Date: May 16, 2012
Source: The Age
Abstract: Australia cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and must choose a ''godfather'' to protect it, according to a prominent Chinese defence strategist.
The warning by Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People's Liberation Army, comes after Foreign Minister Bob Carr was told by his Chinese counterpart that Australia's close military alliance with the US was a throwback to the Cold War era.
Senator Carr yesterday met the man expected to become China's next premier, Li Keqiang, in Beijing. Discussions centred on more comfortable matters including furthering trade and investment and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
But Australia's strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region remains contentious. "Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later," Mr Song told The Age.
"Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the 'son' of the US or 'son' of China," he said. "[It] depends on who is more powerful, and based on the strategic environment."
Mr Song said Australia depended on exporting iron ore to China "to feed itself", but had not done enough to engage. "Frankly, it has not done well politically," he said.
With sensitivity in the Asia-Pacific over Australia allowing the US a permanent troop presence in Darwin, Senator Carr has been keen to emphasise its strong record of military co-operation with China.
Speaking on Monday, he said Australia was one of just two countries with a strategic defence dialogue with China at the chief-of-defence level.
He said Australia was last year the first Western nation to co-operate with China on a joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise and in 2010 the first to hold a joint live-fire exercise with China's navy.
The HMAS Ballarat will moor in Shanghai tomorrow to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Both Mr Li and Senator Carr were keen to highlight the positives. The senator told Mr Li the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations was "an opportunity to renew and refresh and recommit to the relationship".
Mr Li said:
"Forty years ago the two countries decided to establish diplomatic
relations. This was a decision made with strategic perspective and laid the
foundation for the furtherance of this bilateral relationship" (The Age, 2012).
China Pursuing Steady Military Build-Up: Pentagon
Date: May 18, 2012
Abstract: China is exploiting Western commercial technology, conducting aggressive cyber espionage and buying more anti-ship missiles as part of a steady military build-up, according to the Pentagon.
Beijing aims to take advantage of "mostly US" defense-related technologies in the private sector in a concerted effort to modernize the country's armed forces and extend China's reach in the Asia-Pacific region, the Pentagon wrote in a report to Congress on Friday.
The annual assessment of China's military resembled previous reports but adopted more diplomatic language, possibly to avoid aggravating delicate relations with Beijing, analysts said.
"I am struck by the decidedly mellow tone," Christopher Johnson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told AFP.
Chinese officials are sure to privately welcome the report's wording, after having been irritated by a strategy document issued by President Barack Obama in January that portrayed China as a military rival.
"This is much friendlier" than the January strategy paper, Johnson noted.
The report said Beijing had a goal of leveraging "legally and illegally acquired dual-use and military-related technologies to its advantage."
"Interactions with Western aviation manufacturing firms may also inadvertently benefit China's defense aviation industry," the Pentagon warned.
Echoing recent warnings from intelligence officials, the Pentagon also blamed China for "many" of the world's cyber intrusions over the past year targeting US government and commercial networks, including companies "that directly support US defense programs."
The report warned that "Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage," and predicted that those spying efforts would continue.
China's investments in cyber warfare were cause for "concern," said David Helvey, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia and Asia Pacific security affairs.
Beijing was clearly "looking at ways to use cyber for offensive operations," Helvey told reporters.
The American military has long worried that China could potentially limit the reach of US naval ships in the western Pacific with new weapons, and the Pentagon report underlined those concerns.
China "is also acquiring and fielding greater numbers of conventional medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) to increase the range at which it can conduct precision strikes against land targets and naval ships, including aircraft carriers, operating far from China's shores beyond the first island chain," said the report.
Beijing is pouring money into advanced air defenses, submarines, anti-satellite weapons and anti-ship missiles that could all be used to deny an adversary access to strategic areas, such as the South China Sea, it said.
US strategists -- and some defense contractors -- often refer to the threat posed by China's so-called "carrier-killer" missiles, but Helvey said the anti-ship weapons currently have "limited operational capability."
China's military budget officially reached $106 billion in 2012, an 11.2 percent increase.
But the US report said China's defense budget does not include major expenditures such as improvements to nuclear forces or purchases of foreign-made weapons. Real defense spending amounts to $120 to $180 billion, the report said.
US military spending, however, still dwarfs Chinese investments, with the Pentagon's proposed budget for 2013 at more than $600 billion.
Despite a sustained increase in defense spending over the past decade, China has experienced setbacks with some satellite launches and ambitious projects to produce a fifth-generation fighter jet and modern aircraft carrier still face challenges, according to the report.
Although looking to expand its traditional missions to include counter-piracy and humanitarian efforts, the top priority of the People's Liberation Army remains a possible conflict in the Taiwan Strait.
The report said China is focused on preventing the United States from intervening successfully in support of Taiwan.
The document was released as the House of Representatives voted to force the US government to sell 66 new fighter-jets to Taiwan.
Obama's administration, anxious to keep ties with China on track, is only
planning to upgrade existing planes. The measure still needs Senate approval (AFP, 2012).
Title: Pentagon Study Says China Military Getting Stronger
Date: May 18, 2012
Source: New York Times
Abstract: China is pressing a long-range modernization of its military, part of a strategy aimed at maximizing its leverage over Taiwan, extending its influence farther abroad, but avoiding conflict around its borders or with the United States, the Pentagon said on Friday in an annual report to Congress.
Chinese leaders, the report asserted, view this as a time to “focus on internal development while avoiding direct confrontation,” although they expect tension, competition, and territorial flare-ups from time to time, and they do not expect the status quo, however satisfactory they find it, to last indefinitely.
The United States, decades ahead technologically, spends much more, and in pivoting its strategy toward Asia and the Pacific, “seeks to build a military-to-military relationship with China that is healthy, stable, reliable, and continuous,” the annual report said.
Two months ago, Beijing announced an 11.2 percent increase in its annual military budget to roughly $106 billion. While economic comparisons and analysis have always been difficult, there is no doubt that the past few decades have seen steady expansion in China’s military spending, and the Pentagon’s estimate is that China is investing more than it says, but still only about a fourth of what the United States spends each year on the military.
For its money, China is getting more weapons, and better ones.
Its air force is “transforming into a force capable of offshore offensive and defensive operations,” the report said, with prototypes of a stealth fighter seen starting last year. Other areas of investment include defenses against ballistic missiles, early warning and air-defense missiles, and their land and naval equivalents.
But the developments cited in the report unfold only over decades. For example, China’s first aircraft carrier, purchased from Ukraine in 1998, set out on its shakedown cruise last summer, but China still has no planes equipped to land on its deck, and its naval pilots are still training ashore. “We expect it’ll take several additional years for an air group to achieve a minimal operational capability aboard the aircraft carrier,” said David Helvey, a Pentagon official handling regional issues, at a briefing on the report.
In many ways, the modernization shows a Chinese military that has watched what the United States has done in the past generation or two, and is exploring the same avenues of growth. From the restructuring of its army to the new ascendancy of information technologies in warfare, there are parallels.
To be sure, there are profound differences, as the People’s Liberation Army, or P.L.A., plays a distinct role in Chinese society, government, and economic affairs.
The two militaries are already operating more frequently in overlapping territories, and the 2012 report traced the same themes as last year’s, but a bit more succinctly.
In the past year, it noted, the P.L.A. “deployed assets to support noncombatant evacuation operations from Libya, extended its presence in the Gulf of Aden for a third year of counterpiracy operations, took on leadership roles in United Nations peace operations, and conducted medical exchanges and a service mission to Latin America and the Caribbean using the P.L.A. Navy’s hospital ship.”
These are examples of what the Chinese call “new historic missions” for the P.L.A., and while they are generally not threatening to other nations, they demonstrate a new assertiveness that the Pentagon, and some allies of the United States, look upon warily.
“China’s actions in 2011 with respect to ongoing land and maritime territorial disputes with neighbors,” the report said, “reflected a mix of contentment with the status quo, renewed efforts to reassure wary neighbors, and continued willingness (particularly through the use of paramilitary maritime law enforcement assets) to assert Chinese claims.” This has been especially notable in the South China Sea, where tensions with the Philippines continue.However, “China notably took steps to ease relations with Japan and dampen suspicion among rival South China Sea claimants after China’s assertive posture in 2010 increased regional tensions. These steps included high-level engagement with Tokyo and confidence-building measures with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), even as Chinese maritime law enforcement assets continued to defend Chinese claims in disputed areas,” the report said (New York Times, 2012).
