Did you hear the one about China's new hypersonic missile? Not everyone did since most media and political interest in that potential balance of power-tipping shock seemed to disappear faster than the blazing weapon could fly.
All of which begs a serious, critically important question: As those in the U.S. media, government, military, corporations and entertainment platforms exponentially elevate social justice and equality as some of our greatest concerns and even threats, do any of them actually view the People's Republic of China as the No. 1 adversary of the United States and a nation consumed with global and even near-space domination?
While there are indeed a number of inequalities in our country that must be addressed, those issues should not distract us from an overriding truth: China is in the business of winning and doing what's best for its long-term survival. That survival, its leadership believes, is predicated upon establishing itself as the preeminent military power in the world.
That same Chinese leadership sees but one country in the way of that goal: the United States.
As of today, China believes it is ascending so rapidly - and dominating so completely across the board in the arenas of land, sea, air, cyber and space power - that it no longer has to concern itself with the niceties of diplomatic language or pretend to disguise its true intentions.
Just about 10 days ago, President Biden misstated United States policy with regard to Taiwan. When asked at a CNN town hall meeting if the United States would defend Taiwan should it be attacked by China, the president answered, "Yes, we have a commitment."
Whoops. Cue the instant backpedaling from the Biden White House. The next morning, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to "clarify" the president's erroneous response by saying, in part, "He wasn't announcing a change in policy, nor have we changed our policy. We are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act."
OK, and just what does that 1979 law spell out? In essence, it says the United States is committed to providing Taiwan with weapons for its defense should it be attacked by China. After that, Taiwan is essentially on its own.
After Biden's "misstatement" and correction from his staff, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, did not even bother to diplomatically soften his response or hide his contempt: "On issues related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and other core interests, there is no room for China to compromise or make concessions, and no one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"Boom!" goes the dynamite.
Is anyone in our government, military or news media paying attention? Even for those with the shortest of attention spans, the Chinese government and military spokesman just laid it out in the plainest, most unambiguous way possible. China will not compromise or make concessions on any issue it deems to be in their sovereign, territorial or core interests.
This is not a game, and the People's Republic of China is not bluffing.
They hold all of the high cards at the moment because the United States - and most other Western nations - voluntarily (and quite surreally) handed China those cards. U.S. corporations, tech companies, critically important pharmaceutical companies, Hollywood studios, universities and major league sports teams now regularly and embarrassingly prostrate and censor themselves before China's leadership to ensure that Chinese money continues to flow into their entities and pockets.
It's an example of submission and greed that plays out the same way in a number of other countries around the world.
At the moment, China is more than happy to continue to simply cut checks to tip the balance of power firmly in its direction. But, once again, they are not bluffing and know that they will need complete military domination to seal the deal. Hence, the recent tests of hypersonic missiles.
So, what's the big deal regarding a hypersonic missile? Three things: As the CEO of Raytheon recently pointed out, the United States is "years behind" China in this technology. Second, the missile - capable of carrying a nuclear warhead - can fly at very low altitudes and is so maneuverable that it becomes virtually impossible to be shot down by existing missile defense systems. That's called a game changer of epic proportions.
While most of our media and many of our politicians ignored this jaw-dropping news in favor of subjects that would either create clickbait or produce glowing adulation from the Twitter universe, thankfully one person did wave the red warning flag regarding this Chinese advancement: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Said Milley during an interview with David Rubenstein on Bloomberg television, "What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning. I don't know if it's quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it's very close to that. It has all of our attention."
The problem is that, while that missile test - or China's recent anti-satellite weapon test - might have all of his attention, China's greater military, cyber, financial or subjugation measures are all but being ignored by those with the power to either report on them, call them out or confront them.
Again, either we see the People's Republic of China as the No. 1 adversary of the United States and a nation consumed with global and even near-space domination - or we don't. If we do, in the interests of our national security and very survival, we have an obligation to defend ourselves. If those with the power prefer to let China have its way, then why not hand them the keys to our country and be done with it?
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.