China Threat

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China is a global totalitarian threat. The US (and its allies) must challenge it, not endorse it

Ben Shapiro, August 28, 2019,   Trump Is Right on the China Threat,

Now, Trump’s trade policy may not be well-considered. His understanding of trade is rudimentary at best — he still operates under the assumption that mutually beneficial trade is actually a zero-sum game. And Trump’s rhetoric may be confusing — it’s unclear whether Trump wants tariffs or wants to alleviate them. But Trump does have one thing absolutely right: China is an imperturbable geopolitical foe. And the United States ought to be taking a serious look at a long-term strategy to contain and then reverse the dominance of the totalitarian communist regime. Trump is the only president of recent vintage to understand this simple truth. The Chinese regime is strengthening its totalitarianism; market forces have not opened up China’s politics. China’s attempts to strengthen its grip on Hong Kong, its forays into the complexities of Indian-Pakistani politics, its threats of sanctions against American firms over the sale of jets to Taiwan — all of this bespeaks the intent of the Xi Jinping regime, which has a philosophy of political revanchism. The supposed moderation of Dengism — the political philosophy of Deng Xiaoping, which supposedly prized pragmatism over doctrinal adherence to Marxist tenets — is being quickly reversed, with China’s economy placed at the mercy of political leadership. Dengism was always treated with too much optimism by the West: The same regime supposedly pushing for detente with the West stole hundreds of billions in intellectual property every year for years while continuing to build up its military. Still, Xi has moved away from even tepid moves toward openness. Two significant projects in recent years demonstrate the scale of China’s ambitions. First, there’s the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, in which China has helped subsidize building infrastructure in a bevy of countries throughout the world. Up to 68 countries are already taking part. The project is designed to place these countries in hock to the Chinese government; it’s also designed to maximize China’s naval power in the region. Then there is China’s heavy focus on government-subsidized building of 5G, using Huawei as the tip of the spear. China is offering 5G technology to developing countries at discounted prices, and those countries, hungry for the technology, have been accepting, likely at the cost of their own privacy and security. The goal, as always: maximization of China’s sphere of influence. Free trade isn’t going to cure this. China’s government has been willing to utilize mercantilism to prop up its global ambitions. Capitalism hasn’t opened China’s politics. Free trade has indeed benefitted China’s citizens, bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the Chinese government has responded with more repression, not less. All of which means that the United States must be pursuing a thorough strategy of opposition to China’s ambitions. Trump seems to understand this. But if he fails to articulate that to the American people, his economic war with China will fail. That’s because if the American people are asked to shoulder an economic burden without being informed as to the rationale or the cost, they will rightly buck. Trump hasn’t explained that the burden exists, let alone why the American people should shoulder it. With that said, at least Trump recognizes the threat China represents. The chattering class has, for far too long, ignored that threat, to the detriment of the United States and her allies.

Under Xi, China is a threat to Taiwan

Cary Huang is a veteran China affairs columnist, having written on the topic since the early 1990s, August 25, 2019,, , Under Trump, US arms sales to Taiwan could be the new normal

Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has sought to expand its military power and has stepped up threats to take Taiwan by force, if necessary. It has increased navy and air force “encirclement” patrols around the island since Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, came to power in 2016. In return, Tsai has stepped up countermeasures. Last week, Taipei unveiled its largest defence spending increase in more than a decade, to NT$411.3 billion (US$13.1 billion) for next year. But that figure is only about 5 per cent of the mainland’s US$250 billion for 2018.

China’s military threat increasing. It’s technology is improving and it is engaging in espionage

Ellen Iones, August 24, 2019,, China’s military power may surpass the US’s faster than you think, thanks to 6 shrewd strategies

China’s military is well on its way to besting the US’s technologic edge, due to rapid economic and military development. By stealing already-extant weapons technology, China is developing advanced weapons at a rapid pace. It’s also figuring out how to disrupt the US’s battlefield systems, working on long-range weapons, and leading the way on artificial intelligence. China is also developing highly secretive weapons which might include, “directed energy weapons, advanced space weapons, electromagnetic railguns, high-powered microwave weapons, or even more exotic arms,” according to former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work. Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories. China’s military power is quickly becoming the greatest threat to US military primacy. From posturing in the South China Sea to damaging hacking campaigns, the Chinese government is investing more time and resources into its military strategy, and it shows. A June report from the Center for a New American Security, co-authored by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work, outlines the ways China’s strategy and technology threaten to best the US in a great power struggle — and what the US can do to maintain its military primacy. By employing cyber attacks and hacking to steal US military technology, China is circumventing the long, painstaking research and development phase of weapons manufacturing. In January and February of 2018, hackers working for the Chinese government were able to steal 614 gigabytes of information from a military contractor about a secretive US Navy project called Sea Dragon, intended to upgrade and improve current US weapons systems by introducing a “disruptive offensive capability,” The Washington Post reported. There are many other known instances of Chinese security breaches; and even at high levels of classification and security, the US government has difficulty controlling the intrusions. China also works to break down US battlefield defenses. The US high-technology battlefield system — the so-called “kill chain” — is comprised of four grids that, working in concert, “find, fix, and finish intended targets,” according to the report. The battlefield grids have to communicate with each other — and that’s where China’s strategy is focused on finding and exploiting vulnerabilities to jam the communication system, degrading an adversary’s ability to strike in concert and, hopefully, make those strikes less effective. A member of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) coastal defence force jumps through a burning obstacle during a drill to mark the 87th Army Day at a military base in Qingdao, Shandong province July 29, 2014. Reuters China’s strategy to offset US dominance and gain tactical advantages also depends on its ability to strike early in a conflict, and strike hard. China’s focus on developing long-range ballistic and cruise missiles that match US weapons like the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, which has a range of 100 nautical miles. In some cases, Chinese weapons outmatch US weapons ranges. This strategy is cost-effective and exploits the US’s previous decision to forgo missiles with a range longer than 500 km under the recently-deceased INF treaty; the US tested its first post-INF range ground-launched missile on August 18. Plus, China can call massive mobile, land-based missile strikes with relative ease, exploiting the US’s dependence on air-based bombardments, which take longer to coordinate. China has so focused on its missile strategy that it has created a branch of its military entirely devoted to it — the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), which is now developing “some of the most advanced cruise and ballistic missiles of any force,” including hypersonic missiles and the DF-21D “carrier killer,” which has a nearly 1,000-mile range, according to the report. Military vehicles with DF-21D ballistic missiles head to Tiananmen Square during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj All these so-called “offset” strategies include some element of capability concealment, to suprise adversaries during battle. The US calls these “black capabilities,” kept under lock and key by military and state apparatus. While China may show off some of its capabilities, like the “carrier-killer,” as a deterrent, it keeps what some observers call “Assassin’s Mace” or Project 995 weapons, secret. Work speculates that these “black” capabilities might include “directed energy weapons, advanced space weapons, electromagnetic railguns, high-powered microwave weapons, or even more exotic arms.” China’s goverment notoriously uses artificial intelligence to track and control its population. It’s also betting that AI like autonomous unmanned systems, human-machine hybrid intelligence, automated decisionmaking, and intelligent robotics are the future both of economic advancement and warfighting, and it’s determined to come out on top. A Chinese submarine during an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, in Qingdao, Shandong province, April 23, 2009. REUTERS/Guang Niu/Pool China’s economy is the second-largest in the world, and it’s on the path to overtake the US’s in absolute GDP by 2030 — giving China the ability to spend far more resources on its military than in previous decades. From 1996 to 2015, China increased its military spending by 620%. Marines with Maritime Raid Force, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, approach a simulated enemy vessel during a visit, board, search, and seizure mission off the coast of San Diego, Calif., June 28, 2016. Flickr/Marines After decades of primacy and focusing on conflicts in the Middle East, the US is unprepared for the kind of power China is building. So what can the Defense Department do to improve its chances in a great power matchup with China? Work’s report proposes the following.

China’s growth has enabled it to develop a military advantage vis-a-visa Taiwan. Arms sales are needed to offset that, and only the US will sell

Kyle Mizokami, August 25, 2019,, Why The U.S. Is Selling Taiwan New F-16 Fighter Jets,

In 1949, at the end of the Chinese Civil War, China was essentially split into two political entities: the victorious Chinese Communist Party on the mainland and the beaten Chinese Nationalists, who retreated to the island of Formosa/Taiwan to lick their wounds. The two sides are separated by the Taiwan Strait, which is just 112 miles wide. For decades China’s poverty and inability to field a credible navy meant that strait protected Taiwan from invasion. The island’s economy prospered, turning it into a major regional economic power while the mainland remained mired in relative poverty. Since the 1980s, China has enjoyed consistent double-digit economic growth. Thanks to trade with the West and neighbors Japan, Korea, and yes even Taiwan, China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. It’s probably the biggest economic miracle in the last hundred years. A byproduct of that is China’s growing global economic and political clout, and military that has grown dramatically over the past quarter century. The balance of military power between China and Taiwan has swung decisively, and irreversibly, in the mainland’s favor. As late as the 1990s, the rest of the world was willing to sell Taiwan arms. Taiwan has German minesweepers and bridging equipment, Dutch Zwaardvis-class submarines, and French Lafayette frigates and Mirage 2000-5 jet fighters. Today, Beijing’s power is formidable enough it can threaten to put an economic hurt on any country that sells Taiwan arms. This economic isolation has worked: Taiwan has money to spend but nobody wants to cross China. That is, except for the United States of America. The latest deal, approved by President Donald Trump, is for 66 F-16C/D Block 70 fighters (also known as the F-16V) for a total of $8 billion. Included in the deal are 75 sets of engines, secure digital communications, radars, GPS navigation sets, electronic countermeasures systems, mission computers, and M61 20-millimeter Gatling guns. In other words, one per aircraft plus nine spares and a smattering of ground support equipment. The F-16 Block 70 is the latest version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a fighter jet that’s been in continuous production since the late 1970s. Nearly 30 countries fly the F-16, with more than 4,600 planes built to date. The big upgrade for the Block 70 series of jets is the APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar system, which includes F-22 and F-35 radar technology and has the ability to track up to 20 aerial targets at once. Block 70 also includes a revamped cockpit, fuel tanks built into the upper fuselage to give the jet a greater fighting range, advanced versions of the General Electric F110 afterburning engines, and the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II, which projects data into the pilot’s helmet visor and allows the pilot to aim his or her weapons by merely pointing looking at them. The F-16V is a proven fighter and, thanks to being produced by the same company that makes the F-35 Lighting II and the F-22 Raptor, incorporates some of the same tech to keep it relevant. Yet one can’t help but notice that just as the United States warns Chinese fighter aircraft are becoming more advanced, one jet is sitting this sale out: the F-35. The F-16 Block 70 may be a fourth-generation fighter with fifth-generation technology baked in, but it’s still not a fifth-generation fighter. According to the Department of Defense China is currently developing two fifth generation fighters, the J-20 and FC-31, both of which include built-in stealth technology—something the 1970s-era F-16 does not. In addition to being stealthy the J-20 is also expected to be highly maneuverable and equipped with the PL-15, an air-to-air missile with its own nose-mounted radar and an estimated range of 124 miles. The J-20 fighter will be in the vanguard in any military action against China, and in a head to head matchup between the F-16 and J-20 both jets have their advantages and disadvantages. The F-16 has proven American technology that, although extremely expensive, will work. This particularly applies to the radar and weapon systems. On the other hand the F-16 is not stealthy, and will be vulnerable to the PL-15. The J-20 looks great on paper, with stealth, new, long-range missiles, and a good radar. On the other hand, nobody outside of China knows how good—or bad—China’s first fifth generation jet fighter really is.

China’s military build-up aimed at aggression against Taiwan

Jamie McIntyre is the Washington Examiner’s senior writer on defense and national security, August 1, 2019,, The ticking time bomb of Taiwan

It’s an assessment backed up by a January 2019 Defense Intelligence Agency report which called the desire to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification as “the primary driver” for China’s military modernization. “China has built or acquired a wide array of advanced platforms, including submarines, major surface combatants, missile patrol craft, maritime strike aircraft, and land-based systems that employ new, sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles and SAMs. China also has developed the world’s first road-mobile, anti-ship ballistic missile, a system specifically designed to attack enemy aircraft carriers,” the report states. “China’s leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention.” China’s current military doctrine is centered around prevailing in regional disputes, including Taiwan, while deterring the potential for what it calls “intervention by the strong enemy,” a not very veiled reference to the U.S.

China doesn’t have the military capability to invade Taiwan

David Axe, 8-13, 19,, Is Taiwan Getting Ready to Build a New Fighter Jet?

Chinese forces are at least as sophisticated and easily outnumber Taiwan’s own forces. But that doesn’t mean China easily could conquer Taiwan. “An attempt to invade Taiwan would likely strain China’s armed forces and invite international intervention,” according to the 2019 edition of the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on Chinese military developments. “China has an array of options for a Taiwan campaign, ranging from an air and maritime blockade to a full-scale amphibious invasion to seize and occupy some or all of Taiwan or its offshore islands,” the report continued. Report Advertisement Invading Taiwan would require large numbers of ships to cross the heavily-defended Taiwan Strait. As of 2019, China doesn’t have them. “There is no indication China is significantly expanding its landing ship force necessary for an amphibious assault on Taiwan,” the Pentagon noted. Even building more ships wouldn’t ensure victory for China. “Large-scale amphibious invasion is one of the most complicated and difficult military operations,” the American report warned. “Success depends upon air and maritime superiority, the rapid buildup and sustainment of supplies onshore and uninterrupted support.” Report Advertisement “These stresses, combined with China’s combat force attrition and the complexity of urban warfare and counterinsurgency, even assuming a successful landing and breakout, make an amphibious invasion of Taiwan a significant political and military risk.”

China is a militarily aggressive power and it is totalitarian

Holmes, 8-9, 19, ames Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and author of “Visualize Chinese Sea Power,” in the current issue of the Naval Institute Proceedings, Don’t Believe China’s Commitment to Peace and Stability,

