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

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 ballisticmissile with multiple nuclear warheads as part of a large-scalemilitary buildup, according to the “Annual Report to Congress:Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic ofChina.” 

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

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

China has also deployed thousands of short and medium range missilesfor use in striking Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, or any othernation that challenges its annexation of other countries’ sovereignregions in the South and East China Seas. 

According to the report, China “is investing heavily in its groundforce, emphasizing the ability to deploy campaign-level forces acrosslong distances quickly. This modernization is playing out withwide-scale restructuring of PLA ground forces that includes a morerapid, flexible special operations force equipped with advancedtechnology; improved army aviation units using helicopters armed withprecision- guided munitions; and C2 capabilities with improvednetworks 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 aUnited States crippled by a barrage of missile attacks. 

According to the report’s summary: 

“Although the dialogue between the United States andChina is improving, outstanding questions remain about the rate ofgrowth in China’s military expenditures due to the lack oftransparency regarding China’s intentions. In 2013, Chinaannounced a 5.7 percent increase in its annual military budget to$119.5 billion, continuing more than two decades of sustainedannual defense spending increases. China sustained its investmentsin 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-rangeland-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons,and offensive cyber capabilities. China’s military investmentsprovide it with a growing ability to project power at increasinglylonger ranges.”

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

“The 2014 Pentagon PLA report has come a long way topresenting a more useful listing of China’s military direction. 

But it is now time for this report to take the next step. Itneeds to become an illustrated book translated into multiplelanguages. This document defines the Chinese military’s trajectorymore than any other statement by any other country — which is whythe Chinese government hates it and wants to shut itdown.”

Indeed, China very bitterly denounced the Pentagon report. Accordingto China’s Foreign Ministry, China has always adhered to the path ofpeaceful development, pursued a defense policy which is defensive innature, and become a staunch force in safeguarding peace and stabilityin the Asia-Pacific region and the world: 

“China’s military buildup is completely aimed atsafeguarding the country’s independence, sovereignty andterritorial integrity and is part of the country’s justifiedrights.”

As we see more and more in the South China Sea, China’s view ofadhering to “peaceful development” is to annex other nation’sterritories, and by “safeguarding peace and stability” it means thatanyone 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 andoverthrew Mohamed Morsi, the only democratically elected president inEgypt’s history, along with his Muslim Brotherhood government. Afterleaving 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, sincethousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been killed or jailed,and in fact anyone who advocated voting against al-Sisi risked beingbeaten or jailed. 

Now al-Sisi’s opponents are calling the election a fiasco because oflow voter turnout. The government is claiming 47.5% voter turnout,but it was obvious from live pictures carried by BBC and CNN ofdeserted polling places on election day that this figure is way toohigh. The Muslim Brotherhood is gleefully claiming that turnout wasno 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 ofthe election. The election had been scheduled to run two days,but it was extended to a third day. A national holiday wasdeclared, and popular artists recorded songs for YouTubeencouraging people to vote.

Just as anyone who disagrees with President Obama’s policiesis labeled a “racist,” the pro-al-Sisi media is blamingpeople from voting. 

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

  • 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 protestlaw]. It is astonishing that after this, the current Mubarak-esquegovernment 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 hispolitical dimensions are completely different now than they werebefore the election. He must realize that the popular rage is muchgreater than [just] that of the MB, and that the attempts toexcuse every crisis by [blaming] terrorism in order to cover uppolitical incompetence will no longer be convincing to themillions of Egyptian citizens.”


Former ambassador to Syria harshly criticizes Obama’s policies

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

“We need – and we have long needed – to help moderatesin the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethalassistance. 

Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up,frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winning adherents wouldhave been unable to compete with the moderates who frankly we havemuch in common with. 

[While Russia and especially Iran are massively increasing theirassistance to Assad,] our policy was not evolving and finally Igot to a point where I could no longer defend itpublicly.”

In an interview on BBC on Friday, Ford explained that PresidentObama’s policies have permitted al-Qaeda linked jihadists to gainstrength in Syria. Ford was particularly critical of Obama’sflip-flop last year, when Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad crossedObama’s “red line” and used sarin gas to kill people, and Obama didnothing about it after saying that al-Assad would “face consequences.”According to Ford, moderate opposition Syrians were so angered anddiscouraged by Obama’s flip-flop that they joined jihadists groupsbecause that was only possible way they could continue fightingal-Assad. According to Ford: 

“We need – and we have long needed – to help moderatesin the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethalassistance. Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we rampedit up, frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winningadherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates whofrankly we have much in common with.”

These views will be no surprise to regular World View readers, butit’s unusual for an ambassador to be so critical of a President sosoon 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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