Tag Archives: Chinese military

China’s Maritime Threat Expands

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government has examined the latest reports on China’s rapidly growing armed threat to the U.S. In today’s article, we conclude by providing the latest information on Beijing’s major move into the world’s oceans.

The Report to Congress on China’s military power notes that “China is expanding its access to foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to regularize and sustain deployments in the ‘far seas,’ waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean.”

Beijing’s navy has gained a great deal of experience through its joint maneuvers with ally Russia, including training exercises in the Mediterranean, Baltic, and Pacific oceans. It has begun to conduct operations far from its home shores, including the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean.

The extraordinary rate of increase for China’s maritime force can be seen in the number of vessels recently developed.  It should be noted that China already has more submarines than its U.S. Navy counterpart, and will have significantly more ships overall by 2020.

“Through 2008, China had only one ballistic missile submarine. By 2016, that figure had grown to four… Until 2012, China had no aircraft carriers. China’s first carrier entered service in 2012. China is building one or two additional carriers, and observers speculate China may eventually field a total force of four to six carriers. Until 2014, China had no corvettes. Since then, China has built corvettes at a rapid rate, and at least 31 had entered service as of early 2017, with some observers projecting an eventual force of more than 60. In 2016, the PLA Navy commissioned 18 ships, including a Type 052D guided missile destroyer, three Type 054A guided missile frigates as well as six Type 056 corvettes. These ships have a total displacement of 150,000 tons, roughly half of the overall displacement of the [British] Royal Navy. In January alone, the Navy commissioned three ships—one destroyer, one electronic reconnaissance ship and one corvette.

“This force is equipped for a wide range of missions including offshore air defense, maritime strike, maritime patrol, antisubmarine warfare, and, in the not too distant future, carrier based operations. Just a decade ago, this air modernization relied very heavily on Russian imports. Following in the footsteps of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), the PLA(N) has recently begun benefitting from domestic combat aircraft production.

“Beijing’s Marine Corps is in the midst of a massive reorganization and build out that will greatly enhance China’s ability to project power abroad. At the center of the plan multiplying the relatively small force five times—from about 20,000 uniformed personnel to potentially over 100,000 Marines.

The Congressional  Research Service (CRS) has just released its own report,  “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities on the growing prowess of Beijing’s navy. “ The CRS report notes:

“China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a broad array of platform and weapon acquisition programs, including anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), submarines, surface ships, aircraft, and supporting C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems. China’s naval modernization effort also includes improvements in maintenance and logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises.

“Potential oversight issues for Congress include the following:

  • whether the U.S. Navy in coming years will be large enough and capable enough to adequately counter improved Chinese maritime A2/AD forces while also adequately performing other missions around the world;
  • whether the Navy’s plans for developing and procuring long-range carrier-based aircraft and long-range ship- and aircraft-launched weapons are appropriate;
  • whether the Navy can effectively counter Chinese ASBMs and submarines; and
  • whether the Navy, in response to China’s maritime A2/AD capabilities, should shift over time to a more distributed fleet architecture.”

CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in Arlington, VA. Has also examined the rise of Beijing’s maritime force  in a report entitled  “China’s Far Sea’s Navy: The Implications of the “Open Seas Protection” Mission.

The CNA study concluded that “China’s shipbuilding industry has unquestionably demonstrated the ability to produce modern warships and submarines, while at the same time continuing to lead the world in total shipbuilding output…

“China is putting power projection components into place—carrier air, land attack cruise missiles on multi-mission destroyers, and amphibious forces—that, when assembled as a task force, are very credible. By 2020 China will have the second-largest modern amphibious capability in the world (after the United States), and potentially will be able to embark between 5,000-6,000 marines for operations anywhere in the world. When combined with modern destroyers as escorts and an aircraft carrier to provide air defense, China will have a distant-seas power projection capability for the first time since Admiral Zheng He’s last voyage (1431–33).

“… while the PLAN is expanding, virtually all of the other traditional maritime powers (India is a notable exception) have downsized and reduced major warship production.

