Saturday, September 19, 2015

China's Military Strategy

ComNavOps has long harped on the need for a coherent national geopolitical strategy and the military strategy that logically flows from it.  Without such a strategy we have no means of guiding our force structure development or developing operational plans and doctrine.  Of course, it’s equally important to try to understand a potential enemy’s strategy, as well.  Knowing what they’re trying to accomplish and how they’ll go about it will greatly influence our own plans.

As a quick reminder, a strategy should have three elements:

  1. A description of the problem
  2. A listing of the goals/objectives that are directly related to resolving the problem
  3. A statement of the means to achieve the goals/objectives

We’ll leave China’s broader geopolitical strategy for some other forum.  Instead, let’s look at China’s military strategy.



Problem

TaiwanChina considers Taiwan to be part of China and has stated publicly that it will return Taiwan to mainland control.  Unfortunately, Taiwan is modestly powerful, militarily, and enjoys the protection of the United States (the current Administration, notwithstanding).  Thus, military seizure is problematic.

Disputed Islands – The Chinese maintain claims on many islands in and around the South and East China Seas.  Unfortunately for China, these islands are also claimed by many other nations including Japan, Philippines, Viet Nam, and others.  Further, international law is not generally on the side of China in most of these disputed claims.

Goals/Objectives

  • Isolate Taiwan from US aid and intervention and, ultimately, return Taiwan to mainland control
  • Seize the entire first island chain

Means

  • Establish an A2/AD zone extending to the first island chain
  • Establish bases on disputed islands
  • Create islands with military bases in the disputed areas
  • Establish vast aviation exclusion zones
  • Use military force to interdict any foreign movement or presence in or around disputed islands or areas
  • Neutralize US military presence by aggressively disputing US military rights of passage and presence within the first island chain
  • Build an effective armor-based amphibious assault force to seize Taiwan and disputed islands as necessary


Now that’s a strategy and one that’s being effectively executed!

29 comments:

  1. Finally, I get here when there are no comments here for a relevant blog post.

    Ahem, your two goals/objectives are generally in the right direction, however I think they are a bit too "active". China's policy in both the Taiwan scenario and the SCS scenario at present and in the foreseeable future is likely substantially more passive than you describe. So I'll describe them as I see it, below:

    Taiwan: develop a military capability powerful enough which acts as a deterrence against Taiwan from declaring independence, and if Taiwan does declare independence, that capability must be powerful enough to both defeat Taiwan's military forces and/or cause a reversal in their independence. Furthermore, their military must also be powerful enough to either deter the US from intervening directly in support of Taiwan, or contest the western pacific against forward deployed US forces. In other words, the first part of the goal is to deter Taiwan from declaring independence and deter the US from intervening, the second part involves actually seizing Taiwan should independence be declared, and to fight the US if the US intervenes. The likelihood of China seeking to actively attack Taiwan in an unprovoked way is very unlikely, given China would suffer heavy casualties in any conflict and they would naturally prefer to avoid such conflicts unless their hand is forced. The long term goal is to return Taiwan to the mainland, but that would be done through a combination of carrot and stick, rather than only stick.

    South China Sea: the SCS is much more nuanced than Taiwan, but from my observation over the last five or so years, I believe China would like the ability to dominate the SCS via its own version of the "Monroe Doctrine". What this means, is that they have the ability to secure their SLOCs in the SCS, and the freedom for military maneuver in the SCS as well, and also establishing their claims of sovereignty over their claimed islands in the SCS. The likelihood of China attempting an unprovoked seizure of the disputed SCS islands is unlikely in the foreseeable future given any such attempt by any of the parties in the dispute may easily result in a conflict that can escalate into a large scale regional war. However, I do see China as seeking to project military power in the SCS in a more long term way, in terms of aircraft and naval assets. This is to help secure the SCS as a location where China is able to respond to forward deployed US submarine, ship and air threats, and as well as to provide China the ability to defend their SLOC in the SCS from US forces in the area, should a conflict between the US occur and if the US uses the SCS as a staging area to attack China's commercial freedom of navigation. I do not believe China seeks to "take" any of the sovereign nations within the first island chain as you describe (outside of the disputed islands in the SCS) as that would involve complex long distance invasion and occupation, in the face of not only local resistance but also US counter offensives.

