Skip to comments.Why China will never Risk War with the US over Taiwan...
Posted on 03/12/2005 6:22:35 PM PST by AKSurprise
Wrong, read "The Pentagon's New Map" by Thomas Barnett, a former Professor and senior military analyst at the U.S. Naval War College, and a top adviosr to SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.
(the following are excerpts from the book that will explain why China's navy will never be a serious threat to the U.S.):
"What the Navy was coming to grips with in 1992, as the Soviet Navy continued its decade-long collapse, was an unprecedented moment in world history: America possessed the planet's only blue-water navy. By "blue-water", I mean a navy capable of projecting military power across all the world's open oceans. In contrast, the rest of the world's major states subsist largely on "green" (littoral) or "brown" (inland) fleets, meaning they have no effective reach beyond their region. Sure Russia today can send a few capital (or large) ships to distant waters, but they are not capable of operating on their own for any length of time. They cannot rule the waves, just ply them now and then. Frankly, the same is true for every other navy in the world today, including China's. While that country may harbor dreams of global naval power in some distant future, let me assure you that China's ruling Communist Party will not survive to see that day.
Again what is amazing about this period of history is not only that America possesses the world's dominant navy, something that previous imperial powers have achieved-like England in the nineteenth century. What is amazing is that we own the world's only navy with a global reach, and no other power is making any serious attempt to catch up. If you look around the world today you see countries that have armies and air forces, and what can charitably be called the equivalent of the U.S. Coast Guard. The world has effectively surrendered the seas the the U.S. Navy, and it has done so out of immense trust that America will not abuse that unprecedented power. That is the end of one great arc of human history , and the beginning of something completely different."
"The Navy was the first of the major services to recognize this massive rule-set shift because it suffered the greatest threat loss when the Soviet Union dissappeared. Both the Army and the Air Force have other armies and air forces they can and will occasionally fight against-as in our recent wars in Iraq. But the Navy fundamentally has no other navy left to fight anymore-unless you cling to the chimera of naval war in the Taiwan Straits."
(the following excerpt shows why war in the Taiwan strait is highly improbable if not impossible):
"Three key pillars control the vast bulk of long-term investments. Not surprisingly, these three constitute the Old Core of Globalization II: the United States, the (now) European Union, and Japan. This relatively small slice of the global population (approximately one-eighth) controls over four-fifths of the money. If you want to join the Core, you must be able to access that money-plain and simple.
That fundamental reality of the global economy explains why we won't be going to war with China. The Pentagon can plan for it all it wants, but it does so purely within the sterile logic of war, and not with and logical reference to the larger flows of globalization. Simply put, those flows continue to reshape the international security environment that the Defense Department often imagines it manages all by its lonesome.
Let me paint you the same basic picture I love to draw each time I give my brief to Pentagon strategists and, by doing so, give you a realistic sense of what China would be up against if it chose to challenge the United States-led globalization process wing military means.
China has to double its energy consumption in a generation if all the growth it is planning is actually going to occur. We know where the Chinese have to go for the energy: Russia, Central Asia, and the Gulf. That's a lot of new friends to make and one significant past enemy to romance (Moscow). But Beijing will pull it off, because they have no choice. To make all that energy happen, China has to build an amazing amount of infrastructure to import it, process it, generate the needed energy products, and deliver it to buildings and wehicles all over the country (though mostly along the coast). That infrastructure will cost a lot, and it's common when talking to development experts to hear the "T" word-as in "trillions"-casually tossed around. Where is China going to go for all that money? Certainly it will tap its biggest trade partner, Japan, for all it can. But when it really wnat to tap the big sources of money, there are only two financial communities that can handle that sort of a request: Wall Street and the European Union. So when you add it all up, for China to get its way on development, it needs to be friends with the Americans, the Europeans, the Muslims, and the Slavs. Doesn't exactly leave a lot of civilizations to clash with, does it?
The importance of this momentous but ongoing historical achievement cannot be overstated: the shift from Globalization II to Globalization III is a shift from a small minority of the world (basically one-tenth) enjoying globalization's benefits to roughtly two-thirds of the planet joining the party.
So tell me, if you are a George Kennan, or any one of the other wise men from that time long ago, and you were smart enought back in the late 1940s to target Europe and Japan for intergration into a revived global economy, whom would you target today? Half the world's population in Developing Asia, where economies are growing rapidly and energy demands are skyrocketing? Or would you work to keep such potential "peer competitors" at arm's length?
And that, my friends, is how you make a roomful of Cold Warriors cry."
