We are at war but most Americans are blissfully unaware. Folks are busy living their lives, attending school, work, raising kids, pursuing dreams, or if retired, leisure activities, visiting grandkids, enjoying life. Most are ignorant of the malign designs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
China is ruled by CCP Chairman and President Xi Jinping. His word is law. His goals are anathema to freedom loving people everywhere. The people of China are helpless pawns. They have no rights. Government may lock people in their dwellings for months on end with no reason and no recourse, as they recently did. There is no freedom, no autonomy. Everything, everyone in China is subordinate to the will and whims of the CCP and its absolute ruler, President Xi. I have written extensively on the threat of the CCP here, here, and here. China experts Gordon Chang of Gatestone Institute, Dr. Michael Pillsbury of Heritage, and former Trump National Security Advisor Lt Gen H. R. McMaster have sounded alarms about the PRC. See General McMaster’s recent Congressional testimony. Dr. Pillsbury concludes there is a 70% chance that the PRC will dominate the world. Unfortunately, too little heed is paid to these warnings. We don’t want a world ruled by China.
Decades ago, Congress established the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. That non-partisan body has been doing yeomen’s work warning the nation of the CCP/PRC threat. Their sobering 2023 Executive Summary is well worth reading. The full report lays out in stark detail the corrupt and evil ways the PRC is using to gain power, influence, and dominance in virtually everything. Experts consider China a peer or near-peer to the United States in both military and economic strength. A 2023 study by Australia Public Policy Institute documents China’s leadership in 37 out of 44 fields. Technology is crucial to economic and military strength. China is a leader in space, Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, rare earths, manufacturing, college degrees, patents, pharmaceuticals, hypersonic missiles, shipbuilding, batteries, solar panels, manufacturing, port control, and many other fields. Senator Rubio issued a startling report Made in China 2025 on CCP’s plans to dominate in 10 critical sectors by 2025. They are well on their way to this goal.
Many now predict a military confrontation with the PRC/CCP in the near term? It likely will be over Taiwan. I have written about that threat here and here. President Biden and other national leaders state forthrightly that the US would come to the aid of Taiwan. We have authorized billions of defense weaponry and promised more. TRANSCOM General Minihan recently warned that war will begin with China as soon as 2025. What is the state of our readiness?
You might think our military will save the day. Heritage Foundation’s Index of Military Readiness paints a grim picture. This year’s report warns in stark terms our military capability and readiness has fallen. Heritages states, “ In the aggregate, the United States’ military posture can only be rated as “weak.” Weak budgets, neglect of the military by both parties, and the politicization of the military has led to a shocking weakness just when China is stronger than ever.
Our military is not ready to fight the PRC! Both Heritage and the Security Review Commission are sounding the alarm! Exacerbating a bad situation, the politicization of our military which started in 2009 under President Obama is now on steroids! President Biden greatly accelerated what Obama began, mandating divisive, wasteful social justice indoctrination. Critical Race Theory, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gay pride celebrations, drag queen shows, women in combat units, indoctrination in what pronouns to use, and integration of transgenders are military commander top priorities, consuming resources and distracting from the core mission. With what result? Readiness is down. All services missed recruiting goals last year. Retention is down. Military member suicide trends are unconscionable and the problem is glossed over by leadership. Sexual assault rates have skyrocketed as shown by this report. Scores of commanders are being relieved each year for cause. Our military is distracted and not ready. American youth are declining to join the military. Families who served generations are telling their children to avoid the military. The nation is waking up to this danger thanks to the efforts of veterans’ organizations who are documenting the problems. STARRS, Calvert Group, Restore Liberty, Center for Military Readiness, and Veterans for Fairness and Merit are sounding the clarion call to restore merit and traditional values in our military including fidelity to the Constitution. Visit their websites and support their efforts. Members of Congressman are warning of these dangers too such as Senator Rubio and Congressman Roy who recently issued a scathing report outlining dozens of examples of the wokeness that has weakened and distracted our military.
In 1941 with the attack at Pearl Harbor, the world saw the US viciously attacked with our pants down. Almost 3000 died on that single infamous day. In hindsight its clear the US ignored the warning signs that presaged that attack. Our failures in diplomacy and readiness led Japan to wrongly conclude that they could defeat us. That led to 111,000 American deaths and 250,000 wounded in the Pacific theater alone. Let’s not repeat that type of failure with the PRC with 10 times the resources and population of Japan plus nuclear weapons.
We must elect those who will strengthen our military. We must have a military that focuses on readiness alone. We must educate the American public on the dangers to America the PRC poses. Congress must act to better protect us against the CCP’s evil plans and strengthen our military. If our military is not ready to defend us you might as well start learning Mandarin. In a stark warning, China’s Minister of Defense openly discussed using biological weapons to kill Americans. Both the Department of Energy and the former head of the CDC confirm that the Covid virus was developed in Wuhan China. What else are they developing? Think of that. Every one your loved ones could be dead in a few years in the coming conflict if we don’t act now to preserve our military and its ability to protect and defend us. The time to act is now.
