Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Last Two Posts

Well, that was interesting.  The discussion of the last two posts about civilians and war clearly revealed that we've forgotten what war is and unequivocally demonstrated the need for such posts and discussions.

Fascinatingly, despite many "don't kill civilians" comments, no one actually disagreed with my definition of civilians and the classification of civilians as non-uniformed enemy combatants! That, alone, makes any "don't kill civilians" comment hypocritical.  If you don't disagree with classifying civilians as combatants (albeit without uniforms) then you can't disagree with killing them.  It's logically inconsistent to classify someone as a combatant but be unwilling to kill them. That position simply reveals the squeamish emotions of people who have forgotten that war is an ugly, brutal business.

The last two posts also revealed that far too many readers are not reading the posts slowly and carefully.  Most readers completely ignored the "threat to national security" constraint of the post and leapt instantly into their own diatribe on the heartlessness of killing civilians under all manner of circumstances except the very circumstance that the post was written about, the "threat to national security".

These two posts simply reinforced my on-going contention that we have forgotten what war is.  I'll keep hammering on this theme in the future because it's too important not to.  We're preparing for a light, low end, precise, clean, dainty war instead of preparing for the ugly, brutal, high end massacres that are coming when we eventually engage Russia, Iran, China, or NKorea.

Yep, all in all, the last two posts were fascinating to watch!

40 comments:

  1. " We're preparing for a light, low end, precise, clean, dainty war instead of preparing for the ugly, brutal, high end massacres that are coming when we eventually engage Russia, Iran, China, or NKorea."

    Thomas brought up a point of him learning the Arabic language. I'm curious- since the US.mil has been in this ME war(easy)&occupation(difficult) for the last 15+ years (and cycled thru generations of field grade officers) with a semi-permanency to it; what percentage of officers are equipped with Arabics (and/or Farsi) skill to keep tabs on the local population (like Israeli intel/soldiers in ME/WB)?

    While the US is preparing for the ugly/big war, it takes two to tangle, that is- if the other side is suicidal/nihilistic enough to engage a non-winnable war against the US. Therefore, while the US (or CNO) is anticipating one, the Russia/China/NK might not oblige the chance and diffuse/maneuver away diplomatically(a bit more difficult for non-nuke Iran.)

    IMO, Russian/Chinese/NK/Iranian civilians can wait, in the meantime we will have Arabic/Afghani civilians for the foreseeable future to come.

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    1. You have a naive view of what Russia and China are preparing for. Both are building large, powerful, high explosive militaries. They're clearly planning to use them against someone. For example, China is building a large, powerful, modern amphibious force. That's not for defensive purposes. Amphibious forces of that magnitude are offensive in nature. China is clearly planning to invade someone which means they're planning for war which means they're going to come into conflict with the US.

      Arguably, Russia and China can both win a war with the US now - China more so and Russia a bit less likely but still not the one-sided event it would have been even ten years ago.

      Both Russia and China are embarked on programs of aggressive, militaristic expansion which will, inevitably, lead to conflict with the US.

      Your view is naive.

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    2. Interesting how we seem to have a propensity for projecting or values on others. We try to avoid civilian casualties but somehow I don't think China will care one wit about civilian lives once they start launching their 1,500 missiles at Taiwan or Guam.

      History teachers that once the economy of a country gets into real trouble they look for Boogeyman outside to start a war with to distract their internal problems

      In my opinion a civilian making missiles is more of a target. A war of attrition leads to civilians being targets because they provide the method of making war. Like destroying a ballistic missile before it's manufactured. War is messy business. All the 50-80 million who died in WW2

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    3. Com ops. Thanks for not skirting from what invariably is a tough subject to discuss our consider

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    4. "civilians being targets because they provide the method of making war"

      This is the point that few want to acknowledge. We talk about kill chains of weapons and how we break the chain at various points. Some points are easier to break than others. For example, it's easier to kill a sub in port than to hunt for it in the open ocean. Similarly, it's easier to break a missile's kill chain by destroying the factory and workers than to shoot down the missile in flight.

