World View: U.S. Naval Intelligence Chief Confirms Worst Fears of China's Military Buildup
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- China is training for a 'short, sharp war' with Japan
- How a world war with China would unfold
- Intelligence chief Fanell confirms worst fears of China's military buildup
China is training for a 'short, sharp war' with Japan
China has long trained for an amphibious invasion of Taiwan during
military exercises, but has now expanded its training to include a
similar attack on the Senkaku Islands and other Japanese holdings in
the East China Sea. All branches of China's People's Liberation
Army (PLA) participated in a massive exercise last year for
taking these islands.
According to James Fanell, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and
Information Operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet:
We witnessed the massive amphibious and cross
military region enterprise – Mission Action 2013. [We] concluded
that the PLA has been given the new task to be able to conduct a
short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea
following with what can only be expected a seizure of the Senkakus
or even a southern Ryukyu [islands] – as some of their academics
Tensions in the South and East China Seas have deteriorated with
the Chinese Coast Guard playing the role of antagonist, harassing
China’s neighbors while PLA Navy ships, their protectors, (make)
port calls throughout the region promising friendship and
This concept of a "short, sharp attack" is quite credible, as the
Chinese people widely believe that America has become weak because of
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and that, particularly under President
Barack Obama, Americans have little will to oppose China. Thus, they
could quickly overwhelm Japan's forces, America would do nothing, and
Chinese ownership of the Japanese islands would be part of the new
History has shown that this is a disastrous assumption.
In April, 1861, the army of America's southern Confederacy captured
Fort Sumter in a "short, sharp attack." Undoubtedly, many Southern
officials believed that the North wouldn't even care, since the Fort
was isolated in Southern territory. Yet the North did care,
triggering the extremely bloody American Civil War.
In 1939, the Nazis launched a "short, sharp attack" on Poland. They
thought that Britain was weak and uninterested, since they'd already
ignored earlier short, sharp attacks on Austria and Czechoslovakia.
The attack on Poland triggered World War II.
So, one can imagine that the Chinese believe that a short, sharp
attack on these Japanese islands would bring no American response,
like the Nazi attack on Czechoslovakia. Even if that turns out to be
true, history shows that American nationalism would surge so high that
any further military action by China would trigger a response,
spiraling into a new world war.
The Pentagon has issued a statement saying that they expect to have
peace in our time, responding to Fanell's assessment as follows:
What I can tell you about what Secretary Hagel
believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful
prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the
world. We continue to want to improve our bilateral military
relations with China and that we also think that a major component
of that is increased transparency on their part about the
investments they're making and the operations they're conducting,
and that's where I leave it.
United States Naval Institute and Voice of America
How a world war with China would unfold
People ask me this question all the time: If a war with China
ever happens, how and when would it start?
Of course, answering that question would require a mind-reading
capability, but history tells us a lot about how such a war
would start and unfold.
Looking at World War II, we have two different examples to examine.
The war in Europe began with Germany's "short, sharp attack" on
Czechoslovakia, and so China's attack on the Senkakus may trigger a
war. Or, we can look at the Pacific war that began with an
all-out attack by the Japanese, and so the war may begin with
a massive missile attack by the Chinese on America's aircraft
carriers, cities, and military installations.
No matter what the scenario, history tells us that the Chinese
population would greet such a war with jubilation.
Here's how historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch describes how war begins in
his 2001 book, The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning,
The passions excited in the national psyche by the
onset of war show how deeply invested the masses now were in its
potential outcome. Propaganda had reinforced their conviction that
"everything was at stake," and the threat of death and defeat
functioned like a tightly coiled spring, further heightening the
tension. The almost festive jubilation that accompanied the
declarations of war in Charleston in 1861, Paris in 1870, and the
capitals of the major European powers in 1914 [American Civil War,
Paris Commune, and World War I, respectively] were anticipatory
celebrations of victory – since nations are as incapable of
imagining their own defeat as individuals are of conceiving their
own death. The new desire to humiliate the enemy, noted by
Burckhardt, was merely a reaction to the unprecedented posturing
in which nations now engaged when declaring war.
The deployment of armies on the battlefield is the classic
manifestation of collective self-confidence. If both sides are not
convinced of their military superiority, there will be no
confrontation; rather, those who lack confidence will simply flee
the field. Accordingly, the battle is decided the moment the
confidence of one side fails. The will to fight ("morale")
evaporates, the military formation collapses, and the army seeks
salvation in flight or, if it is lucky, in organized retreat. The
Greek term for this point in space (on the battlefield) and time
(the course of the battle) was trope. The victors demarcated the
spot with the weapons of the vanquished and later with monuments,
yielding the term tropaion, from which we get our word trophy.
The euphoria goes on until something goes wrong, as has happened to
Americans since 2003, even though we've never had any really major
military disasters in Iraq.
