Is U.S. openness costly?
August 20, 2003
Which country is the biggest potential threat to America? Russia? North Korea? Iran? You know the answer, but you'd rather not think about it. It's the People's Republic of China, a communist country of 1.3 billion people, with the capability of fielding 206,000,000 soldiers, most certainly the largest military force in history.
Why is it so hard to even think about a war with China? China is our trading partner. But things could change. We're not going to win a swift victory in a war with China with "shock and awe" bombing or with special operations forces who ride horseback and camelback into such a conflict. We're talking about the big-time, real heavyweight load in the world of potential enemies. Should we worry about it? Maybe....
We have a lot of high tech weaponry on our side. We have a well-trained military force -- the best in the world -- so why should we worry? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld does not seem openly concerned, but if the truth were known, the only way to defeat China in a war is with massive use of nuclear weapons, under the venerable, but still viable, strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction.
If we do have a strategy to defeat a huge enemy without nuclear weapons, I hope that we keep it secret. I am still reeling with anxiety over our openness in military-to-military exercises, real world coalition operations, and in high-technology transfers to communist countries. By embedding reporters during operations in Iraq, we won the battle for public opinion, but at what cost? Are potential enemies learning anything from our "openness"? Why are we turning our backs on the marketing of our industrial secrets overseas? A Northwest Indiana corporation, Magnequench, for example, is closing its doors and moving its operations to China. The company makes high-tech magnets for U.S. smart bomb guidance systems! How about a drum roll and a cymbal clash? Hello! Is anyone awake in our U.S. Trade Representative's office?
In the recently released The Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China, Chinese military doctrine now stresses elements such as "surprise, deception and preemption" to insure military victory. That is scary information. The Chinese have always stressed surprise and deception, but "preemption" is brand new in their doctrinal arsenal. Ironically, the Chinese might use their version of the U.S. military strategy of preemption, if military force is needed in its struggle to annex Taiwan, while sitting in peace talks with the U.S. and North Korea in Beijing.
This new and overlooked report cites high-level Chinese Generals who advocate the new strategy of preemption. It further states "China now believes preemptive strikes are its best advantage against a technologically superior force." It looks like our strategy in the successful Operation Iraqi Freedom has been copied by the biggest nation on earth.
My second biggest fear now is a preemptive strike by North Korea on South Korea. China, with its new strategy of preemption, is my number one threat. "The (preemptive) genie is out of the bottle," and there doesn't seem to be an effective way to put it back in. We will now have to live with the fear that others will use our own military strategy of preemption against their enemies, or perhaps against our friends, or even us. What will we do when it happens? Complain that they used our strategy without our permission? Put a lid on "openness" before it's too late.
Colonel Shaver is a retired U.S. Army officer who writes about military subjects, issues and national security strategy. http://www.daily-journal.com/content/?id=32614