    However, I generally agree with the means you've described, despite our differences in perceiving China's actual goals.

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    1. Also, I should add that the dispute with Japan is only regarding a few small rocks. China does not have any dispute with Japan regarding other islands at present, only the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, and there is no reason to believe that China would seek to open up additional disputes with Japan.

      Also, I have to emphasize that the idea of China "seizing" the entire first island chain is ludicrous, given the first island chain includes all of Japan's territories including their home islands, not to mention the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The idea of China even being able to conduct a full scale invasion of just one of those landmasses to any degree of success is difficult to entertain, let alone against four countries, as well as likely against US support.

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    3. OK, let's look at this objectively. What evidence is there to suggest that China is looking at seizing the entire first island chain?

      Many Chinese "spokesmen" have stated the historical Chinese claim to the entire first island chain and South/East Seas and many have flat out stated that the Chinese own the South/East China Seas (most recently, Chinese Admirals).

      The Chinese are actively seizing (and creating) disputed islands.

      The Chinese are actively attempting to annex territories belonging (arguably) to Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, and others.

      China is building a massive military far greater than required for any self-defense needs. Further, their military is now being built on an offensive basis (amphibious assault, for example). Clearly, they see the need for an offensive military. Offensive against whom? Certainly, not against uninhabited rock islands. They have a long term intent to invade someone(s).

      The Chinese are engaged in state sponsored emigration to neighboring countries, presumably with an eye towards political and financial annexation (flood a country with your people and eventually you'll own the country - Philippines, especially, seem to be a target of this).

      Add all this up and the only reasonable conclusion is that the Chinese long term plan is to own the entire first island chain.

      A few Chinese "spokesmen" have also mentioned Chinese claims on the second island chain!

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    4. Your assumption that the Chinese would be deterred by US support is almost laughable (the notion, not you). China has watched us draw lines in the sand and then ignore them, sign away all our power over Iran, do nothing to hinder the Russian annexation plans, provide only haphazard support for Iraq, abandon Afghanistan, etc. Do I need to list more examples? The Chinese have observed that US support means nothing. Add to that the utter lack of response when the Chinese forced down and seized our EP-3 aircraft and you can see that the conclusion the Chinese are logically drawing is that the US is not a serious threat or consideration that would impact Chinese actions. Your belief that the Chinese are influenced by US support is not backed up by historical evidence.

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    5. CNO, there are hawks and doves on each side, and unless there are indications that the Chinese government are planning to take on the suggestions by a few, lone hawks, I think we should be wary about exaggerating China's actual intentions (AKA government policy). The US has its fair share of hawks as well, even from high ranking military officers, but their beliefs do not reflect official policy or any official plan.

      This doesn't mean that we shouldn't consider the possibility that China may be considering those enlarged options as you describe, but I think it does mean we should acknowledge that they are only suggestions made by a few individual hawks and that the actual government and state military has yet to implement policies or actions explicitly to that effect.

      As for China fearing US intervention -- I disagree. China very much fears US intervention, that is why they have not invaded Taiwan and that is why they haven't been more aggressive in enforcing their territorial claims in the SCS. What you perceive as being very aggressive is only Chinese determination in the face of their limited options considering the threat of US military actions -- if the US presence was not there, China would have the potential to act quite differently.

      In all the cases that you describe, it is not so much that the US "lacks determination" or that "China doesn't fear US power," but it is more because China has greater determination, and that China is willing to sacrifice more than the US for a region which is more important to it.

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  2. Finally, I get here when there are no comments here for a relevant blog post.