      Civilians are part of the kill chain and we need to acknowledge that.

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    5. ComNav
      "Similarly, it's easier to break a missile's kill chain by destroying the factory and workers than to shoot down the missile in flight"

      Yup. Any peer war that last more than a few months will make that statement magnitudes more important to the final outcome. In WW2 we never reallly defeated the Nazis in the field they had enough numbers and better equipment. We defeated them because we raised their rear to the point were they could not produce the needed equipment, nor supply the current equipment to sustain their campaign/defense. China has the industrial base today to over produce US if we engage in war and don't from early on start degrading that industrial base aggressively. If we engage with idiot PC war every month from that point on will just be one month closer to our defeat.

      Another point many seem to have forgotten because of how the US despite the rhetoric is not a empire colonizer. Very simply when we win a war we make peace and go home. That is not he standard of history, usually when a nation is defeated it is colonized or utterly destroyed. You think China with population to spare wouldn't be motivated to just colonize conquered regions especially after the native population of said was shrunk? The most nationalistic and racially homogeneous nation of power left in the world is China. The potential is there.

      We live in scary times with huge percentages of our gen pop that have little grasp of history and its horrors. Worse as a result of our gen pops sheltered bubble life of opulence they believe their irrelevant minor mostly made up tribulations are relevant, they are not.

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    6. Unless we've been at the Bulge, Hacksaw Ridge, Chosin, or Khe Sanh, of course we've forgotten. Americans don't know what war is.

      Does a future war against a Tier 1 threat to national security have to involve large civilian casualties?

      First, the countries COMNAVOPS has named are not all threats to national security. Certainly not Iran. As Admiral Fallon once said "These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them." Iran's buying Boeings now, the whole "Iran threat" thing is Israeli "Let's you and him fight" propaganda to remove/disrupt a regional pest to them. Iraq II.

      North Korea? Anything is possible with those nuts, but if they do something it will be a short decapitation war.

      Russia? Let's say they invade the Baltics. They could have short term success, but if NATO held together, they could push back and punish Russia without resorting to targeting civilian populations in, say Volgograd.

      Now when I say targeting civilian populations, I mean residential neighborhoods, water works, food supplies. I do not mean weapons factories and other military targets where civilians work or might be nearby. I do not mean civilians who are unfortunately in buildings in the direct line of advance of forces. The latter would suffer from artillery fires etc, like in Aleppo and Mosul.

      Russia (3.3% of world GDP) is not going to prevail in a conventional war against a mobilized USA (16%) and the rest of NATO (another 16%).

      China is much more powerful over the long term. Yes, they could try to invade Taiwan. I don't think it's likely absent a radical change in the US/Japan/EU/China relationship. But if they did, we're not going to be sending B-52s to dumb-bomb Shanghai neighborhoods. Makes no sense on a risk and cost vs reward basis. Firing Tomahawks to target civilians makes even less sense. Could we go for water works, power plants? Of course.

      As I said in the previous thread, the risk of nuclear escalation pushed by outraged populaces is a big reason to avoid targeting civilian residential neighborhoods and the like.

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    7. Who has suggested widespread, indiscriminate bombing of civilians? You're the only one, as far as I can tell. Why would you suggest widespread, indiscriminate bombing of civilians? That's pretty barbaric. What do you hope to accomplish by that?

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    8. Don't be disingenuous. Stand by your words. You're the one broadly classifying civilians as "non uniformed enemy combatants" questioned whether "true civilians even exist," talked about farmers like they were combat support troops.

      If nobody seems to understand what you mean, perhaps the problem is with the clarity of your own writing.

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    9. Reread the posts carefully. I stated that civilians engaged in the support of enemy forces should be classified as non-uniformed combatants. That's not quite the same as broadly classifying all civilians as targets although, in the case of a major war that could certainly be largely true.

      Of more relevance is that I also limited that designation to - I can't believe I'm saying this for the hundredth time in these comments - THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY. The problem is with the comprehension of the readers. You, for instance, seem unable to grasp the limiting constraint of THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY.