It’s tough being a totalitarian nowadays. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) potentates crave nothing more than peace and stability, yet rival great powers and internal separatists cussedly refuse to let concord blossom across East Asia. Such are the travails besetting China according to the party’s latest defense white paper, entitled China’s National Defense in the New Era. Weep briny tears for Beijing. There are a few mild surprises in the white paper, notably its muted attention to military strategy and operational matters. There’s the usual boilerplate about China’s being wholly defensive in outlook yet prepared to counterattack, and it notes that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “adopts active defense.” That bland statement is a far cry from the 2015 while paper, dubbed China’s Military Strategy, which declared that “active defense”—the mainstay of the CCP way of war since Mao Zedong spelled out the concept during the 1930s—remains the “essence” of Chinese Communist thought. On second thought, though, the apparent shift in emphasis may not be such a mystery. It’s far from obvious that the 2015 white paper constituted one in an unbroken series of defense white papers stretching back to 1998, the way we China-watchers assume. Some of them display different perspectives. Just look at the 2015 white paper’s title: China’s Military Strategy, not China’s National Defense in 20xx. (The 2013 white paper was titled The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces, making it another outlier. It too gives active defense a shout-out, stating that the PLA “unswervingly” pursues the Maoist approach.) That suggests a different agenda. Military strategy is a subset of national defense strategy, just as defense strategy is a subset of national security strategy. That’s why Washington publishes National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and National Military Strategy documents. These documents are not interchangeable with one another. That being the case, it’s only fitting that a white paper about military strategy would pay closer attention to such matters as active defense, a technique for enfeebling a stronger foe on the battleground while buttressing one’s own strength, whereas a white paper about national defense genuflects to the military dimension yet concentrates on larger things. There’s little reason to replicate what the former says in the latter, since they represent parts of a family of documents that fit together and mutually support one another. Let’s give Chinese scribes credit for excellent English, for linguistic precision when they choose to be precise, and for grasping the difference between levels of foreign policy and strategy. They grok strategy. Apart from that idiosyncrasy, let’s wax philosophical. The 2019 white paper’s framers enunciate lofty purposes, peace and stability chief among them, and they contend that others have a stake in the Chinese Communist Party’s version of regional harmony. “The dream of the Chinese people,” they claim, “is closely connected with the dreams of peoples around the world. Peace, stability, and prosperity in China present opportunities and benefits to the rest of the world. A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” Report Advertisement They then pirouette to threats. The United States has boosted defense spending, “pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.” “The ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country. External separatist forces for ‘Tibet independence’ and the creation of ‘East Turkistan’ launch frequent actions, posing threats to China’s national security and social stability.” Figures of high repute from different historical epochs might hazard some pepperish remarks about China’s National Defense in the New Era. They might also have a few choice words for reporters and commentators who held forth about the white paper after it hit the streets late last month. Chief among them: Whether peace is worthwhile depends on the nature of that peace. Stability is overrated. And, above all, beware of wordplay when dealing with despotic regimes like China’s. Totalitarians excel at defending the indefensible through euphemism. The more candid among them confess that diplomacy is warfare through alternative means. This is ground truth. Report Advertisement First up is the 2nd-century historian Cornelius Tacitus, a member in good standing of the Roman elite. After growing up under the tyrants Nero and Domitian, Tacitus was a bitter critic of imperial corruption and brutality. And eloquent. In fact, Thomas Jefferson described him as the world’s finest writer, “without a single exception.” That’s quite a testament coming from the author of the Declaration of Independence. In the context of the Roman conquest of Britain, Tacitus pointed out that peace can take many forms—some truly odious. He lambasted Roman conquerors for their methods: “they make a desert and call it peace.” A desert is a peaceful place. That’s because it’s a desolate place. The same goes for the grave. Few places are more tranquil than a garden of stone. An Orwellian superstate is peaceful. After all, it’s lethal to oppose—or even hint at opposing—Big Brother. An international league in which the predominant ally exterminates wayward allies is peaceful once the crackdown is over. One imagines Tacitus would have tart words to say about the Chinese Communist Party, Big Brother Xi Jinping, and their avowed fealty to peace. Sure, Beijing is sincere about its love for peace. But it defines peace as others’ submitting meekly to the party’s demands, however unjust or unlawful. That’s scarcely what the German philosopher Immanuel Kant meant when he spun a vision of perpetual peace, a world where constitutional republics preside over all countries. In this happy world, citizens demand that governments set aside their feuds. Laying down arms lets republican societies get on with the business of business—searching for prosperity rather than wasting lives and resources on warfare. Now that’s a peace worth striving toward. Surrender is not. Next up is St. Augustine of Hippo, a 5th-century clergyman who saw the Roman Empire fall to ashes around him. The Catholic bishop maintains that not even those who make war relish war. “Every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. For even they who intentionally interrupt the peace in which they are living have no hatred of peace, but only wish it changed into a peace which suits them better.” In other words, writes Augustine, even peace-loving rulers or societies believe there are worse things than war. Namely an unjust status quo. The liberal U.S.-led order rankles with CCP overseers. They would like to amend it or replace it altogether, instituting a new Asian order under CCP management. They appear increasingly convinced China boasts the diplomatic, economic, and military might to undertake such a project. So Xi & Co. have proclaimed the new status quo, and branded the United States, its allies, and anyone else who opposes CCP primacy disturbers of the peace. Hence the defense white paper’s repeated claims that Beijing is upholding stability while others sow instability. St. Augustine’s commentary rhymes with Sun Tzu’s writings, which exhort sovereigns and generals to win without fighting. The Chinese sage depicts bloodless victory as the zenith of martial skill. For him, though, it’s blindingly clear that the win part takes precedence over the without fighting part. If possible the ruler should expand his power and prestige without the dangers, costs, and reverses inherent in warlike adventures. But Sun Tzu would hardly counsel political magnates to forego the battlefield and its potential rewards if a non-violent triumph eluded them. Why write a military manual otherwise? Report Advertisement Again, never take CCP spokesmen at their word. Like peace, stability may or may not be a good thing. Ask what kind of status quo is Beijing trying to upend, and what kind of status quo it wants to render stable. Last comes the 20th-century philosopher Hannah Arendt. In her landmark work The Origins of Totalitarianism—a work worth perusing when girding for strategic competition against today’s totalitarians—Arendt prophesies that “the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.” She uses the word conservatism with precision, to denote an attitude toward change rather than a set of political ideas or policies. Conservatives want to conserve what is. Report Advertisement The revolutionary wants to do away with the existing order and replace it with something entirely different. Once the revolution is over, however, the victors want to lock in the new order. Ergo, fire-breathers morph into archconservatives overnight in order to preserve their gains. The Chinese Communist Party has been in archconservative mode since winning the Chinese Civil War seventy years ago this year. That’s why the leadership is squelching dissent by any means necessary, including through such innovations as social credit scores, omnipresent surveillance cameras, and facial recognition software. Big Brother had nothing on Xi Jinping. Beijing’s policies and strategies would be instantly recognizable to Arendt. It has supersized the police-state apparatus compared to past totalitarians such as the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, pikers next to Chinese Communists. In the international realm it seems to be trying to shift from a strategy of “positive aim,” in which it tries to seize something from the keepers of the liberal order, to a strategy of “negative aim,” in which it tries to keep others from taking away what it has. It wants to conserve the Chinese-led order it claims to have installed. This is the outlook shaping China’s National Defense in the New Era and kindred statements of purpose and methods. Hannah Arendt also supplies an excellent closer. Plato, she recalls, “discovered the very insecure position of truth in the world, for from ‘opinions comes persuasion and not from truth.’” Facts are sacrosanct for totalitarians only insofar as they advance the official narrative, molding opinion and thus persuading important audiences. Inconvenient facts can be discarded. Totalitarians resort to word games—or simply make things up—to skew opinion in their favor. Chinese Communists have mastered this Platonic insight. They try to shape opinion through legal, media, and psychological warfare—their “three warfares”—on a 24/7/365 basis. And they sculpt the narrative with some success, even in the foreign press over which they have no control. In recent years, for instance, it has become commonplace in Western reportage to say something to the effect that that Beijing has “not renounced” the use of force against Taiwan. And indeed, the 2019 defense white paper declares, “We make no promise to renounce the use of force. . . .” While true in a strict sense, though, the choice of that word renounce puts an innocuous and misleading gloss on Chinese policy. Not foreswearing an option carries different connotations from openly pledging to use that option. Press reports’ word choice makes it sound as though CCP leaders might renounce warlike means but just haven’t bothered. The wording makes war sound like an abstract possibility rather than a very real prospect. Not only has Beijing never disavowed the use of armed force against Taiwan. It has explicitly and repeatedly vowed that it will use force against the island under certain circumstances, and it saw fit to write that threat into law back in 2005 under the guise of its “Anti-Secession Law.” So, by all means, quote the language about refusing to renounce war, etc., but give equal play to what comes afterward. The defense white paper pivots from refusing to promise to abjure force to “reserv[ing] the option of taking all necessary measures” against “separatists” on the island, or elsewhere around the Chinese periphery. Even that stops short of the language in the Anti-Secession Law, which proclaims that the Chinese state “shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures” to thwart moves toward independence. That shall leave little ambiguity. Report Advertisement The masters of history and philosophy agree: caveat emptor. Afford the words of totalitarians extra scrutiny. Let’s refuse to let the Chinese Communists of the world use linguistic shenanigans to disguise their intentions. Make them communicate clearly. Make them defend the indefensible frankly, and we might yet shame them into humane conduct.

China’s military is modernizing, closing the gap with the US

Espikopis, 7-29, 19,, This New Report Shows How Fast China’s Miltiary Is Becoming a Threat

First published in 1995, China’s biannual White Paper has long been regarded as one of the foremost sources of Chinese strategic messaging. What does its 2019 edition, “China’s National Defence in the New Era,” tell us about the PRC’s security orientation? Popular news coverage has focused on the report’s repeated insistence that Chinese “national sovereignty” is irreconcilable with Taiwanese independence, and rightly so; the White Paper reaffirmed that China “makes no promise to renounce the use of force”, and reserves “the option of taking all necessary measures” to reunify with the wayward island off its east coast. So as to preempt any ambiguity, the report confirms that these “necessary measures” include a military solution: “the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs. A great swathe of the report is devoted to similar kinds of political signalling vis-à-vis the US and China’s Asia-Pacific competitors, but interspersed throughout the White Paper is a trove of valuable information concerning China’s defense priorities. Despite colossal advancements in military hardware modernization over the past several decades, the report concludes that there is much more work to be done and more investments to be made if the PLA is to meet all of its ambitious modernization targets by 2035: “… the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has yet to complete the task of mechanization, and is in urgent need of improving its informationization. China’s military security is confronted by risks from technology surprise and growing technological generation gap. Greater efforts have to be invested in military modernization to meet national security demands. The PLA still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries.” China’s upcoming type 15 tank, type 052D destroyer, J-20 fighter, and DF-26 ballistic missile were cited as some of the hardware pillars of the standardized, interoperable force that the PLA seeks to evolve towards. Briefings on the PLA’s hardware modernization progress have long been a mainstay of China’s White Papers; however, the PLA’s newfound emphasis on rethinking not just equipment, but “military policies and institutions,” marks a departure from recent iterations. Chapter four, “Reform in China’s National Defense and Armed Forces,” outlines a series of changes in military training regimen, the restructuring of the PLA’s army groups from 18 to 13, and consolidated military education program. In a clear confirmation of the PLA’s aggressive reorientation toward Air-Sea conflict preparedness, the PLA ground forces were hit by a personnel reduction of 300,000, accompanied by slight personnel increases for the PLA Navy and Rocket Force. Report Advertisement Other changes include an increasingly meritocratic officer promotion system, as well as new military policing and justice measures aimed at “uprooting peacetime ills” and weeding out corruption within the upper echelons of the PLA. The latter is being supplemented by what the White Paper advertises as a drastically reformed command structure, notably condensing the seven former military regions into five Theater Commands. Finally, the Chinese military has taken a major step in streamlining and consolidating its cyber, space, and electronic warfare operations with the establishment of a People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) that reports directly to the Central Military Commission (CMC). Report Advertisement As China continues to “narrow the gap between its military and the world’s leading militaries,” the 2019 White Paper is the clearest statement yet of Beijing’s struggle to establish sound military institutions to keep pace with the PLA’s rapid technical modernization.

China’s military power and threat increasing

Erickson, 7-29-19, Andrew S. Erickson is a Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Fairbank Center. He runs and co-manages, China’s Defense White Paper Means Only One Thing: Trouble Ahead

Lately, Beijing has been making forceful statements and backing them with impactful actions. Speaking at the Aspen Security Dialogue on 18 July 2019, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson described People’s Republic of China (PRC) Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe’s 2 June speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue as “quite chilling.” “Not only did [Wei] make it clear that he didn’t think Asia and the Western Pacific was any place for America, he said Asia wasn’t even for Asians—it was for the Chinese.” Then, “within 24 hours of that they tested a new nuclear ballistic missile,” the submarine-launched JL-3. On 8 July, at a forum of defense ministers from Latin America and Pacific island nations in China, Wei acknowledged that Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative—in Davidson’s words, “was indeed a way to put a military foothold within other places around the globe.” “Within hours of that,” Davidson added, “they shot six anti-ship ballistic missiles—new ones that they have developed—into the South China Sea…the first time they have done an at-sea test.” To Davidson, “once might be a coincidence, but seeing this happen twice is indeed a message….” Most recently, on 24 July the PRC released “China’s National Defense in the New Era,” its first major military policy document for an international audience in four years. What statements, then, does this 2019 Defense White Paper make? What actions may follow from it?… As an assertion of policy, however, China’s 2019 Defense White Paper clearly follows from General Wei’s remarks. It clearly embodies Xi’s self-dictated era, strategy, goals, reforms, and rhetoric. At its core, it reflects an unabashed Chinese Communist Party-led effort to make China great again at home and abroad while allowing no domestic or foreign foe to disrupt this self-assigned historic mission. This year’s Defense White Paper replaces innovation and revelation glimpsed in previous iterations with an emphasis on implementation and justification. It lacks the 2006 edition’s extensive coverage of Border and Coastal Defense organizational structure, including the latest trends in “Militia Force Building,” and the 2015 edition’s substantive statements explaining the PLA’s transition to an unprecedented joint naval and aerospace orientation. The latter, China’s first-ever Defense White Paper on strategy, showed the PLA embracing new concepts and missions that represented significant innovations in safeguarding China’s national security. These doctrinal developments reflected the PLA’s adoption of a new strategic guideline in summer 2014, its ninth since 1956: “winning informatized local wars” (打赢信息化局部战争). Five areas merit particular mention as strategic emphases that the PLA has been implementing over the past four years. Report Advertisement First, in explicating China’s latest “military strategic guideline,” the 2015 Defense White Paper cited changes to the security environment, including accelerated worldwide use of “long-range, precise, smart, stealthy and unmanned weapons.” As for the nature of the local wars that the PLA must prepare to fight and win, it highlighted, in particular, the need to prepare for “maritime military struggle.” Second, it emphasized comprehensive full-spectrum operations: peacetime probing and pressure, as well as combat readiness. It articulated a “holistic view of national security” encompassing both traditional and nontraditional security. Related tasks included “comprehensively manag[ing] crises,” “enrich[ing] the strategic concept of active defense,” and “establish[ing] an integrated joint operational system in which all elements are seamlessly linked and various operational platforms perform independently and in coordination.” Third, it emphasized the need to safeguard Beijing’s increasingly complex, far-ranging overseas interests. It stressed that “the national security issues facing China encompass far more subjects, extend over a greater range, and cover a longer time span than at any time in the country’s history.” These include four “critical domains” and corresponding forces: “seas and oceans, outer space, cyberspace, and nuclear….” Fourth, it contained unprecedented maritime emphasis. Notably, it stated, “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned… great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.” It underscored determination to strengthen Chinese “strategic management of the sea.” It called for China to “build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure.” Fifth, it emphasized growing power projection capabilities. “The PLAN will continue to organize and perform regular combat readiness patrols and maintain a military presence in relevant sea areas,” it stated. This entailed moving from “near seas defense” to “the combination of ‘near seas defense’ and ‘far seas protection’.” This first mention of the latter phrase (远海护卫) in a Defense White Paper suggested the need to develop a limited blue water navy. Key Takeaways: In contrast to the 2015 Defense White Paper’s new strategic thinking, the 2019 edition reflects intensification, implementation, and justification. Perhaps the biggest change is in tone, aptly summarized in the South China Morning Post: “Cooperation is out in favour of antagonism and complaint.” In framing world events, the report envisions a new international order emerging. But this trend is complicated by rising great power competition, with the paper placing particular blame on the United States and its key regional allies. The report also notes pronounced Russian emphasis on nuclear weapons, but appears to excuse it for the sake of larger bilateral efforts: Beijing and Moscow are attempting to show that their strategic partnership is not merely one of convenience. In the short run, the two great powers share interests in opposing efforts of the United States and its allies to maintain their equities, and key aspects of, today’s international system. And there are still substantial, albeit dwindling, areas of Russian weapons technology and expertise from which China can benefit greatly. Of course, none of this precludes future discord stemming from Chinese strength and Russian weakness in the form of border, migration, ethnocultural, and resource tensions; as well as economic asymmetries and China’s relentless quest to obtain critical technologies by all means necessary. Report Advertisement Worryingly, the Defense White Paper contains intensified rhetoric doubling down on domestic stability imperatives and sovereignty claims vis-à-vis Taiwan and the South and East China Seas. In explaining the report and its significance, the Central Military Commission’s Office for International Military Cooperation (OIMC) is unapologetically assertive: “China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.” The report’s wording resolving to prevent “East Turkestan” independence and to pursue cross-Strait reunification, in particular, appears stronger than before. Characteristically providing no specifics, the paper states, “Since 2014, the [People’s Armed Police] has assisted the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in taking out 1,588 violent terrorist gangs and capturing 12,995 terrorists.” Regarding cross-strait issues, the 2019 report contains even stronger wording than the ten previous editions. As OIMC itself states: “The document especially points out that solving the Taiwan question and achieving complete reunification of the country is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and essential to realizing national rejuvenation. The People’s Liberation Army will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs, the white paper stresses, clearly conveying China’s firm will to oppose any interference by foreign forces and defend its own core interests.” Report Advertisement As mentioned previously, China’s 2015 Defense White Paper placed unprecedented emphasis on Beijing’s growing external security focus. Now, the 2019 edition states, “One of the missions of China’s armed forces is to effectively protect the security and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese people, organizations and institutions.” Perhaps the most significant related event of the four-year interim was the August 2017 entry into service of China’s first overseas military facility, the “PLA Djibouti Support Base.” The report suggests that additional “overseas logistical facilities” are in development, but—characteristically—offers no details regarding their potential nature or location. Here it is interesting to consider recent reports of an agreement allowing China to use Cambodia’s Ream naval base. Cambodian and Chinese officials have issued vague denials that do not fully clarify the situation. In any case, it is worth recalling an event once described to the author: Premier Zhou Enlai reportedly told a foreign delegation that if China ever attempted to establish an overseas base, foreigners should join patriotic Chinese in thoroughly opposing the PRC government to prevent such an ‘imperialist’ development. One might imagine Zhou’s reaction were he to learn of a PLA “Base” of any sort operating thousands of kilometers from China. Now consider what other PRC policies might evolve over time. Observers should look elsewhere for the latest insights on the specifics of PLA development, but no one should miss the ambition, assertiveness, and resolve permeating this official policy document. Real and consequential actions will follow from these sometimes vague but often forceful statements. Prepare for trouble ahead: we have been warned.”

