Thursday, March 1, 2012

Washington Is Preparing for a Long War With China

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Stephen Glain

US News and World Report

In my upcoming book about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, I argue that Washington’s refusal to tolerate China as a regional power will render a Sino-American war all but inevitable. 

It now appears the Pentagon’s war horse has officially left the barn.

An article posted this week by Inside the Navy details how the U.S. government, in addition to the three wars it is waging in the Middle East, is deep in the planning stages of a major military buildup in Asia. 

In it, Patrick Cronin, a senior director at the Center for a New American Security, an elite perch for the kind of liberal interventionists who rallied the nation to war in Libya, cites the range of activity U.S. officials are engaged in for the sake of America’s dominion over the seas and skies of Asia. 

They include, according to Cronin, “access agreements, cross-servicing agreements, forward stationing agreements, partnerships, capacity building, training, [and] foreign military sales.” At the very least, it seems, Washington is settling in for a long Cold War with China.

If you’re one of those small-minded pedestrians who believes that a) a country burdened by record public debt levels should pair back, rather than expand, its military commitments abroad, and that b) it’s bad economics to threaten your banker--China is America’s largest creditor, after all--there’s no place for you in our nation’s capital. 

When a blue-ribbon panel suggested in December that, among other cost-cutting measures, the Pentagon should close a handful of its estimated 900 bases abroad, it was laughed out of town. 

Of course, no one in Washington will acknowledge that a massive upgrade of U.S. armed might in Asia has anything to do with China. 

On the contrary, as Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk told Inside the Navy, “To look at China through the lens of an adversary would be counterproductive.” 

Instead, Washington looks at China through the intrusive optics of EP-3 surveillance aircraft, which since 2000 have aggressively ramped up their mission tempo over China’s southern coastline

While  Beijing has of late played into the Pentagon’s hands by menacing its neighbors, particular in the South China Sea, a complex of energy reserves, mineral fields and vital sea lanes, Washington has had China in its sights dating back to the Clinton administration.

In spring 2001, concurrent with a mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and one of those snooping EP-3s just outside Beijing’s territorial waters, the Pentagon released a study called “Asia 2025,” which identified China as a “persistent competitor of the United States,” bent on “foreign military adventurism.” 

A U.S. plan made public in 2004 called for a new chain of bases in Central Asia and the Middle East, in part to box in China

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is well into a multi-year effort to transform its military base on Guam into its primary hub for operations in the Pacific, an initiative so vast that John Pike of the Washington, D.C.-based has speculated that Washington wants to “run the planet from Guam and Diego Garcia by 2015.”

Throughout the Cold War and beyond, Washington has collected allies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East by assuming the burden of their national security in exchange for control of their sea lanes, air corridors, and energy supplies. 

In China, Washington faces not a pliant regime willing to trade an ounce of liberty for a pound of security--and therefore, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, deserving of neither--but a fiercely proud nation aiming to restore the regional hegemony it enjoyed for much of the last few thousand years. 

If met with arms, such a challenge will lead to a violent reckoning of a magnitude that will make Americans nostalgic for their relatively muted adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. 

The White House should come clean about its plans to contain the world’s most populated nation inside a perimeter of bases and alliance networks. 

It should explain to its citizens the circumstances under which the United States would go to war with China and why any differences between the two nations--be they over territorial disputes, Taiwan, or tensions with Japan--cannot be settled over a negotiating table. 

Otherwise, the nation may get ensnared into another unwinnable war as a fait accompli, only this time at an existential cost...
Theo... of MO 2:46AM January 07, 2012
[report comment]

As Benjamin Disraeli has so astutely observed: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Upon reviewing the conveniently planted link to what I assumed would be hard facts intended to eviscerate a specific political party or its members, the real point hit home when looking at the forest for the trees:
Members of both the House and Senate accepted donations. In fact, the amounts should skew in favor of whoever is in the majority. More members means more potential for money to be accepted in donations. However, the figures seem to be in conflict. Republicans have a House majority, and thus represent the most in contributions. But wait... Republicans have a minority in the Senate, yet they still represent the most in contributions.

There is no escaping the fact that the total amounts for both is nearly identical.
So I really don't know what point could be made about this except to say that maybe MOST politicians are exhibiting whorish behavior.
This disease is not specific to just one party, or even to independents, since they are just as guilty, too.

This is one of the many reasons people have come out en masse on Wall Street and cities all across the country.
They are not covetous of wealth.
They do not want to seize assets from those who actually worked hard to earn it.
They are not a collective of smelly hippies reeking of bong water and B.O.
Rather, they are the people of this country who are losing their tolerance with a gamed system.

In the military, it is extremely important to preserve the chain of command. I don't think this point is debatable.
Yet, if you circumvent this chain of command to further your own interests then the hammer comes down on you.
What does this have to do with anything?
It's very simple, if you think about it.
Even a child learns that if you ask mom first and she says no, but then sneak over to dad and he says yes, once mom and dad collaborate the end result is a grounding.
Now that the political chaff has been swept out of the way, it is my opinion that all of this fear mongering and constant drum beating is very counterproductive to our security as a nation and our well-being in general.
Have you ever seen someone who suffers from paranoia walking about in public? It's not a pretty picture.

Furthermore, the world is a big place.
I know that, for example, bees have a home called a hive and that they sometimes share space with me without incident.
I know that I only get stung when I go out of my way to seek one out and irritate it to the point that it retaliates.
When I am stung, I take it as a personal lesson to be more conscious of my environment.
I don't seek out to destroy the hive or surround it with nets to keep them away... until it starts building a hive on my front porch.
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