Panetta Says New Pentagon Strategy To Pivot Focus To Asia Not Designed To
Date: June 2, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: In his first speech in Asia since the president announced a strategic pivot to Asia, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sought to reassure China that the new U.S. strategy to pivot military resources and focus to Asia is not designed to contain China.
“Some view the increased emphasis by the United States on Asia-Pacific as a challenge to China, I reject that view entirely,” Panetta told a top level conference of Asian defense ministers sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
At the conference known as the Shangri La Dialogue, Panetta announced that the U.S. would shift 60 percent of its naval assets to Pacific ports. Currently, the 11 aircraft carriers are split between Asia and the Middle East.
“By 2020, the Navy will re-posture its forces from today’s roughly 50/50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about 60/40 split between these two oceans - including six aircraft carriers, a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, Littoral Combat Ships, and submarines," Panetta said.
The questions from Asian defense ministers focused on whether the U.S. could afford to pivot to Asia given its current defense budget cuts.
The first question to Panetta came from a representative of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“My question is, sir, could you enlighten me a little more how the U.S. plans to develop military-to-military relations with China?”
To which, Panetta outlined a series of plans to cooperate on cyber and space, creating teams to work on these difficult issues, exchanges between military commanders and capped by a visit to China later this summer by the secretary himself.
Also, after reports surfaced that a Chinese security official had been arrested on suspicion of spying for the U.S., Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., told Fox News the countries must learn to resolve their disputes without getting into a Cold War.
"China and the U.S. are so tied together economically and another Cold War is not in the interest of either that ultimately common sense will prevail." Lieberman said.
The Chinese did not send its Defense Minister or head of its military to the conference.
“There is no senior Chinese presence here at this meeting,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee told Fox News in an interview in Singapore after Panetta’s speech. “It would be nice to see some reciprocal words from China.”
McCain also expressed concern about the budget realities in the U.S. and whether the Pentagon would have enough funding to follow through on the president’s new strategy.“Realities are we are retiring ships. We are having the smallest navy since World War II. We are facing sequestration, which the Senate majority leader said is fine with him. So it is a mismatch between the realities of our commitment and the funding for that commitment,” McCain said after Panetta finished speaking (Fox News, 2012).
America Threatens China: Pentagon Prepares For Confrontation In The
Date: June 3, 2012
Source: Global Research
Abstract: In January of this year the three officials in charge of U.S. global military strategy and operations - commander-in- chief President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey - unveiled the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, entitled “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” which officially confirmed American plans to increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China, now the world's second-largest economy.
Alternately referred to as rebalancing, reemphasis, refocusing and a pivot away from Europe and toward the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, the new doctrine reflects the past twenty years' consolidation of U.S. military and political control of Europe through the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the subjugation of North Africa and the Middle East except for, at least for the present, Syria and Iran through the creation of U.S. Africa Command, NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships and its ten-and-a-half- year-old Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean, and the wars against Iraq and Libya.
Having not so much neutralized opposition - there were no effective challengers to U.S. geopolitical hegemony in the indicated areas - as eliminated remaining pockets of independence and nonalignment (Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya), the Pentagon and its allies are free to move against China, having already surrounded Russia through NATO expansion and partnerships from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, the South Caucasus to Central Asia, the Arctic Ocean to Mongolia.
On June 1 Pentagon chief Panetta spoke at the eleventh annual Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit in Singapore, where the U.S. has recently gained basing rights for its warships, and reiterated plans to expand, tighten and integrate its alliances with defense treaty partners in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. (Taiwan is practically if not formally in that category.)
As the Defense Department's news agency, American Forces Press Service, reported, Panetta emphasized that "Defense policy in the region calls for the U.S. military to expand military-to- military relationships well beyond the traditional treaty allies." The allusion is to the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand) not already included in bilateral military alliances with Washington as well as new partners like Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Tonga and others supplying troops or transit bases for the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan. An old ally, Pakistan, and newly acquired ones, India and Bangladesh, are also within the Pentagon's purview.
In the past few years the U.S. has pulled Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam into its political-military orbit and expanded partnerships with Malaysia and Singapore, which have troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan along with Australia, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Korea and Tonga.
Panetta's comments in Singapore included the following: "By 2020, the Navy will reposture its forces from today’s roughly 50/50 split between the Atlantic and Pacific to about a 60/40 split between those oceans - including six aircraft carriers, a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships and submarines.”
To appreciate the scale of what that redeployment portends, it's worth noting the unprecedented and unparalleled military capacity the U.S. has built from the end of World War II to the present, in the process establishing the first and only global military force.
The U.S. has eleven aircraft carriers with attached strike groups; all the world's supercarriers and all but one of its twelve nuclear-powered carriers. (France has the other.) The eleven American supercarriers are the largest warships ever built.
It has 61 guided missile destroyers and 22 guided missile cruisers, all of which are part of or can be upgraded to join the Aegis Combat System, thereby being capable of participating in Washington's worldwide interceptor missile program.
The U.S. Navy also possesses 72 submarines, 18 ballistic and 53 attack models, and 24 frigates, nine amphibious assault ships, seven amphibious transport docks, 12 dock landing ships, four littoral combat ships and scores of other vessels.
Washington has pledged to deploy 60 percent of the above to the Asia-Pacific region in the imminent future.
Ahead of his trip to Singapore, Panetta visited the headquarters of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii and American Forces Press Service reported that "There are 330,000 U.S. service members in the Pacific Command area now, and Panetta anticipates the proportion of the total military in the region will rise."
The same source added: "The American military also wants to strengthen power projection capabilities in the region. Panetta said there will be new platforms and capabilities for troops in the area."
U.S. military chief Martin Dempsey is also attending the three-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and his meetings in the Southeast Asian nation indicate one component of the Pentagon's "power projection" strategy for the Asia-Pacific area. He met with the host country's defense minister, chief of defense and heads of its army, air force and navy and toured the Sembawang Air Base and other military facilities.
His discussions included topics like the regular Commando Sling joint U.S.-Singapore air combat exercises and the imminent deployment of U.S. littoral combat ships to Singapore agreed upon late last year.
Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen visited the Pentagon in April, during which Panetta announced the doubling of the number of U.S. warships to be "forward deployed" to Singapore, from two to four, for exercises and operations near the strategic Strait of Malacca.
In the same month the U.S. deployed the first 200 of 2,500 Marines to northern Australia as part of a military buildup which will also include aircraft, warships and drones.
The Philippines is the third Asia-Pacific nation where the Pentagon is securing new bases to contain and ultimately confront China.
In April the U.S. and the Philippines conducted the latest Balikatan military maneuvers with 4,500 American Marines and 2,500 Philippine troops which included an amphibious assault at Ulugan Bay on Palawan Island to rehearse the "recapture" of an island near the Spratly Islands contested by the Philippines and China.
Most of the Asia-Pacific is in the area of responsibility of U.S. Pacific Command, one of six Unified Combatant Commands the Pentagon employs to maintain control of and pre-position for potential military actions throughout the world. It consists of U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Pacific Air Forces.
PACOM's website boasts that its geographical reach "encompasses about half the earth’s surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole."
Its area of responsibility takes in 36 nations and over half of the world's population.
The website also itemizes American military assets already deployed to the Asia-Pacific:
Some 350,000 military personnel, one-fifth of total U.S. forces.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet, assigned to PACOM, includes six of eleven aircraft carrier strike groups, approximately 180 ships, 1,500 aircraft and 100,000 service members.
U.S. Marine Forces Pacific consists of two-thirds of U.S. Marine Corps combat troops, two Marine Expeditionary Forces and 85,000 personnel.
U.S. Pacific Air Forces has over 40,000 airman and more than 300 aircraft, with an additional 100 aircraft based in Guam.
U.S. Army Pacific has over 60,000 service members and five Stryker combat vehicle brigades.
There are also an estimated 1,200 Special Operations troops assigned to PACOM.
Components of U.S. Pacific Fleet, the U.S. Third Fleet is home-based in California and the Seventh Fleet in Japan. The Seventh Fleet, the largest forward-deployed naval force in the world, has 50 to 60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 Marines and sailors.
U.S. Pacific Air Forces includes the Fifth Air Force in Japan, Seventh Air Force in South Korea, Eleventh Air Force in Alaska and Thirteenth Air Force in Hawaii.
PACOM has three subordinate unified commands: U.S. Forces Japan, U.S. Forces Korea and Alaskan Command.