China threat @ National Interest

China stealing US tech

Josh Roglin, 7-26, 19, “I would say that there is no country that poses a more severe counterintelligence threat to this country right now than China,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray testified this week. “China is fighting a generational fight here.” The FBI has more than 1,000 open investigations into economic espionage around the country, almost all leading back to China, he said, and Beijing is using nontraditional collectors, including scientists, businessmen and academics. The FBI has been trying to educate, warn and work with companies, universities and local officials about the threat, an effort some see as targeting Chinese and Chinese Americans. But Wray said that’s not the case. “This is not about the Chinese people as a whole, certainly not about Chinese Americans in this country,” he said. It’s about “a country that is, in a variety of ways, through the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party, using not just government . . . but private-sector entities, nontraditional collectors, etc., to steal their way up the economic ladder at our expense.” Over the past few weeks, a chorus of voices has emerged to argue against the Trump administration’s turn to a more confrontational policy toward Beijing. Some warn about a “red scare” reshaping Washington, while others say they’re scared by the new China consensus in Washington, which they argue is overblown. The critics are right to warn of possible overreach and to encourage the Trump administration to devise a better diplomatic strategy. But it’s misleading to blame the United States for finally confronting China’s rampant economic espionage, unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and use of its “private” companies to advance its strategic agenda. The fact is that the Chinese Communist Party is perpetrating an effort to rob the United States of its economic and technological advantages. U.S. companies and institutions must stop helping it. It’s a national security issue that Mnuchin, Kudlow and Google must acknowledge now, or any trade deal we strike with Beijing won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.

Deterrence stops China-US war

Friedman, July 26, 2019, URI FRIEDMAN is a staff writer at The Atlantic, covering national security and global affairs,

As with the antagonists in the Cold War, the United States and China are deterred as nuclear-weapons states from going to war. But they also can’t engage in Cold War–esque proxy wars, because China doesn’t have allies like the Soviet Union did. “The only way they can fight with each other is proxy competition” short of war, Chung Jae-ho, a China scholar at Seoul National University, told me and other reporters who traveled to Seoul as part of the Atlantic Council Korea Journalist Fellowship Program.

dams will destroy thousands of species in these biodiversity hotspots.

China’s global military capabilities increasing

Helena Legarda, Meia Nouwens, July 25, 2019,, NATO needs a China policy

NATO discussions about China are already taking place. However, they have long focused on the implications for transatlantic security of Chinese security-related activities in the Asia-Pacific and, to a limited degree, in the Middle East and Africa. Of course, NATO must continue to monitor regional security in the Asia-Pacific. But such a limited approach to China no longer reflects the realities of the country’s global security presence. China continues to modernize its military in its quest to become a great power and build a world-class military that can fight and win wars by 2049. China’s growing military power has edged toward Europe as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its international presence over the last few years. The PLA has opened a new military base in Djibouti, it is a more active participant in UN Peacekeeping Operations, and it has even conducted joint exercises with Russia in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas. And for the first time, in July, the PLA conducted a medical training exercise with the German military on NATO territory. The growing strength of China’s defense industry has also led to the proliferation of more advanced military platforms. China exports heavy and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa – without accompanying terms and conditions defining or limiting their use. Chinese UAVs aren’t yet equal in capability and quality to the original American variants, but China fills a gap in the market by offering similar military capabilities to countries that either did not qualify to purchase or could not afford top of the line U.S. equipment. Accordingly, NATO troops will increasingly have to factor in these changes to their operational environments.

China war good answers – We’ll lose!

Kathy Gilsinian, 7-25, 19,, How the U.S. Could Lose a War With China

If a war broke out between the United States and China, the clash between two of the world’s most powerful militaries would be horrific. And the United States could very well lose. That’s a concern among current and former defense officials and military analysts, one of whom told Breaking Defense earlier this year that in war games simulating great-power conflict in which the United States fights Russia and China, the United States “gets its ass handed to it.” Get the latest issue now. Subscribe and receive an entire year of The Atlantic’s illuminating reporting and expert analysis, starting today. Subscribe Issue cover image Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum last week, Admiral Philip Davidson, who oversees U.S. military forces in Asia, called China “the greatest long-term strategic threat to the United States and the rules-based international order.” He described China’s rapid military buildup in nearly every domain—air, sea, land, space, and cyber—and said that while China’s capabilities don’t outnumber America’s in the region for now, it’s possible they could overtake the United States’ within the next five years. But the sheer number of ships, missiles, planes, and people doesn’t tell the whole story. What already gives the Chinese the advantage is geography. The Obama administration’s ill-fated Asia pivot did not prevent the growth of China’s military and economic power in the region, as it built artificial islands, embedded itself in key infrastructure projects, and invested in its military. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has called into question whether the United States would defend its treaty allies in the Pacific, such as Japan, with complaints about the expense. (Davidson said at Aspen that “there is no more important American ally in the world than Japan.”) MORE STORIES Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Robert Mueller and the Tyranny of ‘Optics’ TODD S. PURDUM A Trump supporter at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan Will Trump’s Racist Attacks Help Him? Ask Blue-Collar White Women. RONALD BROWNSTEIN SPONSOR CONTENT What America’s Small Towns and Cities Can Teach the Nation GOOGLE Who Will Hold the Police Accountable? TED ALCORN Julián Castro, a former Cabinet secretary, spoke at the NAACP’s presidential-candidate forum in Detroit yesterday. Julián Castro’s ‘Latino Candidate’ Trap EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE Read: China’s great leap backward The question is what could actually cause the United States to fight China. What if China invades and occupies Taiwan, a democratic U.S. partner and arms customer? Would America actually risk World War III? What if China forces its claim to the Senkaku Islands, which the United States considers to belong to Japan? Does that fall within America’s treaty commitments to defend its ally? There’s no guarantee that a U.S. president, especially Trump, would resort to war in either case. But these are among the scenarios war-gamers at the Rand Corporation have studied to see if the United States could prevent China from claiming territory by force. It’s not clear that the U.S. could. Notably, the likeliest U.S.-China war scenarios take place in Asia—it’s not that a Chinese “victory” means the Chinese Communist Party takes over Washington, but that the U.S. can’t successfully eject China from Japanese-claimed territory or Taiwan. In an attempt to do so, besides cyberattacks, the United States could attack Chinese forces from the air or sea. The problem is that China has spent at least the past 20 years, partly informed by observations of how the U.S. conducted the Gulf War in the 1990s, preparing for exactly this kind of conflict, and investing in defenses that could violently thwart a U.S. approach. It has missiles that can sink ships. It has missiles that can down airplanes. And it has missiles that could theoretically reach U.S. regional bases in Japan and Guam, leaving planes and runways vulnerable to attack. “Many Chinese observers suggest that missile strikes on air bases would be part of the opening salvos of a war,” notes Rand’s “U.S.-China Military Scorecard.” Shutting down such a base even for a matter of days, according to Rand, could be enough to change the course of the conflict. Read: Trump’s trade war with China is changing the world “The Chinese don’t have to comprehensively defeat the United States militarily in order to achieve their near-term objectives,” David Ochmanek, a senior international and defense researcher at Rand, told me. “If their objective is to overrun Taiwan, that in principle can be accomplished in a finite time period, measured in days to weeks.” Ochmanek participated in the Rand war games that showed the U.S. losing. “It’s not just that they’ll be attacking air bases in the region. They’ll be attacking aircraft carriers at sea,” Ochmanek said. “They’ll be attacking our sensors in space. They’ll be attacking our communications links that largely run through space. They’ll be corrupting the databases in our command systems. They’re going to try to suppress us in every dimension that they can.” They will try, but it’s also worth noting that many of these capabilities are untested and that, in contrast to the United States, China doesn’t have a lot of experience actually using its weapons in combat. Yet the growth of Chinese capabilities represents a big change from about 20 years ago, when President Bill Clinton sent aircraft carriers near the Taiwan Strait to deter Chinese threats against the island. China at the time had been firing missiles toward Taiwan, but its missile arsenal was far less capable and precise. “When that carrier was deployed by President Clinton, the Chinese couldn’t even find it,” Chris Brose, the former staff director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a separate talk at the Aspen forum. “And they’ve spent 25 years not only figuring out how to find systems like that, but how to overwhelm them with very large volumes of precision weapons.” If the U.S. were to deploy an aircraft carrier near the strait when there was a real possibility of conflict, Brose said, “let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be on that aircraft carrier.” Read: Trump is preparing for a new cold war with China For now, the United States is countering China in calibrated ways that send a message of displeasure but that are not likely to provoke an aggressive response from Beijing. The United States has stepped up its pace of sending Navy ships through the strait, as well as its freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. France and Britain have also conducted such exercises. And the United States is competing with or confronting China outside of the military realm as well, slapping high tariffs on Chinese imports in pursuit of a trade deal and banning the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from doing business in the U.S. Washington has, however, been less aggressive in pushing China on human-rights and democracy issues, including China’s mass detention of Uighur Muslims and its support of a crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. The United States knows a lot about China’s capabilities, but discerning its intent is another question. John McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA who now teaches at Johns Hopkins University, notes that Chinese officials have said they aim to be a global power, but what that really means is not clear. Are they trying to build a defensive buffer zone around their borders? A lot of countries do that. Or is their intent something more sinister? “When I look at the world, you can sort of say there are certain countries that are hostile to us clearly,” such as North Korea and Iran, McLaughlin told me. “China still represents a huge uncertainty.” Nearly a decade ago, then–Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned about the dangers of a “high end” war, and said that any defense secretary who advised sending a land army into Asia (or the Middle East or Africa) should “have his head examined.” The likely costs of such a conflict have only risen since then, and so has the reluctance of the commander in chief to get involved in expensive foreign entanglements. As for the Democrats vying to replace Trump, many of the 2020 primary candidates have cited China as a major national-security threat, highlighting a bipartisan consensus on the issue in Washington. The policies that flow from that perception are still in most cases a work in progress, however. There’s another uncertainty: War games are one thing and reality is another. Intangibles such as training could affect the outcome.“They haven’t fought many wars,” McLaughlin said. “So to some degree, their actual performance beyond war games is yet to be determined. And hopefully we won’t have to determine it.”

China will not reduce its nuclear forces

Viktor Murakhovsky, , 7-23-19, Victor is a retired Russian colonel, defense analyst, and editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, to better get the Russian perspective on the future of arms control. Murakhovsky is widely regarded in Russia as a leading military expert and is frequently cited by Russian media, Are Russia and America headed toward a nuclear war?

I think that some of the initiatives that were publicly announced by the United States, that it would be possible sometime in the future to reach a new agreement but this time with China’s participation as well, have no real prospects. China will not even talk about it and spurns any efforts to place restrictions on its strategic offensive arms or its intermediate and short-range missiles.

China will not expand its nuclear forces

Viktor Murakhovsky, , 7-23-19, Victor is a retired Russian colonel, defense analyst, and editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, to better get the Russian perspective on the future of arms control. Murakhovsky is widely regarded in Russia as a leading military expert and is frequently cited by Russian media, Are Russia and America headed toward a nuclear war?

On this issue, China’s position seems quite rational to me. It currently has the financial and technical capabilities to field a nuclear arsenal comparable to the level of what the United States and Russia have now. But it does not do this and has no plans of doing so. Instead, it has chosen to simply maintain a nuclear arsenal at level it deems sufficient to deliver an unacceptably costly blow to a potential adversary. There are no signs of China entering into a quantitative nuclear arms race because such a race has entirely lost its purpose.

China’s rise supporting military aggression and global authoritarianism

Nikki Haley, 7-18, 19, NIKKI HALEY was U.S. Representative to the United Nations from 2017 through 2018., Foreign Affairs, How to Confront an Advancing Threat From China,

