Stay the Course on China: An Open Letter to President Trump

Dear President Trump,

U.S. Constitution. Source: Kim Davies via Flickr.

Over America’s exceptional history, successive generations have risen to the challenge of protecting and furthering our founding principles, and defeating existential threats to our liberties and those of our allies. Today, our generation is challenged to do the same by a virulent and increasingly dangerous threat to human freedoms – the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the nation it misrules:  the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Chinese Communists’ stated ambitions are antithetical to America’s strategic interests, and the PRC is increasingly taking actions that imperil the United States and our allies. The past forty years during which America pursued an open policy of “engagement” with the PRC have contributed materially to the incremental erosion of U.S. national security.

This cannot be permitted to continue.

China is not as we wish it to be. In our political system, politics is the norm, and war is the exception. It is explicitly the opposite in the PRC’s worldview. Going forward, we must better understand and deal with this dangerous asymmetry.

We the undersigned, are encouraged by the broad and coherent strategy of robust, alternative policies you have adopted to confront the PRC’s campaign to undermine the national interests of the United States and its allies. We encourage you to stay the course on your path of countering Communist China.

We acknowledge and support your robust National Security Strategy that properly sets forth why the United States must counter the PRC. Opposing the advance of tyranny is fully in keeping with the founding principles of America and our rich heritage of defending freedom and liberty, both at home and, where necessary, abroad.

We note the PRC does not recognize the principles and rules of the existing international order, which under a Pax Americana has enabled the greatest period of peace and global prosperity in mankind’s history. The PRC rejects this order both ideologically and in practice. China’s rulers openly proclaim and insist on a new set of rules to which other nations must conform, such as their efforts to dominate the East and South China Seas and the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative,” with its debt-trap diplomacy, designed to extend such hegemony worldwide. The only persistently defining principle of the CCP is the sustainment and expansion of its power.

Over the past forty years of Sino-American relations, many American foreign policy experts did not accurately assess the PRC’s intentions or attributed the CCP’s reprehensible conduct to the difficulties of governing a country of 1.3 billion people. American policymakers were told time and again by these adherents of the China-engagement school that the PRC would become a “responsible stakeholder” once a sufficient level of economic modernization was achieved. This did not happen and cannot so long as the CCP rules China.

The PRC routinely and systematically suppresses religious freedom and free speech, including the imprisonment of over one million citizens in Xinjiang and the growing suppression of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The PRC also routinely violates its obligations, as it does with the World Trade Organization, freedom of navigation and the protection of coral reefs in the South China Sea. Beijing then demands that its own people and the rest of the world accept their false narratives and justifications, demands aptly termed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is not and never has been a peaceful regime. It uses economic and military force – what it calls its “comprehensive national power” – to bully and intimidate others. The PRC threatens to wage war against a free and democratically led Taiwan.

It is expanding its reach around the globe, co-opting our allies and other nations with the promise of economic gain, often with authoritarian capitalism posing as free commerce, corrupt business practices that go-unchecked, state-controlled entities posing as objective academic, scientific or media institutions and trade and development deals that lack reciprocity, transparency and sustainability. The CCP corrupts everything it touches.

This expansionism is not random or ephemeral. It is manifestly the unfolding of the CCP’s grand strategy. The Party’s ambitions have been given many names, most recently the “China Dream,” the “great rejuvenation” of China, or the “Community of Common Destiny.” The “Dream” envisioned by the Communist Party is a nightmare for the Chinese people and the rest of the world.

We firmly support the Chinese people, the vast majority of whom want to live peaceful lives.

But we do not support the Communist government of China, nor its control by the dangerous Xi Jinping clique. We welcome the measures you have taken to confront Xi’s government and selectively to decouple the U.S. economy from China’s insidious efforts to weaken it. No amount of U.S. diplomatic, economic, or military “engagement” will disrupt the CCP’s grand strategy.