Pacific Command has in recent years been making inroads into Asian nations that were off-limits during the Cold War period and for the first decade and a half afterward.
PACOM has been running annual Khaan Quest military exercises in Mongolia since 2003, mainly to train Mongolian troops for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Pacific conducts annual Angkor Sentinel exercises in Cambodia, as with those in Mongolia including troops from American NATO and from other Asia-Pacific allies.
PACOM and its service affiliates also hold regular military exercises elsewhere throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In January the U.S. and Japan held the latest Keen Edge command post exercise in Japan and Hawaii.
From January 15-February 17 of this year 7,000 U.S, troops and 3,000 from Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea participated in the Cobra Gold 2012 war games in Thailand.
The U.S. and South Korea held their joint Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises from February 28 to April 30 (February 28-March 9 and March 1-April 30, respectively) with 11,000 American and over 200,000 South Korean troops.
In March the air forces of the U.S., Thailand and Singapore participated in the Cope Tiger exercise at the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base.
At the end of the month the three-week U.S.-led Commando Sling air combat exercises in Singapore were begun.
In April the U.S. and India engaged in this year's Malabar naval exercise, the latest in a series of annual drills with that codename, in the Bay of Bengal. The ten-day Malabar 2012 exercise was led by the U.S. Seventh Fleet and included aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, guided missile destroyer USS Halsey and American aircraft and a submarine.
In the same month the 7,000-troop U.S.-Philippine Balikatan 2012 exercise was held in the South China Sea.
On May 30 the U.S. began the 18th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in Indonesia. The nine-day exercise included a U.S. Navy Task Group and Marine landing force.
Other regular U.S.-led military exercises in the Asia-Pacific include the biennial U.S.-Australia Talisman Sabre and the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises, the second the largest multinational naval maneuvers in the world. This year's Rim of the Pacific exercise in and near Hawaii will run from June 29 to August 3 and include 24 nations, 42 ships, six submarines, over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
Having vanquished most all islands of resistance and neutrality in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Pentagon is moving its global military machine into the Asia-Pacific for a showdown with China (Global Research, 2012).
Book Confirms US-Australia Plans For War On China
Date: June 4, 2012
Abstract: A newly published book by journalist David Uren has revealed that the Australian government’s 2009 Defence White Paper contained a “secret chapter” that assessed “Australia’s ability to fight an air-sea battle alongside the United States against China.”
The chapter was omitted from the public version as it contained references to Australian forces assisting the US military to impose a naval blockade of China’s trade routes, and likely Chinese retaliation against targets on Australian soil. The existence of the confidential chapter was prominently reported on the front page of the Australiannewspaper on Saturday under the headline “Secret ‘war’ with China uncovered.” Labor’s Defence Minister Stephen Smith was questioned about the revelation on Sunday. While he attempted to dismiss as “nonsense” the report that Australia had plans for war with China, he confirmed that there were both public and secret versions of the White Paper.
Uren, the economics editor of the Australian newspaper, provides no source for his revelation. His book, however, The Kingdom and the Quarry: China, Australia, Fear and Greed, has clearly been written in close consultation with figures in the Australian political, military and diplomatic establishment. It is primarily a discussion of the immense dilemma that confronts the Australian ruling elites as the United States—their key strategic and military ally—pursues an ever more aggressive stance toward China, Australia’s largest trading partner.
Uren wrote that the White Paper envisaged “a very different world, in which Australian naval operations alongside the United States in, say the South China Sea, could lead to direct Chinese attack on Australia with missiles, mining of ports and cyber-attacks. The capability of China to reach out 5,000 kilometres and touch Australia was a new element of the strategic environment.”
The missing chapter, Uren wrote, “assumed that there would be blockades distant from China designed to control its sea routes and stop the flow of natural resources on which its industrial engine depends… Part of the defence thinking is that in the event of a conflict with the United States, China would attempt to destroy Pine Gap, the US-Australia signals facility near Alice Springs, which is crucial for guiding US military operations in Asia.”
The war preparations motivated the White Paper’s recommendation that more than $100 billion be spent over the next decade or so to equip the Australian military with new submarines, destroyers, jet fighters and other advanced hardware.
Significantly, Uren notes that while then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had aggressively supported the White Paper—against opposition from his military intelligence advisors—the Obama administration did not support his diplomatic initiatives in the Asian region. Uren cites the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks that revealed Washington opposed Rudd’s advocacy of a so-called “Asia-Pacific Community” which would seek to mediate tensions between the US and China.
Uren, however, does not comment on the US role in the inner-party coup that ousted Rudd on June 23-24, 2010 and installed Julia Gillard as prime minister. He does not reference other diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in which Gillard was named by US officials as a potential pro-US alternative to Rudd, and which identified the key Labor conspirators, such as Senator Mark Arbib, as “protected sources” of the US embassy.
In mid-2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provocatively told a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN): “I am here to confirm that we [the US] are back and we are here to stay [in Asia].” Her speech at ASEAN was a categorical rejection of calls by figures like Rudd for a US accommodation to China’s ambitions for greater regional influence.
Uren observes that the agreements signed last November between the Obama administration and the Gillard government for a greater US military presence in Australia flow from expectations of future conflict with Beijing. He cites the establishment of a “working group” between the US and Australian militaries in late 2010, “to explore greater military cooperation.”
While Uren does not refer to it, the US Naval War College published a study in January 2011 which detailed Australia’s “numerous advantages” as a base from which the US military could control the vital sea lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the event of conflict with China. The study’s authors, James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, commented that “the Australian government—Washington’s most dependable ally in Asia, alongside Tokyo—would likely prove agreeable to such an arrangement.”
Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Labor government has unconditionally aligned Australia with the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific. Australian ports and airbases are to be upgraded for use by the American military and the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean made available as an airbase for US surveillance drones and, potentially, warplanes.
Uren comments that the small scale of the initial US deployments to Australia—just several hundred marines training for six months near the northern city of Darwin—was intended as “a way of mollifying regional reaction.” The announcement over the weekend by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta that the US Navy will base 60 percent of its fleet in the Asia-Pacific underscores the strategic importance of access to Australian naval bases. Ports in Perth, Darwin and Brisbane will service the US aircraft carrier battle groups and nuclear submarines that threaten China’s access to crucial maritime trading routes.
Whatever the motives
behind Uren’s revelation, it confirms the detailed analysis and warnings made
by the World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party
over the past three years that the Labor Party government, on behalf of the
Australian capitalist class, had aligned with US imperialism in preparations
for war with China. The suppression of the “secret chapter” in the 2009 White
Paper underscores the fact that Washington and Canberra are pursuing their
militarist agenda behind the backs of the population (WSWS, 2012).
Title: India Turns Down US Plans To Counter China
Date: June 6, 2012
Abstract: Concerned that the new-found US focus on Asia will lead to greater militarization in its immediate neighbourhood, specially the Bay of Bengal region, India today politely, but firmly, told US secretary of Defence Lean Panetta that there is a need to re-calibrate and rethink the just announced US Asia- Pacific policy.
The new US policy called 'Rebalancing of Military Strategy with focus on Asia-Pacific' envisages major changes in deployment and proposes that at least 60 per cent of US Naval assets would be deployed in Asia-Pacific.
India's western sea board and Arabian Sea has perhaps the highest number of warships deployed at a given time. Warships from countries, as varied as Iran, France UK, US, China and India, are all deployed in the Arabian Sea. The Eastern sea board of China already has a port in Hangyyi in Myanmar while US has south berthing rights in Chittagong Port, India has a massive presence in the Andaman Nicober Islands. The new US focus and presence of more US warships in the Eastern sea board, India fears will lead to more militarization.
Clearly, India's stand shows that it doesn't share the American perception of the Asia-Pacific region entirely, and would prefer the company and presence of countries likes Vietnam, Philippines and others to be involved when solution to the South-China sea issue is worked out. In the hour-long meeting between the Defence Minister A K Antony and Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta India 'emphasized' the need to take the relationship beyond "buyer-seller transaction", a senior MoD official said. India wants US to focus on technology transfer and a strong partnership "to build indigenous capabilities." India is likely to buy ultra-light howitzer and attack helicopters from US.
There was, however, complete convergence of view between the two heavy weights on Pakistan and AF-Pak region. Sources tell NDTV that the US expressed deep concern over the worsening situation in AF-Pak region and the support that the Haqqani network continues to receive from Pakistan.