    Ahem, your two goals/objectives are generally in the right direction, however I think they are a bit too "active". China's policy in both the Taiwan scenario and the SCS scenario at present and in the foreseeable future is likely substantially more passive than you describe. So I'll describe them as I see it, below:

    Taiwan: develop a military capability powerful enough which acts as a deterrence against Taiwan from declaring independence, and if Taiwan does declare independence, that capability must be powerful enough to both defeat Taiwan's military forces and/or cause a reversal in their independence. Furthermore, their military must also be powerful enough to either deter the US from intervening directly in support of Taiwan, or contest the western pacific against forward deployed US forces. In other words, the first part of the goal is to deter Taiwan from declaring independence and deter the US from intervening, the second part involves actually seizing Taiwan should independence be declared, and to fight the US if the US intervenes. The likelihood of China seeking to actively attack Taiwan in an unprovoked way is very unlikely, given China would suffer heavy casualties in any conflict and they would naturally prefer to avoid such conflicts unless their hand is forced. The long term goal is to return Taiwan to the mainland, but that would be done through a combination of carrot and stick, rather than only stick.

    South China Sea: the SCS is much more nuanced than Taiwan, but from my observation over the last five or so years, I believe China would like the ability to dominate the SCS via its own version of the "Monroe Doctrine". What this means, is that they have the ability to secure their SLOCs in the SCS, and the freedom for military maneuver in the SCS as well, and also establishing their claims of sovereignty over their claimed islands in the SCS. The likelihood of China attempting an unprovoked seizure of the disputed SCS islands is unlikely in the foreseeable future given any such attempt by any of the parties in the dispute may easily result in a conflict that can escalate into a large scale regional war. However, I do see China as seeking to project military power in the SCS in a more long term way, in terms of aircraft and naval assets. This is to help secure the SCS as a location where China is able to respond to forward deployed US submarine, ship and air threats, and as well as to provide China the ability to defend their SLOC in the SCS from US forces in the area, should a conflict between the US occur and if the US uses the SCS as a staging area to attack China's commercial freedom of navigation. I do not believe China seeks to "take" any of the sovereign nations within the first island chain as you describe (outside of the disputed islands in the SCS) as that would involve complex long distance invasion and occupation, in the face of not only local resistance but also US counter offensives.

    However, I generally agree with the means you've described, despite our differences in perceiving China's actual goals.

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    1. Regarding the means that you've described, I would say that a few are slightly off base:

      -The "aviation exclusion zone" you describe is the ECS ADIZ, I presume, and if one looks at the rules of their ADIZ, they do demand that "all aircraft" activate transponders. However, it doesn't actually exclude any aircraft (whether they be civilian or military) from flying there. The USAF and USN is still flying in the ECS ADIZ without a problem. What the ADIZ does, is normalize the fact that China will have an aerial presence in that region of sky. If you're talking about the "exclusion zone" around the SCS disputed islands, that is another matter entirely and is more about the sovereignty or lack of sovereignty that those islands may hold or not hold in relation to other claimed islands such as Taiping.

      -China's amphibious forces, while developing quickly, is advancing far slower compared to China's conventional ballistic missiles forces and air force. In relation to Taiwan, having a modern conventional ballistic missile capability and the ability to fight an integrated air war is far more relevant to China's mission than their relatively small marine forces.

      -At present, we have yet to see how the reclaimed islands in the SCS will be manned. They are obviously building airstrips and bases there, but whether they will deploy large scale military forces there is another question. For instance, if they deploy a couple of MPAs as their only military assets, that is quite different to deploying a full regiment of strike aircraft supported by AEW&C with an air defence battery. So I'd say the actual military presence of the SCS islands has yet to actually be determined. They have the potential to have substantial military forces stationed there, but whether they choose to is another matter.

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    2. Regarding "aviation exclusion zones", I'm referring to both the formal ADIZ and the informal, military air control areas which are established by having AAW assets, airbases, radars, aircraft, etc. in a position to control and regulate airspace (hence, the three manufactured airbases being built on reclaimed land). While ADIZ's are not a legal entity, they have traditionally not been applied as aggressively as China is doing it and they have not overlapped another country's airspace as China's does.