The most important international development of the last two decades has been the rise of China as a great economic and military power. As China transformed, many Western scholars and policymakers predicted that economic reform and integration into the world economy would force the country to liberalize politically and become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. The idea, sometimes called “convergence theory,” was that as China grew wealthier, it would become more like the United States. The theory was comforting, but it did not pan out. China grew economically without democratizing. Instead its government became more ideological and repressive, with military ambitions that are not just regional and defensive but global and designed to intimidate. And as the distinction between civilian and military technology gradually eroded across the globe, Chinese President Xi Jinping made it official policy for Chinese companies to put all technology at the disposal of China’s military. As the Princeton University scholar Aaron Friedberg has written, “What Xi Jinping and his colleagues have in mind is not a transitional phase of authoritarian rule to be followed by eventual liberalization, but an efficient, technologically empowered, and permanent one-party dictatorship.” China is enormously important to the United States—for reasons both positive and negative. American companies highly prize its huge market, which is a crucial engine of growth for the world economy. But we cannot allow our strong interest in good economic relations with China to blind us to Beijing’s hostile political intentions. The Chinese government defines itself as a foe of Western liberal democracy and the upholder of its own brand of communist nationalism. Its strategic ambitions are unfriendly, far-reaching, and deeply rooted in an authoritarian worldview. Americans look with deep regret on the choices Chinese leaders have made. For decades, the United States strove to cultivate friendship. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan both worked to forge cooperative ties through the transfer of high technology to support modernization and economic growth. The United States helped China enter the World Trade Organization on lenient terms. We gave it access to our markets even though China did not reciprocate. China’s increasingly hostile policies cannot be explained as a reaction to unfriendliness from our side. A PRINCIPLED FOREIGN POLICY Since the end of World War II, the United States has been the world’s greatest power by almost any measure: economic output, scientific discovery, military strength, and cultural influence. Since the start of the Cold War, and especially since the Soviet Union’s disintegration in 1991, the United States has commanded a degree of power and influence unmatched even by the Roman or British Empire. But the United States is not an empire. Ours is a democratic country that takes pride in respecting the rights of other countries and peoples. In foreign policy, we don’t always live up to our principles, nor do we always make the wisest decisions. But we don’t just do whatever we can get away with, either. One principle that guides U.S. foreign policy is that countries should respect what belongs to other countries. After World War II, the United States provided aid to rebuild Germany and Japan. We didn’t steal the resources of either country. More recently, when we led the coalition that overthrew Saddam Hussein, we spent great sums to help rebuild Iraq. We didn’t steal a drop of its oil. China wishes to usurp our country’s leadership role, certainly in Asia and evidently in the rest of the world as well. At home, Americans live under the rule of law. Our laws are not just tools of the powerful but constraints on power. This understanding of the law shapes the way Americans think and act and the way we operate in world affairs. We respect private contracts—and we expect others to do the same. We respect property rights, including for intellectual property. We believe in moving forward technologically by inventing and innovating, not by stealing other people’s ideas and reverse engineering them. The United States has helped to build and protect an international system in harmony with such principles. By helping to maintain international peace and stability, enabling free navigation by sea and air around the world, and creating global communications and computer networks, the United States has led the world economy to spectacular growth since World War II. If the United States did not play this leadership role, life would be far worse for Americans and for countless others. Our lives would be more constricted and less safe. Our liberties would be under pressure. China wishes to usurp our country’s leadership role, certainly in Asia and evidently in the rest of the world as well. WHAT’S BEST FOR THE PARTY IS BEST FOR CHINA Only a few decades ago, China was a poor, undeveloped country. Then, in the late 1970s, it began to reform its economy. Beijing observed the success of market economies and applied their lessons, with stunning results: in 1980, China’s gross domestic product was $200 billion. Last year it was 70 times that—more than $14 trillion. As a result of this amazing boom, other developing countries began to see China as a model. Admirers lauded its combination of selective free-market practices and centralized guidance from a government that was decisive and farsighted. Often, these admirers overlooked the intensity of China’s authoritarianism. Of course, it’s easier for dictators than for leaders of democratic countries to act decisively and to take a long view. As impressive as its growth has been, however, China now faces serious difficulties. It has spawned environmental disasters and created immense social dislocations that could eventually fuel political unrest. Huge numbers of people have moved from the countryside into dangerously polluted cities, but the government hasn’t permitted them to get housing or education. China’s economy has also slowed. In 2018, the official growth rate was the lowest in nearly 30 years, and the official rate very likely overstates the actual growth rate. China’s authoritarian leaders fear that free Chinese people would oust them from power, as free people have done throughout the world. China’s authoritarian leaders fear that free Chinese people would oust them from power, as free people have done throughout the world. One way Chinese leaders manage the threat to their rule is by provoking crises abroad and appealing to their people’s nationalism. The result is a vicious cycle of repression and potential instability that makes the world a more dangerous place. Another way China’s leaders manage the threat to their rule is by creating an Orwellian surveillance state: Xi has concentrated unprecedented power in his own hands, using facial recognition and big-data technologies to monitor huge masses of people. For the same reason, his government now strives for world leadership in 5G networking and artificial intelligence. China’s leaders primarily seek not the betterment of their people but the preservation of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. For them, politics outweighs all other considerations. Many Americans have a hard time grasping this reality because it’s not how we think about our own country. Our Declaration of Independence says that the government’s highest aim is to secure the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Politics in the United States serves, and is subordinate to, freedom, including economic freedom. In China, it’s the other way around. Economics serves politics, and the political goal is to strengthen the government’s power at home and abroad. NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL In past decades, CCP strategists debated the merits of various paths to national greatness. Some championed bide-your-time policies that encouraged private-sector growth and emphasized integrating China into the world economy. Their ultimate goal was to increase the power of the party and the military, but to do so in a manner that would make China’s rise seem unthreatening to the rest of the world. Other strategists advocated a more assertive, nationalistic, and militaristic approach. Under Xi’s leadership, the latter approach has clearly prevailed. His government has seized islands in the South China Sea and built military facilities on them, in violation of promises to former U.S. President Barack Obama (among others) not to militarize. It has punished Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia over maritime disputes, cutting their underwater acoustic cables and attacking their fishing fleets. It has violated Taiwan’s airspace and kidnapped dissidents and critics in Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Those kidnapped include citizens of Sweden and the United Kingdom. Those doing business in China in high-tech fields are advancing Beijing’s military interests, regardless of their intentions. Chinese officials say they have no interest in the politics of foreign countries, but their habit of bribing foreign officials has ignited corruption scandals in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Angola, and elsewhere. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xi’s signature initiative to extend loans and build infrastructure around the world, relies heavily on corrupt financing arrangements that burden foreign governments with debt they cannot afford to repay. In addition, China subverts academic freedom in universities in the United States and elsewhere through its government-funded Confucius Institutes. These organizations spread propaganda and sometimes manage to squelch discussion of topics embarrassing to China, such as the conquest of Tibet and the camps in Xinjiang Province, where Beijing claims to be “reeducating” an estimated one million Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs. The Chinese government also systematically directs Chinese companies to steal intellectual property from U.S. and other foreign companies, according to the U.S. Justice Department. In addition, it requires private Chinese companies to share with the military any technologies they acquire through innovation, purchase, or theft. The new civil-military fusion policy announced by Xi in 2015 effectively requires all privately owned Chinese companies to work for the military. That means business with Chinese companies is no longer just business. Those doing business in China in high-tech fields are advancing Beijing’s military interests, regardless of their intentions. A NEW STRATEGY FOR A NEW STRUGGLE Since the United States emerged as the world’s leading power, we have never had to contend with a potential military challenger that was also our most important trading partner. In the Cold War, we confronted a Soviet Union whose economy was a fraction of the size of China’s today. History offers no close analogies, but that doesn’t mean it offers no lessons. During the Cold War, our government crafted new policies and programs to check Soviet military technological progress and weaken the Soviet economy. These included export control and trade promotion programs that served national security purposes. We created the U.S. Information Agency, which countered Soviet propaganda, and the Strategic Defense Initiative, which aimed to neutralize the Soviet Union’s long-range nuclear-armed missiles. We also established programs to encourage higher education in relevant areas—for example, the Russian language and nuclear weapons technology. To counter Chinese threats to U.S. vital interests, it is necessary for us to think creatively and courageously—and without any illusions about our adversary’s intentions. To begin with, we should revise our regulations on trade and investment, especially in the high-tech sector, so that China can no longer exploit our openness. In general, I dislike government interference in private business. But our national security takes precedence over free-market policies. Adam Smith made this point in The Wealth of Nations, arguing that Great Britain’s interest in preserving naval supremacy was more important than free trade in the maritime sector: “Defense,” he wrote, “is of much more importance than opulence.” With China committed to taking military advantage of all private commercial activity, we must alter the lens through which we examine U.S. regulation of foreign trade, international supply chains, inward investments, intellectual property protection, and incentives for critical defense technologies. The necessary regulation will be expensive and onerous, but it is the price we must pay to secure our country.


China a threat to Taiwan, war risks increasing

Greis & Tang, February 15, 2019, Will China Seize Taiwan? PETER GRIES is Lee Kai Hung Chair and Director of the Manchester China Institute and Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Manchester.TAO WANG is a doctoral candidate in East Asian politics at the University of Manchester.

China must be, and will be reunified,” Chinese President Xi Jinping declared in a speech in January. Xi spoke of “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but he warned, “We do not forsake the use of force.” Ever since Hong Kong and Macau rejoined Mainland China in 1997 and 1999, respectively, Chinese expectations that Taiwan would follow suit have grown. When, a decade ago, the Beijing Olympics and the global financial crisis boosted China’s confidence on the world stage, those expectations redoubled. But “peaceful reunification” has proved elusive. After Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to the presidency in 2016, many Mainland Chinese lost patience with the idea. Some Chinese nationalists now argue that China has only a brief window of opportunity to seize Taiwan. Talk of “forceful reunification” is ascendant. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. SIGN UP China has already begun to tighten the noose. It has forced Taiwan out of international bodies, such as the World Health Organization; required airlines to replace “Taiwan” with descriptions such as “Taiwan, Province of China”; and induced five more countries to sever relations with Taipei. Beijing seems to believe that the United States will sit by as it squeezes Taiwan. Taipei, meanwhile, has convinced itself that China has no plans to invade. And U.S. President Donald Trump seems to think he can rock the boat without consequences. All are wrong—and their wishful thinking is raising the odds of conflict. “CHINA DREAM” IN BEIJING Now that Xi has consolidated power, he seeks a legacy befitting the great emperors of old: the reunification of the Middle Kingdom. “The only thing that will make him the greatest leader in the Chinese Communist Party’s history is to take Taiwan back,” Shen Dingli, a foreign relations scholar at Fudan University, told Quartz in 2018. “If he were to achieve China’s reunification, who will say he is second to Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping?” There are signs that Xi believes the world will sit by if China invades Taiwan. Xi, whose “China Dream” promises to make China great again, likely agrees. “Fight a war, win a war,” is one of his signature slogans. In 2017, he presided over a military parade with a replica of Taiwan’s presidential palace visible in the distance. Chinese soldiers had constructed it to train for an invasion of Taiwan. That same year, China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, circumnavigated Taiwan twice. “The PLA is likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with China by force,” the U.S. Defense Department told Congress in 2018. There are signs that Xi believes the world will sit by if China invades Taiwan. “Xi has told people that he was impressed by Putin’s seizure of Crimea,” a Beijing insider told the reporter Evan Osnos in 2015. “[Putin] got a large piece of land and resources” and met little resistance from the West. Many among China’s elite have embraced military action. “The possibility for peaceful reunification is gradually dissipating,” Wang Zaixi, a former deputy director of the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office, declared in 2017. “There will very likely be military conflict,” retired Chinese General Wang Hongguang told the People’s Daily in December. Many ordinary Chinese agree. “If we want to take our island back, we have to use force.” reads a Weibo post from last November. Both Chinese academics and journalists argue that this sentiment is widespread. “Mainland Chinese public opinion became impatient with Taiwan a long time ago,” former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Science’s Institute of Taiwan Studies Zhou Zhihuai wrote in 2017. “Mainland Chinese will be very happy to see the PLA take action to punish a ‘pro-independence Taiwan’,” a Global Times editorial claimed in 2018. WISHFUL THINKING IN TAIPEI Despite this increased militancy across the Strait, Taipei has convinced itself that China will not attack. Many in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party have persuaded themselves that China is too sensible to take military action. “The mainland Chinese leader today is a rational decision maker,” Tsai claimed in 2017: Xi would not provoke a war likely to drag in Japan and the United States. Others in the DPP depict China as too weak. “China has too many domestic problems” to capture Taiwan, professor Fan Shih-Ping wrote in 2017. Taiwan’s major opposition party, the Kuomintang, takes a rosy view of Beijing that rejects the idea that China might invade. “There is no problem,” former president Ma Ying-jeou declared last year. “Nowadays Beijing’s top strategy is peaceful rise,” the journalist Huang Nian wrote in April. “Forceful reunification would derail it.” This complacency has led Taiwan to neglect its armed forces. Taiwan’s military suffers from a desperate shortage of officers—nearly half of all lieutenant positions are unfilled. In 2018, Taiwan made matters worse. Just as talk of “forceful reunification” was rising in Mainland China, the government ended compulsory military enlistment—but allowed felons to serve. Morale has plummeted. The United States has recommended that Taiwan consider restoring conscription. “The shift to a voluntary military was a mistake,” U.S. officials concluded. In an April 2018 poll, more than 40 percent of Taiwanese said they had “no confidence at all” that their military could defend Taiwan; but 65 percent had convinced themselves that the PRC would not take military action against the island; and only six percent believed that an attack was “very likely.” “AMERICA FIRST” IN WASHINGTON The withering of Taiwan’s armed forces has increased Taiwan’s military reliance on the United States—just when many in Beijing are questioning the U.S. commitment to Taiwan. Trump’s “America first” doctrine has convinced many Chinese that the United States is now too isolationist to come to Taiwan’s defense. “America will absolutely sacrifice Taiwan,” the Global Times insisted in 2017. “On the premise of America First … the United States is not likely to send troops to fight for Taiwan.” For decades, a U.S. policy of “dual deterrence” has helped prevent conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Washington has warned Beijing not to attack Taiwan unprovoked, but reassured Chinese leaders that the United States would not support Taiwanese independence. It has told Taipei, in turn, that the United States would come to its defense—as long as it did not provoke Beijing by declaring independence. Making the policy work has meant treading a fine line, but for decades, dual deterrence has allowed Taiwan to enjoy de facto independence and helped prevent a war with China. Trump has upset that delicate balance. In December 2016, Tsai called Trump to congratulate him on his victory. The incoming Trump administration then began to talk of “revisiting” the One China policy, under which the United States recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, but maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan. Beijing was outraged. Xi refused to talk to Trump until he recommitted the United States to the One China policy. In February, Trump capitulated. In a phone call with Xi, he affirmed that the United States would continue to support the “One China” policy. “Trump lost his first fight with Xi,” the Beijing scholar Shi Yinhong bragged to the New York Times. “He will be looked at as a paper tiger.” Last year, however, the pendulum swung back toward confrontation. In February, Congress passed the Taiwan Travel Act, encouraging (but not requiring) high-level U.S. officials to visit Taiwan, and high-level Taiwanese officials to visit the United States. In the fall, Trump started a trade war with China, generating anxiety among Chinese nationalists. They now believe Trump is using Taiwan as part of a new Cold War against China, creating a sense of urgency for reunification. A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY China could well move to take Taiwan before 2020, when some Chinese fear that Taiwan’s presidential election will close Beijing’s window of opportunity for military action. Many Mainland Chinese nationalists were disappointed, rather than relieved, by the pro-independence DPP’s poor showing in last November’s local Taiwanese elections. This counterintuitive reaction reveals an alarming calculus: should a weakened Tsai and the DPP lose the presidency in 2020 to a more pro-China candidate, the opportunity for “forceful reunification” would be lost. “What a pity,” one Weibo user from Beijing wrote about the DPP’s losses. “We could be further away from the day of reunification.” It is the hated DPP that gives Chinese nationalists a pretext to take Taiwan back now. That disappointment has fed a sense of urgency among many Chinese nationalists. “I request that Mainland China issue a timetable for reunification,” one outraged Weibo user wrote in November. “Whether peaceful or forceful, please don’t drag this out again and again.” Most Read Articles Bosnia’s Last Best Hope How an Unlikely Peacekeeping Duo Can Hold the Balkans Togethe The 2020 U.S. presidential election also looms in the minds of Chinese nationalists. Trump looks less likely to win reelection after Democratic victories in the 2018 midterms, and many Chinese worry that a Trump loss would make forceful reunification harder. Trump is seen as a businessman and isolationist willing to bargain Taiwan away. “America will sell Taiwan out in the blink of an eye,” a People’s Daily editorial claimed last year. (Few Chinese recognize the possibility that Trump might respond forcefully to an attack on Taiwan to rally support at home.) A Trump successor, “forceful reunification” advocates fear, may not be so willing to cut a deal. Some in Beijing even think China can retake Taiwan without violence. China may “break the enemy’s resistance without fighting,” Wang Zaixi told the Global Times in 2017. Just as the Communist Party seized Beijing in 1949 without shooting a single bullet, he argued, China could capture Taiwan peacefully by surrounding the island, imposing economic sanctions, and cutting off its oil supply. “No need to shed blood,” he concludedThe idea that China can force reunification without fighting is delusional and dangerous. Tightening the military or economic noose around Taiwan would likely provoke a reaction from the United States. Given popular nationalist pressures, Beijing would then feel compelled to respond. Things could get out of control fast. All sides need to wake up to the dangers of backing into a conflict that few want.

China is a threat to Taiwan

Alex Ward, July 9, 2019, VOX, The Trump administration authorized arms sales to Taiwan. China isn’t pleased,

On top of that, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed to give Beijing much more control over the citizenry, including crackdowns on democracy in Hong Kong and forcing more than a million Uighur Muslims into reeducation camps. Those actions, in part, have led to increasing fears that he may want to seize Taiwan. “The only thing that will make him the greatest leader in the Chinese Communist Party’s history is to take Taiwan back,” Shen Dingli, an international relations scholar at Fudan University in China, told Quartz in 2018.

China deterred from attacking Taiwan

Tom Rogan, July 9, 2019,, China just threatened the US over Taiwan

It’s a common misconception that naval invasions are now simple because we’re in the 21st century or something. China knows that crossing the more than 80-mile Taiwan Strait will likely entail taking major casualties from Taiwanese missile, artillery, naval, and air forces (especially if U.S. Navy submarines come into play). n turn, Chinese planners expect that the earliest landing forces that do reach Taiwanese soil will have to fight without effective air-ground support. This is where Taiwan knows it can win: by using highly mobile forces to isolate and annihilate pockets of landing troops. While China would use its mainland missile forces to wreak havoc on fixed Taiwanese positions such as air bases and depots, it would struggle to target mobile Taiwanese forces. That’s where these new tanks and stingers come in. And if the Chinese advance force can’t get off the beaches, well, China has a big problem.

China takeover of Taiwan would force the US out of Asia

CHRIS HORTON is a Taipei-based journalist, July 8, 2019,, Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity

Despite its limited international presence it is difficult to overstate Taiwan’s strategic importance to both the United States and an increasingly assertive China. The island’s location, economy, and security are all essential to American interests, and if Taiwan were to become part of China, as Beijing has insisted it must, China would instantly become a Pacific power, control some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies, and have the ability to choke off oil shipments to Japan and South Korea—leverage it could use to demand the closure of U.S. military bases in both countries. In effect, Beijing would likely be able to achieve its goal of forcing the U.S. out of Asia. It is no surprise, then, that Taiwan is one of the rare issues on Capitol Hill today with bipartisan agreement—Congress has been regularly passing pro-Taiwan legislation with unanimous support throughout the Donald Trump era.

