Pardon the rude interruption of reality into Ro Khanna's bizarre parallel universe where China is a harmless cuddly bear

Rep. Ro Khanna is something of a celebrity among the socialist, online, alt-left. Though he's been in Congress only since 2017, his leftist bona fides now include being a national co-chair for Bernie Sanders's second failed presidential bid in 2020, signing up to defend Donald Trump's foreign policy, and showing up at camera-ready events designed to protest Democrats.

It was hardly a surprise that Khanna - for whom I'm a constituent - went on Laura Ingraham's propaganda show on Fox News last night to question possible cabinet choices for President-elect Biden. To the delight of Trump superfan Ingraham, Khanna proceeded to express "concern" about the eminently qualified Michele Flournoy, who, if appointed by Biden, would be the first woman in history to hold the post of Secretary of Defense.

Khanna made his position clear as an unapologetic American isolationist, whose view on American engagement across the world much more closely resembles Donald Trump's than Joe Biden's. Not only did he bask in the limelight, speaking approvingly of Trump's dangerous moves to remove US troops stationed in Germany in order to settle personal scores with Germany's leadership, but also evidently believed that his mindmeld with Matt Gaetz, a radical, racist, far-right Congressman from Florida, gave his position additional heft.

But here is what really stopped me in my tracks: Khanna's presentation of China - one of the most combative rising military powers - as essentially a warm, cuddly bear. "China hasn't been in a war since 1979," Khanna declared, adding that if the United States really views China as a strategic, geopolitical threat, it should spend less money on foreign military theaters.

The problem with Khanna's argument is that it is both ridiculously false and dangerously counterproductive.

First, for the record, Chinese military build-up is a serious global security threat. Chinese military spending has doubled between 2010 and 2019, reaching $261 billion, while US defense spending has actually fallen slightly in that time period, going from $850 billion to $718 billion. In 2020, defense spending in China reached a high of 36.2% of the entire Chinese Central government budget, while high as it is, US defense spending is only about 15% of all federal spending.

China isn't exactly beefing up its military so it can have an annual military parade. It has been deliberately using its military might in order to disregard international law, intimidate its neighbors, and illegally cease land and water for both military bases and exploitation of natural resoruces.

Earlier in 2020, Chinese forces exchanged fires with Indian troops in Kashmir's disputed Ladakh region, after China violated a ceasefire was announced in the Sino-Indian war in 1962 by invading the disputed region. Indian authorities reported 20 deaths on their side. Khanna may wish to both update his knowledge of recent events and his vocabulary. A ceasefire, by definition, is a pause in hostilities, not and end to war. This means that contrary Khanna's claim, China has been at war with India for the past 58 years.

At this very moment, China is engaged in control over Hong Kong against its international treaty obligations and actively jailing pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters, using its military. Chinese military concentration camps are holding a million Muslims.

China's military aggression has grown so much that on December 1, Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu is called on Australia and other Asia-Pacific powers, including the United States, to help prevent a full scale Chinese invasion of the independent, democratic island nation. Of particular concern to Minister Wu is repeated Chinese incursion into neutral and Taiwanese airspace over the Taiwan Strait, the 100-mile stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China.

Another area of hostile Chinese expansionism has been the South China Sea, where China has put up artificial islands over international waters for the purpose of constructing industrial and military outposts. China's activity is in direct contravention of a slew of decisions by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in a 2016 case brought against China by the Philippines. China, a signatory to the treaty that created the Court, nonetheless refuses to accept the court's authority because... well, because it can.

But what exactly is China's interest in the annexation of the international waters of the South China Sea? To the gasping surprise of all American isolationists, I'm sure, it is good old oil. The South China Sea is home to an estimated 11 billion barrels of crude (comparable to the reserves of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge), and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (think fracking). China wants it all for itself and is using its military might to muscle other Asian countries out.

But you know if you ignore China's soaring military budget, and its military intimidation and active military incursions in order to exert colonial control over land and natural resources as well as active military concentration camps, China certainly just a peaceful cuddlebug competing only as an economic strategic rival against the United States.

Ro Khanna needs to get his Chinese propaganda straight.

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