooperation with The Project 2049 Institute, cosponsored the public program event “Influence Operations: Chinese Political Warfare in East Asia and Beyond.”
The event featured a panel of Heritage and Project 2049 policy experts.
China’s “Three Warfares”
The panel concluded that China’s regional and global sociopolitical influence has not come about accidentally. China’s ascension to the world stage has been marked by a pattern of strategic, psychological maneuvers. This pattern is part of a broader set of political warfare efforts, known as the “three warfares”: psychological, legal, and public opinion warfare.
Regardless of whether these attacks are official military operations or the work of non-state actors, the Chinese government has intentionally placed a real fear of cyber attacks into the American psyche. The ever present threat of computer hacking and cyber attacks originating from China can erode the American sense of security. The past decade of countless cyber attacks on small businesses and the more recent major corporate and government hacks have left Americans asking, “Are we still safe?”
Perceived power can be just as effective as actual power. At the end of the day, China’s cyber war capabilities are largely unknown. China’s capabilities might live up to the fearful American perception, but then again, they might not. Therein lies the success of China’s influence operations.
An Appropriate U.S. Response
The first response to China’s influence operations is clear: The U.S. cannot expect to win a game that it refuses to acknowledge.
Full article: Masters of Psychological Warfare: How the Chinese Are Winning a Secret War (The Daily Signal)