“One implication for Washington of potential “open seas protection” task forces routinely operating in the western Indian Ocean is that U.S. authorities can no longer assume unencumbered freedom to posture U.S. naval forces off Middle East and East African hotspots if Chinese interests are involved and differ from Washington’s. With the growth of the PLAN nuclear-powered submarine force, the United States may face the challenge of keeping track of far seas-deployed PLAN submarines that could be deployed on missions close to U.S. territory—especially in U.S. EEZs.”

The South China Morning Post recently reported on a major Chinese breakthrough that could Beijing’s navy a major edge in any potential maritime conflict. According to the article,

“Chinese scientists claim to have made a major breakthrough in magnetic detection technology that could bring unprecedented accuracy to the process of finding hidden metallic objects – from minerals to submarines. Bottom of Form

The Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country’s largest research institute, said in an article on its website on Wednesday that a “superconductive magnetic anomaly detection array” has been developed in Shanghai and passed inspection by an expert panel.

The experts were quoted as saying that the device, which works from the air, could be used to pinpoint the location of minerals buried deep beneath the earth in Inner Mongolia, for example, with a level of precision as high as anything currently available around the world.

The device could also be used on civilian and military aircraft as a “high performance equipment and technical solution to resources mapping, civil engineering, archaeology and national defence”, the article said.

China’s military may soon adopt the technology, if it hasn’t already, said Professor Zhang Zhi, an expert in remote sensing with the Institute of Geophysics and Geomatics, China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, Hubei.

‘The technology could be used to detect minerals on land, and in the ocean to nail down submarines,’ said Zhang, who was not involved in the project.

The Chinese-Russian Threat to America

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government has examined the latest reports on China’s rapidly growing armed threat to the U.S. In today’s article, we examine Beijing’s military ties to Russia.

A crucial element of China’s jump to military superpower status has been its alliance with Russia.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report on Beijing’s military ties to Moscow (E&SRC) notes that

“Since the normalization of relations between China and the Soviet Union in 1989, Beijing and Moscow have prioritized defense and security ties, which are now among the most important components of the overall relationship. This emphasis is reflected in their 1996 “strategic partnership of coordination,” which remains the foundation for high-level cooperation…China steadily increased arms imports from Russia, eventually becoming Russia’s leading destination for arms exports. …Since 2012… closer defense ties have been a key driver of warming China-Russia relations. Indeed, China and Russia appear to be moving toward a higher level of defense cooperation. The three main areas of the bilateral defense relationship—military exercises, military-technical cooperation, and high-level military-to-military contacts—show increases in the level and quality of engagement, collectively reflecting closer defense ties.

“…recent developments in China-Russia military-to-military relations have important implications for U.S. security interests and the Asia Pacific.

  • Russia’s sale of Su-35 fighter jets to China (deliveries of which began in December 2016) will help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) contest U.S. air superiority, provide China with technology that could help accelerate the development of its own advanced fighters, and serve as a valuable training and learning platform before China fields its next-generation aircraft.
  • The Russian sale of the S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) defense system to China (with deliveries starting in 2018) should help China improve capital air defense and could assist the PLA in achieving increased air superiority over Taiwan if deployed to the Eastern Theater Command (bordering the Taiwan Strait). This SAM system would pose a challenge for Taiwan’s air assets in a potential cross-Strait conflict, the air assets of U.S. allies or partners in a South China Sea or East China Sea contingency, and U.S. aircraft, should the United States decide to become involved in such potential conflicts. The S-400 also could be used to help enforce China’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
  • The increased complexity and focus on joint operations of military exercises between the PLA and Russian Armed Forces help provide both sides with valuable experience in pursuing their defense objectives. The exercises are particularly useful for the PLA—which lacks recent combat experience—because they provide much-needed insights and knowledge that help China pursue its military modernization goals.
  • The recently expanded geographic scope of Sino-Russian military exercises, along with a new focus on missile defense, reflects increasingly aligned security interests and suggests the two countries are both signaling their respective support for the other’s security priorities. Greater alignment between the two countries in the security realm could pose challenges to the United States, its allies, and partners.

