With China rising, China becomes a potential adversary of the United States. Many research reports are, now, dealing with this important issue. These reports can be very important for America's future. Yet, they can also be very much misleading. I will analyze some of those reports in three directions.
I. Rand's report -- Entering the Dragon's Lair
II. My comments:
I. Rand's report:
Title: Entering the Dragon's Lair -- Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States
China could employ antiaccess strategies to prevent U.S. military forces from deploying or operating overseas. These actions could result in defeat for the United States, in the sense that China would accomplish its military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing some or all of its objectives. The United States can take short- and long-term steps to mitigate the Chinese antiaccess threat.
U.S. defense analysts are concerned about the possibility that China -- a potential U.S. adversary in a conflict over Taiwan or South Korea -- could employ an antiaccess strategy to prevent U.S. forces from deploying to a combat theater or to limit the locations from which they could operate. Such a strategy would be more attractive to China -- and potentially more effective -- than a force-on-force battle against the U.S. military, which remains superior to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in technology, doctrine, training, and experience.
A RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) study of Chinese military doctrinal writings finds that China could employ several types of antiaccess strategies in a future conflict with the United States, including
These actions could result in defeat for the United States -- not in the sense that U.S. military forces would be destroyed but in the sense that China would accomplish its military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing some or all of its objectives.
The United States can do much to mitigate the Chinese antiaccess threat. The following near-term measures could be taken using existing capabilities:
Taking measures such as these would strengthen deterrence of potential aggression by China.
In the longer term, the United States should consider investing in new or improved capabilities, such as the following:
These measures and capabilities would help ensure that U.S. forces remain capable of responding rapidly and effectively to potential crises in the region.
Note: The above research brief describes work done for RAND Project AIR FORCE and documented in Entering the Dragon's Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States, by Roger Cliff, Mark Burles, Michael S. Chase, Derek Eaton, and Kevin L. Pollpeter, MG-524-AF, 2007, 154 pp., ISBN: 978-0-8330-3995-8
The entire report has 154 pages. It can be download from Internet free. It also has an 11 page summary. My analysis will be based on this summary.
II. My comments:
1. Its internal logic:
"The possibility that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) might employ antiaccess measures in a conflict with the United States is the product of the PLA's view of the nature of modern war, its awareness of China's military weaknesses, and its recognition of U.S. military superiority. Because of the rise of important political and economic centers in China's coastal regions, China's military strategy has shifted from defending the continent to defending areas on China's periphery and maritime force projection. Instead of fighting a "People's War" involving human-wave attacks, the PLA is now preparing to fight a "local war under high-technology conditions." PLA strategists expect such conflicts to be characterized by limited political objectives and the use of information technology and by being highly mobile, lethal, and resource intensive. (See pp. 18 -23)"
"China could employ several types of antiaccess strategies in a future conflict with the United States, including
What does this sentence mean?
What does this writing mean?
From this writing, we again get two points.
As I have shown above, the antiaccess strategy is an 100% force-on-force engagement. Then, what is asymmetry? In terms of war, there are two types of asymmetry.
In The American Heritage Dictionary, it defines "asymmetry" as "lack of symmetry or balance", "symmetry" as "a relationship of characteristic correspondence, equivalence, or identity among constituents of a system or between different system." Now, what is the asymmetric approach or asymmetric strategy? What can an asymmetric approach do? What is the advantage of an asymmetric strategy? Without knowing the answers of these questions, any statement of an asymmetric approach is meaningless.
In fact, symmetry is a term of mathematics and of physics. In physics, symmetry means conservation laws. An one pound gold bullion has mass of one pound in Los Angeles, and it also is one pound in New York. That is, in the mass equation, Los Angeles is identical to New York. This means that there is a space symmetry for this mass equation. Furthermore, this space symmetry means mass conservation. In fact, every symmetry will give rise to one conservation law.
By knowing this fact, even a non-physicist could guess that asymmetry will give rise to non-conservation, that is, a creation. Without invoking the concept of God, there are many examples of creation.
With these facts, we can easily conclude two relations, at least, between symmetry and asymmetry.
We can, in fact, describe all wars with these facts and laws.
Then, is antiaccess strategy an asymmetric approach? It is, of course, not.
During the five thousand year history, China has an invincible military force for her national security 90% of this long period. Thus, to defeat an enemy with an overwhelming force is nothing to be proud of, but a shame. The art of war in China is to defeat an enemy which is 100 or 1000 times stronger than her own.
In "Iron Shirt" kongfu, all vital area of the iron-shirt fighter can handle deadly blows from his opponent. Yet, for every iron-shirt, there is always an opening which is called a death spot ( ¸n ªù or ¦º ¥Þ , point of vulnerability). The whereabouts of that death spot is the supreme secret for every iron-shirt fighter. In general, the death spot is at a fixed point on the iron- shirt. Yet, it can be moved around after further practice and cultivation.
