April 19, 2006


Containing China: The US's real objective (Michael T Klare, 4/20/06, Asia Times)

Slowly but surely, the grand strategy of the Bush administration is being revealed. It is not aimed primarily at the defeat of global terrorism, the incapacitation of rogue states, or the spread of democracy in the Middle East. These may dominate the rhetorical arena and be the focus of immediate concern, but they do not govern key decisions regarding the allocation of long-term military resources. The truly commanding objective - the underlying basis for budgets and troop deployments - is the containment of China.

This objective governed White House planning during the administration's first seven months in office, only to be set aside by the perceived obligation to highlight anti-terrorism after September 11, 2001; but now, despite President George W Bush's preoccupation with Iraq and Iran, the White House is also reemphasizing its paramount focus on China, risking a new Asian arms race with potentially catastrophic consequences.

There's no meaningful difference between Islamicism and Communism the defeat of both of which will require their respective transitions to democratic parliamentarianism. You'd think this poor guy would be more embarrassed to admit that W uniquely understood the Long War all along.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2006 3:09 PM

These guys forgot all about that Ares electronic snooping plane and the Chinese fighter?

And they call the administration incompetent?

Posted by: Mikey at April 19, 2006 3:45 PM

"...risking a new Asian arms race with potentially catastrophic consequences."

Anyone who writes drivel like this can safely be ignored. There can be no arms race with China or anyone else, because 1) we're so far ahead that it's futile for them to try to catch us, and 2) even if they were so deluded as to think they could, they don't have the spare cash to make the attempt.

Posted by: b at April 19, 2006 4:16 PM

b: Agreed.

Isn't it interesting, though, that when totalitarian regimes spend on arms, that's all just swell -- but when non-imperial, democratic regimes engage in strategic thinking about the aims of those totalitarian regimes, it risks the scary sounding "arms race?"


Posted by: kevin whited at April 19, 2006 4:25 PM

It's not that expensive to buy nuclear arms ... or to buy proxy states, which is the Chinese military strategy.

China is the focus of our military strategy because North Korea, Iran, Syria, and other enemies are all client states of China, directly or indirectly. Iran has received its nuclear and missile technology from North Korea and Pakistan, both (Pak pre-9/11) close Chinese allies.

It appears we will have to go to war with China's client states, and we'd better be able to deter Chinese entry into the war, or it will become catastrophic. And we'd better win the war with the client states before they can do too much damage to us, or it might no longer be futile for China to catch us.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2006 4:35 PM

A couple ineffective weapons and brush wars isn't catching us, ask the USSR.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2006 4:39 PM

That article makes no sense at all. But I am disturbed by your assumption that US military supremacy can be taken for granted. Things change. Throughout the cold war, it took permanent effort and great expense to stay on top. Unlike China, the USSR did not have access to western electronic components, machine tools or education, and the Soviet economy was inefficient. Even so, the last generation of Russian weapons (aircraft, guided weapons, submarines, tanks) is excellent and affordable. China is different: a society that can engineer sophisticated consumer goods can produce (or copy) good arms as well. Good enough that in a conflict, training and intelligence will make much of the difference. And they are not stupid. You cannot assume that Chinese troops will be as incompetent as the Iraqi army was.

Their technology may not yet be cutting edge, but it can do damage in capable hands. The US navy and air force seem to rely on fewer and fewer platforms. These may be extremely sophisticated (and expensive) but that doesnīt make them invulnerable. It makes them irreplaceable. And thatīs just talking about conventional fighting - assuming they fight the way we want them to.

Posted by: wf at April 19, 2006 5:23 PM


No, it didn't. Most of the military spending was wasted.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2006 5:29 PM

oj - Give them time and nuclear weapon mass production lines, and it won't always remain just a couple ineffective weapons and brush wars.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2006 5:40 PM

As long as we control the airspace and the sea lanes, China's going nowhere. That means there will be a weapons race, long in duration and costly.

China's US dollars are now going into gold. We and the Chinese will be competing for the same resources: petroleum, chemicals, and scarce minerals. We will utilize Japan, Taiwan, Guam and Okinawa to serve as our hardened aircraft carriers when the real ones are rendered obsolete. We'll write off the Korea's. A conventional groundwar will be unthinkable for us. Siberia will be the the eventual Chinese ground target and Russia will become part of the Chinese communist axis out of weakness. The EU will be absorbed by the Caliphate. We will fortify our southern border, the Aleutians and Cuba will be annexed by us. England will deport all questionable Islamics to France. Israel will be acquiesced.