In an astute review of the relationship between Moscow and Beijing, Douglas Schoen and Melik Kaylan, in their book “The Russia China Axis,” state:

“While [the United States during the Obama Administration was] hobbled, Russia and China are resurgent on the international stage.  Thinking on the challenges each Axis nation presents, we can reach some broad conclusions: First, America’s influence around the world is receding: our military and diplomatic power; our political influence; economic might, and, perhaps most dangerously, the power and appeal of our ideas.  Second, in these same areas, the influence of Russia and China is increasing…

“Russia and China are increasingly expansionist…Both…have incfrased their military budgets substantially while the United States [under the Obama Administration] dramatically [scaled] back…Russia and China have become increasingly nationalistic and aggressive…while America [became]…inner directed, even isolationist. Russia and China are pursuing systematic plans to upgrade their their militaries and expand their conventional forces; the United States [under Obama slashed] its defense budget and reduced the size of its conventional [and nuclear] forces…”

The Report concludes on Monday.

Dangerous Chinese Illusions, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its two part examination of China’s challenge to the U.S.—and the unrealistic response on the part of some Washington policy makers.

The Free Beacon also reported that “China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture. The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal…The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal…’Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,’ Hyten added…The 10-warhead missile test comes amid heightened tensions with China. State-run media in recent weeks has carried reports calling for China to expand its nuclear forces. A broadcast report showed that new long-range mobile missiles could strike the entire United States…The Chinese Communist Party propaganda newspaper Global Times, known for its anti-U.S. stance, issued stark calls for China to build up its nuclear arsenal for use against the United States. On Jan. 24, the newspaper said China’s strategic forces ‘must be so strong that no country would dare launch a military showdown.

China’s actions are indicative of its confidently belligerent attitude, whether in the construction of illegal artificial islands, occupying Philippine offshore areas, or in aggressive acts towards U.S. forces. Lawfare discusses a recent incident. “On December 16 a Chinese warship snatched a U.S. underwater drone literally from under the eyes of the crew of a U.S. survey ship. The USNS Bowditch is an unarmed naval oceanographic vessel that was recovering two underwater drones in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 50 miles northwest of Subic Bay…China’s capture of the drone violates three norms embedded in international maritime law and reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other treaties.

In addition to the extraordinary growth in the strength of China’s armed forces, its alliance with Russia has given it a new-found confidence. The Diplomat  notes that ‘a major feature of China’s and Russia’s defense and geostrategic interests has been rising levels of official support for each other’s security, increasingly pitched as common defense concerns… China and Russia have been accelerating their joint military drills including holding their first joint naval drills conducted in the South China Sea this year.”

According to The Navy Times, the Obama Administration had “barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China. In February [2016], Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited the ‘return to great power of competition’ in the Asia-Pacific, ‘where China is rising.’ Similarly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson characterized China and Russia as rivals in this ‘great power competition’ in his maritime strategy. But a recent directive from the National Security Council ordered Pentagon leaders to strike out that phrase and find something less inflammatory, according to four officials familiar with the classified document, revealed here for the first time by Navy Times. Obama administration officials and some experts say ‘great power competition’ inaccurately frames the U.S. and China as on a collision course, but other experts warn that China’s ship building, man-made islands and expansive claims in the South and East China seas are hostile to U.S. interests. This needlessly muddies leaders’ efforts to explain the tough measures needed to contain China’s rise, these critics say.

Part of the “Let’s Pretend” foreign policy concept is that China may be helpful in controlling North Korea.  Unfortunately, that contradicts the evidence.

A Foreign Policy article notes that a “confidential U.N. Report details North Korea’s front companies in China. …an unpublished U.N. report obtained by Foreign Policy …documents sophisticated North Korean efforts to evade sanctions … China has proved a fickle partner at best in Washington’s effort to stymie Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions…China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with international efforts to sanction North Korea, has instead served as Pyongyang’s economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore and serving as the primary hub for illicit trade that undermines a raft of U.N. sanctions that China nominally supports, the report’s findings suggest. As early as December 2016, China had blown past a U.N.-imposed ceiling of 1 million metric tons on coal imports, purchasing twice that amount. China then shrugged off a requirement to report its North Korean coal imports to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee. When U.S. and Japanese diplomats pressed their Chinese counterpart for an explanation in a closed-door meeting this month, the Chinese diplomat said nothing, according to a U.N.-based official. North Korean banks and firms, meanwhile, have maintained access to international financial markets through a vast network of Chinese-based front companies, enabling Pyongyang to evade sanctions.”

