The Memo From My Uncle, Which Contained My New Assignment

Intelligence Memorandum

Classified: Top Secret
Mao Tse Tongue!

To: Chow Non Phat
Deputy Assistant Minister for Diet Control

From: General Tso
Deputy Assistant Minister of State Security
People’s Republic of China

Re: Your New Assignment

Will the United States Survive Until 2025?

Dear Nephew,

I’m so sorry to have had to bring you home from your Hollywood heaven, but as you may have heard through the grapevine, this has become a crucial period of time for our Party. And since you are my beloved Nephew, I want to give you an opportunity to participate in this great drama!

As you know very well, we are on a quest. We are in pursuit of a dream to restore China to the exalted position it once held among the nations of the world.

And when we achieve our dream, we want to make sure the Communist Party is still in power.

Party onward!

But there is an obstacle in the way called the United States of America. And to achieve our object of desire we need to drive the United States out of the neighborhood.

If we could realize that desire, oh what a wonderful day it would be! So, the continued decline of the United States has us seriously considering the possibility our China Dream may find its fulfillment a lot sooner than we thought!

And here at the Central Military Commission there is an ongoing, but intensifying debate between the hardliners, the Ying Pai, who believe we should seriously consider abandoning our steady Hundred-Year Marathon which seeks to win against America without fighting; and officials such as myself who believe our salami-slicing strategy is working and we should not risk engaging the Americans militarily until we are much more confident in our superiority and their decline.

So, in pursuit of greater clarity on these matters, we’ve begun assigning intelligence teams to explore the question, Will the United States Survive Until 2025?

That question is in honor of the now deceased American political scientist Samuel Huntington, who in the year 2004 published a book about America’s national identity. In his book, he made an astonishing statement which caught our attention. He believed it was possible by the year 2025 the United States could break up into different countries!

The greatest surprise might be if the United States in 2025 were still much the same country it was in 2000 rather than a very different country (or countries) with very different conceptions of itself and its identity than it had a quarter century earlier.

Samuel Huntington, Who Are We?

Amazing, isn’t it? One of the most renowned observers in the West was beginning to question whether the United States would survive until 2025!

Do the Americans take him seriously though? Not a chance. But we do.

We’re all hoping the British historian Niall Ferguson is right. We may be at a historic 500-year pivot. Tectonic plates appear to be shifting and we believe they are shifting our way.

Of course, we know our Quest has put us down a path of what seems to be inevitable conflict with the United States. And the following article expresses it well — and notice the compliment to our colleagues in the first sentence of the following paragraph …

China’s intelligence services are “as aggressive now as they’ve ever been,” said Assistant FBI Director Randall Coleman, the man in charge of the bureau’s counterespionage division, in July. “The predominant threat we face right now is from China.” But the sub rosa conflict appears to be set to get a little less clandestine.

“Japanese militarism, the world hegemon [read: the United States], and global terrorism have been threatening the peace,” said People’s Liberation Army Colonel Liu Mingfu, author of best-selling book The Chinese Dream. “Becoming the strongest nation in the world is China’s goal in the 21st Century.” In an interview with the New York Times, Liu revealed what he characterized as the rising acknowledgement that restoring Chinese greatness, the focus of his popular book, will necessitate military conflict with the United States, albeit at a time of China’s choosing. “There are flames around Asia and every place could be a battlefield in the future,” Liu warned.

China Makes Its Move, by Noah Rothman, Commentary, October 8, 2015

And one of the beautiful things about the Americans is how so few of them understand the danger we pose. But they would be wise to take us more seriously.  

I know this is hard for them to believe. Most Americans are unaware of the deep danger which our surprising rise now poses to the United States. Their situation may be far more fragile than they realize. They haven’t considered this…

History shows how the maritime balance of power can shift suddenly, rearranging global order. Naval power has been particularly – indeed, even uniquely – associated with the rapid, as opposed to evolutionary, rise of new major powers. Historically, even great shifts in global politics have occurred rapidly: ‘‘In 1480, Spain was a collection of little kingdoms, as eager to fight each other as to defend their common interests. Twenty years later, Spain held title to half the globe.’’ Similarly, ‘‘[i]n 1935, with no armed forces to speak of and an economy in decline, the United States wanted nothing more than for the world to leave it alone. Within ten years, flush with victory, economically prosperous, and in sole possession of the atomic bomb, the United States became the single most powerful nation on earth.

How the United States Lost the Naval War of 2015, by James Kraska, Orbis, Winter 2010

So, they’d be wise to stop ignoring our rise…

[I]f anyone’s forecasts are worth heeding, it’s those of Lee Kuan Yew, the world’s premier China watcher and a mentor to Chinese leaders since Deng Xiaoping. Before his death in March, the founder of Singapore put the odds of China continuing to grow at several times U.S. rates for the next decade and beyond as “four chances in five.” On whether China’s leaders are serious about displacing the United States as the top power in Asia in the foreseeable future, Lee answered directly: “Of course. Why not … how could they not aspire to be number one in Asia and in time the world?” And about accepting its place in an international order designed and led by America, he said absolutely not: “China wants to be China and accepted as such—not as an honorary member of the West.”

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?, by Graham Allison, The Atlantic, September 24, 2015

Of course, there are some Americans who understand the significance of what is taking place:

Should China ever succeed in pushing the U.S. out of East Asia through its burgeoning anti-access/area denial strategy (A2/AD), America’s ability to freely trade with 60 percent of the world’s population could be held hostage to its whims. This would represent the greatest decline in American influence since its rise on the global stage at the end of the nineteenth century.