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  2. Howdypartner This last 3 pieces were about the unavoidable targeting and killing of opposing civilians in the course of war(s), which (the war) was about national security, and which (the national security) was part and parcel of a nation's fortune and destiny. Or if I may, let me rearrange it from the front to back: that a nation's fortune & destiny requires it to execute its policies to enhance its position, among these policies (the main one being economy and national security) and among the latter, one of which is diplomatic, and of the broad spectrum of diplomacy one extreme is war, and out of many of war's dire consequences is death of civilians. Now, CNO's focus was on the death of civilians, and how it squared with American sense and sensibility: that is- deaths/killings have occurred, and we try to square it.

    However, if you want to broaden it to a morality comparative issue one that, in the very front, the US fortune and destiny (i.e. Pax Americana) has been well served....and at the bottom and among one of many detail branches..that no foreign civilians have been killed. Then I don't think that moral high ground is there at all because on both ends, Pax Americana is not as stable/secure as before, and tens of thousands foreign civilians have died from American forces in the last 15 years.

    In one of my earlier comments I have stated: the advent of Pax Sinica (the front end) have occurred with NOT one foreigner (combatant or civilian) died in the hands of PLA since last 15+ years. Zero death.

    As for the '1500 missiles pointing at Taiwan, or A2AD in general'. Truth to be told, I'm not a military(or ex) man, thus I have no studied/professional sense of its validity or effectiveness. But being that military art&science is a well studied one, the experts among you can judge how potentially effective these '1500 missiles and A2/AD in general' will be as deterrence (and counter-deterrence, of course.), like how the US won the rather bloodless Cold War, one that China will like to emulate.

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    1. The so called cold war resulted in the Loss of approximately 40 US Aircraft to hostile action plus other innumerable close calls, bumps and other issues

      If they want another cold war again then say they follow the old Soviet pattern and shoot down an aircraft today they woundn't be able to hide much and more likely this will lead to war.

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    2. Tim, you've failed almost across the board to understand the last two posts. Let's look at some specifics.

      "nation's fortune & destiny requires it to execute its policies to enhance its position"

      Absolutely not what I was talking about. War, for the sake of "enhancing" a nation's position is morally questionable and in no way fits the constraint of "threat to national security" that justifies civilian deaths.

      "CNO's focus was on the death of civilians, and how it squared with American sense and sensibility: that is- deaths/killings have occurred, and we try to square it."

      This is not at all what these posts were about. I made no attempt to "square" civilian deaths with American sensibilities. I was making the case that in a war resulting from a THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY, civilian deaths are a secondary factor in military operations but, as a secondary factor, do operate to modify the military methods.

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    3. "advent of Pax Sinica (the front end) have occurred with NOT one foreigner (combatant or civilian) died in the hands of PLA since last 15+ years. Zero death."

      I hope you would also note that China has not taken on the responsibility to safeguard the world, either. China has saved no one. China has overthrown no dictators (for better or worse). China has defeated no Taliban.

      China may not have killed anyone but neither have they helped anyone. I give them no credit for their behavior.

      At the same time, they have ruthlessly suppressed their own people and failed to promote the welfare of their citizens. Rampant corruption, pollution, poverty, at home. How many Chinese citizens have died from completely preventable diseases and illnesses due to pollution alone?

      China gets no credit from me on the world stage. They have contributed nothing of significance to the betterment of the world and, indeed, their illegal expansionist activities act to degrade world stability. No credit whatsoever.

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  3. I've been to Shanghai and Guangzhou in the last year. Astounding visible progress in those cities. Infrastructure is good, except tap water is still questionable to drink, but it's still dodgy in Seoul, too. People have a good standard of living. To say that the Chinese leadership "failed to promote the welfare of their citizens" is to deny a primary reality of our times.

    Yes, the pollution is bad. It is like London or I suppose Pittsburgh 70 years ago. Intolerable, must be fixed. Of course, we are dismantling the EPA.