America’s policy makers must fully accept that China is a militarily equal power with an expansionist policy that views American strength, and America’s allies, as roadblocks. It would be irresponsible for Washington to continue the Obama policy of ignoring this threat and not strengthening and preparing the U.S. military for the dire challenge that lays ahead.

Dangerous Chinese Illusions

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government begins a two part examination of China’s challenge to the U.S.—and the unrealistic response on the part of some Washington policy makers.

America’s political establishment—Democrats and Republicans, liberals and Conservatives—desperately want to believe that China harbors no malign intentions.

It’s easy to understand that hope.  The consequences of facing the worlds’ largest population and second largest economy, a nation aligned directly with Russia, the planet’s greatest nuclear force and occupying the world’s largest national land mass—are truly horrifying.

That doesn’t make the reality any less substantial. There is almost no evidence that Beijing,
has any intention of acting in a manner that indicates anything other than belligerent intent. China is, indeed, acting “like a bully.” The evidence is abundant. Beijing’s military budget continues to soar. Its espionage effort is increasingly extensive. It has done nothing to rein in its North Korean client states’ nuclear brinksmanship. It continues its illegal expansionist activities, both in the development of artificial islands and its dominance of the offshore exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Its military influence in Latin America and Africa grows.

Spacewar  reports that “Beijing has embarked on an extensive project to build a “blue water” navy and modernise its two million-strong military, the world’s largest. The country’s rapidly expanding military might includes a range of maritime defence capabilities, a fleet of attack submarines, and highly sophisticated anti-aircraft systems that prevent enemy vessels from nearing its coast. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that ‘all must be done’ to improve the country’s battle capacities so it can ‘fight and win wars.’

Scout.com notes that “the Chinese are reportedly working on a handful of high-tech next-generation ships, weapons and naval systems. China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships [the U.S. Navy only has approximately 276]  by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets, according to a recent Congressional report.

A Foreign Policy  article notes that a “confidential U.N. Report details North Korea’s front companies in China. …an unpublished U.N. report obtained by Foreign Policy …documents sophisticated North Korean efforts to evade sanctions … China has proved a fickle partner at best in Washington’s effort to stymie Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions…China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with international efforts to sanction North Korea, has instead served as Pyongyang’s economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore and serving as the primary hub for illicit trade that undermines a raft of U.N. sanctions that China nominally supports, the report’s findings suggest. As early as December 2016, China had blown past a U.N.-imposed ceiling of 1 million metric tons on coal imports, purchasing twice that amount. China then shrugged off a requirement to report its North Korean coal imports to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee. When U.S. and Japanese diplomats pressed their Chinese counterpart for an explanation in a closed-door meeting this month, the Chinese diplomat said nothing, according to a U.N.-based official. North Korean banks and firms, meanwhile, have maintained access to international financial markets through a vast network of Chinese-based front companies, enabling Pyongyang to evade sanctions.”

A Washington Free Beacon analysis notes that  “Recent press reports that have received little attention in the West indicate that China is quintupling the size of its marine corps, from roughly 20,000 to 100,000 troops. We really should be paying more attention…You only need a large marine corps if you intend to assert yourself overseas. A perceptive piece last year in The National Interest surveyed this development… The article asked readers to consider “the potential ramifications of such a Chinese amphibious force maintaining a constant presence in, say, Southeast Asia,’or indeed that it “may routinely operate in the Indian Ocean as well—and, for that matter, even in the Mediterranean.’With such an increase in size that we now expect, such expectations are entirely reasonable. Considered along with Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and its newly aggressive basing strategy, with naval facilities operating and/or under construction in Pakistan and Djibouti, it also seems that merely regional goals are not the extent of China’s ambitions…Far from a peaceful rise as a nation comfortable with existing international norms and reasonably concerned with its own security, China gives every indication of a desire to call the shots globally. If it achieves such a position, the world will come to miss American predominance—and so will Americans.

The Report concludes tomorrow.

Ignoring Catastrophe

Russian and Chinese activities correspond precisely to those that would be undertaken in preparation for the initiation of a major war. The two nations have dramatically and rapidly upgraded their militaries, trained together, expanded their overseas bases, insured access to raw materials, and conducted probing operations to test the responses of their foes.

