The New Cold War: China vs. U.S.

A Candid Conversation with Will Hurd

Apr 5, 2023 | By Will Hurd

In today’s rapidly changing geopolitical landscape, understanding the intricacies of global politics is more important than ever. This exclusive excerpt is from an interview conducted at the recent Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TCRA) event in Fort Worth, Texas on March 24, 2023. TSCRA Vice President Carl Ray Polk sits down with me to discuss a topic that has captured the attention of the world – the new cold war with China.

In this excerpt from a broader conversation, we delve into the causes, implications, and potential future outcomes of this new era of strategic competition. 

Whether you’re a seasoned political aficionado or just keen to learn which conflict in the world could turn into World War 3 or how the BRICS are trying to form a One World Currency, this slightly edited excerpt from the interview is worth reading. 

Carl Ray Polk: Chinese balloons flying over North America. Russia taking out one of our drones. Just this past week, the Chinese meeting with Russian leaders. In your Wednesday email, the Saudis, the Chinese, the Iranians. What’s going on with China? 

Will Hurd: So, what’s going on with China?

It’s simple, and let me be clear, I always say the Chinese government. Our beef is with the Chinese government, not the Chinese people. Not Chinese culture. Definitely not, Asian Americans. The amount of hate that the Asian American community has seen in the United States, since Covid is unacceptable and we need to do everything to stop that.

But we have to be clear-eyed though. The Chinese government is trying to surpass the United States of America as the global superpower. This is not my opinion. This is not me collecting intelligence on the Chinese when I was in the CIA. This is what the Chinese have been saying about themselves in English since at least 2015.

So, we have to look at China and listen to what they’re saying about themselves. There’s this fallacy that still exists here in the US amongst policymakers. We act like the Chinese government is an inferior adversary. They’re not a near-peer. They’re a peer. And we have never been involved in a conflict since 1776 with a peer or someone who might have a greater advantage over us.

The Cold War we fought with Russia was not the same [as this new Cold War with China]. The Russians did not have the military strength. They did not have the size or population; they did not have the economic health; We did not have the level of interconnection with them that we do right now with China. So, this adversary is very different than any adversary we’ve ever dealt with.

So, knowing that in the background — that they’re trying to surpass the United States of America as a global superpower — what do all these things mean? Let’s look at what I do now. I work with technology companies that have a national security application. I’m on the board of a company called OpenAI. Many of y’all have probably heard of it – ChatGPT.

There are other technologies like quantum computing. Quantum computing is hard, it’s difficult. But what you need to know about quantum computing is that whoever reaches quantum supremacy [the ability to have a true quantum computer] will have the ability to break all the encryption that currently exists in the world.

That’s the encryption on your phones, on your emails, in our banking system. We are not prepared for that. Even though we haven’t achieved quantum supremacy yet, we can still have encryption that defends against it. 

Most of the people here in this crowd probably are old enough to remember Y2K. I was in college. I was supposed to go see my girlfriend in Dallas, but I didn’t want to be on the road because I didn’t know what was going to happen.

Nothing happened. Y2K was making sure our computer systems went from storing the year as a two-digit number in all of our software to a four-digit number. 

There was actually a special committee on Y2K in Congress. The government spent $300 billion over four years dealing with Y2K — going from two digits to four digits. Quantum is way more complicated than that.

Why does this matter? The Chinese government has made some advances in quantum computing and quantum communications that nobody else has been able to do. 

If we’re ever going to get into a conflict with the Chinese government, technology and communications are important to our fighting, whether it’s in space, whether it’s our phones, whether it’s the interconnectivity of our data, as everybody will be trying to turn your stuff off [in a conflict]. 

The Chinese knew that this weather balloon was going to be found at some point. So, there’s probably no physical technology on there that actually we don’t know [about already].

The software that it was using, were they testing whether they can operate once we found it? NSA and FBI and everybody was going to be doing what’s called counter electronic warfare to prevent [the surveillance balloon] from operating. Were the Chinese doing a field test of some kind of quantum communications [to see if they could still communicate when they were the target of counter electronic warfare]?

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