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PART 2: Behind China’s Lockdown Madness—Gen. Robert Spalding on a Looming Taiwan Invasion, the Russia-Ukraine War

“They’re going to go element by element through their economy and see which of those is still open to attack from the West … to seal those up prior to invading Taiwan.”

Previously, in part one of my interview with retired Brigadier General Robert Spalding, he broke down the Chinese regime’s strategy of unrestricted warfare, which is detailed in his latest book “War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination.”

Now in part two, we discuss what’s really going on behind China’s new round of draconian lockdowns. Is it potentially related to Xi Jinping’s plans for Taiwan?

“The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t do things willy-nilly. It’s very deliberate,” Spalding says.

How can the United States effectively counter the Chinese communist threat to Taiwan and the rest of the free world?

If you missed part one of this interview, you can find it here. 

 

Part 1 Overview

Jan Jekielek: Previously on American Thought Leaders.

Gen. Robert Spalding: Warfare is daily. It never ends. There’s no beginning and end like there is here in the West.

Mr. Jekielek: In part one of my interview with the retired Brigadier General Robert Spalding, we discussed the Chinese regime’s strategy of unrestricted warfare, which is detailed in his latest book War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination. Now in part two.

Gen. Spalding: The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t do things willy nilly. It’s very deliberate.

Mr. Jekielek: Behind China’s draconian lockdowns. What’s really going on? Is it potentially related to Xi Jinping’s plans for Taiwan?

Gen. Spalding: They’re going to go element by element through their economy and see which of those is still open to attack from the West, to seal those up prior to invading Taiwan.

Mr. Jekielek: In part two, General Robert Spalding breaks down how the U.S. can effectively counter the Chinese communist threat to the free world.

Gen. Spalding: When we brought China into this international order, we began to suppress the principles and values that made us free here in America.

 

Below is a rush transcript of this American Thought Leaders episode from Apr 30, 2022. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

Jan Jekielek: This is American Thought Leaders and I’m Jan Jekielek.

What is going on with these extreme lockdowns of 300 million people? We’ve got Shanghai that is still in lockdown, and also multiple cities across China. Those are the prominent ones, really, some extreme stuff. Let’s put it this way. The information doesn’t appear to be suppressed at all. We know that the Chinese Communist Party is constantly waging this asymmetric unrestricted warfare. Presumably, they want everybody to know that there are these really crazy lockdowns, actually to the point where there are protests happening.

A lot of people out there are scratching their heads, “What is really happening?” What is this really about? Is it really about a zero-COVID policy, which I think the CCP is probably smart enough to understand just doesn’t work? I don’t know. Why are they so committed to that, or is there entirely something else going on? What do you think?

Gen. Robert Spalding: First of all, there is a good Harvard study that talks about how China controls social media. It’s not about preventing protests, it’s about preventing viral protests. There is an ability to let off steam within the system. If the din gets too high, then they’ll shut it down. It’s a way for them to modulate anxiety and anger within the system, so they allow that to happen. It’s quite effective. Like I said, Harvard did a study and documented it quite well. So, I don’t think we know. It’s like a pressure cooker. I think the Chinese have a much better idea of how much pressure the system actually has and how close it is to actually boiling over, because they control all the social media systems. That’s number one.

They would not let that get too close to the red line, number one. What do they seek to accomplish by locking people down? It could be to just see how far they can take it. How much they can control the population, and who are the ones that are the problems? Maybe those are the people that are next on the list for targeting. Again, they have this system-engineering approach to society with the social credit score.

It could be that they’re trying to find the outliers that create the problems, the insurgents within that they have to call out. It could be that they are dealing with the fact that they have a slowing economy. You have inflation, and that’s global now. You have very expensive resources, one of which is energy. “Let’s tamp down our need for that energy.” That could be one of the ways they do it, so your prices drop for those things.