President Obama appears oblivious, as does his two Democrat would-be successors. All three advocate continuing the addiction to transferring funds from defense to vote-buying social welfare programs. They continue to alienate U.S. allies. They adhere to tax and environmental policies that deteriorate the U.S. defense industrial base, and refuse to acknowledge the dramatic increase in the armaments and aggressive actions of Moscow and Beijing.

The deterioration of both the current arsenal of the U.S. armed forces, as well as funding for future replacements, is not limited to weapons.  Oval Office policies which have encouraged the retirement or outright dismissal of experienced military personnel play a large role in the downward trajectory of America’s defense infrastructure.

Affordable and common-sense precautions, such as protecting key assets from electromagnetic pulse destruction, have not been taken. It has been estimated that it would cost just a few billion dollars to accomplish this, yet it was wholly excluded from Mr. Obama’s $800 billion “stimulus” package.

The mass media’s lack of interest in military matters combined with its ideological inclination to favor domestic programs over national security prevents the citizenry from getting a clear picture of how hazardous the current global situation truly is.

There are salient facts that rarely get discussed:

For the first time in history, Russia has a lead in strategic nuclear weapons, a result of the 2009 New Start Treaty. Moscow also possesses a ten-to-one lead in tactical atomic weapons. China’s known nuclear force is powerful, and intelligence sources believe that many more weapons may have been built, deployed, and hidden in a vast network of tunnels. Both are more modern than America’s increasingly obsolete deterrent. Added together, the U.S. is overmatched.

China already has more submarines than the United States, and by 2020, its navy will be larger than its American counterpart. The lead will not be merely quantitative.  The ships Beijing is building are every bit as capable as any in the world. With the loss of senior personnel, the American “experience advantage” is rapidly becoming ancient history. China has also developed an extraordinarily advanced shore to ship missile that dramatically changes the dynamic in sea power. Basing that missile both on mainland China and on the new island it has constructed in the South China Sea will establish regional dominance.

Russia, too, has engaged in a significant naval buildup, and has taken steps to provide its ready-for-war fleet with expanded basing infrastructure. Moscow’s actions in invading the Ukraine to insure control of its Black Sea naval base, its support of Syria’s Assad to protect its Tartus naval base, its extraordinary Arctic Sea buildup, and its return to Cuba are all clear examples.

The combined actions of the two nations along with the reduced size of the American Navy, which has shrunk from 600 ships to less than 274, present a potentially catastrophic challenge.

The U.S. defense strategy is heavily invested in space, far more so than any potential adversary. However, China has developed and demonstrated the capability of destroying American satellites. If they are destroyed, replacement will not be easy.  Remember, the U.S. is dependent on Russian rocket engines to put many payloads in orbit.  In the conflict that may soon come, the Pentagon will rapidly become deaf and blind.

The 21st Century presents a far different world than that of the 1940’s.  The oceans that insulated the U.S. and gave it time to build an armed force sufficient to counter any foes no longer provide a barrier.

The once-mighty American industrial base has been reduced to a shadow of itself, and lacks the capability to rapidly build quantities of weapons as it did in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.  Just one example: there is only one plant in the entire U.S. that can manufacture tanks—and President Obama has repeatedly attempted to put it out of business.  In what can only be described as an act of insanity, some U.S. weapons systems depend on China for key components.  The military Washington has on hand is the only force it will have to depend on in the event of hostilities.

While Russia and China have fielded advanced new weapons systems on land, air, and sea, many of the Pentagon’s advanced weapons programs have been cut back, delayed, or eliminated.

The United States no longer is secure within its own hemisphere.  The Russian Navy has started to return to Cuba, and its nuclear bombers are being refueled in Nicaragua. China has infrastructure on both sides of the Panama Canal. Both Moscow and Beijing have established military-to-military ties with several Latin American and Caribbean nations.

For over half a century, the West had been secure in the knowledge that the U.S.-NATO alliance was the strongest military force on the planet.  That is no longer the case. The U.S. has decreased its conventional military strength and has failed to modernize its nuclear weapons, but Europe continues to act as if nothing has changed.  Since the end of the Second World War, it has largely depended on America for the bulk of its defense, and still does so. Freed of the burden of defense spending, it developed politically popular but extraordinarily expensive entitlement programs. European politicians lack the will to divert funds to their national security needs.

