Red Might Rising

Matt Gurney is a columnist and editor at Canada’s National Post. Follow him on Twitter: @mattgurney


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Counterinsurgency operations against Islamic militants and the support of far-flung allies will remain a core responsibility for the American Armed Forces even as their budgets are slashed. China need not wage war upon America to exact a military toll: American warships and Air Force squadrons that are badly needed elsewhere will have to spend time reassuring skittish allies and patrolling areas that China seeks to assert control over. Even if a shot is never fired, China’s newly muscular stance will strain America’s resources when resources are already stretched to the maximum.

As the military forces of the two nations continue to bump and glare, particularly at sea, where China is increasingly apt to challenge America’s right to sail in waters it deems to be within its sphere of interest, politicians in both capitals are working to keep relations cordial. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has uttered soothing words of late, speaking of the need to find cooperative resolutions to Asian territorial disputes, all while maintaining that America will not relinquish the right to sail through waters near Chinese territory or permit Chinese pressure to disrupt the sale of advanced weaponry and munitions to Taiwan.

Gates is pushing for a swift return to direct military-to-military dialogue and exchanges between the two forces as well, to help build bridges and foster understanding. Such will likely pay dividends, but will serve more to avoid on-the-spot mistakes than to prevent competitive policies decided upon at the strategic level. No amount of mutual understanding amongst the officer corps can undo mistrust and ill will at the very top of the chain of command.

China’s rise to the heights of global power is all but certain. Despite its current economic and political challenges, it is also virtually guaranteed that China will have to share the pinnacle of military might. It must decide for itself whether it seeks a relationship built on cooperation or goodwill, or confrontation and mistrust. America must do its part, by continuing to reach out to Beijing as Secretary Gates is doing, and by maintaining its own strength at levels sufficient to impress upon China that America is a serious nation committed to the security of its allies. In order to do so, America must resist the temptation to gut its military on the mantle of social progress — a stern lesson for the current occupant of the White House.

Matt Gurney is an editor at the National Post, a Canadian national newspaper, and writes and speaks on military and geopolitical issues. He can be reached at matt@mattgurney.ca. Follow him on Twitter: @mattgurney.

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  • badaboo

    China rising ??? Gee ,ya think ? And more ironic , is that we are [and have been ] paying for that .
    We've sent jobs and ideas oer there for decades , NEVER considering the cost .That is not the cost to corporations who got CHEAP LABOR , [and shoddy goods for us to BUY ]so they could make higher PROFITS .
    We've IGNORED the tremendous TRADE DEFICIT , for the sake of those same corporations [and politico's in their pocket ].WE have given them the spending money , so that they have spent almost 30% of their GNP on military .
    They OWN US in the way of buying our debt via T-Bills etc.
    What ….did somebody just WAKE UP ?

  • Robert Lang

    If it wasn't for nuclear weapons, Europe and the U.S. would be speaking Chinese (or Russian).

    • John Beatty

      NEWS FLASH—CHINA HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS! NEWS FLASH!!!!

      • Rifleman

        I believe he's talking about our nukes. They kill their own by the millions, they wouldn't waste half a second deciding our fate.

    • skepticsam

      Well, we will be speaking Arabic soon anyway if the mooslims get their way.

  • R/T

    Talk to ANYONE who has[ or had ] a new idea or product , their BUISINESS PLAN ALWAYS includes having that product , MADE IN CHINA and shipped back here . THIS is the MAIN REASON , that the MIDDLE CLASS is disappearing ., not the "strawman taxes argument " .
    But I guess all the wizards in this country have forgotten basic economic laws , like the Law of Diminishing Returns , exacerbated by jobs lost to overseas manufacturing , by which we became more of a services based economy rather than the worlds most powerfull manufacturing entity , that we have always been . So now who in the hell is going to buy all those shoddy goods produced overseas ?
    It's no wondder Unions are seen in such a bad light ….remember those MOSTLY UNION bumper stickers – "Buy American , the job you save may be your own " ? Well nits come to fruition but with a double-whammy .

    • John Beatty

      Talk to ANYONE who runs a business and their primary need is for skilled workers who show up past the first paycheck. Those are becoming increasingly hard to find in Buy America! because unemployment rewards bad behavior, all paid for by the taxes and fees every business pays but no indiviual does.

      There are plenty of jobs, but the schools aren't producing those who can fill them.

  • badaboo

    So dont go blaming this on the right or the left , blame it on the greedy corporations who have both in their pockets . Economic policy in this country , has been deterrmined by these corporations and their lobbies ."Free Market " my arse !!!