If there is any sure guide to diplomatic success, it is that when America leads—other nations follow. If history has taught us anything it is that clarity and commitment of leadership in addressing existential threats, like from the PRC, will be followed by our allies when policy prescriptions such as yours become a reality. The PRC’s immediate strategy is to delay, stall, and otherwise wait out your presidency. Every effort must be made therefore to institutionalize now the policies and capabilities that can rebalance our economic relations with China, strengthen our alliances with like-minded democracies and ultimately to defeat the PRC’s global ambitions to suppress freedom and liberty.

Stay the Course!

Author of Letter

James E. Fanell
Captain, USN (Ret)
Former Director of Intelligence & Information Operations U.S. Pacific Fleet

To sign this letter and join the signatories below, click here and fill out a short form.

List of U.S. Signatures (Alphabetically as of July 18, 2019)

Willard Anderson

Clarence Anthony
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Rod Azama
Director The Chancellor Group

Bob Baker
Former US Army Intelligence Analyst

Tim Beard
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

Michael Bender
Commander, USN (Ret)

Kenneth Benway
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
U.S. Army Special Forces

Paul Berkowitz
Former Staff Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Joseph Bosco
Retired Department of Defense

E. Bostwick Jr.
Senior Intelligence Officer, GS-15 (Ret) USPACOM

Christopher Brassard
President Ten Eyck Group

Robert Brodsky
Captain, USN (Ret)

Nick Buck
Captain, USN (Ret)

Naushard Cader
Board Member/Director
Center for War and Peace Studies

Roger Canfield
Author and

Kevin Carrico
Senior Lecturer
Monash University

Dennis Carroll

Gordon Chang

Edward Connelly, Ph.D.
Chinese, Australian National University
Independent Translator

David Connelly III
Captain, USN (Ret)

Henry F. Cooper
Ambassador, former Chief Defense & Space Negotiator with the Soviet Union, SDI Director

Anders Corr, Ph.D.
Publisher Journal of Political Risk

Demetrius Cox
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
U.S. Pacific Fleet Veteran Intelligence Officer

Michael Craven

Iara Celeste Diaz

Kenneth deGraffenreid
Former Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director of Intelligence Programs, Ronald Reagan National Security Council

Donny DeLeon
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance

Chuck DeVore
Lieutenant Colonel, USAR (Ret)
California State Assemblyman, 2004-2010; Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1986-1988

Markham Dossett
Commander, USNR (ret)

June Teufel-Dreyer
Professor of Political Science University of Miami

Ian Easton
Research Fellow Project 2049 Institute

Robert D. Eldridge
The Eldridge Think Tank

Richard Fisher

Nels Frye

Art Furtney
Major, USMC, (Ret)

Frank J. Gaffney
Vice Chairman Committee on the Present Danger: China

Samantha Gay

Kerry K. Gershaneck
Professor & Senior Research Associate Thammasat University Faculty of Law (CPG)

Bill Gertz
Author “Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy”

Paul Giarra
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret)

Jose Gonzalez

Chadwick Gore
Former Staff Director House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia, Emerging Threats subcommittee

James Grundvig
Freelance Investigative Journalist

Ilango Gurusamy
Owner, Freedom on Wheels LLC and Propellant Software

Lianchao Han
Vice-President Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Heath Hansen
Specialist, USA (Ret)
Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan

William Hawkins
President Hamilton Center for National Strategy

Donald Henry
Captain, USN, (Ret)

William C. Horn
Captain, USN (Ret)

Bradley Johnson
President Americans for Intelligence Reform

Frank Kelly
Captain, USN (Ret)

James D. Kelly
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
President Center for International Exchange-US (NPO)

Miles Killoch

Roy Kirvan, Ph.D.
U.S. Intelligence Community (Ret)

Ted Kresge
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Former Vice Commander U.S. Pacific Air Forces

Emil Levine
Captain, USNR, (Ret)

Steve Lewandowski

Claire Lopez
VP for Research & Analysis
Center for Security Policy

Ben Lowsen
China Strategist U.S. Air Force / Sawdey Solution Services, LLC

Holly Lynch
Democrat Candidate for NY’s 10th Congressional District

Tim Lyon
Captain, USN (Ret)

Victor Mair
Professor University of Pennsylvania

Rod Martin
Founder & CEO The Martin Organization, Inc.