    Beyond that, Chinese manufacturing wages have increased by a factor of about eight over the last 20 years. Housing construction has been stupendous. Uncouth Chinese tourists flood Asia and Europe now.

    There is rural poverty, but are they worse off than Americans in forgotten places like the Rust Belt or rural Mississippi?

    Yes, China "has saved no one." And who have we "saved" lately? The Iraqis? Libyans? Afghans?

    Yes, they have corruption. American institutional corruption, some of which you have written about, is also stupendous.

    For someone who is so acerbic about us, you have some significant blinders.

    Maybe they will make a move on Taiwan, I tend to think not unless boxed in. With increasing openness to the world, more likely their system will evolve towards freedom, just as the USA is moving towards authoritarianism, will probably be a convergence on something like the Singapore model.

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    1. As a joint American/Australian citizen, married to a Chinese citizen, who does business in all three countries, the common view I have encountered in many quarters of America about China is remarkably simplistic and lacking in insight in my opinion.

      The idea, for example, that the Chinese government either wants or is preparing to initiate a war is patently untrue.
      The idea that many Americans have about the living standards of Chinese people is also often remarkably ignorant. The Chinese middle class is about as wealthy as the American middle class and there's about 400 million of them. They are well educated (maybe better educated on average than Americans), they travel overseas all the time, are big consumers of western culture (particularly American culture) and are really just focused on the same kinds of personal financial and social advancement that westerners are.
      There is no great movement against the structure of government, because the government is seen in most instances to have advanced the living standards of it's citizens dramatically over the last couple decades.
      There are sources of internal disruption and opposition to government of course - particularly in areas where different ethnicities live, and in Muslim majority west china (the Uighurs in particular). There is also significant opposition to the CPP in Hong Kong where they have enjoyed liberal democratic rights for many decades.

      But this is a minority opposition.

      The Chinese have a very different perspective on the development of their military and their efforts to increase Chinese prestige and influence globally and regionally.

      Ironically, they have patterned their advancement in influence in the last couple decades on their interpretation of the way that the US traditionally dominates it's region politically and militarily. In their view, they are just trying to copy the playbook.
      So a huge amount of their military development in particular is just an attempt to ape US military power. Their pursuit of a blue water navy is driven by the perception that the US has the ability to project globally, while they couldn't even project power across the Taiwan strait until recently.

      A lot of their development and sabre rattling is also is simply for domestic political consumption. Their disputes with China, Taiwan and other regional powers is more for the purposes of internal domestic propaganda than in the pursuit of some hegemonic regional ambition.

      Ultimately, what the vast majority of people in the Chinese government and populace really want is continued economic advancement and regional political influence. The very last thing they would ever want is war. It would be a disaster for them, politically, economically and in terms of their ambitions in the world.

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    2. "disputes with JAPAN" not China. My mistake.

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    3. I agree with American/Australian Anonymous. The Chinese middle class is more educated, wealthy and sophisticated than Americans know. I have a Chinese friend, she is sending both her sons to California universities.

      Things are going to change, the USA is pretty clearly on the decline while China is rising, but there is no good reason for war.

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    4. "The idea, for example, that the Chinese government either wants or is preparing to initiate a war is patently untrue."

      The belief you have that you know this for a fact is patently untrue unless you are a member of the Chinese ruling party at the uppermost levels. You may believe that China is not preparing for war (despite all evidence to the contrary) but that is just an opinion as is my opinion that China is dead set on preparing for, and planning to initiate, a war. On my side of the issue, I see a vast build up of war capability, far beyond any reasonable defensive needs. I see China developing a large amphibious capability which is, inherently, offensive in nature. I see China's aggressive, illegal, militaristic expansion as a prelude to war. And so on. I see no evidence of peaceful intentions.

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    5. "patterned their advancement in influence in the last couple decades on their interpretation of the way that the US traditionally dominates it's region politically and militarily."

