Archive for December, 2016

STRATEGIC EXPANSION: GROWING CHINA MILITARY THREAT

December 27, 2016

National interest on November 3, 2015 reported on Peter Navarro’s new book Crouching Tiger. It is a timely book on the growing threat of Chinese militarism. After Navarro’s appointment to head the White House Nation Trade Council there is growing interest in Navarro’s books on China. Excerpts below:

China continues to develop its Great Underground Wall. This maze of tunnels, up to 3,000 miles long, now harbors one of the world’s most diverse missile arsenals – from the tactical and theater to the strategic.

Why is China developing such capabilities if, as its leaders have repeatedly claimed, China seeks only a peaceful rise? This may well be the most important question of our nuclear-tipped times – and one destined to dominate the 2016 presidential election debate.

The Crouching Tiger Project is the result, and the “geopolitical detective story” that unfolds in the 45 chapters of the book. Will there be a war with China?

China Intentions

If China seeks merely to protect its homeland after a “Century of Humiliation” and if it is only concerned about guarding the global trade routes it needs to prosper, then the world has nothing to fear from its rapid military buildup.

If, however, China and its leader Xi Jinping seek to follow in the revanchist footsteps of Russia and Vladimir Putin and seize territory from neighbors – and perhaps attempt to drive U.S. forces out of the Western Pacific – then the world has a very big problem.

Strategies & Capabilities

Most [experts] agree that China’s doctrine of asymmetric warfare and its emerging anti-access, area denial strategy (or A2/AD) poses an increasing risk to an American presence in the Western Pacific.

Flashpoints

They include China’s “renegade province” of Taiwan, Japan’s Senkaku Islands, the resource rich waters of the South China Sea and the wild card of North Korea. The most subtle – perhaps with the highest stakes – is the emerging struggle between Beijing and Washington over freedom of navigation and overflight.

Pathways to Peace

Many experts…question whether the traditional triad of economic engagement, economic interdependence, and nuclear deterrence will keep the peace. If these pathways no longer work, what will? This debate is not just about whether Japan should remilitarize or whether the U.S. should build a new long range bomber or whether Asian democracies need a new missile defense system. There are deeper questions related to the Chinese concept of Comprehensive National Power – a strategic construct that far transcends shear military might and may ultimately provide the key to keeping the peace.

The broader mission [of future articles in National Interest] is to raise public awareness about an increasing danger

Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of the companion Crouching Tiger documentary film series.

Comment: Chinese doctrine has been built on the belief that China by its example made the surrounding ”barbarians” to acknowledge its civilization. The traditional China concept was to maintain a circle of ”tributary states” which protected the inner core. Among those tributary states were Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Nepal in the south. To the west there was the Great Northwest area and Mongolia in the north. Korea in the east and northeast territories now in Russian possession. With growing military strength the present regime in Peking will likely want to control former ”tributary states” as a protection against Western influence

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FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION AND THE FAILURE OF THE WEST

December 19, 2016

Wall Street on December 16, 2016, published an article by Garry Kasparov on what happened after the fall of the Soviet Union 25 years ago. At first Gasparov was an optimist hoping for freedom and democracy for all peoples of the Soviet Union. Excerpts below:

Earlier visits to Western Europe confirmed my suspicions that it was in the U.S.S.R. where life was distorted, as in a funhouse mirror.

“Gorbachev’s perestroika is another fake,” Czech-American Director Milos Forman at a meeting warned that the Soviet leader’s loosening of state controls, “and it will end up getting more hopeful people killed.” I insisted that Mr. Gorbachev would not be able to control the forces he was unleashing. Mr. Forman pressed me for specifics: “But how will it end, Garry?”

I replied—specifics not being my strong suit—that “one day, Miloš, you will wake up, open your window, and they’ll be gone.”

The U.S.S.R. ceased to exist in 1991, but there are plenty of repressive, authoritarian regimes thriving in 2016. The difference, and I am sad to say it, is that the citizens of the free world don’t much care about dictatorships anymore, or about the 2.7 billion people who still live in them.

Ronald Reagan’s warning that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction” was never meant to be put to the test, but it is being tested now. If anything, Reagan’s time frame of a generation was far too generous. The dramatic expansion of freedom that occurred 25 years ago may be coming undone in 25 months.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. was the end of watch for the anti-Communist coalition formed by Harry Truman after World War II.

The U.S. in 1992 had unrivaled global power and influence, more than at any other time in history. Yet instead of using it to shape a new global framework to protect and project the values of democracy and human rights—as Truman had done immediately to put Stalin in check—the free world acted as though the fight had been won once and for all.

Even worse, we made the same mistake in Russia and in many other newly independent states. We were so eager to embrace the bright future that we failed to address our dark past. There were no truth commissions, no lustration—the shining of light on past crimes and their perpetrators—no accountability for decades of repression.

We in Russia naively equated democracy with wealth, as if the ballot box functioned like an ATM—and we looked on enviously as many of our former Warsaw Pact brethren enjoyed the benefits of massive Western investment. With so few strings attached to the loans and credits Russia received, it was easy for the well-connected to game and profit from the system.