Thus the art of war of China is absolutely not about Asy(I) although the modernization effect is, indeed, aiming to gain an Asy(I). The art of war in China is about the study of Asy(II) which includes, at least, two subjects.
These two statements above are not supported by historical facts. For both Korea and Vietnam wars, American force arrived in force and on time; yet, it did not prevail. Today, American force is in Iraq for five long years now, and there is a stalemate. Furthermore, they cannot be deduced logically, especially in terms of asymmetry doctrine. Seemingly, Rand has no idea about this asymmetry doctrine. However, by making this kind of emotional statements, Rand's report is no longer an academic research work. With Asy(I) alone, it is never a guarantee for victory.
2. About foe's calculator:
That Mao entered Korea War was not caused by an obligation of friendship with North Korea, nor driven by an emotional reaction. It was an action after a very detailed calculation. The result of that calculation was that China will not lost the war even after nuclear attacks. In Mao's calculator, victory was not a variable. Victory, if came, was just a nice bonus. The only variable was about "losing the war." By staying out of it, the war was lost without fighting. By entering into it, China can never lose the war even under nuclear attacks because "losing" is defined solely by the self while winning is solely defined by the enemy. As long as the enemy does not accept defeat, we can never win the war. As long as we do not accept defeat, we will never lose any war.
With the Utah mine collapse, we have learned that the trapped miners could be subsisted with only a two inch hole. For the Vietnam War, the size of American force (including the nuclear bombs) was not a variable in Mao's calculator. As long as the drips of material in the Ho Chi Minh trail could subsist the North Vietnam, she could get the final victory eventually.
With these two examples, an event can always be calculated by many different calculators which employ different algebra and different algorithm. In the book Diplomacy (ISBN 0-671-65991-X), Dr. Henry Kissinger wrote, "The phenomenon of a totally implacable foe uninterested in compromise -- indeed, seeking to turn deadlock into a weapon -- was alien to the American experience. An ever-greater number of Americans yearned for compromise. But Hanoi's leaders had launched their war in order to win, not to cut a deal. Thus, the categories of the American debate -- the many proposals for bombing halts, cease-fires, deadlines for American withdrawal, and coalition government -- were never relevant to Hanoi's calculations." (page 684)
"At the end of 1966, North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong told Harrison Salisbury of The New York Times that, though the United States was far stronger militarily, it would lose in the end because more Vietnamese than Americans were prepared to die for Vietnam, and to fight as long as it might take to outlast the Americans. His assessment proved correct." (page 660, ibid)
Obviously, there are also different calculators for the Iraq war.
However, can Chinese government survive by ending a war with defeat? If the answer is no, then how can China end the war similar to the Falkland war? China is quite different from Argentina. China can subsist a long term war for 10 years, 30 years or 50 years. If China's calculator spell out the followings,
As a nuclear power, using nuclear weapons is an executable option. In the book Mao -- a life (ISBN 0-8050-3115-4), Mr. Philip Short wrote, " '[Mao's saying] Let us speculate. If war broke out, how many people would die? There are 2.7 billion [over 6 billions now] people in the entire world, and one-third of them may be lost... If the worst comes to the worst, perhaps one-half would die. But there would still be one-half left; imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist. After a number of years, the world's population would once again reach 2.7 billion and certainly become even bigger.'
There was nothing particularly new in this: Mao had expressed the same view to Nehru in 1954, when tensions over Taiwan had led America to hint at possible nuclear weapons use, and he repeated it in even more cataclysmic terms to a Finnish diplomat a few months later. 'If the US had atom bombs so powerful that ... they would make a hole right through the earth,' he told the astonished envoy, 'that would hardly mean anything to the universe as a whole, though it might be a major event for the solar system.' It was one thing, however, to engage in such airy speculations in private conversation, quite another at a meeting attended by communist functionaries from more than sixty countries. To them, Mao's words were chilling. The Soviet leadership found itself wondering whether a man who spoke of nuclear armageddon with such total unconcern could really be trusted with an atomic arsenal of his own." (page 489 - 490)
"Three weeks later [in 1960], the Soviet leadership officially informed China that, with immediate effect, all Russian experts were being withdrawn and all Russian aid was being terminated [including nuclear technology]" (page 504 ibid)
If those words were spoken by anyone else, he could be viewed as insane. As they are Mao's words, they carry some special meanings.
During the past five years, at least three high level Chinese Generals mentioned that China would use nuclear weapons in case of a US - China war. Although Chinese government quickly denied that the words of those Generals were not government's policy, those Generals were not reprimanded. There is, in fact, a Chinese nuclear calculator, derived from Mao's nuclear doctrine.
