China is one of the world’s oldest civilisations. In a huge, influential country ruled by warlords and threatened by external enemies, the Chinese often pioneered new military technology (inventing gunpowder in the 9th century).
Modern Chinese strategists know their history; they still follow the teachings of Sun Tzu, a General who wrote The Art of War around 500BC. Two of Sun’s maxims were:
* Choose a strategy which focuses on an enemy’s weaknesses
* Preferably do not wage war at all
For example, the largest copper mine in Afghanistan is being quietly run by the Chinese, who are building a railway from it into China; no military personnel are involved.
The Greatest US Weakness is the Pentagon’s Power
The Chinese correctly see that the greatest US weakness is the Pentagon’s stranglehold on US foreign and domestic policy. With military industry interests in every political constituency, over-powerful lobbyists rebuff any major Pentagon budget cuts.
This is slowly but surely bringing the US economy to its knees, and destroying the morale and health, let alone lives, of young Americans.
China is Fooling the Pentagon
Sun Tzu taught China not to confront the US militarily. Instead, China’s strategy is to fool the Pentagon with glimpses of new weapons systems, but without any intention of matching the US capability. Two examples:
* China’s J-20 stealth fighter. In January 2011, despite China’s notorious secrecy, a prototype was photographed for the first time as the US Defense Secretary visited Beijing. The Pentagon used this to justify no cuts to the US F-35 stealth fighter programme. US stealth aircraft technology is some 20 years ahead of China’s. The F-35 programme is the most costly in military aviation history, yet still has unresolved problems.
* China’s first aircraft-carrier. China has one small, ex-Soviet aircraft-carrier, with no strike or fighter aircraft to operate from it. Instead, China has revealed a new anti-ship ballistic missile system which, with its increasingly capable submarine force, would have little difficulty in taking out US carriers if they threaten China. Meanwhile, it released a video of a design for a Chinese supercarrier, since found to be a hoax.
This strategy is also weakening the economies of Japan and South Korea.
China Wants Equal Treatment
As a leading economic power, China is slowly modernising its relatively weak military forces, primarily for prestige reasons. It feels entitled to defend its interests in its own backyard, especially when history is on its side regarding the disputed islands in the East and South China Seas. Its recently established Air Defence Identification Zone was a long-delayed response, under severe provocation from the US and Japan, to the Japanese ADIZ. The US, Russia, UK and France have had their own unilaterally declared zones for years.
China has begun restoring a “level playing field” in its sphere of influence. However, this entails a growing risk of confrontation, because of the belligerent responses of the US and its local allies.
THANKS to Rob Green for the above.