Saturday, August 14, 2010

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part XXXI

If you liked what Michael Auslin had to say on Midrats last week, then you will want to read all of what he has to say in his article in the WSJ, Pacific Command Pushes Back,
For years, Pacific Command—which oversees all American military operations from the west coast of America to the east coast of Africa—has talked more about "dialogue" with China than the threat the country's opaque military build-up presents to America and its allies. That view largely echoed the stance of their civilian bosses, from Presidents Reagan to George W. Bush.

No more: In Congressional testimony earlier this year, new Pacific Command chief Admiral Robert Willard noted China's "unabated" military buildup and concluded that it appeared "designed to challenge our freedom of action in the [Asia-Pacific]." Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that he's "moved from being curious" about what China is doing, "to being concerned about what they're doing." And new Pacific Fleet Commander Patrick Walsh said that China is putting the South China Sea's vital trade routes "at risk" over its various territorial claims.

Many U.S. officers and senior civilian employees at Pacific Command with whom I spoke last week agree with this view. Now they want their bosses in Honolulu and Washington to back up their talk with action so that the U.S. doesn't "give up any water space" to China. They cite, in particular, China's territorial claims over the South China Sea; its illegal seizure of Philippine and Vietnamese islands; and its skirmishes with fishing boats off the coast of Indonesia and Vietnam.
There needs to be a firmer push for trilateral and quadrilateral meetings among America and its closest partners in the region, including Japan, South Korea and Australia. The meetings should focus on core security issues such as missile defense, antisubmarine warfare and surface patrols. Simultaneously, Washington needs to forge more strategic ties to Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries worried about China's rise and who occupy geostrategically important locations.
Serious, sober thinking. Asia isn't waiting.


LT B said...

Screw that!  What should we be worrying about over there?  China won't shut down any sea lanes.  I mean, hell, we are diverse as can be, AND we have an LCS or two.  I bet they are shuttering in their boots.  It sends a thrill up my leg when I think about how diverse we are and how making that one of our top STRATEGIC goals has gotten us to this point.  Nothing to see here, everybody go home. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

The good Lieutenant has a point, Phib. 

One distinct characteristic of any pictures you see of the PLA or PLAN is that they lack diversity in a big way.  I bet NONE of their top four Sailors of the Year were female, and NONE of them were black or hispanic.  How can a Navy that un-diverse expect to win anything against our vaunted USN and its steely-eyed senior leadership?

Byron said...

Phib, God help us if Lt B and URR ever get together at a 'Plooza...they're two chuncks of coal in the old pod ;)  And B... "sweetums"? Dude.... :)

AW1 Tim said...

A few days back I wrote a post about the DF-21D ASBM for my blog. In it, I stated my feelings about the system. Whether someone agreed or not, it must have hit a nerve because I got a professional troll in my comments section. He was either a serious kool-ade drinker, or representing someone. His most interesting comment was that there wouldn't BE any problems with China if we stopped sailing our carriers and other Navy assets into that region. It was the USN that was causing the problems, poor China, yadda yadda yadda.

He actually refused to believe that China is involved in a cold war with these United States, suggesting that China had an economic interest in staying friends with us, etc.

China has one goal, and that it economic, followed by policial and military dominance over that area which Japan once considered the "East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere."  China has paid attention to the weaknesses of Japan's preparations and won't likely make them. China has also paid VERY close attention to how the US kneecapped the Soviet Union through economic warfare. We bankrupted the USSR and forced it to break up into smaller political and geographic areas. China is using that same model today.

   We are in difficult economic times. It's primarily a self-inflicted wound.  China knows that. It's why she's not only willing to make us dependant upon inexpensive (and occasionally cheap) consumer goods, but why she's also bought up so much of our debt. China is generating and developing leverage ahead of her military moves.