When Vladimir Putin took power in 2000, he found few obstacles capable of resisting his instinct to remake Russia in his own KGB image.

Mr. Putin’s vulgar rhetoric of security and national pride would have worn thin quickly had the price of oil not begun to skyrocket in the new millennium.

A rising cash flow enabled him to negotiate a Faustian bargain with the Russian people: your freedoms in return for stability. Few envisioned how far he would go in collecting on that bargain, but that’s always the trap with empowering authoritarians. Every step Mr. Putin took without consequences encouraged him to take another, and another.

Outside Russia, at every turn, Europe and the U.S. failed to provide the leadership the historic moment required. (Emphasis added by Varldsinbordeskriget)

Even today, members of the Western democratic establishment praise Mr. Putin as a “strong leader”—as he enters his 17th year of total power in an imploding Russia that millions have fled.

To paraphrase Tolstoy, every repressive state is repressive in its own way—but socialism has proved uniquely toxic. The utopian communist idea competed directly with capitalism and lost. Instead of admitting this failure, Soviet leaders squeezed the soul from their citizens by forcing them to perform in the macabre perversion of human nature that is totalitarian socialism.

Instead of believing that happy, successful individuals make for a successful society, socialism insists that a perfectly functioning system will produce happy individuals. When the system comes first, the individual becomes an afterthought. When the system fails, individuals are blamed for not surrendering to it enough.

The architects of the Cold War understood that there could be no lasting peace unless the Soviet Union was contained and opposed at every turn. That lesson has been forgotten, along with so many others.

In the old days, I was also asked regularly why I did not defect instead of spending half my time fighting my nemesis Anatoly Karpov at the chessboard and the other half fighting with the Soviet authorities. My answer was always the same, that I wanted to change my country and improve things for everyone, not just for myself.

Today, I live in exile New York City, driven there not by the Soviets but by a bloodthirsty Putin regime that has no ideology beyond power and money.

…25 years later, the thugs and despots are flourishing once again. They still reject liberal democracy and the free market—not because of a competing ideology like communism, but because they understand that those things are a threat to their power.

[There is] hypocrisy and apathy [among] the most powerful nations in the world. Crimea is annexed, Ukraine is invaded, ISIS is rallying, Aleppo is laid waste, and not a one of us can say that we did not know. We can say only that we did not care.

Globalization has made it easy for the enemies of the free world to spread their influence in ways the Soviet leadership couldn’t have imagined, while the West has lost the will to defend itself and its values.

Mr. Kasparov is the chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and the author of “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped” (PublicAffairs, 2015).

Comment: Between 2008 and 2014 the West ignored the growing threat from Russia. After the Russian occupation of Crimea and hybrid warfare in eastern Ukraine the response of the West has been timid. The Obama administration has refused to give Ukraine military aid to defend itself. 25 years of neglecting the threat not only of Russia but of two other aggressive totalitarian empires, China and Iran, has left the West vulnerable. No doubt globalization, as Mr. Gasparov points out, has played into the hands of the enemies of the free world. It will now be up to the United States and a coalition of willing European nations to try to correct the mistakes made since 1992.

CHINA’S ELITES: CAN THEY REMAIN IN POWER?

December 18, 2016

The Diplomat on October 10, 2016, published an article by geopolitician Francis P. Sempa on the divided China, the nomenklatura vs. the rest. Is the PRC bound for the same fate as the Soviet Union? Excerpts below:

China’s political system does not work. “If we place our foot incorrectly,” a China insider warned, “we could begin a disaster, violence and civil war.”

This is not the rosy picture of a rising China that normally fills the airwaves and popular media throughout much of Asia and the world. “China viewed from the inside is very different than China viewed from the outside,” the insider said.

Sempa relates a scene observed by an American professor visiting China:

a dozen people are standing “motionless . . . drab, glum, calm, resigned,” who were waiting “for their morning meal of scalding hot cabbage and mystery meat” from a small kitchen located on a “rundown square…a woman standing in line began yelling obscenities which triggered others in the line to do likewise, then the “whole previously passive line exploded,” shouting, cursing, and striking each other. After about a minute it was over.

Chinese friends immediately assured the American professor that he had finally seen “what China is really all about.” This, they told him, was “the real China.”

The other China—the military parades, the growing fleet, nuclear rockets, bullying of neighbors in the South China Sea, and the wealthy Communist Party cadres—is the surface underneath which lies “pressurized anger”…

The façade of a rising China on its way to becoming the next superpower hides the reality that after nearly 70 years in power the Communist Party has not attained one of its avowed goals—bringing about “a decent life for ordinary people.”

Instead, there are two Chinas—the China of the Communist Party and their urban dwelling associates and beneficiaries, who constitute the ruling elite or nomenklatura, and the hundreds of millions of people, many who live in the countryside “with no proper education, transport, [or] medical care.”

