General Robert Spalding (@robert_spalding) is a retired US Air Force brigadier general, the CEO of digital infrastructure company SEMPRE, and the author of Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept and War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination.
What We Discuss with General Robert Spalding:
- How a 1999 book by military strategists Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui called Unrestricted Warfare has become China’s playbook for global domination against the Western world.
- Numerous ways the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) exploits Western weaknesses with this playbook’s primary tenet: the best strategy for warfare is not to kill, but to control.
- Why the CCP isn’t likely to crumble under the weight of its own debts as Soviet Russia did, and why a Chinese invasion of Taiwan stands a better chance of success than the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- How the CCP uses corporate espionage, global pandemics, and trade violations to pursue its goal of dominance.
- What can we, as individuals clued in to the tactics of this playbook, do to resist the influence of the CCP on the Western world?
- And much more…
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In 1999, Chinese military strategists Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui published a book called Unrestricted Warfare. Within are proposed tactics for developing countries — in particular, China — to compensate for their military inferiority against Western powers (primarily the United States) during a high-tech war. In the time since, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been using Unrestricted Warfare as a playbook with the aim of positioning itself as the dominant superpower. Its primary tenet: the best strategy for warfare is not to kill, but to control.
Retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Spalding, author of War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination, joins us here to share his military perspective on this playbook, how its tenets are being used against us, and what we, as individuals clued in to the strategies it outlines, can do to resist the influence of the CCP on the Western world. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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Thanks, General Robert Spalding!
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Resources from This Episode:
- War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination by Robert Spalding | Amazon
- Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept by Robert Spalding | Amazon
- General Robert Spalding | How China Took Over America | Jordan Harbinger
- Secure EMP Resistant Edge | SEMPRE
- General Robert Spalding | Website
- General Robert Spalding | Twitter
- General Robert Spalding | Facebook
- General Robert Spalding | Instagram
- The Chinese Communist Party | Council on Foreign Relations
- Nashville Bombing Is a Potent Reminder That Communications Systems Remain at Risk from Attack | The Washington Post
- Apple Network Traffic Takes Mysterious Detour through Russia | The Register
- Half of Organizations Worry about Quantum ‘Harvest Now, Decrypt Later’ Attacks | Siliconangle
- Unrestricted Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui | Cryptome
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu | Amazon
- The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli | Amazon
- Human Rights Council | Human Rights Watch
- Doctor Who Sounded Early Alarm on Coronavirus Dies at 34 | Time
- Lockdowns Spread as New Omicron Variants Evade China’s Zero-Covid Net | WSJ
- Marshall Plan (1948) | National Archives
- China’s Huawei Is Winning the 5G Race. Here’s What the United States Should Do To Respond | Council on Foreign Relations
- TikTok is China’s Trojan Horse | The Hill
- Russia’s Lavrov: Pelosi Visit to Taiwan Creates ‘Annoyance’ | Reuters
- Pelosi Departs Taiwan, Capping Visit That Infuriated China | Reuters
- Soros Casts Shade On China’s Economy In Most Tantalizing Way | Forbes
- Guided Bomb | Wikipedia
- The Death of Ayman al-Zawahiri | United States Department of State
- The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare by Christian Brose | Amazon
- 1997 Asian Financial Crisis | Federal Reserve History
- Dan David | Putting Muscle on the China Hustle | Jordan Harbinger
- Reverse Takeover (RTO) | Investopedia
- CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 | Investopedia
- Does National Security Justify Tariffs? | Econlib
- US Generals, Diplomats Want Chinese Companies Out of Their Retirement Plan | WSJ
- How WHO Became China’s Accomplice in the Coronavirus Pandemic | FP
- Seven Years into China’s Belt and Road | Brookings Institution
- AUKUS: UK, US, and Australia Launch Pact to Counter China | BBC
- Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy by Matt Stoller | Amazon
- Michael Straight: Standard Oil: Axis Ally | The New Republic
- Opinion: China Has Cornered the Market on Antibiotics, so the US Must Rebuild Its Manufacturing Capacity | MarketWatch
- Taiwan Prepares to Be Invaded | The Atlantic
- The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter | Amazon
751: General Robert Spalding | China’s Playbook for Global Domination
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[00:00:56] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:59] General Robert Spalding: In the last 30 years, we have been so fat, dumb, and happy. We forgot that the world is a dangerous place. That there are those out there that do not agree with the idea of individual liberty, you know, that are granted from God, and that they are willing to do anything it takes to make sure that that does not exist on this earth. And if we don't stand up and defend it, we're going to lose it.
[00:01:27] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional mafia enforcer, undercover agent, former jihadi, or cold case homicide investigator. And each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:01:55] If you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episodes starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show — topics like persuasion, influence, negotiation, and communication, China and North Korea, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:02:19] Now today, this is one of these episodes where I, quote-unquote, "lose my mind" because we're talking about China and the Chinese Communist Party, specifically. My guest today, General Spalding, has been on the show before also discussing China and the so-called Secret War that the Chinese Communist Party is in with the West, specifically the United States. Today, we'll discuss technology transfer, the supply chain, and why it's so important that we bring some of the security back to America and the allied industrial base. We're also going to explore areas where the US is actually losing to China and what we can do to push back, plug holes in our own economy, our education system, our communications infrastructure, and our military. It's not as technical as it sounds. I found this episode pretty darn interesting, even for a layman who's not a China watcher. So I really do hope you enjoy it. Now, here we go with General Spalding.
[00:03:10] When I first had you on the show, everyone, not everyone, many people wrote to me, they said, "Look, this guy's an alarmist." People said things like, "Jordan, I love your show, but you lose your mind when it comes to China." And they're not wrong. I do lose my mind when it comes to China, but here we are four or five years later after our first episode that we did here with you, pretty much every single thing that we said in that episode so far has come to light in some fashion, or been uncovered or been written about by investigative journalists, or is now an accepted reality, like the IP theft we were talking about with respect to the Chinese Communist Party and what they've been doing to undermine world order, international institutions, United States, diplomacy, et cetera.
[00:03:51] In fact, I think the last time we did this, you were in a secure room at the Pentagon, which is pretty, pretty interesting. Now we're in an insecure room in a warehouse, somewhere in the Midwest, probably.
[00:04:00] General Robert Spalding: Yeah. Yeah. Colorado,
[00:04:02] Jordan Harbinger: Can we talk about the things that you're manufacturing? That's public, right?
[00:04:05] General Robert Spalding: Yeah.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:06] General Robert Spalding: I mean, this is why I quit government, quite frankly. You know, part of the problem that I talk about all the time is infrastructure, the digital infrastructure. The stuff that allows us to connect our devices, the data that gets collected about us. That's a big problem from a democracy standpoint, from a liberty standpoint. Privacy, these are important things and nobody in the commercial space is doing anything. So, I got out to work on that kind of technology and we're about to go to market now with infrastructure that survives even a nuclear blast and will keep the connection to your device and will protect your privacy.
[00:04:42] So our goal is to provide that infrastructure for carriers and cloud service providers and communities that want to have — they're worried about losing their digital life if, heaven forbid, the Iranians crack off an ICBM over the top of us that shuts off the lights, or, you know, somebody goes out and blows up a switching center like the guy did two Christmases ago in Nashville and takes out all the cell towers in Tennessee and surrounding states.
[00:05:13] We shouldn't have to worry about suffering through that. And that's why I got out of the military to work on that.
[00:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's an interesting project and probably a subject for another show. It's funny, just before this interview, a friend of mine, a guy I know who's a CEO of a huge sort of tech cyber warfare-related company, sent me an article about, or an internal white paper I should say, about how Russia essentially ran an experiment where they could hijack all of Apple. They hijacked all of their traffic, the Russians did for a period of 12 hours, and they ran all Apple traffic through Russia.
[00:05:46] And for those listening, they're probably like, "What do you mean? Like the website?" No, like any connection from your phone that was supposed to go to the Apple servers in Cupertino where I am. Went through freaking Moscow or St. Petersburg and then went back, which is inefficient, slow. And gee, what were they doing with that data? Nothing. Probably, right? Nothing, totally harmless. Just an experiment. And apparently, they can kind of do that anytime they want and it's really, really hard to defend against because of the way that the Internet works. You know, the Internet, it's like water flowing downhill looks for the path of least resistance. If it hits a rock, it just goes left or right, goes around the rock. I guess cyber warfare works by saying, "Hey, there's a clear path right over here through our data server," that logs everything that's encrypted or not, and then works on screwing it up. And the Internet. We'll just send its traffic there and if you change that, you slow down everything in the world, which is not ideal.
[00:06:35] General Robert Spalding: And you can record that data and if it is encrypted, you can wait till you have a quantum computer that allows you to break the encryption and have access to it, which is what—
[00:06:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:44] General Robert Spalding: —you know, what our adversaries are doing.
