Plan for Long-term Victory
In the long run, China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) will bring economic growth to developing countries and expand China’s market there. It will enable China to switch lots of its exports from the US to those countries. Moreover, BRI will enable China to move the industries that produce goods for export to the US to the industrial parks built by BRI in those countries to avoid US tariff hikes and reduce labor costs. China will thus establish its invincible position in its trade war with the US.
According to Sun Tzu, in a war one has to establish one’s invincible position and do not miss the opportunity to defeat one’s enemy (立於不敗之地而不失敵之敗也）。.
Regarding to trade war, China is an entirely different country. Its government has centralized power to ban the import of enemy’s goods without tariff hikes. Its reduction in purchase of US agricultural products can do much greater damages than US tariff hikes on Chinese exports.
Trump’s Ingenious Move without Surprise
Seeing that tariff hikes are unable to subdue China, US President Trump tries another way to attack China. He remembers well that China’s telecom giant ZTE would have been killed by US Congress if he had not interfered in its favor. He saw his opportunity to subdue China through attacking Huawei, another Chinese telecom giant.
Americans have already been jealous at Huawei’ leading position in 5G in the world. Trump took the lead in banning Huawei’s 5G in the US and has been telling other countries also to boycott Huawei’s 5G with the lie about Huawei’s espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. Failing to make all other countries ban Huawei’s 5G, Trump invents a much more evil way to kill Huawei by placing Huawei in US trade blacklist to cut US supplies of components and technology that Huawei needs for its survival.
Now tariff hikes are the frontal engagement in Trump’s trade war with China, but banning and placing Huawei in US trade blacklist are indeed an ingenious move that may do real harm to China..
US government’s large amount of tariff revenue from the hikes proves that the tariff hikes have failed to reduce Chinese exports to the US. It proves that the harm caused by tariff hikes to China is limited. Killing Huawei and threatening further killing of other major Chinese tech companies might have really made China suffer.
China has been prepared for Trump’s Ingenious Move
However, the Huawei move though Ingenious lacks surprise. At the very beginning of Trump’s trade war last year, Xi Jinping told Chinese firms to rely on themselves. He made Chinese firms realize the danger of dependence on US supplies of technology and components. Since then Chinese enterprises have been working hard to free from their dependence on US supplies.
It has especially been the case for Huawei. Trump’s banning and telling others to ban Huawei and US efforts to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou have caused Huawei to develop substitutes for US supplies since long ago. When Trump placed Huawei on the blacklist, Huawei had already developed substitutes for US supply of components and been developing its own operation systems so that Trump is unable to win with that ingenious move.
China’s Ingenious Surprise Move
Banning supply of rare earth materials for the US may be China’s ingenious move but it also lacks surprise. There has now been too much media report on that now to warn the US about that. China bought rare earth technology from the US so that I do not think it is difficult for the US to develop the technology to produce substitutes.
In his recent visit to Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart President Putin concluded an agreement to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using ruble and yuan in order to bypass US dollar. That is an ingenious surprise move that hits the US where it is most vulnerable.
US economy will soon be surpassed by China. Its military is being caught up by China and Russia. The financial dominance of US dollar is the only strong point that still maintains. If the US has lost that dominance, there will be no US hegemony at all.
The agreement between China and Russia may set an example for other countries so that trade balance settlement everywhere may gradually be conducted through other currencies not only Russian and Chinese currencies. As a result, US dollar will no longer be the major currencies for trade and financial reserve.
In fact, most countries in the world want to put an end to US dollar’s dominance now. EU has developed Euro for trade settlement in EU. Malaysian PM Mahathir has suggested the use of gold as substitute for US dollar.
The US is hard up now. It does not have enough revenue to make ends meet so that it has to borrow lots of funds from other countries. However, it has no financial problem as it can issue as much US dollars as it needs due to the financial dominance of US dollars.
If US dollar is no longer the dominant trade and reserve currency in the world, the US will not be able to borrow as much as it wants for its excessive military spending to maintain its military hegemony.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Chinese Gifted Strategist Sun Tzu’s Teaching
This blogger has mentioned Sun Tze’s teaching: In any war, one shall win with ingenious surprise move while conducting frontal engagement. (凡戰者，以正合，以奇勝。)”
The surprise ingenious move can be but a part of the frontal engagement. For example, the D-Day Normandy landing operations on June 6, 1944. The frontal engagement was across the strait between allied and German troops. The allied troops might invade Calais or Normandy. The choice of Normandy for the site of landing operations was ingenious as German defense there was weaker as Germany believed that Calais would have more probably been the site of invasion. As the time and date of the move were kept well in secrete, there was full surprise in the ingenious move.
In this case, the frontal engagement was across the entire English Strait Calais and Normandy while the ingenious surprise move to land in Normandy was a part of the frontal engagement.
Therefore, Sun Tzu says that there is unlimited variation in the relations between frontal engagement and ingenious surprise move. A specific commander in a specific combat shall have the talent to design his ingenious surprise move in his specific combat.
Trump’s Poor Strategy
According to Sun Tzu, one shall calculate his factors to win and lose a war before engaging in a war. Only when his factors to win exceed those to lose can he start the war.
Trump believes that his tariff hikes on Chinese exports will subdue China as China is unable to retaliate with equivalent hikes as US exports much less to China.
That is a naive calculation.
What counts is not the scale of tariff hikes but the extent of damages to one’s enemy compared with that of the enemy’s counterattack. That is very simple. In real war, what counts is not the comparison of the extent of fire power but the damages the fire power can do.
For example, in the last battle in Korean War, US troops kept on air raids and artillery bombardments on the Chinese troops stationed on hills. A unit of the Chinese troops hid in their tunnel and suffered no casualty. The only casualty brought about by US troops’ strong fire power was the death of three of the four members of an artist group who went to the tunnel through a long ditch to entertain the troops with their performance.
My older schoolmate Yu, the surviving artist, arrived at the tunnel alone. He did not know that his co-performers had all been killed but assumed that they had retreated as enemy shelling was too heavy. Yu, a lively boy 15 years old then, gave singing, dancing, rapping and joking performance alone and greatly pleased the troops. At that time, US air and artillery fire was so fierce that Chinese troopers were all confined in their tunnel like prisoners for days. It was really boring to stay in tunnel like that. Yu’s courage and performance greatly heightened Chinese troops’ morale. He was honored as a war hero later.
When US army attacked after repeated air raids and bombardments, they suffer much more casualty from the much inferior fire power of Chinese troops’ mortars, guns and grenades.
US Tariff Hikes Fail to Hit
US troops’ problem then was that its much stronger fire power did not hit while Chinese troops much weaker fire power hit.
It is the same with Trump’s tariff hikes. Most of the goods under tariff hikes are indispensable for US consumers and there are no alternative sources of goods of similar quality at similar low prices. China’s exports of those goods have not been affected because the prices of the goods increased to include the tariff hikes remain attractive. The US has to keep on importing such goods. As a result, US tariff hikes do not hit China. They, on the contrary hit the US itself by hiking American people’s living costs.
China’s Retaliation Hits US Farmers Hard
China’s retaliation of tariff hikes, on the contrary, hurt its enemy without harming its own people. Its tariff hikes on US agricultural products, especially soybean hit US farmers hard but do not harm its own as it can find alternative sources for such imports.
Belt and Road Became an Ingenious Surprise Move
In addition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and China-Myanmar Economic Corridor for China’s trade security to its west, China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) aims at building railways, roads, power plants and other infrastructures to facilitate removal of its labor intensive export-oriented enterprises to developing countries with lower labor and land costs. Xi Jinping launched that initiative for China’s transformation from export- and investment-geared to innovation-, creation- and consumption-led economic growth, but when Trump launched his trade war with China, it became China’s move to counter US trade war attacks.