China a growing threat in Asia, and it can threaten the US

Ankit Panda, July 14, 2019, Pandit is a Senior Editor at the Diplomat, South China Morning Post

In the final days of June, soon after the G20 encounter between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Japan, the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force conducted missile tests in a disputed part of the South China Sea. The tests took on particular significance in light of reports that the weapons fired were anti-ship ballistic missiles. While the US has long known that China was developing these capabilities, previous tests have been conducted over the Chinese mainland and this marked the first known time the missile had flown over open waters. Though the missiles tested remains unknown, the most likely candidates are the DF-21D – long known as China’s “carrier killer” – and the anti-ship variant of the DF-26, a much longer-range missile. The first has an estimated range of about 1,500km (930 miles) and the other has a range of up to 4,000km – which has seen it branded the “Guam killer” because of its ability to reach the US overseas territory from the Chinese mainland. Anti-ship ballistic missiles distinguish themselves from ordinary ballistic missiles in their ability to manoeuvre as their payloads descend toward the earth’s surface. SUBSCRIBE TO US CHINA TRADE WAR Get updates direct to your inbox your email SUBMIT Where a more rudimentary ballistic missile payload might follow a simple parabolic trajectory back to a preordained target, with minimal corrective guidance, anti-ship ballistic missile payloads need sophisticated guidance to hit a moving, albeit slow, target. Chinese vessel ‘mainly to blame’ for sinking of Philippine boat While it remains unclear if China tested these missiles against dummy vessels or other targets, the message will have been clear to the United States. That these missiles splashed down in the South China Sea made the event a realisation of a long-standing American concern: that China would use these burgeoning capabilities to hold at risk American naval assets in the disputed waters off its course. While both countries remain keen to avoid a one-on-one military confrontation, conflict and escalation can be unpredictable. American military planners have long expressed anxieties about their ability to sustain long-range naval operations to, for instance, support Taiwan or the Philippines, a US treaty ally, in the Spratly Islands. Anti-ship ballistic missiles – even with conventional payloads – may cancel out the expeditionary advantage the United States has long enjoyed. The US currently enjoys the naval advantage in the region. Photo: AFP The US currently enjoys the naval advantage in the region. Photo: AFP Share: The PLA Rocket Force may hope that its demonstration of these capabilities will serve to deter the United States in a possible pre-war crisis, where a risk-averse president in Washington may choose to keep American carriers out of range of Beijing’s anti-ship missiles. The concept of victory then is simple for the PLA: win without fighting by promising the United States that any clash would be far too costly with uncertain benefits. Washington’s reaction to the tests has been unusually muted, with limited criticism and concern seeping out via multiple press reports. In 2018, Washington took Beijing to task for its militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea, for instance by disinviting the Chinese navy from the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises. While the latest tests did not use the artificial islands Beijing built in the contested waters, they do contribute to the ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea. While China practised normal precautionary measures in its missile testing by issuing a notice to air craft, Washington might have more forcefully protested at its establishment of a large maritime exclusion zone where the missiles splashed down. Missile tests aimed at boosting Beijing’s bargaining power Moreover, given the density of civilian shipping and aviation in the South China Sea, these sorts of demonstrations should be avoided as a matter of principle. While the challenge posed for the United States by these Chinese missiles is not insurmountable, one of the messages the rocket force may have sought to convey is that it is already too late for the United States to catch up in a meaningful way. Already efforts are under way to refurbish and build new US bases in the Pacific to hedge against the possible loss of Guam in wartime. Separately, debates are under way in Washington on how the expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty next month might open up previously foreclosed options to complicate Chinese military planning. Given that freedom of navigation – civilian and military – remains a core US objective in the waters of the Asia-Pacific, including the South China Sea, it will take more than a capability demonstration to shift the needle as far as policy is concerned. But China’s most recent missile tests underscore that a new strategic reality is taking shape in the South China Sea.

Preventing China’s rise will trigger war

Nathan Levine is a fellow on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society Policy Institute, July 15, 2019,

Toward the end of his book, Ward criticizes Graham Allison’s concept of “Thucydides’ Trap,” which suggests that China’s rise, and the fear this has instilled in America, will create structural tensions that push the two countries inexorably toward war. He believes Allison is more concerned with avoiding war than with “avoiding Chinese victory” and brushes over the possibility of conflict by suggesting that war can be prevented if China is held down by economic containment and a strong military deterrent. But this is overly simplistic, if not disingenuous. Ward himself documents in detail how the dream of China’s “restoration” is “not the Communist Party’s alone,” but is the iron thread uniting two hundred years of deep Chinese nationalism and strong feelings of historic victimhood into an overwhelming sense of destiny. For China’s leaders, fulfilling this vision is a matter of life and death. The likelihood that China will greet its cancellation with sullen acceptance is low.

China is ready to export global authoritarianism

Nathan Levine is a fellow on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society Policy Institute, July 15, 2019,

Thus the book helpfully illustrates, even for those who agree with Ward, how critical it will be to get the messaging right on what the real problem is with China’s rise. Focusing less on China’s growing prosperity, prestige, and power, and more on the Chinese Communist Party’s widespread human rights abuses and dystopian political ideology seems like it would be a much stronger platform for winning over the democratic world. That’s because this shouldn’t be a terribly hard case to make—after all the CCP, guided by quantifiably the most murderous ideology in human history, has now established a near perfect authoritarian system, complete with almost limitless state power, revolutionary digital totalitarianism, and a vast re-education camp archipelago into which millions of the country’s Muslim minority have already disappeared. And this system is packaged and ready for export.

China building up its military and threats are increasing

Brian Wang, July 3, 2019,, China Upgraded the FC31 Stealth Fighter Again and Fired a Missile in the South China Sea

China displayed a scale-model of an upgraded version of its FC-31 stealth fighter jet at the Paris Airshow 2019. Changes have made the FC-21 more agile and with a langer operational range. It has upgraded electronic devices for communication or satellite links. The upgraded FC-31 has a pair of new engines. The engine nozzles on the FC-31 model displayed in Paris are very different in structure and shape than the ones previously used suggesting more powerful engines. Cinese military had anti-ship missile tests in hotly contested South China Sea. China has 20 outposts in the Paracel Islands and 7 in the Spratlys. CSIS has an island tracker site which tracks the island build up of all countries in the South China Sea. Since 2013, China has engaged in unprecedented dredging and artificial island-building in the Spratlys, creating 3,200 acres of new land, along with a substantial expansion of its presence in the Paracels.

China is using its growing economic power to export global authoritarianism

Jessica Chen Weiss, July –August, 2019, JESSICA CHEN WEISS is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs,

The Chinese people, President Xi Jinping proclaimed in 2016, “are fully confident in offering a China solution to humanity’s search for better social systems.” A year later, he declared that China was “blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization.” Such claims come as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been extending its reach overseas and reverting to a more repressive dictatorship under Xi after experimenting with a somewhat more pluralistic, responsive mode of authoritarianism. Many Western politicians have watched this authoritarian turn at home and search for influence abroad and concluded that China is engaged in a life-and-death attempt to defeat democracy—a struggle it may even be winning. In Washington, the pendulum has swung from a consensus supporting engagement with China to one calling for competition or even containment in a new Cold War, driven in part by concerns that an emboldened China is seeking to spread its own model of domestic and international order. Last October, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence decried China’s “whole-of-government” effort to influence U.S. domestic politics and policy. In February, Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, went further: the danger from China, he said, was “not just a whole-of-government threat but a whole-of-society threat.” Such warnings reflect a mounting fear that China represents a threat not just to specific U.S. interests but also to the very survival of democracy and the U.S.-led international order. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. SIGN UP This fear gets the challenge from Beijing wrong. Not since the days of Mao Zedong has China sought to export revolution or topple democracy. Under Xi, the CCP has promoted “the Chinese dream,” a parochial vision of national rejuvenation that has little international appeal. China’s remarkable economic growth under previous leaders came from experimentation and flexibility, not a coherent “China model.” Since 2012, China’s growing authoritarianism and resurgent state dominance over the economy have dashed Western hopes that China would eventually embrace liberalism. And China’s actions abroad have offered alternatives to U.S.-led international institutions, made the world safer for other authoritarian governments, and undermined liberal values. But those developments reflect less a grand strategic effort to undermine democracy and spread autocracy than the Chinese leadership’s desire to secure its position at home and abroad. Its efforts to revise and work around international institutions are the result of pragmatic decisions about Chinese interests rather than a wholesale rejection of the U.S.-led international order. Beijing’s behavior suggests that China is a disgruntled and increasingly ambitious stakeholder in that order, not an implacable enemy of it. In seeking to make the world safer for the CCP, Beijing has rejected universal values and made it easier for authoritarian states to coexist alongside democracies. And within democracies, the CCP’s attempts to squelch overseas opposition to its rule have had a corrosive influence on free speech and free society, particularly among the Chinese diaspora.

China’s growing economic power allows it to undermine human rights protections

Jessica Chen Weiss, July –August, 2019, JESSICA CHEN WEISS is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs,

Yet China has still made it easier for authoritarianism to thrive elsewhere. The country’s four decades of rapid economic growth have demonstrated that development does not require democracy. In the words of the political scientist Seva Gunitsky, “Material success . . . often creates its own legitimacy: regimes become morally appealing simply by virtue of their triumph.” Beijing also supports autocracies in more direct ways, especially through international institutions. Along with Russia, China has regularly used its veto in the UN Security Council to shield other authoritarian countries from international demands to protect human rights and to block interventions that would force governments to end abuses. China has styled itself as a conservative defender of international norms, protecting state sovereignty against what it sees as unlawful humanitarian interventions. China’s growing economic clout has also led other states, particularly those in Africa and Latin America that trade heavily with China, to join Beijing in opposing human rights resolutions in the UN General Assembly.

China promoting global surveillance technologies

Jessica Chen Weiss, July –August, 2019, JESSICA CHEN WEISS is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs,

China also rightly gets heat from Western observers for exporting surveillance and censorship technologies. China’s heavy investments in these technologies have made it cheaper for other authoritarian and would-be authoritarian regimes to monitor their citizens. Chinese companies have sold surveillance systems, including AI-powered facial recognition technology, to several countries, including Ecuador, Iran, Kenya, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. Some government officials around the world look to China’s example when it comes to managing the Internet and social media. As Tanzania’s deputy minister for transport and communications noted in 2017, “Our Chinese friends have managed to block such media [Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram] in their country and replaced them with their homegrown sites that are safe, constructive, and popular. We aren’t there yet, but while we are still using these platforms, we should guard against their misuse.”

China aggression increasing in many areas

Jessica Chen Weiss, July –August, 2019, JESSICA CHEN WEISS is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs,

Blanketing the airwaves and the Internet with propaganda may foster the appearance of conformity, but it can also hide public disenchantment. In my conversations with Chinese citizens and scholars, many said they felt paralyzed by the political climate; one scholar in Beijing even said that he was afraid of speaking honestly for fear of retaliation in “a new Cultural Revolution.” An extensive crackdown on corruption has also stifled policy initiatives at lower levels of government, as officials fear that taking any action will lead to retribution. Echoing the dismay of many Chinese elites at Xi’s move to scrap presidential term limits, the Chinese law professor Xu Zhangrun published an online critique of Xi’s turn toward one-man rule, which led to Xu’s suspension from Tsinghua University. Xu wrote that “people nationwide, including the entire bureaucratic elite, feel once more lost in uncertainty about the direction of the country” under Xi and warned that “the rising anxiety has spread into a degree of panic throughout society.” Despite this discontent, opinions polls in China show that the public is still quite hawkish, putting pressure on the leadership to stand tough in international disputes. Overseas, China’s policies are arousing fear and suspicion in the very societies whose goodwill China needs if it is to maintain access to foreign markets, resources, and technology. In the South China Sea, Beijing has artificially enlarged islands to support advanced military capabilities and claimed the right to fish and extract oil and gas, stoking resentment and anti-China protests in the Philippines and Vietnam. Its actions have even aroused suspicion in countries, such as Indonesia, that do not have competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. China’s state-directed efforts to dominate emerging technologies, such as its Made in China 2025 program, have added to fears that open trade, investment, and research will undermine U.S. national security. In the United States and Europe, trade deficits and a backlash against globalization have made China an easy target for resurgent nationalism. Many politicians, especially those who otherwise support free trade, have found it convenient to bash China.

No reason to believe that China is benign, history proves otherwise

Jonathan Holslag, 2019, onathan Holslag is a Belgian professor, author and policy advisor. Jonathan Holslag is a professor international politics at the Free University of Brussels, where he teaches diplomatic history and international politics, and also lectures on geopolitics at various defence academies in Europe, The Silk Road Trap, page number at end of card

The idea that China, because of its history, has a strategic culture that is more benign and geared towards Confucian harmony should be contested. This argument crops up in debates again and again. China looks back at a long history of bullying, aggression, conquest and slavery.9 Whereas European empires projected their power overseas, Chinese empires projected their power overland into many parts that once did not belong to the imperial realm, areas inhabited by so-called barbarians. They did so not with caravels but by means of war chariots, riverine navies and large infantry. Neither is it treating poorer countries better today. China pays local elites in poor countries to get to their raw materials, uses its power to impose conditions, shows increasing paternalism to weaker partners and is developing railways and roads to penetrate their markets. It can also not be taken for granted that it will steer clear of the typical imperial curve, in which growing commercial interests overseas are followed by the hardening of influence and the use of military force. China is thus not necessarily more malevolent, but certainly not more benign. Holslag, Jonathan. The Silk Road Trap (pp. 10-11). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

China is a threat, not a peaceful power

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. June 26, 2019,, Beware China’s Inroads into the Atlantic,

Perhaps in hindsight, the Nixon administration’s outreach to China was not a good thing. Today, China is more a military threat than a force for peace. It is now clear that President Deng Xiaoping, who oversaw China’s tremendous economic growth, was less a reformer than an enabler for President Xi Jinping’s militancy and the Chinese communist party’s revisionist quest to fundamentally remake the post-World War II order.

Most U.S. threat assessments focus on Chinese aggression in its neighborhood. Could China invade Taiwan? How much farther will China push in the South China Sea? Could China’s claim to the Senkaku Islands lead to conflict with Japan? Could China flip traditional Western allies Philippines, Thailand, or even Turkey? Could a China-Pakistan axis provoke conflict with India? What does the Belt and Road initiative mean for Central Asia and the Indian Ocean basin? The Pentagon also worries about direct Chinese asymmetric leaps such as hypersonic missiles, anti-satellite missiles, and carrier killer missiles.