[00:06:45] Jordan Harbinger: I heard there was some policy called, I'm going to mess this up, but it's like log now, encrypt later. Have you heard about this? Or decrypt later. Sorry. And I think it is a policy of CCP, possibly other foreign intelligence services to just get as much data as possible, even if they can't use it. And they figure, "Eh 10 years, we'll decode all this and it'll give us intellectual property, private information, things we can funnel through our AI systems, et cetera."
[00:07:10] General Robert Spalding: Right. Yeah. I mean, that's a fear, you know, once you have a quantum computer that's powerful enough to break today's RSA-based encryption. You can have access to anything.
[00:07:18] Jordan Harbinger: I said this last time we did a show, but this book, the new book, it scares me. As a China watcher, your last book scared me. This one is somehow just as bad, possibly worse because we're a few years on, and a lot is going according to plan. If you're a CCP functionary or Xi Jinping, your devious schemes are working. Right?
[00:07:36] General Robert Spalding: So I got the same kind of comments that you talked about—
[00:07:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:39] General Robert Spalding: —you know, after our first show, which is, "Hey, this is bogus. You're wearing a tinfoil hat." And so I thought, well, hey, let people read the Chinese words for themselves. Don't take my word for it. Listen to what they have to say, and then take their words and then compare it against the things that you actually see happening in the world. And say, "Okay, is this just coincidence? Am I crazy? You tell me."
[00:08:03] Jordan Harbinger: So what you're talking about here is the new book, Unrestricted Warfare, or the Plan, I should say, Unrestricted Warfare, the reason these titles overlap is because in 19 — is it 1999, two colonels in China created this plan. This plan called Unrestricted Warfare that involves cyber war, economic warfare, stealing intellectual property, all kinds of other domains other than firing cannons and sending warships over other than conventional warfare.
[00:08:29] And over the last 20 years, a lot of this has come to fruition. And your new book, which I thought was really interesting, sort of says, "Here's what they said they were going to do. Here's a few examples of them," maybe coincidentally just doing the exact same thing they said they were going to do in 1999 after studying this book and Unrestricted Warfare, the original Chinese manuscript, even though it's recent, it's only a couple decades old, It's kind of up there with Sun Tzu's Art of War in terms of teaching people how to wage war in the modern era, anyway,
[00:08:57] General Robert Spalding: Machiavelli is really, the prince is really where I think they think that they're trying to kind of, it's a modern version of the prince because the prince was much more about politics and much less about warfare. You know, Sun Tzu is very much about warfare, Clausewitz, you know, all of these theorists were talking about war. Machiavelli was talking about politics, and these guys are political warriors and they're showing you how to use globalization on the Internet to take politics global. When you're taught to be a military officer in the United States, politics is not something that you talk about at all. In fact, we're taught to be apolitical and you know, let the politicians figure out what they want to do and then they'll tell us what they want us to go, you know, what objectives they want.
[00:09:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It's all sort of siloed here in the United States. We've got the military, they handle military problems. We've got our diplomatic core, they solve diplomatic problems. We've got our Chamber of Commerce and companies decide essentially for themselves what they can do as long as it's within the law. We have our legislature and things like that that create international laws, and we have international institutions that make rules. But when it comes to this Chinese Communist Party, they have Xi Jinping and the inner circle of the Chinese Communist Party, and they decide what companies are going to do. They decide what the military's going to do, they decide what their cyber warfare and intelligence units are going to do. They decide what their politicians as so far as they even have them really are going to do and they infiltrate these institutions, we'll talk about that in a little bit, and they decide what those people are supposed to do. And it's all sort of centrally controlled, which is, I think if you've ever looked at anything communist, you know that central control is kind of the whole idea. So what they're trying to do is centrally control everything and then expand that control out across outside of their borders, and that should scare everyone.
[00:10:39] China's great. I loved it when I went there. I can't go there anymore. But I wouldn't want my country to turn into China, not because of Chinese people, and not because of Chinese culture, but because of the Communist Party. That's it. They just don't care about anything but power. What did China observe and learn during the Gulf War? Because that seems to be what sparked these two colonels to write Unrestricted Warfare in '99.
[00:11:01] General Robert Spalding: Well, first of all, what was reinforced to them is we do not want to get into a conventional war with the United States. I mean, we cleaned up the Iraqi forces like in no time at all. And you could arguably say that the Chinese forces were probably even worse than the Iraqis.
[00:11:19] So first of all, we're not going to go to war with America in the conventional sense. Second of all, and what I say many times in War Without Rules is that Unrestricted Warfare is a doctrine document. You know, part of the problem of misunderstanding Unrestricted Warfare. The people think of it as a strategy. It's not a strategy, it is a doctrine document. And what a doctrine document does is take lessons learned from prior wars and tries to distill some principles that you can use to think about when you're planning a new war.
[00:11:56] And so in thinking of that document as a doctrine document, they were looking at the Gulf War and saying, "Okay, we can't go after the Americans this way, but what we can do is we notice that they are giving this full access to their corporate sector. We have access to their society, their universities, to their media. You know, the Internet is allowing us to really have access to everything. So how do we take this access that they're giving us and begin to undermine their system using this access that they're giving us? So we don't have to worry about them bringing tanks and helicopters and fighters to China because what we're going to do is we're going to basically just use the stuff that they've given us. They won't think of it as a war, they'll just think of it as business."
[00:12:45] Jordan Harbinger: People will say, "Look, are we just being paranoid here?" This is a comment I got four or five years ago when we first did our show, and now we can definitively say, no, the CCP documents, Chinese Communist Party," I'll say CCP from here out, just because it's easier. They actually state that they wish to displace us on the world stage, force us and the rest of the world to submit. So it's not just, "Hey, we want to be an equal power with the US." It's, "No, we want to get rid of anyone who would challenge our supremacy. And not only that, we don't even want them to have the ability to challenge us anywhere."
[00:13:15] That should scare anybody who just values being able to, I don't know, move around freely without getting permission from their local cadre or invent something and keep it like intellectual property or create a business that's not controlled and given a piece of it, a way to essentially extortion and control to a centralized party. I mean these things should freak everyone out regardless of whether you think it can't happen because the idea, their stated intention is to do this to everyone else.
[00:13:42] General Robert Spalding: Right. And then so, you know, individual liberty, rule of law, human rights, free trade, things that we basically built the international order on. They don't want to destroy the international order. They just want to make it so that the international order doesn't represent actually in actuality any of those things. And the easiest example to say, "Okay, well, show me how they're getting rid of those principles in the international system." "Okay, the UN Human Rights Council, who sits on the UN Human Rights Council, countries like Venezuela, China, this is a problem when you bring them into the system and they're like, "Okay, we believe in human rights. We define it differently. Our definition of human rights is you don't challenge the Party and we'll take care of you. If you challenge the Party, we'll kill you. That's our version of human rights."
[00:14:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This stuff, it starts to get worrisome when we look at COVID and you start the book by talking about COVID and how China obfuscated/lied about the origins of COVID. I should say again, the CCP, not average Chinese people. In fact, we had, is it Li Wenliang, the doctor who said, "Hey, there's this big problem. We got this disease," and they imprisoned him and then he got COVID and he died. And then, they went, "Oh, well, he was a traitor." And it's like, well, a traitor because he tried to warn the world about COVID. I mean, it's really, really sad. They failed to lock down even when they knew COVID was spreading very fast in China.
[00:15:07] I know you wrote this book in 2021. I wonder what you think now that we're in 2022. 2021, China had most the claimed propaganda victory when it came to COVID-19. "Hey, look, you guys, look how bad you screwed this up over there. Our COVID is fine." We suspected they were hiding the numbers, of course, but now it's with Omnicon. They just can't bullsh*t anymore. They've locked down Shanghai and Zhejiang and other cities with millions of people. Their vaccination program didn't work. Their economy's taken a major hit. It doesn't look like that's going to end anytime soon. What do we think about that now? I mean, this snake that they let go just seems to have turned right around and bit them in the ass.
[00:15:47] General Robert Spalding: Well, I think, you know, when you look at it from their standpoint, the Communist Party is communist. And part of the thing, the reason that Deng Xiaoping did the opening up is because they needed technology. They needed knowledge, they needed capital to rebuild their country. It's built. If you're using purchasing power parity, they've got the biggest economy in the world. They own the supply chain, and they prove that during the coronavirus, in fact, they strengthen their hold over the supply chain.
[00:16:19] Now, when you built your country, you've got the power you want. And oh, by the way, their military is the top military in the Pacific. When you have all these things, you can actually, "Okay, we're communists now. Guess what? We're going to be who we say we are." And they don't really care. You're like, "Oh, it's going to hurt their economy." They're communists. All they care about is maintaining power over the people of China. And they have created a system and Coronavirus actually, you know, used that system perfectly to monitor and control the population using technology that Silicon Valley created. They can do it perfectly.
[00:16:58] So I'm not surprised, and I don't think that they're not going to go and decline or fall down or anything. They're just being who they are.
