Today is known in college football circles as “rivalry week.” This is that very special weekend when heated interstate, or traditional, contests are played out. You can forget records because these games are all about pride and bragging rights. Many of the players lining up on rivalry week know each other well, probably played on the same high school football team. The intensity of these games are like no other . . . just look at what happened during the Mississippi State vs. Mississippi game Thanksgiving night, the infamous Egg Bowl. You have the “Civil War” between Oregon and Oregon State. You have that vicious rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan, it’s an ugly one. There is the battle for the “Apple Cup” between Washington and Washington State. Some rivalries are cross-country, like Notre Dame and USC, but just as passionate. And we down south know about those intense match-ups between Alabama and Auburn, Florida and Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M, and Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt.
But, I want y’all to all remember that these are just games, and what is at stake is truly local pride. I can tell you, losing for three years to Vanderbilt would be devastating for any Tennessee Volunteer fan. So, what I want to share with you is a real rivalry that is taking place, and there is much more than bragging rights, or pride, at stake.
As reported by Reuters:
“China has installed a new platform on a remote part of the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea which could be used for military purposes, according to recent satellite images reviewed by a U.S. think tank.
The strategic waterway is claimed almost in its entirety by China, whose continued building of military and other installations on artificial islands and reefs there has unnerved the region and angered Washington.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies said the images showed a “modest new structure” on Bombay Reef, topped by a radome and solar panels.
“The development is interesting given Bombay Reef’s strategic location, and the possibility that the structure’s rapid deployment could be repeated in other parts of the South China Sea,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
The purpose of the platform and radome was unclear, but it could be for military use, it said.
“The reef is directly adjacent to the major shipping lanes that run between the Paracels and the Spratly Islands to the south, making it an attractive location for a sensor array to extend Chinese radar or signals intelligence collection over that important sea lane,” the group said.
China’s Defence Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.”
There is a quote attributed to George Santayana, circa 1928, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I ask you: when was the last time we witnessed an Asian nation expanding its hegemonic dominance by way of militarizing islands in the Pacific Ocean? Japan was once very dependent on US steel and oil shipments, which we decided to cut off, based upon the brutality of its invasions in the Pacific Rim. And of course, Japan responded to our economic sanctions with a “day that will live in infamy,” the early Sunday morning attack on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, along with other vital airfields in Hawaii.
Perhaps there are those who believe China is not a major threat, competitor, rival, to the United States. I am not one of them. I would firmly assert that China is our number one geopolitical threat, rival. If you don’t believe so, just take a gander at the Chinese strategic “One Belt, One Road” initiative, along with the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China is constructing facilities and has troops stationed in a line extending from Djibouti, where we have a base of operations, back to China itself. China is currently sea testing its first domestically made aircraft carrier, and on these man-made islands, they are implacing surface to ship missiles, no coincidence there.
Ever since gaining entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) China has consistently violated all trade norms and agreements. And we know all about the theft of American intellectual property and the forced transfers of technology. China is ruled by Xi Jinping who has declared himself Emperor, and we know about the persecution of Christians and the abject level of state censorship that render free speech and freedom of the press, expression, non-existent.
So, how do we deal with this global, geopolitical rival that has made their intentions well-known? We must first take them on economically. As anyone can explain, the Chinese have learned that the Soviet Union collapsed economically, not militarily. Therefore, the ChiComs, as some describe them, have learned that a repressive communist regime can use capitalist, free-market economic principles to sustain their militaristic expansionism, not to improve the quality of life for its citizens. And what has the Chinese salivating at this time, Democrats taking over the US House of Representatives, meaning the House Armed Services Committee.
At a time when Islamic jihadism still looms as a dark specter, we are witnessing the rise of a near-peer competitor in China, a resolute rival. Next week, the G20 meeting in Brazil will be critical as President Trump sits with the reincarnation of Chairman Mao, Emperor for life Xi Jinping. If we blink at this time, we could set ourselves on a very dangerous path. We need to rally allies in the Pacific Rim, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, and yes, Vietnam, to create a strong alliance against this burgeoning threat, and yes, that is what it is.
Always remember, we have been watching this happen and previous presidential administrations did nothing in the face of Chinese belligerence. That inaction has brought us to this seminal point, a time for action.
This Saturday our favorite college football teams will take on their rivals, losing may suck, but we get over it come Sunday morning, or within a week or so. But, for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who take the field every day, losing to a rival like China will have lasting ramifications for our America and the world. China is led by a dictator, and please, progressive socialists, spare me your emotional faux comparisons. China is going about the world extorting subjugation. There is a lot at stake against this rival, let’s not be doomed to repeat history.
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.