Tidal W. McCoy
Former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Air Force

Thomas G. McInerney
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff U.S. Air Force

Randy McSmith
Master Chief Petty Officer, USN (Ret)

John Mengel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Paul Midler
Author “What’s Wrong with China”

John Mills
Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Director (Ret) Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs

James Mishina
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
U.S. Tax Payer

Wayne Morris
Colonel, USMC (Ret)
Numerous Military Veteran Associations

Steven Mosher
President Population Research Institute

Denis Muller
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Merle Mulvaney
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

Charles “Chuck” Nash
Captain USN (Ret)

Jim Newman
Captain, USN (Ret)

Grant Newsham
Colonel, USMCR (retired)
Visiting Scholar, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Roscoe Nicholson II
International Consultant

Peter O’Brien
Captain, USN (Ret)

Edward O’Dowd
PhD & Colonel, USA, (Ret)

Kyle Olbert
Director of Operations East Turkistan National Awakening Movement

Don Oliphant
DWO Enterprises

Robert Oster
Private Investor

Rebeca Page
SD Metro Magazine

Robert Page
Chairman/CEO REP Publishing, Inc.

Russ Penniman
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
Former Reserve Deputy Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet

Lawrence Peter
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)

Peter Pry
Dr. & Director EMP Task Force

Robert Rector

Eric Reddig
U.S. Navy Veteran

J.R. Reddig
Captain, USN, (Ret)

Louis Riggio

Eric Rohrbach

Robert Rohrer

Gerard Roncolato
Captain, USN (Ret.)

Warren Henry Rothman

Robert Rubel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Mark Safranski

Junko Sakamoto

Michael Schauf
Captain USN (Ret)
Military Intelligence

Stuart Schippereit
Commander, USN (Ret)
Former naval intelligence analyst

Paul Schmehl

Suzanne Scholte
President Defense Forum Foundation

Carl Schuster
Captain, USN (Ret)
Adjunct Faculty, Hawaii Pacific University

Dan Seesholtz
Captain, USN (Ret)

Lawrence Sellin
Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran

William Sharp
Former Host, Asia in Review

Stephen Sherman
Director RADIX Foundation

Scott Shipman
Owner B.B. Hoss, Inc.

Joseph Smith
President (Ret) Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals

Fred Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)
Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Peter Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)

Pete Speer
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

William A. Stanton
Former Director of the American Institute in Taiwan

Guy Stitt
CEO AMI International

Duane Stober
Captain, USNR, (Ret)
Former Reserve Intelligence Coordinator Area One

Mark Stokes
Executive Director Project 2049 Institute

Fred Stratton
Commander, USN (Ret)

Gary Stubblefield
Commander, USN (Ret)

John Tate
Commander, USN (Ret)

Bradley Thayer
Professor University of Texas San Antonio

Mark Tiernan
Captain, USNR (Ret)

John J. Tkacik
Director, Future Asia Project International Assessment and Strategy Center

Don Tse
Lead researcher SinoInsider

Paul Valleley
Major General, USA (Ret)
Chairman Stand Up America

John E. Vinson
Captain USN, (Ret)

Thomas Wade

Arthur Waldron
Lauder Professor of international Relations
University of Pennsylvania

Yana Way
Educator, Way Tutoring

Toshi Yoshihara
PhD, Author “Red Star Over the Pacific”

James Zumwalt
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Jennifer Zeng
Author of “Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong”

Foreign Signatures (As of July 18, 2019)

Terence Russell
Senior Scholar University of Manitoba

Doris Liu
Independent documentary journalist

Jianli Yang
Founder & President Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Elena Bernini
CEO Oxford Omnia International

Satoshi Nishihata
Washington Bureau Chief The Liberty, Happy Science USA

Larry Ong
Senior analyst SinoInsider

Chu-cheng Ming
Senior researcher SinoInsider

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