While foreign policy has been etched off the list of topics for the next presidential debate, to the chagrin of the Trump campaign, the president's former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said it should still be a major concern for Americans, particularly when it comes to China.
“This is a grave challenge, I think, to all the free world. This is because, I think, the Chinese Communist Party is driven by this combination of fear and ambition and it’s driving the party to extend and tighten their exclusive grip on power internally,” McMaster told Cheddar.
In his new book titled, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, McMaster details his time in the Trump White House and how he attempted to shift the dynamics of foreign policy. Specifically, when it comes to China, he said there needs to be continued pressure applied as the communist nation cracks down violently on its own people and to ensure the protection of intellectual properties.
Protecting Personal Data
As TikTok’s presence in the United States remains conditional and temporary pending a federal judge’s decision, McMaster calls the social media platform’s rumored security risk a real threat to Americans. “Do you really expect the Chinese Communist party to treat your son or daughter better than they treat their own people?” McMaster asked.
Trump has contended that the platform is a national security risk because Beijing could demand vast amounts of data from its parent company, China-based ByteDance. McMaster also cited the 2018 charges levied against Chinese nationals accused of hacking global businesses and the U.S. government.
“I think it’s very important not to give the party the access to this data they’re just going to use to try to dominate the emerging data-driven economy, but also, I think, to weaponize against us the way they weaponize it against their own people,” he continued.
The president has suggested a Biden presidency would be weak on the nation. But for McMaster, when it comes to Trump’s handling of China, particularly on the issue of trade, there needs to be a new approach that affects real change.
“I don’t see how steel and aluminum tariffs, for example, on our allies help us cope with the problem associated with Chinese overproduction and dumping practices,” he said of Trump's economic maneuvers meant to put pressure on Beijing.
Global U.S. Concerns
The retired lieutenant general was also critical of the way the Bush and Obama administrations handled China, encouraging the nation to join the international order, calling them both “just flat wrong.”
The election’s winner has to be ready for “competing effectively” as Beijing is still unwilling to join the fold of the “free world,” McMaster said.
While the U.S. faces known opposition from nations like Russia and China, according to McMaster, there are more threats that are not being discussed enough. Among those global U.S. concerns are countries like Pakistan and North Korea, which he said both pose nuclear threats. McMaster also noted the tensions in Afghanistan that could flare again once troops are withdrawn, carving a path for “the Taliban and Jihadist terrorists” to regain power in the region.