Is it an ingenious move? Certainly it is, as it will shift China’s trade surplus to the countries China has moved its export-oriented enterprises to.
Is it a surprise move? It depends. As the West, especially the US, regards BRI as a move to enhance China’s geopolitical influence instead of a trade war move, it is then a surprise move indeed.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
By Gregory D. Foster
Professor, National Defense University
June 28, 2020
We only pretend to build armed forces to confront the threats we face.
“Disruptive change” is probably the most rhetorically popular, yet intellectually vacuous, turn of phrase now in use throughout the U.S. defense establishment. For an inherently conservative, parochial institution whose conception of the future is dominated by its preference for a canonical past, disruptive change is an attractive meme meant to convey progressive imagery to audiences inside and outside who might otherwise be inclined to expose the institution’s well-established lack of imagination and originality.
What is seen as the blueprint for disruptive change is the National Defense Strategy, or NDS, promulgated by the Trump administration’s first Defense Secretary, James Mattis, and his Marine brother in arms, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. Together, they passed this ideological tract off as a legitimate strategy based on bona fide strategic thinking to indoctrinate the defense establishment and its bureaucratic and political disciples. Their successors and their successors’ subordinates have unquestioningly and unthinkingly endorsed the stultifying received truths of the document, so much so that any thought of meaningful transformative change within the institution, however much needed, seems frustratingly out of the question in the absence of some jolt to the system.
The NDS — here’s the unclassified summary — epitomizes the intellectual stagnation that pervades the military. It is predicated on the asserted “truths” that:
The U.S. military, in the years preceding the Trump administration, was emasculated and rendered largely impotent by forcing it to focus on frivolous, tangential threats and missions such as countering violent extremism.
The United States has been disadvantaged and is in danger of being unseated from its rightful position of primacy in all domains of warfare – land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace – by reformist powers bent on challenging U.S. global supremacy.
The world we face today and in the years ahead is defined by great-power competition (presumably involving the use of traditional, military-centered great-power means to achieve traditional great-power ends of superiority and dominance).
To properly compete in this great-power arena, our organizational, doctrinal, and technological emphases must be based, above all else, on “lethality” (meaning, by implication, killing power and destructive capacity fed by large-scale industrial innovation and sustained by big-war mobilization measures).
How woefully and dangerously outmoded, outdated, self-serving, self-deluding, and self-perpetuating such received truths are. This is Cold War redivivus; Old War become New War. One need only compare the rhetoric of misuse associated with the wars we conduct that don’t coincide with our idealized conception of war – be it Vietnam or the Global War on Terrorism – with the reality of the methods we use and the defense posture we maintain to prosecute such wars. And one need only compare great-power, big-war rhetoric with the realities today of pandemic disease, cyberattacks, climate-induced natural disasters, and violent, rogue-actor extremism.
We live today in a postmodern age defined, as with all conceptions of postmodernism, by irony and the need for fundamental redefinition of hallowed concepts and terms. Ironically speaking, old strengths (such as wealth, size, and population) have become new weaknesses; old advantages (such as technological superiority or expansive overseas presence) have become new disadvantages; old successes (like the end of the Cold War) have become new failures; old friends have become new enemies; and old forms of plenty (e.g., nuclear supremacy) have become new forms of scarcity (e.g., nuclear peace). Terms of reference once considered clear, immutable, and sacrosanct – war, peace, security, aggression, intervention, sovereignty, power – now beg for redefinition.
In the grand evolution of war in which we are unsuspectingly involved, we have passed from a deep historical period of “Hot War” dating to antiquity, in which the use of military force was the central element in the conduct of statecraft; to the prolonged period of Cold War familiar to us all, in which the non-use of force (at least against our principal adversary, the Soviet Union), and the attendant avoidance of large-scale war, was the defining element; to the present period of “New War,” in which the use of non-military power and non-traditional uses of the military are – or, to be more accurate, should be – at the heart of statecraft; to a yet-to-be-recognized, much less realized, period of “No War,” the normative strategic end-state we should be seeking, in which militaries as we have known them become essentially irrelevant. To reach such an idealized – many would say unrealistic and unrealizable – end-state, arguably will require as preconditions the attainment of denuclearization, delethalization, and ultimately demilitarization. Demilitarization can be brought about only by the military: not a militaristic military committed to the supernal mission of warfighting, but a military organized, equipped, trained, and deployed in dramatically new ways that redefine what militaries properly do.
If we were to have a truly healthy state of civil-military relations, which we don’t, two of its cardinal defining elements would be a strategically effective (not just a militarily effective) military and a properly subordinated military-industrial complex that supports rather than dictates our military posture. In fact, in the cosmic international pecking order that differentiates superpowers from great powers, great powers from major powers, and major powers from minor powers, the possession of a strategically effective military is one of the principal indicators of standing and status. By any measure, the military we have today not only isn’t strategically effective, it isn’t even militarily effective. We don’t win wars. We don’t prevent wars. We certainly don’t eliminate wars. But we do feed escalation, provocation, and mirror imaging. Even if we were to claim a militarily effective military, we would have no choice but to admit that its defining features are all the things a truly strategically effective military wouldn’t be: disproportionately destructive, indiscriminately lethal, exorbitantly expensive, overly provocative and escalatory, unduly consumptive, largely alienated from society, and environmentally damaging.
At root, our problem derives from our prevailing frame of reference: Defense, narrowly conceived, dominates security, broadly conceived. Military power dominates non-military power. Wars of choice dominate wars of necessity, rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding. Tactics dominates strategy. Unilateralism (and the attendant felt need for self-sufficiency) dominates multilateralism (with the attendant imperative for collective decision-making and action). Conventional, high-intensity capabilities dominate unconventional, low-intensity capabilities. Technology dominates doctrine and force structure, and high technology dominates appropriate technology. Means dominate ends. And, finally, logistics dominates operations, after all is said and done.
Although we pretend to orient and structure our military around the threats we face, in point of fact our approach is very much capabilities-based; we have the military we want, and we insist on imposing that preferred force on the situations we face, invariably with unsatisfactory results. The ideal would be a state of affairs in which recognized vulnerabilities determine what our interests are; interests would determine what circumstances and actors constitute threats; those threats would be the basis for determining requirements; and those requirements would dictate the capabilities we seek to have on hand. In practice, the reality is just the opposite; our preferred capabilities determine everything else.
While we persist in the pursuit of capabilities for competing in a great-power world that satisfies our hunger for the heaviest, most expensive, most destructive and lethal armaments in the world, and that mollifies industrial actors that provide jobs and contribute big bucks to politicians, the threats we actually face today demand something quite different. The wars we face today are entirely wars of choice. No existing conflict, nor any reasonably to be anticipated, demands our involvement. And the wars we face are far removed from the total wars of the distant past and even farther removed from an idealized state of stable peace we have yet to seriously pursue, much less achieve. No, our wars occupy the space between limited war and violent peace; and the prime defining characteristics of these wars are twofold: they are asymmetric, hybrid wars; and, as such, they are inherently unwinnable.
So, pandemics, natural disasters, cyberattacks, and random acts of violent extremism are very real, very serious, very deadly, and very demanding. They are the threats we face and will continue to face in perpetuity. Traditional wars against China and Russia are unrealistic, highly unlikely fantasy. China and Russia, if they are to oppose us, will do so asymmetrically, as they already are; not symmetrically in a manner that would justify and legitimize our misplaced preparations and capabilities. Do we prepare for the most serious wars we won’t face or the most likely “wars” we will face? The answer should be more obvious than it is: not the former, but the latter.
