Pete Riehm
Does China have us right where they want us?
By Pete Riehm
February 8, 2023

American credibility and prestige on the international stage has not been this tattered since the Carter Administration in the late 1970s. Russia is defiant as Europe stumbles through the Ukrainian War because American leadership is absent. The Middle East smolders as neither side listens to the U.S. anymore. Africa is a hot mess of unbridled terrorism, and we don’t even try to engage South America. North Korea thumbs its nose at us, and China openly mocks us as we blunder through every international issue. Our allies don’t trust us, and our enemies don’t fear us.

Desperate to push the USA aside, China desires superpower dominance and is determined to demonstrate that by conquering Taiwan and bringing it into their communist fold. With Taiwan in their sights, China must be pleased that the White House is rudderless, our diplomats are utterly incompetent, and the American military is afraid and weak.

China is attacking America on every front. They are stealing our jobs and technology trying to eclipse the USA as the world’s largest economy. They are trying to buy up our farm land and often near military installations. They have poured millions into our universities to indoctrinate our children with communism and fostering fealty to China. They are poisoning our culture with filth and deleterious immorality through Hollywood and the NBA, and they are spying on millions of Americans with their silly yet pernicious TIKTOK app.

China is supplanting America in the third world with its “Belt and Road” initiative. Clear eyed about their military objectives in Taiwan and the South China Sea, they must be tickled that U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken seldom mentions their myriad infractions and certainly never ties any consequences to their belligerent misbehavior. He also sheepishly ignores China’s ample atrocities. Biden’s Special Envoy to China, John Kerry, epitomizes their asinine, insane approach. Kerry declared “the most important global issue is engaging China on climate change.” China is chuckling over that nonsense all the way to the bank.

Observing our feckless president and frightened military, China tested the USA with a high-altitude surveillance inflatable, and they learned a lot. This Chinese spy balloon first entered American air space January 28 over the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, but our military did nothing, or did not detect it. Both good for China. They probably detected it, but the Biden administration was going to not do or say anything. Unfortunately for them, some eagle-eyed Americans in Montana saw it and reported it.

As the Chinese spy balloon took a leisurely cross-country cruise over a week and became a media sensation, our doddering president did nothing, of course. He was not even briefed for 3 days, and when he finally ordered the military to take it down, it took another 3 days. Our overly cautious, or perhaps incompetent, military leadership was worried about the danger to civilians on the ground, so they conveniently let the Chinese spy balloon complete its mission. There is no excuse, It should have been shot down over the Pacific, not the Atlantic.

As Republicans and the American people chastised the Biden administration for their negligence, the military tried to spin it, saying the Chinese were not really getting any good intelligence, and besides we were gathering intelligence on the balloon. China certainly gathered some intelligence as their balloon traversed the entire continent, but the real boon for them was observing the ineffective American response.

Their real goal was to probe our defenses and evaluate our response. They learned Biden would not act and would possibly ignore a Chinese incursion into sovereign American air space and even try to hide it. So they learned if they hit the USA hard and fast, it will take Biden a week to even act, and who knows how long to craft a cogent response?

As Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke stated, “This was a blatant poke in the eye,” and America did nothing. China also learned they can embarrass the USA internationally and we will only stammer with poor excuses. They sarcastically said it was just a weather balloon blown off course, and then brazenly threatened us for shooting down their property. China is laughing at us because they just proved our leadership is not up to the challenge.

China humiliated the USA – humiliation that was a beneficial by-product to them because they will use this episode and lessons from Ukraine to attack Taiwan. China’s big lesson is that if they can conquer Taiwan in about eight days, the USA will still be falling over itself to even come up with a response.

China is rapidly building its military and gearing up for war, but they are confident because we are barely maintaining our military readiness – but worse, our military has sacrificed our fighting spirit for a kinder, more diverse, more inclusive military. Our military is focused on teaching Critical Race Theory (socialism) and obsessed with pronouns, so China is banking the U.S. won’t even stumble onto the battlefield until it’s too late.

Some American flag officers recognize the grave threat China poses. U.S. Air Force General Mike Minihan recently wrote a memo to his commanders to be ready for war with China by 2025, but China will shrug that off because they expect Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to give them advance warning of any American military action. Our military leadership is pathetic – our troops deserve better.

American weakness exemplified by Biden’s bumbling is exactly what China wants or perhaps even paid for. Despite Biden’s denials, America has been humiliated and found seriously wanting in any capacity to defend our homeland, much less Taiwan. China will certainly move on Taiwan at some point. That day is much closer because with Biden, they have us right where they want us – indecisive and weak.

“He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand” (Job 15:23).

Pete Riehm is a conservative activist and columnist in south Alabama. Email him at or read all his columns at

© Pete Riehm


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Pete Riehm

Born to German immigrants, Pete Riehm grew up in Texas as a first generation American. Working his way through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After graduating from the University of Houston, Pete was commissioned into the United States Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He also earned a Master's Degree in National Security from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas... (more)


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