War with China?

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, as Bob Dylan reminded us.  China’s economy is suffering serious setbacks right now, largely due to President Trump refusing to allow the USA to continue to subsidize China by up to a trillion dollars every year due to trade imbalances and disadvantages.  That nation can’t tolerate that level of economic pain, because its internal stability is inextricably bound up with providing full employment and rising wages to its people.  Take away the latter, and the former suffers.  Therefore, in response, China is becoming more and more belligerent towards the USA and its allies.  That focuses popular attention on external factors, rather than having its people blame the Communist Party and national leaders for their woes.  It’s the oldest trick in the political playbook . . . and it still works just as well as it ever did.Consider these recent headlines, and sample excerpts from the articles.

Chinese warship came within 45 yards of USS Decatur in South China Sea

USS Decatur had sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands when it was approached by the Chinese destroyer.

The Chinese Navy “destroyer conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for DECATUR to depart the area,” Brown added.

“The PRC destroyer approached within 45 yards of DECATUR’s bow, after which DECATUR maneuvered to prevent a collision,” said Brown.

Retired U.S. general says war with China likely in 15 years

“The United States needs a very strong European pillar. I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable — but it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” Hodges told a packed room at the Warsaw Security Forum, a two-day gathering of leaders and military and political experts from central Europe.

“The United States does not have the capacity to do everything it has to do in Europe and in the Pacific to deal with the Chinese threat,” Hodges said.

. . .

Hodges told The Associated Press that a recent near-miss between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a Chinese warship in the disputed South China Sea was only one of the signs pointing to an “an increasingly tense relationship and increasing competition in all the different domains.”

Others, he said, are China’s “constant stealing of technology” and how China is gaining control of infrastructure by funding projects in Africa and Europe. He said that in Europe, China owns more than 10 percent of the ports.

‘Prepare for war’, Xi Jinping tells military region that monitors South China Sea, Taiwan

Xi’s visit to the military command was one of several he made during a four-day trip to the south China province aimed at bolstering confidence amid an economic slowdown, and growing trade and strategic disputes with the United States.

Details of his speech came a day after China’s State Councillor General and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said the country would never give up “one single piece” of its territory and warned that “repeated challenges” to its sovereignty over Taiwan were extremely dangerous and would result in military action.

. . .

Military observers said Xi’s comments were most likely intended to boost morale and reiterate Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

“It’s likely intended as a signal to the US in particular and any parties that Beijing perceives to be causing provocation [in the disputed waters],”…

The biggest military fiction. Taiwan being able to defend & the US being able to assist in its defense.

No matter how you slice it, we are victims of time and distance.  The Chinese are too close, we’re too far away and the Taiwanese have been so thoroughly infiltrated that success is impossible.

Look at the Chinese order of battle.

Count numbers.

Do the same for Taiwan.

The results of your count should be obvious.  Taiwan will fall.

One Man’s View

While it’s not covered here in the mainstream media, the Chinese press is whipping up people in the PRC to prepare for war with the USA. It has to do with Taiwan and with serious economic downturns in the worker’s paradise. There’s talk on the street in Shanghai of interning Americans living in China during the upcoming war.

From Berlin, Beijing, to Brasilia – a New Era is Setting Up

After centuries of humiliation from near and far abroad, China is returning to her place in the world. Few see how huge this move will be. The scale is hard to grasp for many. You could remove the equivalent of the entire population of the USA, and China would still have almost a billion people.

Unlike her fellow mega-nation India, China is not content with making things best inside her borders.

She wants a global stage, and she is buying as much of it as she wants to.

She was not party to this “Liberal World Order” others keep telling her about, and she is not bound to it. She reserves the right to approach international law cafeteria style; she’ll take what she wants and slide by the rest.

She has scores to settle and strategic depth to secure.

There are simply too many indicators out there to take this lightly.  I’m by no means an expert on China and the relations between our nations, but other people are – and they all seem to be concerned.  I’ve learned enough in my life to be pretty sure that when I read so many articles like those above, they amount to what experienced investigators call “a clue”.  We need to read the signs of the times.