To cope effectively with the actual threats that confront us, we must decide, for starters, what the military’s role properly ought to be: to serve itself (in the manner of a self-interested interest group); to serve the regime in power; to serve the state; or to serve society and even humanity (as grandiose as that might sound)? And no less must we decide what the military’s proper function ought to be: to prepare for and wage war; to secure and preserve peace; or something in between, like providing for the common defense, or preventing war, or providing for security? “All of the above” is too vague an answer, and “they’re all the same” is too simplistic. A military whose raison d’être is preparing for and waging war – the military we have – is demonstrably different from one that seeks to secure and preserve peace – the one we need.
The military we have is heavy, destructive, lethal, blunt, combat-oriented, technology-dominant, general purpose, unilaterally capable, provocative, escalatory, expensive (gluttonously so), and unsustainable. It is basically a hard-power warfighting machine, totally captive of and obsessed with its own warfighting/warfighter verbiage, useful primarily for tacit threatmaking based on ostensibly superior capabilities, and prepared – arguably – only for traditional, conventional war (even though deployed for a variety of missions).
The military we need would be quite the opposite: light, constructive, predominantly nonlethal, precise, noncombat-oriented, manpower-dominant, tailored, multilaterally-capable/-dependent, reassuring, de-escalatory, affordable, and sustainable. It would be a strategically effective force, designed to respond to a robust array of complex, most-frequently-occurring emergencies – peacekeeping, nation-building, humanitarian assistance, disaster response – that ultimately contribute most demonstrably to the overarching normative strategic aim of enduring global peace.
Should such sweeping, transformative overhaul ever become a reality? Yes – if peace is actually our ultimate aim. Could it take place? Unlikely – given the intellectual shortcomings of the defense establishment in particular, and the national security community in general. These are heretical, heterodox ideas that can take root and be acted upon only as an outgrowth of new thinking that is in inexcusably short supply in government and think tank thought factories. In the final analysis, though, the military will have to take the lead – and want to take the lead – in dramatically reforming itself because politicians have major vested interests, political and economic, in preserving the status quo and in letting the military dictate its own fate. Whether the military has the intellectual wherewithal to measure up to such a challenge is a matter for high hopes, but measured expectations. But if we are to produce a future that is better than the past, we shouldn’t give up on hope.
Gregory D. Foster is a professor at the National Defense University, a West Point graduate, and a decorated Vietnam War veteran. The views expressed here are his own. Full bio
Source: Defense One “The Military We Have Vs. The Military We Need”
Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Active Defense Means Attack for Defense. The strategists of active defense regard attack as the best way of defense.
Lowyinstitute.org’s article “China’s counteroffensive in the war of ideas” on February 24, 2020 shows US strategists’ entire ignorance of China’s strategy.
China’s latest Defense White Paper makes it very clear that China’s strategy is active defense but the article still regards “anti-access, area denial” as China’s military strategy and believes that China’s offensives in the war of ideas are counteroffensives that mirror “its ‘anti-access, area denial’ military strategy”.
China held two South-South Human Rights Forums in 2017 and 2019 not for counteroffensives but for spreading the human rights it advocates among the vast number of developing countries. The Beijing Declaration approved by the participants of the 2017 forum regards the rights to subsistence and development as basic human rights different to the human rights system advocated by the West.
To advocate its one-party system, China held high-level dialogue between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and political parties from around the world from November 30 to December 3, 2017.
SCMP says in its report about the dialogue that according to Xinhua, the meeting was attended by representatives from over 300 overseas political groups mostly from Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa, but the Republican Party in the US and Russian ruling party United Russia also sent representatives.
Xi said in his speech to the dialogue, “We do not import foreign models, and we do not export the China model, either,” and “We will not require other countries to copy what we do.”
Xinhua says in its report, “Many speakers attributed China’s success to the choice of a path based on its own characteristics and praised its standing of ‘not exporting the Chinese model.’”
That implies that China provides an example of choosing the way of development based on a country’s own characteristics instead of importing other countries’ ways, which clearly means negation of importing Western democracy.
In addition, Xi said the Chinese Communist Party would step up communications with overseas political groups and enable 15,000 of their members to visit China for inter-party exchanges in the coming five years.
China will certainly incur lots of costs in providing accommodation, travel and other treatments to the 15,000 members of overseas political groups to convince them that Western democracy is not their only choice.
The above shows that China is making offensive instead of counteroffensive in conducting its active defense—Attack is the best way of defense.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on lowyinstitute.org’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/china-s-counteroffensive-war-ideas.
Moscow does not fear Beijing’s keen interest in the Arctic and this may foreclose Washington’s plans to adopt a “wedge” strategy.
by Lyle J. Goldstein September 22, 2019
Amidst the swirl of U.S.-China relations was the recent announcement that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) would accelerate deployments to the western Pacific in order to counter Chinese “gray zone” tactics. That sounds nice in theory, but then the USCG is chronically underfunded, overworked, and seems to now be coping with the ever more common disasters accompanying rapid climate change. Indeed, taxpayers may scratch their heads in wonder if the single most effective agency of the federal government is distracted from its core missions along America’s coasts. Never mind that America’s best and brightest “coasties” will be confronting a China Coast Guard (CCG) “on steroids,” which is actually orders of magnitude larger (measured in medium and large cutters), especially in the far reaches of the western Pacific.
A more promising mission for the USCG will be patrolling the expansive domains in the so-called High North. American strategists and scientists alike are pleased that Congress has finally seen fit to fund two new “Polar Security Cutters.” At about $750 million per unit, these vessels are not cheap, but appear to be much needed, since the ancient Polar Star only just made it home from its last polar sortie after a string of mishaps, including an on-board fire. A U.S. strategy in the Arctic may be looking toward more promising days, but tough questions still need to be asked about these new capabilities. In a somewhat parallel situation to the USCG in the South China Sea, it is quite apparent that America’s new icebreakers cannot compare in any way with the massive icebreaker fleet that Russia already wields. Nor is Moscow’s icebreaker fleet dominance really under any question in the future.
As implied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s now famous speech in Finland back in May 2019, there is little question that both Moscow and Beijing are investing an enormous amount of money in developing the Arctic. These ambitious efforts are summarized well in Mark Rosen’s in-depth essay published in this forum recently. Rosen also makes a particularly interesting point when he states that “driving a wedge between Russia and China in the Arctic needs to be the highest policy priority in the administration versus FON [Freedom of Navigation] operations in the remote NSR [Northern Sea Route].” That priority could fit well with the sometimes popular notion of playing a “Russia card” against China. This short essay takes a closer look at the possibilities for such a “wedge strategy,” by examining a few recent Russian-language assessments of Chinese interests in the Arctic. After all, if the Chinese really are taking over the Arctic, then shouldn’t the Russians be extremely unnerved by that possibility?
An early May 2019 survey of Chinese interests in the Arctic by Alexander Vorotnikov, a specialist with the Project Office for Development of the Arctic (PORA) in Moscow, does not suggest anxiety, but rather synergistic interests among the two Eurasian giants. The author notes that the seriousness of Beijing’s intent with respect to the Arctic was underlined by the January 2018 white paper on China’s Arctic policy. The significance of China’s designation of the “Ice Silk Road [Ледового шёлкового пути]” was evidently not lost on Russian observers, who are keen on Beijing’s consequent “encouragement of Chinese enterprises to actively invest [поощрение китайских предприятий к активному инвестированию]” in the Russian Arctic. Indeed, the Russians are particularly enthusiastic that “China, with its capital, technology, market potential, the necessary knowledge and experience, can play an important role in expanding the network of shipping routes in the Arctic and promoting social and economic development.”
