Archive for April, 2019


April 30, 2019

AP on April 26, 2019, reported on Vladimir Putin’s praise for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Beijing. Excerpts below:

Putin’s comments on April 26, 2019, to a forum in Beijing appeared to downplay the potential for tensions between China and Russia. They also reflect Beijing and Moscow’s shared resistance to U.S. global influence.

The Belt and Road is rapidly expanding China’s economic footprint in Central Asia, Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence.

Russian wariness over China’s rising clout appears to have subsided somewhat, thanks partly to their shared rivalry with the West, especially Washington.

Putin told three-dozen leaders gathered for the conference that the Belt and Road is “intended to strengthen the creative cooperation of the states of Eurasia.”

“And it fits perfectly into our plans,” he added.

Putin was referring to the Eurasian Economic Union, which groups Russia with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in a common market…

The five member states “unanimously supported the idea of linking the construction of the Eurasian Economic Community” and the Belt and Road, Putin said.

In his interview with the Chinese ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily published on April 25, he praised the “strategic partnership” with Beijing that replaced decades of Cold War mistrust when the two were communist rivals for leadership.

Putin reviewed progress in resolving lingering border disagreements, increasing tourism and trade, which hit a record $100 billion last year. He also asserted that some Western countries are claiming “sole global leadership.”

Comment: varldsinbordeskriget has many times during the past years warned of a growing challenge to the West by the three empires of China, Russia and Iran. The leading challenger, China, is waging economic warfare. China is distorting the market and seems to have the upper hand as many democratic capitalist countries around the world wants to be in a China with growing wealth. Too meet the challenge the United States needs support from other capitalist democracies.

It is still unclear if China will succeed with its BRI. If it does and has the cooperation of Russia it could lead to development of Central Asia and Siberia strengthening the economies of both China and Russia. BRI also has the support of Iran.

American success in the the trade negotiations with China could be the beginning of the weakening of the hold of the communist party in China. The trade war’s ultimate goal ought to be just that.


April 28, 2019 on April 25, 2019 reported on an event in New York with six prominent business leaders and economic security practioners briefing the business sector on the ominous strategic consequences of Communist China’s penetration of American and other Western capital markets. Excerpts below:

”The speakers’ focus was on the enormous contribution American enterprises and capital markets are making to the Chinese Communist Party’s growing ability to threaten U.S. security and other interests – and the need to end that reckless practice.

The program was moderated by Frank Gaffney, the CPDC’s Vice Chairman, who described the inspiration for the current incarnation of the storied Committee on the Present Danger brand – namely, the CPD that in the 1970’s informed and helped craft Ronald Reagan’s strategy for defeating the USSR.”

The ”discussion prominently featured Roger Robinson, a man who played an important role as the President’s Senior NSC Director for International Economic Affairs in executing the Reagan strategy that ultimately destroyed the “Evil Empire.” Mr. Robinson, who is chairman of the Prague Security Studies Institute in the Czech Republic.”

Other speakers at the even were author Gordon Chang who warned against a future American trade deal with Beijing that could help perpetuate the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power.

Hayman Capital Management co-founder and Chief Investment Officer Kyle Bass shared the findings of an important analysis: “The Quiet Panic in Hong Kong”. It offers insights into China’s serious financial weakness.

David Goldman, President of Macrostrategy LLC, warned of the cumulative, portentous effect of China’s theft of advanced U.S. technologies, its immense investment in cutting-edge research and development and the China’s success in educating large numbers of under- and post-graduate students in American institutions of higher learning.

Dan David is the co-founder of Geoinvesting and lead protagonist in a feature-length film entitled “The China Hustle”, exposing endemic fraud in China’s financial and other business dealings with the West. David highlighted a chilling fact revealed by his extensive research: Such criminal behavior is enabled and abetted by American firms and banks.

Steve Bannon, a former Strategic Advisor to President Trump, closed the briefing with a powerful warning concerning the Communist party’s rule in China. He noted how the talented, hardworking and productive Chinese people was prevented from realizing their potential because they are enslaved by the Communist Party of China under its dictator/president-for-life, Xi Jinping. Worse yet, America was underwriting their servitude.