      If the Chinese believe this is how the US "dominates" its regions of interest then they have badly misunderstood and utterly failed to observe what we do. We do not claim open oceans (East/South China Seas) as territorial waters and forbid any other country from entering. We do not make illegal claims about the scope of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). We do not seize disputed territories using military intimidation. We do not declare vast air exclusion zones. We do not force down, seize, and strip military aircraft from other countries. We do not build illegal artificial islands. We do not ignore international tribunals (as China did with the recent UNCLOS ruling). We do not make unfounded claims on other country's territories (Chinas claims on Japanese islands). I could go one listing things all day but you get the idea.

      In short, China's actions in no way mirror US actions. It is delusional to thing that.

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    6. "Their disputes with [Japan], Taiwan and other regional powers is more for the purposes of internal domestic propaganda than in the pursuit of some hegemonic regional ambition."

      If that is the case, then China had better wake up quickly and realize that those actions are taken seriously by outside observers. If someone says they're going to shoot me, I take the threat at face value.

      China has flatly stated that Taiwan belongs to them and that they will annex it at some point. I don't know how else to interpret that other than as a war threat. China is militarily seizing disputed islands. I don't know any other way to interpret that. China is claiming Japanese territory. I don't know how else to interpret that other than as warlike.

      In short, if China wants to be a peaceful world neighbor, they need to realize that their words and actions have consequences and they need to significantly dial both back. I don't believe they want to be good world neighbors. I believe that they mean exactly what they say and that they are on a path of regional, followed eventually by global, domination using war and the threat of war to advance their agenda.

      You say one thing but all of China's actions and words say another. You're welcome to your opinion but I believe words and actions.

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    7. "there is no good reason for war."

      Perhaps you should be writing that to the Chinese. They are the ones routinely committing illegal acts of militaristic expansion.

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    8. China is interested in becoming a commercial power more than anything else. Actually it's a very inwardly focused society. It is one of the faults of Asian society in my opinion.

      The CCP sees 2 flaws the USSR made:

      1. Too much military spending
      2. They see the Gobachev reforms as a total failure because they did not lead to prosperity for the USSR, but rather its collapse

      A very big part of China right now is righting what they see as the Century of Humiliation.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/10/how-humiliation-drove-modern-chinese-history/280878/

      http://thediplomat.com/2016/07/the-south-china-sea-case-and-chinas-new-nationalism/

      There are bigger problems right now. Loss of technological innovation for one:

      http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/311930-us-is-losing-the-innovation-war-to-china

      http://www.unz.com/akarlin/sinotriumph/

      Ronald Unz captures it brilliantly in his piece:

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/chinas-rise-americas-fall/

      This competition will be decided on the economy and technology.

      If the US wants to have a chance, it has got to increase spending on science, infrastructure, education, and other critical domestic investments.

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    9. "The belief you have that you know this for a fact is patently untrue unless you are a member of the Chinese ruling party at the uppermost levels. You may believe that China is not preparing for war (despite all evidence to the contrary) but that is just an opinion as is my opinion that China is dead set on preparing for, and planning to initiate, a war. "

      Well yes, obviously neither of us knows with certainty that war is a goal or not of the CPP. This whole discussion is one of opinion.

      In my defense, while I'm not a member of the CPP, I do know people in the Chinese government and military - in fact we have similar discussion to this that I'm having with you now.

      The reality that I perceive is in fact quite complex - there are multiple factions within the government, military and military-industrial complex. Broadly speaking there's three camps - the reformers, the pragmatists and the reactionaries.
      The reactionaries hold power currently and have done a good job suppressing the reformers - though they are being kept in check by the pragmatists.

      They all have different views of how to conduct foreign policy and how to deal with the US. However, I have never, ever heard espoused a doctrine that advocates for an aggressive general war with the US.

      The Chinese are not blithely unaware of their position - they know that they rely on overseas maritime trade for their survival. They know that they would likely lose a war with the US and would become political and and economic pariahs.

      Essentially the most common view I've encountered is that they want peace through strength - they basically do not believe that the US will ever concede regional or global power to them if they don't build a powerful modern military.