Vorotnikov underlines the following point: “It is important to note: the Chinese authorities take into account the status of Russia as an Arctic power, without the participation of which no Arctic issue can be resolved.” In other words, Russians may rest assured, according to this expert, that Chinese will not be encroaching on Russia’s sovereign rights. He cites the example of Yamal LNG as a successful outcome of this collaboration, noting that Chinese interests hold about 30 percent of this key investment, with French participation amounting to an additional 20 percent, while the Russian entity Novatek controls 50.1 percent. Other near-term promising areas of cooperation cited in this review include the Archangelsk Deepwater Port, the Belkomur railway connecting Siberia to the port of Archangelsk, as well as the deepwater prospecting activities of Nanhai-8 in the Kara Sea. Then, there is the impetus for Russian “nuclear ship building” provided by Chinese interest in the Northern Sea Route, of course. In a surprise, this Russian analyst turns Western environmental concerns upside down by making the opposite argument: “China is one of the world leaders in the field of renewable energy. The capacity of Chinese renewable energy sources is almost equal to the capacity of all Russian energy. . . . So the experience of China in renewable energy generation . . . can be used for the development of the Russian Arctic [КНР – один из мировых лидеров в сфере возобновляемой энергетики. Мощность китайских возобновляемых источников энергии (ВИЭ) почти равна мощности всей российской энергетики. . . . Так что опыт Китая в ВИЭ-генерации, равно как и в переходе на низкоуглеродную энергетику, ликвидации экологического ущерба можно использовать для развития АЗРФ].” While this analysis maintains that the cooperation between Russia and China will not cause undue harm to Arctic ecology, it does end with a caution that Chinese are pragmatic and “they are invested only when they can benefit from the partnership.”
The above analysis was published just before the Pompeo speech at the Arctic Council on May 6. In a strong hint of Russia’s reaction to Pompeo’s assertions regarding China, the RIA Novosti carried an interview on May 7 with Chinese Arctic specialist Guo Peiqing of China Ocean University (Qingdao). Guo dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “speculations,” and asserted: “China will not send warships and nuclear submarines to the Arctic, because maintaining peace and stability in the Arctic corresponds to China’s long-term interests . . . Russia has enough strength and capabilities to ensure peace in the Arctic [Китай не направит в Арктику военные корабли и атомные подлодки, потому что поддержание мира и стабильности в Арктике соответствует долгосрочным интересам Китая. . . . у России достаточно сил и возможностей, чтобы обеспечить мир в Арктике и защитить собственные интересы в этом регионе].” The Chinese specialist said Pompeo was trying to provoke friction in China-Russia relations, but he advised that Russians should not fall into “the American trap [в американскую ловушку],” as that would not benefit Russian interests.
Another survey of Chinese activities in the Russian Arctic was published by the newspaper Izvestiya in September 2018. That survey raised a few points of skepticism, noting that many Arctic nations, including Denmark, Iceland, and Norway, have declined certain Chinese initiatives in the Arctic due to various concerns. However, the piece generally concludes that Beijing interests are rather benign, focusing on both research and economic development. By contrast, there is an evident mistrust of the West, since discussions of the Northern Sea Route have evidently stirred up bad feeling: “Western press constantly propose to consider [the NSR] as ‘international property’ [западная пресса постоянно предлагает считать ‘международной собственностью’].”
Overall, Washington is viewed by Moscow as continuously disparaging Russian activities in the Arctic, while the United States “strives in every possible way to establish military, political and economic leadership in this region, [and] has decided to significantly intensify its action in the Arctic [всячески стремится установить военное, политическое и экономическое лидерство в этом регионе, приняла решение о существенной активизации своих действий в Арктике.].” In such an atmosphere of U.S.-Russian hostility, it is hardly likely that the United States will succeed in driving a wedge between Russia and China in the Arctic.
A different lens for exploring the emerging Arctic “Great Game” might focus on the level of interest or strategic priority that each of the relevant powers attaches to the High North. From that perspective, it is rather clear that Moscow has and will continue to “drive this train,” and that includes both the freedom and determination to choose its partners in accord with its own perceived national interests.
Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at email@example.com. The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.
Source: National Interest “Welcome to the Arctic Wars”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
I said in my post “China’s Space Era Strategy Overwhelmingly Superior to US Air-Sea Battle” on June 22:
There is no denial that the US regards China as its top potential enemy. Obama made it very clear that his Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was directed at China.
Obama’s pivot to Asia, in spite of his claim that it was not directed at China, was directed at China. That was clear to everybody.
The US is obsessed with military solution. That is why it maintains an excessive military budget in spite of its shortage of funds for its people’s welfare and its essential but dilapidated infrastructures. Obama’s major approach for his pivot to Asia was to deploy 60% of US military in Asia.
China follows its gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teachings: Subdue the enemy with strategy is the best of best, with diplomacy the next best, with fighting the third option while with attacking enemy cities the last choice. Its approaches have been strategy and diplomacy.
I have mentioned China’s strategy to enhance its geographical advantages by its construction of artificial islands with three airstrips in the South China Sea and its weapon strategy to develop integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense. In addition China has subdued the US with diplomacy.
First, there is the question: Has China really achieved that?
Recently, we have well-known US media’s articles on US losing to China. They, though perhaps do not follow Sun Tzu’s instructions, know well in the conflicts between the US and China, diplomacy is preferred to war.
With such a perspective, they publish articles on US losing to China.
First, Foreign Affair published an article titled “The United States Is Losing Asia to China” by Ely Ratner and Samir Kumar on May 12.
As a senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ely Ratner is quite an expert on U.S.-China relations, regional security in East Asia, and U.S. national security policy.
There has been no opposition to the article’s views from any heavy-weight experts.
That article was followed by WSJ article “The U.S. Is Losing the Pacific to China” by Ben Bohane on June 7, 2017. US loss is now much larger: not only Asia but the entire Pacific.
Ben Bohane is a photojournalist, author and television producer who has covered Asia and the Pacific islands for the past 25 years. His article shall be taken seriously.
However, the losses referred to in the articles means diplomatic losses not physical losses. Neither the US nor China have Asia or the Pacific as their own.
Mr. Bohane says in his article, “For more than 100 years, the US has viewed the Pacific Ocean as an ‘American lake’”. It is but US view instead of any US claim to the Pacific. China can regard a large area of the South China Sea as its lake as it has drawn a nine-dash line to encircle the area it claims and no one had opposed the line for more than two decades after it has been included in China’s map since 1947.
The US has never drawn any line whether nine-dash or ninety-dash to encircle the Pacific Ocean to support its claim to the Pacific. If it had drawn such a line, it would have encountered fierce opposition from lots of countries.
What Mr. Bohane means is in fact that China is establishing good relations with Pacific island nations while the US has neglected those nations. The island nations have not been US allies or spheres of influence. Nor are they China’s allies or spheres of influence; therefore, the actual situation there is that China has been making efforts to make friends there while the US has done nothing.
In Asia, what Mr. Ratner means in his article is but US loss of Southeast Asia to China. The US has kept Japan and South Korea as its allies. As for South and Central Asia, they have long been Russia’s spheres of influence. China has not substituted its influence for Russia’s. Even if it has, the areas have been lost by Russia instead of US to China.
As for the Middle East in Asia, the US does seem to have been losing it but not to China as China’s influence there remains very much limited.
What we have to discuss is how the US has lost its influence in Asia, especially Russia, Southeast Asia and Pakistan and how China has been gaining influence in Pacific island nations.
What is Sun Tzu’s teachings?
Sun Tzu says, “In the past, those who were skilled in war made themselves invincible first and then waited for the time when the enemy could be defeated. One relies on one’s own for invincibility, but whether one’s enemy can be defeated is determined by the enemy. Therefore, those who are skilled in war are able to make themselves invincible, but unable to make the enemy surely defeatable.
