Chinese Scholar Professor Han Xudong Says That Nations Are Involved Collectively In An "Era Of New Forms Of Global War."
|Chinese sailors at Pearl Harbor, the place their government has publicly announced that they would drive us back to. (Official U.S. Navy Photo)|
|Maps U.S. Department of Energy|
Interestingly Xudong mentions the wider Pacific, Arctic and Indian Oceans as the "sites of the fiercest rivalry". Well Canada, and Russia both claim subsurface mineral rights all way from their mainland to the North Pole and each claim the North Pole as their very own, which doesn't make the United States and the few other remaining nations that have an Arctic Coast very happy. But so far the "conflict" seems limited to swapping motions and memorandums in support litigation in UN tribunals, delivering supposedly "scientific" arguments for their claims in international academic forums, and engaging in ill advised drilling operations and the establishment of regional base camps.
Canada has recently announced that their Transport Ministry doesn't believe that the Arctic will emerge as an alternate route between the Atlantic and the Pacific any time soon. The Transport Ministry cited a number of reasons for their expected slower than previously predicted High Arctic development, they didn't put much emphasis on this but for two winters now the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean has actually been increasing. Due to the Atlantic Ocean surface water temperature inversion, and some solar flare activity many meteorologists and climatologists are predicting cooler than "normal" temperatures for the next decade or two. Generally the independent climatologists who don't work for the U.S. Government think that the period of 2014-2034 is likely to reflect the temperature regimes of 1945-1975. Those of you who were college age or so in 1970 may recall all the speculation about how we were about to enter a "new ice age". Instead the planet had about 18 years of slow warming. The warming actually stopped a few years ago and the last two years experienced cooler winters than most reporting stations had seen in two decades. The United States has experienced two major mobile offshore drilling unit failures just trying to enter the Arctic Ocean from the Bering Sea. Russia at the moment has the only on going drilling program and the Bear is establishing some military installations in the High Arctic.All told while the Arctic is of concern to a number of states it appears at the moment to actually be slowing down in terms of what at first appeared to be breakneck development and economic rivalry. The Arctic continues to be an area of naval concern but no war appears eminent.
The broader Pacific beyond the Philippines is a pretty empty place. The mid way point would typically be regarded as Hawaii. The Chinese have publicly stated that it is their intention to drive America out of the China Seas and "all the way back to Pearl Harbor". They don't seem to be contesting Hawaii as an American State. And so far America comes and goes as it pleases in the China Seas. However China uses the world's largest coast guard to patrol the China seas and intimidate neighbors and rival claimants to uninhabited islands and exclusive economic zones. It would appear that in fact there is very little in the way of disputes liable to trigger a world war in the Pacific region except where China is making trouble.
|Chinese marines, the Dragon will need these for Island Hopping Photo U.S. Navy|
Despite the fact that Japan and the Philippines have defensive treaties with the U.S. China continues to press both nations into hair trigger confrontations. China apparently thinks that it can push U.S.allies even into war and keep the "war" naval in character. While its true that the U.S. and Japan have no desire to invade and try to occupy China, a naval war in the China Seas would quickly turn into an economic war as well with the U.S. quickly cancelling its massive debt to China with little effect on its credit since no one expects a nation at war to be making regular payments to its enemy. China would face economic ruin after losing its two biggest customers and would retaliate by nationalizing billions in U.S. assets in China. The U.S. economy would be hit in terms of a number of U.S. based large corporations but overall the debt elimination and the damage control provided by having its economy in many hands vice centrally planned, the U.S. might actually come out ahead economically.
The Chinese merchant marine would be put to the bottom anywhere and everywhere it could be found in the world by U.S. submarines. The U.S. relies on multi flagged international merchant marine ships so China, if it didn't want to have to fight the entire world, would be limited to board and search operations for "contraband" and they would be ill equipped to do that. Relatively speaking U.S. maritime commerce would suffer much less than China. The U.S. can leap frog over the vast Chinese Coast Guard and Navy in the China seas and mine ports aerially. Once mined the global maritime insurance industry will effectively close Chinese ports. China's economy would be destroyed completely in about 30 days. The Chinese would then face a popular revolution which might cause China to throw the first nuke. In a nuclear exchange the U.S. might well lose some cities. China by contrast would be a glow in the dark glazed parking lot. Yet this Chinese "expert" thinks there are multiple maritime hot spots in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean that could erupt into a global naval war. He has obviously bought into his government's line that the conquest of the China Seas is a done deal. Following that line blindly is exactly what will lead to a global naval dust up.
We do however have to agree with Professor Xudong's observations about new theaters of war opening. Previously uncontroversial elements of the "commons" like outer space, cyber space,and International waters look to be a part of any international battle field. China basically has its self to blame for any weaponization of outer space. There is an international convention prohibiting weapons in space but China just had to demonstrate its capability of weaponizing space by shooting down one of its own satellites. It really is quite a feat to hit a satellite with a missile. A satellite is a very high speed moving target. But China seems to forget that the U.S. Navy routinely shoots down missiles which is analogous to hitting a bullet with a bullet. If China is thinking of a shot from space or taking down U.S. command and control satellites the Dragon will be unpleasantly surprised by U.S. capabilities that the Dragon just doesn't seem to see, though they are out there in plain sight. The Dragon is the most frequent invader in U.S. cyber space both corporate and governmental. The U.S. rarely confirms its presence or capabilities in cyber space but the world's geeks are pretty well convinced that the cyber warriors of the U.S. Air Force can and has performed cyber warfare operations that have included infecting closed computer systems without physical contact with the computers by knowing human agents.
Finally acknowledging that things might actually start in the China Seas Professor Xudong wrote:
"As the rivalry on the sea grows intense, China’s military development should shift from maintaining the country’s rights on the land to maintaining its rights on the sea,” Han also wrote, that “large-scale military power” needs to be developed in order to prevent being “pushed to a passive position” by strong military forces. He specifically named the U.S.
Professor Xudong's diatribe was not the first Chinese newspaper article to predict war for China in the 21st century. Last year, the pro-government hawkish newspaper Weweipo published an article describing “Six Wars China Is Sure To Fight In The Next 50 Years.” Up first on the Dragon's hit parade of wars was the one over the South China Sea islands which the paper predicted would run from 2025 to 2030, Weweipo clearly indicated that their projected 2025 to 2030 would be driven by China’s desire to “reconquer” areas like the Spratly Islands. The newspaper did not see the island war to include the theft of the Philippine owned Islands simultaneously with the Diaoyu / Senkaku islands of Japan. The newspaper thought that war with Japan over the Diaoyu / Senkakus wouldn't open until 2040. Obviously the Dragon expects to divide and conquer at its leisure and keep things low intensity so as not to disturb its economy. It doesn't seem to dawn on the Dragon that the rightful owners of the territories it covets might combine and come after her. With a combined 1800+ fleet of naval and coast guard armed ships solidifying a victory over the Philippines should be an overnight project but for the U.S./ Philippines alliance. A planned five year war would indicate a desire to keep the island grab low intensity so as to cause little economic disruption. But the likelyhood is that the Philippines would go for the jugular and the resulting high intensity sea clash coupled with Western economic sanctions would destroy China's economy in weeks. The people of China have worked hard to secure a promising future and will probably hang communists from lamp posts if they are deprived of the fruits of their labors. Meanwhile China has a growing Muslim population like the rest of us, so ready or not China is involved with the rest of us in the global resumption of voracious Islam, which is about tearing down societies not building them up. We are certainly living the ancient Chinese curse; "may you live in interesting times".