They can also see that inflation is spiking in other countries. When you close down the supply chain of the world, you get diminishing supply in those countries. Now inflation spikes over there, and they don’t have a way to automatically control the population. People get angry about inflation. Over here we get public opinion through the polls. Inflation is a destructive thing, not just to your society, but also to your currency. Maybe that has a part to play. Maybe they don’t want their populace to catch onto the fact that the Chinese Communist Party is supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Actually, Putin came and got Xi’s blessing and went back with Xi’s blessing.

I have some ideas on why that was. Maybe they’re testing how they might approach a Taiwan invasion, if it starts to go wrong or if it becomes too bloody and the population needs to be suppressed. So there’s a lot of things that can be going on. According to our knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party, I don’t think it’s because they actually believe that it will prevent the spread of COVID. That’s not it. The coronavirus is really a methodology for control and they have reasons for doing it. I just don’t know what they are.

Mr. Jekielek: Let me pick up on what you mentioned earlier. You have a few theories about why Vladimir Putin went to China. Over the last 10 years, there have been like 40 visits between Xi and Putin. Which specific trip are you talking about here?

Gen. Spalding: Specifically, when he went and they made a 5,000 word statement.

Mr. Jekielek: Yes, the Olympics trip, of course. 

Gen. Spalding: Right. What Xi gets out of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is to sit back and watch how the West approaches that, and what they are going to do to Russia as a result. Because it gives them a way to anticipate what they may face when they go into Taiwan. It also gives them an ability to stress-test their own system—non-convertible currency and strict capital controls. The Russian Ruble has basically been destroyed by the sanctions that came with the tail end of the invasion.

With the Chinese, you can’t do that, but there are other ways and other methodologies that could potentially create a problem for China. I guarantee you that Liu He, Xi Jinping’s economic advisor, is watching all of those things and they’re watching all the metrics. They’re trying to anticipate how the West might try to get at them.

They are going to go element-by-element through their economy and see which of those is still open to attack from the West. If they have any that are vulnerable, they’ll seek to seal those up prior to invading Taiwan. Prior to World War 1, there was a small memoir written by Ambassador Morgenthau, a U.S. ambassador to Turkey. He got to be really good friends with the German ambassador.

In addition to Morgenthau fighting the Turks over the Armenian genocide, he learned from the German ambassador, what led up to the war? The German ambassador told him that he was called back to Germany, and they met with the Kaiser and all the bankers. The Kaiser looked around the table and said, “Is everybody ready for war?” The bankers said, “Not quite, we need to liquidate our holdings in the West prior to kicking off the war.”

And so they did. They liquidated their holdings, and two weeks later the war started. I would anticipate that the Chinese Communist Party will now go through the steps needed to liquidate their holdings. They’re going to actually insulate themselves from economic attack, and thus enable themselves to invade Taiwan without suffering too many consequences. It may also be that they anticipate having to impose martial law in China.

What better way to impose martial law than by convincing the population that you are trying to protect them from this virus? There’s a lot of things about how the Chinese Communist Party thinks about lockdowns, because they’re an incredible tool for control. The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t do things willy-nilly. It is very deliberate. Unrestricted warfare allows you to anticipate what those reasons are, or what they might be.

Mr. Jekielek: You mentioned that the places the Chinese regime is exposed, if it chooses to go after Taiwan, are its holdings outside of the Belt and Road Initiative, basically, its investments in the West. Presumably, this is what analysts can be looking for now, these attempts to extract their investments. 

Gen. Spalding: Look at what Saudi Arabia did to the royal family when the prince took over, they basically locked him in the hotel and said, “Sign over your assets.” When we look at China, again, as Americans we do a lot of pattern matching. We pattern match systems. We say, “There’s the individual and then there’s a state.” In the case of China, there’s the individual, there’s a state, then there’s a party. Typically, when it comes to assets, we separate the assets of the individual from the state or the party. Now, what’s happened in Russia is we’ve gone after the oligarchs, so we’ve made that leap. It is like going back to Kosovo, who were the elites supporting Milosevic? Today, who are the elites supporting Putin? “Let’s go after their assets. Let’s even go after the assets of Putin’s family.”

