Tag Archives: China

War In Asia, by the Zman

Here is a more optimistic appraisal on the possibility of war with China that “Is President Trump Headed for a War with China?” From the Zman on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

There is a class of pundit that lives to talk about various war scenarios, almost always involving the United States. In the Cold War, this was a lucrative profession as most people thought war with Russia was an inevitability. Back then, the scenarios were all built around a chain of events that would lead to a nuclear exchange. The big set piece battles in Europe would give way to one side or the other deciding to launch their ICBM’s. In retrospect, the only way that was going to happen was though human error.

Today, the focus of the great game is usually on Asia, particularly China. That’s because the formerly dirt poor Chinese are suddenly rich and spending tons of money on their military. That means they have started to bully their neighbors, most notably Japan and Taiwan. As the patron of North Korea, they also can push the South Koreans around a bit too. The Chinese also have a strange way of being unnecessarily hostile to the US by letting it be known they are ready for a fight, just as soon as they can start one.

The assumption in the West is that China has plans to displace the US as the regional hegemon. That’s not an unreasonable assumption. A civilization with a billion people and 5,000 years of history should swing a big stick in its own neighborhood. The mistake is in thinking they are in a big hurry to confront the US in order to take control of the Pacific Rim. That’s a Western way of looking at things and it ignores a lot of history. China has always taken a long view. They don’t have to rush into anything. Instead, they can wait and let nature takes its course.

To continue reading: War In Asia


Is President Trump Headed for a War with China? by Rajan Menon

War with China is not a good idea. From Rajan Menon at tomdispatch.com:

All Options Are “On The Table”

Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that U.S. troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted, that, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.” Instead, focus for a moment on something truly scary: the possibility that Donald Trump’s Washington might slide into an actual war with the planet’s rising superpower, China. No kidding. It could really happen.

Let’s start with silver-maned, stately Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state. Who could deny that the former ExxonMobil CEO has a foreign minister’s bearing? Trump reportedly chose him over neocon firebrand John Bolton partly for that reason. (Among other things, Bolton was mustachioed, something the new president apparently doesn’t care for.) But an august persona can only do so much; it can’t offset a lack of professional diplomatic experience.

That became all-too-apparent during Tillerson’s January 11th confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was asked for his view on the military infrastructure China has been creating on various islands in the South China Sea, the ownership of which other Asian countries, including Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei claim as well. China’s actions, he replied, were “extremely worrisome,” likening them to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, an infraction for which Russia was slapped with economic sanctions.

To continue reading: Is President Trump Headed for a War with China?

From New World Order To Hazy Global Disorder, by Wayne Madsen

This is another take on Trump’s foreign policy, perhaps a little more optimistic. From Wayne Madsen at strategic-culture.org:

The Donald Trump administration and the Brexit severance of ties between the United Kingdom and the European Union have, in a matter of a little over a half year, changed the world from a post-Cold War «new world order» based on American supremacy to a global «disorder» of altered alliances on a multipolar geo-political chessboard. In many respects, the new global disorder has also placed in jeopardy various post-World War II contrivances, including NATO, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) alliance.

Every international relations textbook and playbook can be thrown away with the advent of the new global disorder. Trump has kicked off his foreign policy by introducing an incoherent foreign policy. On one hand, Trump claims he wants to partner with Russia on the war against «radical Islamic terrorism». Yet, Trump has also indicated, through his UN ambassador Nicky Haley and Defense Secretary James Mattis, that he is committed to NATO and wants Russia to withdraw from Crimea. It is well known that the annual National Football League’s Super Bowl coordinates its patriotic military-oriented events with the Pentagon. In recent past years, U.S. troops serving in places like Afghanistan and Iraq were featured during and after the game on the host stadium’s jumbotron television screens.

The 2017 Super Bowl in Houston was different. This year the live shot of U.S. troops with the 3rd Brigade Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was from a military base in Zagan, Poland. The Pentagon’s psychological operations specialists wanted to convey the message that under Trump, the new U.S. front lines were no longer in Afghanistan and Iraq in a war against Muslim radical insurgents but in Poland with Russia as the new «enemy». The optics simply do not match Trump’s statements about seeking closer ties with Russia.

To continue reading: From New World Order To Hazy Global Disorder


Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West, by Robert Berke

Trump’s potential improvement in relations with Russia will carry a price for Russia: it may have to sacrifice its ties with China and Iran. From Robert Berke at oilprice.com:

“With Tillerson’s confirmation, Exxon just annexed the United States,” –anonymous blogger.

To many observers, the appointment of Tillerson to the helm the State Dept signaled the Administration’s priority of supporting the oil industry, which in recent years has been under severe pressure from OPEC’s campaign of over-production that forced prices down to a post-recession low.

Seen from a different angle, the move also signals Exxon, the oil giant, establishing a strong connection with the Administration. As the former CEO of Exxon, and a member of the Board of Directors of the company that was the core of the original Rockefeller Family’s Standard Oil monopoly, Tillerson also brings direct contact with the Rockefeller Family, whose members remain on the Exxon Board.

Former Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice, who also sits on the BoD, along with Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, both listed as an Exxon consultant, also were strong backers of Tillerson to Trump.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Henry Kissinger, for decades, the Rockefeller Family’s chief foreign policy advisor, with strong personal connections to Russian President Putin, has emerged as a chief foreign policy advisor to the Trump Administration.

Nor is it surprising that published reports of Kissinger’s advice to Trump is to seek to normalize US/Russian relations, diametrically opposed to the Obama/Clinton policies of confrontation with Russia.