The increasingly close-knit Russian, Chinese, and Iranian axis has a real advantage over the U.S., NATO, and Pacific allies.  The three nations are in close proximity (Russia and China share an extensive border) and need not worry about their lines of supply and communication being interrupted. Geographically, Russia has a dominant position in Eastern Europe, China is rapidly becoming a hegemon in Asia, and Iran, with Russia’s assistance, has become the force to be reckoned with in the strategically vital Middle East. With their vastly increased navies, Russia and China can wreak havoc with U.S. attempts to reinforce bases and allies spread across the planet.

Unlike Germany and Japan in the Second World War, the new axis of Russia and China will not be at a disadvantage when it comes to raw materials.  Russia has vast reserves of energy, and China has worked diligently to corner the market in vital minerals, particularly in Africa. Indeed, when it comes to those raw materials, it will be America and its allies that face a severe challenge.

Too many politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have apparently decided that it is far more personally profitable to pretend that this imminent crisis does not exist than to take the necessary and expensive steps to address it. But whether the bill comes due in the form of an actual attack or the threat of an attack to obtain a massive strategic goal, it will come.

China’s real, immediate, and significant threat

While the eyes of the world remain fixed on the depredations of ISIS and Russia’s incursions into Turkish air space, what may be the most significant long-term threat to the future of the United States receives relatively little attention. The New York Analysis of Policy & Government has outlined recommendations to deal with the crisis—and yes, it is an immediate crisis.

Increasingly, military and global affairs analysts are realizing that it is China which possesses the means and the will to severely harm the United States.  Its recent actions indicate that it is, indeed, positioning itself with speed and determination to do exactly that.  Gordon Chang, who has briefed the National Security Council, the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon on the subject, succinctly states his concern:

“With each passing day, an increasingly emboldened China is using its new found economic power and military might to grab territory, violate trade rules, proliferate nuclear weapons technology, support rogue regimes, cyberattack free societies, flout norms, and undermine international institutions…as China has continued to lash out, it has set itself against its neighbors, the United States, and the international community…Regrettably, the United States…has not risen to meet this unprecedented challenge.  From the Oval Office to the halls of Congress and across the suites of Corporate America, our political and corporate leaders have not wanted to confront the fact that China, despite our efforts, does not want to enmesh itself in the community of nations…what we thought was our diplomatic subtlety and carefulness, the Chinese have perceived as weakness and irresolution.  As a result, our policy has failed…with their new partnership with Russia and assistance to client and rogue states like North Korea and Iran, the Chinese have taken on not just their neighbors but the world as well. It is an existential challenge that inexplicably the international community has largely ignored…”

Chang penned his concerns in a forward to one of the latest studies outlining the worrisome development of what is soon to become the world’s most fearsome military, Peter Navarro’s “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism means for the World.”

Navarro dispels a number of illusions that far too many who fail to comprehend the true extent of the danger adhere to. Foremost among those myths is the oft-stated alleged disparity between Beijing’s military budget and Washington’s. Navarro notes that the comparison doesn’t survive a closer inspection, for a host of reasons.

First, of course, is the fact that China’s military can purchase its weapons at a fraction of the cost the Pentagon must pay. Second is that personnel expenses and benefits for its armed forces are significantly less than those in the U.S. Third, and perhaps most infuriatingly, is the fact that China doesn’t have to worry about the exceptionally high expenses incurred in the research and technology to develop the most advanced weapons systems; they simply steal R&D from other nations, especially America.  In essence, China’s military spending can be significantly lower than the Pentagon’s because the U.S. taxpayer essentially foots the bill!  In addition to stealing R&D results, Beijing also saves vast sums by purchasing or otherwise acquiring one or several items, then engages in “reverse engineering” to save the expenses of the onerous trial and error it would have to endure if it developed its own technology.

Beyond those illicit cost-saving measures is another key factor.  While western military budgets  are the subject of open debate and disclosure, a significant portion of China’s military spending is hidden.  The People’s Liberation Army has means to channel funds into its budget that are never listed as government expenditures.