In the book Diplomacy, Dr. Kissinger wrote, "..., Washington's assessment of the overall international context had made it too preoccupied with Chinese intervention, ignoring Lin Piao's statement that Chinese armies would not go abroad, and which was reiterated by Mao to Edgar Snow, ..., America paid a price for not taking Chinese statements seriously: in Korea, it had ignored Chinese warnings and marched to the Yalu, triggering Chinese intervention; in Vietnam, it disregarded assurances by the Chinese that they would not intervene, causing America to reject the only strategy which might have brought victory." (page 660 - 661)
My analysis could be wrong. But the words of those Chinese Generals were their convictions. In fact, this survive calculator is very simple.
Dr. Huntington's description that Japan would betray the US - Japan security treaty is very interesting. However, he did not give an explanation of how he got that hypothesis. Rand did not mention that who is the unreliable friend and ally neither. On the other hand, by knowing Japanese culture in details for two thousand years, Chinese knows what the rock bottom feeling of Japanese is in the bottom of their hearts. It is to end the American occupation, to oust American force from the soil of Japan once and for all. That is, it does not matter how much the love is in the US - Japan security treaty now, Japan is desperately longing for someone to help her to oust American force from her soil.
Rand wrote, "PLA writings also discuss attacks against air bases and ports. Such attacks would prevent or disrupt the inflow of personnel and supplies, as well as the basing of air and naval assets. PLA analysts state that attacking these targets is the most efficient way to gain air or sea superiority, although the difficulty of achieving success is not understated. While no source specifically indicated which U.S. bases might be attacked, the importance that bases in the western Pacific would have for U.S. military operations in a conflict with China suggests that they may be key targets for PLA planners. (See pp. 62 - 71)
"In addition to military strategies, China might also use diplomatic and political strategies to deny or limit the use of forward bases, most notably in Japan. While Chinese writings are not explicit in discussing strategies to limit or deny support to the United States, interviews with Chinese military officers suggest that deterrence and coercion, including threats of force, could be used against Japan. (See pp. 77 - 79)"
In China's calculator, if China can flatten America's bases in Japan in the first wave attack, Japan will stay neutral openly and pray to her God with million thanks secretly. However powerful America is globally, China can always muster a local Asy(I) against those bases; especially, they cannot swim away as a carrier. Without the intention to defeat America militarily, to attack any other American bases (such as in Guam) would be a waste and will not be in China's calculator.
3. The basic tools for research:
Rand's report was obviously written by someone who knows very little Chinese language. Fifty years ago, 80% Chinese were illiterates. Yet, every illiterate Chinese knows more Chinese language than an American student who took 200 hours Chinese course in an American university. Most Western Sinologists' Chinese language ability is no higher than a 4th or 5th grader in China. Even the greatest Sinologists, such as Dr. F.S.C. Northrop and Dr. Joseph Needham, are not doing much better. On Dr. Needham's case, please read the article Culture Energy of China at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr018.htm
In the book The meeting of East and West, Dr. Northrop wrote, "... in the symbols of the Chinese language, where each solitary, immediately experienced local particular tends to have its own symbol.... This automatically eliminates the logical whole-part relation between one symbol and another that occurs in the linguistic symbolism of the West....
... the ideas which these symbols convey particulars rather than logical universals, and largely denotative rather than connotative in character. Certain consequences follow.... the type of knowledge which a philosophy constructed by means of such a language can convey tends necessarily to be one given by a succession of concrete, immediately apprehendable examples and illustrations, the succession of these illustrations having no logical ordering or connection the one with the other....
... Nowhere is there even the suggestion by the aesthetic imagery of a postulated scientific or a doctrinally formulated, theological object. " (page 322)
Dr. Northrop's view was, of course, wrong. Please read the article Chinese Etymology at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr007.htm
There were 20 million Chinese people two thousand years ago. That is, .05% (5 per ten thousand) of the population is 10,000 which was a huge number at those days. It was a governing elite more than enough for the needs at that ancient time. Thus, the education policy then was employing a harsh marathon course in order to separate the elite from the general public. That is, the logic of Chinese written language was not taught. If anyone did discover the word root logic, he would have been obligated to keep it from the public.
This policy is still in place in terms of Chinese written language. The native Chinese college graduates (not specializing in Chinese written language) learned about 6,000 Chinese words which is 10% of all Chinese words. They, in fact, can never truly comprehend the Chinese Classic. With 1.3 billion people today, China needs only .0005% (5 per million) of the population to be the governing elite. For China, this is the best governing theory, as those who are semi-illiterate on true Chinese culture have no legitimate right to rebel.
That is, even with the helps of some native Chinese scholars in America, those Sinologists are still blind leading blinds. Without getting helps from those .0005%, Western Sinologists have little chance to enter into China's calculator.
Rand wrote, "Although the Chinese military doctrinal writings we examined for this study do not explicitly discuss antiaccess as a separate and distinct strategy, ...
