Former National Security Advisor John Bolton last weekend warned that China is waging an “asymmetric warfare” campaign in the US designed to influence public opinion and weaken the American people’s faith in institutions, the New York Post reported.
While appearing on WABC radio’s “Cats Roundtable” last Sunday, Bolton said the United States is underestimating China’s influence operations and its efforts to “fragment us politically.”
Citing Chinese propaganda efforts like the placement of Confucius Institutes at American universities, Bolton told host John Catsimatidis that the United States has to “wake up to this threat.”
He explained that while the federal government and the American people have become more aware of Beijing’s efforts to undermine the country economically through the theft of economic property, China’s attempts at quietly influencing public opinion are “much more insidious” and therefore more dangerous in the long term.
As an example of China’s global influence operations, Bolton cited the popularity of the Chinese-based social media platform TikTok, which boasts more than a billion users worldwide and 150 million in the United States alone.
Comparing TikTok to the Pied Piper story, Bolton said China developed the app and succeeded in getting people “almost hooked on it.” And China will use TikTok to “reel in people later,” he told Catsimatidis.
In discussing the increasing tensions between the United States and China, Bolton said while the US continues to dominate militarily, Beijing’s strategy is to employ “asymmetric warfare,” including the use of cyber-attacks, influence operations, and attempts to undercut the US economically.
Bolton said China would never seek to confront the United States militarily since Beijing knows what the ultimate outcome would be. Instead, it is using a “variety of different ways” to weaken the country’s resolve and Americans’ “faith in our institutions”