Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What to do with the Red Dragon?

The Pentagon's annual report has listed China's growing military capabilities as a gathering regional threat. Articles on the issue can be found here, here, here, here, and here. The Pentagon feels that China is at a crossroads. She does not yet have the capability to effectively attack Taiwan and impose her political will in the manner she desires, but that moment is rapidly approaching. China may still be content to grow in economic and political influence and maintain a military sufficient for her defensive needs. The rapid recent growth in China's military perhaps suggests otherwise. She faces no real threat from any nation and seemingly no real reason for her growing military power. Despite constant bluster that Taiwan is part of China and threats of invasion, many analysts think China would be unwilling to invade at the present due to Taiwan's huge economic impact on China. This, I would imagine, is true. But what of the future? What course of action should the US and her allies take in deterring China from taking a more militaristic path?

Many in the international community have long suggested that the best way to temper Chinese aggression is by building ever closer economic ties with her and do everything possible to avoid ruffling her feathers. France and other EU members are debating whether or not to lift an arms embargo that has been over China since the brutal government crackdown of the Tienamen Square dissidents. This entire line of thinking is based on the assumption that if China does not feel threatened, she will have no desire to invade Taiwan or challenge for military supremacy in her region. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Chinese foreign policy is realistic in nature (realist is an understatement). She seems no more to care about promoting ideals or respecting any international standards than does a true atheist care for internecine religious disputes. China will act in whatever manner she feels most beneficial to her national interests. For this reason it is of the greatest importance that whatever lines the US does not want China to cross are guarded by threats sufficient to dissuade her from crossing them. If China finds a weak international community in which there appears little or no possibility of a military response to an invasion of Taiwan and if China has been successful in diversifying her economic dependence away from Taiwan, then there is little perceivable obstacle to such an invasion.

I will wisely leave the determination of exactly what strategy should be taken in order to make certain that China's cost benefit analysis ends with a negative gain to the experts in the National Security field. I would specifically argue that one tactic which must be kept in place is a total arms embargo against China. Like most countries with a commanding heights economic philosophy, China's military technology is nearly all borrowed and/or stolen from the outside. Considering that other than Russia (whose military technology is slowly becoming more and more outdated) no nation with an advanced military trades technology with the Peoples Republic the way to maintain our technological superiority in weapons is via the arms embargo.

Another important thing to maintain is the public support for containment of China's military throughout all the controversial moves which will undoubtedly be made. Among these would likely be: a substantial increase in the size of America's military (in this case primarily conventional), military aid to the Taiwanese government, a reintroducing of Japanese military, a continued presence in large numbers of American troops in places like Japan and South Korea, possible introduction of forces in northern Australia and if it gets that far possible redeployment of American nuclear weapons. While all of this is going on the US will be burdened by the task of maintaining its war against terrorism and making certain that the raised tensions between us and China do not allow some one like North Korea the notion that our fear of confrontation with China assures it free reign in attempting to act on their own military pipe dreams. Hopefully if faced with the overwhelming feeling of military hopelessness China will march down the economic/political path to increased power and leave the military path to the vines and cobwebs it deserves.x

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