China is a threat, US deterrence is critical

Thayer, 6-12, 19, Bradley A. Thayer Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas San Antonio and is the coauthor of How China Sees the World: Han-Centrism and the Balance of Power in International Politics. Lianchao Han is vice president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute. After the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, Dr. Han was one of the founders of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars. He worked in the U.S. Senate for twelve years, as legislative counsel and policy director for three senators, The ‘Xi Doctrine’: Proclaiming and Rationalizing China’s Aggression,

The United States must respond to China’s belligerence with greater strength, adamantine determination, and more vigorous diplomatic and military measures. Using the occasion of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore this month, Chinese Minister of National Defense and State Councilor Gen. Wei Fenghe, delivered a sharp message to the United States, which may be termed the “Xi Doctrine” on China’s use of force, after Chinese premier Xi Jinping. Wei declaring both China’s resolve to aggress to advance its interests and a rationalization for the use of force. Wei’s de facto threat of war should not be lost in his nuances, deliberate ambiguity, or in translation. His remarks were so bellicose that the world has noticed, as was certainly intended by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Empirical evidence of China’s aggression is increasingly common, from its attempt to dominate the South China Sea, the neo-imperialist effort to gain control of states through the Belt and Road Initiative, to its technological imperialism to control 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. What is rather less frequent are statements from high-level Chinese officials proclaiming the country’s intent to be aggressive and offering an attempted legitimizing principle justifying that aggression. While much of the content of Wei’s remarks were in keeping with the gossamer pronouncements on China’s peaceful intentions, as well as a paean to Xi Jinping’s leadership, they still conveyed that China is ready and willing to resort to war if the United States stands in its way of global expansion; and they made clear that China must go to war, or even a nuclear war, to occupy Taiwan. Specifically, there are four elements that comprise the Xi Doctrine and are indications of China’s signaling its willingness to use force. The first component is a new and alarming proclamation of the undisguised threats to use force or wage an unlimited war. China is becoming bolder as its military power grows. This is evidenced in Wei’s muscular remarks on the People’s Republic of China’s approach against Taiwan, his explicit statement that China does not renounce the use of force against Taiwan, and his effort to deter the United States and its allies from intervention should an attack occur. Wei forcefully stated: “If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but must go to war, and must fight for the reunification of the motherland at all costs.” “At all cost” means that China will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons or launching another Pearl Harbor to take over Taiwan. This is a clear warning of an invasion. Second, the Xi Doctrine legitimizes territorial expansion. Through his remarks, Wei sought to convince the rest of the world that China’s seizure of most of the South China Sea is an accomplished fact that cannot be overturned. He made bogus accusations, which included blaming the United States for “raking in profits by stirring up troubles” in the region. He insisted that only ASEAN and China must resolve the issue. He claimed that China’s militarization on South China Sea islands and reefs were an act of self-defense. Should this be allowed to stand, then the Xi Doctrine will set a perilous precedent of successful territorial expansion, which will further entice China and jeopardize the peace of the region. Third, the doctrine targets the United States as a cause of the world’s major problems and envisions a powerful China evicting the United States from the region. Wei obliquely identified the United States as the cause wars, conflicts, and unrest, and sought to convey that the United States will abandon the states of the South China Sea (SCS) when it is confronted by Chinese power, a typical divide and conquer strategy used by the CCP regime. The Xi Doctrine’s fourth element is the mendacity regarding China’s historical use of force and current actions. While the distortions of history were numerous, there were three major lies that should be alarming for the states of the region and the global community. First, Wei said that China had never invaded another country, which is a claim so transparently false it can only be a measure of the contempt he held for the audience. China has a long history of aggression, including against the Tibetans and Vietnamese, and perhaps soon against the Taiwanese. Second, Wei argued that hegemony does not conform to China’s values when, in fact, China proudly was Asia’s hegemon for most of the last two thousand years. Lastly, he claimed that the situation in the SCS is moving toward stability—from China’s perspective this stability is caused by its successful seizure of territory. In fact, the SCS is far less stable as a result of China’s actions. Efforts to counter this grab are denounced by Wei as destabilizing, which is a bit like a thief accusing you of a crime for wanting your property returned. Wei’s belligerent rhetoric is an indication that the CCP regime faces deep external and internal crises. Externally, the Trump administration has shocked the CCP with the three major steps it has taken. First, it has shifted the focus of the U.S. national-security strategy and now identifies China explicitly as its primary rival—abandoning the far more muted policies of previous administrations. Second, Trump has acted on this peer competitive threat by advancing tangible measures, such as arms sales to allies and the ban of Huawei. Third, the administration has made credible commitments to assure partners and allies to counter China’s aggression and bullying. These have unbalanced the CCP regime, and its natural reaction is to bully its way out. Additionally, the CCP regime has perceived that the world today has begun to consider the negative implications of China’s rise, and the United States is determined to prevent what heretofore had been considered China’s unstoppable rise. From the perspective of CCP, conflict is increasingly seen as inevitable and perhaps even imminent. Wei’s bellicosity should be seen in this light, and the PLA is tasked with fighting and winning the war. Internally, Xi’s anti-corruption campaign that selectively targets his political rivalries, and his abandoning the established rules such as term limited of presidency, have introduced deep cleavages into the unity of the regime unity. China’s economic slowdown, made worse by the U.S. trade war, is a fundamental challenge to the regime’s legitimacy. Xi’s repression and suppression of the Chinese people, particularly human-rights defenders, Christians, Kazakhs, Uighurs, and other minorities, have miscarried. Drawing from the pages of unfortunate history, in a classic social-imperialist move, the regime wants to direct these internal tensions outward. At the same time, the nationalistic fervor advanced by the CCP’s propaganda and by the rapid military modernization have made many young militant officers in the PLA overconfident. This is infrequently noticed in the West. They can hardly wait to fight an ultimate war to defeat the arch-enemy. This plainly dangerous mentality echoes the Japanese military’s beliefs before Pearl Harbor. The bellicosity evinced in Wei’s speech is serious and is not bluster intended to deter. The United States cannot meet China’s threat with half-measures, which are likely to further encourage China’s aggressive behavior. The United States must respond to China’s belligerence with greater strength, adamantine determination, and more vigorous diplomatic and military measures. With the Xi Doctrine, China has proclaimed and rationalized its aggression. A Trump Doctrine forged in response has to reveal to all global audiences, most importantly the CCP leadership, the recklessness of the Xi Doctrine and the supreme folly of aggression.

Collaborative approaches fail

Ely Ratner, 18, November 27, ELY RATNER is Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security. He served as Deputy National Security Adviser to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden from 2015 to 2017, There Is No Grand Bargain With China,

In true showmanship fashion, U.S. President Donald Trump is keeping the world in suspense about whether he will soon double down on the United States’ trade war with China or call a truce. The big reveal will come after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the G-20 in Buenos Aires later this week. Trump has at times been optimistic, telling reporters, “I think a deal will be made. We’ll find out very soon.” Don’t believe the hype. Any agreement in Argentina will be a tactical pause at best, providing short-term relief to jittery stock markets and beleaguered U.S. farmers, but having no material or long-lasting effect on the slide toward a high-stakes geopolitical competition between the United States and China. The days when the world’s two largest economies could meet each other halfway have gone. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. SIGN UP Over the course of his first five-year term, Xi passed up repeated opportunities to avert rivalry with Washington. His increasingly revisionist and authoritarian turn has instead eliminated the possibility of a grand bargain between the United States and China. On most issues of consequence, there is simply no overlap between Xi’s vision for China’s rise and what the United States considers an acceptable future for Asia and the world beyond. DEAL OR NO DEAL Whether Trump and Xi reach some short-term accommodation in Buenos Aires is anyone’s guess. There are substantial divisions within the Trump administration and no policy process to adjudicate them. As a result, the White House has neither an agreed-upon bottom line nor a clear negotiating strategy. Bilateral negotiations have been flailing in fits and starts, leaving China guessing what might ultimately satisfy Trump. On most issues of consequence, there is simply no overlap between Xi’s vision for China’s rise and what the United States considers an acceptable future for Asia and the world beyond. The meeting in Buenos Aires may well fail to curb the president’s appetite for more tariffs on China. Over the last year, the Trump administration has substantially hardened its policies and rhetoric toward Beijing. Consider, for example, Vice President Mike Pence’s blistering speech at the Hudson Institute in October, in which he accused China of a litany of economic, political, and military misdeeds. Pence continued his strident tone while substituting for Trump at Asia’s annual regional summits in mid-November. The vice president openly mocked Xi’s signature foreign policy program, the Belt and Road Initiative, declaring that the United States, by contrast, does not “offer constricting belts or a one-way road.” In the meantime, the Trump administration has stepped up pressure on Beijing with a series of indictments and financial penalties to blunt China’s illegal and unfair trade practices. All that said, it is widely known that Trump is of two minds on China. Even as the president reiterates his long-standing belief that China has “cheated” and “plundered” the United States, no one should be surprised if he chooses to make a deal, declare victory, and go home. By earning symbolic and politically salient concessions, Trump could minimize short-term risks to U.S. markets while claiming that he alone finally stood up to Beijing. The contours of such a deal are well understood. Trump would agree to hit pause on any new or higher tariffs. In exchange, China would pledge to purchase more U.S. goods (including soy beans and liquefied natural gas), while issuing promises to enhance Chinese market access for U.S. products, further open its financial sector, better protect intellectual property, and reduce joint venture and technology transfer requirements. Any burst of goodwill, however, will be short lived. Xi and the ruling Chinese Communist Party are incapable of addressing the United States’ fundamental concerns over China’s industrial policies and state-led economic model. Because of this, any process to settle these issues is bound to fail. Even if tariffs are put on hold, the United States will continue to restructure the U.S.-Chinese economic relationship through investment restrictions, export controls, and sustained law enforcement actions against Chinese industrial and cyber-espionage. At the same time, there are no serious prospects for Washington and Beijing to resolve other important areas of dispute, including the South China Sea, human rights, and the larger contest over the norms, rules, and institutions that govern relations in Asia. Nothing Trump and Xi agree to in Argentina will substantially alter this course. WHO LOST AMERICA? Historians will debate why Xi so mishandled the U.S.-Chinese relationship, likely finding some combination of ideology, certitude of a declining United States, and domestic exigencies that had nothing to do with foreign policy. Regardless, the record is now clear that Xi, whether intentionally or not, decisively sidestepped what was China’s best and last opportunity to avert rivalry with Washington. When Xi assumed China’s presidency in 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was willing to test the proposition that Xi was both a reformer and someone the United States could work with. The leaders rolled up their sleeves at Sunnylands in June 2013 to begin charting a future course for what both sides referred to as the world’s most important bilateral relationship. With tensions simmering between the powers, this was a potentially crucial turning point. At the Communist Party’s Third Plenum conclave later that year, Xi said all the right things about taking China further down the path of reform, including letting the market play a “decisive role” in the economy. In turn, Obama welcomed China’s rising power, viewed it as natural and legitimate, and ultimately saw Beijing as a partner on issues including climate change and nuclear nonproliferation. Members of Obama’s cabinet said repeatedly that U.S.-Chinese cooperation was necessary to address the globe’s most pressing problems, with Obama himself making clear that he thought a strong China was preferable to a weak one. Obama did push back on China, for instance by underscoring U.S. alliance commitments to Japan and the Philippines to deter China’s assertiveness in its maritime periphery. But he did so selectively and intermittently, and never in ways that threatened to undermine China’s core interests or the bilateral relationship. Toward the end of the Obama administration, the president directed his cabinet to begin strategic stability talks with Beijing, believing that dialogue was still the principal means to manage mounting competition. Yet, at nearly every turn, Xi rejected Obama’s overtures in areas of significant dispute. Instead of seeking to narrow differences, Xi accelerated China’s efforts to develop an illiberal sphere of influence in ways that increasingly undermined vital U.S. interests. While Washington negotiated in good faith, Beijing dragged its feet for years on a bilateral investment treaty that would have addressed many issues at the root of today’s trade war. At the same time, Xi reasserted state control over China’s economy, failing to deliver much-needed reforms that would have created a more reciprocal economic relationship. And after the Chinese government pledged to cease and desist on cyber commercial espionage in 2015, U.S. intelligence officials determined that China was back to its old ways within a couple of years. On security issues, Xi was equally uncompromising. In 2015, he famously lied in the White House Rose Garden that China had “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea. In reality, he was planning to build artificial islands with military bases the size of Pearl Harbor. Wielding a large economic stick, Xi used boycotts and travel bans to punish U.S. allies, including South Korea and the Philippines, for standing up for themselves and further aligning with the United States. He exacted extraordinary pressure on Taiwan, calling off a diplomatic truce and peeling off some of Taipei’s few remaining diplomatic partners. Internally, his record on human rights has been abysmal, exemplified by the estimated one million Muslims sent to internment camps in western China. By the 2016 presidential election, Xi had lost the United States. Regardless of whether Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had taken the helm, Washington was readying to challenge China on multiple fronts. Even much of the U.S. business community—long considered the ballast of the U.S.-Chinese relationship—had had enough, and was newly willing to see Washington take punitive actions against Beijing. An emerging bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill only reinforced the likelihood that the United States would confront China on trade, opioids, cybertheft, and human rights. DARE TO COMPETE The United States should not shrink from strategic competition with China. Analogies to World War I or the Cold War are imperfect and misleading. Competition does not mean confrontation, much less war. The United States should sustain dialogue with China to manage potential crises and seek opportunities for cooperation on areas of common interest, such as climate change. Washington’s focus, however, should ultimately be on making the United States its best and strongest self. In that context, the China challenge presents a rare and essential opportunity for U.S. political unity. It is imperative that Republicans and Democrats build a bipartisan consensus on the issue. Both sides of the aisle will have to make difficult compromises by approaching divisive issues such as trade, defense budgets, fiscal policy, domestic spending, and immigration at least in part through the lens of enhancing U.S. competitiveness. Future U.S. administrations will have to do a better job than Trump’s in leveraging the enduring foundations of U.S. power, including its open society, commitment to human rights, and powerful alliances and partnerships. Garnering sufficient political support to compete successfully with China will also require a clearer description of what’s at stake if current trends continue and Washington fails to respond accordingly. A China-dominated order would mean a United States with weaker alliances, fewer security partners, and a military forced to operate at greater distances. U.S. firms would be left without access to leading technologies and markets, and disadvantaged by new standards, investment rules, and trading blocs. Inert regional institutions would be unable to resist Chinese coercion, and the world would see a steady decline in democracy and individual freedoms. The net result would be a less secure, less prosperous United States that would be less able to exert power in the world. For now, enhancing American competitiveness to prevent this kind of illiberal Chinese sphere of influence should be the cardinal aim of U.S. China strategy. One day, it will be time to talk with Beijing about making a deal. But that day will only come once China’s momentum has stalled and Xi or one of his successors is no longer convinced that his country is on the path to regional dominance. At that point, Trump’s upcoming meeting with Xi will be long forgotten.

Security K/Threat Con Answers – China is an imperial threat, their nonsense aside

Robert D. Kaplan is a managing director for global macro at Eurasia Group., 6-17, 19,, America Must Prepare for the Coming Chinese Empire