[00:17:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We thought that a rising China would use its new technological and economic success. The idea was, hey, they're going to liberalize and they're going to open up. Look what happened in Europe at the end of World War II and yet Eastern Europe and all this sudden, we were just completely wrong about all of that.
[00:17:22] And it shows that while countries like Czechoslovakia or now, you know, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Eastern Europe, they were under the thumb of the Soviet Union when they started to experience Western success, they did liberalize and open up, especially because of things like the Marshall Plan and, and foreign eight. China was under the thumb of Mao, sure, but a lot of this is just — and they're still under the hold of the CCP. So the recipe isn't quite the same. We expected it to have the same flavor and that didn't happen at all.
[00:17:52] And they took a lot of the 5G networks, TVs, phones, things like that were developed in Silicon Valley and/or in China. And they just created a surveillance state instead of, "Hey, everybody's got fast Internet and you can order an Uber from your phone." I mean, they took those ideas, but then they said, "Let's just instead monitor everyone."
[00:18:11] I'm wondering if you think we're more clear of the 5G issue now that Huawei seems to be in decline, or if you think they just changed tax and they're going in a different direction.
[00:18:19] General Robert Spalding: Well, I mean, you know, so I think if I had stayed in government and you had asked me, "Hey, is it Huawei that we need to go after?" I would've said, "Okay, sure. You know, Huawei may be an issue," but you know, Huawei doesn't have anything to do with TikTok.
[00:18:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:36] General Robert Spalding: Right. So TikTok is exporting basically the technology, China-built technology that does a lot of the same things that Huawei equipment in your network will do. So I think when you say, "Okay if we just get Huawei out, we're going to be okay." No, we're not. They're in our system. They're in our globalized Internet-connected system, and by virtue of having their companies be a part of that, you are not okay. Just because you don't have Huawei equipment. So are we any safer because of what the State Department did with regard to Huawei? In reality, no. Now, should they have done it? Yes, they should. You know, Huawei is Huawei, but is that sufficient to protect Americans from what China wants to do, which is export their vision and version of the way society should organize?
[00:19:32] And I mean there's so many things to show you that they are able to change and basically control our narrative. The latest one is Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.
[00:19:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:43] General Robert Spalding: Reuters in the title of their article, Pelosi goes to Taiwan, China Enraged. China Enraged is Chinese Communist Party propaganda. It's their media, it's their propaganda creating the enraging that's happening. And then we just regurgitated. Oh, yes, it's all our fault because Pelosi went to Taiwan, and now China's mad at us. No, the Chinese Communist Party had orchestrated this whole thing. And so, that's the problem that I have because they are embedded in our system and quite frankly know it better than we do.
[00:20:20] Jordan Harbinger: A lot of people think China is just the Soviet Union 2.0. Hey look, you know, we outspent the Soviet Union. Maybe we can't outspend China, but we can do other things that will cause them to trip over themselves, right? They've got essentially planned economy. They're going to have some sort of debt crisis, you mentioned before. There's actually a lot of people online, even writing books that'll say things like, "Hey, look, China looks like it's on the rise now. CCP looks like they got it all cut and dry. They're going to hit this debt crisis. It's going to come crumbling down just like the USSR, the Soviet Union." I disagree. I know you disagree. Tell me why that's wrong.
[00:20:57] General Robert Spalding: Well, so that book, Unrestricted Warfare that I detail in War Without Rules talks, how many times do you think George Soros was mentioned in that book? And people are like, "Oh, is it George Soros that's funding whatever political action in the United States?" No, they are talking about the George Soros that, in their words, created the Asian financial crisis in, I think, 1997 or 1998. And they're saying, "No, he's a financial terrorist," because he caused, for instance, a run on the currency in Korea. And so what they did as a result of that, the Chinese Communist Party created a financial system in China that's closed.
[00:21:40] Their currency does not float. You cannot go exchange a dollar for a renminbi on any kind of exchange. You have to go to the People's Bank of China and they'll exchange it on their own terms. And so it's a non-convertible currency and strict capital controls. There is no other country in the global financial system that has a closed financial system that's allowed to be part of the global financial system. That's an example of how they took, okay, this is how if you are doing things wrong with your economy and you're part of the global financial system, you're right to have capital flight go out of your country. "Okay, what we're going to do is we're going to say, 'Hey, you can bring money into China, but we say when you take it out.'"
[00:22:26] Now, we should have said, as a country and as a global financial system, "Okay, guess what? That is not how we play."
[00:22:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:22:33] General Robert Spalding: "You're out. We are not going to do business with you because you don't allow your currency to float." Instead, what do we do? The renminbi is part of the IMF basket of currencies. And you say, "How can this be?"
[00:22:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:22:45] General Robert Spalding: How can it be? Well, it's because it's China and everything that you talk about is like, well, we do that because it's China.
[00:22:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right, exactly. So for people who don't quite follow this, because they're not former Wall Street dorks like myself, I'll try and sort of make this as basic as I can. The basket of currencies is it's a group of currencies that say, "Hey, these are the global currencies that we use for everything. Here's kind of what they can be invested in." Normally, when you have a currency like that, it's the euro. Before the euro was like the French franc and the Deutsche mark and things like that, the British pound, the yen, Japanese yen, those things are in there.
[00:23:18] Because if Apple builds a factory outside of Tokyo and they build computers there and they invest in there, they can move that money in and out of Japan, in and out of the United States. If you do that in China, you build that factory in China, you can't take those profits out of China. You have to continue to invest in China. That sounds good on its face. Hey, you're continuing to invest in the area. That seems like a good policy. Maybe we should do that. The problem is you might as well not have made that money if you can't actually deploy it anywhere and you think, oh, there's plenty of places to deploy capital in China. There is if they let you do it. And by the way, you're earning renminbi because they're going to take your dollars, you know, more or less necessarily.
[00:23:55] So now, you've got this currency that says what we say that it's worth. So if you run a follow of us, yeah, we can nationalize your factory. You could probably afford to take that hit. If you're Apple, you're a trillion-dollar company, you can afford to have a few factories nationalized. It's going to sting. But what happens when we say, "You don't have any money here? You thought you had 400 billion here, but you don't. You don't have any money here."
[00:24:14] General Robert Spalding: It's all gone.
[00:24:15] Jordan Harbinger: It's gone. Or, "You have this, but it's only renminbi. And honestly, we're not going to give you as good of a rate because we decided," some functionary decided that you guys were pissing in his Cheerios. "So we're going to make it so that you have to spend this money in this certain way," and it's only worth half of what you thought it was. They can do that and you can do nothing about it because you can't. You cannot move the money out of the country outside of their jurisdiction and authority. You just can't do it. It's not an option. And instead of saying, "To hell with that, we're going to build our factories in Malaysia instead," everyone went, "Okay, well, it's probably going to work out for us in the end because they're going to liberalize and we'll solve this problem later." And ding, 2022, it's only gotten worse.
[00:24:53] General Robert Spalding: Yeah. And in BlackRock, Blackstone, all the major hedge funds, all the banks, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, they put money in China. And whose money did they put? Well, you know, if you're a teacher—
[00:25:06] Jordan Harbinger: Raise your hand if you have any money in a retirement fund anywhere in, you thought in the US.
[00:25:10] General Robert Spalding: —your money in China.
[00:25:11] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:25:12] General Robert Spalding: And all China has to do is say, and this is what's going to happen. I can tell you right now what's going to. When they invade Taiwan and we say, we are going to sanction you, they're going to say, "Guess what? All that money that your retirement funds had invested in China, it's now worthless." Not only that, because we don't make our own antibiotics, "We're just not going to send you any of those either. So are you sure that you want to sanction us because we've just invaded Taiwan?" This is the power that, you know, Unrestricted Warfare kind of created the principles that allowed them to think about the world differently. "Let's plug into it, but let's plug into it according to our way of thinking."
[00:25:49] Jordan Harbinger: The United States in '99, we were all about, what? Smart bombs, I remember, they called them. It's so funny because these terms from the '90s are so antiquated now, right? Smart bombs, which we thought like, "Wow, you can drop a bomb and it lands where you want it to." And now in 2022 it's like, "Wait, you used to drop a bomb and it would just go somewhere in the area. You dropped it? That sounds horribly dangerous". Now, of course, we can drop that thing within, what? Like three to six feet of where it's supposed to be, maybe even smaller. What do I know?
[00:26:15] General Robert Spalding: Well, I mean, yeah, you saw the strike on Zawahiri. I mean that was a Hellfire missile that was made to take out a person.
[00:26:23] Jordan Harbinger: Crazy.
[00:26:23] General Robert Spalding: No explosive onboard. It was made to take out a person. And Christian Brose talks about this. He's got a book called The Kill Chain. And when you kind of look at the way that these colonels are thinking about war, and you're looking at Christian Brose — what Christian Brose is saying is, we did not embrace Silicon Valley, and if we did, it'd make us more efficient at killing people, right?
