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A Chinese Communist anti-American propaganda poster from the 1950 era.
Seeking Naval Dominance
Communist China is engaged in a Cold War with the United States and other countries in Asia, and we are kidding ourselves by pretending otherwise. This is proven by the repeated incursions by Chinese spy balloons, its aggression in the South China Sea, and its illegal annexation of islands, reefs, and shoals in the Spratley and Paracel islands, where it has prepared some 27 military bases and outposts in the last 20 years. At sea, the Chinese communist navy seeks out confrontation with the navies of the United States, Japan, the UK, and Australia with the aim of controlling the South China Sea and even the Sea of Japan.
Regarding foreign policy, China has announced publically that it seeks to be the economic and military hegemon from the Aleutian islands of Alaska to the Hawaiian Islands in the East and to the West to control the Indian Ocean all the way to the coast of East Africa.
In furtherance of this goal, China is building a vast navy of frigates and destroyers and now even full-sized aircraft carriers with and building sustainment bases near choke points near the Suez and Panama canals. It has also courted European countries like Poland, Greece, Italy, Austria, and Portugal for its Belt and Road trade initiative. In addition, a deal with Jamaica could one day mean Chinese naval vessels patrolling the Gulf of Mexico. Can you imagine being on a cruise in the Gulf, looking out to sea, and seeing a Chinese warship? That’s something I don’t want to happen.
Recently, Chinese spy Balloons have been in the news, with reports that as many as 160 may have overflown the United States or approached coastal areas in past years. While these events are probably not of great value from an intelligence standpoint for the Chinese, they represent a posture of belligerence towards the US that should not be ignored.
Finally, there is Taiwan. While the Island of Taiwan was undoubtedly a part of the territory of Nationalist China in the 1940s, this was before a civil war that saw communist forces under Mao Zedong overthrow the Nationalist government, which established its last stronghold on the Island. There, the Nationalist government planned to retake the mainland. So China is a county with two governments, one democrat and prosperous and the other communist and oppressive. For the communist retaking Taiwan would mean control of the shipping lanes in the Taiwan Straits and stamping out a subversive and wealthy Chinese democracy that Beijing views as a threat to their internal security. Beginning in 1958 and lasting for some 20 years, the Chinese Communists and the Republic of China in Taiwan shelled each other (on alternate days) over the islands of Jinmen and Mazu, which Taiwan occupied. This was until the US established formal diplomatic relations with Beijing in the 1970s, which also assured the defense of Taiwan should the Chinese communists attempt an invasion of the Island.
For Beijing, Taiwan is quite a prize. Its economy is very high-tech, with an annual output of $1 trillion that China would like to see remain intact. However, the Taiwanese have vowed to reduce it all to rubble should China invade, leaving them with 23 million more hungry mouths to feed.
Currently, China does not possess the amphibious forces and experience in large-scale naval landings to invade Taiwan. Moreover, given the complexities of such a landing, China would have a tough time concealing a build-up of invasion forces on its coasts unless we were completely asleep at the wheel.
Tennis star Peng Shuai and China’s Anti-American Propaganda. Video courtesy of YouTube, Joe Rogan, and Jocko Willink.
How Do We Counter The Chinese Threat?
First, we need to recognize that an actual threat exists. China is a country of great patience combined with great determination. It takes a long view of attaining its foreign policy goals and is willing to move in small increments until it thinks the time is ripe for bold action. We see this in how it keeps constant pressure on Taiwan and the US Navy in the South China Sea. It turns up the heat until the US responds in kind, then backs down and feigns indignation at our “overreaction” to their hostile acts. It then begins the process of increasing pressure again.
Back in November of 2021, Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security advisor, stated the United States no longer seeks system change in China; this is in contrast to the tenets of earlier administrations. Sullivan went on to say that the US seeks “a system of peaceful coexistence.” While I’m all for peaceful coexistence among all peoples, the rainbows and unicorns foreign policy makes us look weak and vulnerable to the aggressive Chinese. We’ve all seen what happens to the weak and vulnerable in nature.
Meeting with Xi
Following a November 2022 meeting between Biden and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Bali, President Biden told reporters that,
“There need not be a new cold war.”
That sentiment may be too late in coming, and I agree with the current US Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, who stated to the press on December 8th, 2022, “China and the US are locked in a cold war.”
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