Henry Olsen: China, Not Iran, Can Threaten U.S. Survival

Chinese paramilitary policemen march outside the Great Hall of the People after attending a ceremony to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, in Beijing on August 1, 2017. China will fiercely protect its sovereignty against "any people, organisation or political party", President Xi Jinping …
ANDY WONG/AFP/Getty Images

China — not Iran — can threaten America’s survival in 15 to 20 years given its trajectory, said Henry Olsen, Washington Post columnist and author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism, in an interview on SirusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host John Hayward on Wednesday.

Olsen said, “We need to decide, ‘What do we care about? What do we fight, and who are our adversaries? What are our priorities?’ and act accordingly. Anyone who puts fighting the Taliban anywhere near the top ten of American security interests and priorities simply ought not to be allowed anywhere near foreign policy discussions.”

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Olsen added, “We need to be worried about China. We need to be worried about Russia. We need to be worried about our economic weaknesses. There are a lot of things we need to worry about more than whether or not a weak group of people is going to let another group of adventurous terrorists set up in a rural area that will take advantage of an American security system that’s asleep at the switch. It ain’t going to happen again, and we shouldn’t be spending a whole lot of time or effort trying to prevent it.”

Of all state adversaries, China poses the gravest of all national security threats, assessed Olsen.

“Now we’ve got a situation where, at the rate that China is growing, if we don’t do anything to stop their economic power they will be able to match our annual military expenditures within 50 years,” warned Olsen. “We’ve never been in a world in my lifetime where an adversary controlled by a totalitarian government could match us in terms of military spending and afford it. There’s no reason we should be looking at all of these sidelines when we have a major future threat to our global and physical security metastasizing right in front of our eyes.”

America’s recently established energy independence lessens the geopolitical importance of the Middle East in terms of U.S. national interests, noted Olsen.

“We’re not going to change the [Middle East],” Olsen stated. “There are certain difficult — if not insoluble — problems, and the question is, ‘What is America’s interest?’ America’s interest 30 years ago was quite clear. The Western alliance depended on oil, and you needed to keep the oil flowing and that meant preventing enemies — Russian influence or non-Western-friendly powers — who could, at the drop of a hat, cut off the one thing that would bring the West to its knees. It’s not the case, anymore.”

Olsen continued, “America is self-sufficient in its own need [for oil]. When you look at its domestic allies — Canada and Mexico — we are awash in the stock. We as America don’t need to worry about the Persian Gulf anymore. There are other people, like the Europeans, and maybe they should be building the military to protect their interests.”

Olsen added, “The question we have to ask is, ‘What is our primary strategic interest?’ And then you have to move back from that and ask what our secondary interests are, and then prioritize them. I am a lot more worried about the growth of Chinese economic power that finances these sorts of expansions and finances a military that can contest control of the Eastern Pacific … with us.”

Olsen concluded, “There’s nothing that the Iranians can do that can threaten the survival of the United States. In 15 or 20 years, at the rate the Chinese are growing, they can. Maybe we should prioritize that rather than worrying about who controls access to the Tigris or whether or not the Straits of Hormuz are open.”

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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

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