Potential Chinese actions that could affect U.S. access to areas around China were identified through the analysis of Chinese military doctrinal writings. These included books on military doctrine, articles from Chinese military journals, reports from Chinese strategic thinking." (From summary)
In 1987, PLA published ¤¤ °ê §L ®Ñ ¶° ¦¨ (Collection of Chinese books on Art of War, Encyclopedia of Chinese art of war). It has 50 volumes, with 1,000 pages for every volume. That is, it has a total 50,000 pages. It collected over 200 books, from 1,000 b.c. to 1,900 a.d.. The photo of its book cover can be viewed by click here.
Among these 200 books, five of them are the backbone of Chinese military doctrine.
We will never believe that a person can be a physicist if he knows not calculus. We will never believe that a person can be a Shakespeare opera performer if he cannot read and speak English. Yet, those who know not much Chinese language can still be great Sinologists. Can they really be? How can anyone who knows not the basic Chinese art of war (the five books mentioned above) analysing the Chinese war strategy?
4. The Rand's conclusion:
In Rand's writing, it did not formally give a quantitative assessment on the probability of China's success on her antiaccess strategy. However, Rand did write, "The chances of success of an antiaccess strategy are increased by the second feature of the post-Cold War world: The absence of a single dominant adversary makes it impossible to predict where U.S. military forces will next be needed and, thus, makes it likely that the United States will have relatively few forward-deployed forces in the vicinity of a conflict about to erupt.
"The net result of these effects could be that the United States would actually be defeated in a conflict with China -- not in the sense that the U.S. military would be destroyed but in the sense that China would accomplish its military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing some or all of its political and military objective." (from summary)
Rand also pointed out two vulnerabilities (death spots) of American military.
That is, American generals do not have any experience on the Asy(II) warfare. However weak China is, she can always muster a very powerful local Asy(I). American generals might not have the experience to fight against an Asy(I) war.
Rand's report is seemingly hinting that America will be defeated if its recommendations are not implemented. Yet, its recommendations do not address of how to mitigate the two vulnerabilities above.
For analyzing the US - China relation and the Taiwan issue, it needs 1,000 pages or one million pages. However, its conclusion can never go beyond the following two questions:
By not answering these two questions, America today becomes a puppet following the internal power play drama in Taiwan, as someone in Taiwan knows all too well that Taiwan is a detonator for a US - China nuclear war. In all cases (even if China will still be a problem for America without the Taiwan issue), we Americans should get rid of this Taiwan problem. That is, there is, at least, one problem less in dealing with the China issue. We can defuse this atomic detonator while enjoying the current benefit or more by freezing Taiwan issue, such as, with a UN resolution which encompasses two points.
With such a UN resolution, any military action against Taiwan from China will be a violation of the resolution. America will, then, be on a moral high ground to oppose such an action.
Will China accept such a UN resolution, she definitely would, although reluctantly. For China, Taiwan can never swim away. Taiwan cannot abandon Chinese language over night. It would take more than 50 years if it is ever possible. Taiwan will be part of China 100 years, 500 years or 1,000 years from now. For Taiwan reunification, China is not in any hurry. Furthermore, any chance of avoiding a nuclear conflict with America is a good chance.
Furthermore, without the issue of life-or-death, China would not challenge America's hegemony, and there are two reasons on this.
Dr. Paul Kennedy is not a Sinologist. Yet, I would like to quote one of his saying as the conclusion of this paper. In the book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Dr. Kennedy wrote, "Although the United States is at present still in a class of its own economically and perhaps even militarily, it cannot avoid confronting the two great tests which challenge the longevity of every major power that occupies the 'number one' position in world affairs:
whether, in the military/strategical realm, it can preserve a reasonable balance between the nation's perceived defense requirements and the means it possesses to maintain those commitments;
and whether, as an intimately related point, it can preserve the technological and economic bases of its power from relative erosion in the face of the ever-shifting patterns of global production.
This test of American abilities will be the greater because it, like imperial Spain around 1600 or the British Empire around 1900, is the inheritor of a vast array of strategical commitments which had been made decades earlier, when the nation's political, economic, and military capacity to influence world affairs seemed so much more assured. In consequence, the United States now runs the risk, so familiar to historians of the rise and fall of previous Great Powers, of what might roughly be called 'imperial overstretch': that is to say, decision makers in Washington must face the awkward and enduring fact that the sum total of the United States' global interests and obligations is nowadays far larger than the country's power to defend them all simultaneously." (on the back of the dust jacket)
In plain words, that is, America spends too much energy chasing flies on a tail and pays not enough attention on the functions of heart. Taiwan issue is such a fly on a tail. Furthermore, the allying between the number one with the number three is not a guarantee to maintain the number one position. The only guarantee is that the number two is not challenging the number one, that is, the number two is the ally of number one. On this point, please read Solution on North Korea Nuke at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr013.htm