The Chinese Dragon Wakes -- and looks to stretch its wings
In a chilling article in today's Washington Times, Bill Gertz paints an ominous picture of China's growing military menace.
For some time I have been watching with great alarm China's growing encirclement of the United States, both economically and militarily. China has positioned itself strategically and insinuated itself commercially and economically into our hemisphere, in Panama, South America, the Caribbean and even in Canada -- while at the same time engaging in modernizing its military might with weapons ranging from tanks, sealift capability, to modern fighter planes, missiles, SAM's, space-based weapons and other means of projecting its power well beyond its immediate defense needs. Now comes a new assessment that shows that we may be waking up to the danger a bit late and that within a few years the United States faces the real danger of war over Taiwan.
In addition, the article makes clear that one of the things that makes this military build-up possible is China's vigorous economy and financial strength. So much for the idea that we would woo the Chinese and turn them into purring capitalistic pussycats once we introduced them to market economics and free trade policies. Instead, what we have done is to enable them to speed up their arms build-up probably by decades. Better that we should have pursued the policies that Reagan did in regards to the Soviet Union. We are not now in a position to spend China into bankruptcy. But it is too late for that.
Don't forget that most of the debt of the United States is currently owned by China, in the form of government bonds. What would happen if they one day decided to withdraw their funds and invest elsewhere? While making deals with the Saudis and the Middle east to cut of our oil? While colluding with Venezuela and possibily even building bases there, not to mention controlling Venezuela's oil? China has encircled us in a web of its own creation, and we are only waking up to the sticky mess.
Where are those wise old China hands, the ones who counseled for years that we could tame the dragon with dollars, and subdue him with western ways, which would seep somehow inevitably into their political life and render them all happy and free democrats, willing to walk hand in hand into the future with the United States, united in trade, united in prosperity, united in democracy.
This is what appeasement and accomodation and cooperation yield when one is dealing with a wily and implacable political and ideological enemy.
Note also, that America is operating under the crippling inability to penetrate China's inner workings -- in other words -- we have no intelligence capabilities there, while China has literally thousands of spies working in our country, as academics, business people and others engaged in ostensibly normal activities.
So, what do I see for the future? I see war. I see a perfect storm of an armed China, working with Russia, cooperating with the Middle East -- all joined together in a world war against the United States. This war will include not only military means, but energy supplies, and cyberwarfare and other means.
Once again the English-speaking countries will become allies, along with a newly armed Japan, which will have no recourse but to re-arm and perhaps become nuclear.
And then -- what of Europe? Europe will have to choose, but I predict that Europe will do what it has always done -- it will try to strike the best bargain it can -- hoping to profit at the same time it tries to play both sides against the middle. In this they will fail in the long run, and fall.
Perhaps the "New Europe" will join the United States, Great Britain, Japan and Australia in the defense of their newfound freedom. They would be unlikely to be willing to be swallowed by the Russian bear once again.
There are very grave dangers that lie ahead, and I fear that America is waking to the danger too late, and that even if we do, is there the will to face down these threats, when daily the media take the side of America's enemies?
Add to that the fact that we have stretched our military almost to its breaking point with our war in Iraq, which shows little signs of resolving. Instead, Iraq is beginning to look more and more like the front-line of fanatical Islam's war with America and the west.
It is clear that we are going to need great leaders in our near future -- leaders with a clear vision and the boldness and courage to face reality and to lead and not follow the latest poll numbers or react to the carping of the media.
God grant that it will be so.
China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.
U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
China's military buildup includes an array of new high-technology weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on Taiwan.
"There's a growing consensus that at some point in the mid-to-late '90s, there was a fundamental shift in the sophistication, breadth and re-sorting of Chinese defense planning," said Richard Lawless, a senior China-policy maker in the Pentagon. "And what we're seeing now is a manifestation of that change in the number of new systems that are being deployed, the sophistication of those systems and the interoperability of the systems."
China's economy has been growing at a rate of at least 10 percent for each of the past 10 years, providing the country's military with the needed funds for modernization.
. . ."We may be seeing in China the first true fascist society on the model of Nazi Germany, where you have this incredible resource base in a commercial economy with strong nationalism, which the military was able to reach into and ramp up incredible production," a senior defense official said.
For Pentagon officials, alarm bells have been going off for the past two years as China's military began rapidly building and buying new troop- and weapon-carrying ships and submarines.
. . . Asked about a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan, the official put it bluntly: "In the '07-'08 time frame, a capability will be there that a year ago we would have said was very, very unlikely. We now assess that as being very likely to be there."
. . . It also is developing a maneuverable re-entry vehicle, or MARV, for its nuclear warheads. The weapon is designed to counter U.S. strategic-missile defenses, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The warhead would be used on China's new DF-31 long-range missiles and its new submarine missile, the JL-2.
Work being done on China's weapons and reconnaissance systems will give its military the capability to reach 1,000 miles into the sea, "which gives them the visibility on the movement of not only our airplanes in the air, but also our forces at sea," Gen. Hester said.
. . .The advances give the Chinese military "the ability ... to reach out and touch parts of the United States -- Guam, Hawaii and the mainland of the United States," he said.
. . . The conclusion of this official is that China wants a "blue-water" navy capable of projecting power far beyond the two island chains.
"If you look at the technical capabilities of the weapons platforms that they're fielding, the sea-keeping capabilities, the size, sensors and weapons fit, this capability transcends the baseline that is required to deal with a Taiwan situation militarily," the intelligence official said.
The report stated that China will resort "to extreme, offensive and mercantilist measures when other strategies fail, to mitigate its vulnerabilities, such as seizing control of energy resources in neighboring states."
. . .Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China's military, said the internal U.S. government debate on the issue and excessive Chinese secrecy about its military buildup "has cost us 10 years to figure out what to do"
"Everybody is starting to acknowledge the hard facts," Mr. Pillsbury said. "The China military buildup has been accelerating since 1999. As the buildup has gotten worse, China is trying hard to mask it."
Richard Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said that in 10 years, the Chinese army has shifted from a defensive force to an advanced military soon capable of operations ranging from space warfare to global non-nuclear cruise-missile strikes.
"Let's all wake up. The post-Cold War peace is over," Mr. Fisher said. "We are now in an arms race with a new superpower whose goal is to contain and overtake the United States."