More saber-rattling from the Chinese (if Gertz is to be believed):
China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.
U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
China’s military buildup includes an array of new high-technology weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on Taiwan.
“There’s a growing consensus that at some point in the mid-to-late ’90s, there was a fundamental shift in the sophistication, breadth and re-sorting of Chinese defense planning,” said Richard Lawless, a senior China-policy maker in the Pentagon. “And what we’re seeing now is a manifestation of that change in the number of new systems that are being deployed, the sophistication of those systems and the interoperability of the systems.”
And if you still don’t realize that our foreign policy is going to be China-centic in the foreseeable future, there is this sign of things to come:
President Bush’s initial response to the proposed takeover of a major American oil company by a Chinese rival has been to duck. It is not hard to see why.
The $18.5 billion offer by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for Unocal, which had already made a deal to be acquired by the American oil giant, Chevron, is forcing the administration to confront its own internal rifts over whether China should be viewed as friend, foe or something in between.
It is putting a spotlight on a host of related economic and foreign-policy issues – from North Korea’s nuclear program to America’s growing dependence on foreign capital and the upward pressure on gasoline prices caused by China’s thirst for oil – that defy easy solutions.
Forget all the squabbling on social issues that seem to dominate the news cycle. Compared to China, Oil, the emerging theocratic presence in Saudi Arabia and the emerging economic might of India, and the graying of America, gay marriage and abortion are relatively inconsequential issues.
John, I agree with you that China is definitely a point of concern. But you’re mistaken on 1 important point. In comparison to China, the US is not “graying”, but just the opposite. Our population trend is fast growth and quite youthful compared to China’s projections. The consequences of China’s government mandated 1 child-per-family and all those forced sterilizations means they, not us, are the ones who will have to depend on an old wrinkled workforce and military in the not too distant future.
China is also experiencing alot of unrest in its rural provinces. America is cozying up militarily to India, and we are keeping strong military ties with Japan and Australia. There is a reason Japan is one of our strongest allies, and it is an aggressive China. South Korea is also strengthening their ties with us, because the last thing South Korea wants is a belligerent Japan. Slowly, and under the media radar, the US has been shoring up our Asian alliances. Also, the US has more bases surrounding China, than we did before the War on Terror started. The China problem is not being ignored by everyone.
Agree that these geo-political issues are much more important in long run than the social concerns of the day. Anyone remember before September 11 when China was to be the main forign policy challenge for this administration?
Well, it never went away or even went dormant. It only lacked for the media spotlight that is finally returning.
We haven’t even mentioned the dumbfounding debt we are piling up, and where that debt is being propped up … overseas. Fiscal trainwreck, on its way to you. Beware.
And on top of it, China competing effectively and agressively for resources and raw materials. Oil, metals. In so many theatres of international activity, China is the biggest elephant outside the tent, and the trunk is already in the tent. Huge change is on the way, and it is not going to be smooth sailing for the USA.
You are right, it’s a very big issue. I hope you dig up more on the subject of China. It’s interesting and important.
Maybe by the time China attacks Taiwan GWB will have been replaced by a John F Kerry type Dem/liberal, who after surveying the situation will ask the U.N. to sanction China and/or then confer with his European Allies on what to do next/or to do nothing before he does something and/or wait it out. Nuances are vitally important you know.
Maybe with a John F Kerry type Dem/liberal, we would have allies with troops and money who can help. I much prefer that to Bush’s strategy of satisfying Bin Laden’s desire to bankrupt the U.S. and decimate the military, leaving us even weaker than before. And perhaps this Dem/liberal would pay attention to terrorist warnings rather than discounting them because they weren’t Iraq related. Perhaps 3000 people wouldn’t have to die to get his attention. Then perhaps he wouldn’t start a war with a country that did not attack us.
Wow, sounds pretty good, doesn’t it!
No, mostly it just makes me really sad about what we do have.
Yeah, Bush’s policies have been really effective at heading off the “China threat.”
China holds 33% of our debt, most of our manufacturing, and is essential to maintaining our consumer economy because our fading middle class (stagnant salaries, skyrocketing healthcare costs, insecurity about the future, and busted unions) needs those cheap imports. Thanks, George!
China surely fears our military…sure it does: our military is bogged down in Iraq, our soldiers lack the proper equipment, their commanders lack enough soldiers, and the ultimate leaders lack a strategy for getting out of there. Actually, the ultimate leaders don’t think we need one, since we’re doing just fine in Iraq. Really. “Last throes” and all that. Thanks, George!
China is also making friends in the international community as fast as the Bush Admin is pissing on everyone. John Bolton in the UN, CIA agents kidnapping Nasr from Italy, give me a f*cking break; it’s like the Bushies can’t wait to finish the job of making an enemy of everyone on the planet. Thanks, George!
China’s economy is the fastest growing in the world. A nation of 1.3 billion ambitious, striving citizens with a strong work ethic and a strong sense of national pride… oh, sure, that’s a senescent society in the making, all right. “Greying,” my god, are you serious? China has scarsely begun to make the productivity improvements common in the West, because they haven’t needed to. When they need to, they will.