Originally published at American Thinker
I have previously explained the concept of “shipmate” through the recounting of the Navy career of my Father. He joined right after Pearl Harbor and served 27 years, retiring as a Master Chief in 1969, shortly after I was commissioned.
In 1948, President Harry Truman ended segregation in the military. Growing up in the late 40s and early 50s closely observing Dad’s behavior and attitudes, I note he was an obedient sailor and accepted everyone as they came without regard to race. In 1955-1957 he was “pushing boots” and he treated all his recruits exactly the same regardless of race or where they came from. The closest thing I ever heard him say that even hinted of a racial stereotype was that Black recruits did not know how to swim. It was not a criticism just an observation that puzzled him because as a recruit company commander his job was to turn civilians into sailors and everyone had to be able to swim!
Ours was a Christian home where one of the favorites of Sunday School from my earliest memories is “Jesus Loves the Little Children” where the verse goes, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” The culmination of the civil rights movement in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act was celebrated in my household. And, it was already the standard that the Navy long since practiced. Justice was served!
In the late 60s the biggest political issue at my university was anti-Vietnam war protestors with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protesting us military types being allowed at university. After commissioning and school, I reported to the USS Richard L. PAGE (DEG-5) in 1970. PAGE was named after a naval officer who in the civil war became a Confederate brigadier general. No one, including Black crew members, cared the least bit about the ship being named for a civil war officer. Apparently hidden from my view was the torture and anguish our Black shipmates endured over the name of the ship. (sarcasm alert!) The modern phenomenon of Blacks’ lives being ruined at the very thought of the Civil War is a new invention of the fevered minds of academia that did not exist when I served.
The very best sailor on PAGE worked for me. He was a first-class petty officer and the ship’s Master-At-Arms as well. He happened to be Black. He set the example of squared-away sailor for the whole ship and nobody gave him any guff despite his skin color. He was liked and respected by all. He was also a black belt in karate. The subject of White supremacy or systemic racism did not exist. Everyone was trained to a unity of purpose which was to serve the ship and our shipmates and to make sure we were ready to fight and win in our nation’s defense. Our entire focus was on the Soviet Union and the palpable daily threat that the Soviets represented to America even in the western hemisphere. The crew was laser focused on the mission of being proficient at finding and neutralizing Soviet subs… and we were good at it, as the Navy Unit Commendation that I earned attests. Race was irrelevant to executing our mission and simply did not come up.
From Midshipman to CAPT, from GS-07 to GM-15, at 14 duty stations, and in a dozen locations I found the conditions the same as on PAGE, sailors and commands whose focus was on the mission and whose minority members shared the same values and qualities that everyone else had. And, even very early on, at my second duty station, I worked closely with an Air Force colonel who happened to be Black and thought absolutely nothing about it. Every duty station had minority members including senior officers. The numbers may not have been large back then but the Navy was already diverse in racial makeup. I don’t recall a single instance of racial tension or strife anywhere I was stationed in almost 40 years combined military and civilian service. During Vietnam rare instances of racial strife occurred elsewhere but these were isolated instances. Race was not a significant factor to Navy culture or readiness. I never saw any discrimination nor even heard of complaints of it in my entire career, much of which was in Mississippi. And, from my first tour on, all over the nation, every command had minority members as part of the crew. Not only did I not experience any of the above, no one I know reported anything different in their own experience. The Navy I served in was focused on mission above all else. The Navy was not focused on solving the nation’s residual race-related or cultural problems nor should it have been. The Navy was a meritocracy by necessity as our enemy was serious, implacable and highly skilled at the art of warfare and we had to be the same or better to prevail in the event of conflict.
I am not saying that the Navy did not have race-related problems. No doubt there were racists in the ranks and in some cases, discrimination occurred that was both illegal and harmful to the mission. But, the institution of the Navy was committed to equal rights as was the law and largely discrimination was and is rare in the Navy and those who discriminated were not tolerated. Up until recent years no one had ever heard of Critical Theory or Critical Legal Theory or Critical Race Theory or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or Ibram X. Kendi’s nonsense that you have to practice discrimination to make up for past discrimination.
When did it become an article of faith in our nation and in our military that the exact demographic makeup of the nation had to be matched in every other institution, including the military? What science supports that goal? If that were legitimate, why isn’t everyone all up in arms that the NBA is 72% Black when the national demographic is 13% Black? This is accepted as perfectly normal, but the Navy officer corps having only 8% black officers versus the 13% Black demographic nationally is a problem?
The Navy is an Equal Opportunity Employer and has been for a very long time. Are we absolutely free of race-related problems? Probably not. Idiots and bigots despite our best efforts do at times still join and may cause problems. When those surface, those people should be punished and discharged. According to a senior attorney with DoD known to this author, as recently as 2021 survey results from all of DoD (military and civilian) conducted by the DHRA Office of People Analytics, over all, 2 percent of DoD personnel are concerned about hate crimes or racism. This is direct evidence that racism is not the problem being portrayed by military leadership or those with a political axe to grind promoting progressive ideology. The Navy should not be an experimental proving ground for politics. Those who join the Navy should be admitted based on qualifications, merit, and motivation. The color of one’s skin should have nothing to do with it.