The panicked reaction can be much greater when a military disaster
occurs. In his 1832 book, On War, General Carl von Clausewitz
describes what happens:
The effect of defeat outside the army – on the
people and on the government – is a sudden collapse of the
wildest expectations, and total destruction of self-confidence.
The destruction of these feelings creates a vacuum, and that
vacuum gets filled by a fear that grows corrosively, leading to
total paralysis. It's a blow to the whole nervous system of the
losing side, as if caused by an electric charge. This effect may
appear to a greater or lesser degree, but it's never completely
missing. Then, instead of rushing to repair the misfortune with a
spirit of determination, everyone fears that his efforts will be
futile; or he does nothing, leaving everything to
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the events that cause
this "sudden collapse" and "total destruction" of self-confidence
are called "regeneracy events," because they regenerate civic unity
for the first time since the end of the preceding crisis war.
In other words, once the euphoria of war with China is destroyed (and
this will be true of both the American and Chinese side), the conflict
begins to turn into an all-out generational crisis war, in which the
life of no individual human being will have any value at all, and the
only thing that matters is survival of the nation and its way of life.
Once again, we can look to World War II for examples. The Allies
allowed tens of thousands of young American soldiers to be shot down
like fish in a barrel on the beaches of Normandy, they firebombed
Dresden and Tokyo, and they used nuclear weapons on two Japanese
cities. This is what ALWAYS happens at the climax of a crisis war,
even by the most benevolent of belligerents. General Carl von Clausewitz, On War
Intelligence chief Fanell confirms worst fears of China's military buildup
For years I've been referring to China's media reports bragging about
new missile systems of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) specifically
designed – with no other purpose – than to overwhelm American
missile defenses and strike American aircraft carriers, American
military installations, and American cities. America's vulnerability
has been substantially weakened in recent years by defense cutbacks and by the massive release of secret information by Edward Snowden,
which may have left America's defenses completely exposed.
In a separate presentation, in addition to the one described above,
intelligence chief James Fanell describes China's actions in the South
China Sea by the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN):
Suffice it to say that my assessment is that the PLA
Navy has become a very capable fighting force. Much of the
intelligence record is classified beyond what we can discuss in
this forum, but just to give you one example, in 2012, the PLA
Navy sent seven surface actions groups and the largest number of
its submarines on deployment into the Philippine Sea in its
history – and a significant increase in some areas from the years
before, or just the year before.
Make no mistake, the PLA Navy is focused on war at sea and about
sinking an opposing fleet.
The PLA Navy’s civil proxy, an organization called “China Marine
Surveillance,” has escalated a focused campaign since 2008 to gain
Chinese control of the near seas, and they now regularly challenge
the exclusive economic zone resource rights that South Korea,
Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Vietnam
once thought were guaranteed to them by the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea... China is negotiating for
control of other nations’ resources off their coasts. “What’s mine
is mine, and we’ll negotiate what’s yours.”
Incidentally, unlike U.S. coast guard cutters, Chinese marine
surveillance cutters have no other mission but to harass other
nations into submitting to China’s expansive claims. Mundane
maritime government tasks like search-and-rescue, regulating
fisheries, ice breaking and criminal law enforcement are handled
by other agencies.
In my opinion, China is knowingly, operationally and incrementally
seizing maritime rights of its neighbors under the rubric of a
maritime history that is not only contested in the international
community, but has largely been fabricated by Chinese government
propaganda bureaus in order to quote-unquote “educate” the
populace about China’s “rich maritime history” clearly as a tool
to help sustain the Party’s control.
Last year’s Scarborough Shoals seizure typifies the confrontations
that China is having with its neighbors. It’s one that exhibited
all the common characteristics of China’s aggression. First, they
are initiated by the egregious conduct of China’s actors –
sometimes the Chinese government, sometimes private entities. At
Scarborough Reef, Chinese fishermen were excavating live coral and
harvesting endangered species, including giant clams.
Second, Chinese official spokesmen will issue fabricated stories
to explain the incidents; in the case of Scarborough, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the “Chinese fishermen were
seeking refuge from storms.”
Simply not true. You can Google the weather that day: winds 5-10
knots, seas less than two feet, sunny, there were no
Fanell is confirming the Chinese strategy that we've been describing
for years. China's seizure of the Scarborough Shoal from the
Philippines in 2012 is similar to reports of plans for China's
military to seize one island after another in the South China Sea.
China is counting on the fact that any
"short, sharp attack" on any one island won't bring an American
As we've said before, it's impossible to predict the timing of
all this, but there's no possible way to interpret China's
actions except as massive preparations for preemptive war
with the United States, and the analysis by intelligence chief
Fanell confirms that.
OK, Dear Readers, please resume your regular activities of spending
all your time arguing with one another about whether the world will
end in 2100 because of Global Warming. China Business Intelligence
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