April 27, 2019

Fox News on April 26, 2019, published an article by Newt Gingrich on China’s plan to supplant the United States as global superpower. Vladimir Putin was guest of honor in April 2019 when 40 world leaders met in China’s capital for a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In the view of “Varldsinbordeskriget” Putin’s statements at the forum indicate that Russia’s grand strategy is focusing on strengthening its Eurasian project and supporting China. Another Asian challenger to the United States and the West, Iran, is also supporting BRI. For excerpts from Gingrich’s article see below:

…the BRI, China’s aggressive tactics used in the race to 5G, the militarization of the South China Sea, the theft of intellectual property, and discriminatory business practices all work collectively to advance China’s economic, military, and political influence across the globe.

In my new book, “Trump vs China: America’s Greatest Challenge,” which will be released in October 2019, I describe China’s challenge to the rules-based world order and how, as a result, American interests and security are being put at risk.

Sun Tzu, one of the most famous (and possibly most legendary) Chinese military thinkers stressed that you must know both yourself and your opponent in order to be successful in competitions. According to Sun Tzu, the attributed author of “The Art of War,” by having an understanding of both contenders, “you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

One of the most revealing comparisons to Chinese strategy is the game wei qi, which is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago. Wei qi — more commonly known by its Japanese name “Go” in the West — is a game played with two players using a checkered board lined with 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines. One player has 180 white round stones and another has 181 black round stones. The players take turns placing their stones on the board one at a time on the intersections of the checker lines.

The goal of the game is to capture the most territory either by encircling empty spaces or your opponent’s pieces on the board. The player with the most territory after all the pieces have been played, or after both players pass on their turns, wins.

Go is an incredibly complex game due to the number of possible moves and board configurations. As the game progresses, there are multiple invasions, engagements, fights, and confrontations between players that occur in all different areas of the board at the same time. Moreover, it is a lengthy game that requires players to capitalize on short-term victories – but to never lose sight of the long-term strategy.

In a paper analyzing Chinese strategic thinking, Dr. David Lai, now the research professor of Asian Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, argues that the Chinese approach to strategy is reflected in Go. The American approach to strategic thinking, Lai argues, is reflected in chess.

American strategy relies on our technological superiority and capabilities. The U.S. focuses on force-on-force competition that seeks the result of total victory over the opponent. In chess, there are pieces that are more powerful than others that are deployed with the objective of capturing the opponent’s king. Every move is directed toward protecting your own king and seizing your opponent’s. In this way, chess is narrowly focused.

Chess players must also preserve their stronger pieces to keep the balance of power in their favor and ensure a better chance of victory. The player with the most powerful pieces in play during the game will likely win.
In Go, every stone is equal. Players can unleash massive amounts of potential power by creatively and tactically placing their stones. All stones placed on the board work in close connection with one another, as each individual is a part of a larger, bigger strategy.

Moreover, in Go there are multiple campaigns, pursuits, battles, and maneuvers happening at the same time across the board. As the board is constantly changing in complex, subtle, and dynamic ways, players must always have a sharp awareness of the overall situation.

Total, decisive, and complete defeat of an opponent is not typically an attainable objective. Usually, games are won by just a few points.

Dr. Lai notes that playing Go with a chess approach is dangerous. Similarly, it will be dangerous for the U.S. to continue to approach the challenges we face with China without understanding and seeing the totality and breadth of their strategy.

We must examine all [Chinese] campaigns — in addition to others — collectively. We must understand this go-based approach, rather than look at each endeavor as an independent challenge. Each of China’s campaigns work in concert with one another and will ultimately result in China’s emergence as a global hegemon.

Moreover, the United States must develop an American-based strategy in this new era of competition that is focused on our strength, capabilities, Only then can…the U.S…emerge prosperous, successful, and stronger than ever.

Comment: Deciphering Sun Tzu’s ”Art of War” in the West is basic to understand Chinese grand strategy. Dr. Lai has explained how China uses the concept of ”shi” in their grand strategy. ”Shi” can be translated as ”the alignment of forces” to be used for ensure victory over a superior force. In Chapter 5 of his book Sun Tzu (”Energy”), to quote Dr. Lai, ”four key aspects of shi are discussed”.

First, it is the idea of qi and zheng. Zheng is the regular way of doing things, or in military terms, the regular order of battle. A commander deploys troops in regular (zheng) ways. However, the commander must mobilize his troops to engage the enemy in extraordinary (qi) ways. Zheng is, in essence, a given. It is open knowledge to friends and foes. Yet qi is a variable and its variation inexhaustible.