Avoiding America’s Ultimate Geopolitical Nightmare, by Greg R. Lawson, The National Interest, April 2, 2014

Therefore, we are rapidly building our naval power in partnership with our asymmetrical missile strategy. And we find it to be a wonderful thing America’s naval power is decreasing at this pivotal junction in world history.

But we also find it to be a fascinating curiosity since, in fact, the connection between naval power and prosperity was noted way back in the 1830’s in the famous book about early America, Democracy in America, by the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville:

Reason shows and experience proves that no commercial prosperity can be durable if it cannot be united, in case of need, to naval force. This truth is as well understood in the United States as it can be anywhere else: the Americans are already able to make their flag respected; in a few years they will be able to make it feared.

Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America

The Americans seem to have forgotten something they knew before. So, have your team read Mayday, by Seth Cropsey, who is a former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy. His chapter titled “What Is Lost Can Never Be Regained” has our full attention. Our time has come.

Of course, things would be a lot easier for us if the United States would just commit suicide by breaking apart and becoming the “Un-tied States of America.” That’s why Samuel Huntington has our attention. We think he understood something.

I know all this sounds insane to some members of the Party. The possibility of the United States breaking apart is so highly improbable! It would be a Black Swan! Thus, we’ve had several heated arguments over whether the exploration of this question is a worthy use of time, talent, and treasure.

Some of our comrades see it as a serious drain of brainpower from our Three Warfares effort. Since the effort is working so well, why even consider diverting an ounce of resources from it?

And you should know pulling you out of Hollywood has also created more conflict. Since the Three Warfares is essentially about “whose story wins,” the more assets we have in the story capital of the world, the better. I had to pull some serious strings (which is why I study “string theory,” by the way!) to bring you back and put you in charge of this particular team.

You should also know this conflict ultimately flows from the ongoing struggle within the Party related to probabilities versus consequences. Should we only make decisions related to our future based on our perception of the probabilities, or do we also need to engage in some serious consequence thinking?

Fortunately, more and more of our leaders are beginning to try and involve consequence thinking in our decision-making process. So, our need grows greater all the time to get a wider range of possibilities about what may happen to the main obstacle in our way: The United States of America.

We’re trying to get to a better tomorrow and need to know what future entries might be written in the diary of this big man.

What will happen next in their story?

How will this all turn out?

Could their empire come apart on its own or are we going to need to use our asymmetrical military advantages while we still have them, and drive the Americans out of our neighborhood by using force?

Therefore, we have created a series of Special Intelligence Teams to rise up and explore the question:

Will the United States Survive Until 2025?

Many of these teams are specially focused on various economic, social, educational, and military aspects.

But, you are now assigned to head up a very special unit related to this matter. Your unit is tasked with exploring the question through a rather unique lens — which you are probably going to hate:

What if Christianity is the story we are in?

As you may imagine, asking such a question about the possibility of Christianity being the story we are in is akin to imagining a communist country adopting a semi-capitalist economy!

But we’re full of surprises — it’s the chief pleasure in life!

So, we need to think through this question about America’s future from all sorts of angles, and, to paraphrase our good frenemy Spengler“it is only by considering alternative ways of seeing that we understand our present circumstances.”

Therefore, the alternative way of seeing that I want you to focus on flows from the question, “Which story are we in?”

Because this famous writer helped me to see something…

We need all of us, whatever our background, to constantly examine the stories inside which and with which we live. We all live in stories, so called grand narratives. Nation is a story. Family is a story. Religion is a story. Community is a story. We all live within and with these narratives.

Salman Rushdie, Secular Values, Human Rights and Islamism, Point of Inquiry, October 27, 2006

And that means that even though our Party does not embrace a religion, we still embrace a version of the story we are in.

I also hope to create other teams which will focus on other versions of the story we are in. The Islamic version, the Buddhist version, the Hindu version, etc.

But since the story of America ultimately flows out of the Christian version of the story, that’s the one you have been given.

And because you are my loyal Nephew, I have assigned you to come to understand the Christian version of the story.

But you should also know that some of our key players are rather uncomfortable with even giving you this assignment. They wonder at times if some of your team – or perhaps even you – will be tempted in a very personal way to consider entertaining the possibility Christianity might really be the story we are in. They fear that if you let yourselves go too far down that road, you may begin to fall for those fairy tales and betray the Party.

So, I’d be very careful if I were you, Nephew! It would be easy to make a misstep in this delicate situation. But to help guard you from their criticism, I also want you, as you go forward with this assignment, to see if you can learn anything which may help us to stop the spread of Christianity in China.

Because the Party recognizes that the Christians in China may ultimately become the greatest domestic threat to our power.

And it’s clear what we’ve been doing for the past few decades has been an utter failure.

By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years, By Tom Phillips, The Telegraph, April 9, 2014

No matter how hard we bring the hammer and sickle down on them, they just keep multiplying!

So, if you can figure out how to stifle their growth, you’ll be a hero instead of a suspect!

And of course, given the delicacy of this assignment, you must go to extraordinary lengths to keep your work top secret.

So, have at it, Nephew! We’re in this to win this, as they say in America! Our China dream is on the move. The time has come to complete the transition from American dominance in the world to Chinese preeminence. Our day has come and we are eager and ready to assume our proper role in this game of thrones.

– General Tso