What leverage do we have over the Chinese Communist Party? We have the fact that the party, the state, and the families of the party members are different. The state is not sovereign, the party is sovereign. So if you have a problem with the state, you don’t go to the state, you go to the party. If you have a problem with the party, you go to the family of the party members. That’s where the leverage is.

It is in the assets held by the families of the party members that are, especially at the top, almost all very wealthy and have assets outside the country, because they’ve moved those assets outside of the country. They know that within China, you could lose everything in a heartbeat, but go outside and you can avoid that. So if you think about what leverage you can have over the party, it is over the assets of the family members of the party.

Mr. Jekielek: Technically, it’s illegal to be moving those assets outside of the country, isn’t it?

Gen. Spalding: Yes, but then you’re talking about a system that has rule of law. When you have rule by law, everybody’s doing something illegal. It’s just like in the book, Animal Farm. Animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. So, yes, it’s illegal. Technically, you could be doing the Chinese people a favor by encumbering the assets of these communist party family members.

Ultimately, we’re going to have to make that leap if we want to have any hope of putting pressure on the Chinese Communist Party. Now here’s the thing, I don’t know that Xi will even blink an eye. I don’t think he works that way. He’s very much devoted to the party and he’s a communist through and through. He’s already made peace with the fact this situation could come about.

What is more important to him is taking back Taiwan. He said he’s not going to leave it to the next generation. You’re not going to deter him at all. Before Xi, you probably could have used that as a tool. This time, I honestly don’t believe that there’s anything we could do to stop the Chinese Communist Party from invading Taiwan. We have to think more in terms of what we can preserve, what we can save in terms of lives.

If we’re really moral, that’s the thing that’s achievable. What’s achievable is something that says, “Hey, we are going to do our best to ensure the safety of the people of Taiwan.” We’re not going to be able to stop China’s invasion. That’s beyond our ability to control at this point, because we’ve allowed them to build up too much military power on their side of the strait.

Mr. Jekielek: I don’t know if what you just expressed is a commonly held view.

Gen. Spalding: I don’t think that we, Americans, are very good at saying, “We’re not the best.” It won’t even come out of our mouth. One of the words that we use so often is near-peer, that China is a near-peer. We could never say China’s a peer militarily. And then go beyond that to say, “No, China is superior,” would be against everything that we are as Americans. It’s hard for us to allow that to come out of our mouth. It’s just something that’s an anathema to who we are as a people. So, we say China’s a near-peer, despite the fact that war game after war game, after war game, after war game, after war game, we lose in a war with China over Taiwan. Not only do we lose, we lose fast. We lose really fast.

We have no chance, short of nuclear war, of winning a war over Taiwan. And nobody wants to contemplate nuclear war because you’re talking about the potential end of civilization. If it’s the end of civilization or China gets Taiwan, what’s your choice if you’re the president of the United States? If that’s the case, what do we do? What is our responsibility? What was our responsibility to the people of Berlin? What was our responsibility to the people of Eastern Europe that fell under the iron curtain? It was to do our best and provide for them and in the end essentially defeat communism and defeat tyranny, but you’re talking about a long term struggle.

We have to economically, politically, socially, and academically decouple from China. We have to allow the principles and values of our free society to surpass the economic power of China, which will eventually allow their citizens to recognize that they live in a tyranny and it’s not in their best interest. That’s a long struggle. But to get into a war over Taiwan and to potentially have it escalate to an existential threat to humanity, I just don’t see any leader committing to that.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s very interesting how many parallels there are and what you described right now to what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine right now. That’s what’s striking me at least with broad strokes, obviously. You started diving into what to do here now in this situation. The Chinese Communist Party has been waging unrestricted warfare on America and on the West, using all these different means at its disposal—the Belt and Road Initiative, economic warfare, and subversion of these international multilateral organizations.

