Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Should We Fear The Assassin's Mace?

China has undoubtably upgraded their economy and their image as a world power. Has this upward trend also upgraded their ability to mount military expeditions beyond their national borders? Do the Chinese really want to fight the US?

Like many aspects of Chinese policy the answers have more than one side. Yes, the Chinese could hurt us very badly in the short term. They have 500 ballistic missiles and build 75 more each year. Also, they have the best and latest that the Russian defense industry can build. This has been advantageous to Russia because it helps them maintain these industries even when the Russian Government can't necessarily buy an economic order quantity of their wares.

The "no" side of the question relates to logisitical sustainability. The Chinese do not produce high quality metals themselves. They cannot build the types of rolled steel alloys necessary to armor tanks against KE missiles. They also depend heavily on imports to sustain what industries they have. China would have to win a major quickly. Otherwise, the Chinese might use themselves up early, like a poorly conditioned boxer, then, as Japan did in World War II, get nailed with the haymakers towards the end.

It seems increasingly likely that the more nationalistic elements of China's government and society would like to take the US down a notch or two. Like many other countries, they see the US presence abroad as a sign of our domination and their inability to prevent that domination. They resent our support for Taiwan and would like more than anything to reclaim the island in a way that utterly humiliates the United States.

This perhaps provides the normative underpinning to their new "Assassin's Mace" weaponry program. Based on a doctrine called "The Inferior Defeats The Superior" when roughly translated from Chinese, this doctrine calls for the Chinese military to develop a series of weapon systems that enable it to nuetralize the C4I advantages of a superior, more modern, military force so that the battle can occur on a lower technology battlefield.

While the Chinese may want to take over Taiwan, there still remain obstacles to this course of action not limited to the proximity of The US Navy. The Chinese may have upwards of 111 million people who have undergone military training at some time in their lives, but that doesn't mean they have enough airlift and sealift capability to make it to Taiwan.

Also, the Taiwanese own many more modern fighter aircraft and have far more experience in training their pilots how to fly them. Thus, even if they destroy the US Navy's C4I grid over Asia and fire enough cruise missiles and SRBMs to keep our surface fleet at bay, they may be losing the third dimension of the battlefield and thus not have what every attacking force absolutely needs; freedom of manuever.

China also suffers from some societal pressures that would possibly preempt prolonged military aggression on the part of it's government. By limiting the number of children families could legally create, the Chinese have given themsleves what Thomas P. M. Barnett describes as the "1-2-4 Problem." Here one Chinese young adult supports a mom, a dad and four hungry grand parents. It's an inverted monetary pyramid that makes the US Social Security system look almost sane and logical.

If too many of the "1's" get killed in a major war, China has a social problem that their fledgling modern economy may not be able to solve. However, this rests upon the benign assumption that the Chinese leaders care more about the welfare of their own people than they do about gaining international power and influence. Sometimes that's a safe assumption....

The bottom line remians that China will always remain a dangerous potential adversary. They will always want us out of Taiwan and will always want to pay back Japan for the Rape of Nanking and other heinous attrocities committed in The Second World War. Both of these goals are thwarted on a daily basis because the US has a lot of fire power stationed where the Chinese wish we would not meddle. This puts us in an inexorable competition with The Chinese that could easily turn just as bloody as it once did on The Korean Peninsula. Thus, if we were smart, we'd remain very afraid of The Assassin's Mace.

Update I: Vodkapundit offers the possibility that China's longterm strategic goal is the conquest of Japan.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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