Beijing’s military doctrine is no longer just quantity to dispel the quality of opponents’ armaments.  With its powerful economy and wildly successful espionage efforts, it has weapons every bit as advanced as America’s, and in some cases even more so. A great deal of this occurred during the Clinton Administration, and some of it was freely given, particularly the President’s inexplicable authorization of the sale of a Cray supercomputer to China.

China now possesses what may well be a decisive advantage. Modern warfare has a dimension even beyond the courage of the personnel involved and the quantity and quality of weapons. It is the ability to replace losses in manpower and ships, planes, tanks and other material at a rapid pace.  This was decisive in America’s victories in both World Wars one and two.  Far too many of America’s factories have been dismantled, due to cheaper costs in China.  It is China that now has the industrial might that was America’s advantage throughout the past century.

On land, sea, air and space, China’s threat, and its aggressive intent are real, and much of it is already apparent. There are several steps the United States must take in response.

The first and most obvious is to cease the suicidal reductions to the U.S. defense budget. Now accounting for only 14% of the federal budget, and at lesser total dollars than at the start of the Obama Administration, it is based on both an unrealistic view of the threats facing the nation, and on the politically expedient policy of diverting federal funds from defense and other crucial needs to vote-buying social welfare programs.

The second is to enhance protection from cyberattacks, conventional espionage, and other means of technology transfer.  To be blunt, Beijing’s citizens, whether as students or any other exchange programs (civilian or military) should not be involved in any U.S. area of high technology, whether civilian, military or academic.  Government computers, both civilian and military, must receive far greater security.

Third, the U.S. must work with other developed nations to prevent the transfer of high technology to Beijing that has any potential for military applications. The point must be made that this activity is ultimately self-defeating due to China’s reverse engineering practices and its rampant theft of intellectual property.

Fourth, moving factory activities to China continuously increases that nation’s military potential and decreases America’s. It’s time that American tax policies, which provide the highest corporate tax rates of any of developed nation, along with onerous and excessive regulations, were reduced in order to incentivize companies to keep production facilities at home. U.S. and other international commercial firms should be encouraged, if they must produce their goods offshore or import finished products from abroad, to establish relations with nations other than China. There are significant dangers in importing goods from China.

Fifth, the United States should enter into NATO-type agreements with nations neighboring China, and America must adhere to its commitments. The Obama Administration’s shameful failure to even diplomatically support the Philippines when China incurred onto Manila’s offshore and internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone was a low point in U.S. diplomatic history.

Sixth:  The United States Government owes over $1.2 trillion to China. However, as noted previously, Beijing has prodigiously stolen intellectual property from both the U.S. government (military and civilian) and private corporations as well. The value of the stolen technology should be deducted from the amounts owed to China.  Since Beijing shows no sign of relenting on its illegal espionage assaults on the U.S., there must be a price placed on that activity.

Finally, while defense spending must rise, Washington must cease its profligate spending practices and stop borrowing funds from the very nation that seeks to defeat it.

Incompetence in U.S. foreign policy reflected in recent events

Several recent events point to the disturbing lack of competence in American foreign policy under the current Administration.

Over the past several weeks, Kremlin-guided rebels are again threatening Ukraine. It would be difficult to find a more salient and massive failure of U.S. international relations than the Obama/Clinton “Reset” with Moscow.  Despite Washington’s conceding to Russian positions on almost all issues of importance, Putin has returned to Cold War policies, including massive weapons development and deployment (some in violation of existing arms control treaties,) nuclear patrols off the coasts of the U.S., and violating NATO airspace. While all this has occurred, the U.S. has slashed its military spending.

A similar situation exists with China. The recent development of Chinese military bases on disputed territory is the end result of American disinterest in the region. The U.S. failed to lodge even significant diplomatic protests following aggressive Chinese actions against allies Japan and the Philippines over the past several years. The diminished U.S. Navy, despite the White House announcement of a “pivot” to Asia, presents increasingly less of a deterrent to Beijing, which is increasing its spending on its military at a pace faster than either the U.S.S.R or the U.S.A. at the height of the Cold War.

