Pete Riehm
While Biden fumbles with checkers, China moving toward checkmate
By Pete Riehm
October 31, 2023

The world has always been dangerous and messy, but suddenly chaos and war are exploding around the globe. Skirmishes in Africa, Asia, or South America are sadly too routine and random terrorism is again steadily increasing, but now we have two major wars in progress, one in Europe and another in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, there were fruitful peace talks in the Middle East and perennial bad boys like Iran, Russia, and North Korea were either broke or otherwise occupied. How did we lose relative international stability to precarious volatile instability so quickly?

The Biden Administration is not just demonstrably inept; they are patently clueless about foreign affairs. Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, proved this sad fact when he bragged about how calm the Middle East was on his watch just weeks before Hamas launched their grisly 9/11 scale attack slaughtering some 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians. One can easily argue the Biden Administration is simply incompetent, but all these world events are not coincidence. They are linked, if not coordinated.

Despite waning the past few years, the United States is still the planet’s preeminent superpower. Our enemies, particularly China, know they cannot meet America head on economically or militarily. However, China desperately aches to supplant the USA as the world’s superpower, and they are as cunning as they are patient. To defeat America, they need our economy and military to be strained and weakened, and they need Americans to lose their confidence in America, to lose their will to fight.

China jealously and quietly pursues their own self-interest, but internationally they advocate for globalism because globalism will ultimately be totalitarian governance and China fully expects to be in charge. They know how to rule tyrannically. Further, globalism is at odds with the American free enterprise system and individual liberty, so it gives American leftists fuel to diminish our heritage and tear down our institutions and thereby dismantle the principles that make America strong. China pours millions into American universities, so is it any wonder they are hotbeds for socialism and even terrorism as evidenced by the stupid and unconscionable support for Hamas?

The American economy is still too large to collapse, but it can be strained and wearied to the point there is no more to give. The Chinese virus put the global economy on its heels, but in retrospect the economic sacrifices were completely unnecessary. The federal government’s tonic for COVID was unbridled spending which proved has deleterious for our economy as the COVID shutdowns; it spurred out of control persistent inflation which is still burdening average Americans – they can’t take much more.

Exacerbating inflation are sky rocketing energy prices. On the precipice of WWIII, the Biden Administration still insists climate change is our greatest threat, so they have declared war on fossil fuels and pushed electric vehicles with obscene government subsidies. The miserable consequences are debilitating energy costs for Americans and America lost its glimpse of energy independence, so now we are again dependent on our adversaries for the fuel to keep America running. Even worse, these misguided policies have pushed oil prices back up to where bad actors like Russia and Iran are again flush with petro-cash to fund their wars and export terrorism. In effect, we are financing the vile depredations in Israel and Ukraine.

The American military is still the best equipped, but are they still the best trained? About a quarter of our armed services are obese, and the leadership is more obsessed with pronouns than combat readiness. About half of American youth are obese and only a fraction are fit for military duty, and the rest are preoccupied with themselves on TikTok and not interested in military service. The past few years, the armed services have missed recruiting goals sometimes by as much as 25%! That means we cannot man the units we believe are required to defend the nation. That is a national security crisis with the current threats.

The U.S. military has not been this small since the eve of WWII, so how many conflicts can we handle? The prevailing national security requirement for the past few decades is that America can handle two simultaneous regional wars, and that’s what we are looking at now in Ukraine and Israel. China knows this.

The U.S. has not committed combat troops to Ukraine, but we have committed stockpiles of ammunition and equipment. We have dumped materials and money into Ukraine that are straining our budgets and readiness, and Biden keeps the spigot full on. We are running low on ammunition and equipment, so now add support for Israel and how much is left?

Getting little play in the mainstream media, American forces have been attacked more than a dozen times by Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. Biden finally ordered a couple of air strikes on remote storage facilities in eastern Syria that seem to have had no effect as Iran is still threatening to punish the USA with Israel. Iran is clearly trying to provoke the USA into joining the war in the Middle East. Why? They know they can’t defeat us.

Also, little reported is the fact that China, Iran, and Russia held joint military exercises earlier this year. They have developed a military alliance, so they are certainly operating in concert as each makes their military moves. China is supporting Russia in Ukraine and what did they promise Iran?

Why is all this important? The Ukrainian quagmire is draining our coffers and military stockpiles, so we are already stretched. Now as we send Carrier Battle Groups and Air Defense equipment to the Middle East, we are facing possibly combat not just to help Israel but to defend our own forces, so what will we have left to defend Taiwan?! Is that the end game?

China has made no secret they intend to eventually reintegrate Taiwan, and they have been increasingly aggressive and bellicose with their military provocations the past few years, so strategically what better time to conquer Taiwan than when the USA has its hands full in Ukraine and the Middle East?

If we are not witnessing a grand plan by China unfolding, these are all incredible coincidences in China’s favor. China is an ambitious and determined foe, so we underestimate them at great peril. Biden has played right into their hands or was he bought off? A buffoon is entire political career, Biden is fumbling with checkers while China is steadily working to checkmate in Taiwan. This next year will tell.

“I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness” (Ecclesiastes 7:25).

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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