All this because we didn't have the will to take out the Iranians nukes. Will our future generations have the will to defend themselves or will they largely be sophisticated, cultured, nuanced, multiculty, urban, leftwing progressives?

Posted by: Genecis at April 19, 2006 6:30 PM


Posted by: jdkelly at April 19, 2006 6:57 PM

Cancel their debt and interdict their shipping, China will be done in 180 days. They know that and we know that. There will never be a non-proxy or non-nuclear war with China.

Posted by: Vea Victis at April 19, 2006 7:54 PM

It did all through the Cold War and the Chinese have already lost more control than the Russkies ever did. They're dead men walking.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2006 8:28 PM

you guys are all nuts. The Chinese are beating us in Foriegn reserves and export quotas. They won't have to fight a war.

And no, GW hasn't got a clue what to do. He already has us in hock to Chinese. Thats what made them the largest holder of foriegn reserves in the world. If the Chinese want something, some how or other George ends up giving it to them. The Yuan peg is not going to budge. Welcome the second era of mercantile capitalism. It will be conducted on terms just south of German facsism. GW will do nothing to stop it.

Posted by: exclab at April 19, 2006 10:30 PM

They provide sweatshop labor and then lend us back the money whicxh we pay trivial interest rates on while we invest the money we've saved and borrowed for extravagant returns. It's deliciously sinister of us.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2006 10:37 PM

Ex. Wishing doesn't make it so.

China is our manufacturing sector now, and once they become too prosperous to continue working at these low wages, we'll move on. Bush not only knows exactly what he's doing, he's doing it so well, most people on your side of the aisle don't have a clue.

Posted by: erp at April 19, 2006 10:48 PM

They're Detroit with a billion unhappy people.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2006 10:52 PM

The PRC holds less than $ 300 billion in American debt, slightly over 2% of one year of U.S. GNP.

The yuan peg will budge, but suppose that it doesn't. Why have they pegged the yuan to the US dollar ?

So that they can capture a larger share of the world's largest consumer market.
As erp, oj, and Vea Victis say, they need us far more than we need them.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2006 5:30 AM

And in 1914 all British army binoculars were made in Germany. Didnīt stop the war.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 6:37 AM

wf, your last comment shows why it's so difficult to have a debate with the left. Your side spends way too much time learning moonbat factoids and way too little time learning the facts of the human condition.

Non sequitur # 23008982305nth

What does the excellence of pre-war German optics have to do with China supplying us with an almost endless source of really, really cheap labor turning out really, really fine goods for really, really ridiculously low prices and how did that excellence help Germany win the war?

Posted by: erp at April 20, 2006 8:51 AM

I was referring to previous comments saying that China is weaker because they are our manufacturing sector now and that they need us more than we need them - blithely telling us that things will always and forever go our way. See my earlier comment which I donīt think has been refuted, although I only wrote about narrow military conflict.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 9:35 AM


China doesn't engineer anything. We do and then have them build it. Manufacturing is already shifting to countries that will do it cheaper. Their military will be incompetent because their poliical structure is. They're a paper dragon.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 9:41 AM

The Chinese economic "miracle" is mostly myth. There is absolutely no reason to believe their figures. They are a brutal dictatorship. They are lying like all such creatures.

Posted by: Bob at April 20, 2006 9:47 AM

By the way, what makes you think I am on the left? In fact, I do not ever want to see a "multipolar" world if the other poles consist of China, Russia, the EU and whatever countries Islamofascists have grabbed by then.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 9:47 AM

It's a strange sort of miracle that yields a GDP per capita of $6k and depends on assembling parts.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 9:52 AM

oj, I would love to lose that argument. You are correct regarding their political structure. But there is no reason to assume that chinese engineers and programmers are inferior to ours. To compete in weapons design, China does not need a miracle economy, just a thriving private, commercial sector. They are no longer just producing cheap toys and they will not always just copy stuff. And to assume that their military is inept or incapable of learning is outright dangerous. It also wonīt hurt them that many Chinese seem to be extremely patriotic, almost chauvinist.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 10:11 AM

There's every reason to believe they are inferior--that's why the copy us rather than innovate. They will indeed always just do so until they change their culture so drastically it won't be a threat any longer anyway. Their system doesn't work.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 10:15 AM

I was wrong. Yuan up 3.3 % since July against the dollar according to the Grey Lady. Thats not too bad. July was when China switched to a basket of currencies I think.

