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China Arrives September 14, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.
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I’ve been trying not to talk so much about China for the last few years, first because everyone’s tired of it, and second, because I pretty much said what I had to say. After pointing out the emerging threat back in 2006 and discussing it over the succeeding 5 years, it was time to sit back and watch it all unfold.

And unfold it has:

Political and security analysts have also recently been shaken by Chinese saber-rattling and military muscle-flexing—on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Let’s start with the Soviet-style military parade that Beijing put on last week to mark the end of World War II. In truth, it was a serious spectacle of military might, including goose-stepping soldiers, tanks, drones, fighters, and ballistic missiles.

Hard to miss the in-your-face symbolism of China parading ballistic missiles—with military designations written on the side in English—that analysts have dubbed the “carrier killer” and the “Guam-killer.”

That’s right: two of the ballistic missiles reportedly showcased at the parade last week are believed to have been designed for the purposes of destroying an American aircraft carrier and targeting U.S. military bases on Guam.

Just in case Washington didn’t get the message, Beijing also dispatched a flotilla of warships to the Bering Sea off Alaska during President Obama’s visit last week to the “Last Frontier” state to discuss climate change.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air is so precious, the way he says that this is a complete surprise:

Going back to the seventies we’ve tended to largely see China as an economic power which grew to a very dominant status in the world markets and plagued trade issues. What we weren’t terribly worried about (with a few notable exceptions) was China’s military might. They were always the dominant force in their own neighborhood and they exerted a lot of muscle on anyone who opposed them in the region, but it always felt as if they never grew into the same sort of global menace that the former USSR did. (At least in discussions around the kitchen table.)

His naivety is so cute. He obviously wasn’t reading my old blog or this one, because this is exactly what I predicted.

What’s next? China’s using its misdirection of attention toward its artificial island shenanigans to avoid scrutiny of its designs on Taiwan. Taiwan doesn’t have much time left, particularly if we get another ineffectual president in office.

Comments»

1. Tushar - September 14, 2015

>> Taiwan doesn’t have much time left, particularly if we get another ineffectual president in office.

China is pretty much assuming that when it finally physically invades Taiwan, US will do nothing substantial. Last few years have convinced them of that. Even a hawkish republican — if such a creature exists or ever wins the Presidency– will be hard pressed to muster the national will to retaliate.

The only thing that might halt China is if they have rational enough leaders to realize that they can peacefully dominate this planet, and war will not give them enough benefits to justify it.

In the old days, upto WWII and even Korea/Vietnam, physical invasions had some strategic merit.

What will you achieve in todays world by invasion?
–Access to resources? Anyone will sell China all the resources they want at a far cheaper price than the cost of an invasion.
–Access to Markets? China can sell whatever they want to whoever they want.
–Preempt another country invading and dominating them? Yeah, right.

2. geoff - September 14, 2015

The only thing that might halt China is if they have rational enough leaders to realize that they can peacefully dominate this planet, and war will not give them enough benefits to justify it.

I don’t believe that they truly want to go to war if they can avoid it – they’re smart enough to use their military to force a “diplomatic” solution. In the case of Taiwan, the thousand missiles China has pointed at them are just to convince Taiwan of the inevitability of their acquiescence.

But China will take Taiwan at any price, both to erase the “two China’s” business and because Taiwan is another economic gem (like Hong Kong and Macau).

3. Tushar - September 14, 2015

Geoff, Hongkong may have been an economic gem in 1997 when it reverted back to China, but in the process of converting the mainland to HK like prosperity, they have let HK languish. I doubt it has the same economic dynamism of the erstwhile pre-1997 Hongkong.
If they acquire Taiwan, the story is unlikely to be much different.

4. geoff - September 14, 2015

Yep, but in the short term it gives them an economic shot in the arm. The last shot let them found their unreal growth in the new millenium (exaggerated, yes; fraught with weaknesses, yes; but there’s no denying that their economy actually grew).

5. Tushar - September 14, 2015

FoxConn, the Taiwanese giant that assembles Apple devices in China, has committed $10 billion to built manufacturing operations in India. They were also eyeing Mexico.

I wonder whether they see the writing on the wall and are preparing to bug out.

6. OBF - September 14, 2015

What???
You guys are back? Made my day.

…I like Chinese food…sometimes.

7. geoff - September 14, 2015

Weakness made me give up my blogging moratorium after a month or so. We debated as to whether it was cheesy to start it up again after making such a big deal about shutting it down, but then decided that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

8. geoff - September 19, 2015

Me, 5 days ago: China’s using its misdirection of attention toward its artificial island shenanigans to avoid scrutiny of its designs on Taiwan.

The National Interest, today:

…what if America’s top strategic thinkers have gotten China’s military buildup all wrong?

The definition of military deception is “actions executed to deliberately mislead adversary decision makers…thereby causing the adversary to take specific actions (or inactions) that will contribute to the accomplishment of the mission.” Could Beijing be using the South China Sea to this end? By creating a constant stream of provocations in an area it cares relatively little about, China has diverted attention from an area it cares a lot about.

…more important, and often missed by observers, the South China Sea is not a top priority.

China’s Main War Plan: China’s military buildup is about Taiwan, not the South China Sea. According to reports from the Pentagon and Office of Naval Intelligence, conquering Taiwan is the core mission that drives the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Innocent Bystanders: leaders in Sino-sensitivity.


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