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:45] General Robert Spalding: We could use the iPhone to be better killers, but the two colonels are saying, "What are you talking about?"
[00:26:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:26:51] General Robert Spalding: Kill people? Why not use TikTok to change the way they think about how their society should be organized so that they like communism better than democracy? You don't have to kill anybody. You don't have to blow anything up. You don't have to take the risk of having that blowback on you. But slowly over time, people start to look at you and say, "Oh, why don't we organize our country like China? Because China is so much better to live."
[00:27:15] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest General Spalding. We'll be right back.
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[00:30:33] Now back to General Spalding. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but my buddy who's a comedian, in his defense, that's something that I thought was both sort of funny and also eerily possible, which was what if, and again, it's a conspiracy theory that's meant to be kind of a joke, what if TikTok is designed to get everybody here watching stupid stuff, doing stupid dances instead of studying, making themselves better, building something, adding to society in some way? They're just designed to get sucked into that thing for three hours a day and do absolutely nothing of use or benefit. And I thought, Wow, that would be a pretty good weapon to have. Right? Social media aside to just create something where youth and adults, who should know better, spend hours of their day absolutely in a coma, staring at their phone on the toilet or whatever until their legs fall asleep, right? Instead of studying or doing something productive. And I know that he's kind of joking, but it's like, man, maybe he's not totally off on this kind of thing.
[00:31:32] The United States seems to have gotten better in the last 20 years in terms of unconventional warfare, right? Somalia, Afghanistan, not that those wars went well, but we had to fight less conventional wars. It's not like we don't know anything about unconventional or indirect conflict anymore. I think in '99 it was like, now we're just going to bomb everything into oblivion and then roll in with tanks, and that seemed like a great idea back then. Would you agree?
[00:31:56] General Robert Spalding: Well, yeah. I mean, I think we live in two worlds. We live in a physical world where somebody can walk through your door, put a gun to your head and say, "I want you to do X." We also live in a digital world which is the world of TikTok. And yeah, we're pretty good at the former, right? We can tussle with the best of them. We can get in there and we can put a gun to somebody's head and we can take 'em out or we can say, "Hey, this is what we want you to do."
[00:32:24] That's not what Unrestricted Warfare is about. Unrestricted Warfare is about the latter. It's basically saying, "Forget all that." Yes, that's the 20th-century way of thinking about warfare. The 21st-century way of thinking about warfare is just get them to do what you want.
[00:32:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:41] General Robert Spalding: Because they think it's their idea.
[00:32:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:43] General Robert Spalding: Get them to give up their liberties because they think it's their idea. They're worried they're going to die from COVID. Okay, well, then let them basic convince them that if they do these things, they won't die from COVID. And it becomes a way for you to basically voluntarily go the way they want. And that's what they want. They don't want to create the risk of conflict. Although in Taiwan, bets are off, but not against the United States. We've got nuclear weapons that could get messy. They could fight better than us. The Chinese aren't great fighters. They built a great wall that you could see from space for God's sake. They're not great fighters. What they are good is that political warfare, and that's what this is about. It's how do I convince you to be on my side.
[00:33:28] The funny thing is when you work with Russians and then you work with Chinese, and when I'm saying Russian, I'm not talking about people from Russia or people from China, people that are part of the state apparatus. The Russians are like not friendly people, by design. That's the way the system is.
[00:33:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:33:42] General Robert Spalding: The Chinese are great. They embrace you. You want to be your best friend. It's very disarming. And so when you take this approach, like "I am going to get you to be on my side to think the way I think because it enriches you or I'm using your words," like the world economic form, where it's one world, we all need to work together, we need to do all these things. We're going to say those words and you're going to think, "Oh, he or she is on my side, so therefore we're simpatico and our interests are aligned." Then they're going to do things that are completely at odds with what they say and we're going to say, "Oh, that's odd. But you know, they said, you know, they're going to do this thing and we trust them.
[00:34:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah, we're used to dealing with diplomats that want to solve a problem, not diplomats that are deliberately obfuscating and running interference for their intelligence services or their military. Not that, that has never happened in the past. I mean, we see that in the Prelude to War, right? We saw that a lot with, I think the Soviets, but that's a generation ago. Modern diplomats, unless they've studied that stuff upside down, left and right, they're not necessarily going to go into the interaction thinking, "This person is trying to deceive me. This is me talking with the foreign minister of Japan before Pearl Harbor or after Pearl Harbor," right? This is different. We think we have international institutions that are going to stand for law and order and we don't.
[00:35:06] You've said in the book, and I think this is what they wrote in Unrestricted Warfare in '99, "The best strategy for warfare is not to kill but to control." So the CCP, yeah, they want us to be confused, argue with each other, be enslaved by economics and disinformation. And so far, so good. I would say, unfortunately, especially in the last few years, we've really seen this come to light. And on the plus side, I think now people go, "What the hell happened though? That's weird. This is really strange. What's happening?" And we're telling you what is happening and hope, I think more and more people start to go, "Okay, I understand. I'm starting to understand this," because we see the perception of China sliding downhill on the international stage. And I'll talk about that in a second.
[00:35:45] One note that you wrote in the book that I thought was, so observant isn't quite the right word, but perhaps astute was the battlefield for China when it comes to information and diplomacy and economics is everywhere. I mentioned before, the United States is siloed when it comes to the military. They're the ones that fight the battle. China's different. Everyone in the CCP is fighting the battle at every level. Corporate wonks steal IP. Hackers cause damage to networks. Financial institutions rip off foreign clients and companies and investors. Diplomats make empty threats and postures like with Taiwan and now the military exercises they're running right now that you sort of mentioned at the top of the show and the financial warfare that you talked about. Like you mentioned George Soros. This isn't really something we're used to hearing about in the West.
[00:36:29] They know that financial warfare's highly effective because they saw the, was it the debt crisis in the '90s that Southeast, the Asian financial crisis. I was a kid.
[00:36:37] General Robert Spalding: Yeah, the Asian financial crisis.
[00:36:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't remember it. I was like 16. I was more concerned about how to afford Gas for my Ford Tempo GL or my Ford Topaz or whatever it was. A guest on the show, Dan David talked about this episode 476. There's a lot of companies in China that will just acquire a US company through a reverse merger, list a bunch of shares for their paper factory. And then Dan David was sending investigators to look at the paper factory and It's an empty building with a bunch of rotten cardboard outside. It's not a billion-dollar paper company. Nobody freaking checked. And they're just like, "Yeah, we're just going to take your money. What are you going to do? It's not illegal for us to steal from you." And that's true.
[00:37:13] General Robert Spalding: Yeah. It's absolutely crazy. So it's so outside of the view of Americans and they don't even understand it. Like, I'll just give you one. People think it's a domestic political issue.
[00:37:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:27] General Robert Spalding: It's not a domestic political issue, It's part of our system. So the CHIPS act.
[00:37:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:37:31] General Robert Spalding: That was just passed. What's that going to do? We're going to spend 46 billion of taxpayers' money to rebuild chip fabrication factories in the United States. I think it's something very important. Something that we should do.
[00:37:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:37:45] General Robert Spalding: The Semiconductor Industry Association said, okay, great. You guys are going to give us 46 million to build these factories in America. But we notice over here in paragraph three that you're saying that we can't invest our money in China. You're going to invest your money in us. We need to take that part out. People will listen. Oh, well, some senators are saying, "Hey, we shouldn't pass this bill for this 46 billion dollars." And people are saying, "What? You don't want to rebuild the chip factories?' No, the industry itself, basically, we're going to put our money in an industry and they're going to put their money in China. That's what's in the bill. It's so insidious and it works right into our political system, but it's so complicated and outside the view of regular Americans. They believe we need a chip industry. I think most Americans would agree with that.
[00:38:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah.
[00:38:42] General Robert Spalding: What they don't understand is that the actual apparatus says those private companies could be investing their money in America, but they're not. They want to invest it in China.
[00:38:51] Jordan Harbinger: I did read, and tell me if I'm mistaken here, that there is a provision in the bill that says that these companies cannot expand or build new factories overseas at all if they're taking this money, or at least in China. I can't remember. It may be you're allowed to in Germany or something.
[00:39:08] General Robert Spalding: That was the original language.
[00:39:10] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:39:10] General Robert Spalding: And I've seen this time and time again. They get it watered down, they get loopholes in it because you know it's globalization. We need to be able to move our money wherever. And when you have a relationship between the chip industry and China where the chip industry wants to sell chips to China, then China can say, "Hey, you know, you got this bill coming up. If you want to sell chips to China, you better make sure that you fix that." And so who's going to lobby Washington, DC? It's not Huawei. It's not Lenovo.
[00:39:40] Jordan Harbinger: It's Intel.