Therefore, those who are skilled in war put themselves in an invincible position and lose no chance of their enemies’ possible loss. Hence, a winning army fights after it has got the opportunity to win while a losing army fights first and then seek victory.
Let’s see what China has done to put itself in an invincible position. China had been improving its relations with Russia, its long-term enemy in history, For quite a long time since it began its reform and opening up it had been making efforts to improve its relations with Russia as it needed a peaceful environment for economic growth. At the same time, Russia had been trying hard to improve its relations with the West. In fact, at that time Russia adopted a political and economic system quite similar to the West. There was hope that Russia might be accepted by the West.
However, the West always has an intention to contain Russia in order to prevent it from becoming a superpower similar to the Soviet Union. After all, Russia is the major part of the Soviet Union.
China’s improvement in its relations with Russia put it in an invincible diplomatic position to prevent the West from sowing discord between Russia and China. However, though both of them felt the pressure from the US to contain them, there has been no breakthrough to establish mutual trust for closer relations, especially an alliance for that.
Then there was Obama’s pivot to Asia and later the West’s street coup that overthrew a pro-Russia Ukrainian government. China exploited the chances for the establishment of an anti-US alliance between China and Russia.
EU and US mistake in their street revolution to bring about regime change in Ukraine gave China the opportunity to entirely win over Russia and made Russia China’s close ally.
In East and Southeast Asia, China has developed economic relations with ASEAN, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand quietly till the relations become so close as to enable China to set up free trade areas with them. Moreover, China has made efforts to grow its market much larger and even larger that no other market can replace China’s.
China has thus established its invincible position in East and Southeast Asia. Its invincible position in Southeast Asia has been strengthened by its willingness to conduct win-win cooperation with other claimants in exploiting the fish and energy resources in the disputed sea areas. Still it could not defeat the US diplomatically there until the US made the mistake to give China the opportunity to win.
In fact, the US must have been very clear that due to ASEAN’s close economic relations with China, it is impossible for the US to make ASEAN join it in containing China.
Still the US made the mistake in instigating the Philippines to file an arbitration and helping it to win the arbitration without military support to impose the arbitration award. That gave China the opportunity to subdue the US with firm posture to defend its sovereignty and interests militarily while making efforts to win over the Philippines with the diplomacy by allowing the Philippines to fish in the area around Scarborough Shoal and promising win-win cooperation in exploiting the resources in the disputed waters.
China’s diplomatic victory in dealing with the Philippines has caused the US to lose the entire Southeast Asia.
The diplomatic victory in Southeast Asia has made the US unable to use any ASEAN member as its base to attack China. Together with the military control of the South China Sea has removed the threat of US attack at China from the South China Sea.
There remains the threat of the US cutting China’s trade lifelines through the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
For the west route, China has launched its Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road initiative. It has set up land connections with Europe through Russia and Central Asia through the initiative and is now busy building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for connection with the Middle East, which is vital for China’s energy imports.
However, in spite of China’s efforts to develop close economic relations with EU, China’s growing influence in eastern Europe has given rise to EU’s concerns as a result, China’s position though quite strong, cannot be regarded as invincible. However, US mistake in dealing with its relations with EU provides China with opportunity for closer times with EU. China owes its diplomatic victory in Europe to US mistake.
Now, China’s trade lifeline through the Pacific remains unsafe. China’s trade with Americas is much smaller than that with EU but American markets especially those in Latin America have great growth potential.
What shall China do?
According to Wall Street Journal’s article “US Is Losing the Pacific to China” on June 23, China has made multibillion-dollar investments throughout the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia is offering critical infrastructure projects, sending lots of tourists there and providing access to financial inclusion, but the US “continues to neglect its treaty allies in Micronesia and ignore the rest of the region.”
The article says, “Palau is still waiting on US$216 million in funds promised in 2011 as part of its agreement to provide the US with exclusive military access. Similar frustrations may lead the Federated States of Micronesia to terminate its own treaty with the US next year, well ahead of its expected 2023 expiration.”
Again China is establishing invincible position while the US is making mistakes to provide China with the opportunity to win with diplomacy.
If such diplomacy is combined with the construction of artificial islands on some reefs or floating artificial islands, each of which is supported with two aircraft carrier battle groups, China’s trade lifelines across the Pacific will thus be secure.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy and Wall Street Journal’s articles, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/12/the-united-states-is-losing-asia-to-china/ and https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-u-s-is-losing-the-pacific-to-china-1496853380
There is no denial that the US regards China as its top potential enemy. Obama made it very clear that his Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was directed at China.
Obama’s pivot to Asia, in spite of his claim that it was not directed at China, was directed at China. That was clear to everybody.
The US is obsessed with military solution. That is why it maintains an excessive military budget in spite of its shortage of funds for its people’s welfare and its essential but dilapidated infrastructures. Obama’s major approach for his pivot to Asia was to deploy 60% of US military in Asia.
China follows its gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teachings: Subdue the enemy with strategy is the best of best, with diplomacy the next best, with fighting the third option while with attacking enemy cities the last choice. China’s approaches now are first of all strategy, the strategy of weapon development to achieve military superiority and the strategy to exploit its geographical advantages.
It first built seven artificial islands to fully exploit its geographical advantages to prevent US attack of its homeland.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s stress on development of integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense is the space era strategy that requires the development of technology for space travel. It is difficult but formidable. When China has succeeded in building an aerospace bomber so fast as capable to chase an ICBM, the US will have not even the ability to defend its homeland, let alone the capability to attack China.
However, US politicians and military, being strategy illiterate, adopts their air-sea battle strategy with which it won World War II when computer has not been invented yet. Now, they stick to the outdated strategy in spite of their failures in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their new aircraft carrier is indeed very advanced but will be easy prey of an aerospace bomber.
I have just had a post that compares US and Chinese hypersonic flying vehicles based on a Popular Science’s article. It shows how ambitious Chinese are compared with US unmanned models with limited military capabilities.
China will certainly subdue the US with its superior strategy. It is only a matter of time.
Strategy illiterates have not learnt from the lessons from World War II. That is America’s major problem.
Germany adopted advanced technology to develop best tanks, lots of warplanes and rockets and made Britain and the Soviet Union suffer seriously.
British battleship was sunk by Japan’s aircrafts as it fails to realize the importance of air force. Like Britain, the US fails now to realize the importance of integrated space and air capabilities. Its space competition with the Soviet Union was a waste of huge resources for a show of technical superiority. When It has won the competition, it neglects space and transfers its resources to pursue near-term weapon superiority.
China’s space program is not for a show. It aims at obtaining technology for weapon development and exploiting space resources.