God forbid that we should find ourselves at war with China, whether far from our shores or upon them.  We can’t afford that, and we probably can’t win – China is already too powerful in military terms, and it has an immense advantage in that most basic of yardsticks, its population.  However, China probably can’t win either, in terms of defeating the USA.  The most we could hope for is that hostilities would eventually grind to a halt simply because both sides had suffered enormous damage, and couldn’t afford to fight any longer.  That’s a miserable outcome for the survivors on both sides.

Peter

13 comments

  1. We can pound each other to dust with nuclear weapons. The US has a better chance of coming out of it on top with a first nuclear strike, depending on how you define “coming out on top”. I think a lot of the US Space Force concept has to do with managing the situation with China and Russia – our principal adversaries.

    The present Chinese rhetoric has more to do with addressing their financial situation than it does with Taiwan, which is a resilient tumor in the worker’s paradise.

  2. China has lost every war it’s ever fought, IIRC.

    And until their people can walk on water, the numbers are a net liability.

    They are not a seafaring people, and they won’t stand up a blue water peer threat navy in one generation, but they won’t realize that until push comes to shove, and they come off second best again.

    But they’re just stupid and egotistical enough to think the lemon is worth squeezing.

    It took a decade’s time, and the Clinton Crime Family to rehabilitate their image after Tiananmen Square.
    Pulling something like that vis-à-vis Taiwan would make them North Korea for decades.

  3. There would be massive, crippling shortages in consumer and other goods due to supply chain disruption. Neither side would win. The U.S. has greater force projection capability. But the Chinese have greater population and, now days, greater manufacturing and production capability. They also have the means to successfully defend themselves and their backyard (e.g. South China Sea, Taiwan) from aggressive attack by the U.S.

    Thus, such a war would devolve into a stalemate that would go on for years, being hugely destructive to both economies as well as that of the larger world. Lastly, such a war would generate hatred on both sides as people on both sides lose family members and friends.

    Then, there is always the possibility of such a war going nuclear.

    Such a war would as stupid as World War 1 and would be equally as devastating to economies and morale around the world as World War 1.

    Lastly, if we do get in such a war, I plan to leave and go somewhere neutral, like Latin America, because I refuse to have any participation in such a monumentally stupid endeavor.

    You see, I lived in Japan and “greater China” for 10 years and generally like the East Asian people (Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans) more than most Americans. Yet, at the same time, I disagree with many of the recent actions of China’s government, particularly under Xi.

    I certainly like the Chinese technical and entreprenuerial people I’ve known and worked with over the years much more than our cultural and political elites.

  4. Hopefully the looming demographic collapse from their one child policy will hit them about the time they are considering going to war. Might make things a little harder for them.

  5. “China has lost every war it’s ever fought.”

    I think their record’s a bit more spotty than that. In the past century they’ve helped defeat the Japanese invasion (with much western help), conquered Tibet, assisted the North Koreans in their counterattack, and have had indecisive undeclared border wars with India and Russia.

  6. Guys,

    Land wars in East Asia tend not to work out for us. We defeated Japan, but at great cost (which would have been far greater had we not used atomic bombs). For various reasons due to politics, we did not do well in either than Korean War or the Vietnam War. Both of these wars had high death rates compared to wars in other regions of the world, based on what was being fought over. Northeast Asian people are willing to fight and die in mass numbers to keep the foreign invader out. I would rather not see a repeat of this lesson with China.

  7. You assume we can wage a protracted war with China.

    We can’t. They are already a significant part of the supply chain EVEN FOR THE MILITARY. Precursor chemicals for explosives and electronics for our missiles.

    THe Clinton (and following) administrations have driven enough of our manufacturing (via trade practices and EPA and such) offshore….to either China or Singapore, Taiwan or South Korea….They will either be able to not sell us what we need, or cut off our sources of supply quickly.

    Airplanes without missiles are less capable weapons. Artillery without explosives for their shells are useless. Submarines without torpedoes are simply missile platforms that are easily targeted and can’t interdict ships. And they will soon run out of fueled missiles.
    Etc. Etc.

