Friday, April 09, 2021

China's massive fishing fleet flexed its muscles off the Philippines and makes a lie of our "forward deterrence"...


via Defense News.

The fishing vessels arrived one and two at a time, dropping anchor off the disputed Whitsun Reef near the Philippines. As the Chinese-flagged fleet grew larger, the vessels tethered themselves together, hunkering down for a gray zone standoff that has captured policymaker interest throughout the Pacific region.

And with that, Beijing burst Washington’s deterrence bubble.

In congressional testimony last month, officials advocated for new, multibillion-dollar investments in long-range strike capabilities and a sophisticated missile system in Guam. These new platforms, it was argued, are essential to reassuring our regional allies and deterring China.

And yet, the Whitsun spectacle lays bare that Washington’s continued embrace of a costly, conventional deterrence strategy is alone unlikely to prevent Beijing from achieving many of its security objectives.

What’s more, China is banking on America’s prioritization of traditional deterrence at the expense of a robust, and potentially more effective, asymmetric strategy.

No doubt, American military supremacy has deterred China from achieving many of its goals. Nevertheless, Beijing has continued its incremental march forward in Hong Kong, in the Taiwan Strait and at various overseas ports.


The article is being kind but I want to point out a couple of things...

1.  The Chinese have gone beyond the first island chain.  Any thoughts of bottling them up is "old" thinking and not dealing with the reality today.

2.  Our attempts to use "what's worked" has already failed.  Penny packets of forward deployed troops is worthless, especially in the Pacific.

3.  China is using a "whole of govt" approach in its dealing across the globe.  The USA has TOO OFTEN relied solely on the military.  While the Pentagon has welcomed this and sought to establish itself as the leader in foreign affairs its a bankrupt way of doing business.  We must relearn TRUE DIPLOMACY and learn to offer more than weapon systems to potential allies.

4.  The idea of labeling the Chinese a "near peer" competitor is a lie.  They're a full fledged superpower.  Economically we deal with them as a partner while militarily we see them as a foe.  That disconnect needs to be eradicated and we need to pick a direction.  Either partner or enemy.  They can't be both.

5.  The idea of dividing our attention between Russia and China is fraught with peril.  NATO as an organization should have died DECADES ago.  If the EU is incapable of defending itself against Russia then they should cease to exist as a union.  Regardless we are no longer capable of participating in Europe's defense with the glaring threat of China (assuming we decide they are indeed an enemy) looming.

6.  The political and economic ramifications of a break with China have to be dealt with.  If we declare them an enemy then the shocks to the global economy will be fierce.  We will need to rally the American people to that reality.  Additionally we should be prepared to see many current allies take a neutral instead of supporting stance.

7.  The idea of limiting casualties in a fight with China should be banished from thought.  Any conflict with them will be fierce, with a high body count, large number of ships, tanks, aircraft and other equipment lost and national treasure expended.  We must wrap our heads around the fact that a war will be bloody and difficult.

Finally I want to add this.

Once again it becomes obvious that Berger's concept is dead on arrival.  This fishing fleet alone will make targeting difficult and our forces will be shadowed no matter how we attempt to deploy them.

In other words we will be easily found, fixed and destroyed.  Probably before we launch our first ground based missile.

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