US wants India to deepen its engagement in Afghanistan. India now trains about 1000 officers of Aghan National Army and other security establishment. Although Afghanistan has sought weapons and equipments from India, including tanks, India hasn't yet taken a decision on whether or not to supply and equip the Afghan Army. In today's meeting India and US discussed the possible situation in Afghanistan after December 2014, when the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces withdraws from Afghanistan.
Interestingly, US didn't raise the issue of India dragging its feet on signing agreements like the Logistic Supply Agreement (LSA), the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
India doesn't want to sign any of these agreements as it would bind them to give logistic support to the US fleet and troops, and on the other hand CISMOA will force India to share certain critical communication codes with the US. For the last seven years India has maintained that it is 'studying' the agreements and hasn't come to any conclusion. Clearly, US doesn't pin much hope on India coming on board on these issues and is now willing to put these issues aside and work with India (NDTV, 2012).
Inside China: PLA Says War With U.S. Imminent
Date: June 27, 2012
Source: Washington Times
Abstract: A Chinese general recently offered an alarming assessment that a future conflict with the United States is coming as a result of U.S. “containment” policies.
The release last week of a transcribed speech by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian revealed the harsh words toward the United States and those in China he regards as muddle-headed peacenik intellectuals.
Gen. Peng, a well-known PLA strategist, has a hawkish reputation and a large following in China. The speech was given in December at an event hosted by Xinhua news agency in Beijing. An abbreviated transcript was published June 21 on the Chinese military website Leiting, or Thunder.
“The United States has been exhausting all its resources to establish a strategic containment system specifically targeting China,” Gen. Peng said.”The contradictions between China and the United States are structural, not to be changed by any individual, whether it is G.H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush or Barack Obama, it will not make a difference to these contradictions.”
The general specifically criticized two views prevalent among some analysts in Beijing and Washington that a U.S.-China military conflict will not happen anytime soon because of mutual economic dependency between the two nations. He also attacked the popular view that the U.S.-China relationship can’t be too good but can’t be too bad, either.
Gen. Peng criticized what he sees as an all-out endeavor by the United States to encircle China. “Some people keep saying that we have friends all over the world. But I have used a magnifying glass trying to find some friendly countries on a world map. And I kept looking and looking, but failed to find any except a containment circle around us longer than the Great Wall of China!” Gen. Peng said.
“The reason why China does not have an especially strong sense of crisis is that we chant ‘peace and harmony’ everywhere in the world, which was originally intended for the world to hear, but such chanting has left us kidding ourselves and paralyzed. Now no one is willing to think about war,” he said.
ORDER TO DISCLOSE
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently demanded that all PLA senior officials disclose their personal assets, a measure that appears aimed at curbing rampant corruption within the communist military hierarchy, according to the official military newspaper PLA Daily.
Many analysts think this is a key reason why the PLA is notorious for having extraordinary access to privileges and special perks denied to most Chinese and that this necessarily led to rampant corruption within the PLA.
The PLA at one time operated tens of thousands of businesses, easily evading Chinese customs and tax authorities in large-scale smuggling and tax-evasion schemes. Corruption within the PLA was so widespread that in the late 1990s, the ruling Politburo stepped in and banned the PLA from operating any businesses.
But loopholes to operating military-run businesses remain and are growing.
In 2006, the Chinese navy’s second in command, Vice Adm. Wang Shouye, was found to have kept five mistresses and embezzled public funds estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
In February, Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan, deputy chief of the PLA’s general logistics department, was purged after it was discovered he was linked to illicit real estate schemes and for what state media called “self-aggrandizement.”
Yet observers think the latest anti-graft measure targeting the PLA is not fair and most likely is an excuse for CCP leader Hu Jintao and his civilian leadership team to initiate a leadership shakeup within the PLA and force it to follow party orders.
Since March of this year, when the scandal that ousted regional party boss Bo Xilai broke out, the PLA has been sharply impacted by the ongoing power struggle in the months before to the party’s major 18th Congress, set to convene in the fall, when major power realignments will take place in Beijing.
Inside China, rumors of military discontent toward the Hu Jintao core leadership are widespread. At times, there has been word of an impending military coup, indicating divisiveness and unease within the senior ranks of the PLA. Those attitudes are confirmed consistently, although indirectly, by the central political leadership’s repeated calls for resolutely adhering to Hu dictates published in PLA propaganda outlets.
Last week, for example, the PLA Daily published articles condemning “subpar loyalty of military cadres to the CCP leadership headed by Comrade Hu Jintao” and warning that all PLA personnel must be politically savvy and not be affected by “distractions.”
Calls for public
disclosure of all high-ranking CCP leaders’
assets have been made in China for many
years. No civilian leader, however, openly endorsed the idea, let alone carried
out a voluntary disclosure of assets (Washington Times, 2012).
Positive Signs For US-China Military Ties, Top US Commander In Asia-Pacific
Date: July 26, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: The top U.S. commander in the Asia-Pacific region said Wednesday he's seeing positive signs as he tries to develop relations between the U.S. and Chinese militaries.
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III said China and the People's Liberation Army have been accepting of his visits since he took the helm at the U.S. Pacific Command in March. The U.S. has also been accepting of Chinese visits, and the dialogue between the two sides has been frank, he said.
"And all those things are positive signs, because the future's not going to get any less complex," Locklear told reporters at his headquarters near Honolulu. "It's going to grow in complexity -- and to work through a complex global security environment you have to be talking to each other."
Relations between the two militaries have fluctuated on and off in past decades, ever since the Chinese crackdown on democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Most recently, military relations were frozen in 2010 after the U.S. announced a $6.4 billion weapons sale to Taiwan. They began improving a year later after then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Beijing.
Locklear, who most recently was commander of NATO-led operations that helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Qaddafii, has made maturing bilateral military relations one of Pacific Command's five basic priorities.
The admiral said Wednesday it's not in the interests of the U.S., China, or global peace and security for the two nations to have an adversarial relationship.
"There are places where we don't agree on things. The best way you deal with that is you talk about it and you try to understand each other's perspective and you move forward," Locklear said.
Locklear said the issue reached an important milestone when Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama met last year and agreed to see if the two sides could find places where their interests converge, and understand better where their respective interests diverge.
The two sides differ on Taiwan. China views the self-governing island as a renegade province and has threatened to invade Taiwan if it formalized its independence. The U.S., meanwhile, is committed to defending Taiwan.
The South China Sea and its island groups, which are claimed by six nations including China, is the latest source of concern.
The Philippines and Vietnam have accused Chinese vessels of repeatedly intruding into areas they claim and of trying to sabotage oil explorations in their territorial waters. China has denied the allegations, saying it has sovereignty over the vast sea.The United States has voiced its concern over "unilateral moves" in the South China Sea where it says collective diplomacy is needed to resolve competing claims (Fox News, 2012).
China Could Penetrate US With New Huge Missile
Date: August 24, 2012
Abstract: It might be time to sweep the cobwebs out of that old nuclear bunker at the bottom of the garden after reports in state-run Chinese media confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army is actively developing an intercontinental missile capable of penetrating US defences.
News first emerged of the planned ‘super missile’ from defence industry bible Jane’s Defence Weeklylast week, according to South China Morning Post.
It apparently claimed that a Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), had been fired in testing last month by the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps.
This third-generation missile, US military sources told Jane’s, contain multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) – effectively multiple warheads – meaning they would be almost impossible for current US defences to take down.
A report in Global Times, the populist sister title of Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, apparently confirmed such a rocket was in development, quoting local military expert Wei Guoan.
However, he denied it had been fired already in testing and claimed it was not a DF-41.
Recognising the potential threat from China and North Korea, the US is strategically ramping up its military presence in Asia, after years of focus on the Middle East during the Bush administration.
It’s planning to
increase its anti-missile defences in the region which could include extra
tracking radar, land-based intercept vehicles and missile-defence ships,
according to a Wall Street Journal article (Register, 2012).
Asian Axis: India And China To Bring Two Largest Armies Closer
Date: September 3, 2012
Admiral: China Should Prepare For Conflict With U.S. Over Disputed Islands
Date: September 21, 2012
Abstract: A People’s Liberation Army Admiral has fanned the flames of tensions surrounding the island dispute between China and Japan by suggesting that China would comfortably defeat Japan in a war and that Beijing should prepare for the United States to become involved in the conflict.
A report in People’s Daily - a propaganda organ for the ruling Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – quotes Zhang Zhaozhong, rear admiral at China’s National Defense University.