It is also part of a broader strategy to tempt Russia towards closer relations with the US/EU while sacrificing its growing close relations with China, viewed by Trump, as it was by Obama and Clinton, as the chief obstacle to the U.S. dominant global leadership. As a critical part of the deal, Russia is expected to accede to sacrifice its budding alliance with Iran.

Now the human drama watch begins; will Putin cave in to the demands of the West to renounce his allies in exchange for the improved relation and the dropping of sanctions?

To continue reading: Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West

How Trump Could Blunder Into War With China, by Conn Hallinan

If the US cannot accept China’s desire for dominance in its own backyard, the results could be disastrous. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

China may bully its neighbors, but turning foreign territorial disputes into a superpower conflict between nuclear-armed rivals would be a huge mistake

In his Jan. 13 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson made an extraordinary comment concerning China’s activities in the hotly disputed South China Sea.

The United States, he said, must “send a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” adding that Beijing’s “access to the those islands is not going to be allowed.”

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeated the threat on Jan. 24.

Sometimes it’s hard to sift the real from the magical in the Trump administration, and bombast appears to be the default strategy of the day. But people should be clear about what would happen if the U.S. actually tries to blockade China from supplying its forces constructing airfields and radar facilities on the Spratly and Paracel islands.

It would be an act of war.

While Beijing’s Foreign Ministry initially reacted cautiously to the comment, Chinese newspapers have been far less diplomatic. The nationalist Global Times warned of a “large-scale war” if the US followed through on its threat, and the China Daily cautioned that a blockade could lead to a “devastating confrontation between China and the US”

Independent observers agree. “It is very difficult to imagine the means by which the United States could prevent China from accessing these artificial islands without provoking some kind of confrontation,” says Rory Medcalf, head of Australia’s National Security College. And such a confrontation, says Carlyle Thayer of the University of New South Wales, “could quickly develop into an armed conflict.”

Last summer, China’s commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, Wu Shengli, told US Admiral John Richardson that “we will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway.” Nansha is China’s name for the Spratlys. Two weeks later, Chang Wanquan, China’s Defense Minister, said Beijing is preparing for a “people’s war at sea.”

To continue reading: How Trump Could Blunder Into War With China

End Of The US Empire? Russian Warships Just Arrived In The Philippines, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

It would be ironic if the Philippines broke ties with the US and that was the beginning of the end of the US empire, for it was the annexion of the Philippines and Cuba after the Spanish-American war in 1898 that got the ball rolling on the empire. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theanti-media.org:

Notable American foreign policy critic and linguist, Professor Noam Chomsky, has stated numerous times that the United States’ power has steadily been declining since the end of World War II. As Chomsky notes, in 1945, the United States had “literally half the world’s wealth, incredible security, controlled the entire Western Hemisphere, both oceans, [and] the opposite sides of both oceans.”

In that context – and in the context of the United States waging war in multiple countries across the globe with the most advanced military technology in the world – it is hard to understand how this has happened. But Chomsky is not wrong.

Beginning with what was referred to as the “loss of China” in the 1940s, the United States slowly began to lose areas of Southeast Asia, which led America to brutally launch the Indochina wars. As Chomsky notes, by destroying South Vietnam in the heavily criticized Vietnam War — a move designed to prevent Vietnam from achieving independence and perhaps becoming a Communist state — the U.S. sent a message to the rest of Indochina that if a nation attempted to break free of U.S-European control, it would likely be bombed into oblivion. The strategy worked at the time; as Chomsky notes, by 1965, every country in the region had dictatorships that were prepared to rule in a way suitable to America’s foreign policy interests. As recent developments in the Asian region have shown, however, the success of this bully-style strategy has been short-lived indeed.

To continue reading: End Of The US Empire? Russian Warships Just Arrived In The Philippines

China’s Air Combat Strategy Is Designed To Attack Support Assets, Not American Fighter Jets, by Duane

The Chinese are cleverly designing their air strategy to protect their immediate geographical interests and to exploit weaknesses in US air strategy. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

China’s J-20 Fighter Prototype

It may sound hard to believe, and it might not intuitively make sense, but China is indeed fielding a fleet of 5th generation and 4++ generation fighter jets whose primary purpose will not be to do battle with American fighter jets.

Why? It’s quite simple. China likely knows that they cannot build a jet that will outperform the top US air superiority fighter, the F-22. So instead of going toe-to-toe with it in combat, they are instead choosing to target the aerial tankers, AWACS, drone, and other support aircraft that help make the F-22 so deadly.

To defend Taiwan or Japan, the US can rely on Japanese air bases, but Japan is a long way from the South China Sea. The KC-135 and KC-10 tankers (and the eventual KC-46 replacement) are essential to keeping the other assets in the air, in particular the E-3 Sentry AWACS.

Almost all US military aircraft, especially support aircraft not directly involved in combat, rely on tankers to stay in the sky. All US military airborne assets are far more effective with Airborne Warning And Control (AWACS) available, and they all rely on fighters to stay safe from air-to-air threats. Currently, the best air-to-air fighter in the US arsenal is far and away the F-22.

The F-22 is not only stealthy, it can out-maneuver anything currently in the sky today. In building this capability, the aircraft lacks range (limited to a combat radius of 529 miles), and is reliant on tankers to make it viable over extended distances. This is especially pertinent in the South China Sea, Taiwan Strait, and East China Sea, where most potential US-China conflict would take place. Currently, the best US airbases are located in Japan, with the closest location to China being Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

To continue reading: China’s Air Combat Strategy Is Designed To Attack Support Assets