    The US industry cannot supply, at this time, all of the parts needed to keep our war machines RUNNING, much less fed with weapons.

    It’s the Beans/Bullets/BandAids issue writ large.

    Of course, without our markets, their economy collapses and people starve…So there is that.

  8. Since when does war mean invasion? With the right motivation we can gut their ports in days. I doubt they can feed their people without oceangoing trade. They can not reciprocate unless they have a huge nuclear arsenal they have been hiding from all western sources. Numbers of humans are largely irrelevant in modern war. Heck Japan proved that back in WWII. Human waves simply do not fare well in mechanized, much less computerized, warfare. They can’t get here, we CAN get there, the rest is determination.

    No matter what, we both lose, but this is how China fights, and the alternative is surrender…either surrender our economy or surrender our country.

  9. Gut feel…
    China won’t declare open war on the USA. It will continue to commercially absorb “asset” nations as long as it can. It may even occupy (in a peaceful military fashion) some island nations to build a buffer between it & the USA (exactly what Japan did in 1940-42). It will act as if this is its right until the USA is sufficiently provoked as to declare war on China. That way, USA is the belligerent, and China is peacefully going about its rightful & just business. (Exactly the same playbook as your extreme “liberals” have been doing for years.)
    I think China is doing this, and will do this whether trade penalties are applied by the USA or not. Trade penalties *might*, just *might*, cause a re-think, but I doubt it. They didn’t stop Japan when it invaded “its” northern resource area (China) in the 1930s, although it did force Japan into a war they could only lose.

    Question… China is probably too big to lose such a war, but would they consider a stalemate to be a win, of sorts? If yes, war is inevitable, along with Orwell’s Eastasia/Eurasia/Oceania blocs, if not exactly bounded as Orwell pictured. If no, it may be averted. But it would require smart negotiation and a Big Re-think by China on what global importance looks like (control vs influence).

  10. @The Other Sean
    I’ll give you he conquest of pacifist Tibet.
    That’s like defeating the Amish.

    They steadfastly lost to the Japanese, before and after Western intervention. The revolution was a draw, mainly because it was Chinese against Chinese, so China had to lose and win simultaneously.
    But the martial prowess of Chiang & Co was on worldwide display.

    The have succeeded only in converting their own troops to fertilizer vs. the US & UN in Korea, in every border skirmish with Russia, and they got their backsides handed to them in a 1978 war with Vietnam.

    They have not won a major war with a major power in…ever, AFAIK.

    It’s the only consistent thing about them.

    Invasion fleet against Japan sundered: origin of the word “kamikaze”: divine wind.
    Lost Opium Wars, leading to Hong Kong and Macao carve-outs.
    Lost Boxer Rebellion.
    Lost in Manchuria.
    Losing in WWII until Hiroshima.
    Fought inferior US forces to a draw in Korea, at a loss of hundreds of thousands. (And strictly speaking, were fortunate note to be Hiroshima’d at the time.)
    Lost countless border skirmishes and wars with Russia, India, and Vietnam.

    The closest thing they are to anything, is the France of the Orient.
    Minus Napoleon.
    Except maybe Napoleon Dynamite.

    They are not going to suddenly pull a peer air force and navy out of their hat in less than a generation, and any place they can’t walk to is too far for them to successfully support a conflict.

    That may not be true in 40 years, but it is now.

  11. As far as “crippling trade shortages” , that means we lose some plastic dish racks, and their entire export market collapses.

    Bad news for WalMart, but 10 other nations pick up China’s slack while they undergo collapse and revolution.

    And they run on either dirty coal, or oil.
    Ask the Japanese how that worked out for them in 1941.

    China is dominant only as long as peace reigns, and this stays economic.
    The first bullet flies, and we’re the bull, and they’re the China shop. How apropos.

    If they go nuclear, were both hurting, but as a centrally planned country, they become prehistoric tribes of peasants, for a century or more.

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