Chinese foreign policy is to bully the US and other nations in the region, while our policy is to grin and take it. In Asia, China is using intimidation and force to establish itself as the dominant military and economic power in all of the Pacific and beyond the Indian Ocean to the East coast of Africa.
In May, Communist China’s Secretary of State, Yang Jiechi spoke by phone with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, “If the US side insists on playing the Taiwan card and goes further and further down the wrong road, it will certainly lead to a dangerous situation,”
Yang told Sullivan that the United States should “have a clear understanding of the situation,” in a statement posted online by China’s Foreign Ministry. “China will certainly take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests,” he added.
In response, Sullivan’s office issued a brief statement saying their discussion, “focused on regional security issues and nonproliferation.” All but ignoring the bellicose threats coming from China.
On June 11, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe was giving a speech at IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, one of Asia’s largest defense conferences,
“If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight,” restating Beijing’s belligerent position about Taiwan. “We will fight at all costs. And we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China.”
In July, Ely Ratner, the Defense Department’s assistant secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs appeared at a Washington DC conference by the Center for Strategic and International Studies to say that recent encounters between US and Chinese military ships and aircraft in the region appear to be a campaign of “coercion and harassment” that has escalated dramatically over the past five years. Ratner accused the Chinese military of various forms of misconduct, including aircraft intercepts at dangerously close ranges and releasing objects into the air that could compromise a plane’s engine. In the most recent incident, a Chinese fighter dispensed chaff or aluminum strips in an attempt to damage the jet turbines of P-8 Poseidon aircraft flying in international air space.
“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly towards the P-8 Poseidon, we believe to make a point of showing its weapons load,” he said. Then it “flew directly under and alongside the P-8, bringing their wing tips to within 20 feet, and then conducted a roll … over the P-8, passing within 45 feet,” Kirby remarked.
Within 24 hours,
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian appeared at his regular news conference and called President Biden a liar, telling members of the US press that “You said the White House press secretary claimed that ‘genocide’ and ‘forced labor’ came up in last night’s call. That is disinformation.” The White House could have released the actual transcript of the call with Xi and showed up the communists as the liars themselves but instead let the accusation pass without any official rebuttal at all.
“Asia For The Asians!”
China’s Belt and Road Initiative Disguises Their Territorial Expansionist Aims
The US Cannot Flinch Without Someday Risking a Devastating War With China
The often-asked question about whether we will go to war with China is just a matter of time if we continue our current policy of appeasing Beijing while making a half-hearted effort to support our allies in the region with arms and murky promises of direct intervention if invaded or attacked. One of the lessons of the Ukraine war that we should have learned is that the threat of economic sanctions against Russia did not deter Putin while arming Ukraine to the teeth to defend itself probably would have. We had years to assist Ukraine militarily and failed to take the threat of another invasion by Russia seriously enough to arm them properly for fear of provoking Russia. We had months during the build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border to pour weapons into Ukraine and we didn’t, for fear of provoking Russia. Now, we are playing catch up and thousands of Ukrainians are paying with their lives for our(and NATO’s) dithering and navel-gazing all aimed at not provoking Russia.
In the end, China will attack Taiwan and by extension also the US, for the same reasons Japan did as I related above. They will think it is in their economic interests to do so, they will think they have the sufficient military strength to win, and they will think we are too weakened to put up much of a fight. Like Japan, they may be wrong about all of that, but it could cost hundreds of thousands of American lives to prove them wrong.
That isn’t acceptable.
Here is what the US must do to prevent another war in the Pacific, instead of winning one at a great cost in American lives later on.
First, we must remove all strategic ambiguity displayed to both China and Taiwan. Saying that we will not be intimidated by communist dictatorships while also agreeing to the demands of a dictatorship in affirming their “One China” policy is stupid and contradictory. United States policy towards Taiwan and China should be stated in this manner;
First, the US is opposed to revolutionary communist regimes wherever they exist.
Second, The United States supports the rights of free people living under democratic forms of government all over the world.
Third, the people of Taiwan have a Natural Human Right to live in a democratic state.
Fourth, the United States will support the People of Taiwan in their aspirations to remain free and will militarily assist Taiwan if attacked or invaded. We will also provide Taiwan the means of defending itself against aggression from Communist China.
The United States economy should not be building the Chinese economy with close trade and import/export agreements. US corporations should begin to divest from China and its economy and move their operations back to the US or to nonbelligerent states in like Mexico, or Central and South America. Doing business with China is dangerous to US national security.
We should insist our allies in the region help bare the cost of helping Taiwan defend itself even as we insist they themselves spend the money on the ships, planes, submarines, and missiles they will need to defend themselves from China. Japan could build and sustain a much larger military than it currently has. Especially it’s navy. With the F-35B model capable of operating off of short deck carriers, Japan could build a powerful strike force around six of its Izumo class helicopter carriers which have hanger decks and elevators and are 27,000 tons in displacement. It currently has just two.
Chinese threats to us or Taiwan should trigger certain sanctions and even additional arms sales to Taiwan for their self-defense. Every time China threatens to use force, we should provide Taiwan with additional means to resist force being used against them. At some point, China will realize that their threats result in Taiwan becoming stronger, not weaker. Taiwan’s military really has a singular focus, to repel an invasion by China. That really makes arming and training them much easier than here in the US with a military trained to meet all manner of threats. We actually spend next to nothing on defending our country against an invasion because there isn’t a country on the planet powerful enough to pull it off. At least not yet.
We should put China on notice that our relations with Taiwan are none of their business, and that if they complain about our Speaker of the House visiting Taiwan, the next time it will be a Vice President, and then the President himself if they make a scene over that. We need to regain the strategic initiative over China so they are inclined to de-escalate from confrontation, instead of always seeking it and then expecting us to back down.
We need to expand the size of our military dramatically. The War on Terror reset the doctrinal focus of the US military to fighting low-intensity conflicts in third-world countries against terrorist groups and militias. During the Cold War, we faced a much more dangerous adversary in the Soviet Union which was a nuclear-armed state will millions of men under arms. We won the Cold War by winning a long arms race against the Soviet Union, which simply could not outspend the United States in weaponry. Russia never believed that it had the military force needed to defeat the United States and NATO, which kept them from moving into Western Europe and putting it all behind the iron curtain.
Arms Races are not cheap, but they are certainly cheaper than wars are. China cannot outspend the US in terms of the quality of our weapons and the training of our troops. They simply do not have the economic strength to build and sustain 11 Carrier Strike Groups with all the ships, planes, and personnel to man them. Communist regimes tend to go cheap on quality in favor of quantity. We recently saw an example of this in China’s newest aircraft carrier, which is smaller, not nuclear powered, and will probably have about two-thirds of the aircraft that a US carrier puts to sea with.
We kept ourselves out of WWIII in Europe by economically and diplomatically isolating the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, establishing a credible deterrent with conventional forces, and by being very clear about what lines they could not cross with us without triggering a war.
We aren’t doing any of that with China, and it’s very dangerous, not just for us, but for the entire world.