The second aspect of shi is about creating an overwhelming force with irresistible unleashing power (a grindstone against eggs, and the strike of a hawk at its prey).

”The third aspect of shi is about developing a favorable situation with great potential to achieve the political objectives.

Finally, shi is about taking and maintaining the initiative.

Sun Tzu stated: “those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform.”

He maintains that these key concepts are vital to victory; one must study and master them during peacetime; and it will be too late to consult experts (books or specialists) when grave occasions arise.

For more details on how to interpret the classics of China strategy see David Lai, ”Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China’s strategic concept” (2004).


April 26, 2019

Redan under Mao hävdade det kinesiska kommunistpartiet att Kinas världshistoriska bidrag var att överträffa USA och bli ledande världsmakt. Det var därför president Nixon 1969 inbjöds att besöka Kina.

Till skillnad från politikerna i Väst har Kinas politiker grundliga kunskaper om historiska händelser och skeenden. Siktet är nu inställt på världsherravälde år 2049. ”Den nationella återfödelsen” skall vara fullbordad hundra år efter det att kommunisterna tog makten på fastlandet. År 2019 har Kina 30 år på sig att uppnå målet. Det skall ske genom industrispionage, vilseledning och fortsatt tekniköverföring från utlandet.

Planen ”Made in China 2025” publicerades 2015 och väckte stor uppmärksamhet i USA. Redan 2020 skall Kina satsa 2,5 procent av BNP på forskning och utveckling. Man tänker fortsätta att kräva tekniköverföringar av utländska bolag som vill investera i Kina.

Den amerikanske Kinaexperten Michael Pillsbury publicerade 2015 boken ”The Hundred-year Marathon”. Den fick stor uppmärksamhet och har kraftigt påverkat amerikansk Kinapolitik. I boken varnar Pillsbury för Kinas planer på att bli världshegemon. Samma år utkom Xi Jinpings bok ”The Governance of China” i vilken öppet redogjordes för den ”kinesiska drömmen”.

USA har nu ett ansvar för att för att på alla områden förhindra att Kina genomför sina planer. Det är betydelsefullt att Japan tar ett större ansvar i den kommande globala striden med Kina.

Pillsbury nämner i sin bok en rad böcker utgivna i Kina av framträdande militära hökar. I ”The China Dream” (2015) förordar översten Liu Mingfu en fortsatt utdragen kamp för att nå slutmålet. Den skall bedrivas inom ekonomi, handel, valuta, resurser och geopolitik. Zhao Tingjan använder sig i essän ”The All-Under-Heaven System” av den klassiska kinesiska synen på hur man skapar ett världsimperium under kinesisk ledning.

Generaler i den kinesiska folkarmén har stått bakom utgivningen av bokserien ”Strategic Lessons from China’s Ancient Past”. En viktig grundtanke under de stridande staternas period (475 – 221 f. Kr) var att en stat med växande makt inte skulle låta motståndaren få veta något om planerna för att ta över förrän det var för sent.

Medvetenheten inom det kinesiska ledarskapet om USA:s militära överlägsenhet är stark. Kina lär inte kunna uppnå den överlägsenhet om 4 till 1 som historiskt har ansetts som nödvändig för ett maktövertagande av en kejsare.

Den klassiska kinesiska tekniken ”lönnmördarens klubba” (plötsliga överraskningsangrepp) har därför haft stort inflytande över de vapensystem som Kina utvecklar: raketvapen mot fartyg (amerikanska hangarfartyg), elektromagnetiska pulsvapen (för att slå ut nationella elsystem), teknologi för att störa radarsystem och cybervapen.

Den kinesiska inriktningen har också under en längre tid varit att satsa på områden inom det militära där USA kan vara sårbart: högteknologiska system, satellitteknologi och långt utdragna underhållslinjer för krigföring (Stilla Havet).

Den tidigare republikanske politikern och presidentkandidaten Newt Gingrich ger i oktober 2019 ut boken ”Trump vs. China: America’s Greatest Challenge”. Han har stort opionionsinflytande och hans syn på Kinapolitiken kommer att starkt påverka president Trumps administration under perioden 2020 – 2024.

Gingrich anser att det är möjligt för USA att svara på Kinas utmaning. Det kräver då stora förändringar och svåra val för både regering och den privata sektorn. Boken syftar till att skapa kunskaper om den kinesiska utmaningen och samstämmighet och politiskt stöd för vad som måste göras.