BEFORE ONE can outline a grand strategy for the United States, one has to be able to understand the world in which America operates. That may sound simple, but a bane of Washington is the assumption of knowledge where little actually exists. Big ideas and schemes are worthless unless one is aware of the ground-level reality of several continents, and is able to fit them into a pattern, based not on America’s own historical experience, but also on the historical experience of others. Therefore, I seek to approach grand strategy not from the viewpoint of Washington, but of the world; and not as a political scientist or academic, but as a journalist with more than three decades of experience as a reporter around the globe. After covering the Third World during the Cold War and its aftershocks which continue to the present, I have concluded that, despite the claims of post-colonial studies courses prevalent on university campuses, we still inhabit (in functional terms, that is) an imperial world. Empire in some form or another is eternal, even if European colonies of the early-modern and modern eras are gone. Thus, the issue becomes: what are the contours of the current imperial age that affect grand strategy for the United States? And once those contours are delineated, what should be America’s grand strategy in response? I will endeavor to answer both questions. Empire, or its great power equivalent, requires the impression of permanence: the idea, embedded in the minds of local inhabitants, that the imperial authorities will always be there, compelling acquiescence to their rule and influence. Wherever I traveled in Africa, the Middle East and Asia during the Cold War, American and Soviet influence was seen as permanent; unquestioned for all time, however arrogant and overbearing it might have been. Whatever the facts, that was the perception. And after the Soviet Union collapsed, American influence continued to be seen for a time as equally permanent. Make no mistake: America, since the end of World War II, and continuing into the second decade of the twenty-first century, was an empire in all but name. That is no longer the case. European and Asian allies are now, with good reason, questioning America’s constancy. New generations of American leaders, to judge from university liberal arts curriculums, are no longer being educated to take pride in their country’s past and traditions. Free trade or some equivalent, upon which liberal maritime empires have often rested, is being abandoned. The decline of the State Department, ongoing since the end of the Cold War, is hollowing out a primary tool of American power. Power is not only economic and military: it is moral. And I don’t mean humanitarian, as necessary as humanitarianism is for the American brand. But in this case, I mean something harder: the fidelity of our word in the minds of allies. And that predictability is gone. Meanwhile, as one imperium-of-sorts declines, another takes its place. China is not the challenge we face: rather, the challenge is the new Chinese empire. It is an empire that stretches from the arable cradle of the ethnic Han core westward across Muslim China and Central Asia to Iran; and from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean, up the Suez Canal, to the eastern Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. It is an empire based on roads, railways, energy pipelines and container ports whose pathways by land echo those of the Tang and Yuan dynasties of the Middle Ages, and by sea echo the Ming dynasty of the late Middle Ages and early-modern period. Because China is in the process of building the greatest land-based navy in history, the heart of this new empire will be the Indian Ocean, which is the global energy interstate, connecting the hydrocarbon fields of the Middle East with the middle-class conurbations of East Asia. This new Indian Ocean empire has to be seen to be believed. A decade ago, I spent several years visiting these Chinese ports in the making, at a time when few in the West were paying attention. I traveled to Gwadar in the bleak desert of Baluchistan, technically part of Pakistan but close to the Persian Gulf. There, I saw a state-of-the-art port complex rising sheer above a traditional village. (The Chinese are now contemplating a naval base in nearby Jawani, which would allow them to overwatch the Strait of Hormuz.) In Hambantota, in Sri Lanka, I witnessed hundreds of Chinese laborers literally moving the coast itself further inland, as armies of dump trucks carried soil away. While America’s bridges and railways languish, it is a great moment in history to be a Chinese civil engineer. China has gone from building these ports, to having others manage them, and then finally to managing them themselves. It has all been part of a process that recalls the early days of the British and Dutch East India companies in the same waters. Newspaper reports talk of some of these projects being stalled or mired in debt. That is a traditionally capitalist way to look at it. From a mercantile and imperialist point of view, these projects make perfect sense. In a way, the money never really leaves China: a Chinese state bank lends the money for a port project in a foreign country, which then employs Chinese state workers, which utilize a Chinese logistics company, and so on. Geography is still paramount. And because the Indian Ocean is connected to the South China Sea through the Malacca, Sunda and Lombok straits, Chinese domination of the South China Sea is crucial to Beijing. China is not a rogue state, and China’s naval activities in the South China Sea make perfect sense given its geopolitical and, yes, its imperial imperatives. The South China Sea not only further unlocks the Indian Ocean for China, but it further softens up Taiwan and grants the Chinese navy greater access to the wider Pacific. The South China Sea represents one geographical frontier of the Greater Indian Ocean world; the Middle East and the Horn of Africa represent the other. The late Zbigniew Brzezinski once wisely said in conversation that hundreds of millions of Muslims do not yearn for democracy as much as they yearn for dignity and justice, things which are not necessarily synonymous with elections. The Arab Spring was not about democracy: rather, it was simply a crisis in central authority. The fact that sterile and corrupt authoritarian systems were being rejected did not at all mean these societies were institutionally ready for parliamentary systems: witness Libya, Yemen and Syria. As for Iraq, it proved that beneath the carapace of tyranny lay not the capacity for democracy but an anarchic void. The regimes of Morocco, Jordan and Oman provide stability, legitimacy, and a measure of the justice and dignity that Brzezinski spoke of, precisely because they are traditional monarchies, with only the threadbare trappings of democracy. Tunisia’s democracy is still fragile, and the further one travels away from the capital into the western and southern reaches of the country, close to the Libyan and Algerian borders, the more fragile it becomes. This is a world tailor-made for the Chinese, who do not deliver moral lectures about the type of government a state should have but do provide an engine for economic development. To wit, globalization is much about container shipping: an economic activity that the Chinese have mastered. The Chinese military base in Djibouti is the security hub in a wheel of ports extending eastward to Gwadar in Pakistan, southward to Bagamoyo in Tanzania, and northwestward to Piraeus in Greece, all of which, in turn, help anchor Chinese trade and investments throughout the Middle East, East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. Djibouti is a virtual dictatorship, Pakistan is in reality an army-run state, Tanzania is increasingly authoritarian and Greece is a badly institutionalized democracy that is increasingly opening up to China. In significant measure, between Europe and the Far East, this is the world as it really exists in Afro-Eurasia. The Chinese empire, unburdened by the missionary impulse long prevalent in American foreign policy, is well suited for it. MORE TO the point, when it comes to China, we are dealing with a unique and very formidable cultural organism. The American foreign policy elite does not like to talk about culture since culture cannot be quantified, and in this age of extreme personal sensitivity, what cannot be quantified or substantiated by a footnote is potentially radioactive. But without a discussion of culture and geography, there is simply no hope of understanding foreign affairs. Indeed, culture is nothing less than the sum total of a large group of people’s experience inhabiting the same geographical landscape for hundreds or thousands of years. Anyone who travels in China, or even observes it closely, realizes something that the business community intuitively grasps better than the policy community: the reason there is little or no separation between the public and private domains in China is not only because the country is a dictatorship, but because there is a greater cohesion of values and goals among Chinese compared to those among Americans. In China, you are inside a traditional mental value system. In that system, all areas of national activity—commercial, cyber, military, political, technological, educational—work fluently toward the same ends, so that computer hacking, espionage, port building and expansion, the movement of navy and fishing fleets, and so on all appear coordinated. And within that system, Confucianism still lends a respect for hierarchy and authority among individual Chinese, whereas American culture is increasingly about the dismantling of authority in favor of devotion to the individual. Confucian societies worship old people; Western societies worship young people. One should never forget these lines from Solzhenitsyn: “Idolized children despise their parents, and when they get a bit older they bully their countrymen. Tribes with an ancestor cult have endured for centuries. No tribe would survive long with a youth cult.”

Relations advantage answer — China will never cooperate on Korea – it fears regime collapse

Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm,

Similarly, Washington will not convince Beijing to sanction Pyongyang hard enough to force it to denuclearize, because that pressure would risk regime collapse followed by a unified Korea that is allied with America. China fears that prospect more than the possibility of North Korea attacking it. Indeed, each year, the United Nations details North Korea’s violations of Security Council sanctions, including Pyongyang’s procurement of products that keep the Kim regime intact. Those reports identify China as a top accomplice in North Korea’s illicit conduct in the year ending this past February. But such bad press did not deter Beijing, however, as China and North Korea just opened a new border crossing, which signals their plans for greater economic engagement in violation of UN sanctions.

Efforts to improve relations with China did not reduce China’s aggression


Leaf, June 11, 2019, Leaf, Paul J. Leaf is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy. He worked on defense issues for a think tank and is now an attorney at an international law firm,

That Beijing would refuse to cooperate with Washington even if Washington limits its support for Taipei is not merely hypothetical. The Obama administration tread lightly with Taiwan, including by withholding new weapons from the island longer than all prior administrations since 1979. President Barack Obama’s administration also publicly criticized Tsai during her presidential run because Washington had “distinct doubts” about her willingness “to continue the stability in cross-Strait relations the region has enjoyed in recent years” when the KMT was in office. Finally, under Obama, Washington also reduced the U.S. naval presence in the Taiwan Strait. Yet, during this period, China was at its most aggressive, developing powerful offensive weapons. Beijing also broke President Xi’s promises that China would cease economic cyberespionage against America and not militarize its man-made islands in the South China Sea. Besides, if Washington today were to execute a free-trade agreement with Taiwan after China has pledged assistance on commercial and denuclearization matters, Beijing would then use the free-trade agreement to justify backing out of its promises.

Multipolarity won’t dampen conflicts, it’s competitive, and we need to deter Russia and China in a multipolar world

Patrick Porter is a professor of International Security and Strategy at the University of Birmingham, Spring 2019, Washington Quarterly, Advice for a Dark Age: Managing Great Power Competition

How did we get here? Until recently, some observers argued that competitive multipolarity was not foreordained. Classical realists, including this author, advised that the superpower and its peers should actively negotiate the shift to a more polycentric world.5 If, historically, “power transitions” are dangerous, powers could still ease the transition without the eruption of major war, as Britain and the United States did at the turn of the century. Retrenchment of some commitments, mutual accommodation, power-sharing bargains and spheres of influence could stabilize relations, lower the mutual sense of threat, accord other powers space to grow, and facilitate the capacity to cooperate in areas of shared interests. Instead of courting insolvency, the United States could regain its footing.6 From a liberal internationalist position, others prophesied that competitive multipolarity was a thing of the past. A “liberal world order” of institutions, free trade, permanent alliances and norms of sovereignty and human rights would prevail, and even convert would-be competitors, locking in the states of the international system even in a post-American world.7 The tectonic plates of international order were shifting away from violent competition.8 Even if we are seeing an intensification of great power antagonism, they argued, a “free world” is still possible, if the United States strives to rebuild it.9 Neoconservative hawks, who put a premium on political will, argued that if only the United States summoned the belief, and avoided the disease of “declinism,” it could perpetuate the Pax Americana. 10 Others argued that U.S. material and structural power is so great that it need not embark on risky, belligerent behavior—in other words, that there is no “power transition” underway to prevent.11 For better or worse, neither Washington nor its adversaries heeded this advice. Though we critics of primacy will still make the case for a new grand strategy, as things stand a shift away from the pursuit of U.S. dominance is not the direction of travel. We are entering a period of competitive multipolarity partly because major The U.S. is in danger of being locked into combat with five adversaries simultaneously. Advice for a Dark Age: Managing Great Power Competition THE WASHINGTON QUARTERLY ▪ SPRING 2019 9 players have decided to. The declaratory statements of Washington, Beijing and Moscow are unambiguous. The United States’ National Security Strategy of 2017, its 2018 National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review explicitly speak of a world of interstate strategic competition and a “rapidly deteriorating threat environment.” 12 Judging from public pronouncements and officials’ observations, China is now viewed as aspiring for dominance in the Asia-Pacific and eastern Eurasia more broadly, bidding for primacy by evicting the United States.13 Across multiple dimensions, China is seen as asserting itself aggressively, seizing disputed territories in the South China Sea, infiltrating the domestic politics of U.S. democratic allies as far away as Australia, openly threatening Taiwan with reunification by force, and attempting to bring states into its orbit via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of infrastructure development. Russia is in a state of “mobilization,” having enhanced its readiness to respond to emergencies in an “arc of crisis” around its borders, from the Baltic states to Ukraine and the Black Sea to the Caucuses.14 Whether it is primarily driven by revanchist imperial power ambitions, by a desire to rebuild its domination of the “near abroad,” or is defensively fending off the expansion of the Euro-Atlantic world into its orbit, it accepts security competition with the United States as a fact of life. Moscow fears that the superpower sponsors subversion and “color” revolutions—externally sponsored mass uprisings to overthrow governments—along its frontiers and within its capital. Ominously, it regards major war as a strong possibility

Russia, China, Iran, North Korea impacts are based on fear manipulation and should be rejected

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments, June 10, 2019, America’s Fear-Based Foreign Policy Needs to Go,

In a recent interview with Axios, former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster warned it was difficult “to overstate the threat of a nuclear North Korea,” and added that Donald Trump must “prepare for at least the option of the use of military force.” A sober and comprehensive analysis, however, shows such military-first views are common among Washington’s establishment thinking—and represent a failing school of thought: what can only accurately be called “fearism.” Fear may be the most powerful of all human emotions. It can help us avoid serious harm—or it can be used to manipulate. Since 9/11, fear has become the basis for most of our foreign policy—and our lives are worse because of it. Fear of a given opponent, like McMaster’s claim against North Korea, is used to justify a worldview that posits the only way to keep our country safe from any enemy—real or presumed—is to use or threat to use lethal military power. There is little to no effort placed in considering the circumstances surrounding said opponent, its history, its culture, the surrounding geopolitics, nor the balance of power between it and the United States. In many cases, if a state we don’t like possesses the ability to even attack our country, fearism argues America should consider using military force to eliminate it. Also lacking in this worldview is a consideration of the intent of the target country or their capacity to successfully take on America. 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? Up through the end of the Cold War, America’s guiding foreign-policy philosophy had been realism, which sees the world as it is: anarchical, competitive, and dominated by states. Realism didn’t raise undue alarms over various threats because it recognized the United States’ strengths compared to rivals and the ability of other states to manage problems by balancing against threatening states. As a result of the trauma of 9/11, we have abandoned that concept and replaced it with one predicated on fearing all opponents. This “fearism” all too often produces policies that are irrational and illogical—and perversely dissipates, not strengthens, our national security. Report Advertisement We fear terrorism. We fear what the Russians might one day do; what the Chinese might do; we are afraid of Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela. But are those fears valid? Yes, some concern about each is valid—terrorism, for example, is a real threat from which we must defend ourselves—but the level of fear establishment thinkers offer is vastly overblown. For eight years the Bush administration—and then Obama after him—intentionally sought to tie their global actions to an emotionally-charged issue they knew would elicit anxiety among the listeners—fear of “another 9/11!”—and quash any dissention. It worked. Anyone who dared question the overwhelming focus on counterterror operations was derided as weak on defense or worse. The only problem: the claims of those citing a major threat from terrorism were factually wrong. Report Advertisement The 2001 terror attacks barely had anything to do with the territory of Afghanistan and were mostly designed, as I recently chronicled in a Washington Times piece, “between the years 1993–98 while (mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed lived and traveled) in Sudan, Yemen, Malaysia, Brazil, India, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan”—and the operational preparation took place mostly in the United States. To claim we have to stay at war in Afghanistan forever to prevent “a new 9/11” is flatly wrong and is supported solely owing to an irrational fear. A careful, comprehensive, and unemotional analysis of the full range of America’s soft and hard power, combined with an equally accurate assessment of any given opponent, conclusively proves that there are vastly superior and cost-effective ways to keep our country safe and prosperous. The best remedy to the bankrupt concept of fearism is the elevation of a new approach: what I call “constructive realism.” Unlike fearism, constructive realism isn’t looking for any opportunity to use force—rather, it seeks to keep our country safe by avoiding unnecessary conflict. It elevates diplomacy above the military instrument to defuse problems before they become acute. And critically, considers a foe’s intent and capacity to harm our country in comparison with U.S. power, not just whether they have certain weapons. If a careful analysis reveals that a given state may be antagonistic towards us but have neither the intent nor military capacity to successfully attack us, constructive realism would rely on our powerful deterrent to keep us safe and not enter into unwarranted and ultimately futile military operations. To be effective in the perpetually chaotic, complex world, constructive realism provides an effective framework to guide U.S. foreign policy to achieve appropriate strategic objectives at an affordable cost. America’s core interests are those necessary for the government to fulfill its most sacred duties: defend its people, secure the rights and liberties of individual citizens, and fosters conditions which maximizes our ability to prosper as a nation. Report Advertisement To defend these core interests, we should establish and maintain the following strategic objectives as a minimum: 1) provide for the common defense by maintaining a powerful, modern Armed Forces that can protect against attack from any opponent; 2) prioritize productive, constructive engagement in our relations with other global players, which means a greater emphasis on shrewd diplomacy to achieve win-win outcomes wherever possible; and 3) facilitate and maintain peace to the maximum extent possible. To accomplish these objectives, senior leaders must conduct an unemotional assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of various foreign entities, ascertain whether they intend to be cooperative, antagonistic, or neutral towards the United States, and compare that with America’s economic, diplomatic, and military capabilities. Our leaders will then be able to select appropriate policies for individual actors to best accomplish each of our objectives. Here’s what that would look like in the real world. Report Advertisement Conventional, establishment Washington thinking holds that the greatest threats to U.S. national security today are Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. The prevailing theory is that the only language these countries understand is brute force, and thus we routinely communicate our willingness to use lethal military action against any adversary to compel compliance to our policy preferences, regardless of this approach’s track record of failure. What should be the most obvious is that neither individuals nor governments react positively to constant threats. If Washington constantly demonstrates its willingness to use force to get its way, the result too often is to harden an adversary’s resolve, not to realign their policies with U.S. interests, as diplomacy seeks to do. No one in the world doubts our ability and willingness to use lethal military force—the large number of our current and perpetual wars confirm this. Recognizing America’s unparalleled geostrategic position—prosperous, dynamic economy; strongest military; robust nuclear deterrent; favorable geography and weak neighbors—the United States is free to change the nature of our engagement with key players in the world in ways that improve our national security and enhance our global economic prospects. Here are a few key examples: North Korea: Kim Jong-un does not want to go to war with the United States. He has zero intention of ever using his arsenal in an offensive strike against either the United States or any of our allies. He does desire to formally end the Korean war, seek closer political and economic ties with South Korea, and to see his domestic economy expand. Trying to demand full denuclearization up front is guaranteed to fail. The best way to ensure our security is to facilitate reconciliation between South and North Korea, reduce tensions so no party feels threatened, and over time work towards disarmament. Iran: Emotions aside, Iran does not represent a security threat to the United States that can’t be deterred with our normal nuclear and conventional military posture. They are a middling, regional power, but they are more than balanced by other Middle Eastern powers. Our European allies, Russia, and China are still parties, along with Iran, to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and would support either a mutually beneficial expanded agreement or revitalized diplomatic engagement from Washington. Bottom line: military force is the absolute worst way to check Iran’s influence and the most likely to fail. Russia: Russia is not the Soviet Union. It doesn’t have a massive land army, powerful air force, or a large modern navy. It is the economic equivalent of Italy. They do not have the ability to project power into Western Europe and pose no direct conventional threat to America at all. They do, however, possess the ability to destroy us with nuclear weapons and thus it is in our interest to maintain productive relations with them. Our conventional and nuclear deterrent ensures we don’t need to fear an unprovoked attack. China: Beijing is a rising economic and defensive military power. In addition to economic opportunity, it seeks elbow room in its own backyard and security from external attack. Its “A2/AD”—anti-access, area denial—military investments are expressly designed to defend the Chinese mainland from attack. They pose no offensive threat to its neighbors, let alone the United States. Like the United States, China shares an interest in avoiding war. We do hundreds of billions in trade with China each year, and with firm but fair diplomatic engagement, we have the potential to increase economic opportunity for American business. The path is open to us to abandon the destructive, reactionary strategy of fearism and replace it with a stronger, more effective alternative: constructive realism. The security and economic vitality of our nation may lie in the balance: either maintain the fear-based foreign policy that has served us so poorly since 9/11 or adjust our grand strategy to match today’s world and today’s security challenges—U.S. prosperity awaits.