[00:39:40] General Robert Spalding: It's Intel. It's the chip industry themselves. And so they are just trying to run their business, right? They are trying to be good stewards of the shareholders' value. It's not their fault either. When FDR had it out with the business community prior to World War II and said, "Look, guys, this is the way we're going to go." You get to a point where the government has to step in and say, "Okay, the free enterprise is designed to be free." And it's designed to maximize shareholder value. And the Chinese have rigged the system so that when you take a shareholder value, you equate that to doing things the way that China wants. That becomes a national security issue because now you can't have chips or antibiotics. That's a problem. Now the government has to step in and say, "Okay, the free market is not delivering."
[00:40:30] And Alexander Hamilton said this, even Adam Smith said this when talking about the invisible hand of economics, you know, national security is a reason for the government to get involved in free trade. Otherwise, yes, specialization and trade, it makes all boats rise. But in cases where national security is concerned, in cases where a mercantilist power, which is, you know, essentially what China is, basically distorts the free market economy, then the government must step in because this is not the role of business to protect our nation. All they're trying to do is increase shareholder value.
[00:41:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's easy to say, oh, well shame on Intel and these other companies. I'm only picking on Intel because I can't name another, AMD, I don't know. That might even be a brand under Intel, right? These companies, it's easy to say shame on them. And to some degree, it's like, okay, well all right, but if you own stock in that company, you want them to be able to build.
[00:41:25] I am very sad to hear that they took that provision out of the CHIPS bill. I was pretty stoked to hear, oh, good, it's actually going to be invested in the United States. But if we're just subsidizing these companies so that they have more money to invest overseas, especially in hostile states like China, that is somehow even worse. I suppose not even worse. It's almost as bad as just letting them do whatever the hell they want in the first place. At least, we're going to have some chip factories here while they expand their Chinese operations. Hopefully, it results in them mostly putting their focus here. But we, I mean, really, really have to be careful giving all of our blueprints of all of our semiconductors and all of our AI and quantum computing and logistics, everything over to a state that has literally said, "We're going to use this against you and use it to subjugate you and screw up your entire country and the world order so that you're subservient to us." That is really dumb. I mean, it's just dumb at this point if we're allowing this to happen, and it's really clear that the US is playing checkers and China's playing chess, and that's sad for us because we should know better. We do know better. We just don't care somehow.
[00:42:26] General Robert Spalding: Here's one that I think will resonate with people, you know, that's a little bit more conventional, and what you would think would be obvious. So, you know, me as a military member, I put into something called the Thrift Saving Plan. It's like a 401K for the military. And, you know, the Thrift Saving Plan board decided that, hey, they're going to take my retirement money, you know, B-2 pilot, and they're going to invest it in Aviation Industry Corporation of China that makes the J-20 that's designed to shoot down the B-2.
[00:42:56] Jordan Harbinger: Unbelievable.
[00:42:56] General Robert Spalding: So my retirement funds are going to fund the weapons that I may be seeing in the air as an active-duty Air Force member. That's the craziness when we get so entwined with China. That's what's going on. And I think you just can't say it's business, well, it's just business. No, it can't be just business.
[00:43:20] Jordan Harbinger: Unrestricted Warfare. Again, the document from the '90s written by these Chinese colonels, they state biological warfare, exploiting natural disasters, all that should be on the table. And we can see how the CCP used COVID to damage the rest of the world by letting it spread, lying about the origins, blaming the United States, blaming Australia for originating it, even though it was, of course, from Wuhan. It's all in the playbook. It just seems like their plan with COVID especially, was facilitated by a lot of the international organizations that the United States built with its allies during the Cold War. Maybe not taken over, but they've certainly infiltrated these. Like the World Health Organization, let's talk about the WHO. They essentially whitewashed the coronavirus for China. Can you tell us about this?
[00:44:02] General Robert Spalding: And if you look at, you know, War Without Rules, it taught, in Unrestricted Warfare, they write, oh, the United States has used the international order to get what they want. They use the international order to get the UN to say it's okay for you to invade Iraq. And then they created all of this alliance structure to get, you know, using the UN as a means. If you want to fight, then you need to use these international institutions to get your interest be at the top. So how do you do that? Well, you actually, there's two ways to you do that.
[00:44:39] You get allies. So the Belt and Road initiative is a good way to get allies. Like now you got the African nations, Central Asian nations, a lot of the Middle Eastern nations voting along the lines of what China wants at the UN. You have Greece and you have, I think, Hungary, and the EU basically. So EU is taken off the playing board. That's one way. Then the other way is, hey, we need all of these agencies that are within these international institutions are run by people. You know, before Unrestricted Warfare, they were typically placed there by the United States or by the United States and its allies. Now, they're placed there. And the good example using the organization you just mentioned is Tedros. Tedros is China's plan to run the World Health Organization. And so they have used basically the system we built. They've just basically moved in. They've been better at the politics of the international institutions over the last 30 years than we have.
[00:45:41] And now they're running it. And that's some of the frustration that we have. Why are we not getting outcomes from these international institutions that actually promote civil liberties, rule of law, free trade, human rights. It's like, you know, one party, another party are fighting in the Congress. One party gets control, they get what they want. The Chinese are fought politically over the last 30 years to gain control of the international system. World Health Organization is just one example of that, and now they're using it to get their policies instantiated throughout the world. Lockdowns, perfect example. Lockdowns come from China, January 23rd, Xi Jiping, lockdown Wuhan. Before that, we never had lockdowns in our lexicon. All of a sudden, within a couple of weeks, WHO lockdown stopped the virus. Guess what? Everybody puts in lockdowns in place. And now it's like, "Oh, lockdowns? Lockdowns made all kinds of sense." No, they don't.
[00:46:38] They made no scientific sense whatsoever. There's no data to back up. They would be effective. And in fact, what you've seen with the spread of coronavirus, whether you're in Sweden or Italy, it spreads. No matter what you do from a policy, it's a virus. It's going to spread. I think that's the power of Unrestricted Warfare. It's knowing that if I get into these institutions and I get control of them and I start to control the narrative. And you know, these institutions start to say, the policy of or should be this, democracies will, they'll take 'em because it's coming from the WHO.
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the World Health Organization. And I think that that's a little bit scary because we want to be able to trust these. We don't want to think, oh, that there's a thumb on the scale from an authoritarian regime that wants us to make mistakes. So make recommendations that screw everyone over.
[00:47:25] Look, I'm not saying that they're doing that in every instance, but we certainly saw that WHO is more than happy to say, "Well, we're not sure we're going to delay the investigation. Oh, they're not going to let us in. Cool. We're not going to make a big stink about that. Oh, they're going to let us in a year later, after all the evidence is gone. And they can say that this was nothing." And again, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but like if you're trying to play by an international set of laws, then for God's sake try to look a little bit less guilty, right? Just a little bit.
[00:47:51] What do you think about Biden's new plan? I don't know if it's Biden's plan, I should say, but the administration's new plan to partner with India, Australia, and other nations to limit China's ability to operate in the South China Sea. For those who don't know, you've got all these countries around the South China Sea, Taiwan, Vietnam, I think Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, I'm probably forgetting a few of these, but China says, "Hey, these are our waters now. You can't really do anything here." And they're saying, "You're literally fishing off the coast of my country and taking all the fish. And we don't even allow our own fishermen to do that. What the hell? Get out of here." And China says, "Tough rocks. We're going to build a military base on an island that we now say is ours, or that we built in the South China Sea." There's now a plan to partner with India, Australia, and some of these other nations to limit China's influence in that area. What do you think about initiatives like that?
[00:48:38] General Robert Spalding: The problem with our system is that separation of business and government. In the White House, you have the National Security Council and you have the National Economic Council. The National Security Council looks after the National Security of United States. The National Economic Council looks after the economic health of the United States. If the National Security Council, which it has says, "Hey, we've got a problem with China." The National Economic Council says, "Uh, no, we don't. We want to keep our economic relationship with China going."
[00:49:06] And so you start to think about, okay, how do we look at national security and foreign policy in a world where China has basically hijacked the international order? Then you look at the federal bureaucracy, right? That kind of sits behind those two organizations within the White House, in the NSA, State Department, the intelligence community, DOD, and then the NEC, National Economic Council, the Commerce Department, the Treasury Department. So what happens? Well, the Commerce Department, who's tied to the US Chamber of Commerce corporate sector, and the Treasury Department who's tied to Wall Street basically take an opposite point of view. And so when the National Security Council says, "Hey, we need to do something about this." Okay, let's come up with this idea of AUKUS.
[00:49:48] What will AUKUS do? AUKUS will get, you know, Australia, US, India, and Japan. They kind of work together in the quad. We're going to counteract Chinese actions in Indo-Pacific. Okay, great. But guess what? A lot of their undermining actions come in the commercial and financial areas. And guess what? The National Economic Council, the Commerce Department, and the Treasury Department aren't going to participate in that. So how does that play out? Oh, well, you're talking about Fiji or any of these smaller territories that are caught in between, say AUKUS and China. Well, the Chinese aren't going to go over there and invade them with military, so this side doesn't work. What happens? They start giving them money to build stuff and to develop their economy, and so all of a sudden they're using these elements to undermine national security. So AUKUS is a great idea. It's just incomplete.