Kinas strävan efter världshegemoni är farligare än Sovjetunionens under det kalla kriget. Moskva försökte då matcha USA:s militära styrka med en svag ekonomi. Det ledde till sammanbrott för Sovjetväldet. Den kinesiska utmaningen är främst ekonomisk och Kina vill uppnå världsherravälde helst utan krig. Man vill i Peking se samma scenario som när USA fredligt blev världshegemon efter Storbritannien.

Under årtionden har den härskande klassen i Väst ansett att ett fredligt Kina var på väg att bli en stormakt som andra i den gällande världsordningen. Kinapolitiken har byggt på myten om att kontakter leder till demokratisering. Kina ser sig nu under Xi stå nära sitt mål: världshegemoni. Regimen har dock hela tiden vägrat att spela enligt reglerna. USA börjar nu inse behovet av en förändrad och förnyad politik gentemot Kina och handelsförhandlingarna är bara början. Det närmaste årtiondet blir avgörande.


April 12, 2019

National Interest on April 4, 2019 published an article on how the Chinese telecommunications company is a threat to American security and prosperity. Excerpts below:

China and the United States are in the middle of trade and national security battles, but they are also jostling to determine who will control the future of technology and communications. The Huawei dispute is as much about who has access to and—thus controls—the data of the future, as it is about superpower politics and the rule of law.

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones. [It is] the leader in many countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.

5G is the next generation of wireless networks that promises to be 100 times faster and more reliable than current technology. It is a market that will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment. Huawei has already built up such a strong lead in 5G technology that it is already practically irreplaceable for many wireless carriers.

This presents a challenge for the United States and many other countries around the world.

…in 1999 two colonels in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) published the book Unrestricted Warfare, which has been influential. The first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules and nothing is forbidden. The book advocates tactics known as shashou-jian (Assassin’s Mace), the concept of taking advantage of an adversary’s seemingly superior conventional capabilities by “fighting the fight that fits one’s own weapons” and “making the weapons to fit the fight.” It proposed ignoring traditional rules of conflict and advocates such tactics as manipulating foreign media, controlling the markets for natural resources, and engaging in cyber warfare.

Many believe the company is Chinese state-owned and has deep connections to Beijing’s intelligence services. Its founder was an engineer with the PLA. It is also worth pointing out that no Chinese company is fully independent of the government.

China’s 2015 National Security law requires any domestic firm to assist the government for national security purposes. Under it, every company operating in China is required to give Chinese authorities their source code, encryption keys, and backdoor access to their computer networks in China.

In 2017, China’s Cybersecurity Law went even further, giving the government unrestricted access to almost all data held by Chinese companies.

In the 1980s, China threatened to ban government procurement of Microsoftsoftware, hardware, and technology unless Bill Gates agreed to provide China with a copy of its proprietary operating code, which, at the time, Gates had refused to reveal to Microsoft’s largest U.S. commercial clients.

After Gates agreed to provide it, China then copied the Cisco network router found on almost all U.S. networks and most Internet service providers. China then sold counterfeit routers at cut-rate discounts around the world. The buyers apparently included the Pentagon and a host of other U.S. federal agencies.

Armed with intimate knowledge of the flaws in Microsoft’s and Cisco’s software and hardware, China’s hackers may have the ability to stop most of the world’s networks from operating.

Back in 2012, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee designated Huawei a state-controlled enterprise… then…the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States decided to block acquisitions, takeovers, or mergers involving Huawei…, given the perceived threat to U.S. national security interests… Government contractors—particularly those working on contracts for sensitive U.S. programs—were also ordered to exclude…Huawei equipment in their systems.

…the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act now bans U.S. federal agencies from buying Huawei products.

America has pushed for a ban on Huawei technology with its allies including the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, the European Union, the Philippines and a number of other countries. Already security concerns have led Australia to
completely ban the company’s technology and New Zealand has moved to partially restrict it.

This is not a game. The stakes are extremely high. This is about who controls the future… China and Huawei have made it clear this is a race they intend to win. Will the rest of the world allow that to happen?

Comment: The author of the article is Daniel Wagner. He is CEO of Country Risk Solutions and author of the new book “China Vision”.