Zhaozhong accuses the United States and Japan of using a joint drill currently taking place on Tinian Island involving U.S. Marines and Japanese troops to prepare for a potential invasion of the disputed islands, adding that the U.S. is taking part in the exercises as a deterrent to put pressure on China.
The article quotes Zhaozhong as highlighting that, “China has a stronger fighting capability than Japan in a war for the Diaoyu Islands, because China’s coastal areas are close to the islands and the radar and missiles there can cover all the islands.”
However, the Admiral makes it clear that if the United States were to become embroiled in the conflict, the balance would change greatly and that China should be making preparations for that very outcome.
“The intervention of the U.S. military will change the military strength contrast between China and Japan, so China should prepare for it,” said Zhaozhong.
Zhaozhong’s rhetoric follows a threat by China to economically attack the Japanese bond market to precipitate a funding crisis as well as China’s most powerful military leader ordering forces to prepare for combat. Last weekend, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the two countries could be heading towards war.
Riots have raged in China over the last two weeks, with demonstrators attacking Japanese restaurants, Japanese-made cars, and Chinese hackers targeting Japanese government websites in protest over a small chain of disputed islands called “Senkaku” by Japan and “Diaoyu” by China.
Given the Chinese government’s policy of routinely cracking down on demonstrations of any kind, charges that the riots were organized by the ruling Communist Party itself as a geopolitical stage show have gained traction.
Famous Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei joined the chorus of those accusing China of provocateuring the protests today when he told AFP, “I was quite surprised because we all can see the whole demonstration (against Japan) being prepared by officials.”
“They tried to picture it as being self-organized, but there were so many details that were obviously very carefully prepared,” he added, noting that the last “real” mass protests in China – the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations – were brutally crushed by Beijing.
Admiral Zhaozhong’s aggressive posturing over China’s ability to easily defeat Japan in a one on one conflict is not without foundation.
China has almost 2.3 million active duty military personnel – the biggest army in the world – whereas Japan has just 230,000 active duty soldiers. The United States has 1,458,219 active troops and a similar number of reserves.
Although the U.S. has been reticent to wade into the island dispute, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee yesterday that the islands fall under an American defense pact with Japan.
Zhaozhong has not been shy about making similarly volatile statements in the past.
In November last year the Admiral said China would not hesitate to protect Iran even at the risk of starting a third world war.
Earlier this year, Zhaozhong reacted to the announcement that the United States had developed a new high-tech stealth destroyer warship by saying China could use fishing boats laden with explosives to carry out suicide attacks against the U.S. Navy.“It would be a goner,” Zhaozhong told state broadcaster CCTV’s military channel (Infowars, 2012).
Title: US: China Bears Malice Towards US
Date: October 8, 2012
Source: Press TV
Abstract: A draft of a report by the US House Intelligence Committee says China bears malice towards the United States, accusing Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE of posing a threat to the US national security.
"China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes," said the draft, AFP reported on Sunday.
"Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," it said.
Huawei vice president William Plummer said in an emailed statement, "The integrity and independence of Huawei's organization and business practices are trusted and respected across almost 150 markets."
Trying to substantiate its claim, the committee said it had obtained, what it called were, internal Huawei documents which showed the firm provides "special network services to an entity the employee believes to be an elite cyber-warfare unit" in the Chinese military.
The Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company has been forced away from several investments in the US amid pressure from Washington (Press TV, 2012).
Panel Warns Against Doing Business With China Tech Giants Due To Security
Date: October 8, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: American companies should avoid doing business with China's two leading technology firms because they pose a national security threat to the United States, the House Intelligence Committee is warning in a report to be issued Monday.
The panel says U.S. regulators should block mergers and acquisitions in this country by Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp, among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications gear and mobile phones.
Reflecting U.S. concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that U.S. government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.
"China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes," the report says.
The recommendations are the result of a yearlong probe, including a congressional hearing last month in which senior Chinese executives of both companies testified, and denied posing a security threat.
A U.S. executive of one of the companies said the firm cooperated with investigators, and defended its business record. Huawei is a "globally trusted and respected company," said William Plummer, vice president for external affairs.
On Monday, ahead of the report's release, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said investment by China's telecommunications companies in the United States showed the countries have mutually beneficial relations.
"We hope the U.S. will do more to benefit the interests of the two countries, not the opposite," said spokesman Hong Lei at a regular briefing.
The bipartisan report is likely to become fodder for a presidential campaign in which the candidates have been competing in their readiness to clamp down on Chinese trade violations. Republican Mitt Romney, in particular, has made it a key point to get tougher on China by designating it a currency manipulator and fighting abuses such as intellectual property theft.
The committee made the draft available to reporters in advance of public release Monday, but only under the condition that they not publish stories until the broadcast Sunday of a CBS' "60 Minutes" report on Huawei. In the CBS report, the committee's chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., urges American companies not to do business with Huawei.
The panel's recommendations will likely hamper Huawei and ZTE's ambitions to expand their business in America. Their products are used in scores of countries, including in the West. Both deny being influenced by China's communist government.
"The investigation concludes that the risks associated with Huawei's and ZTE's provision of equipment to U.S. critical infrastructure could undermine core U.S. national-security interests," the report says.
The report says the committee received information from industry experts and current and former Huawei employees suggesting that Huawei, in particular, may be violating U.S. laws. It says that the committee will refer the allegations to the U.S. government for further review and possible investigation. The report mentions allegations of immigration violations, bribery and corruption, and of a "pattern and practice" of Huawei using pirated software in its U.S. facilities.
Huawei is a private company founded by a former Chinese military engineer, and has grown rapidly to become the world's second largest supplier of telecommunications network gear, operating in more than 140 countries. ZTE Corp is the world's fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer, with 90,000 employees worldwide. While their business in selling mobile devices has grown in the U.S., espionage fears have limited the companies from moving into network infrastructure.
The report says the companies failed to provide responsive answers about their relationships and support by the Chinese government, and detailed information about their operations in the U.S. It says Huawei, in particular, failed to provide thorough information, including on its corporate structure, history, financial arrangements and management.
"The committee finds that the companies failed to provide evidence that would satisfy any fair and full investigation. Although this alone does not prove wrongdoing, it factors into the committee's conclusions," it says.
In Washington, Huawei executive Plummer said Friday the company cooperated in good faith with the investigation, which he said had not been objective and amounted to a "political distraction" from cyber-security problems facing the entire industry.
All major telecommunications firms, including those in the West, develop and manufacture equipment in China and overlapping supply chains require industry-wide solutions, he added. Singling out China-based firms wouldn't help.
Plummer complained that the volume of information sought by the committee was unreasonable, and it had demanded some proprietary business information that "no responsible company" would provide.
In justifying its scrutiny of the Chinese companies, the committee contended that Chinese intelligence services, as well as private companies and other entities, often recruit those with direct access to corporate networks to steal trade secrets and other sensitive proprietary data.
It warned that malicious hardware or software implants in Chinese-manufactured telecommunications components and systems headed for U.S. customers could allow Beijing to shut down or degrade critical national security systems in a time of crisis or war.
The committee concluded that Huawei likely has substantially benefited from the support of the Chinese government.
Huawei denies being financed to undertake research and development for the Chinese military, but the committee says it has received internal Huawei documentation from former employees showing the company provides special network services to an entity alleged to be an elite cyber-warfare unit within the People's Liberation Army.
The intelligence committee recommended that the government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, bar mergers and acquisitions by both Huawei and ZTE. A multi-agency regulatory panel chaired by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, CFIUS screens foreign investment proposals for potential national security threats.
Last year, Huawei had to unwind its purchase of a U.S. computer company, 3Leaf Systems, after it failed to win CFIUS approval. However, Huawei employs 1,700 people in the U.S., and business is expanding. U.S. revenues rose to $1.3 billion in 2011, up from $765 million in 2010.
ZTE has also enjoyed growth in its sale of mobile devices, although in recent months it has faced allegations about banned sales of U.S.-sanctioned computer equipment to Iran. The FBI is probing reports that the company obstructed a U.S. Commerce Department investigation into the sales.The intelligence panel says ZTE refused to provide any documents on its activities in Iran, but did provide a list of 19 individuals who serve on the Chinese Communist Party committee within the company. ZTE's citing of China's state secrecy laws for limiting information it could release only added to concern over Chinese government influence over its operations, the report says (Fox News, 2012).
Title: China Already Has A Plan To Sink The US Fleet In Any Upcoming
Date: January 21, 2013
Source: Business Insider
Abstract: As the U.S. makes clear it will defend Japan should China try and lay claim to the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, this Chinese announcement from mid-2012 offers additional perspective.