[00:50:46] And as we saw during the first Cold War if you don't basically make it comprehensive, in other words, DOD, State Department, the intelligence community, commerce, and treasury, all working together to protect democracies, it's not going to work. It's going to fail. Because if we had allowed the Soviet Union to get inside our financial systems and get on inside of our corporate sector, they would've done the same thing that China did, I think. I think they would've caught on like, "Oh, they're letting us get into their industrial base. They're letting us get into their financial system." We didn't. They were completely cut out. And so I think the Chinese and these two colonels basically said, "Okay, they're letting us come here. Why would we even mess with these guys? Let them go off and do figure-eights around the islands in the South China Sea. We don't care. We'll yell at them, you know, whatever. In the meantime, we're going to be buying everything up." You know? It's just a different way of looking at the problem.
[00:51:39] Jordan Harbinger: It's frustrating because there have to be people in our government that know better. I mean, look, you know this, there's got to be plenty of people that know that these agreements are half measures. Why are we not doing this? Is it just so antithetical to the United States to tell businesses what they can and can't do or to regulate our financial system that we just can't get it together?
[00:51:59] General Robert Spalding: You're taught in the federal government that, "know your lane, stay in your lane." When I was briefing the senior leaders in the military about the problems we had, they're like, "Yeah, that's really bad, but it's not in my lane. My lane's over here. Okay. I can't do anything to help that." And so when you look at the inner agency, everybody kind of stays in their lane. And so Commerce Department doesn't do national security. Treasury doesn't do national security. They come, they have relations with particularly political appointees. They come from the financial industry, they come from the corporate sector that work in the Commerce and Treasury Department. So getting them to think outside of that box is really, really hard to do. And then, the permanent party civilians, they're counseled time and time again, "Stay in your lane, don't get out of your lane."
[00:52:52] It's in the seams between those lanes that the Chinese operate. And since there are no lanes for them. When they look at warfare, it's across everything. And so if I can be across everything and I see, oh, there's a weakness here and there's weakness here, this is really tough. I'm going to go over here because I can't, and nobody's telling me I can't. Because more importantly they're saying, not only can you, you should because that's the easier way to go after the problem. And so Washington, DC, unfortunately, because we have this separation between kind of the private sector and government, they can't get within their minds, and it was only because I'm kind of more of a rabble-rouser.
[00:53:33] And I'm like, why? Why should I stay over here? Yeah. I can drop bombs 6,000 miles away. I'm not going to drop them on China. They're probably not going to drop them on us. Meanwhile, I see that they're basically running through the door here, that we've kind of left open. Shouldn't I do something about that? I got counseled a lot of times. Why are you doing this? And I'm like, because nobody else is. I mean, that's our job. I swore an oath to support and defend the constitution. I see being trampled because it's not in my lane. So, I know that's a long-winded answer, but that's essentially what goes on. People stay in their lane.
[00:54:08] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like we should be aware of all this by now. I mean, do you see there being changed or is it just too slow?
[00:54:15] General Robert Spalding: There's awareness.
[00:54:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:16] General Robert Spalding: Okay. There's awareness. But all the problems, the structural problems I just talked about exist. They are there. And absent somebody with authority to break down those walls, those barriers and saying, "No, we're at war with China," not a war that we understand or even would agree that this is the right way to wage war, even think about, we have to accept that as fact. And then we have to begin to organize ourselves, not like we did with the Soviet Union, but in a different way to protect our nation. And I think only until then — and by the way, President Trump didn't figure this out. He didn't understand all the intellectual underpinnings of what I'm telling you.
[00:54:57] The establishment in Washington, DC doesn't agree with this. They believe that we should have this relationship with China that continues along the same lines. But there is an awakening that is happening in Washington DC that people, maybe, I guess, they're more young, they're up and coming, and they're beginning to question why we're doing things. So I think in that group you're seeing a realization that we have this problem, but even that can get fouled up by the fact that we're a democracy, and the Chinese take advantage of the fact that we will use your weak on China as to score political points. Well, then it becomes, you know, how do I define my political stance with regard to China so that I can make sure that I can get reelected?
[00:55:47] And what do my constituencies think about this? And so our domestic politics get in the way of us actually solving the problem. You know, it is very much still like FDR is challenged with Nazi Germany in getting the American people. I think the American people came before the corporate sector came. It is the truth that the corporate sector has enormous influence over Washington, DC and I would say we've had sign waves.
[00:56:14] There's a good book called Goliath by Matt Stoller, and he talks about these sign waves of heavy consolidation of economic power and then the breaking down of that via anti-trust. And I think we have gotten to a point where we're very consolidated with economic power. Those very large corporations have outsized ability to influence a political process. And that's exactly the types of institution that the Chinese Communist Party loves to work with.
[00:56:48] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest General Spalding. We'll be right.
[00:56:53] This episode is sponsored in part by Bodyguardz, with a Z. Your phone case says a lot about you. Is yours old, dirty, damaged? You know people are judging you for that. Maybe you like to live on the edge, no case. What is wrong with you people? Maybe you're like Jen. She's got a wallet case with everything she needs in one compact place, and then it just puffs up like crazy. There's a bunch of crap on the phone. Bodyguardz with a Z has a variety of cases for anyone, whether you like something clean and basic or a little bit more robust and functional. Bodyguardz's cases and screen protectors are designed with every nuance of the phone in mind, so they're tailor made to fit perfectly. If your dingy old case is putting off the wrong vibe, check out the cases from Bodyguardz. Tons of new colors, styles, there's Mag Safe compatible cases to choose from, including a new case that is so crystal clear, it looks like ice, pretty nice. Cases are engineered to protect your phone from 10 feet up to even a 14-foot drop. Who is dropping their — whatever? Someone's going to do it. When you buy from Bodyguardz, a portion of your purchase supports their charity foundation called Relief Haven, which gives back to the local community as well as abroad to help children in Africa escape child labor and gain an education and self-reliance.
[00:57:55] General Robert Spalding: Go to bodyguardz.com/jordan to protect your phone today. That's bodyguardz.com/jordan to start protecting your valuable phone today.
[00:58:06] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Pluralsight. Helping your employees learn new cloud skills helps your business become more agile, more resilient, and more secure. Not helping employees learn new cloud skills causes your business to become less agile, less resilient, less secure, less innovative, less profitable, and ultimately less of a business. Don't become less of a business. Try Pluralsight and get your employees everything they need to learn new cloud skills. Learn more at pluralsight.com/vision.
[00:58:31] If you like this episode of the show, I invite you to do what other supportive listeners do, which is take a moment and support our sponsors. All of the discounts and deals and codes are all on one page. jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you can find it. You can always search for a sponsor using the search box on the website as well. jordanharbinger.com is where you'll find it. Thank you so much for supporting those who support us. It does keep us going, and it makes it possible for us to continue creating these episodes week after week.
[00:58:57] Now for the rest of my conversation with General Spalding.
[00:59:02] It reminds me of, and I'm going to screw this up, this quote, but I think it was Standard Oil, the president had said, "Hey, stop shipping Hitler oil. What are you doing? We're in war." And he said, "Well, we got a contract with him." And it's just like, are you kidding me? We're talking about the existence of the free world here. And you're like, "Well, I got a piece of paper that says you're going to give me money and I'm going to give you oil." Knock it off. And this is what we're doing with our semiconductors, with our AI technology, with our quantum computing technology, with IP, whether we want to give it to them or it's stolen. it just seems like people are saying, "Well, it's business. I have to manufacture everything there because it's going to be cheaper."
[00:59:35] A lot of military experts say that the invasion of Taiwan is going to show a ton of buildup, ships, armor, et cetera, on the shores of mainland China. But in the book, the PLA, the People's Liberation Army colonels that wrote Unrestricted Warfare, they marveled that the US used helicopters in Desert Storm. I don't know anything about military strategy, but is there a scenario in which China or the CCP uses essentially a helicopter army to cross the 100-mile Taiwan Strait as opposed to slowly sailing across?
[01:00:02] General Robert Spalding: I absolutely believe that that's what they're going to do. I mean, we have been so kind of preoccupied by the invasion force coming. And I'm not saying that they're not going to use the maritime domain.
[01:00:14] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:15] General Robert Spalding: But I do think that they are going to take advantage of air power in many ways. They're going to use ballistic missiles, they're going to use rockets, and they have so many weapons stored on their side of the street. It would boggle your mind. They're going to use fighter jets. They're going to use bombers. They're going to use, you know, massive waves of helicopters for assaulting the island.
[01:00:37] I think the difference between, and this is the problem with people trying to take the Russia-Ukraine scenario and say, "Oh, you know, Russia thought they were just going to march in there and take over Ukraine." Russia's got an economy less than the size of Texas and most of their stuff is old. And you know, they tried mine-run it because they had to, because that's all they had. The Chinese aren't going to do that. It's going to be massive, it's going to be overwhelming, it's going to be fast when it happens. It'll be over like, like Iraq was, and it'll be mostly from the air because there is no way to drive a tank from the Mainland to Taiwan. And amphibious assaults are extremely, extremely dangerous. In fact, it's why they believe that between you know, the months of April and October, the sea states are the best time for invasions. So that's when they will come.