Daniel Wagner is an Asia expert who has travelled to China since 1986. He has worked with some of the largest Chinese financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, and has written on China since the 1990s. In his new and important book, he examines why the Chinese government acts as it does in its search for global power. China was for centuries a leading economic and political power. Now it is again seeking to be the world’s leading country. From China’s perspective it just back where it left in the 19th century.

China plays by its own set of rules. Few countries are willing to object or stand up to it. Wagner’s new book ”China Vision – China’s Crusade to Create a World in its Own Image” (2019) explores how and why China has approached foreign policy as it has and what the rest of the world can expect from China once it becomes the world’s largest economy, its strongest political power, and continues to develop its already advanced technological prowess.

China has used the existing global framework to its own advantage. Now it would like to modify that framework to ensure that its advantage continues well into the future. The Chinese government has already redefined some of the rules of the game in areas such as cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, and is in the process of redefining the nature of diplomacy and international relations.
China seeks to create a world crafted in its own image.


April 11, 2019

Washington Times on April 10, 2019, reported on a warning by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on threats to U.S. space systems. Excerpts below:

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan on April 9, 2019 warned …that the Pentagon needs to protect America’s $19 trillion economy from threats to space systems.

“We must confront reality,” Mr. Shanahan told a major space conference in Colorado…. “Weapons are currently deployed by our competitors that can attack our assets in space.”

Both Beijing and Moscow “have weaponized space with the intent to hold American space capabilities at risk,” he said. “China’s communist government has exercised and continues to develop the capability to jam, targeting [satellite communications], [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and GPS.”

China’s military in particular is deploying directed-energy weapons and will field a ground-based anti-satellite laser targeting low Earth orbit space sensors by next year, Mr. Shanahan warned.

“They’re also prepared to use cyberattacks against our space systems…

“The threat is clear. We’re in an era of great-power competition, and the next major conflict may be won or lost in space.”

Mr. Shanahan stressed that the threat is not theoretical and is present now.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, recently told a closed-door gathering of scientific experts that the Navy is developing a ship-based laser with enough power to physically damage an incoming projectile. One source said the laser will also be powerful enough to destroy satellites.

The Pentagon is moving ahead with developing a Space Force but has not identified how the force will be armed.

Mr. Shanahan said the Space Force initially will be equipped with 15,000 to 20,000 troops.

Comment: The new American Space Force actually is too little and too late. Still it seems to face Democrat resistance in the U.S. Congress. If China or Russia manages to shoot down a considerable number of U.S. satellites it would have catastrophic consequences for all U.S. and NATO operations.


April 5, 2019

The Gatestone Institute on April 3, 2019, published an article by Gordon G. Chang on how China is using concentration camps, racism, eugenics and has ambitions of world domination. Excerpts below:

More than a million people, for no reason other than their ethnicity or religion, are held in concentration camps in what Beijing calls the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and what traditional inhabitants of the area, the Uighurs, say is East Turkestan. In addition to Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs are also held in these facilities.

The camps, a crime against humanity, are spreading. China is now building similar facilities, given various euphemistic names such as “vocational training centers,” in Tibet, in China’s southwest.

At the same time, Beijing is renewing its attempt to eliminate religion country-wide. Christians have come under even greater attack across China, as have Buddhists.

At the same time, Xi, far more than his predecessors, has been promoting the concept of a world order ruled by only one sovereign, a Chinese one.

In broad outline, Xi’s vision of the world is remarkably similar to that of the Third Reich, at least before the mass murders.

The Third Reich and the People’s Republic share a virulent racism, in China politely referred to as “Han chauvinism.” The Han category, which is said to include about 92% of the population of the People’s Republic, is in truth the amalgamation of related ethnic groups.

Chinese mythology holds that all Chinese are descendants of the Yellow Emperor, who is thought to have ruled in the third millennium BCE. The Chinese consider themselves to be a branch of humanity separate from the rest of the world, a view reinforced by indoctrination in schools, among other means.

Chinese scholars support this notion of Chinese separateness with the “Peking Man” theory of evolution, which holds the Chinese do not share a common African ancestor with the remainder of humankind. This theory of the unique evolution of the Chinese has, not surprisingly, reinforced racist views.

As a result of racism, many in China, including officials, “believe themselves to be categorically different from and impliedly superior to the rest of the humankind,” writes Fei-Ling Wang, author of The China Order: Centralia, World Empire, and the Nature of Chinese Power.

