Spy Stories, Porcupines, and China: Is China a Threat – and How Do We Counter It?

By Douglas Carswell
February 14, 2024

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to host a packed lunch with  Senator Roger Wicker and leading foreign policy strategist, Michael Pillsbury. 

Drawing from his bestselling book about China, “The Hundred Year Marathon”, Michael Pillsbury explained just how easy it is for China to gain access to top-secret American defense plans.

Pillsbury explained how under President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, America initially took a pro-China approach, seeking to engage and assist what was then the world’s most populous country.

China, Pillsbury suggested, has learned our strategy all too well and is able to take advantage of it.  Even today, America’s administrative state continues to assist China is ways that are not always in America’s best interest.

Pillsbury went on to suggest that America should adopt a Reagan-era approach of achieving peace through strength, building up our military capability in the hope that we never need to use it.

China, some believe, has made plans to invade Taiwan within the next few years.  America needs to prepare for every eventuality. 

Wicker went on to emphasize the importance of the US navy and the need to ensure the navy had sufficient strength and capabilities.

Taiwan, both Wicker and Pillsbury agreed, should be strengthened in a way that resembles the defense of a porcupine. While not a proactive threat to anyone, a porcupine’s needles ensure than anything that attacks it risks incurring serious pain.  Taiwan, they suggested, can be strengthened to a point where China would reconsider making any move on the island state.


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