AFCEA International Chapter News

J-2 Presents on the Seven Myths of China

The chapter welcomed Rear Adm. Mike Studeman, USN, director for intelligence, J-2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in September to deliver a speech titled, "The Seven Myths of China."

Speaking to a large audience via Zoom, Studeman addressed misconceptions some may have of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and how understanding these false notions can lead to more effective foreign policy for the United States and its allies.

"Myth number one," Studeman began, "China seeks great power status. Incorrect. China seeks greatest power status. China hopes to dominate on any issue that counts in the international arena. China's 'dream' is to restore the status of the Middle Kingdom around which other nations must revolve or least defer greatly."

Elaborating on the distinction, Studeman went on to describe how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is building up its comprehensive national power, often through lying, cheating and stealing, to become the most powerful nation on earth by 2049, if not earlier.

"China wants to dictate conditions that guarantee CCP survival, validate the supposed supremacy of its authoritarian governance model, take the commanding heights of the global economy, cement its control or co-option of international bodies, resolve sovereignty issues at the expense of its neighbors and achieve stability on terms exclusively favorable to China," said Studeman.

He also disputed the myth that Great Power Competition is the United States versus China, or the United States versus Russia.

"Our struggle is a community of nations struggle. It is mainly other states around the world that are making choices each day that will define the future parameters of our world," said Studeman. "Every state has a role in shaping their future and the international environment. We are better served by reframing choices between freedom and tyranny, transparency and subterfuge, rules and disorder, law and corruption, sovereignty and vassal-hood."

He concluded his talk with a final myth regarding China's unstoppable rise and America's steady decline, highlighting there is no absolute decline in U.S. power and that relative growth by China is important to acknowledge, but not to over-exaggerate using straight-line projections.

Studeman also mentioned that no economist would trade the U.S. position in the world with China's, that Beijing has major unresolved structural issues, looming demographic challenges and many other disadvantageous fundamentals relative to the U.S.

"China would love to have you fall hook, line and sinker for their propaganda," said Studeman. "But America's strength should never be underestimated."

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