      China also attributes total foreign exclusion to their EEZ which is contrary to international law.

      Again, there's a pattern to be seen, here, and you're not fully acknowledging it. China is not behaving as a peaceful country looking to amicably resolve territorial disputes. It's pretty clear that China is going to seize all the surrounding lands. Of course, I don't mean this will happen in the next two weeks. China takes the long view. Further, I don't necessarily mean it will all happen via military actions. Chinese emigration, intimidation, and political and financial maneuvering may well accomplish many of their goals without needing to resort to military action. Make no mistake, though, they are building a military that can accomplish the goals if other methods fail.

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    3. I see. I'll address my reply into three parts: ADIZ, EEZ, and AAW on the islands.

      Regarding ADIZ: they are not true "aviation exclusion zones" in the sense that they are excluding any aircraft (civilian or military) from flying in the area during normal peacetime. All it means is China will reserve the righ to patrol that area of sky. Yes, China's ADIZ does overlap with that of Japan's... but given how large Japan's ADIZ is and the minimum size of an ADIZ that China needs for it to be effective, I think China's ADIZ is relatively reasonable in terms of size. That isn't to say that the ADIZ wasn't meant as a specific symbolic "screw you" towards Japan, but it's far from the kind of aviation exclusion zone that their interpretation of EEZ is (addressed below). In short, I consider the Chinese ADIZ to be a relatively benign thing which does not affect US patrols very much during peacetime, and the ADIZ is just reflective of greater Chinese air power as part of their overall defence modernization.

      EEZ: I agree that the Chinese interpretation of EEZ is definitely an aviation exclusion zone against military aircraft, this is something I do not contest. However I will say that China is not the only country which interprets UNCLOS on the right of military vessels to enter a coastal nation's EEZ without permission first.

      AAW in the SCS islands: at present we have yet to see just how large their military presence on the islands will be. I've been watching this carefully since the reclamation began a few years ago, and I'm still not sure if they'll be willing to deploy a very large contingent of military aircraft to the airbases on a routine basis. Furthermore, if they do deploy say, a regiment of fighter aircraft supported by AEW&C, that may not necessarily mean they will an aviation exclusion zone during peacetime. Such a capability will, however, impede US air capabilities in the region somewhat, so I think it is best to describe any Chinese air presence based on the islands as "forward based airpower" as that is a far more multirole and flexible term to describe a multirole and flexible force.

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  3. ComNavOps, this article is a very good one which explains China's policy quite well in the larger geopolitical scale of why China is doing what it is doing, and why the US seems to be "appeasing" China in some regards, as you've put it in past posts. Basically it comes down to the idea that China is willing to risk more to displace the US from the Asia-Western Pacific region than the US is willing to risk to maintain its dominant position.


    It's behind a paywall, but you should be able to read it as it allows viewing of 3 free articles per month.

    (There are a few bits I disagree with in the article, such as the idea that the importance of the islands is unrelated to the security of sea trading lanes for nations in the area, but the author is focusing more on the geopolitical side of things)

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/september/1441029600/hugh-white/lines-sand

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    1. "Basically it comes down to the idea that China is willing to risk more to displace the US from the Asia-Western Pacific region than the US is willing to risk to maintain its dominant position."

      That's a pretty good summation of the situation.

      Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

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    2. Yeah, that's why I think you're being a bit harsh against the US, when you say they're "appeasing" China. It's not so much that the US lacks determination against China, it's just that China is more determined and is willing to risk more than the US.