Once the U.S. announced it's turning attention from the Middle East and directing military assets to the Pacific, it didn't take long for China to make clear how it would handle what it saw as a new regional threat.
The Economic Times reported China promptly increased its conventional missile capability to carry out multiple launches, from multiple sites —a tactic that could overwhelm a Navy ship's defenses and cripple its abilities.
Tan Weihong, Commander of China's Second Artillery Force said, "Conventional missiles are a trump card in modern warfare. So we must be ready at any time. We must be able to deliver a quick response to attacks, hit the targets with high accuracy, and destroy them totally. Of the 114 missiles [our brigade] has launched so far, all have accurately hit the target."
For each incoming missile a U.S. Navy ship will have to perform some variation of the following actions:
First it will launch a long-range air defense missile, like a SM-2ER. If that fails, then a shorter range missile like the ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile) will go out — then the ship's main deck guns will fire anti-air rounds with fused airburst shells.
Surviving missiles will be engaged by close-in weapons systems like the Mk-15 Phalanx or the RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile). Any incoming missiles struck by these systems will be so close, and moving so fast, that incoming shrapnel and debris would likely be unavoidable.
While all these "Hard Kill" options are going on, the ship's electronic warfare systems will have been trying to jam the incoming missile, offering the missile a false target, while firing off chaff (for radar guided weapons) and flares (for infrared guided weapons).
All that for every single missile, so if China can send off several at once directed at the same ship, the chances of success on their part may increase exponentially.China would launch its ordnance both from shore and its new Aegis type 052 Luhu-class destroyers. This battle plan is especially relevant given the developments in the area over the past few days, which I'll address in a following post (Business Insider, 2013).
Title: China’s People's Liberation Army 'Sinks' US Carrier In DF-21D
Missile Test In Gobi
Date: January 23, 2013
Source: Want China Times
Abstract: The People's Liberation Army has successfully sunk a US aircraft carrier, according to a satellite photo provided by Google Earth, reports our sister paper Want Daily — though the strike was a war game, the carrier a mock-up platform and the "sinking" occurred on dry land in a remote part of western China.
A satellite image reveals two large craters on a 200-meter-long white platform in the Gobi desert used to simulate the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The photo was first posted on SAORBATS, an internet forum based in Argentina. Military analysts believed the craters would have been created by China's DF-21D anti-ship missile, dubbed the "carrier killer."
While claiming that the missile has the capability to hit aircraft carriers 2,000 kilometers away, the nationalistic Chinese tabloid Global Times stated that the weapon was only designed for self-defense; the DF-21D will never pose a serious threat to US national security because it is not even able to reach Hawaii, the newspaper said, though fully aware of the US naval deployment in the Western Pacific.Underlining this point, Global Times took a common line from China's national defense doctrine before the country acquired an aircraft carrier of its own — namely that carriers are an offensive weapon while anti-ship missiles are defensive. "It can be used like a stick to hit the dog intruding on our backyard, but it can never be used to attack the house where the dog comes from," the paper's commentary said (Want China Times, 2013).
Title: Hidden Agenda Behind America’s War On Africa: Containing China By
Date: January 29, 2013
Source: Global Research
Abstract: Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests. Hillary Clinton
France’s military intervention into Mali may at first glance appear to have little to do with the U.S. “pivot” to Asia. But as a French mission supposedly meant to bolster a U.N. sanctioned and African-led intervention has gone from “a question of weeks” to “the total re-conquest of Mali,” what may have begun as a French affair has now become a Western intervention. And this in turn has drawn wider strategic interests into the conflict. Strategic interests, it is becoming clearer, shaped by the imperatives of the U.S. Asia pivot.
The geopolitical posturing over the crisis in Mali, coming as France’s intervention fans out across the region, is no more evident than in the public statements coming from both London and Washington.
As British Prime Minister David Cameron declared, the crisis in Mali “will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.” Backing up such bluster, Britain has reportedly joined France in dispatching special commando teams to Mali, in addition to surveillance drones.
In Washington, the talk of a long war to be waged across the entire Sahel region of Africa has also begun. As one U.S. official speaking on the Western intervention into Mali warned Monday, “It is going to take a long time and time means that it could take several years.”
Such remarks mirror those made by outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“This is going to be a very serious, ongoing threat because if you look at the size of northern Mali, if you look at the topography — it’s not only desert, it’s caves,” Clinton remarked. “Sounds reminiscent. We are in for a struggle. But it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the safe haven refrain is also pulsating through the corridors of the Pentagon.
“Some top Pentagon officials and military officers warn that without more aggressive U.S. action,” the Times reports, “Mali could become a haven for extremists, akin to Afghanistan before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
And as the American public is prepped for the opening of a new front in the unending “war on terror,” U.S. intervention accelerates.
As the Washington Post reports, the U.S. is now offering “aerial refueling” to French warplanes, along with “planes to transport soldiers from other African nations.”
U.S. intelligence officials, meanwhile, have reportedly begun drawing up plans to provide “data to help French warplanes locate and attack militant targets.” This, as Pentagon hawks continue to push for the use of drone strikes.
In fact, the New York Times reports the U.S. has begun “preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups.”
The paper, which notes the base’s likely location to be in Niger, reports the Pentagon has “not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.”
As one American official told the Times, the decision to establish a permanent drone base in northern Africa “is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom [the U.S. Military’s Africa Command] a more enduring presence.”
The very notion, though, of an al-Qaeda threat in northern Mali so dire as to require Western intervention and a permanent U.S. presence is anything but well-defined. As Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy, notes: “it’s by no means clear what threat al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb…poses to the United States.”
Indeed, the very notion of al-Qaeda in Mali posing a threat to the West is predicated on the oft-repeated safe haven refrain. That is, the belief that without foreign intervention al-Qaeda will use northern Mali as a staging ground to launch attacks within Western countries.
“But,” as Stephen Walt questions, “is there any real evidence that the extremists in Mali are plotting to attack France, the United States, or anyone else? Even if they were, is there good evidence that they have the will and the skill to carry out such activities, or that the consequences of a successful attack would be greater than the costs of French (and other) efforts to root them out? And is it possible that intervention in Mali might actually focus the extremists’ attention on the intervenors, instead of the central government?”
The answer to the latter question appears quite clear in the wake of the bloody hostage crisis in neighboring Algeria. Although, as French President François Hollande claimed, the retaliation for the French intervention merely provided “further evidence that my decision to intervene in Mali was justified.”
Interventions, we see, are predicated upon a rather self-fulfilling logic. For in a seemingly endless loop, interventions inevitably seem to create additional problems and crises that are then posited as both justifying the initial intervention, as well yet further interventions. In short, intervention begets intervention.
The Useful Menace
But while Western leaders dig deep to reassure themselves of the justness of their latest intervention, doubts are nonetheless increasing over the competence of the Malian army. As the New York Times reports, despite extensive U.S. training, the Malian army has proven to be “a weak, dysfunctional force that is as much a cause of Mali’s crisis as a potential part of the solution.”
The Western “hope” in Mali, then, as the Economist argues, “is to kill as many as possible of the most fanatical jihadists, and to garrison the northern towns with soldiers from Mali and its neighbours, before the insurgents can regroup or bring in recruits.”
With such “hope” one understands the talk of a struggle to be measured in decades.
Indeed, even the head of the U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, has acknowledged the limitations the West faces in Mali.
“Realistically,” Ham recently remarked, “probably the best you can get is containment and disruption, so that al-Qaida is no longer able to control territory [there] as they do today.”
But as U.S. officials talk up the al-Qaeda threat in Mali, one can’t help but recall the assertion made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta back in 2011. As Panetta then declared, the U.S. was “within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda.” Yet, after the West’s support of Islamists fighters in Libya and Syria, that handy al-Qaeda specter has evidently been roused sufficiently to haunt the Western mind once more.
Of course, despite all the public claims to the contrary, defeating al-Qaeda has never really been a genuine pursuit of the U.S. anyway. After all, a vanquished al-Qaeda would really denote something of a strategic setback for Washington. It would deprive the U.S. a source of proxy war foot soldiers, while also leaving Washington struggling to justify its global garrisoning. In the end then, the al-Qaeda menace — that gift that keeps on giving — is simply too useful to defeat.