Maybe with a John F Kerry type Dem/liberal, we would have allies with troops and money who can help.
So help me Gaia, I’m not picking on you. But do you have any idea of the state of militaries around the world?
As a bloodlusting, Likudnik Crusadering Hallburtonian stone-hearted digital brownshirt warmonger, my point may be overlooked. But recall “Europes” vigorous military intervention in Kosovo. That’s about what you’re next President JFK would get.
Bupkis from France, since Chirac’s nose is so far up Beijing’s ass, he wouldn’t see any cause to upset business arrangements. The Foreign Legion is that nations only cadre worth reckoning.
No, beside the old white-man’s-burden Anglosphere, there’d be only what’s let of Russia, and India (itself with a foot in the Angosphere). These neighbors or China, along with Japan and SoKo, would contemplate a response even if the President was Dennis Kuchinich.
China also has access to only one port, and Taiwan sits at the edge of it. Not too hard to cut China off from any sea shipments. Hello – where are all our subs sitting? Their military asspirations will die quickly without any sweet oil being shipped in.
Why do you think China is so interested in Central Asian oil, dude?
I am not a dude, and we have bases all over Central Asia now. Plus, Japan can go nuclear in a matter of months if China starts getting crazy. Also, Russia might have an issue or two with an aggressive China.
Try telling that to the “values voters” that have your party in thrall.
Amazing… the US makes moves to control the world’s oil supply. China responds — both diplomatically and militarily. And the wingnuts think that the military buildup is about attacking Taiwan…
Taiwan is to China what Cuba is to the USA — an irritant whose importance is primarily symbolic.
I would suggest that the Unocal bid is China’s “move” on the USA — with all the debt that the China holds, it can virtually buy controlling interest in the US economy — and China knows that the US economy is so structurally unsound that a period of international economic chaos would be the precursor of Chinese hegemony.
It’s “saber-rattling” for China to procure military hardware and exercise its troops?
The Europeans may not be in a hurry to send in troops but then they’re not the assholes who are stuck in Iraq. Who made the smarter move?
The Europeans can’t even take care of minor problems on their own continent, why would we rely on them for any help with China? Hell, France would not be able to field their army, unless we gave them a ride to the battlefields. Don’t make me laugh.
All you have to do is visit Shanghai and you will know that China is going to be the most dominant econonic force in the world. Here’s one post from when I blogged from there.
Stuck in Iraq? No more than we’re stuck in Kosovo, SoKo, Germany, Italy, etc. We’re like Karl Rove: everywhere harshing the Bad Guy’s mellow.
Shoot, it mostly because we’re “stuck” in Europe that our vaunted “traditional allies” have allowed themselves to go so flaccid. We should’ve declared victory and brougt the troops home a dozen years ago.
Riiiiiiight, ’cause those insurgents in Munich would just go buttwild and destabilize Octoberfest if we pulled out.
Seriously, WTF? If we’re not “stuck” let’s start the withdrawal.
Any comparison between Europe, and any part of Arabia, has to be the most inapt analogy I’ve seen on the Internet in a long time. And the Internet is the Proctor and Gamble of inapt comparisons, believe me.
Yes, we are quite literally stuck in Iraq. According to WAPO-CNN, insurgent attacks are coming at the rate of one on the average of every 25 minutes, every day and night, seven days a week. The country is not governable in its current state. Administration “estimates” (I use the term, uh, advisedly) range from 2-15 years staring us in the face there. I think Rumsfeld himself gave the bulk of that range on various tv shows just today. Public support is tanking, and the potatoheads have nothing … less than nothing … with which to turn it around. The average Joe in this country just doesn’t believe these guys any more …. being wrong over and over and over again starts to look like a pattern after a while. Even Russert is starting to catch on.
But the problem is, we cannot leave. The government cannot regain public support for the effort. Rock, meet hard place.
Maybe you don’t call it “stuck”, but that doesn’t change the facts. We are in fact stuck, and in every sense of that word. You don’t have to take my work for any of this. Pull your head out your ass and take a trip around the info stream today. Tipping point? We’ve passed it. I saw a poll today that had 35% of parents thinking that having their son or daughter enlist in the military is a “good idea.”
The Rumsfeld debacle on MTP is on MSNBC right now. Watch it, and weep. No matter which “side” you are on, it’s a profoundly depressing spectacle.
“flaccid”, “flip flopper”, “girly man”.
Jesus, you guys have issues. Cialis is $10 a pop.
Seriously, WTF? If we’re not “stuck” let’s start the withdrawal.
I’m with you!!! U.S. out Germany! Hey, hey, ho, ho, U.S. bases gotta go!
Um, the US could leave Germany at whim. I’m pretty sure the civilian authority wouldn’t collapse.
Um, exactly. Let’s get the whim, and extricate ourselves from der mittel europe quagmire.
Rick: way to dodge your absurd analogy. Maybe you can help Cheney clarify what he meant by “last throes”, because that explanation sounded like bullshit too.
John Stewart did a nice job on the last throes thing tonight. Check it out.