      Now none of this means that there won't be a war - I'm simply pointing out that it's not the goal of the CPP. They have made glaring miscalculations (many of them for domestic political purposes or which have been done without appropriate analysis of the fallout, or have been driven by nationalistic pride). These miscalculations could lead to war.
      The fear that this will happen permeates not just western minds, but also echoes in the Great Hall of the People. Many of the more worldly Chinese ministers and bureaucrats share the fear that the more bellicose and rabble rousing generals or politicians might accidentally trigger a war.

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    10. "They have made glaring miscalculations (many of them for domestic political purposes or which have been done without appropriate analysis of the fallout, or have been driven by nationalistic pride). These miscalculations could lead to war."

      This is the most accurate thing you've said. For starters, if China's goal WAS war, what's the odds that they would tell you? Of course they wouldn't. They'd tell you they want peace, just as they have.

      China has blatantly acted in a manner which no reasonable observer can view without at least considering that China is on a deliberate path to war. Either China is making gross miscalculations (in which case they may well stumble into war) or they are actually on a path to war.

      I could list all the aggressive, militaristic, and illegal acts they've performed recently but you know them as well as I do. If they are not acts preparatory to war then certainly look like it and China seems not to care.

      If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. If it looks like preparations for war, sounds like justification for war, and is building a far-more-than-defensive force for war, then it's probably the path to war.

      You, my friend, are being played by your Chinese associates!

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    11. "If the Chinese believe this is how the US "dominates" its regions of interest then they have badly misunderstood and utterly failed to observe what we do. "

      This is a very complex issue - I'll try to do it justice in the time I have to write this comment.

      They interpret US hegemonic power as deriving from a combination of military, political and economic factors.

      They see the projection of American military power in places like Iraq, Afghanistan etc. with a combination of concern (because they worry the US might do the same to nations aligned with them) and envy (because while they perceive themselves as the rising power in the world, they are incapable of exercising similar power). Historically they see the application of US military power in places like Cuba as an example of they might themselves exercise a kind of unilateral control over countries in their region. It is from this position of envy and desire for similar power that they build blue water naval forces, including aircraft carrier battle groups and amphibious forces.

      They perceive American influence over organizations like the G8, G20, the World Bank etc. as another kind of hegemonic power. For a time they railed against this (unwisely). Now they have taken the view that they will join these organizations, abide by their rules as much as they can, and then curry favour and influence within them. Given the nature of power dynamics, this will come at the cost of lessened American influence, and thereby earn American ire. They accept this as necessary. It is for this reason that they were overjoyed when American pulled out of the TPP (which was always as much about continued American geo-political influence in the largest economic community - the Pacific - as it was about increasing trade). They are now stepping up their efforts to sign all the participants of the TPP (minus the US) to their own version of a free trade agreement. And they'll succeed.

      They see American political power as something truly intimidating. American influence in the UN, in the Pacific, among their Allies - this is the area that China perceives as being both America's greatest strength, and China's greatest weakness. In this realm of power they are at their largest disadvantage, and their efforts have been the most clumsy. In fact in their efforts to build military power in particular they've driven most of their regional neighbours into America's arms. In their misguided effort to exert hegemony over the South China Sea in particular they have driven no lesser country than Vietnam into the alignment of American influence. They essentially have surrounded themselves on three side with potential hostile powers. They even lost influence over Burma thanks to their clumsiness and some astute and clever American diplomacy.
      Having said that, they have changed tact in the last couple years and made detente with Russia (though this brief new friendship is fickle and driven more shared animosity towards Japan and the US then by mutual interests), and (with the careful dispersal of billions in what amounts to bribes) have gained traction in the Philippines and Thailand.

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    12. Cont...