One needs look no further than the intervention into Mali to see the al-Qaeda threat bearing fruit for the West. All the attention on combating al-Qaeda in northern Mali has provided the perfect cover for the U.S. and its junior Western partners to pursue their grand strategy of containment against China. And with China increasingly out competing Western interests throughout Africa, one understands the sudden neo-colonial urge in the West.
According to Razia Khan, the regional head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, bilateral trade between Africa and China is nearing $200 billion annually, having grown at an average rate of 33.6 percent per year over the past decade. What’s more, in the coming years Africa stands to become China’s largest trade partner, surpassing both the EU and the U.S.
None of this has been lost on Washington. As the presumptive next U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, noted during his Senate confirmation hearing, the U.S. is knowingly playing from behind.
“Now with respect to China and Africa, China is all over Africa — I mean, all over Africa. And they’re buying up long-term contracts on minerals, on … you name it,” Kerry commented. “And there’re some places where we’re not in the game, folks. And I hate to say it. And we got to get in.”
In a 2010 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Johnnie Carson, U.S. assistant secretary for African Affairs, echoed Kerry’s concerns. In fact, Carson went so far as to classify China as a “very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals.”
Such U.S. sneering over growing Chinese investments in Africa were aired publicly during Secretary of State Clinton’s visit through African back in August. As Clinton, in a clear jab at China declared on her trip, “Unlike other countries, ‘America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier to look the other way and keep the resources flowing.’”
(The rights violations of the U.S.-trained Malian army puts just the latest lie to such righteous declarations.)
In response to Clinton’s jab, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency shot back that Clinton’s trip was “aimed at least partly at discrediting China’s engagement with the continent and curbing China’s influence there.”
And it is with such a fear of U.S. containment in mind that Beijing has come to interpret France’s intervention into Mali as a gateway for further Western interventions. As He Wenping of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warns, “French forces’ involvement in Mali will provide the case for legalization of a new interventionism in Africa.”
And indeed it will, just as the West’s Libyan romp, costing China $20 billion in investments, helped set the stage for the current intervention into Mali. For in order for the U.S. to harness Asia’s (read China’s) growth and dynamism — and thus cement America’s Pacific Century — the U.S. must come to also harness the growth and dynamism of Africa.The U.S. containment of China, then, requires a pivot of sorts to Africa. Only the African pivot appears set to fall under the banner of that ever-malleable “war on terror” (Global Research, 2013).
Title: Wake Up, America! China Is
Date: February 19, 2013
Source: CNN Money
Abstract: The United States is reportedly under attack by the Chinese government. America's business secrets, critical infrastructure and wealth are the targets.
But many businesses are taking a lackadaisical approach to cybersecurity. Multiple industry studies have shown that the vast majority of companies don't begin following cybersecurity best practices until after they've been hit.
The latest and most telling example came Tuesday. According to a new report from information security company Mandiant, the Chinese military is linked to one of the most prolific hacking groups in the world.
That group, known as the "Comment Crew," has attacked Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), EMC (EMC, Fortune 500) security division RSA, military contractor Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500), and hundreds of others. It reportedly holds the blueprints to America's energy systems, and has funneled trade secrets out of some of the country's largest corporations.
The implications of China's presence in Corporate America's networks are vast, from matters of economic competitiveness to international diplomacy.
China has strong ties with its businesses, and any information gathered from U.S. corporations could wind up in the hands of a Chinese rival. Imagine Apple's rumored iWatch being produced first by a competitor that stole Apple's plans. Not only would Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) lose an edge in the market, but the theft could impact the vast ecosystem of third-party software developers and accessory makers.
"It is fundamentally important that the American private sector wake up to the fact that dozens of countries -- including China -- are robbing us blind." said Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity at Trend Micro (TMICY) and former commissioner of President Obama's cybersecurity council.
Kellerman estimates that the cost of trade secrets being stolen online is in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
U.S. jobs are also at stake.
"This is not some 15-year old trying to hack your database to see if he can," said Andy Serwin, adviser to the Naval Post Graduate School's Center for Asymmetric Warfare and chair of the information security practice at Foley & Lardner. "This is a large-scale organized effort to steal your company's most valuable information."
The Chinese government has long been believed to be behind a widespread cyberespionage scheme, but Mandiant's report is the first to clearly explain the link.
"It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating from China," said Dan McWhorter, Mandiant's managing director of threat Intelligence. "Without establishing a solid connection to China, there will always be room for observers to dismiss advanced persistent threat actions as uncoordinated, solely criminal in nature, or peripheral to larger national security and global economic concerns."
Cyber Cold War has clearly begun. Fears about a crippling attack by China on the nation's power grid or other critical infrastructure are also a legitimate worry. That's because 85% of such infrastructure -- including electric and water utilities -- is controlled by private industry.
"Knowing China could turn off our lights has vast diplomatic implications," said Dave Aitel, CEO of security consultancy Immunity.
And while there haven't been any successful breaches of critical infrastructure command and control centers yet, there is strong evidence that a cybercriminal could strike if they wanted to. Last year, Comment Crew broke into the network of smart grid control systems maker Telvent. In that attack, Comment Crew gained access to blueprints for 60% of North and South America's oil and gas pipelines.
That's likely part of the reason why the Obama administration, which signed an executive order last week that promotes sharing information about cyberattacks between the government and critical infrastructure companies, has been reluctant to call out China on its own. In his State of the Union address, the president simply said that the U.S. knows "foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets."
In response to the Mandiant report on Tuesday, an administration spokesman said the White House continues to work with the Chinese government to stop the flow of these attacks.
But experts say something bigger needs to be done. An increasing number of businesses are looking to Congress to pass legislation that would set minimum cybersecurity standards for businesses to follow. Industry experts say that if Mandiant's report truly serves as a wake-up call, hopefully such a bill will ultimately get passed.
"Every time a big report comes out, it
builds awareness ... and it gives us a chance to saber rattle and blame someone
else. But we still don't pass cybersecurity legislation," said Art
Coviello, CEO of RSA. "There are a lot of really good proposals on the
table. Are we going to have rule of law prevail or not?" (CNN
Title: China "Fully Prepared" For Currency War: Banker
Date: March 2, 2013
Source: France 24
Abstract: A top Chinese banker said Beijing is "fully prepared" for a currency war as he urged the world to abide by a consensus reached by the G20 to avert confrontation, state media reported on Saturday.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of China's central bank, issued the call after G20 finance ministers last month moved to calm fears of a looming war on the currency markets at a meeting in Moscow.
Those fears have largely been fuelled by the recent steep decline in the Japanese yen, which critics have accused Tokyo of manipulating to give its manufacturers a competitive edge in key export markets over Asian rivals.
Yi said a currency war could be avoided if major countries observed the G20 consensus that monetary policy should primarily serve as a tool for domestic economy, the Xinhua report said.
But China "is fully prepared", he added.
"In terms of both monetary policies and other mechanism arrangement, China will take into full account the quantitative easing policies implemented by central banks of foreign countries."South Korea's incoming president Park Geun-Hye has also signalled her willingness to step in to stabilise the won and protect exporters battling a stronger Korean currency and a weaker yen (France 24, 2013).
Title: China Threatens To End The Military Rule Of The U.S. In Asia
Date: April 4, 2013
Abstract: In mid-April, the Chinese government said the increased U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region causes a lot of tension, and they plan to send more military forces and strengthen their partnerships with neighboring countries. A recent study found that China increasingly threatens to end the military supremacy of the USA.
In mid-April, the Chinese government said the increased U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region causes a lot of tension, and they plan to send more military forces and strengthen their partnerships with neighboring countries.
A recent study found that China's growing industrial power increasingly threatens to end the military supremacy of the United States (U.S.) in Asia-Pacific waters, making it difficult for Washington to be able to maintain their "status quo" in the region, achieved through its alliances with Japan and South Korea.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a study of nine U.S. researchers, who claim that "in the next two decades, China will reach the U.S. in its military capabilities, including the ability to build aircraft carriers and stealth type fighter aircraft."
"Will the United States maintain its leadership of the last 60 years in the area? Our own country says yes, but it is still not very clear whether it is really so," said one of the report's authors, Michael D. Swaine, an expert on China's defense policy.
According to experts, due to the economic interdependence between the two countries, "Beijing will probably prevent the use of military force and not cause an armed conflict in order to try to expel Washington from the region."
The document also states that the change in the strategic balance in the region most strongly affects Japan, an economic power whose security has depended for a long time on its alliance with the U.S. government.
