If I had to use one phrase to describe the relationship between the US and China, I would probably call it something like “frenemies with benefits.” Never in human history (at least to my knowledge) has there been two rival nations that are so dependent on each other.
Ever since the Boxer Rebellion in the late 19th century, The US and China have spent the past century teetering back and forth between friendship and warfare. We helped Western colonial powers suppress China’s anti-imperialist Boxer rebellion in 1900, but then helped China defend itself against the Japanese in World War Two, by secretly funding and training both the Nationalists and the Communists during the war. After Mao Zedong led the communists to victory, we found ourselves fighting his foot soldiers in Korea, and his proxy forces in Vietnam. But as the war was reaching its conclusion, Nixon reopened relations with China, which eventually paved the way for the economic relationship that we now find ourselves in.
Currently it appears to be very one sided, with American consumers spending so much of their money on cheap Chinese goods, but China is in no position to disrupt this relationship. Without the American consumer, China’s rapid rise to global financial supremacy would not be possible, and now that their economic growth is finally beginning to slow down, they can’t afford a real war with the United States.
But alas, we all know that this bizarre relationship can’t last forever. They know it, and we know it. It’s practically inevitable. History makes it clear that Sino-American relations swing like a pendulum every generation or so. It’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves at war once again, which would explain the current tension between our nations.
China appears to be siding with their former Russian enemies as they secure massive gas contracts, conduct joint military exercises, and plot to abandon the dollar at every opportunity. The Chinese have also proven their less then amicable intentions by frequently hacking American computer networks. A cursory Google search on the subject reveals that China has been suspected of hacking the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the US Postal Service, and numerous military contractors, all in the past 6 months. It happens so often that it could hardly be considered news anymore.
What’s more worrisome though, is the interest China has taken in our infrastructure. If you’re wondering why the Chinese would be interested in hacking the NOAA, recent news has made their reasons shockingly clear. In October, a worker for the NOAA was arrested for leaking state secrets to the Chinese government, and what she revealed says everything you need to know about China’s future intentions with the US.
Xiafen “Sherry” Chen, an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) office in Ohio, was arrested in October and charged in a federal grand jury indictment with illegally accessing the Army’s National Inventory of Dams (NID).
The NID is a sensitive database containing information on all US dams. US intelligence officials have said the database was compromised by Chinese hackers in 2013 as part of covert efforts by Beijing to gather sensitive information on critical US infrastructure for possible use in a future conflict.
According to an FBI document in the case made public Dec. 30, Ms. Chen and Jiao Yong, an official of the Ministry of Water Resources in Beijing, exchanged a series of emails in May 2012 indicating that the two met in Beijing that year and that she was searching for, and would provide, dam-related information for him.
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