You’re making the case that when it comes to Taiwan the Chinese Communist Party is better positioned militarily to take over. So what to do? I don’t mean about Taiwan, I just mean in general. You painted a whole bigger picture here and you mentioned decoupling as one of the key strategies of America’s own unrestricted warfare. Are you suggesting that America needs to wage unrestricted warfare in response?

Gen. Spalding: That goes back to the founding of America. What is America? It’s a mind virus. It’s the idea that by nature, you’re supposed to be free as a human, and that’s a terribly powerful idea. But it’s not powerful when you’re not actually free. When we brought China into this international order, we began to suppress the principles and values that made us free here in America.

With decoupling, we begin to get reacquainted with our own principles and values, and what they mean. Therein lies the allure of America. We don’t have to wage unrestricted war on China. What we have to do is reach our true potential, because Americans can reach their true potential and they’re totally free. When they have the blessings of liberty, their enthusiasm and boundless energy cannot be subdued. And that shines like a beacon around the world.

That has been the thing for over 204 years that has made us strong. It’s not that we have weapons. It’s not that we have a strong military. It’s that people look at us and say, “God, I wish I was like that.” Or, “I wish I could be there.” Through its connection to everything, both the international order and our own domestic institutions, China has eroded those principles and values around the globe. We can break free of that, and then we’re going to shine like a beacon again. Once we do, we can work with other nations that have similar aspirations. To the extent that they also decouple from China, then they can begin to prosper. Our system will begin to show its true strength. The strength of China has been created by the false allure of their system.

This false allure is wrapped in the American flag. It’s wrapped in all the blessings of liberty because we’ve given it all to them. But if we maintain it for ourselves and we work with our partners to enable American citizens to get reacquainted with the blessings of liberty, China cannot compete with that. They know it. That’s why they’re so afraid of the Constitution, because they’re afraid of this mind virus that can find a home within the mind of an average Chinese citizen.

There are Chinese people that would embrace American freedom if they could. Who are the people that came to the United States that really embrace our values? It’s the huddled masses. It’s the people that are hurting. That’s why they come to America. The elites that come to America, if they’re white collar, don’t embrace the values of America, because they don’t understand what it’s all about.

It’s about dreaming, not just for a better life for you, but for your children. That’s the thing that you can break the Chinese Communist Party on, and they know it. So, we don’t have to embrace unrestricted warfare. We don’t have to embrace war at all. We need a military to defend ourselves, but if we could just separate ourselves from China and really allow the blessings of liberty to allow us to grow our innovation, technology, talent and capital intrinsically, then the American people are going to be prosperous. They’re going to be happy. They’re going to be fulfilled. They’re going to reach their potential.

The Chinese people will look at that. China will not have anything to help paper over the inadequacies of the Chinese communist system, so their economy will begin to degrade and slow down even more than it has. When that happens, they’ll have unemployment, and they’ll have challenges. The Chinese people will look across the ocean, and they will say, “There’s a better way to do this.”

This was what we did during the Cold War. It wasn’t about fighting a war that was anywhere near unrestricted warfare. It was about allowing the American people to reach their true potential, and letting the people that were in the Soviet states look across the ocean. Most of the leaders of those nations, when the Cold War ended, were listening to Voice of America, were listening to Radio Free Asia, and were listening to Radio Free Europe.

For most of them, Voice of America was the first place they stopped when they came to Washington D.C. after the fall of the Soviet Union to say, “Thank you for being my voice of hope.” And that hope was not just those radio programs. It was actually this idea, “I can embrace and usher in these blessings of liberty to my own nation, if I’m strong enough and have enough resolve.”