The racism, therefore, is institutionalized and openly promoted.

This century’s master race has a problem, however. China, now the world’s most populous state, faces rapid demographic decline. Last year’s birth rate was the lowest since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. The country’s population will peak in 2029, according to the World Population Prospects 2017, published by the United Nations Population Division. But the high-point could in fact come in just the next couple years, as the U.N. numbers are based on Beijing’s overly optimistic assumptions. China’s official demographers, for instance, did not foresee the near-collapse of the birthrate last year.

In 2024, another momentous event will occur. Then, for the first time in at least 300 years — and maybe for the first time in recorded history — China will not be the world’s most populous society. That honor will go to a country the Chinese generally both detest and fear, India. When India peaks in 2061, it will have a population 398,088 million larger than China’s.

China’s demographic path is set for decades, and it will have momentous — and extremely adverse — consequences for Chinese society and the country’s “comprehensive national strength.” Perhaps that is why Beijing looks as if it may be trying to compensate for collapsing demography by laying the groundwork for a race of superhuman Chinese.

He Jiankui of Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology announced in November that he had used CRISPR to edit human embryos that produced live births, in this case twins girls. He claimed he was making the babies resistant to HIV, but there is speculation he was also trying to enhance intelligence. In any event, the announcement evoked Nazi eugenics experiments, especially because there is evidence that the Chinese government had backed He’s “world’s first” experiment, considered unethical and dangerous.

Certainly dangerous is Xi Jinping. “Mao Zedong may have played on the Third World’s racial resentments when trying to unite former colonial peoples against white imperialists, but he thought that Communism was a global phenomenon that would eventually find a home everywhere and Mao’s utopia was in the future,” the Hudson Institute’s Charles Horner told Gatestone. “Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party is not global or utopian in this way; instead, it seems in thrall to an essential ‘Chinese-ness.'”

Horner sees disconcerting similarities between Xi’s China and 1930s Imperial Japan. “Like Imperial Japan then,” Horner said, “Xi and the Party look backward to a mythologized past when a benign Emperor brought the whole world together to bask in his glory and share his munificence.”

There is a new Third Reich, and it is China.


April 4, 2019

Washington Times on March 13, 2019, reviewed the second edition of Toshi Yoshihara’s and James R. Holmes important and detailed work ”Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy” (Naval Institute Press, 2019). Excerpts below:

“Maritime China poses challenges now that America, its allies, and its friends overlook at their peril.”

…the authors relied “heavily on Chinese literature to make sense of China’s future direction at sea.” In open-source materials, Chinese naval and Communist party officials discuss not only maritime strategy and policy but also provide operational details…To be sure, much other information remains secret.

Authors Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes are naval intellectuals, both affiliated with the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with rich backgrounds in their fields.

That China has rapidly expanded the Peoples Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, in recent years is no secret to military observers. Indeed, a 2015 report by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence stated, “In 2013 and 2014, China launched more ships than any other country ” The trend has continued in subsequent years.

Concurrently, the U.S. Navy “has dwindled to half its Cold War self in brute numerical terms, from almost six hundred ships to fewer than three hundred.” European fleets are also declining. Most striking perhaps, the once dominant British Royal Navy is smaller than that of France for the first time since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

So what use does the Peoples Republic of China intend to make of its new strength? The official party line shies away from directly threatening any hostile intent toward the West, other than to oppose “imperial intrusions” on its territories.

China’s mistreatment by foreign forces — “centuries of shame” — has been a sore spot in national history since the regime of Mao Zedong…China “suffered humiliation to the fullest” because of its weak maritime posture. They concluded, “Only when the navy is strong again can the maritime rights rise, which will bring the rise of our nation.”

The PLAN’s current emphasis seems to be establishing control over artificial island bases constructed throughout the South China Sea. An international court has ruled that the islands are unlawful intrusions on other nations’ territory — an edict that the target countries (such as the Philippines) — do not have the strength to enforce.

The advantage to Red China: Control of shipping lanes not only along its own shores but also along the under-belly of Asia extending to the Middle East and West Africa. Commerce? Perhaps, but military importance also.

From the U.S. perspective, the Chinese seem “driven by their quest to deter and defeat the U.S. Navy.”