It is very clear the US is repeating Britain’s failure. US best aircraft carriers will be destroyed by aerospace bombers like Britain’s battleships by bomber aircrafts.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
In my recent book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S., I said US Air-Sea Battle was an outdated strategy of the 1940s when the US beat Japan with that strategy, but as a matter of fact, the US sent army to take Japanese islands and suffered heavy casualties. In its war against Japan after Germany was defeated, US army suffered heavy casualties because the US was inpatient. It wanted to end the war quickly. In fact, the US was entirely able to beat Japan with Air-Sea Battle without its army as it had won absolute air and sea supremacy. Just cut Japan’s transport lifelines and conduct saturate bombing and bombarding, Japan will collapse in a couple of years. The US even had no need to use its atomic bombs. Japan lacked the natural and human resourced to fight a prolonged war. In 1945, Japan had to send its teenagers to the frontline. If it had stubbornly refused to surrender, it would have to send the teenagers’ grandmothers to the frontline. If US politicians had known the ABC of strategies, they would have refrained from asking Soviet Red Army to join the fight against Japan but give Chinese troops better weapons and send US air force and aircraft carriers to help China defeat Japan in China while cutting Japan’s marine transportation. By so doing, US boys might have returned home to enjoy the peace brought about by US victory in Europe. Only US air force and navy will be busy fighting Japan with few casualties as Japan had lost its navy and air force. When Japan had collapsed by that wise US strategy, the US would have occupied entire Korea. There would not have been the Korean War. It is really ridiculous that US strategists have always racked their brains to find a way to counter their enemy’s anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) efforts in spite of the repeated failures of the ways they have developed. The US has had the most powerful military in the world since World War II, but it has never succeeded in countering its enemies’ A2/AD in its major wars since World War II. It could not have access to or areas in North Korea in spite of its air and sea supremacy and much greater fire power in the Korean War. Air-Sea Battle did not work there. It lost its access to and area in South Vietnam in spite of its air and sea supremacy. In the Gulf War, the US won a land-slide victory but gave up its access to and area in Iraq as its goal was to drive Iraqi invaders away from Kuwait. The war, though a victory, has nothing to do with A2/AD. In US recent Iraqi and Afghan wars, the US first obtained access to and areas in the two countries, but due to its enemies’ A2/AD, it has to give up the access and areas obtained and withdraw its troops. In short, in all US major wars since the US became a world hegemon at the end of World War II, its enemies have always succeeded in their A2/AD efforts. I laughed at the outdated nature of what US strategists called Air-Sea Battle. US army is also unhappy with Air-Sea Battle as the army plays no role in Air-Sea Battle. However, perhaps things are different now. This time US strategists have developed something new. They have developed a new strategy called Joint Concept of Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons. They say the change is only in name and the US will still fight Air-Sea Battle. However, the new name has a quite different meaning. Air-Sea Battle is said to be tailor made to deal with China. Judging by US military’s intention to counter China’s A2/AD efforts, it implies US invasion of China or at least US attack at Chinese ground targets. For this, US military shall have access to area in China. Now, the US only wants joint access and maneuver in world commons, not in China’s land areas. It wants access only to air and sea not China’s land area. In this sense, the US will still fight Air-Sea Battle. However, the use of the term “joint” indicate that the US may use other forces such as space warfare force in addition to its air force and navy. That is obvious a stride forward. Access and maneuver only in world commons instead of area in other countries’ territories are also a great improvement. If it is the strategy for confrontation with China, it is a more realistic one. How can the US have access to the area in such a powerful country as China when it cannot have access to areas in Iraq and even Afghanistan? US army will be doomed if it tries to invade China. Therefore, to deal with China, no army will be used. Air-Sea Battle is a true description of US future war with China if US space warfare force has not been ready yet. However, for a strategy to deal with China, the joint concept of access and maneuver in world commons is by no means a wise one. It is again a concept to counter China’s A2/AD though it involves no China’s land area but the air and sea close to Chinese coast. I have pointed out in my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S. that US navy will be targets of saturate attack of anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles from China’s land bases vehicles, land-based aircrafts, warships and submarines. What the US is strong and China is afraid of is US navy’s dominance of high sea that can easily cut China’s trade lifelines. Therefore, US strategy shall be anti-access and area-denial at high sea to block Chinese ships there. It is military common sense that one shall concentrate superior force against weaker part of enemy force. Therefore, US escalation strategy in its Vietnamese war is a blunder. The gradual increase of force could not give US military superiority over its enemy. During the Gulf War, however, US army did not begin its attack until it has build up overwhelming superiority over Iraqi force. That is why the US won a landslide victory. However, the US has not learnt lessons from the two wars. It now wants to repeat its blunder in Vietnam by concentrating 60% of its force near Chinese coast to deal with much stronger Chinese missiles, air force and navy only to provide more targets to be wiped out by Chinese military. If a war breaks out between China and the US, China will be able to wipe out 6 of the 10 aircraft carrier battle groups within the range of its anti-ship missiles in Asia Pacific. As a result, the US will have only 4 aircraft carrier battle groups left to cut China’s trade lifelines. By that time China may have already developed a navy strong enough to deal with the four groups. If the US keeps all its navy at high sea to block China’s export trade, China will have much greater difficulties to deal with US navy.
Know oneself and know one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war. Know oneself but not one’s enemy, one has a half chance to win and a half chance to lose.
–The Art of War by Sun Tze It is a pity that US strategists have not carried out careful study of China’s strategy. They at best have only a half chance to win if they know their own country well. In Mao Era, China’s strategy is to seduce the enemy deep into Chinese territory. When the enemy stays deep in China, Chinese troops will harass them to make them weary and weak and then conduct counterattack to wipe out the enemy. When Deng Xiaoping became the paramount leader, together with Chinese generals, they replaced Mao’s strategy with that of positive defense so that the enemy will not be able to inflict too much destruction in Chinese territories as they will not be allowed to invade deep in China. As China grew stronger, together with Chinese generals, Hu Jintao replaced positive defense with the strategy of wiping out the enemy at sea so that the enemy will not be able to inflict destruction in China’s homeland. That was why Hu began to expand Chinese navy vigorously, build an aircraft carrier on the basis of a hulk from Ukraine and develop China’s stealth fighter jets. Due to that strategy, China will soon acquire the capabilities to wipe out its enemy at sea by achieving air supremacy with its stealth fighter jets and saturate attack at enemy navy with anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles. What the US has to do is to keep its navy at high sea to cut China’s trade lifelines instead of concentrating 60% of its aircrafts and warships near China to be being destroyed by China at sea. In this way, the US can successfully deal with Hu Jintao’s strategy. When there was real possibility of a war between China and Japan that might involve the US, China was afraid that if it had sunk a US aircraft carrier, the US might retaliate with nuclear weapons. That was why China began to showcase its strategic nuclear submarines to tell the US that it had not only the second strike ICBM hidden in 5,000km tunnels but even better underwater second strike capabilities. That was quite a surprise to the US as before China showcased its submarines, the US believed that China’s submarines did not patrol high sea as the US had not detected them. That ia similar to US General MacArthur’s failure to detect Chinese troops when he conducted reconnaissance on an aircraft in person. He did not believe Chinese troops were able to hide in mountains in very cold weather. At that time, US generals believed that China’s nuclear submarines were too noisy and were easily detected but were surprised that just like Chinese troops in the Korean War, Chinese strategic nuclear submarines were able to keep on their operations at high sea without being detected by US satellites, aircrafts and navy. Hu Jintao’s strategy worked, but China will be defeated by the US even if it had wiped out the part of US navy near its coast because the US can easily cut China’s trade lifelines due to its navy’s dominance of the oceans. What is the next strategy developed by Xi Jinping for China? It is the strategy to build up China’s capabilities to defend China’s trade lifelines. For that Xi has urged Chinese air force to acquire integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense. With such capabilities, China will be able to attack US fleets at high sea to prevent them from cutting China’s trade lifelines. I describe in my book how an aerospace bomber can kill an aircraft carrier battle group in minutes. Such aerospace bomber will be one of the weapons in Xi’s integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense. When China has developed