Mr. Jekielek: You made a lot of recommendations at the end of the book about how to recreate the U.S. information agency, which was subsumed by the state department at some point. You have some suggestions about how to do AI development in a way that’s constructive.

Before I go there, the pandemic has certainly shown us that in the U.S. and in many Western countries, we’re willing to adopt a direction that’s very similar to what communist China has, than what the U.S. traditionally has. Actually, is the West through its practices of the last two years accepting those types of approaches, much more so than the other way around—which is what you’re advocating?

Gen. Spalding: You need to have an American society that is functioning in all cylinders, where people are enabled to reach their potential, and where there is economic opportunity. We do not truly understand the implication of destroying the industrial base which is the economic soul of this country. There was this big push and there still is to just make everybody a coder.

If everybody could just be a software developer, then we’re going to be great and other people can make stuff. But there’s a segment of our society that always wanted to make stuff and we basically destroyed that. We hollowed it out and we said, “We don’t want the dirtiness. We don’t want the mass.  We really don’t even want those people. We want those people to change and be something more than what they were.”

That was bad. That was wrong for us. We settled into a funk where we had no industrial base, and we had no manufacturing capability. We had no working class that could aspire to something better, have long-term employment, buy a home, and raise a family. You don’t have that anymore. You rent a home, rent a room in Airbnb if you can, or drive for Uber.

You don’t work in a factory for 20, 30 years and raise your kids and allow them to be something more. At the same time you have the social activism that we see on university campuses that are much less effusive about the blessings of liberty and much more about how do we destroy the system so that we can recreate it in more of a communist manner.

It’s not just China that’s been able to essentially corrupt us through all the tools of modernity and especially by using IT. The two colonels talk about IT as the bonding agent for society and the way that you get control over society, but we’ve done it to ourselves by hollowing out the meaning of life for a big segment of our population.

You need to restore the dream of the working class so they can have jobs and they can really have hope. We are really talking about hope here. It is closely tied to economic prosperity and the ability to provide for yourself and your family. This is very basic to human dignity. If you have that, then you can’t have this idea that America’s a bad place. If we break each other on the differences rather than embracing the differences, then you have the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to throw hand grenades in there and make it worse and diminish it.

So there are social, economic, and political factors. They all begin to be solved if we can get some separation and ensure that we’re investing in our own people here in the United States, if they have economic opportunity, if they can raise a family, if they can have long-term employment, and if they can have hope for the future. Some professor on some campus, somewhere, said, “What you say is reality,” but that really is not reality.

If you say, “The sun revolves around the earth,” well, then that’s your truth, that’s your reality. That’s what we have people saying today. Everybody knows that is crazy. When you have a society that is not pursuing its own best outcomes, you create this division because people do not have hope. That’s where these things have gotten purchases, because of what happened at the end of the Cold War and this parasitic relationship with China.

Mr. Jekielek: Around AI, we have this situation where Google has been very open to working on AI research and development with China. The two PLA colonels have told us that everything there has to be dual-use, military as well as public. But they won’t do AI research and development with the U.S. military. This is a bizarre dichotomy. That struck me as an incredible application of unrestricted warfare. How did they pull that off? It’s almost hard to imagine. You make some pointed suggestions about how to do AI development in a way that would actually be secure and thoughtful. I wonder if you could share that. The second thing is a bit about your current work, which is all about countering the Chinese Communist Party.

Gen. Spalding: First of all, what the two PLA colonels recognized was the power of information technology to change our lives in ways that would actually promote the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. I can collect data about you because I can see the data that’s collected by your smartphone and I have access to that data. Like today, I could go home right after this.

I could call somebody up and say, “I was in this room in Washington D.C. Here’s the address. Can you draw a circle around that room? I want you to go and find the devices in that room. Then I want you to watch those devices over the next two weeks. I want you to come back and tell me who owns those devices. There’s these two people that I want you to pay attention to. Watch everything that they do.”

