Monday, October 24, 2016

Culture Wars: Cold War 2.0

            In light of the recent DDoS attack that suspiciously relied on Chinese products, let’s discuss the renewed cold war. The US faces increasing hostilities with China and Russia. Chinese leaders have been preparing for this confrontation for a long time. Cultural warfare and psychological warfare are a few of the strategies discussed in Unrestricted Warfare. Written in 1999 by two Air Force colonels and political officers in the People’s Liberation Army, the memo describes the costliness of direct military action and establishes unconventional means the Chinese government could take to undermine United States dominance in international affairs. Under the state capitalist model, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) employs such strategies to extend the Party’s influence globally. The Chinese government seeks to control the world’s perception of China and the Party. To achieve this goal, the CCP has intelligently used its economic power to gain influence. The Chinese government seeks tighter control of the internet globally. More importantly, China is influencing Hollywood and buying global media firms.
Post-apocalyptic nuclear fallout? Might as well be.
            The US is in the process of relinquishing control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to an international organization. IANA regulates domain name registrations for websites, handles the Domain Name System (DNS) to ensure internet users are directed to the websites they intend to visit, and also handles internet protocols; the recent attack worked by targeting a server hosting many DNS. The integrity of DNS is critical because it is one of the primary systems manipulated for state censorship that can block access to specific websites. ICANN is only a piece of the CCP’s overall plan. Chinese leaders have drafted an authoritarian set of laws that governs every facet of the internet. The CCP has formed domestic institutions or gained control over international bodies to press these new laws for the internet through the United Nations, through domestic enforcement including on foreign companies inside China, and through organizations formed to work directly with major technology companies abroad.
Grab them by the cash (Forgive me).
            The CCP not only seeks control over the infrastructure but is gaining control over the content of media as well. China increasingly decides what Hollywood can and cannot produce. Chinese companies are now buying key businesses in the American film industry, while many American filmmakers are partnering directly with Chinese companies and working directly with CCP offices to censor and alter their films. Hollywood studios have been open to the CCP’s censorship because they believe there is more opportunity in the growing Chinese market over the declining American one. McCarthy must be spinning in his grave. The CCP cleverly manipulates Hollywood’s desire for access by limiting how many foreign films are allowed in, even though this quota system violates rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Only a few dozen foreign films may be shown in China each year.

Tony may be American, but his suit was made in China. 
            Hollywood studios may also work directly with Chinese companies on the films to gain market share. Taking this approach means the films aren’t classified as foreign films. Since the movies still must pass censorship review and Chinese law requires most companies in China to have a CCP liaison, this option grants CCP officials even more direct control. And at the higher levels of the Chinese regime, the CCP has clearly stated its interest in using films and other forms of information and entertainment to strategically push its own agenda. In October of 2012, Chinese President Hu Jintao stated that China must strengthen its cultural production to defend against the West’s assault on the country’s culture and ideology. The President drew a sharp line between the cultures of the West and China and went so far as to say that the two sides were engaged in an escalating war.

            In conclusion, the CCP, using China’s enormous economic power, has made a concerted effort to undermine the US. Therefore, US officials should make immediate moves to guard against further creeping Chinese incursions. Despite boasting the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often reaches for the gun instead of the purse in its foreign policy. US leaders should protect the American national values of liberty and democracy. First, the US should reestablish its leadership role in protecting an open internet to promote the freedom of speech internationally. Other measures could include direct incentives for Hollywood to reverse its international trend and instead produce movies promoting American values. Above all, US leaders should develop a national policy of economic statecraft that would protect American national values and promote the respect for human rights at home and abroad.

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