US Strategy Illiteracy Does Not Improve with New Defense Secretary


U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers reporters' question during a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart Han Min Koo at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, April 10, 2015.  Reuters/Lee Jin-man

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers reporters’ question during a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart Han Min Koo at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, April 10, 2015.
Reuters/Lee Jin-man

I have to quote Chinese Confucian Sage Mencius’ teaching again: “Favorable timing is not as good as geographical advantage, while geographical advantage is not as good as popular support.”

As usual, the US fails to pay attention to the three essential factors in making its moves.

Reuters report today says in its title that the US seeks access to Philippine bases as part of its pivot to Asia.

If the US wants to contain China, its pivot to Asia shall not be the transfer of its military to areas near China to be vulnerable to missile attack from China’s land-based missiles and air force. It shall make diplomatic efforts to contain China by its allies and friends around China and the establishment of its Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Militarily, it can contain China whenever it likes by cutting China’s trade lifelines at high sea with its dominant navy.

Transferring 60% of its military to areas near China will enable China to wipe out most US navy and air force near China and greatly reduce US capabilities in cutting China’s trade lifelines at high sea.

Like his predecessors, new US Defense Secretary Ash Carter is also strategy illiterate though it is said that he has studied China’s gifted strategist Sun Tze’s book The Art of War.

Reuters says in the report, “U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia ‘pivot’, deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region”. He also wants valuable US military assets to be destroyed by Chinese missiles.

According Reuters, “The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea.”

There is the report based on some photos that China is building an airstrip on the artificial island it has built on Fiery Cross Reef, but the so-called airstrip indicated by the photo is not straight enough to serve that purpose.

China plays the trick by saying that the artificial islands it is building are for civil purposes but it has the right to use them for military purposes.

The US chooses the bad timing to ask for access to Philippine military bases as that will give China the excuse to militarize its artificial islands. As a result, all the military facilities in Philippine bases will be within the range of Chinese intermediate ballistic missiles based on the artificial islands and the cruise missiles from Chinese warplanes taking off from the airfields there.

The US chooses unfavorable timing!

As US military only have access to Philippine military bases but cannot deploy its radar, intermediate ballistic missiles or other facilities there, it has no geographical advantage.

Moreover, the US has no popular support in the Philippines as it is only interested in deploying its military to contain China but has taken no action at all to support the Philippines in its disputes with China.

The best example is the Scarborough standoff. China has been driving away Philippine vessels from the shoal since the standoff but the US has taken no actions whatsoever to support the Philippines.

The lack of the three factors is not something new. The US carried on its war in Vietnam in spite of the weather, the geographic difficulties and long-distance transport and American people’s protest against the war US war. It would not have started the war if it has made calculation and found it lacked any of the three factors. When it had found that it lacked all the three factors, it should have ceased the war immediately but US president did not have the wisdom and determination to do so until it entirely lost the war and enabled Vietnamese communists to get lots of US advanced weapons to become a regional hegemon.

Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was much wiser, when he encountered setback in attacking Vietnam, he immediately withdrew Chinese troops.

However, the US has never learnt lessons from its failures. President Bush junior committed the blunders of conducting two prolonged wars at the same time that have made Islamic extremists stronger and the US heavily in debt but the president’s brother is still a favorite Republican candidate for US presidential election next year.

China’s successes lie in its wise leaders; while US failures, its poor leaders.

Source: Reuters “United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot”

Full text of Reuters report can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/25/us-philippines-usa-idUSKBN0NG05R20150425


3 Comments on “US Strategy Illiteracy Does Not Improve with New Defense Secretary”

  1. Very descriptive blog, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?

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  2. Steve says:

    Again, very well researched and presented on both articles. The one road one belt between Iran,
    Pakistan and China are well clarified. Having the most favourable ironclad relationship with Pakistan especially the western border to China provides high security and linkage.

    The US looking for more military bases and deployment of assets in Philippines is just simply their dogmatic mentality to enforce absolute control. China propagate Partnerships for Economic gain, US enforces military alliance for war. Should the TPP sink, ( I don’t think it will ), just how effective will the US pivot to contain China be?

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  3. James says:

    “China’s successes lie in its wise leaders; while US failures, its poor leader”

    The above summarises the essence of what is eating away at US power and influence around the world.
    There is a structural deficit in the U.S. political system in how their leaders are selected . In some manner it’s not meritocracy that determines the POTUS but money, popularity by the ignorant public, mainstream media and the Jewish lobby – in no sequence of importance. It seems like the calibre of the commander-in-chief is a game of chance or have been predetermined by the puppet masters. There is paralysis in U.S. foreign policy insofar as meeting the Chinese challenge.
    The U.S. could learn something from China – selecting capable leaders.

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