   Why our politicians cannot see this is beyond me. Personally, I'd like to have another round of hearings like Senator McCarthy held, and find out just how deeply China has penetrated our government and Federal Agencies. I do believe the public would not only be outraged, but would also demand some public hangings over what might be discovered.


Salty Gator said...

URR, most folks don't know that the Chinese have 14 distinct ethnicities in their country; and over 40 languages.  Yet, Mandarin dominates and the Han chinese are considered the "master race."  Yet ask the democrats and they say we need to be more like China...

Salty Gator said...

The DF-21, the ASCMs, the threat of hypersonic development / proliferation, generation 5 aircraft would not be a problem for us to deal with if we weren't so economically dependent on China.  The "nuclear option" for China is not a bomb, it is a threat to dump all the dollars that they have accumulated over the years of us selling them debt.  We could handle the military threat, even now.  We'd cleanse the waters of their shipping with our submarines, whip their asses in ACM, and probably pulverize them if we ever made it to a land war (as long as we have enough room to fire and maneuver).  It would take a while for us to relearn how to do it without satellites, but we'd get it done as we always do.  The problem is that they have called our bluf.  We won't risk it economically.  And therefore anti-access weapons are even scarier to us.  And to our allies.  And without a shot firing, China becomes the new regional hegemon; and as the second largest global economy, they fill in the vaccuum immediately created by our departure.  Sucks.

MR T's Haircut said...

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that he's "moved from being curious" about what China is doing, "to being concerned about what they're doing."

Really?  Really?  Glad you are waking up after your ineptness destroyed the Navy along with your Buddies.. but hey you look wicked cool in your dress Khaki's....

Anonymous said...

Everything was OK until I hit the line about the thrill up the leg....then coffe, nose, laugh and predictable results.

You owe me a new keyboard LT!

ewok40k said...

One thing we need to remeber about the Chinese - Sun friggin Tzu!
- deceive - appear to be strong where you are weak
- win without fighting - make enemy accomodate to your needs by himself
- economy is the foundation of military power, without it you end winning short term and bankrupting yourself
- war is costlier than you think (concubine army), dont start it recklessly!

LT B said...

   Don't hate, don't hate. 

LT B said...

I lived w/ a family from Taiwan for 2 yrs when I worked for a university.  I understand the diversity and areas in that side of the world, but honestly, do you think the PLA/PLAN are sitting around counting statistics on ethnicities or do you think they are trying to build up and extend influence over that region while also economically grabbing our short and curlies and pulling real hard?

LT B said...

Yes, MTH, I caught that too.  I was astounded at the silliness of that comment.  Wasn't he once in the Navy or something?  Has he ever served time in PACFLT and actually studied history in that area?  Curious?  Um, sir, if you are JUST NOW becoming concerned, maybe you should go back, just a decade ago and take a look at a certain EP-3 incident.  Ponder, maybe how they acted.  Take a look at the latest reactions to TAGS/TAGOS, or perhaps at their submarine activities IN and around the CBGs, er Carrier Strike Enterprises of Excellence and Diversity.  Happy talk and blind folds while furthering social agendas and securing contracting jobs for retiring admirals is NOT in keeping w/ Navy Core Values people.  WTF are we doing?

Byron said...

Not hating, B, just taking my Man Card back :)

ewok40k said...

Interesting, I wonder what US can get done with some guerillas trained by spec forces...
Tibetans , Uygurs, heck even the ethnic Han not content with central authorities...
Not exactly now but as an option in case of future troubles - instead of doing land war in Asia by own means...

xbradtc said...

<span> Carrier Strike Enterprises of Excellence and Diversity. </span>

Heh. LT B is on fire today...

1. Rat Willard was excellent in TOP GUN.

2. I don't think we're on the cusp of a shootin' war with China. But I do think the best way to keep from getting in to one is to maintain a Navy (and AF, MC, and Army) that is clearly so superior to the Chinese that it would be foolish of them to engage us.