a fleet of aerospace bombers armed with hypersonic missiles, US will no longer dominate the oceans. Have US strategists developed any ways to deal with Xi’s strategy? No, they are busy deal with the A2/AD strategy that they foolishly expect China to adopt. What will be China’s strategy next to Xi’s? US strategists have entirely no idea. China will develop the capabilities of conventional deterrence. Now China has second-strike nuclear capabilities as deterrence so that the US does not dare to attack it with nuclear weapons. In the future, China will develop powerful conventional retaliation capabilities so that when China’s homeland is attacked by conventional weapons, it will be able to retaliate by attacking its enemy’s homeland with powerful conventional weapons. However, with such capabilities China may become an aggressor if it has an aggressive leader like Mao. If US strategists remain illiterate in strategy and fail to know China and make preparations to counter China’s capabilities, they will be unprepared for the potential Chinese attack at their homeland. In that case, they will become laughingstock for remaining busy in developing US anti-A2/AD capabilities instead of building up US A2/AD capabilities to prevent enemy attack at their homeland.. The following is the full text of The Diplomat’s article that describes US new Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons: The Pentagon Just Dropped the Air Sea Battle Name However, the U.S. Defense Department will continue to pursue counter-A2/AD strategies. Yesterday, USNI News reported that the Pentagon has dropped the name “Air Sea Battle” for its operational concept meant to counter the anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) strategies of potential U.S. adversaries in future conflicts. According to an internal memo obtained by USNI News, the Air Sea Battle Office (ASBO) will be integrated into the Joint Staff J-7 Directorate (Joint Force Development), which will “monitor and support development of JAM-GC as required.” JAM-GC stands for “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons” and is the acronym replacing “Air Sea Battle.” This revised concept, due out by the end of the year, will particularly try to integrate U.S. land forces into JAM-GC, something which had been lacking in the previous operational concept. The name Air Sea Battle (Nomen Est Omen!) emphasized the leading role of the U.S. Navy and Air Force in the development and execution of the Air Sea Battle, which caused some resentment among army strategists who felt left out in the development of counter-A2/AD strategies. The Air Sea Battle concept was first publicly introduced in 2010 and has been controversial ever since. Although in public U.S. defense officials deny that this concept is aimed at a particular adversary or confined to a region, it is all too obvious that the principle adversaries in mind are China (in a Taiwan scenario) and Iran (in a Strait of Hormuz scenario). In plain terms, the concept wants to guarantee freedom of access in the global commons anywhere and in any domain (land, air, space, sea, and cyber) for the armed forces of the United States and its allies through improved joint forces integration and resource allocation. It is important to note that this is still only a concept and not an official doctrine. A retired U.S. Air Force general summed up the difference in an article in back in 1984: “Whereas a concept is a hypothesis or an inference which suggests that a proposed pattern of behavior may possibly lead to a desired result, a doctrine is a generalization based on sufficient evidence to suggest that a given pattern of behavior will probably lead to the desired result.” Thus, a concept is merely the first step in developing a doctrine. As Bernard D. Cole states in his book Asian Maritime Strategies – Navigating Troubled Waters, “ASB remained in 2013 very much a concept, with no written doctrine, proven technology, or demonstrated operational feasibility.” In addition, a senior U.S. Naval Officer, Rear Admiral James G. Foggo, III adds that it is no strategy: “An operational concept is a description of a method or scheme for employing military capabilities to attain specific objectives at the operational level of war. The overarching objective of the Air-Sea Battle Concept is to ‘gain and maintain freedom of action in the global commons.’ The Air-Sea Battle Concept is not a strategy.” Nevertheless, the perception abroad has been that of an aggressive new strategy meant to guarantee U.S. dominance in all domains, which has hampered U.S. efforts to improve mil-to-mil relations with (for example) the People’s Liberation Army and PLA Navy. As I pointed out before, this perception is especially detrimental when it comes to Sino-U.S. cooperation in cyberspace. The new “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons” will in all likelihood not be very helpful in overcoming this impasse. Source: Chan Kai Yee Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S. Source: The Diplomat “The Pentagon Just Dropped the Air Sea Battle Name”
I really pity the Philippines as it is in trouble this time due to its blind faith in US pivot to Asia. Its president Benigno S. Aquino III felt sorry that his mother failed to keep US military bases in the Philippines in spite of her hard efforts, but he now has to seek US assistance in its dispute with China.
He believes that he has to make some contributions in facilitating US pivot to Asia that is aimed at containing China. Therefore, he took the lead to confront China by sending his navy to round up eight Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal. He wanted to drive away Chinese fishermen so as to have exclusive fishing right at and administration of the Shoal and in the sea area around it.
However, he did not expect that in spite of the threat of powerful US navy, China sent its overwhelming navy and coast guard fleet to drive away Philippine warships and coast guard and fishing boats and take exclusive control of the Shoal.
He is especially disappointed that when China sent an oil rig to drill at the sea area claimed by both Vietnam and China, US Senate adopted a resolution to tell China to withdraw its oil rig, but neither the Obama administration nor US Congress has given the Philippines any such strong support in his standoff with China.
I really feel sorry for him as he is in fact the victim of US failed policy of pivot to Asia. Therefore, on September 12, I pointed out in my post China’s strategy of putting itself in an invincible position and not missing any of enemy’s errors that may enable it to defeat its enemy and Philippines’ blunders in dealing with China’s strategy.
In my post on September 14, I tell the Philippines the strategy that may bring it victory in its disputes with China. It is in fact a win-win strategy, by which the Philippines will get the maximum benefit it can get while by sharing the resources in the disputed waters with the Philippines, China can rest at better ease in its peaceful rise.
In the post, I quote Chinese great strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching: “Know oneself and one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war; know oneself but not one’s enemy, one has fifty-fifty chance to win; know neither oneself nor one’s enemy one is always in peril in war.”
The Philippines has to find a wise strategy through careful study of both China and itself. Judging by China’s large-scale construction of artificial islands on disputed islands and reefs, it is very clear that China will ignore the arbitration award if it is not in its favor. The arbitration shall only be exploited to get better terms in Philippines’ negotiation with China because China does not want to give a bad impression in world community by ignoring the arbitration award.
On the other hand, an analysis of the Philippines itself will find that in confronting China, the Philippines does not have the strength or real support from the US and ASEAN; therefore, negotiation with China is the only way out or it will get little share of the resources in the disputed waters. It has already lost the best opportunity of asking for the best terms when China offered it concessions.
Now, it is high time for it to use withdrawing its application for arbitration as condition for obtaining concessions from China. It will in the worst position when the arbitration award has come out.
Judging by what Aquino said in his interview with The New York Times, he wants multilateral negotiation with China. He is ignorant that no one wants to join his multilateral negotiation. Vietnam has conducted bilateral negotiations with China. Malaysia Prime Minister said Malaysia wanted bilateral negotiation during his recent visit to China. Brunei just keeps silence. Ownership over the disputed islands and waters is not an issue between China and Taiwan, both of which are seeking better relations between them.
Moreover, the Philippines is in a better position than other countries. It can withdraw its application for arbitration to get concessions from China. That is not the case with other countries. Aquino’s preference of multilateral negotiation gives me the impression that he lacks the confidence in his competence in dealing with China on the negotiation table.
There is one correction I shall make. China’s strategy as described in my post on September 12 was a defensive one. Judging by what Aquino said about China’s recent acts that perplex him, China has switched to an offensive strategy.
In the interview, Aquino said, China “goes from hot to cold, sometimes they’re very conciliatory, sometimes they make very provocative statements”. That is a common Chinese trick that China is now playing. It is called “A slap in face and then rub where it hit three times to show goodwill.”
That shows China’s enmity towards the Philippines in spite of its desire for a peaceful resolution of the dispute. The Philippines may encounter humiliation or contempt during the negotiation but shall ignore it. What counts is not China’s attitude but what it can get in the negotiation.
The following is the full text of The New York Times’ report on the interview with President Aquino:
Philippines Concerned About China, Leader Says
The president of the Philippines expressed concern on Tuesday about what he called the “hot to cold” messages from China in the protracted territorial disputes with his country — and others in the region — over areas of the South China Sea.