      In a basic, neanderthal way, it makes sense. China sees the current situation around its immediate periphery as under threat and facing a very powerful foe in the form of the US, which can carry out deep conventional strikes against China's population and economic centres on the mainland, while China cannot do the same against the continental US to preserve a degree of deterrence. So China is willing to risk more to force the US from its periphery, because the way they see it, if they don't push the US from its periphery then it is as good as lying down dead. The US thus needs to ask itself how much it is willing to risk to maintain its forward based military presence near China -- in other words, how much does it value the ability to conduct strikes against China's mainland

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    3. "Yeah, that's why I think you're being a bit harsh against the US, when you say they're "appeasing" China. It's not so much that the US lacks determination against China, it's just that China is more determined and is willing to risk more than the US."

      Isn't that what appeasement is? Someone else wants something more than you and you give in, in a misguided attempt to keep them happy?

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    4. The problem is that everyone is always "appeasing" someone else. For instance, if China did not act in the way it did, then it could be described as "appeasing" to the US's desire to remain as the dominant power in east asia. For instance, if we take the example of China intercepting US surveillance planes, one can say the fact that the US did not respond more forcefully is "appeasing" China, but one could also say the fact that China's interception of US surveillance planes has not reduced the frequency of US surveillance flights means China is "appeasing" the US.

      The truth is, in every multilateral or bilateral dispute on the international stage, the side which caves in is always by definition, "appeasing" the other. Appeasement is constantly occurring, and the word itself carries very emotional undertones, and I think it makes it more difficult to consider the actual reasons why countries make particular decisions.

      It is better to evaluate, on a case by case basis, the capabilities each side has in a dispute, and the risks both sides are willing to take.

      For instance, the way I read your past posts on appeasement, suggested to me you believed the US's actions are resulting from a lack of a spine. But more accurately, it is due to an unwillingness to tolerate certain levels of risks for certain disputes or areas of conflict. So the more useful solution for the US is not to "grow a spine," but to accept a higher level of risk in a particular dispute... which will lead to more fruitful discussions about just how much risk that is.

      It's just my opinion, having sat in on many past discussions in a similar vein.

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    5. You seem to be missing what appeasement is in the geopolitical context. It's when a rogue country defies international laws and norms and engages in intimidation in support of a policy of annexation. That would be Germany in WWII and China now, as two outstanding examples. When other countries give in to illegal acts and allow annexation just to avoid confrontation, well, that's appeasement.

      Now that we have that clear, you can continue your discussion , if you wish.

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    6. I would dispute your definition of appeasement in a geopolitical context. I'd say it should be used when any country defies international laws and norms and engages in intimidation in support of *any* policy. therefore when any other countries give in to illegal acts just to avoid confrontation, I can agree that to be appeasement. In that sense, many countries have acted both as appeasers, and as instigators, on a variety of issues through history.

      Annexation is only linked with appeasement because of historical comparisons with Hitler and Chamberlain.

      Of course, in China's case I've repeatedly stated that we have no evidence to suggest they have any policy of annexation anything near like what Nazi Germany had. In other words, by using the word appeasement you are basically suggesting that China has a policy of annexation, which is one that I'm challenging.

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  4. Quote from PLAN Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai, "The South China Sea, as the name indicates… belongs to China."

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    1. Yes.... but that has a variety of different meanings, does it mean:
      1: the entirety of the South China Sea (including islands, waters) are all part of China's territorial waters?
      2: or, even more ambitiously, does it mean all the SCS and all the countries with borders on the SCS (i.e.: the countries of the first island chain) are part of China's territory?
      3: or, does he just mean all the islands of the SCS are Chinese territory, and each exert their own 12nm territorial water boundary and EEZ, but that the territory outside those boundaries are international waters?
      4: or is it a more vague statement about the ability to exert influence in the area -- such as "the South China Sea, as the name indicates... belongs to China's "?


      Personally I think the statement certainly does not suggest option 2, and China's actions up to this stage do not suggest option 1 either. I believe that the statements would more refer to options 3 and 4, and China's actions thus far seem to suggest that. For instance, if China believed the whole of the SCS was its territorial waters (as in option 1), then they would be challenging any military and civilian ship that enters the nine dashed line, which they obviously haven't done. All they've done so far is to challenge the military aircraft which enter the 200 mile EEZ around their claimed islands in the SCS, which is consistent with option 3.