Experts also believe that Japan could respond to the growing power of China, further tightening its ties with Washington, as it did recently during the escalation of tension that arose from the islands whose sovereignty is disputed between the two nations.
The report concluded that the most likely outcome of this "arms race" will be a "delicate balance" across the region, causing U.S. hegemony to gradually weaken with increasing Chinese military capabilities.
In mid-April, the Chinese government said the increased U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region causes a lot of tension, therefore, they intend to send more military forces and strengthen their partnerships with neighboring countries.
China's armed forces have always been a staunch force upholding world peace and regional stability, according to a white paper on national defense released on Tuesday.
"China's security and development are closely connected with the peace and prosperity of the world as a whole," the white paper says.
According to the document, the country's armed forces are now mainly engaged in maintaining world peace and regional stability by participating in UN peacekeeping operations, international disaster relief and humanitarian aid, safeguarding the security of international sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and joint exercises and training with foreign armed forces.
Wang Xinjun, a research fellow on war theory and strategy with the Academy of Military Sciences of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said, "Taking on the obligations of a major power is an important feature marking China's entering into the world stage" (Pravda, 2013).
Title: America's China Mistake
Date: May 30, 2013
Source: LA Times
Abstract: This spring, China's navy accepted the Pentagon's invitation to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific — RIMPAC — naval exercise to be held off Hawaii. This will be the first time China takes part in the biennial event.
Our allies should signal their intent to withdraw from the exercise if China participates. Failing that, the invitation should be withdrawn. RIMPAC is for allies and friends, not nations planning to eventually wage war on the United States. Russia sent ships in 2012, but while its senior officers may occasionally utter unfriendly words, they are not actively planning to fight the United States. Analyst Robert Sutter was surely correct when he wrote in 2005 that "China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans."
That assessment, unfortunately, remains true today. Beijing is configuring its forces — especially its navy — to fight ours. For instance, China has deployed along its southern coast its DF-21D, a two-stage solid-fuel missile that can be guided by satellite signals. The missile is dubbed the "carrier killer" because it can be configured to explode in midair, raining down sharp metal on a deck crowded with planes, ordinance, fuel and sailors. Its apparent intent is to drive U.S. forces out of East Asia.
A pattern of aggressive Chinese tactics also points in that direction. Especially troubling is the harassment in international waters of unarmed U.S. Navy reconnaissance vessels for more than a decade, most notably the blocking of the Impeccable in the South China Sea in 2009. And there was the 2001 downing of a Navy EP-3 and the surfacing of a Song-class attack submarine in the middle of the Kitty Hawk strike group near Okinawa in 2006.
Since then, we have been hearing bold war talk in the Chinese capital, from new leader Xi Jinping to senior officers and colonels who say they relish combat — a "hand-to-hand fight with the U.S.," as one of them put it in 2010.
Why do China's officers want to go to war? There is an unfortunate confluence of factors. First, there is a new Chinese confidence bordering on arrogance. Beijing leaders, especially since 2008, have been riding high. They saw economic turmoil around the world and thought the century was theirs to dominate. The U.S. and the rest of the West, they believed, were in terminal decline.
The Chinese military also has gained substantial influence in the last year, perhaps becoming the most powerful faction in the Communist Party. Beginning as early as 2003, senior officers of the People's Liberation Army were drawn into civilian power struggles as Hu Jintao, then the new leader, sought their support in his effort to shove aside Jiang Zemin, his wily predecessor who sought to linger in the limelight. Last year, the civilian infighting intensified as the so-called Fifth Generation leadership, under the command of Xi, took over from Hu's Fourth. Like a decade ago, feuding civilians sought the support of the generals and admirals, making them arbiters in the party's increasingly rough game of politics.
The result of discord among civilian leaders has been a partial remilitarization of politics and policy. Senior officers are now acting independently of civilian officials, are openly criticizing them and are making pronouncements in areas once considered the exclusive province of diplomats.
The remilitarization has had consequences. As Huang Jing of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said: "China's military spending is growing so fast that it has overtaken strategy. The young officers are taking control of strategy, and it is like young officers in Japan in the 1930s. They are thinking what they can do, not what they should do."
What do China's admirals want? They are supporting their nation's territorial ambitions to close off the South China Sea to others. This brings them into conflict with nations surrounding that critical body of water and pits them against the U.S. If there has been any consistent U.S. foreign policy over the course of two centuries, it has been the defense of freedom of navigation.
According to a white paper it issued in April, China is building a navy capable of operating in the ocean's deep water, and has 235,000 officers and sailors. Its navy last year commissioned its first aircraft carrier, and it is reportedly building two more. China has about a dozen fewer submarines than the U.S., but the U.S. has global responsibilities. The Chinese, therefore, can concentrate their boats in waters close to their shores, giving them tactical and operating advantages.
While the Chinese plan to dominate their waters and eventually ours, we are helping them increase their effectiveness with invitations to RIMPAC and other exercises and by including them in joint operations like the one directed against Somali piracy. The U.S. Navy at the same time is continuing to reduce its fleet, currently at 283 deployable ships. As Beijing's behavior has become more troubling, the Pentagon has clung to the hope that military-to-military relations will somehow relieve tensions with the Chinese.
Yet as Ronald Reagan taught us, the nature of regimes matter. We are now helping an incurably aggressive state develop its military — to our peril. There is something very wrong at the core of the Obama administration's and the Pentagon's China policies (LA Times, 2013).
Title: Rising Red Tide: China Encircles
U.S. By Sailing Warships In American Waters, Arming Neighbors
Date: June 7, 2013
Source: Washington Times
Abstract: China has been quietly taking steps to encircle the United States by arming western hemisphere states, seeking closer military, economic, and diplomatic ties to U.S. neighbors, and sailing warships into U.S. maritime zones.
The strategy is a Chinese version of what Beijing has charged is a U.S. strategy designed to encircle and “contain” China. It is also directed at countering the Obama administration’s new strategy called the pivot to Asia. The pivot calls for closer economic, diplomatic, and military ties to Asian states that are increasingly concerned about Chinese encroachment throughout that region
The Chinese are deftly parrying our ‘Pivot to the Pacific’ with their own elegant countermoves,” said John Tkacik, a former State Department Asia hand.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to question President Barack Obama about the U.S. pivot during the summit meeting set to begin Friday afternoon in California. Chinese state-run media have denounced the new U.S. policy as an effort to “contain” China and limit its growing power.
The Chinese strategy is highlighted by Xi’s current visit to Trinidad, Costa Rica, and Mexico where he announced major loans of hundreds of millions of dollars that analysts say is part of buying influence in the hemisphere.
U.S. officials say the visit to the region has several objectives, including seeking to bolster Chinese arms sales to the region amid efforts by Russian arms dealers to steal market share.
States including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Mexico recently purchased Chinese arms but are said to be unhappy with the arms’ low quality. For example, Chinese YLC radar sold to Ecuador in 2009 did not work properly and sales of Chinese tanks to Peru also ran into quality problems. Both states are now looking to buy Russian weaponry, a U.S. official said.
Venezuela, a key oil-producing U.S. adversary, announced Thursday that China agreed to a $4 billion loan for oil development.
And in Mexico this week, Xi announced China is extending a $1 billion line of credit for oil development and pledged another $1 billion trade deal.
A joint Mexico-China statement said Mexico pledged not to interfere in China’s affairs on Taiwan and Tibet, a reference to the previous government of Mexican President Felipe Calderon who in 2011 invited exiled Tibetan leader the Dalia Lama, a move that angered Beijing.
U.S. officials say there are concerns that the pro-Beijing shift by the current government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who visited China in April, will be exploited by China for such political goals, and could be used to generate support for China’s claims to Japan’s Senkaku Islands.
U.S. officials said there are growing fears that some type of military confrontation could break out between China and Japan over the disputed islands that are said to contain large underwater gas and oil reserves.
North of the U.S. border, Canada this week concluded a military cooperation agreement with China during the visit to Beijing by Canadian Defense Minister Peter G. Mackay. The agreement calls for closer cooperation between the two militaries, including bilateral military exchanges.
Chinese ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai said China is deepening ties to Canada for infrastructure development, in Calgary last month. Chinese state-run companies have spent $30 billion for Canadian oil sands and natural gas, he said.At a security conference in Singapore last month, the commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, Adm. Samuel Locklear, confirmed the earlier disclosure by a Chinese military officer that China’s military has been conducting naval incursions into the 200-mile U.S. Economic Exclusion Zone around U.S. territory (Washington Times, 2013).