In an interview, the president, Benigno S. Aquino III, who was visiting to attend a United Nations summit meeting on climate change, made it clear that the territorial disputes had created a tense backdrop to the relationship between the Philippines and China and a geopolitical point of contention that also has entangled the United States, an ally of the Philippines.
China and the Philippines have been locked in a standoff over an area of the South China Sea near the Philippines coast called Scarborough Shoal for more than two years. In May, they became embroiled in another dispute over part of the Spratly Islands known as Johnson South Reef. The Philippines has filed a case against China with a United Nations tribunal, demanding arbitration of territorial disagreements.
Increasingly assertive about these claims, China has also engaged in maritime disputes with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam in different parts of the South China Sea, and with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.
The Chinese have sought one-on-one talks with the Philippines to resolve the dispute, but Mr. Aquino has rejected that approach — there are at least four countries with overlapping claims in the Spratlys alone, he said, so it makes no sense for two of the countries to negotiate with each other.
“We cannot agree to bilateral talks to solve the problem, because we think the problem is multilateral,” he said. “A multilateral problem has to be settled multilaterally.”
He described the relationship with China as confusing at times. While trade between the two nations continues to grow, he said, a travel advisory is in force in China discouraging visits to the Philippines. Other mixed messages recur as well. “There was a time when they were stopping our exports of bananas,” Mr. Aquino said.
“At the end of the day, it goes from hot to cold, sometimes they’re very conciliatory, sometimes they make very provocative statements,” he said. “We will confess we don’t understand some of the messages sometimes. We’re not sure.”
China has contended that ancient maritime maps from dynasties past support its claim on the Scarborough Shoal.
This month, the Philippines sought to rebut that claim by producing its own maps, some dating to the 12th century, showing that China had no ownership claim on islands below its southernmost region, Hainan, Philippine newspapers reported.
Source: The New York Times “Philippines Concerned About China, Leader Says”
The Strategy May Bring Philippines Victory in Disputes with China dated September 14, 2014
Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute dated September 12, 2014
China Exploited Philippine Error to Expand Area of Its Patrol dated August 16, 2014
Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen dated August 6, 2014
South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013
I am disappointed again by the quite some comments on my post “Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute” the day before yesterday.
It is an analysis of Chinese and Philippine strategies in dealing with the dispute. I point out six Philippine blunders caused by its poor strategy, but no comments touch the strategies.
In fact, I have written quite a few posts on strategy and received quite a few comments, but not even one of the comments concerns strategy. It seems that people are not interested in strategy. No wonder, there have been so many mistakes and even blunders in the world cause by poor strategies.
Most comments focus on who are right and who are wrong. For example, the comments on the above-mentioned post are mostly on the Philippine side holding that the Philippines has the right grounds to claim the disputed islands and waters.
My post does not concern whose claim is right or wrong. I said that the Philippines is stupid in first holding that the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) must be based on and then switched to a debate about the historical grounds of the two sides’ claims. The switch will make the arbitration award it has been seeking futile.
Not long ago, the Philippines resolved its maritime border dispute with Indonesia and made quite loud propaganda that they had set an example on resolving such disputes on the basis of international law instead of historical grounds.
In resolving the dispute by international law, there is a court of arbitration. The arbitration award, though not enforceable, enables the winning party to win support and sympathy in the world.
There is no international mechanism for resolving the dispute on the basis of historical grounds. In almost all cases, neither party is able to convince the other. War is the only way to resolve the dispute.
In fact, I have expertise in neither international law nor history about sovereignty over sea areas. I would rather leave the issue to the decision of experts in the areas.
However, I point out in the post that China has an official map dated 1947 and the map has not been challenged for decades after its publication. I believe the mere existence of such a map enable China to regard its claim as justified. As a result, the Philippines will find itself helpless even if it wins the arbitration.
By switching to historical grounds, the Philippines is undermining its arbitration efforts. It proves that the Philippines has no strategy at all.
The Philippines has to first formulate a sound wise strategy after careful study of both itself and its adversary.
Know oneself and one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war; know oneself but not one’s enemy, one has fifty fifty chance to win; know neither oneself nor one’s enemy one is always in peril in war.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Due to lack of careful study, it does not know that for China, there is no room of concession over sovereignty. China has been making preparations to fight the US to safeguard its sovereignty. That is why it has developed DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, lots of anti-ship cruise missiles and flotillas of more than 80 stealth fast missile boats regarded by US naval experts as aircraft carrier killers.
To counter Chinese military superiority near its coast, a recent article in US National Interest magazine advocates development of bombers and submarines to attack Chinese land targets with long-range cruise missiles. The missiles cannot attack Chinese anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles which are mostly mobile ones. It means the US is unable to use its existing aircraft carrier battle groups to fight China.
The bombers, long-range cruise missiles and submarines are not available now. It takes time to develop and build; therefore, when the US is defeated near Chinese coast in the near future, it has to retaliate with nuclear weapons.
To deter that, China has developed advanced strategic nuclear submarines.
In addition, American people are fed up with a decade of war. They certainly are not willing to fight a war for some small islands of a small ally.
If the Philippines had made such a careful study, it would have been able to know China’s bottom line that it is impossible for the Philippines to have exclusive ownership of the disputed islands and waters. What it shall strive to obtain is the best possible benefit from the islands and waters.
To force China to allow it to get the optimal benefits, it shall use US and ASEAN support as bargaining chips instead of starting Scarborough standoff to make China realize that the US will not fight a war with China for the Philippines so that China can adopt as hardline attitude as possible as long as it does not affect its relations with the US and ASEAN. The Philippines has thus wasted its two bargaining Chips.
International arbitration is the best bargaining chip. If the arbitration award is in favor of the Philippines, China, though will ignore it, will be embarrassed in international community for that. That is why China offered concession before the Philippines submitted its formal document for the arbitration. That will be the best chance for the Philippines to get as much as possible. It is a pity that the Philippines failed to grasp the opportunity for negotiation to obtain the best concessions from China.
A strategy is a well premeditated overall plan to achieve a goal. Usually, there is no or merely minor amendments of the strategy before the goal is achieved.
With wise strategy, a very weak country may defeat a very strong enemy. The best example is China’s victory at the beginning of the Korea War. China achieved something impossible. A worst equipped army defeats the best armed troops that had air and sea superiority.
China has quite a few talented strategists in its thousands of years of history. When Chinese intellectuals have studied hard to become masters of strategy, they are almost invincible.
In my previous posts, I quoted China’s classic Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to explain China’s wise strategy in dealing with South China Sea Issue:
Therefore, a person well skilled in warfare puts himself in an invincible position and does not miss any of enemy’s error that may enable him to defeat his enemy.
I pointed out in the posts: “We see that China has adopted the strategy of exploiting and disallowing other claimants to exploit the resources in the areas claimed by it. By so doing, China gets all the benefit from the areas while other claimants cannot get any. China is thus benefited as the full owner of the waters and islands in the areas without fighting wars to get back the islands claimed by it but occupied by other claimants.
“In this manner China has put itself in an invincible position.”
The Philippines could also have put itself in an invincible position if it had used the above-mentioned bargaining chips to conduct negotiations with the US and grasp the opportunity when China offered concessions to conclude an agreement with China quickly without giving China time for careful consideration.
Now, the Philippines has wasted almost all its bargaining chips due to its poor strategy. Its case seems hopeless.
Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:
•Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute dated September 12, 2014
•China Intensifying Patrol of Its Disputed Sea Areas with the Philippines dated August 21, 2014
•China Exploited Philippine Error to Expand Area of Its Patrol dated August 16, 2014
•Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen dated August 6, 2014
•Satellites and seafood: China keeps fishing fleet connected in disputed waters dated July 29, 2014
•South China Sea Disputes: US Pivot to Asia Has Zero Effect dated February 19, 2014
•South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013