…Michael Voslensky in 1984 published the book Nomenklatura, when most Soviet experts in the West believed that the Soviet Union would endure well into the 21st century. Voslensky, a former Soviet insider, brought to light the parasitic nature of the communist ruling class in Russia. “The parasitic tendencies of a ruling class,” he wrote, “are the consequences of its monopoly position.” The nomenklatura is an “exploiting, privileged class . . . exercising dictatorial power” not to bring about a classless society but to attain power and privileges for the ruling elite. Voslensky’s book exposed “the antagonistic structure of the real socialist society.” Five years after the publication of Voslensky’s book, the Soviet Union collapsed.

Voslesnky’s analysis in Nomenklatura had much in common with the sociological studies of Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels and Gaetano Mosca, whose works were brilliantly synthesized by James Burnham in his 1943 book The Machiavellians. These political philosophers believed that a ruling class or elite governed in all countries, not just communist countries, and that the principal goal of all ruling classes was to maintain and increase their power and privileges.

Pareto, Michels, Mosca, and Burnham would likely say that Mao Zedong’s purpose right from the beginning was a Leninist-Stalinist monopoly of power and privilege in society. … they would surely believe that for today’s ruling elite in China—China’s nomenklatura—[m]aintaining Party rule, whatever the means, is the true purpose of all actions” of the communist ruling elite.

Comment: The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 after a decade of confrontation with the West that opened up for resistance to the regime in the countries occupied. China has been less imperialistic since the communists took power in 1949. Early on Tibet was occupied. After the Korean War China has waited to start achieving Greater China in the South China Sea. Now it is looking to South East Asia, to the Pacific and perhaps north to Siberia. When the internally vulnerable Chinese regime attempts to widen its control in the Far East in the future a more determined push-back from the West could result in China’s regime sharing the fate of the Soviet regime.

WAR WITH CHINA

December 7, 2016

US think tank Rand in the summer of 2016 released a report on “War with China”. Premeditated war between the United States is very unlikely according to Rand but both nation’s militaries have plans to fight a war if it comes. Excerpts from the report below:

As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory.

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other’s forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, nonmilitary factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Main Findings

Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict. In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.

This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.

China’s A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.

…a war would harm both economies, damage to China’s would be far worse.

Because much of the Western Pacific would become a war zone, China’s trade with the region and the rest of the world would decline substantially.

China’s loss of seaborne energy supplies would be especially damaging.

A long conflict could expose China to internal political divisions.

Japan’s increased military activity in the region could have a considerable influence on military operations.

Rekommendations

U.S. and Chinese political leaders alike should have military options other than immediate strikes to destroy opposing forces.

U.S. leaders should have the means to confer with Chinese leaders and contain a conflict before it gets out of hand.

The United States should reduce the effect of Chinese A2AD by investing in more-survivable force platforms (e.g., submarines) and in counter-A2AD (e.g., theater missiles).

The United States should conduct contingency planning with key allies, especially Japan.

The United States should ensure that the Chinese are specifically aware of the potential for catastrophic results even if a war is not lost militarily.

The United States should improve its ability to sustain intense military operations.

U.S. leaders should develop options to deny China access to war-critical commodities and technologies in the event of war.

The United States should undertake measures to mitigate the interruption of critical products from China.

Additionally, the U.S. Army should invest in land-based A2AD capabilities, encourage and enable East Asian partners to mount strong defense, improve interoperability with partners (especially Japan), and contribute to the expansion and deepening of Sino-U.S. military-to-military understanding and cooperation to reduce dangers of misperception and miscalculation.

Comment: It must be remembered that there is a doctrine of unrestricted warfare on the Chinese side including financial warfare to subvert banking systems and stock markets. Drug warfare is the Chinese plan to attack the fabric of US society by flooding the market with illicit drugs. Psychological and media warfare are other weapons in the Chinese arsenal. Last but not least the Chinese could unleash man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters. There is also a belief in China that it can take larger losses in life due to a much larger population than the United States.

SOCIALISMEN PÅ VÄG UT I EUROPA

December 6, 2016

Tidningen Metro publicerade den 6 december 2016 en artikel om socialismens och socialdemokratins kris i Europa. För utdrag se nedan:

2017 kan s-ledarna hamna utanför makten i samtliga större länder.

I så fall skapas en nästan unik situation där de fem stora i EU – Tyskland, Frankrike, Storbritannien, Italien och Spanien – alla styrs av konservativa regeringschefer.

Och inte bara det. Även i Nederländerna riskerar socialdemokraterna att snart röstas bort ur den nuvarande koalitionsregeringen.

Därmed är det snart bara Sverige kvar med en s-regering bland EU:s tio tyngsta ekonomier.

Kommentar: Socialismen startade som en rörelse som förordade klassmord, det vill säga mord på borgerliga motståndare. Efter Sovjets kollaps år 1991 har det gått utför för resterna av socialismen, de något fredligare socialdemokraterna. I Sverige kan det leda till att det blir kvar två mindre vänsterpartier med socialistiska rötter: socialdemokraterna med omkring 10 procent av väljarkåren och vänsterpartiet med omkring 10 procent.