Former director of the Office of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has become increasingly aggressive, especially with Taiwan, because it sees in the Biden administration a “softer” and “more cooperative” leader than Trump.
Ratcliffe, who served as director of national intelligence under Trump, gave an interview to Breitbart reflecting on the CCP’s recent provocations of Taiwan. He said he knew something like this would happen and that the situation would escalate.
“I predicted China would get more aggressive with this administration because they see them as softer and more cooperative,” the Republican said. “Following the debacle in Afghanistan, countries are going to test the United States’ resolve, and it’s starting with China. They’re going to get more aggressive, especially in the Indo-Pacific.”
The CCP sent nearly 80 warplanes over Taiwan’s airspace over the weekend of Oct. 1 as it celebrated the anniversary of the CCP. Days later, Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a speech broadcast on state TV, assured that reunification with Taiwan “has to happen” and urged other countries not to “interfere” with China’s “internal” affairs.
“It would not surprise me if their next step is to test the reaction to planes flying into Taiwan’s sovereign airspace—I think they’ll just continue to test. I don’t have any insight at this point in terms of when they might, but I would just say that I expect them to be more aggressive for the next three years, because until the Biden administration stands up to their aggression and provocation, why would they stop?”
According to Ratcliffe, the big difference between how Trump dealt with Beijing and how Biden deals with it now is what emboldens the CCP.
The former official said that with the Trump administration, there was the “backstop of an American president who they knew would enforce red lines, who had literally taken out adversaries like Soleimani and [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi; someone who had stood up to China with tariffs and sanctions and worked to correct trade imbalances that had existed under both Republicans and Democrats for decades.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic administration has given concessions to Beijing, lifting some tariffs and even dropped charges against the Huawei executive accused of fraud and financially aiding the Iranian regime.
Adding to that, the CCP has upgraded its military, and while it does not surpass the might of the United States, it does appear to be within reach of invading Taiwan.
“They believe their naval fleet is finally capable of an amphibious assault. We still have the finest naval fleet in the world, but it’s not positioned in the South China Sea. They have increased the size of their naval fleet, and also improved the fleet’s technology and the types of ships. They’ve improved their army as well. Basically, all of their armed forces are stronger and better equipped than they were a number of years ago. And all of that is consistent with their plan to be the world’s superpower by 2035,” the former intelligence director said.
Ratcliffe asserted that the CCP does not respect the United States now and used the example of the first diplomatic meeting the two nations had in Alaska. Then, the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat, Yang Jiechi, was aggressive and disrespectful towards Secretary Anthony Blinken while on American soil.
But for Ratcliffe, the CCP is a ruthless dictatorship.
“They’re responsible for a worldwide pandemic. They’re a country that tortures and kills its own people, who has and will continue to lie, cheat, and steal to dominate the world marketplace and every country in it.”
But with 70 years in power and crises created by its policies, the CCP has gained a lot of experience, and its cunning surpasses what the West can understand or handle.
“China has embedded itself in our society and in our economy. And because of that, China can influence the actions of some Americans who care more about either gaining power in Washington or making money on Wall Street.” So “Biden sees them as a strategic ally and wants to engage in goodwill, diplomacy and handholding.”
For the former official, China does not have a great technological advantage over the United States. He dismissed recent statements by a former Pentagon software chief who assured that China won the artificial intelligence war. Still, he did recommend increasing vigilance over the CCP to know how to deal with its threat.