Today, with software development kit data that is used for making apps for smartphones, you can buy that data on the open market, what’s called GDPR data. It doesn’t reveal your identity, but you can figure it out. Where do you go at night? Where do you keep going every single night? Who lives in that house? Who owns that property? Who drives that car? This is what an Intel analyst can tell you.

If I know your device and I can watch everything you do, I can send you ads that are targeted directly to you, that I want you to see, that can have malware embedded, or it can just be something I want you to notice. When you’re going somewhere, I can send you an ad for something and have you see it. I have a way to interact with you. I have a way to track you. I have a way to understand everything that you do, because I’m tracking this device now.

That is the current reality. That happens today every single day and it happens anywhere around the world. That happens to anybody that’s got a smartphone in their possession. That’s one level of understanding that leads to a level of control. The next level of understanding and control is cameras. You walk out of here, you have no device, but there’s cameras in the building, and there’s cameras outside the building and those cameras pick you up.

They have facial recognition, they have gate recognition, they have all kinds of recognition that are particular to you. So, I will start to track you. I will start to understand what you’re doing. Because I have this information, I think about what I can do with this information. I can sell you things. I can make your life more convenient. Then I can build a business model around doing that.

I can build an app. I can build a service, Uber. It becomes a way to take this data, and then use it in new and different ways that I can use to make a very valuable company. In the case of the Chinese Communist Party, and in the case of contract tracing here in the United States, it can be used for the purposes of slowing a pandemic. If I have that power over your data, then what else can I do with it? This is where you get on the slippery slope. It becomes intoxicating, either for a corporation or a government to use that data for all kinds of unintended things that you would consider against your own interests.

That is the world that we live in today, accelerating with the explosion of 5G, connected cameras everywhere, and other sensors tracking you. How do we protect ourselves in that world? We have to basically say that data about you should be protected. It should be prevented from being used in ways that are counter to your interests. That’s not something that we have dealt with. We understand our constitution. We understand the physical world, but we don’t understand the digital world.

Not only is this digital system absolutely critical to life, it’s the way that you get a ride today. It’s the way that you get food. It’s the way that you get medicine. It’s the way that you get medical help. It’s the way that you have first responders meet your needs. It’s important. It can be taken away like that by North Korea with one weapon, because it’s not hardened. So that was an issue. The other issue is, because I have all this data about you, I can undermine you. I can influence you. I can suppress you. I can raise you up depending on what my motivations are, whether I am a corporation, an institution, a non-government organization, or a rogue state.

Mr. Jekielek: I just have to jump in for one second. How is it that TikTok is still in this country on so many cell phones with the power of the CCP behind it?

Gen. Spalding: It is because Washington D.C. is not full of people that understand technology and where it’s going. Protecting that data about you is equivalent to your individual liberty that’s basically enshrined in the Constitution. To take this next leap, you have to take that data and you have to lock it down. You have to encrypt it. It has to be locked down. And the only person that can have the key is you.

How do you do that in the world of today? Nobody’s going to give away their smartphone. What about the cameras? So thinking that through, how do you protect that data? How do you preserve this ability to communicate and get access to services? This is what siempre is about. Siempre in Spanish means always. It’s about always protecting liberty.

We need a technological means of reinforcing our constitutional freedoms and that has to be around protecting your data. That’s what we’re focused on, protecting data and securing it and making sure it’s secure and available. Quite frankly, I felt like my time working with nuclear weapons really gave me a vision of how that could be. That’s really because the United States has never had unauthorized use of a weapon.

We’ve had accidents, but there’s never been a detonation. That’s because we have something called nuclear surety. It deals with the personnel, the material, and the procedures by which we handle those very dangerous weapons. We can take that approach to data and say, “We want to make sure the personnel, the material and the procedures by which we operate on your data is given the same deference that those powerful weapons are.”