(This explains the need to push for democratic reforms in the Mid-East. It's more than just preventing terrorism, the Bush administration is betting that in the future the Arabs will know who helped free them from opression and who their true friends are. Thus we can place more pressure on China to bend to our will on the world stage, even their size won't make up for our influence and wealth, not to mention military power. It also explains why China will never pull their massive investments in the US out, because to do so would harm our economy, however it would destroy the global economy and China's right along with it. That why the Dimocrats and the Buchanan conservatives are totally wrong about globalization, it will help preserve the US dominance not weaken it.)
Do you have a source and link for this?
Because in the end, the PRC cares more about Beijing than they do about Taiwan.
no it's from Thomas Barnett's book, title at the top, howver he does have a blog http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/
Once again Americas power saves the world.
I think China is not only willing to risk war to take Taiwan, they are hell bent on it.
I don't know. The author places an awful lot of faith in the influence of money.
Summed up quite nicely.
China has been busy upgrading their navy - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1357795/posts
Comments and wishes for a speedy recovery !
I've seen Barnett on C-SPAN several times and I'm torn. Is he just a typical selfserving bureaucrat? Who knows? But he sure sounds like one.
Whenever a border nation with China is threatened, they enter the war. Korea was a perfect example of that.
The see Taiwan as we see Puerto Rico or Guam. They consider it a rebel Province, but their rebel Province. And with a million or more men in active service only a few hour's sail vs. We being so much further, they're in a stronger position than we are. And if they invaded Guam or P.R., is there any doubt we'd do all we could to take them back?
They now have nukes that can easily reach any part of that island nation, or ours.
They would see it as a great loss of face to threaten us so often of what they would do and not follow through.
"So when you add it all up, for China to get its way on development, it needs to be friends with the Americans, the Europeans, the Muslims, and the Slavs. Doesn't exactly leave a lot of civilizations to clash with, does it?"
3 out of 4 is good enough. In any case, China isn't exactly friendly toward the U.S. and its interests but we are still funding their build-up like crazy as it is.
But your taking into account the China of the past. Yes they entered the Korean war, however were they to enter into a war against the US in the current world they would destroy their own economy. Additionally Taiwan has a very advanced military the third most powerful in Asia. They have a 200,000 man active duty army, with 1 million men in reserve. Your also forgetting that were China to nuke the US their whole country would be gone, its a risk they will never take, plus we have the Aegis missile interceptor system wasrecently activated, for all intents and purposes Taiwan and Japan are now covered by the US missile shield, those nations also have PAC anti-missile systems.
The thing this author completely overlooks is nationalism. This is a huge force among Chinese - which has been brewing since the early 90's. The Chinese are not necessarily going to act rationally - the issues of Taiwan and Japan transcend logic.
He doesn't argue to not monitor China, and he doesn't say a war is impossible, he indicates it's highly improbable. In any case the Pentagon is not going to be unprepared should (and this is a far-fetched scenario) there be a war with China in the Taiwan Strait.
"Their support is built on nationalism and national pride. They are still in power because they have improved the standard of living and bring some amount of national pride."
Yes, but if they feel their support is failing because the economy goes south or other domestic issues, what will they do to shore up the population? In my opinion they will precipitate a crisis with Taiwan. That will be their final card and unfortunately I think that they will eventually play it.
Barnett is always interesting to read and listen to. However, he assumes rational logical behavior.
The PRC-ROC issue is extremely emotional and downright irrational for the PRC. The communist leaders have stoked nationalism to maintain their grip on power at the price of fanning the flames of reunification with Taiwan. This policy has the added benefit of generating anti-American sentiment, since we defend and support Taiwan. After the Tianamen Square students erected their own version of the Statue of Liberty, I'm sure the butchers of Beijing want anti-American/nationalistic emotions running high.
The ChiComs have MIRVED ICBMs pointed at the US tonight courtesy of Bill Clinton. This alone indicates their intentions.
A strong Navy is necessary to project power (and keep in projected) in a large portion of the world.
Dead on, can't agree more, nationalism is the Communist Party's strength and weakness. Also China is going to have to improve the standard of living for its citizens if they want to maintain control of the government. In order to do that they need to be at peace with an economic expansion fueled by the Western economies. If they go to war with the US and/or Europe they lose. They destroy their own economy, we destroy their military, and the Chinese people destroy the Communist government, its that simple. Eventually the Commies are going to have to give up power in any case, but if they want to hold onto the government for any measurable length of time they need to be at peace with the West.
Gambling on logic to sway the Chinese military.
