Considering the Impact of Critical Race Theory on US National Security

CommentaryMao Zedong famously wrote that the guerrillas’ relationship with the people is like a fish in water. This powerful metaphor may be usefully applied in other contexts, including the consideration of what countries need to defend themselves. All defense ministries swim in the water of their political and social systems. All exist to defend their country and necessarily are supported through resources drawn from that society, the people, finances, and material, and governed by the political system of their states. The United States is no exception. America’s national security depends upon the Pentagon, to be sure, but fundamentally it does upon the U.S. political system and society. They provide it with the resources to conduct its many missions and serve as the object of what must be defended against the enemies of the United States. In the American historical experience, the Department of War, after 1947, the Department of Defense, operated in a political ecosystem governed by the rules and expectations provided by political liberalism and by the institutions derived from political liberalism. Now that is changing due to the rise of critical race theory (CRT) in American politics and society. A participant holds up a sign during a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools, at the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg, Va., on June 12, 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images) Critical Race Theory’s Core Ideas There are five major propositions of CRT. The first is the centrality of race and racism for historical, political, social, and economic analysis and legitimacy. Race is for CRT what class is for traditional Marxists. The political ideology, institutions, and culture of the United States are based on the powerful myth of the superiority of white Americans over all others, and which still affects the lives of people of color through institutional racism but also via racial microaggressions and “white fragility,” which seek to maintain racial subordination. Second, there is the intersectionality of race and racism with other forms of subordination. For CRT, racism is intricately woven within all aspects of society and intersects with other oppressed identities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex identity. Third, CRT is a challenge to the purported dominant ideology in the United States, which CRT assumes to be liberalism. CRT seeks to question the status quo and majoritarian perspective. Fourth, CRT postulates that meritocracy is a myth and serves to continue the oppression of people of color. Fifth, immigration is another front. CRT advances the notion that borders and sovereignty are artificial constructions by racist states in the West. They have no moral force and should not be respected by progressives. CRT seeks to erase the concept of citizenship dependent on laws of the United States in favor of documented or undocumented immigrants who possess the same right to live in America as U.S. citizens. Their presence is welcome by CRT as it will reduce the traditional political and cultural dominance of the historically dominant Americans and their political principles, influence, and values. Negative Consequences for US National Security The changes sought by CRT also have implications for the U.S. position in the world and the stability of international politics. Two are particularly salient now. First, CRT discourse is being weaponized by the Chinese regime against U.S. interests. It was employed by Beijing against the United States at the March 18, 2021, meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts, director of the office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. A Black Lives Matter riot in Portland, Oregon, in this undated photo. (Noah Berger/AP Photo) Yang argued in his opening statement that the United States faced many profound human rights problems as evinced by the Black Lives Matter movement, which is anchored in CRT. Chinese officials recognize that making accusations of racism, and systemic racism in U.S. society, damages the United States and hinders the Biden administration. CRT has provided China with a bludgeon to employ against the United States to weaken the appeal of liberal ideology within China, in the United States, and internationally. But it also serves to discredit the position of the United States as a human rights leader. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) employment of systemic racism is one element of its political warfare campaign to advance its fundamental goal of undermining the position of the United States with other countries, including in the West. Second, there is the danger that CRT may have major consequences for U.S. national security in the struggle with China. Ideological stress between CRT and tra

Considering the Impact of Critical Race Theory on US National Security

Commentary

Mao Zedong famously wrote that the guerrillas’ relationship with the people is like a fish in water. This powerful metaphor may be usefully applied in other contexts, including the consideration of what countries need to defend themselves.

All defense ministries swim in the water of their political and social systems. All exist to defend their country and necessarily are supported through resources drawn from that society, the people, finances, and material, and governed by the political system of their states.

The United States is no exception. America’s national security depends upon the Pentagon, to be sure, but fundamentally it does upon the U.S. political system and society. They provide it with the resources to conduct its many missions and serve as the object of what must be defended against the enemies of the United States.