The U.S. Navy, understandably, is well into its rebuilding program. Taiwan well could be the test of Red China’s maritime resurgence — and of America’s resolve to protect a staunch ally.

At hand is a warning from experts that should be heeded.

Comment: If Taiwan and control of the shipping lanes to the south and west are the tests one can ask what happens after these goals have been reached. Is China prepared to move into the North and South Pacific? What about Chinese influence in mineral rich Africa or the planned infrastructure routes into Central Asia to Europe?

China expert Gordon Chang in December 2018 warned that the United States is underestimating the hostility, ruthlessness and will to power of the Chinese Communist Party. There has been a kind of over-optimism in the West.

For a long time during the Cold War politicians in the West believed the Soviet Union was just another nation state. The belligerent nature of communism has often been overlooked.

China is not liberalizing, has not opened up its economy and is not democratizing. The economy is not the failing economy of the Sovet Union in the 1980s. There are of course signs that the Chinese economy is slowing down and even forecasts that the Chinese regime will collapse. Until China has real problems the West needs to regard the Chinese as a seeker of more than regional power. Presently it seeks to be a global power replacing American hegemony. It is one of the three empires challenging the West. The two others are Russia and Iran.


April 1, 2019

National Interest on March 30, 2019 published an article on six trends that are at work when planning for future U.S. investment in space, national security and the wider economy. Excerpts below:

First, heavy satellites are getting heavier, as more capability is attached to each satellite.

Heavier satellites tend to raise launch costs and can be expensive to design and build, but may reduce ground-station costs. While heavy satellites represent only a narrow slice of the market, this trend reinforces continued (but very expensive) interest in heavy lift.

Second and simultaneously, smaller satellites – including “cube-sats” which are often the rough size equivalent to a shoebox – are proliferating for commercial as well as both government civil and military use. These satellites stay on orbit for shorter periods, but perform specialized missions, often requiring a quick-turn launch, deployment and replacement. These satellites are multiplying, their applications are evolving magnitudes faster than any comparable change in heavy payloads.

Third, just as heavy lift requirements are triggering new heavy lift options, proliferation of smaller satellites is triggering a hunt for cost-effective, lighter options. The hunger is growing for cheaper, faster ways to loft individual cubes, cube clusters, and cube constellations.

Fourth, cost-efficiency may be the premier variable. From new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) emphasis on cost-savings to redirection of resources in NASA’s 2020 budget, from calls for big launch savings and accelerating small payload placements to emerging economies of scale and size, the race is on for cheap suborbital and orbital launch options.

Fifth, the Trump Administration is shining a spotlight on “Buy America.” This will directly affect space-related markets. After two Executive Orders, “Buy America” is back in vogue, and getting more popular by the month. This will affect commercial and national security space markets – more each year.

On the commercial side, overt interest in favoring US manufacturers, US labor and US investment in rockets, satellites, and supply chains allows the President and Congress to reclaim American leadership in space, creating jobs and satisfying bipartisan political ambitions.

On the security front, “Buy America” reflects intense pressure to protect American space assets, software, payloads, investment sources, highly skilled labor, geographic centers of space-related activity, and “US launch only” prerogatives. Pressure to avoid security lapses is high, affecting supply chains, cyber-penetration, and where satellites are launched from. While concerns are global, mounting threats in the Far East, and especially from China, North Korea, Iran and Russia are key. Perceived vulnerabilities tied to international launch are growing.

Finally, a sixth trend in literature, dialogue and among national leaders cannot be ignored. As commercial aviation receives new environmental scrutiny, rocket fuels are coming under pressure. In an era of bold initiatives, intense congressional oversight, and concern for incremental environmental impacts, fuels used in launches may become key to federal (and possibly even commercial) launch decision-making.

Net-net, the entire space-related sector is undergoing change, mostly positive but at unprecedented speed. What “end state” these six trends produce is unclear, but continued growth in US leadership, innovation, investment and space-presence is predicted.

What is certain is the accelerating rate of change across this sector. Space will be ever more important to governments, global commerce, and American consumers…A new American future in space is coming.

Comment: All the signs point to a new future for America in space. The creation of the new Space Force is only one of these signs. Important is also the growing participation by private enterprise in space activities. The article in National Interest points to the mounting challenges from China, Russia and Iran. China has already demonstrated that it is able to destroy satellites in space and recently India destroyed a satellite. The security of the West is at stake.