World View: Pentagon Issues Annual Report on China's Military

This morning's key headlines from

  • Pentagon issues annual report on China's military
  • Al-Sisi's election as Egypt's president tainted by low turnout
  • Former ambassador to Syria harshly criticizes Obama's policies

Pentagon issues annual report on China's military

China is developing a new long-range intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple nuclear warheads as part of a large-scale military buildup, according to the "Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China." 

The so-called MIRV (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) missile will carry with it up to ten additional missiles with nuclear warheads, so a single MIRV missile can strike up to ten different targets with nuclear missiles. China is developing these MIRV weapons in order to be able to overwhelm U.S. missile defenses in a war against the United States. 

China has deployed a number of nuclear missile systems, including missiles that can be launched from submarines or from land, and which are specifically designed to target American cities, military bases, and aircraft carriers. 

China has also deployed thousands of short and medium range missiles for use in striking Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, or any other nation that challenges its annexation of other countries' sovereign regions in the South and East China Seas. 

According to the report, China "is investing heavily in its ground force, emphasizing the ability to deploy campaign-level forces across long distances quickly. This modernization is playing out with wide-scale restructuring of PLA ground forces that includes a more rapid, flexible special operations force equipped with advanced technology; improved army aviation units using helicopters armed with precision- guided munitions; and C2 capabilities with improved networks providing real-time data sharing within and between units." These capabilities would be used in attacks on China's neighbors, including Taiwan, and potentially for introducing ground forces into a United States crippled by a barrage of missile attacks. 

According to the report's summary: 

"Although the dialogue between the United States and China is improving, outstanding questions remain about the rate of growth in China's military expenditures due to the lack of transparency regarding China's intentions. In 2013, China announced a 5.7 percent increase in its annual military budget to $119.5 billion, continuing more than two decades of sustained annual defense spending increases. China sustained its investments in strategic forces modernization, as well as key anti-access / area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities such as advanced intermediate- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, long-range land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons, and offensive cyber capabilities. China's military investments provide it with a growing ability to project power at increasingly longer ranges."

The Obama administration has gone out of its way to avoid portraying China as an enemy, but according to one expert on China's military: 

"The 2014 Pentagon PLA report has come a long way to presenting a more useful listing of China’s military direction. 
But it is now time for this report to take the next step. It needs to become an illustrated book translated into multiple languages. This document defines the Chinese military’s trajectory more than any other statement by any other country — which is why the Chinese government hates it and wants to shut it down."

Indeed, China very bitterly denounced the Pentagon report. According to China's Foreign Ministry, China has always adhered to the path of peaceful development, pursued a defense policy which is defensive in nature, and become a staunch force in safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world: 

"China's military buildup is completely aimed at safeguarding the country's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and is part of the country's justified rights."

As we see more and more in the South China Sea, China's view of adhering to "peaceful development" is to annex other nation's territories, and by "safeguarding peace and stability" it means that anyone who does not do as China demands is a target. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Free Beacon and Xinhua (Beijing)

Al-Sisi's election as Egypt's president tainted by low turnout

A year ago, army chief Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi staged a coup and overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the only democratically elected president in Egypt's history, along with his Muslim Brotherhood government. After leaving the army, al-Sisi won his own election to president on May 28, with a landslide 96.9% of the vote. In contrast to Morsi's elections, many observers consider al-Sisi's election to be fraudulent, since thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been killed or jailed, and in fact anyone who advocated voting against al-Sisi risked being beaten or jailed. 

Now al-Sisi's opponents are calling the election a fiasco because of low voter turnout. The government is claiming 47.5% voter turnout, but it was obvious from live pictures carried by BBC and CNN of deserted polling places on election day that this figure is way too high. The Muslim Brotherhood is gleefully claiming that turnout was no higher than 12% based on data that they collected on election day. 

Egyptian authorities took many desperate measures to increase voter turnout after the low turnout on the first day of the election. The election had been scheduled to run two days, but it was extended to a third day. A national holiday was declared, and popular artists recorded songs for YouTube encouraging people to vote.

Just as anyone who disagrees with President Obama's policies is labeled a "racist," the pro-al-Sisi media is blaming "terrorists" in the Muslim Brotherhood for preventing people from voting. 

However, others in the pro-al-Sisi media are blaming al-Sisi himself: 

  • His failure to set out a proper election platform
  • His failure to actually venture out among the people during his campaign
  • His suppression of revolutionary youth movements, such as the April 6 Movement that he outlawed
  • His implementation of policies that contradict the people's demands and their aspirations to democracy
  • The reemergence of associates on the political landscape of former dictator Hosni Mubarak
  • A poorly timed end to subsidies and an increase in prices
  • The reemergence of the use of the media for spreading pro-Al-Sisi propaganda

According to one columnist: 

"At this time, many young people are prosecuted, thrown in prison, and heavily fined [under the regime's protest law]. It is astonishing that after this, the current Mubarak-esque government expects these young people – the nation's work force – to labor, to produce, and to vote..."

Another columnist pointed out: 

"Field Marshall 'Abd Al-Fatah Al-Sisi must realize – and I believe he does – that his job, his aspirations, and his political dimensions are completely different now than they were before the election. He must realize that the popular rage is much greater than [just] that of the MB, and that the attempts to excuse every crisis by [blaming] terrorism in order to cover up political incompetence will no longer be convincing to the millions of Egyptian citizens."


Former ambassador to Syria harshly criticizes Obama's policies

Robert Ford served for three years as President Obama's ambassador to Syria before resigning two months ago. Now he's saying that the reason he resigned is that he could no longer defend the Obama administration's policies with respect to Syria. According to Ford: 

"We need - and we have long needed - to help moderates in the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethal assistance. 
Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up, frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winning adherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates who frankly we have much in common with. 
[While Russia and especially Iran are massively increasing their assistance to Assad,] our policy was not evolving and finally I got to a point where I could no longer defend it publicly."

In an interview on BBC on Friday, Ford explained that President Obama's policies have permitted al-Qaeda linked jihadists to gain strength in Syria. Ford was particularly critical of Obama's flip-flop last year, when Syria's president Bashar al-Assad crossed Obama's "red line" and used sarin gas to kill people, and Obama did nothing about it after saying that al-Assad would "face consequences." According to Ford, moderate opposition Syrians were so angered and discouraged by Obama's flip-flop that they joined jihadists groups because that was only possible way they could continue fighting al-Assad. According to Ford: 

"We need - and we have long needed - to help moderates in the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethal assistance. Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up, frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winning adherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates who frankly we have much in common with."

These views will be no surprise to regular World View readers, but it's unusual for an ambassador to be so critical of a President so soon after resigning. Reuters and NPR

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pentagon, China, MIRV, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Robert Ford, Iran, Russia 

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