A CIA official has issued a dire warning about the future of the United States as it faces its most fearsome foe. And no, it is not Russia.

The deputy assistant director of the CIA’s East Asia Mission Center, Michael Collins, spoke at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday and detailed the threat posed by China, who he says is determined to overtake the United States as the world’s superpower.

“By their own terms and what Xi enunciates I would argue by definition what they’re waging against us is fundamentally a cold war, a cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition,” he said, CNN reported.

“A country that exploits all avenues of power licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict,” Collins said. “The Chinese do not want conflict.”

He said Jinping wants “every country in the world” on its side and against the United States “because the Chinese are increasingly defining a conflict with the United States and what we stand behind as a systems conflict.”

Collins said that despite what the media is fixated on, China represents a greater threat to America than Russia does because “’it sets up a competition with us and what we stand behind far more significantly by any extreme than what the Russians could put forward.”

Collins said that when the United States shifted its focus to the worldwide war on terror, it took its eyes off of China which allowed it to grow significantly.

“They are learning to be more coercive, learning to be more aspirational, learning to be more assertive by what they’re getting away with,” Collins warned.

He said that “9/11 is one example where the international community had to shift its attention to something else and the Chinese drove through that decade to especially expand where they are, so it’s a long way of saying that there are things that happened in the international system, things that … helped to explain to some degree the speed and expanse of where the Chinese have gotten to where they are today.”

As everyone in the United States media and intelligence community has its eyes on Russia, with good reason, it also needs to keep an eye on China before it is too late.

 

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