      I can appreciate why one should consider the most extreme interpretation of a relatively vague statement, but we should also consider whether China's actions matches the differing interpretations that one has, to validate whether an interpretation is likely or not.

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    2. You need to recognize patterns. Given all of China's illegal acts, militaristic intimidation, wide ranging claims, etc., this one person's statement may be interpreted benignly but isn't it far more reasonable, and a much better fit to the pattern, that the statement means exactly what it says - that the Chinese see all of the SCS as theirs regardless of whether someone else currently owns it?

      The pattern is clear. You can choose to ignore it and explain it away or you can choose to recognize it. Those who choose to ignore it are simply attempting to superimpose their behaviors on a country that does not share their behaviors. We'd like to believe that China is noble and forthright and will behave in a peaceful, responsible manner because that's what we'd do. The reality is that they have a different behavior base and our failure to recognize that only worsens the situation. Instead of forcefully confronting the issue now while it might be resolved, we're allowing the situation to fester to the point where only a war will resolve it.

      Patterns ...

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    3. CNO, I don't think anyone believes China here is noble and forthright and will behave in a peaceful responsible manner... just as no one really believes the US or Russia does so or that any other major country in history has ever done so. All countries act according to their own interests and also based on the consequences they will suffer as well if they act in a particular way.

      The challenge for us is to try and project how they may act in future, based on their own interests, and the limits of their power.

      I don't think anyone would dispute that the patterns you describe exist, but those patterns are far from enough to blindly say that China sees "all of the SCS as theirs" -- because that has many different possible meanings, the four of which I listed above.

      Saying "China sees all of the SCS as theirs" conveys an unnecessary degree of inaccuracy, because does that mean China believes the entire SCS are their territorial waters, or are they only claiming the islands as being their territory with islands only having a 12nm territorial water boundary? I'm sure I don't need to explain why there is a vast difference between those two claims.

      So I'd suggest that a more accurate way would be to say China is involved in a number of territorial disputes in the SCS, and they are also seeking to establish a greater naval and air presence in the SCS.

      At the very least, surely you can agree that the statements you've given above are far from enough to suggest that China seeks to conquer the entire first island chain.

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    4. The evidence and patterns are more than enough to support my contention. You're welcome to your opinion. I would remind you that there were plenty of people seeking to explain away Hitler's Germany prior to hostilities. Look how that turned out.

      I will acknowledge that China may not have to resort to overt military force since we seem to be giving them everything they want.

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    5. I don't dispute the idea that China intends to project power in the SCS, but some of your more detailed claims such as China is seeking to conquer the entire first island chain is baseless.
      It is like saying that the US plans to conquer every nation on the world through force, as that must be the only reason why it has so many overseas bases and such a powerful navy and air force.

      As for the Nazi comparison, I think there was far more open evidence in circulation among the public and among national intelligence services, in the years preceding WWII as to what Hitler's goals for German expansion were -- Lebensraum through the ceding of territory from other nations was quite well known at that time. But China has displayed no such intentions of its own regarding the national territories of nations in the first island chain as you describe -- the only claims it is making is regarding the South China Sea itself. There is no evidence as of yet to suggest that China has any plans on the territory of other nations beyond the nine dash line, and as far as I know this is a fact. If you have evidence to the contrary suggesting high level Chinese intentions to invade the currently sovereign, undisputed territory of nations in the first island chain I would be very interested and humbled to read it.

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    6. Do an Internet search for Second Island Chain Claims and you'll find a host of articles about China's ambitions regarding the second chain. Are any of these actual official government policies? Of course not. However, that doesn't mean they aren't policy - they're just not broadcast ... yet. There is more than enough evidence to support the conclusion that China considers the first chain theirs and is eyeing the second chain.

