Nice SKS. Much purty'r than mine. We should go to the range sometime, Comrade.
Anyway, back to The Long Game.
“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu Chenghu, a major general in the People's Liberation Army, said at an official briefing.Well General, that will get you the "subtle opinion" award for the day. Mmmm. What other goodies are here?
...China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraftOK, my little Chinese version of
Gen Zhu's comments come as the Pentagon prepares to brief Congress next Monday on its annual report on the Chinese military, which is expected to take a harder line than previous years. They are also likely to fuel the mounting anti-China sentiment on Capitol Hill.Nice timing.
This is taking place in a larger context. China is not building up its military without reason. Unless India or Vietnam do something stupid (they won't) the only thing China wants land-wise is Taiwan. We are really the only thing that stands in their way. They also want to be treated with respect and control the choke points to their oil; but besides the desire for Taiwan, their is their wounded pride in wanting to be treated as a military equal with the US. A bluewater Navy will help do that, in addition to making the resupply and defence of Taiwan a tougher nut to crack.
Their buildup has been covered in a variety of ways in other "Long Game" posts. Besides the policy twisting narcotic of Nationalism, people wonder, "Why would China want to do this?" One of the head honchos at
China is not doing nearly as well economically as it appears. True, its exports are surging, but that doesn't mean the exports are profitable. Bad debts in China total an astounding $600 billion, according to Standard and Poor's — and I'd put the number higher. The Chinese economic miracle, which has been nothing to sneeze at, is running out of steam, as the rest of Asia did before it.Nationalism as a cover for economic problems is nothing new. Unlike the author though, I don't think war with China, in the medium term (5-10 yrs), is unlikely. Not expected, but I won't be shocked if it takes place. Well, it will only take place if we honor our pledge to the Taiwanese. If we have a weak-sister President that China can intimidate, then all bets are off. Taiwan can be taken without US intervention. After 08/08/08, China can take Taiwan and after a year or two of international complaints, the dragon can burp and get on with business as usual. All the US will do is loose allies worldwide and China will be emboldened, and more dangerous. East Siberia will be next. If they "misunderestimate" the US leader though....
This poses a tremendous political challenge to the Chinese government. The Communist Party's claim to authority no longer rests on the ideological claims of Mao Tse-tung and Karl Marx; it rests on the fact that the Communist government of China delivered prosperity. It didn't deliver it throughout China's geographic expanse and it didn't deliver it equally, but it did deliver it more quickly and broadly than imaginable. Success in China, as in politics everywhere, is the root of popularity.
If China no longer can call on the revolutionary zeal of the workers and peasants, how does it maintain its popularity and legitimacy? The one thing that remains — and is a very powerful force indeed — is Chinese patriotism and nationalism. If the Communists can't rally the masses to Marx, they can rally them to China.Nationalistic saber-rattling only makes war more likely, not less
Over the past few weeks, observers have noted an odd hardening of China's foreign policy and a harsher edge to its tone. I would argue that China is in economic difficulty and a Chinese government in economic trouble is also in deep political trouble. Therefore, acting like a superpower is an antidote to economic problems, and legally committing itself to protect China's sovereignty makes a certain kind of sense.
The Chinese government knows its economic condition better than anyone. It is preparing the ground for a shift in its international behavior based on worsening economic conditions. This doesn't mean war, but it does mean a lot more discussion of war — and another headache for the United States at a time when Washington doesn't need any more foreign policy headaches.
Here is the executive summary: this Chinese General job is to play "Bad Commie General," to kick the bushes and see what happens. Either that or he is seriously insane.
I hope the Chinese leadership isn't making the mistake others have made about the well hidden underside to the American character. Potential adversaries always think Americans are weaker than we are. Japan thought we were a pushover in '41 because if you looked at our pre-Pearl Harbor politics, we were. It is in our blood though, to be as violent as possible when threatened. Just look at our history.
If his scenario tool place,
“We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”
I don't think he understands that no city west of Xian will be safe either. If one, 10, 100 American cities were nuked; no American President or his political party would do nothing less than ensure the obliteration from the face of the earth the country that did that. We are better at it than the Chinese when it comes to nukes. The only concern of the remaining 150 million Americans will be that we do not destroy the remaining Pandas as we move forward to killing as many of the remaining 500 million or so Chinese left after our initial attack.
Actually, under the first wave there would probably be fewer Chinese left and more Americans around. Lets make it 200 million Americans and 350 million Chinese left over. They are more concentrated; we have more nukes, better nukes, and a better military. Any American politician who did not have a non-stop nuking to the borders of Mongolia, India and Kyrgyzstan until China agreed to an unconditional surrender would be impeached or there would be "extra-Constitutional Action" in the US.....and then more nuking. Americans are a very nice people, but we get a solid blood-lust when provoked, and a war of national survival will push that instinct to the limits. People forget that most of our bloodlines came from European revolutionaries (loosing side, I will grant you), border skirmishers from the British Isles, slaves that survived the passage, rebels, kids called today ADD, criminals, adventurers, and religious zealots.
We are not stable when given weapons and a good reason to fight. Ask the Japanese, Sioux, and Saddam's kids. The best thing that China could expect from this conflict is retaining 1/3 of their prior population and their country broken up into Manchuria, Canton, East Turkistan, Tibet, and for good measure we will give some land back to our Mongolian friends, let the non-nuked Hong Kong become a Singapore, a bit to the now-united Korea, let Vietnam, Pakistan and India get their bits back, and Japan will have all oil rights outside 2NM from China's shores for 99 years. As for the US. We will take our remaining 150-200 million folks and get busy cleaning up our country while letting what is left of China's rump states descend into Warlordism for another 500 years. Will we be a superpower like we were? No, not even close. As a matter of fact, for generations we would be simply a regional power most likely. Too much rebuilding to work on. World will be on its own to deal with the expanding Islamic power and population. Will we be be a poor, sick, radioactive basket case? For a couple of decades, sure. India will rise and the major European powers will come on par with us. But, we will have won the war, and give us 100 years and we'll be back in form.
Oh, Taiwan? We'll let Japan have that too, being that odds are General Looney will probably nuke it to a moonscape. Anyway, Japan has as much of a right to it as China.
Phibian odds of a nuclear exchange with China? Methinks the odds are better that China will break into civil war .....but thats a post for another day.