Silhouette of terrorist holding rifle against burning tank
Silhouette of terrorist holding rifle against burning tank

Weakness and Underestimating Enemies Invites War

Originally published at Townhall

The talk about whether the United States could prevail in a two-front war—against Russia in the European theater to defend Ukraine and against China in the Pacific theater to defend Taiwan—has suddenly been eclipsed. 

With the Hamas and Hezbollah attacks on Israel and the attendant realization that thousands of illegal immigrants—radical Islamists from terrorist hotbeds in the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa, Hezbollah from Venezuela, and both Chinese PLA special forces and Chinese military age single men—have been entering through our southern border over the last two years, the United States may soon face more than a four-front war.   

The greatest threat to Americans is likely to be multiple terrorist strikes against significant targets within the U.S. that are scattered rather than contiguous, unlike the front of traditional battle lines. Of the eight million migrants from dozens of countries who have come across the U.S. southern border, it’s noteworthy that Venezuela pumps in more migrants to the U.S. than any other country. Most migrants want to come to the U.S. to escape poverty and find more opportunities, but numerous others have different motivations. Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group controlled and funded by Iran, became well-entrenched in Venezuela during the radical socialist regime of Hugo Chavez. Hezbollah influence in Venezuela has continued to grow under the successor Maduro regime, with the hewing of a vast infrastructure within Venezuela for its criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and illicit smuggling.

Venezuela now hosts more members of Hezbollah than any other South American country. As part of turning Venezuela into a hub for the convergence of transnational organized crime and international terrorism, the Maduro government also provides Hezbollah members with passports and other necessary documents to facilitate safe passage and entry into the United States.  

Most Americans have either forgotten or never grasped that Iran and Hezbollah have been united in common goals for many years. Five years ago, a federal judge in New York found that Iran provided assistance, including training, to the 9/11 hijackers and ordered Iran to pay billions of dollars to parents, spouses, siblings, and children of more than 1,000 9/11 victims.

Hezbollah now has agents in many American cities who are likely to have identified targets for attack. 9/11 was never to be the final attack on the United States. The Iranian mullahs and Hezbollah have explicitly stated repeatedly that they seek to inflict death and destruction on both Israel and America on a mass-casualty scale never seen before. The recent attack by Iranian-backed Hamas on Israel was a shocking and harsh reminder of the importance of anticipatory vigilance. 

Aggressive activities by the Chinese against Taiwan, all the countries on the periphery of the South China Sea, and the United States intensified over the last year. They seemed to be increasing with every passing month. The number of Chinese migrants illegally crossing into the US during the last three months of 2022 skyrocketed by over 700% compared to the same period a year earlier. In June of this year, Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., claimed that so far, “10,000-plus” Chinese nationals have been apprehended in fiscal year 2023, “a massive 300% increase” from the year prior.

Since 1999, when the Chinese Liberation Army published their manual—now translated and published under the title Unrestricted Warfare—we know that the CCP has been on a total non-kinetic war footing against the United States. We have already experienced a biological attack with the release of Covid-19. China has also been conducting chemical warfare against the U.S. by supplying the ingredients for fentanyl and collaborating with the Mexican cartels to manufacture more than enough to kill the entire U.S. population. Drug overdoses killed over 107 000 Americans in 2022, and fentanyl poisoning has become the leading cause of death for Americans 18-45 years of age. When the Mexican cartel’s human, sex, and child trafficking is added to their drug trafficking with Hezbollah,  there can be little doubt that America faces the largest transnational criminal enterprise that has ever operated over and within our borders. It’s noteworthy that Wuhan, China, was both the source of the COVID-19 virus but is also known as the fentanyl capital of the world.

Thousands of illegal Chinese male immigrants of military age are crossing our borders right now, many dressed in a similar type of black uniform. They are unaccompanied, and most are carrying large sums of cash. Their role as a Fifth Column within the United States is likely to be different than that of the Hezbollah terrorists. 

China has at least six Jin-class ballistic missile submarines capable of launching nuclear explosive devices in the upper atmosphere over the continental United States to affect an EMP pulse that would take out a large part of America’s electric and telecommunications grid. But with the recent surge of Chinese males over the U.S. border, a land-based sabotage of the American grid may be more likely and plausible. It is well-known that the U.S. electric grid can be shut down for years by destroying just nine critical nodes. The location of those nodes is a national security secret. However, fifteen years ago spies from China and Russia were found on a mission to map the U.S. power grid—its infrastructure and nodes.  Without hardening those sites and improving security, we could now be on the receiving end of a targeted low-tech bombing operation that would take out our electric grid. 

The story recounted here is a harsh reminder that America’s current peril results from failure to maintain sufficient vigilance against foreign and domestic enemies. In 1776, Thomas Paine undertook writing a series of essays to provide support and inspiration at a time when Washington’s War of Independence appeared hopeless. His observation that “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must…undergo the fatigues of supporting it” is as relevant today as it was then. 

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.