      The other factor to layer on top of all this, is what I've alluded to earlier - the frequently counter productive logic of 70 years of domestic political propaganda. The disputes with Japan over some rocky outcrops in the East China Sea, their sometimes infantile desire to stamp their feet over the South China Sea, their fixation on bringing Taiwan back into the fold, their clumsy attempts to urge close US allies (like Australia) to separate themselves from the US - all these things are driven by the perceived needs of their domestic political situation. This is the kind of clumsy, stupid, irrational stuff that infuriates me, and infuriates many of the more pragmatic, cosmopolitan members of the Chines government, bureaucracy and military. It's this kind of nonsense that has the most potential to trigger a war that neither side truly desires. All in an attempt to shore domestic political favour.

      I'll end this by drawing an analogy that I've often pondered about the rise of China (and one which I find worrying). I began my professional career as a history teacher and so I tend to equate things in historical terms. China now reminds me most of two countries in modern history - Japan and Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Rising powers, sure of their own importance and might, but with a feeling that the rest of the world has not acknowledged their might, nor given them their due. My hope is that unlike those two countries, and in fact unlike most rising powers, China's rise can be peaceful. I can assure you that most people in China hope the same thing.

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    13. "You, my friend, are being played by your Chinese associates!"'

      It seems that you perceive the Chinese government/military as a homogeneous whole.

      It's not. The reality is that many of them are not at all interested in war.
      In fact I think you'd be surprised how cosmopolitan they are.
      Most of them are educated in the US or Europe. Many, many of them are Americanophiles - having been educated at places like Princeton and Yale.

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    14. "China now reminds me most of two countries in modern history - Japan and Germany"

      That's reasonably astute. Now, what's the odds that China will buck the trend of history and become a peaceful world neighbor? I see no evidence of any desire for peace. China seems quite willing to tell the rest of the world to fall in line or be subjugated as they're doing throughout the South China Sea.

      Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I see no evidence that China is learning anything from history. Similarly, I see no evidence that the US has learned anything from the history of appeasement (which inexorably leads to war) and continues to appease China which will lead directly to war. Tragic, all the way around.

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    15. "The reality is that many of them are not at all interested in war."

      Then they need to get control of their country because China is heading inexorably towards global war.

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    16. Your views on China strike me as heavy on wishful thinking and light on reality. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

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    17. "Your views on China strike me as heavy on wishful thinking and light on reality. I hope you're right and I'm wrong."

      I hope so to.

      But to be clear, I think based purely on mathematical probability, it seems unlikely that conflict can be totally avoided - it almost never is in history when a rising power challenges the hegemony of the current dominant power.

      I'm just saying that neither side's goal is war.
      But that's doesn't prevent the possibility of war. Many wars have happened that few wanted.

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  4. The main weakness in your argument in my view is simply this you haven't defined your term, "National Security Threat".
    If your definition is too stringent, it applies to very few conflicts the US has actually participated in.
    Too loose, and it becomes meaningless.

    So without that definition it's hard to either agree or disagree with you.
    I think it's probably safe to say though, that none of the conflicts America is currently involved in would qualify.

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    1. I answered this in your identical comment in the previous post. Please view that for a reply.

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    2. I felt like we never settled on a definition. I understand what an existential threat is.
      In terms of a national security threat - it seems very subjective.

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  5. The PRC have been illegally occupying Tibet since 1951. In 1959 the brutally put down an uprising, forcing the Dalia Lams into exile. Any military buildup by the PRC must be viewed with extreme suspicion, especially by there near neighbours. MA

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  6. CNO, I think I kinda drag this off topic to a different direction, one that harbors heavily in the back of your (and many other's) mind, but not the focal point of your 'war and civilian' pieces. Perhaps you can (and want) to blow up your comment switchboard with a 'China' piece some other time, but my inadvertent intent here was to show a contrasting hegemonic style (one that's 180-degrees apart, too elephant-in-the-room to ignore).

    Zero-death, disliked-yet-$welcomed$ by all, with both structured and organic presence in every corner of the world, like wild grass in spring (or silver carp in the Mississippi river watershed). A force of nature in human kind, if there is such thing.

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    1. A worthy topic for another blog. That's far too geopolitical and sociology related for a naval matters blog!

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  7. One thing we could add could up the range of torpedo: adapting the VLA-ASROC with it's 22km range for ASuW.

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