China’s “extremely effective” influence operation campaign has “literally changed the direction of American foreign policy” in part by “buying up” former U.S. officials, strategic affairs analyst Bill Gertz warned on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“China’s information and influence operations have been extremely effective. They are literally buying up former officials,” said Gertz, a veteran defense and intelligence beats journalist who is now senior editor for the Washington Free Beacon.
“They are utilizing coercive measures to get U.S. businessmen who have interests in China to do their bidding, and very little is being done about it,” Gertz (pictured above) told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“I mean, we hear a lot about Russian influence operations. What China has been doing over the last 30 years is huge compared to what the Russians have done in terms of influencing the U.S. government,” Gertz added. “They have literally changed the direction of American foreign policy towards China.”
Gertz, whose 2000 book, “The China Threat: How the People’s Republic Targets America,” sounded some early warnings on the issue, lamented that both Republican and Democratic administrations succumbed to the “big propaganda theme” that “China is not a threat.” Fortunately, Trump has directly confronted and rejected that theme, he said.
“Trump has come out and said, ‘Hey, look — the emperor has no clothes. China is a threat,'” Gertz said.
Among U.S. officials who have taken jobs with companies aligned with China, Gertz and Carlson highlighted former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and former Clinton-Gore campaign chair and former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.
Chinese video surveillance company Hikvision hired Boucher’s firm, Sidley Austin, to lobby in its favor in 2018. Boehner now works for the lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, which represents the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. Kantor works for technology company Huawei’s advisory board.
“It’s not just limited to these former officials and congressman and former commerce officials and the like. They are actually going after former military officials,” Gertz said, pointing to an initiative launched by a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Adm. William A. Owens.
“[Owens] basically has made tens of millions of dollars in China, and he formed this organization of former military officials who literally lobbied Congress and the administration to do China’s bidding,” Gertz said.
Since coming into office, Trump has taken steps to push back on China and the threats the nation poses to the U.S. by threatening to impose steep tariffs and renegotiate unfair trade deals. Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in April and ratcheted up the pressure when he imposed tariffs on Chinese products, worth roughly $34 billion.