    BTW , badaboo and R/T are both ME . {badaboo already got bounced frlom Anti.war blog ] So this is no attempt at deception , but just an oversight ]

  • Robert Lang

    The commenters on this site seem to blame our problems on China. OK, so would they ban all Chinese products, or products that have parts made in China? You would have riots by the American public who would be deprived of cheap (and often quality) products. The question to ask is, why can't Americans produce quality goods at cheap prices. The answer can't be totally that Chinese work for less money, because Chinese have to buy housing, food, health care, etc. etc. just like we do. We have to ask why is labor so expensive in the U.S.. And why do companies move operations off shore. Its not always because of cheap labor. Its because of a hostile business environment. In fact, go ask the companies that stampede out of California to cheaper states in THIS country just why they are doing that. And ask the middle class why it is abandoning California (and New York State). There is a lot we can do to make at least some jobs stay here, without banning Chinese products. (I would add though that China does have slave labor camps, and no unions, which is amusing, because I remember when Chinese students formed a union in a local college in the U.S. and complained of discrimination).

    • Wesley69

      I agree with most of what you say. We don’t want to start a trade war with China so banning products is out. Not to mention they still hold much of our debt. Doing want them dumping it or we are up s###‘s creek. Much of our manufacturing has departed for countries paying their workers much less than our minimum wage. NAFTA has been blamed for our job loss, yet we have Mexicans crossing the border to do jobs Americans think are beneath them. Unemployment compensation is a better solution for them. The Chinese people do not have near the standard of living we have enjoyed. Riots may occur here as that standard deteriorates. Labor costs and government regulations have made the cost of business here in the US expensive. If the Progressives have their way, Cap & Trade will stick it to business. The present administration’s attitude is anti-business as it tries to further its social justice agenda, certainly unlike China, whose priorities are reversed. The thing that has hurt US business when it tries to compete with China is that China subsidizes many industries with government money, so that they have a leg up on the competition.

  • John Beatty

    There's a fundamental flaw here, and a complete falsood in the first paragraph. The primary enemy for China has been since 1949, TAIWAN, not the US. The US dosen't even appear in the top five of the Chinese list of threats; India, Russia, North Korea and Vietnam are much more concerning for them.

    Further, China lacks bases and seagoing support. Mahan would tell you that without overseas bases no naval power can maintain a presence beyond the horizon of their weapons and the range of their fuel and capacity to make fresh water. China as a serious, long-term strategic naval threat is laughable, bordering on the ludicrous. They are a far more serious economic threat to the US than they are naval or military.

    • Rifleman

      Good points, but we are the primary enemy of communism, and they are still communist. Not only are they a threat, they are the greatest threat the USA faces. They would likely be free and an ally now, if it wasn't for bill clinton and the dp.

    • Chezwick_Mac

      Codswallop! China is in the process of building their first aircraft carrier, which means force projection anywhere they want (I have little doubt a second carrier will be started upon completion of the first).

      The idea that Vietnam or North Korea are more of a perceived threat to China than the USA beggars belief. Geo-politics is obviously not your strong suit.

    • Rock Nelson

      Sorry China doesn't need bases to attacj Japan or Taiwan. The Chinese navy is perfectly capable of underway replenishment and water production. The problem is the US 7th fleet, The sailors are barely trained, cannot fix their own equipment and spend most of their time engaged diversity training or ponbdering qaulity of life issues. I don't fault the sailor , I fault the moronic leadership of Roughhead and Mullen. I am paid a large salary as a civilian to do what I used to do as a junior NCO years ago.

  • Jack

    With our manufacturing base shifting oversaes many of the components to our best weapon systems are not manufactured here. Much of the high-tech tachnology is manufactured in Asia.

  • William_Z

    The island dispute between Chins and Japan, ultimately over oil reserves, is not over and is a taste of the (our) future.
    http://www.euronews.net/2010/10/16/island-dispute
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/

  • flamefront

    This all starts with Kissinger.

    • Wesley69

      And it worked at that time. Nixon recognized reality by acknowledging that the Communist government in Beijing ruled China, not the Nationalists on Taiwan. Too bad he didn't recognize China's claim in return for Chinese intervention against the North Vietnamese.

  • Wesley69

    As long as China holds our debt and we continue to buy Chinese products, China, its economy, its military will grow. With the many trade, mineral agreements, China is making in Africa, South America and the Mideast, China's interests are no longer inward, but outward. Why is an aircraft carrier needed, but to project power. Bases in friendly countries may soon follow. Even in the Panama Canal, a subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based company with Beijing ties, runs port operations at both ends of the canal.

  • Wesley69

    The time will come when China will demand the immediate reunification of Taiwan with the Mainland. The question for us becomes is it war or appeasement? War isn’t in either country’s interest. But does Munich follow? If we appease China, how will Japan, S. Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand react? Will they ask whether American guarantees are worth anything? If Taiwan is handed over, where do we establish a new defensive perimeter? The only way to stop aggression is to convince the other side you are willing to go to war to stop him. In the past, it was called brinkmanship. For this administration, it is probably a strategy best forgotten.

  • anon

    For a view on why the Chinese are antagonistic, look here: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/globlogization/201

  • badaboo

    To the Chinese , economics IS a form of warfare , and they approach it the same way .