Posted by: exclab at April 20, 2006 10:38 AM


So close yet so far:

China does not need a miracle economy, just a thriving private, commercial sector.
Exactly! That is OJ's point. It is precisely such a thing that the ChiCom regime cannot create and cannot tolerate and therefore exactly why they're not a real threat. As our own Lou Gots said,
Alright. Here’s how it works. It order to be rich enough to dream of fighting the United States, you have to become the United States. Of course, by that time you won’t want to fight the United States. You don’t want to become the United States? Not to worry: plenty of room on the ash-heap of history.


Owe the bank $10,000 and the bank owns you. Owe the bank $1,000,000,000 and you own the bank. The fact that China holds a lot of US debt means that we can de facto steal that much money from them any time we want. China has, in effect, put a big chunk of their treasury in a foreign land. And you think that gives China an advantage?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 20, 2006 11:30 AM

I am familiar with your line of thinking, I just do not entirely agree. China already has the makings of a thriving private sector, corruption and political interference notwithstanding. Let us hope we will be around when their fascist form of government collapses or mutates.

I would be more easily convinced if you did not maintain that the deficit and the wasting away of American manufacturing are not merely inevitable, but indeed some sort of triumph.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 12:19 PM


What do you do for a living?

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 12:30 PM

The Chinese cannot defeat America in any war that doesn't involve us invading China. In fact, they might not be able to prevent us from holding the coast of China, without going nuclear.

Whether by 2100 China will be capable of contesting with the U.S. I cannot say, but it's clear that they won't be on a par with America by 2050. This I can say with confidence, because they're thirty years behind America now, and massive weapons programmes take decades to bring to fruition during peacetime.

We have nuclear attack subs, aircraft carrier groups, cruise missile frigates, the B-2, F-117, and F/A-22.
They have NOTHING SIMILAR. In fact, no one does, although there are a few nations that could have similar equipment, if they wanted to spend the money.

The PRC is a strong regional power, with last-gen military equipment, and no capability to project conventional forces.
China could have nuked Iraq, but they couldn't have successfully invaded, as America did with but a small fraction of her military power.

Further, when thinking of future military match-ups, it's crucial to think of the Predator and other drones as similar to the tanks and aircraft of WW I - experimental and fairly crude. By the time that anyone dares to cross swords with America again of their own initiative, they'd better be prepared to face advances similar to the leap between the world wars.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2006 12:30 PM

If we ever again faced a war with an enemy who could mass troops in significant number we'd just annihilate them whether by nucleasr or other means. No president is going to avoid using WMD if it means explaining casualties to the voting public.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 12:35 PM


What do I do for a living?

I guess I have to admit it. Iīm a certified contrarian.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 2:51 PM

So you don't work on an assembly line, eh? Do you hope your kids do?

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2006 3:10 PM

What great comments!

One has to feel like St. Paul at a stoning: just stand back and hold the coats.

It's all been said, culture, finance, industry, and weapons, alway weapons.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 20, 2006 3:19 PM

To our new well mannered trolls, it's so refreshing to be able to debate an issue without the usual name calling . . . but I digress.

We had this same discussion some weeks/months back. American engenuity works because our people are free to let their imagination soar. No task is too complex but one of our geniuses will solve it.

Chinese engineers and inventors might be as intelligent and well educated as ours and they may be patriotic, but without our free wheeling society, they aren't likely to be near as creative.

Posted by: erp at April 20, 2006 4:21 PM

Last time I checked, troll was an insult. Go stew in your own juice then.

Posted by: wf at April 20, 2006 6:04 PM

Sorry. Spoke too soon.

Posted by: erp at April 21, 2006 8:16 AM

gees bring it down on the hate gosh peace people dont hate appreciate

Posted by: rixdah tee at May 4, 2006 6:35 PM