In 1731, British smuggler Robert Jenkins sailed past Jamaica with a ship full of sugar, a contraband he had picked up in the West Indies.
However, the West Indies were mainly under Spanish control, which insisted on the express approval and payment of heavy taxes and fees for anyone exporting sugar from their territory. Although it was technically illegal, British privateers and smugglers routinely exported sugar from Spanish lands, ignoring the Spanish declining power. Unfortunately, Jenkins was intercepted by a Spanish patrol boat named La Isabela off the coast of Cuba, and after finding the sugar, they tied Jenkins to a mast and sliced off his left ear.
Jenkins protested to King George II and even told his story in the House of Commons, which led to the War of Jenkins’ Ear between Britain and Spain. Rising and declining powers have historically led to war, known as the Thucydides Trap.
Examples include the wars between Athens and Sparta, World War I, and the current rising tension between the US and China. The author believes that China has been at war with the US for years without even trying to hide it.
China has been conducting a range of cyber espionage activities against the United States for years.
These include high-profile corporate espionage incidents involving companies like Google and defense contractor Northrup Grumman. In addition, there have been incidents of Chinese hacking into the Naval Undersea Warfare Group’s network and infiltrating US submarine cryptography, as well as hacking into dozens of US Navy research universities.
China has also used its popular social media app, TikTok, to steal sensitive information from its users and wage psychological warfare against young Americans. Despite these numerous attacks, the US has done very little in response. The US military and intelligence agencies have prioritized becoming more “woke,” rather than addressing the threat of Chinese cyber espionage.
While a shooting war is not desirable, neither is the status quo of inaction, which allows China to continue to weaken the US.