Sunday, August 12, 2012

China: Still the biggest threat

A decade ago I wrote a white-paper declaring that the biggest long term threat to the United States was not Russia nor North Korea nor any country in the Middle East, it was China. Today, 10 years later, I am more convinced than ever that assessment was correct.

China, whose armies once conquered most of the known world from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and reached as far west as Hungry and Poland, has a long history of conquest and domination. While it lost most of that power in the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, it has never forgotten it's past. It is an incredibly patient country who has been quietly and steadily working towards regaining it's once powerful influence around the world. In it's eyes, it's major competitor and nemeses for accomplishing its goals has been and remains the United States of America -and China means to change that one way or the other.

President Bush also gave China an unexpected leg up on it's long term goals when he turned to China to buy U.S. Treasury Bonds to help pay our bills brought on by 9/11, two wars in the Middle East, weakening world economic conditions, over spending by the Federal Government and a series of natural disasters, the biggest and most destructive of which was Hurricane Katrina. They were also able to use our own laws and system against us when the Federal Government began taxing and regulating businesses to the point where it was economically attractive to send production and jobs to China. The Chinese have also been able to set up businesses in the United States, tens of thousands of them, all owned by or closely controlled by the Chinese government, who have very successfully taken American technology secrets back to China where patent and copyright laws are practically meaningless. Those businesses also provide a large and effective base for a sophisticated, and thus far very successful, spy network. Add to that the fact that they are responsible for tens of thousands of cyber attacks on our military, financial and utility networks every day -and over the last decade they have been expanding and modernizing their military including the introduction of entire weapons systems designed specifically to take out aircraft carrier strike groups...

There is good news though. After years of feeling almost alone, standing out in the cold  ringing the alarm bells, people (and some very important people) have begun to hear the tolling of the bells. The Pentagon has asked to begin shifting major assets into the Pacific and the United States issued a statement declaring the Asian-Pacific an area of 'significant importance to our National Security' -which means we are committing extra military and diplomatic attention to the region, something the Chinese do not want nor like,

The current point of concern and conflict is the South China Sea. And I believe this could very well become a dangerous flash-point in the dissension between the two great super powers. China has claimed sovereignty (and has been trying to assert it's claim) over virtually the entire South China Sea. This has brought it into conflict with several Asian nations, including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. One major reason for the conflict is the rich fishing and oil production potential around remote island groups in the South China Sea which were largely ignored until recently.

The United States has been making a pointed effort to reenforce it's diplomatic ties and alliances in the region and last week we warned China against aggressive moves in the area. China responded in it's official newspaper by actually telling the United States to "shut up" and stop meddling where it has no business.

What should we do? Well, China respects power and confidence. The best thing we can do is avoid confrontation where ever and whenever possible, but, at the same time, we should increase our presence --and under no circumstances back down or withdraw. Disagreements can be resolved, but if China senses weakness or indecision they have clearly demonstrated an ability to exploit it and to become stubborn and unmoving. Remember, they are nothing if not patient. They believe that they have all the time in the world to get their way and are willing to wait it out -taking action only to save face, to test an opponent, or to take advantage of a weakness.

The worst thing for us in dealing with China is to appear weak or indecisive.

Live Long and Prosper...

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