3. AW1 Tim is essentially correct in that the Chinese are attempting to acheive a level of regional hegemony. In itself, that is almost reasonable. I mean, they ARE the most populous nation on earth. The concern is, how do we ensure that they do so in a manner that is not injurious to our own interests and those of our regional allies? If China sees the US as an entity that they cannot match in either military or economic power, they would work within that framework to acheive their goals. If, however, they sense that they can acheive their goals via shortcuts that are injurious to our interests, but we lack the political, military, or economic will to challenge them, they will do so.

Salty Gator said...

The Chinese play chess while we play checkers.  They will spend five moves to achieve checkmate while we will use one move to execute a double-jump and claim victory prematurely.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Seems Admiral Walsh isn't the first to express some extreme concerns about China

Curtis said...


We have "allies"  over there?  Do tell!

  These would be the ones that sent half a million men to support our little thingies in Bosnia, Beirut, Korea, Vietnam, ODS, OIF, OEF stuff like that. Yeah, they may stuff it.  I saw the Dutch there out of the corner of my eye, chained to lamp posts as the Serbians made off with the girls and killed all the men and boys.  What was that though, a whole Dutch battalion?

Keep this up and we'll be talking about our Saudi allies. How many Southern Watch flights over Iraq had any Saudis or Kuwaitis?  How many Northern Watch had any Turks?

Hey NORK, got any idea how many Brigade Combat Teams 8th Army has in SOKOR?  Allied up?

yeah yeah. China's going after us because of....................let me guess, our "allies".  I'm just casting about and wondering where any of our allies in that neck of the woods are.  I'm not seeing any outside Australia.

Curtis said...

I'm always curious about this one.

So China decides to flog our debt....ooohhh scary.  And finds no buyers........uh, who suffers?

Finds retards to buy that debt........who suffers?

Nobody will buy US T bills from China and that hurts who in the first instance?

pk said...

back a few years ago the japanese bought up a great share of very epensive realestate in the los angeles area.

the cry went up that they were owning everything.

then they had a very bad earthquake that knocked down most of one of their major cities , so they tried to sell off a great deal of their holdings on the west coast to rais fast cash for repairing earthquake damage. 

they found out that very large investments do not move fast and took a bath on their california realestate money.

same thing could happen to the chinese with their us notes.  as in very few people have enough cash to take them of their hands and
will do it to their advantage not the chinese.


pk said...

one of the things to hope for is a land war between russia and china.
they have had some dandies in the past including a couple since the korean
un and games that have not been particularly publicised (maybe even suppressed).

of course they would exhibit tactics and strategies that we have not seen before and
not particularly demonstrate naval abilities but whats a good solid case of heartburn between neighbors.


ewok40k said...

a little economic analysis of dollar bomb:
1. chinese demand a payment on their us treasury bonds
2. us has two options: declaring bankruptcy or printing money
first means us cant borrow anymore and has to balance budget immediately (ouch!)
second means gigantic inflation, and incredibly costlier imports (oil!)
both mean giant drop in us credibility and trouble with trade

ewok40k said...

First of all, Japan. They have limited their military after WW2 specifically at the US demand. They have created impressive navy by now, and though very pacifistic society I am sure they would lend a hand if NK ever uses its nukes. This is their berserk button.
Second, SK, quite obviously. They even had troops in Vietnam to help US.
Third, Taiwan. They are by their very existence a beacon of democracy for the mainland China - think West Berlin in the cold war.
Now lets move to allies of convenience - those who might not like US, but share interests (mainly the single big one, namely restraining mainland China).
Vietnam - surprisingly enough both sides have got remarkably well over the past. US respects the military prowess of Vietnam, and Vietnam respects the US tech and firpower they have felt during that war.
Phillipines - they might have a fit of antiamericanism culmnating with ending US miltary presence, but are rapidly waking to the reality of Muslim terror and Chinese growth. I am sure with some incentives they can become ally once more, as the memories of WW2 brothers in arms are lingering still.