      I'll make you a deal. If China someday annexes Hawaii, will you agree to consider the possibility, however remote, that China may be ever so slightly aggressive regarding its relations with the rest of the world? Cause that's where we're heading if we don't draw a line somewhere.

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    7. You are reaching into conspiracy theorist territory here. By your logic, one can claim that Bush did 9/11 or that the world's governments are reptilian humanoids just because of the sheer masses of online articles and personal opinions I can find.
      I can go online to search up all the reasons why China and the US may go to war tomorrow, but that does not make it true.

      I consider you and your blog to be very rational, evidence based, and I applaud your history of using reliable articles and evidence to draw commentary on various matters (mostly USN related). But on the matter of China's supposed "annexation" doctrine, I strongly believe you lack the evidence to make such claims.

      Don't get me wrong -- as a PLA watcher I also make claims on the basis of unofficial evidence, especially regarding military developments such where we often lack official statements. So I can appreciate that one sometimes needs to make logical leaps of faith in the absence of hard evidence. But in this case not only is there a lack of credible evidence, it is also unsupported by common sense. More importantly, the claim itself is a very large one and large claims require large evidence, of which you have little to none.

      If anything it seems like your position is driven by inaccurate historical analogues, and fears and stereotypes of what you believe China is.

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    8. You are reaching into conspiracy theorist territory here. By your logic, one can claim that Bush did 9/11 or that the world's governments are reptilian humanoids just because of the sheer masses of online articles and personal opinions I can find.
      I can go online to search up all the reasons why China and the US may go to war tomorrow, but that does not make it true.

      I consider you and your blog to be very rational, evidence based, and I applaud your history of using reliable articles and evidence to draw commentary on various matters (mostly USN related). But on the matter of China's supposed "annexation" doctrine, I strongly believe you lack the evidence to make such claims.

      Don't get me wrong -- as a PLA watcher I also make claims on the basis of unofficial evidence, especially regarding military developments such where we often lack official statements. So I can appreciate that one sometimes needs to make logical leaps of faith in the absence of hard evidence. But in this case not only is there a lack of credible evidence, it is also unsupported by common sense. More importantly, the claim itself is a very large one and large claims require large evidence, of which you have little to none.

      If anything it seems like your position is driven by inaccurate historical analogues, and fears and stereotypes of what you believe China is.

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    9. Well, it appears we'll simply have to disagree. Fair enough. If you have any interest in authoring a guest post on some aspect of Chinese and/or US naval issues, let me know. I don't have to agree with a writer to appreciate good writing and you are a good writer with knowledge of a timely and interesting subject area. If you'd be interested, let me know and we can work out details. Thanks!

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  5. CNO

    It is as clear as day light what china is doing in and around the SCS is an outright annexation of territories. It is just that invading someone's seas are not, shall we say, psychologically as traumatic as a land invasion. Salami slicing is still very evidently in plain view though the phrase may have gone out of fashion lately.

    Make no mistake. China's ambitions are driving their plans and actions. They are not showing their hands because they have learn to play the game differently from the Germans of WWII. They are sophisticated do not underestimate the Chinese. But the long term ambitions are no different from the Fuhrer.

    America of today is not the one post WWII. And China today is not the same from that era either. The Chinese had it planned all along since Deng Xiaoping. For all intent and purpose whether domestic or global, they must "rise" to entrench, not China but rather the power of the CCP! Hegemonic patterns of behavior is only a means to secure their goal of keeping china in one piece. It is seemingly amazing how people even the "educated" ones can be so manipulated.

    Not tomorrow and not the next year but a war is inevitable because such hegemonic acts will ultimately reveal itself in plain day light but by then we may not have the means to fight back. Remember they have learnt from history. It is a new play book. We must rely not only on hard evidence but employ all of humanity that have shaped and defined our modern civilized democratic milieu... Our gut instincts shows us much clarity than what a sophisticated PPC can hide. While we are mire in evidence based scholastic debates they are right now filling sands into the seas.

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