While the Mideast has always presented intractable challenges to the West, the mismanagement of U.S. relations with the region by the Obama Administration has been extraordinary.  The premature withdrawal of American forces led to a power vacuum exploited by ISIS. U.S. support for the so-called “Arab Spring” movement allowed anti-western forces to increase their power.  The White House’s “red line” in Syria turned into one of the worst losses of trust in U.S. power in generations. Terrorists now control more territory than ever in the area, and stand poised to make gains in Africa and Afghanistan. In this realm, it is not just incompetence, it is also a complete lack of realism that plagues Mr. Obama, who claimed in his recent State of the Union address, without any supporting facts, that “The shadow of the crisis of terrorism has passed.”

Closest to home is the White House policy towards Latin America.  Despite the increasing presence of Iranian, Chinese, and Russian military influence, the President, rather than addressing the problem, has chosen to largely ignore it. Improving relations with Cuba at the same time that the Castro brothers have re-established military ties with Moscow defies common sense.

Long overdue: An explanation of Obama’s military and diplomatic strategy

Why hasn’t there been more disclosure on the reasoning, goals, and strategy behind the dramatic shift in American military and diplomatic policy during President Obama’s tenure?

The White House has thoroughly altered the manner in which U.S. national security is maintained. It has also radically amended relations with friend and foe alike. These historic changes have failed to a devastating degree, which makes the lack of explanation about them all the more worrisome.

Substantial reductions have been made in defense budgets, key operative personnel have been cut, major programs have been altered and numerous changes have been made in military leadership positions. The latest information regarding major alterations, as reported in the Washington Free Beacon, reveals that “The U.S. military is set to shutter 15 sites across Europe and reduce the number of active personnel stationed in these areas…This latest realignment follows a series of significant reductions in Europe that have greatly reduced the U.S. military presence there.”

This move comes in the wake of the 2014 withdrawal of American tanks from Europe, the 2015 inability of the Navy (due to budget cuts) to have any aircraft carrier presence in the eastern Pacific for a substantial part of this year, and the elimination or significant reduction of plans for the development of defenses against the growing missile threat not only from major current nuclear powers, but from North Korea and Iran as well.

As America has cut its defense spending, Moscow and China have significantly increased theirs, and North Korea and Iran have moved swiftly to enhance their nuclear capabilities.

With the increased confidence that comes from a more powerful military, Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatened Eastern Europe, both with its strengthened conventional forces as well as with its newly emplaced Iskander short range nuclear missiles which it has stationed along its western border. It has continuously threatened European airspace with fighter aircraft, and it has militarized the Arctic. It has initiated nuclear bomber and submarine patrols off the eastern, western, and southern U.S. coasts.

China has moved aggressively against almost all of its oceanic neighbors, even stealing offshore resources from the Philippines. Obama’s early withdrawal of troops from Iraq gave rise to the opportunity for ISIS to move in, and a similar move with potentially similar results is underway in Afghanistan.

Throughout the globe, Islamic extremism has been on a significant upswing.

Russia, China, and Iran have all significantly increased their military relations with Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Equally notable changes—and failures– have occurred in Washington’s diplomacy.  There has been a dramatic shift in Washington’s relations with allies and adversaries.

Relations with the United Kingdom were endangered as a result of the President’s surrendering of British nuclear information to Moscow during the New START treaty negotiations. Relations with Israel have reached an all-time low, at a time when that embattled nation truly needs a solid ally. When a portion of the Philippines exclusive off-shore economic zone was occupied by the Chinese Navy, the U.S. did nothing either diplomatically or militarily, although Washington subsequently agreed to a token increase of military aide and cooperation with Manila, after the crisis had passed.

While estranging old friends and allies, Washington has attempted to endear foes.  It essentially agreed to the Kremlin’s terms on nuclear weapons and anti-ballistic missile systems. It has softened sanctions on Iran without any meaningful gains. It has opened up relations with Cuba, again without obtaining anything worthwhile in response. It has not responded in any significant manner to Beijing’s massive and unprecedented cyber-attacks on American military, governmental, and civilian infrastructures. It has encouraged Arab Spring movements that have strengthened al Qaeda, while toppling the pro-U.S. regime of Hosni Mubarak. Interestingly, the one Arab Spring movement it did not endorse was the “Green Revolution” in Iran which had as its target the vehemently anti-U.S. regime in Tehran.

An explanation of the logic and intentions behind Mr. Obama’s comprehensive and failed national security and diplomatic policy is long overdue.