Whoops! There go the exports! There goes the old Chinese economy, right down the old toilet!
[A naval blockade along our west coast would also be cheaper. Heck, we could let the Coast Guard or even Customs do it! Products from China? Sorry, no entry. Try Canada.]
Although I never heard him say anything as conditionally as what you quote above, the quote contains far more certainty than any credible prediction about China should.
I think its a perfectly accepatable probability that China would not go to war over Taiwan. Read it again, think about it, were the Chinese communist government to go to war they would destroy the Chinese economy, we would destroy their military, and the Chinese people would destroy the communist government. They are stuck in the system now, the Communists have a vested interest, they need our money and investments if they are to stay in power, without them they will be overthrown. The only reason the people accept them as legit for the time being is because they are providing a good standard of living for a large percentage of the population. Additionally the older Chinese that were dedicated to Communisum are dying out, the young are more concerned with material wealth and a good standard of living , and education for themselves and their children. China is caught in a catch 22.
This proof came out in the decade before World War I.
Anyone remember the name or title?
This article assumes that someone like Bush would be in the White House when China was ready to move against Taiwan.
What if someone like Clinton were in the White House. I confess I breathed a sigh of relief when clinton left office and Taiwan was still free. Fortunately the Chinese were not yet quite ready to move. But clinton was already making noises to the effect that he would not defend Taiwan, and he had already provided China with the ICBM and nuclear technology they now threaten our cities with.
The Chinese are very patient. They may well be waiting to see who enters the White House in 2008. Or later.
Look I am not arguing that a war is impossible, I belive its very improbable. Barnett if you read him carefully believes the same. Fact of tha matter is the world is totally different then it was 80 years ago, hell its totally different then it was 20 years ago during the Reagan administration. To make comparisions of events that happened in two entirely different situations stresses credible arguements. The same logic applies to the Dimocrats saying that Social Security still works for the America of the 21st century, because it worked for the America of the 20th century, its not an apt comparison.
If we allow our naval power to erode, China will challenge our dominance in the Pacific in a heartbeat. THey'll probably do so anyway. Chinese carrier task forces are coming. They are gaining the wealth to do it, and there's nothing stopping them -- except democratic revolution.
bump to read
Korea was no anomaly, they outnumbered us 7 to one and we kicked them back each time they tried.
The stale mate was due to the need to outnumber on the advance, you cant advance over mountains without massive airlift these days, and we didnt have it then
I wouldn't get my hopes up over this--after all, Taiwan is in China's back yard, while the US has its armed forces all over the globe searching for monsters to destroy.
I disagree with the statement that we are searching for monsters to destroy. The US is taking pre-emptive actions both militarily and diplomatically to defuse potential and likely threats before they hurt us, as opposed to after they do. That was the great lesson of 9/11, if some have not learned that by now they have their heads in the sand. To still believe in a globalized world with instantaneous travel and communication two oceans no longer protect us. We are just as vunerable as the other nations of earth in the modern world. To not take action to ensure our survival would in essence be suicide. How many economic hits like 9/11 can the US take and survive. What happens if Iran or North Korea hands off a nuke to a terrorist group, or launches one themselves? It severely damages our economy. The reason China is not remotely likely to attack us is because they too now have a vested interest in the global economy, if we do bad economically the rest of the world does worse. Why do you think the Chinese are even bothering to help us in negotiating with Kim Jong Il? Out of the kindness of their hearts? No it's because they have a vested interest in a stable interntaional order.
An interesting perspective, but I think the author seriously underestimates the Chinese on many different fronts. The world has already proven that human rights comes second to captialism.
Why else does China have prefered trading status with the US?
"Korea was an anomaly cause we didn't respond in full force..."
Korea was an anomaly because McArthur did not believe intellegence reports that the Chinese would attack. If he had done so by simply rearranging our forces to ambush them would have destroyed the Chinese army within a few miles of the Yalu River. The DPRK would have been aborted.
haha....we'd beat them in naval and navel war.....our innies would beat there outies......
Well, two words.
you are right........MacArthur on all his bluster made many a fatal mistake in underestimating the enemy......I for one don't hold him up as great a commander as many would have us believe.........his ego got in the way of many of his decisions......kind of like Patton though Patton backed up his bluster much more effectively
I hope you're right, tho I gotta admit that your use of the phrase "a stable international order" runs shivers up & down my spine. I also hope that most people on the Right haven't become what Richard Holbrooke said during the Presidential campain--BRAGGING that he & Sen. Kerry are "internationalists"!