[01:01:30] I actually think that they're going to take advantage of the fact that, "Oh, well the Chinese would never invade now. You know, the sea states are really bad for that." That's exactly when they're going to come. It's going to be so overwhelming. People are going to be shocked. I think it's going to be the same type of shock that the world was shocked when Desert Storm happened. I think everybody was put off by it. You know, just absolutely flabbergasted by how fast America was able to subdue Iraqi forces and just wipe them out. That's what's going to happen when China invades Taiwan.
[01:02:03] And I'm more worried, quite frankly in the aftermath. How are we going to survive as a nation when the Chinese say antibiotics are gone? You know, figure it out. Microelectronics. I mean, most of the stuff that makes up the products that you buy, if it's not the products themselves comes from China. All that stuff, you know, is liable to be cut off when this happens.
[01:02:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it seems like if it comes from the air, it's going to be a lot less warning, a lot less time to prepare for the attack. It seems like You don't think Taiwan is very prepared for this. I read something about a military officer from Taiwan giving a talk, I think, in China, saying, "Oh, Taiwan doesn't stand a chance." If that's real, they should hang that guy for treason, but he might also be right. Not that he should have said it in China, not that they could repel an invasion force anyway, but is it even going to be that costly? Are they sort of keeping their eye on the ball over there? Do we know?
[01:02:55] General Robert Spalding: You've got 1.4 billion people. You've got the, again, purchasing power parity. You've got the number one economy in the world. You've got the ability to create all these weapons. You have been creating these weapons, you've taken technology from the United States. You know in some areas like AI, you lead in technology. And you've got an island of 23 million.
[01:03:14] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:15] General Robert Spalding: Right, that's doing great. Best chip manufacturers in the world, they own most of the chip manufacturing through Taiwan's semiconductors. Nothing to sneeze about, but it's 23 million people and it's a little island against a massive Mainland of 1.4 billion with all the resources of the number one economy in the world.
[01:03:34] It's not shameful to say the Chinese are going to overwhelm Taiwan. You know, you wouldn't get mad because a six-foot-five, 300-pound man goes and stomps a toddler and say, "Well, you know, that toddler should have been able to defend itself." So then it becomes, well, can they hold out long enough for the United States to get there? Get there and do what? Go to war with China, who has nuclear weapons, is not afraid to use them when they're talking about Taiwan. You're going to trade Tai bay for Los Angeles or Washington DC or New York. Probably not. What are you going to go there to do? Probably evacuate people. Probably help, you know, get them out at least the ones that want to leave, just like they left the Mainland in the first place.
[01:04:20] So when I'm kind of looking at this logically, it's not shameful to say this is going to happen and it's going to happen very quickly, and we should be thinking about what are the implications, not just that of what happens to those people. I think 70, 80 percent of the people are just going to want to stay there in Taiwan. They're going to become Hong Kong, right? They're going to become another province of China. But there's going to be 20 percent or so that want to leave. We ought to facilitate their ability to leave and provide aid and comfort for those that are harmed in the invasion.
[01:04:50] But that's not shameful. It's just reality and I think in our own domestic politics, we get hung up by this fact that we can't say that there's a peer adversary, there's a near-peer adversary, baloney. We're not even a near-peer adversary when it comes to the amount of force they have on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. We are just there kind of looking from afar saying, "Oh boy, I hope this thing doesn't go the way I think it's going to go," but it is. And there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that.
[01:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: You don't think that the Ukraine situation dissuaded them because China can punch back so hard if we sanction them, it's just not going to be an issue. Whereas Russia, I mean, they can't really do much.
[01:05:28] General Robert Spalding: Yeah. I mean, I think this is the problem with China experts. They're like, "Oh, well, China's going to be deterred or dissuaded by X." That's not what the way of the Chinese Communist Party works. They look at a situation and they learn from it. Their goal is their goal. They're not going to say, oh, that goal is no longer our goal. No, it's still our goal. Oh, this is what America and the West did to the Russians when they invaded Ukraine. Okay. And they did last week of April called in all the bankers from around the world. Okay. What happened — what do we do if we face these kinds of sanctions? So what are they doing? Just like they put in place the non-convertible currency and strict capital controls for the financial system. They're going to make sure that whatever sanctions we put in place are ineffective. So they're looking at that and they're learning, okay, what are all the things that we need to learn in terms of how the international order will respond to this? And then how do we ensure that response is ineffectual? That's it.
[01:06:24] Jordan Harbinger: China used to operate under Deng Xiaoping, the idea that you should hide your strength, bide your time. Why do you think China dropped that whole idea? It's very obvious now. They're obvious about everything they do now. It's very much wolf-warrior diplomacy. "Like, you're going to suffer consequences." I mean, they're actually kind of ridiculous and cliche. Some of the stupid stuff that Zhao Lijian says on Twitter or from his podium when he is reading his garbage speeches where he's just talking a bunch of nonsense. Most countries have a much more negative view of China than they have in years past as we mentioned earlier. It's wild when you look at the data. I mean, opinion went from, "I don't think about it much," or mostly positive to overwhelmingly negative. They show their cards pretty early here. Why?
[01:07:06] General Robert Spalding: Well, I mean, just kind of replay in your mind the words, hide your capability and bide your time, right? It's not, hey, the Americans have a better way of living. Let's try to figure out how to do that. No, it's hide your capability, bide your time until we have the power to actually be who we are. We would rather be who we are as the number one fish in the pond than try to be who we are as the number 20 fish in the pond.
[01:07:34] If we are acting like the Russians did, or we act like North Korea, or we act like Iran, guess what? We're not going to get any help from the banks. We're not going to get any help from the corporations. We're not going to get any help from the universities. We need all those things. Okay. So hide your capability, bide your time, take advantage of all you can. Let's make an assessment. Okay, we've reached enough power now we are who we are. Now, we can start saying with force, this is who we are. This is what we believe. We actually think our system is better than yours, and we are showing you by all of these metrics, we bringing these hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We have this rising economy that rises every single year without fail. We own the global supply chain.
[01:08:22] Look at 2008, the Americans, you know, screwed up the global financial system and we're coming in to bail them out. So that's what they're doing. So, this is just part of the natural order. Again, we try to project our vision of the future onto the world, and we just have to look at what's happening out there. And in this case, look at the Chinese Communist Party and say, this is where they're going. We have to accept, acknowledge, embrace the fact that that's where they're going. And then we need to figure out what that means for us as a democratic republic, and then what do we need to do to survive?
[01:09:00] You know, Alexander Hamilton was under no illusion about the fact that America would come under attack as a democracy. FDR, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Reagan, you know, all kind of grew up in eras where the America was not always number one, but always had to be aware that there are others out there that are going to want to take our freedoms away. And the number one reason for having a constitutional republic was this idea of we have to come together. We all believe in democracy, but we all have to come together to defend each other because if not, we're going to get picked off and the whole thing's going to come crashing down.
[01:09:40] In the last 30 years, we have been so fat, dumb, and happy. We forgot that the world is a dangerous place. That there are those out there that do not agree with the idea of individual liberty, you know, that are granted from God, and that they are willing to do anything it takes to make sure that that does not exist on this earth. And if we don't stand up and defend it, we're going to lose it.
[01:10:04] Jordan Harbinger: What can average citizens do listening to this? You know, we're talking about facing a hostile Chinese Communist Party. What can I do? You know, I don't really know, and I'm, I study this stuff. I look at it and what do I do? Just not invest in Alibaba. I mean, what, where do I begin?
[01:10:18] General Robert Spalding: Well, I mean, that's a good start. Don't invest in Alibaba. Don't kind of succumb to the corporate methodology but also locally — you know, for the first thing, and this is why I got out, number one, you can't really speak out when you're wearing the uniform. So I had to get out and kind of begin to, so I'm trying to help educate people and I'm just trying to give you an on-ramp into an area where you can start to learn for yourself. And you need to read, you need to communicate, you need to ask questions, and then locally you can begin to do things that help get at the problem.
[01:10:53] One of the biggest problems that we have from a political perspective, and this is whether you're on the right or the left, is the political system is not working for the American people. And there's a good book out there called The Politics Industry, where it was written by a businesswoman from Wisconsin who had an epiphany that the political system, the two political parties, were actually not working on behalf of the citizens. They were working on behalf of the party constituencies, the donors, and the party establishment. And that in order to break that up, that you needed to create a voting system that allowed for more people to choose the representatives. So rather than if you're in a blue district, the base of the Democratic Party choosing the candidate and that candidate winning the general election by the power of that base, or in a red district, having that happen, that you needed to have a way to have voting so that you could break down those lines so that Republicans and Democrats would have to come together in a candidate.
