Wednesday, May 29, 2013


An item that flew over the transom today from the east interested the old strategist in me. It was an article by Robert D. Kaplan at STRATFOR titled "The Virtues of Hard Power". It does the usual job of the POLMIL analyst and urges us to take counsel of our fears with regard to China. It suggests that the Chinese are growing their defense budget and buying ships and aircraft that could whip ours with one hand tied behind their back. It paints a grim picture of a pitiless and immediate Chinese advance into Southern Asia at the expense of all our friends in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and suggests we arm ourselves appropriately to save these long-standing friends and allies of ours.

Oh, and it also suggests that NATO is a complete paper tiger now and Russia is going to do the same exact thing and advance on all our very good friends and allies in Romania, France, Poland, Estonia and so on and that we should be prepared to die in every field in Europe alongside our fighting allies to keep the Russians or Germans out of where they've spent the last 60 years. 
 It's all terribly enervating.

I wonder. Are we like Britain and doomed to fight always to maintain the balance of power? 

1. If I shared a land border with China I'd suck up hard to be friends with someone I thought I could trust. 
2. I'd arm myself. I'd buy weapons from my new very good friend who sells the most expensive weapons in the world and make my own and my own ammunition and damn comparative advantage. 
3. I'd engage real hard with regional allies to form a stable power block with mutual interests designed to keep the Chinese down, the Americans in and the oil flowing. 
4. I would ask myself, very secretly, what is worth fighting for? Is that rock worth it? 
5. I'd get the Cynics of History to sit down with me and go over just what it would take to destabilize all of the above and poison those wells so thoroughly that none would hold water when most needed in the face of a rising Chinese power. 

Obviously the first Chinese step would be to divide and conquer.  
  - spoiling fights over pointless rocks claimed by all countries 
  - trade agreements that exclude any possibility of joint shared economic self-interest among a coalition 
   - massive investment in industries critical to the growth of 21st century manufacturing to take it away from the smaller countries around China 
   - suck up to America and join the bilateral and multilateral exercises just like Russia is with NATO 
   - invest to own small countries around the world in order to lock up the UN General Assembly when I do draw blood 
   - Do whatever I want to set SOKOR against Japan and all the rest against Japan 
   - Fake tensions with major power India and use to 'justify' increases in military and defense spending 

I suppose the really interesting question is, do they take whole bites or just little nibbles? 

My take? I think they'll continue to destabilize the region in their interests and because it is so easy to do. They'll seize the ocean areas and bottoms that they think are economically viable. They won't engage in a land war with Asians since there is no benefit of any kind in it. If I was a Russian though, I'd be very concerned about how appealingly empty Siberia is. 

Be a little interesting to see their SIOPs written for a major war with each other over Siberia. If I was Russia I would keep a keen eye on where all the major Chinese apparatchiks relocate to if it looks like they are leaving Peking. From a cold blooded point of view, the loss of Peking means very little to a country of more than one billion souls. Does it contain any essential industries?

And don't we love the idea that anybody is so stupid they'd want to invade Europe? Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. What does Europe have that Russia would want? Oil? Gas? Industry? Wine? Women? Music? Teaming masses of corrupt ignorant vicious murdering muslims? And while the Russians are getting acquainted with their new impoverished proletariat, the Chinese are stealing Siberia. 

Sounds very exciting.

I have a counter-proposal. Let's team with China! We each take what we want and are happy. Peace In Our Time! Nothing is worth fighting for! Free Tibet! Can't we all just get along? SAY NO TO WAR!


Anne Bonney said...

I concur with your counter proposal. And that way we still get the wine.

HMS Defiant said...

Have we tried Chinese wine?

Buck said...

I have. I'd stick with the Californian stuff.