In the American historical experience, the Department of War, after 1947, the Department of Defense, operated in a political ecosystem governed by the rules and expectations provided by political liberalism and by the institutions derived from political liberalism. Now that is changing due to the rise of critical race theory (CRT) in American politics and society.

Epoch Times Photo
A participant holds up a sign during a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools, at the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg, Va., on June 12, 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Critical Race Theory’s Core Ideas

There are five major propositions of CRT.

The first is the centrality of race and racism for historical, political, social, and economic analysis and legitimacy. Race is for CRT what class is for traditional Marxists. The political ideology, institutions, and culture of the United States are based on the powerful myth of the superiority of white Americans over all others, and which still affects the lives of people of color through institutional racism but also via racial microaggressions and “white fragility,” which seek to maintain racial subordination.

Second, there is the intersectionality of race and racism with other forms of subordination. For CRT, racism is intricately woven within all aspects of society and intersects with other oppressed identities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex identity.

Third, CRT is a challenge to the purported dominant ideology in the United States, which CRT assumes to be liberalism. CRT seeks to question the status quo and majoritarian perspective.

Fourth, CRT postulates that meritocracy is a myth and serves to continue the oppression of people of color.

Fifth, immigration is another front. CRT advances the notion that borders and sovereignty are artificial constructions by racist states in the West. They have no moral force and should not be respected by progressives.

CRT seeks to erase the concept of citizenship dependent on laws of the United States in favor of documented or undocumented immigrants who possess the same right to live in America as U.S. citizens. Their presence is welcome by CRT as it will reduce the traditional political and cultural dominance of the historically dominant Americans and their political principles, influence, and values.

Negative Consequences for US National Security

The changes sought by CRT also have implications for the U.S. position in the world and the stability of international politics. Two are particularly salient now.

First, CRT discourse is being weaponized by the Chinese regime against U.S. interests. It was employed by Beijing against the United States at the March 18, 2021, meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts, director of the office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Black Lives Matter protesters
A Black Lives Matter riot in Portland, Oregon, in this undated photo. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)

Yang argued in his opening statement that the United States faced many profound human rights problems as evinced by the Black Lives Matter movement, which is anchored in CRT.

Chinese officials recognize that making accusations of racism, and systemic racism in U.S. society, damages the United States and hinders the Biden administration. CRT has provided China with a bludgeon to employ against the United States to weaken the appeal of liberal ideology within China, in the United States, and internationally. But it also serves to discredit the position of the United States as a human rights leader.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) employment of systemic racism is one element of its political warfare campaign to advance its fundamental goal of undermining the position of the United States with other countries, including in the West.

Second, there is the danger that CRT may have major consequences for U.S. national security in the struggle with China. Ideological stress between CRT and traditional American liberalism within the United States will generate political and societal disruption.

This, in turn, will hinder the ability of the U.S. Department of Defense to recruit, maintain standards, employ the force to achieve its strategic objectives, and sustain the fight.

Fundamentally, the U.S. political system is the foundation of U.S. interests and national security objectives. The Pentagon depends upon the U.S. political system to receive its orders, recruit its civilian members and servicemen and servicewomen, procure its equipment from industry, and fulfill its missions with the support of the American people.

Accordingly, vulnerabilities—including those in how America is defined and whether it is a country that is fundamentally good and, thus, worth defending—must be anticipated, identified, and addressed. Ideas are more important for national security than tanks or submarines.

Ultimately, ideas determine public support for the U.S. military and so permit the United States to continue advancing its interests and obligations in international politics. More importantly, ideas define what America is, the nature of its polity, and its place in the world.

Year after year, CRT has caused a significant ideological change within the country. The consequences of CRT extend far beyond America’s borders to U.S. allies and enemies, as well as upon the Pentagon and the American people. Whether it is so perceived, CRT is a U.S. national security issue and must be so considered.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Bradley A. Thayer is a founding member of the Committee on the Present Danger: China and is the co-author of “How China Sees the World: Han-Centrism and the Balance of Power in International Politics.”