It is not the Navy’s mission or responsibility to solve residual cultural problems with some minority groups that may still exist. Those problems are America’s to wrestle with and solve. Large majorities in the nation do not consider race to be a major problem nor do they favor race preference for college admissions including to the military academies. According to Pew Research most Americans favor inter-racial marriage and the percentage of such marriages continues to rise each year. In a few decades, most of America will be of mixed race. To ask the Navy to solve residual racial problems that the nation has apparently not been able to fully solve is ill considered and a distraction from the mission of having ready naval personnel and forces in order to fight and win our nation’s wars. There is no place in the Navy for social engineering. It will lead to defeat in battle.
My Father was a sailor and my earliest memories are of the Navy, being on bases, seeing sailors in uniform, standing formation, marching in straight lines, counting cadence., doing the manual at arms as one, functioning like a huge living organism with one purpose. As recruit commander, Dad’s job was to take raw recruits from all over and to break them down from their undisciplined personal habits, and then build them back up into a cohesive unit of sailors functioning as one. The Navy of the 1950’s knew it was necessary to take a bunch of civilians with diverse backgrounds and from all over the nation, with different accents, religious beliefs, educational backgrounds, skin colors, religions and mores, ethnicities and mold them into one, into sailors, into shipmates. Navy leadership grasped deeply that they needed to create shipmates, a unified building block of patriotic Americans to carry out defending the nation against our enemies.
What is a shipmate? It is not some random term. It is a term that has a very special meaning. It derives from the immutable truths of the Navy and those “who go down to sea in ships”. Ships and the sea are inherently dangerous things. Those are timeless truths even before you add the extreme dangers created by having enemies. When you go to sea on a ship, you and all the others literally are all in the same boat. What happens to one, happens to all. At sea, everyone is aware of the sea state. No one has to tell you what it is. The ship is a living, breathing organism and you feel the ship under you and you know what it is doing. When at sea you have to fight the ship for stability at every virtually moment. And, it is always dangerous…unseen hazards, converging ships, adverse weather, navigation challenges, mechanical breakdowns, fleet operations. Every minute, every day, something could happen that will challenge the ship and the crews’ safety and even life. To safely and effectively operate a ship takes a unified crew of shipmates, shipmates whose focus is on the ship and what we are doing to carry out our mission.
When you say, “right full rudder”, the rudder better come right full or lives could be lost. You think I exaggerate? Constant bearing and decreasing range…what to do? Seconds to decide and lives are at risk. Ask the crews of the USS McCain or USS Fitzgerald, the ones who are still with us, sailors who will never forget the horror of a collision at sea. And, untold thousands who have gone before. The sea is unforgiving and history echoes with its millions lost there. Add, the element of combat or even just rivalry and the danger rises. This is not the place for social experiment. This is not the place for debate on what should happen next. This is not the place for watching out for hurting someone’s feelings or wondering what pronoun to use. I speak from experience as one with thousands of hours at sea on the bridge. I speak from the experience of a dangerous and once highly classified tracking of a Soviet Yankee for 5 days non-stop during the Cold War. I speak from the experience of conning a damaged ship for 5 days up the East Coast being chased by a hurricane…. you know, that fun following seas action. It takes shipmates, competent shipmates with unquestioning obedience and quick action to survive those waters. It takes a crew that literally and figuratively are pulling on the same end of the rope.
The social experimentation and woke politics of today’s America has no place in the Navy or the other services. It will just get people killed. In the past, when we trained young people who have joined, the entire methodology was to forge unity, cohesion, camaraderie, morale, teamwork…. a group of people who would act with one purpose. Now, we seem intent to categorize and accentuate by race, sex and other characteristics and that creates division. At the Academies, where the purpose was to turn out exemplars of professionalism, unity, persistence, toughness, and skill, we now promote affinity groups to divide the whole into competing parts. At Annapolis, 13 separate affinity groups are listed including Black Studies, Chinese culture and Native American cultures. A whole month is devoted to “pride” of those attracted to the same sex while ignoring the 70% of the straight, Christian members who abhor what their faith teaches is wrong. That is not how you promote unity. Demeaning the faith of a majority of the military is both wrong and stupid.
The military is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The operative word is “Uniform”. All must be treated the same in matters of merit, behavior, and justice. But that standard is passe. Now, if your skin is the right color, you are glorified. If your sexual preference is right, you are celebrated. The promotion of what is different about our sailors does not create shipmates. It is wrong thinking and devastatingly damaging to readiness, morale, and retention. The service Chiefs have all publicly admitted that recruiting is in crisis. And, it will only get worse as normal yearly attrition creates a huge demand each year for new recruits. If you fail to recruit in one year, the problem is twice as big in the next. Now, the services have compounded the problem by separating thousands with religious or other objections to the Covid vax mandate effectively shooting themselves in the foot for political reasons and ignoring readiness.
To Navy leaders, it’s time to create shipmates again…..before it’s too late.
Captain Brent Ramsey’s career in the Navy spanned almost 40 years. He is currently Deputy Executive Vice President for Operations and Public Affairs Officer for STARRS.us, a non-profit that promotes unity in the services.