The USA’s greatest threatMar 30, 2023
The biggest threat facing the USA is not the collapse of democracy. Even though a twice impeached former president talks of death and destruction if he is arrested, while New York’s Attorney General seeks his indictment.
Wokeism isn’t the biggest threat, although, due to death threats to staff, the Florida Education Department is cancelling the “drag act” of Moma Ashely Rose, a man who was due to attend an Orlando High School dressed as a woman to present to school kids about his life as a gay cross dresser. These are localised, not national security, threats.
These examples aren’t meant to display any bias, they are simply an indication that the US is in a state of breakdown. If we are to look at US society, we can see clearly what the biggest problem facing the United States really is these days.
It isn’t China, it’s not even the increasing crime rates or the fact that more people are falling into poverty, it’s not a health crisis where USA is the only developed country in the world to experience a dramatic fall in life expectancy, it’s not even domestic terrorism despite President Biden making it clear in a June 2021 Press and National Strategy Release that he thought it was.
No, it’s worse. But it isn’t just that crime and societal problems remain unresolved. Despite the fact that, in 2021, more than 45,000 people died of gunshot wounds; there’s a staggering 321 people a day on average being shot, 111 of them die and they may be the lucky ones! Medical debt runs into billions and 62% of all bankruptcies in America are due to medical bills. Incredibly, the number of people who die of substance abuse is even higher, at 130 people a day, that’s even more than those who die in car accidents.
None of these contribute to the USA’s biggest threat.
To outsiders looking in, US society appears in tatters but it isn’t just society in tatters, infrastructure too. US Ports faced backlogs which were so severe they affected the country’s economy. Rail Infrastructure, according to one recent report researched by a Chinese media outlet, is in disarray with as many train derailments in a week as most country experience in a decade. But still, we haven’t looked at the USA’s greatest threat. The greatest threat to the USA is something much more dangerous.
It’s called TikTok!
Even the famously anti-China Washington Post reports that the latest US bipartisan political hobby of disparaging TikTok is based on assertions and suspicions, not on evidence.
As the US investigates methods of banning TikTok, not a single person in the world has come forward and given any reason to justify a ban, in fact, the opposite. What China “could do” or even what China has the ability to do are not the same as what China will do or is doing.
Could China steal, or require TikTok to hand over data? Well, according to the CEO, no. He’s moving all the data into the USA and handing it over to US companies to manage. He calls it Project Texas but this doesn’t seem to be good enough for the Senate hearing. He’s been working on this initiative since before November last year but it’s unprecedented, it’s expensive and it’s difficult to manage.
The current CEO, Shou Zi Chew (周受资), who is often described as a Beijing based capital venture banker, was in fact born in Singapore. He was educated in the UK and Harvard and he replaced Kevin Mayer, an American, who was COO and CEO of Disney before moving to ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company. Clearly there are indications that TikTok wants to conform to US political wishes. There are also the (democratic?) wishes of over 150 million US based users who wouldn’t want the App to close down but they seem to be unimportant.
Watching the questions posed to the CEO in his almost five hours of evidence on Friday, it’s clear that he was the subject of a witch hunt, a Spanish Inquisition if you like. He was not likely to win any points against a Senator such as Debbie Lesko who, three times, asked this US based, Singaporean born, UK and US educated CEO if China was persecuting Uyghurs. Shou’s moderate answer was to explain that he was there to talk about TikTok in the USA. Nor was he likely to win points against such inane questions as posed by Congressman Hudson of North Carolina who, without a trace of irony, asked does TikTok access my Wi-Fi?
Nor was Shou on a winner when, after a reasonable response to a question, he was met with the exclamation from Congresswoman Eshoo that she finds his answer “actually preposterous”. Surely Mr. Shou was under oath and had he lied, then it matters not what the Senator’s opinion is, nor how she grandstands it to her donors, the law has been broken. The last straw for unbiased observers must surely have been when Congressman Dan Crenshaw asked this Singaporean if a Chinese employee, “and that would include you”, must cooperate with Chinese secret service.
As Shou pointed out, other social media organisations have exactly the same problems with storage and moderation of inappropriate content. But they aren’t Chinese owned and don’t face the same grilling. Zuckerberg has made it clear that Meta’s earnings are affected by the success of TikTok. TikTok is likely to overtake the advertising revenue of Google by next year and Google admits, its search engine poses a threat. So, now we can see the real threat.
Everything we have seen over the last few days in relation to TikTok can be summed up in just one statement:
The USA’s greatest problem is not TikTok, it’s their government, who either don’t have the knowledge, the balance, the experience or the financial freedom from their donors to pass laws that protect Americans.
TikTok is for fun; it has complied with all US legislative requirements but, for US legislators, that isn’t enough. TikTok’s problems aren’t about the law, nor any dangers the App might pose.
TikTok’s problems are threefold: the level of intellectualism of the people investigating it is insufficient to understand its complexities; capitalism in the USA allows US owned social media organisations to lobby, rather than compete, in other words, the US can, but chooses not to impose genuine data protection laws; and one third and final point… it’s Chinese.
To end this article, here is an example of how hypocritical and morally bankrupt the USA really is, Bloomberg reports that the President is unlikely to ban TikTok, at least not before the 2024 election: Why?
Because there is no better way to reach 150 million young voters!
You may also be interested in this article on the China Congress hearings from the Washington Post.