Since the October 7 massacre in Israel, Chinese Communist Party affiliated bots have flooded the internet with antisemitic and anti-American content. In America, their ostensible aim is to inflame the current social tensions so that we might unravel from within. In this regard, illicit border crossings of ChiCom nationals also play a role. Further afield, Beijing hopes its efforts might erode American influence and undercut our allies.

For decades, our adversaries have used the press and digital technologies to further their agendas and sabotage ours. For equally as long, we have lagged behind. With the end of the Cold War, Washington’s attention turned to conventional warfare. The Gulf War and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan seemed to validate the decision, such that between 1989 and 2010, military spending rose by 129 percent.

Yet overlooked was the continued multi-domain warfare being waged against us by our enemies. For Communist China, the information domain is paramount. People’s Liberation Army manuals posit cognitive warfare as its “fundamental function” and “the basis for the ability to accomplish military tasks.” Soon after he took control of the party, in 2014, Xi Jinping urged the PLA to expand an “ideological concept of information warfare.”

For Beijing, ideological work allows for the spread of its preferred narratives, suppresses dissent, and ­— so Beijing hopes — molds foreign government policies. The enduring aim of a new world order, towards which China, Russia, and Iran aim, is also likely helped by a global majority that not only accepts but champions Xi Jinping Thought and Beijing’s authoritarian vision. China plays a long game on this head.

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