[01:11:52] It's not the number one choice for either one of them, but maybe it's the number three choice for either one of them. And because it's the number three choice, that person listens to both sides. Political innovation is kind of the subtitle of the book The Politics Industry, but it's looking at how do we get back to where bipartisanship actually exists at the highest levels of government and they work on behalf of American people who have been complaining about the fact that all of our factories are gone and we don't have jobs. You know, I've been on a factory floor that's been broken down. So political activism, but not necessarily partisanship is what I'm talking about here.
[01:12:26] How do we get our political system to actually work better? You can do that at the local level. I, you know, focused on it as I want to start a company that would protect people from influence of their data or stealing of their data or that allow them to maintain a connection. I did that in technology. There are, so we're in a free. You can look at the problem, you can learn and study it, and then you can go take where you think that your skills and your talents and your passion are best suited to go after. You know, what's the goal? Well, then the goal is really the preservation of our constitution. That document is the thing that gives us the freedom to do the things that we want to do to kind of express ourselves.
[01:13:09] Jordan Harbinger: Well, thank you very much for coming on the show today. I know this topic is a little bit depressing, it's a little bit scary. And I want to reiterate, again, I know we said this at the top of the show, that this isn't about the Chinese people. It's about the Chinese Communist Party. The biggest victims of the Chinese Communist Party has always been the Chinese people. I mean, you're talking about 15 to 80 million dead under Mao and that's just the beginning, Uyghur genocide and Xinjiang, and that's just again, just the beginning. So I want to reiterate that because we have Chinese fans and people who live in America or Canada that are. Chinese and they're like, "What the hell, man? You know what I do?" I want people to realize that we're fighting for freedom, free market, fair play as much as possible, and not trying to single out any particular ethnicity here. I just really think that the Chinese people and China have such high potential. I mean, this should have been, they're opening up in liberalization and economic development. It should have been one of the greatest things to ever happen in the history of the world. And instead, it looks like all we did was create a monster, which is really sad. So hopefully, we can turn that around.
[01:14:13] General Robert Spalding: Well, yeah, and my heart goes out to the people of China, the people of Hong Kong, the people of Taiwan. They're who I'm concerned about. And you're right. You know, freedom is really powerful as an idea, but if you're never allowed to even realize that it's something that's possible. It's not even an idea that's in your lexicon and that's essentially what the Chinese Communist Party has been able to do through its propaganda and media and education.
[01:14:40] I get this in my Twitter feed. "Oh, but it's also the Chinese people." No, the Chinese people don't know any better. They can't know any better because the Chinese Communist Party has created such an effective system and it is a tragedy. I think we, in being greedy and taking their money and allowing them to influence us, are doing a complete disservice, not only to our own citizens but to the citizens of China and the citizens of Taiwan. I think we are perpetuating their enslavement. In the case of Taiwan, we're aiding and embedding their future enslavement. And, you know, much better for us to recognize what's going on and to begin the long hard process as we did with the Soviet Union of pushing back and saying no. We are going to meet you at every area, and we're going to be there to say no. We will not stand for this. And we should do that because not only will that be better for the Chinese people, but our own democracy cannot exist in a world that is almost all authoritarian.
[01:15:46] Jordan Harbinger: General Spalding, thank you so much.
[01:15:48] General Robert Spalding: Thank you.
[01:15:49] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic terrorist.
[01:15:58] Tamer Elnoury: I live with and grew up with the religion of Islam. After 9/11 and knowing full well that this was not the religion that was being portrayed, it kind of broke me a little bit inside. I was in law enforcement. I spoke Arabic. I'm a Muslim, and my knee-jerk reaction was to simply help.
[01:16:16] Working undercover, it definitely is an adrenaline rush, unlike anything I could describe. Putting your arm around someone telling them that you're their best friend, getting them to believe you. But what attracted me a great deal to this case, or what blew my mind about this case was the fact that he was arguably one of the smartest, most brilliant men I've ever been in front of. This guy was on the precipice of curing infectious diseases. The sh*t that he talked about and his work was science fiction to me. How could someone so smart, so brilliant, such a gift to humanity, turn into a f*cking killer, an absolute disgusting piece of garbage, overnight? He was the epitome of evil.
[01:17:02] So we're going up to his apartment and it was right next to ground zero, and he put his arm around me and looked up to where the towers were and he said, "Tamer, this town needs another 9/11 and we're going to give it to them." I've heard him say so much horrible things for so long that you think at that moment in time I could have just accepted it and gone up and did my job, but I couldn't. I imagined killing him right there and there. I imagined stabbing him in the eye with a pen I had in my pocket and leaving him for dead.
[01:17:37] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more from Tamer Elnoury about what drew him to the exciting and dangerous life of undercover law enforcement work, check out episode 572 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:17:49] So it's clear China, well, the Chinese Communist Party, I'm going to differentiate those two a little bit later, is at War with the West. We just don't seem to necessarily know it yet. I know a lot of people are waking up to this. I hate using that phrase because it makes me sound a little bit like the kooks who say like, "Wake up sheeple." That's not where I'm going with this. We do though, need to finally get the freaking memo over here. We have a great country. The only ones who can beat us, in my opinion, are ourselves. If we do nothing to defend ourselves, we don't defend our values. Same thing goes for Canada, Europe. These are great nations. We have to defend our values from people that want to destroy those things. I mean, this is really as simple as it gets.
[01:18:28] What measures do we need to put in place? We need government, we need agreements. We need international accords. We need people to be on the same page and not be in the pocket of the Chinese Communist Party. I think we should also probably not allow certain funds, especially pension funds to invest in China. We need to reallocate that to investment in allied countries, not just the United States, allied countries that have similar values, allied industries. We need to create our own communications infrastructure, 5G system. We need to focus on STEM education scholarships. We need to consolidate bureaucracy, especially with respect to military and intelligence affairs. That whole area seems to be a giant mess, especially according to General Spalding's book here. We need to see a growth strategy here in the United States and the West, in general, and see that as a matter of national security, not as purely capitalist economics. We need to see that as a matter of national security.
[01:19:20] Also, I wanted to address, there's a lot of videos going around like, "China's going to collapse in 72 days." All of that is nonsense. And when we put stuff like that out there. I get that it's clickbait headline crap, but I see people who should know better doing things like that. We need to be honest with ourselves if we're going to face an actual danger. There's a lot of wishful thinking out there about what China is going to be doing or the future of China, and I just don't think it's helpful.
[01:19:45] Also, interesting lines here from the book, the Chinese Communist Party, their Unrestricted Warfare doctrine, that publication, admired Bin Laden because his plan was to suck the West into war and bankrupt us. That almost worked. Maybe it's even too early to say that it hasn't worked. We need to attack that strategy. A lot of policies Trump put in place, stayed in place under Biden because frankly, they were effective China-related policies especially. And so say what you will about Trump, he was right about a lot of things when it came to China. And I know a lot of people will disagree and I'm going to get a lot of emails. No, but seriously, we can say what we want about either president, they're going to be right about some stuff and wrong about some stuff, and frankly, they're both doing the same thing when it comes to China. That should tell you all you need to know.
[01:20:26] Social media companies also need to be aware in counter Chinese Communist Party propaganda. I'm not one of those McCarthys who sees communism everywhere, but man, do we need stronger encryption for communications, better privacy laws here in the United States. No more wholesale dumping of American's data into big tech and sold to the highest bidder. That is a major mess just waiting to happen.
[01:20:48] The answer to Chinese Communist Party's doctrine of Unrestricted Warfare is not Unrestricted Warfare of our own. This would ruin our Democratic free society. What we need is overt and transparent defense. In fact, transparency shine a little sunlight on this, that would be the antidote to a lot of this, right? If we see what we're creating here in communications infrastructure, we see where our data is going. We see where our money is being invested. That is going to be the antidote to a lot of the nonsense we see where people are talking out of both sides of their mouth.
[01:21:20] All right. As with all episodes about China and the Chinese Communist Party, I have to reiterate again that Chinese people are not the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Communist Party does not represent the values of many Chinese, especially Chinese folks that live overseas who may have fled to your country or the United States escaping the Chinese Communist Party. So when you hear episodes like this, don't let it make you more racist or more skeptical of your Chinese friends and neighbors. Let it educate you on what we all face together regardless of ethnicity or creed. And remember, the number one victim of the Chinese Communist Party is and always has been the Chinese people themselves.
[01:22:01] Big thank you to General Spalding. All things General Spalding will be linked in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Videos are up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I said it once, I'll say it again. Please consider supporting who support this show. I fully expect this video to be demonetized because the CCP Internet army of troll, they love to report things like, "This is age inappropriate," when we criticize the Communist Party, it's a whole thing. So I'm pretty sure we're going to make jack squat on YouTube for this one. So supporting our sponsors is even more important. jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you can find all those codes. Again, please consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn.
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[01:23:08] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's a China watcher, interested in these kinds of topics, definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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