If we can create this way of securing data and protecting your individual liberty by protecting your data that’s of and about you, then we can instantiate in technology the means of protecting your freedoms. For instance, today, you could have a system where you go into a 7-Eleven, you pick up a bag of chips and you walk out and you never swipe your credit card. In today’s instantiation of that, I just described that everything about you would be known in that situation. You could have another situation where that data that’s being collected about you can be used to do a transaction, but that transaction looks very much like a credit card transaction today. And no other information is passed to the store, not your name, not your phone number, and not your address. And nobody else has it either.

As you walk around the city, that data is used for making your life more convenient, but ultimately once it is used, it is always kept secured and encrypted, but it is not given out. Let’s build a system today on open data and everybody’s data being available to any company, any corporation, and any government. Our vision is that at least in those communities, in those areas that want it, we can provide a different future.

Mr. Jekielek: You’re also developing hardened cell towers, and a system that could basically stand in juxtaposition to Huawei’s deployment of its technology across the world at mass scale. Is this the beginning of this? Where are you at?

Gen. Spalding: If you look at the evolution of computing technology, there has been this trend to be centralized and then decentralized, centralized and then decentralized. With 5G, we’re moving into this world of decentralized computing. We had these big hyperscale clouds that power the apps running behind the scenes that power your smartphones. As we move more to this world of cameras, we’re moving to a more decentralized disaggregated computing structure. In order to do that, how do you provide the security and resiliency of that capability? That’s what we looked at. One of the things that we found in looking at this problem differently, if we have an electromagnetic pole from a high altitude nuclear weapon, or a solar flare, how do we create a system that will survive in it? Today, our system won’t.

We went through the engineering. The cool thing that we found out is our devices will already survive. The engineering, the geometry, the circuitry, the way it’s structured is small enough that you can’t get an EMP to propagate and therefore that device continues to work. So you have a device in your pocket today that works. If today North Korea lights off an EMP over the United States, and the infrastructure goes down, you can’t call anybody.

There’s no cell tower to connect to. There’s no data center to run the back end of your smartphone. So in conjunction with this decentralization and disaggregation of computing power, we created a cell tower and a data center that would allow that system to survive in that tower itself. Our goal is to provide that infrastructure, not just to the enterprises, the banks, and all the companies that need it, but also to our military.

We want to provide these to any military that is an ally or partner of the United States to allow them to communicate on the battlefield. What if American military forces can continue to communicate, but the American people can’t? You can’t buy milk, you can’t go to the gas station, you can’t pay for anything, you can’t call for help, and you can’t get medical services, because all of that is done through your device.

What good is it if our military can talk? The social fabric begins to unravel pretty fast. We saw that during Hurricane Katrina, how quickly civil society began to erode. These devices have become essential to life. Having that ability to have that connectivity and resilience, and in addition have protection over your data, that is what we are about. The cool thing about this is you can create something brand new that is not just a cool technology, but is also providing for a different way of looking at how we preserve our nation.

Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. Any final thoughts?

Gen. Spalding: One of the things that I appreciate is what you’ve been doing as a journalist. I think that it’s very hard in this day and age to maintain your independence, to maintain your objectivity when it comes to this vast ocean of data that’s meant to be polluted, and meant to be dragging us down. So, I want to say thank you for that, because I believe in the fourth estate. I believe in the importance of the fourth estate. I believe in this country. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that we have to fight to preserve it. And I recognize you as one of the important people doing that, so thank you.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s very appreciated. General Robert Spalding, it’s such a pleasure to have you on again.

Gen. Spalding: Thank you.

Mr. Jekielek: Thank you all for joining General Robert Spalding and myself for this episode of American Thought Leaders. His book again is War Without Rules, and I’m your host Jan Jekielek. If you haven’t subscribed already, you can now try a 14-day free trial and get access to all of our deep dive interviews, documentaries, and exclusive content on Epoch TV, from American Thought Leaders to the Larry Elder Show. Just go to https://ept.ms/freetrialjan.

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