China is a threat, the US needs to contain it

Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He was deputy national security advisor for strategic planning, presidential envoy to Iraq, and ambassador to India in the George W. Bush administration, May 7, 2019, Foreign Policy, Trump Deserves More Credit for His Foreign Policies,

U.S. President Donald Trump’s actions over the course of his first two years in office have often been rash, ignorant, and chaotic. But pundits too often concentrate on his deeply flawed personality and his proclivity to announce policies on Twitter, at the expense of examining analytically the substance of his foreign policy. In fact, as I argue in a new Council on Foreign Relations report, some of his individual foreign policies are substantially better than many of his opponents assert. Critics typically show no sympathy for the challenges the president faces in trying to deal with the deteriorating world order that he inherited. China rises in disagreeable ways. Europe withdraws, for the first time in five centuries, from a leadership role in global affairs. Russia revives, which has destabilized its neighbors. NATO debates its role. The Middle East revisits ancient enmities—and witnesses newer ones. India equivocates over its international responsibilities. Global governance falls short. Autocrats on several continents successfully disparage democratic values. Technology outstrips our ability to manage it. The United States moves in perceived retreat. Not a single U.S. politician has a coherent and convincing set of policies to cope with this eroding world order, but Trump receives nearly all the blame and virtually no credit for his policies, except from his most ardent political admirers. Trending Articles Moldova’s Governments Go Head to Head One of Europe’s poorest countries plunges into crisis. Powered By For example, long before Trump took office, successive U.S. administrations pursued approaches to China that misread Beijing’s strategic intentions. While U.S. presidents crafted optimistic statements about the relationship over a nearly 20-year period, Beijing implemented a grand strategy designed to undermine U.S.-Asian alliances. China used geoeconomic tools to coerce its neighbors and others into its sway, most recently through the Belt and Road Initiative. It violated international commercial practices, including by committing massive theft of U.S. intellectual property. It manipulated its currency for trade benefits, threatened Taiwan, built up its military forces to push the United States beyond Japan and the Philippines, constructed and militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea in violation of international law, systemically and brutally violated the human rights of its own people, and patiently and incrementally built its power and influence with the strategic goal of replacing the United States as the primary power in Asia. This U.S. misunderstanding of China’s objectives over nearly two decades ranks as one of the three most damaging U.S. foreign-policy errors since the end of World War II, along with the 1965 military escalation in Vietnam and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Indeed, this prolonged failure in China policy could turn out to be the biggest U.S. policy deficiency in the past seven decades, given the accumulating dangerous strategic consequences of the rise of Chinese power for world order as well as for the United States and its allies and friends. To its credit, the Trump administration has adopted a much more clear-eyed approach to China that breaks with many of the errors of the past. The president’s confrontational trade policy could lead to concessions from the Chinese government that his immediate predecessors sought but could not get through traditional diplomatic means.The president’s confrontational trade policy could lead to concessions from the Chinese government that his immediate predecessors sought but could not get through traditional diplomatic means. And on Oct. 4, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence delivered the toughest speech on U.S.-China relations by a U.S. administration since former U.S. President Richard Nixon opened up the relationship. “China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space,” Pence said. “China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies.” Although his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and constant confrontations with U.S. allies have weakened his administration’s China policy, Trump’s political push to address the increasing dangers of Chinese power is more important—because his successor can remedy these mistakes. Without the president’s initiative, Washington might well have continued sleepwalking as Beijing drew large parts of Asia into its orbit and away from the United States Trump should also be given credit for his policies toward North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, India, and Venezuela, among others. Regarding North Korea, Trump’s strategy to this point has calmed the situation and reinvigorated the negotiating track through the first meetings at the highest level in the history of the relationship. He has addressed, at least temporarily, what matters most to vital U.S. national interests: the suspension of North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental missile tests, which represent direct threats to the U.S. mainland. At a minimum, he has delayed the moment when a U.S. president would have to either stand by while North Korea progressively expanded its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capabilities or attack its nuclear and missile sites, which could lead to a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Moreover, after the killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a flood of U.S. criticism called for sanctions against Riyadh, an end to U.S.-Saudi military cooperation with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, an end to arms sales, and an overall rupture of the intensity and substance of the bilateral relationship. As the Washington Post editorial page put it, “Who needs Saudi Arabia?” Trump’s answer is that the United States does, and he is right

US effectively deters the China threat now

Peter Harris is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University, May 27, 2019, When Will the Unipolar World End?

Put simply, the United States occupies today a geopolitical position similar to that enjoyed by the Soviet Union in 1945: political and military primacy in the most important regions of Eurasia. In Europe, the U.S.-led NATO alliance stretches from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Finland and the Black Sea. In Asia, the United States boasts a string of alliances and informal partnerships that almost completely encircles its primary geopolitical challenger, China.

China is a threat

Frank Fang, June 2, 2019,, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy

Chinese ambitions are threatening to undermine the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region, according to a newly released Pentagon report. “Today, the Indo-Pacific increasingly is confronted with a more confident and assertive China that is willing to accept friction in the pursuit of a more expansive set of political, economic, and security interests,” warns the report, which was released on June 1. The scathing criticisms of China coincided with acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s visit to Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s biggest security summit, which took place May 31 to June 2. While there, Shanahan blasted China for its “toolkit of coercion,” including stealing technologies from other countries and militarizing manmade outposts in the South China Sea, according to the Associated Press. “The Indo-Pacific is our priority theater,” Shanahan said on June 1. The United States currently has a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific. According to an article on the Pentagon website that covered Shanahan’s speech in Singapore, the country has more than 370,000 service members in the Indo-Pacific, training and working alongside allied and partner forces in the region. The U.S. military also has more than 2,000 military aircraft and more than 200 ships and submarines to ensure freedom of navigation in the region, according to the article. All in all, Shanahan concluded that the U.S. Pacific Command “has four times more assigned forces than any other geographic combatant command.” The Indo-Pacific is an important region for commercial activities. According to the Pentagon report, nine of the world’s 10 busiest seaports are located in the region. In terms of trade volume, a quarter of U.S. exports go to the region, while a third of all global shipping passes through the South China Sea alone. China’s Role The report warns that “as China continues its economic and military ascendance, it seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and, ultimately global preeminence in the long-term.” China mainly achieves that through “leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations” in the region, the report stated. For example, China has sent maritime law enforcement ships and aircraft to patrol near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, in an act of intimidation that “undermines regional stability.” The Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, are controlled by Japan, but both China and Taiwan claim the island as part of their territory. Meanwhile, Chinese investments in countries throughout the region are “one-sided and opaque.” An example provided in the report was how China has built infrastructure projects in the Maldives “at significantly inflated prices compared to what was previously agreed.” In December last year, Maldives Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said at a press conference that the country’s national debt stood at $3.7 billion, which equaled 53 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the local broadcaster Raajje TV. Of the $3.7 billion, $1.4 billion were owed to China, mostly for funding “One Belt, One Road” projects as part of China’s foreign policy initiative. In addition, the report stated that Beijing’s predatory economics comes in the form of “converting unsustainable debt burdens of recipient countries” into “strategic and military access, including by taking possession of sovereign assets as collateral.” For example, Beijing seized control of the seaport of Hambantota in Sri Lanka for 99 years, after the latter defaulted on Chinese loans for building it. China took advantage “of Sri Lanka’s need for cash when its government faced daunting external debt repayment obligations,” the report said. The Pentagon is also worried that China “is seeking to establish bases or a military presence on [Cambodia’s] coast, which would “challenge regional security.” Beijing has invested heavily in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville, which is home to the country’s only deepwater port. Chinese warships have repeatedly visited the port in recent years. “China’s coercive behavior is playing out globally, from the Middle East and Africa to Latin America and Europe,” the report concluded.

US-China tensions could trigger a wider conflict resulting in war

Frank Fang, June 2, 2019,, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy

China’s defense minister on Sunday rejected U.S. allegations of aggressive behavior in Asia and vowed Beijing would take military action to defend its claims over Taiwan and the contested South China Sea. Wei Fenghe defended China’s construction of “limited military facilities” on man-made islands in the South China Sea, rejecting smaller neighbors’ challenges of Beijing’s wide-ranging territorial claims in those waters. “There is no dispute as to China’s legitimacy to build facilities on its own territories,” Wei told an audience at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore. Rising U.S.-China tensions dominated the annual gathering of Asian defense chiefs and policymakers, where a day earlier acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan accused Beijing of stealing other nations’ technology, trapping smaller countries in debt with unfair infrastructure deals and threatening force against its neighbors to assert territorial claims. “Behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end,” Shanahan said. The two defense chiefs held what both sides described as a “constructive” meeting on the sidelines of the conference, where they found common ground on issues such as enforcing North Korean sanctions. But their sharp public comments underscored the depth and breadth of the disputes dividing the world’s biggest powers. Against the backdrop of a widening trade war, Wei’s closely watched speech – the first by a Chinese defense minister at the conference in eight years – reiterated longstanding Chinese policies but in an unapologetic tone that surprised U.S. officials and many of the delegates gathered in a cavernous chandeliered ballroom at Singapore’s five-star Shangri-La hotel. “We hold different views with the U.S. on several issues, and strongly oppose its wrong words and actions concerning Taiwan and the South China Sea,” Wei said. He called the warships and aircraft deployed by the U.S. and its allies near disputed islands – intended to demonstrate freedom of navigation – “the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors” in the strategically vital and resource-rich South China Sea. China’s construction of military facilities in the waterway “is for self-defense,” Wei said. “In the face of heavily armed warships and aircraft, how can we not?” Wei also cited U.S. arms sales to Taiwan – the self-governed island that Beijing maintains is part of China – as a hostile act. “If anyone tries to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs – at all costs – for national unity,” he said. Wei accused the U.S. of unfairly targeting the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which has been barred from doing business with U.S. entities because of alleged links to China’s Communist Party. Pentagon officials have said they might cease sharing information with allies that use Huawei technology because it could be used for espionage – an allegation Beijing denies. For the U.S. and China, it’s not a trade war anymore — it’s something worse JUN 01, 2019 | 8:20 PM “Huawei is a private company,” Wei said. “China is opposed to the attempts of other countries to impose sanctions on a private company.” The frictions have escalated since the Trump administration declared in late 2017 that competition between “great powers” – the U.S., China and Russia – was a cornerstone of its foreign policy. The shift has raised concerns across Southeast Asia, a region with close security, economic and diplomatic ties to the U.S. but increasingly important trade links with its giant neighbor, China. Many regional states openly voiced fears that the U.S.-China rivalry, if not resolved, could trigger a military conflict that could draw in smaller countries. “The rivalry of the big powers aggravates tensions in the South China Sea,” said Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu. “As a result, there is a greater risk of naval ships and aircraft encounters … that could spark major conflicts.” The Philippines, which has been the most assertive country in challenging China’s militarization of the South China Sea, said it was still seeking greater assurances from the U.S. over a decades-old mutual defense treaty. Some Philippine officials worry that the treaty would require the country to join the U.S. in any conflict with China, a possibility that Manila says has become more likely as U.S. warships make more frequent passages through the South China Sea. “We have to revisit it to be sure that it is still relevant in these modern times,” said the Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana. He called the “great power rivalry” between the U.S. and China “a dangerous distraction” from serious challenges such as battling climate change and transnational terrorism. The U.S. position hasn’t been helped by a disjointed diplomatic approach to the Asia Pacific region. The Trump administration has tried to rebrand the region as the Indo-Pacific, signaling its desire to more deeply involve India as a counterweight to Chinese influence – but its ties with India were damaged when Trump abruptly withdrew the country’s preferential trade status last week over a tariff dispute. The U.S. also has left many diplomatic positions in the region unfilled, including 11% of overseas posts in East Asia and the Pacific and 21% in South and Central Asia, according to a March report by the Government Accountability Office. Several Asian officials said that in meetings, Chinese diplomats have begun to make reference to the vacancies, citing them as a sign of a diminishing U.S. commitment to Asian affairs.


Frank Fang, June 2, 2019,, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy


China’s defense minister on Sunday rejected U.S. allegations of aggressive behavior in Asia and vowed Beijing would take military action to defend its claims over Taiwan and the contested South China Sea. Wei Fenghe defended China’s construction of “limited military facilities” on man-made islands in the South China Sea, rejecting smaller neighbors’ challenges of Beijing’s wide-ranging territorial claims in those waters. “There is no dispute as to China’s legitimacy to build facilities on its own territories,” Wei told an audience at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore. Rising U.S.-China tensions dominated the annual gathering of Asian defense chiefs and policymakers, where a day earlier acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan accused Beijing of stealing other nations’ technology, trapping smaller countries in debt with unfair infrastructure deals and threatening force against its neighbors to assert territorial claims. “Behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end,” Shanahan said. The two defense chiefs held what both sides described as a “constructive” meeting on the sidelines of the conference, where they found common ground on issues such as enforcing North Korean sanctions. But their sharp public comments underscored the depth and breadth of the disputes dividing the world’s biggest powers. Against the backdrop of a widening trade war, Wei’s closely watched speech – the first by a Chinese defense minister at the conference in eight years – reiterated longstanding Chinese policies but in an unapologetic tone that surprised U.S. officials and many of the delegates gathered in a cavernous chandeliered ballroom at Singapore’s five-star Shangri-La hotel. “We hold different views with the U.S. on several issues, and strongly oppose its wrong words and actions concerning Taiwan and the South China Sea,” Wei said. He called the warships and aircraft deployed by the U.S. and its allies near disputed islands – intended to demonstrate freedom of navigation – “the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors” in the strategically vital and resource-rich South China Sea. China’s construction of military facilities in the waterway “is for self-defense,” Wei said. “In the face of heavily armed warships and aircraft, how can we not?” Wei also cited U.S. arms sales to Taiwan – the self-governed island that Beijing maintains is part of China – as a hostile act. “If anyone tries to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs – at all costs – for national unity,” he said. Wei accused the U.S. of unfairly targeting the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which has been barred from doing business with U.S. entities because of alleged links to China’s Communist Party. Pentagon officials have said they might cease sharing information with allies that use Huawei technology because it could be used for espionage – an allegation Beijing denies. For the U.S. and China, it’s not a trade war anymore — it’s something worse JUN 01, 2019 | 8:20 PM “Huawei is a private company,” Wei said. “China is opposed to the attempts of other countries to impose sanctions on a private company.” The frictions have escalated since the Trump administration declared in late 2017 that competition between “great powers” – the U.S., China and Russia – was a cornerstone of its foreign policy. The shift has raised concerns across Southeast Asia, a region with close security, economic and diplomatic ties to the U.S. but increasingly important trade links with its giant neighbor, China. Many regional states openly voiced fears that the U.S.-China rivalry, if not resolved, could trigger a military conflict that could draw in smaller countries. “The rivalry of the big powers aggravates tensions in the South China Sea,” said Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu. “As a result, there is a greater risk of naval ships and aircraft encounters … that could spark major conflicts.” The Philippines, which has been the most assertive country in challenging China’s militarization of the South China Sea, said it was still seeking greater assurances from the U.S. over a decades-old mutual defense treaty. Some Philippine officials worry that the treaty would require the country to join the U.S. in any conflict with China, a possibility that Manila says has become more likely as U.S. warships make more frequent passages through the South China Sea. “We have to revisit it to be sure that it is still relevant in these modern times,” said the Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana. He called the “great power rivalry” between the U.S. and China “a dangerous distraction” from serious challenges such as battling climate change and transnational terrorism. The U.S. position hasn’t been helped by a disjointed diplomatic approach to the Asia Pacific region. The Trump administration has tried to rebrand the region as the Indo-Pacific, signaling its desire to more deeply involve India as a counterweight to Chinese influence – but its ties with India were damaged when Trump abruptly withdrew the country’s preferential trade status last week over a tariff dispute. The U.S. also has left many diplomatic positions in the region unfilled, including 11% of overseas posts in East Asia and the Pacific and 21% in South and Central Asia, according to a March report by the Government Accountability Office. Several Asian officials said that in meetings, Chinese diplomats have begun to make reference to the vacancies, citing them as a sign of a diminishing U.S. commitment to Asian affairs.