November 13, 2014

Pirouette Toward Asia

China is moving aggressively in the face of Barack Obama’s weakness.

China is aggressively pushing asymmetric militarization – that is, targeted ramping up capabilities to probe vulnerable seams and gaps in U.S. capabilities – as well as conducting more pronounced maneuvering in the South China Sea. That means the Obama administration’s strategy of “pivoting toward Asia” is now in what can best be described as an endless “pirouette.” A better description would be a classic death-spiral.

The U.S. just reached agreement with Communist China on notification protocols for major military exercises, ostensibly diffusing alarm when one nation conducts such an exercise. Perhaps like conducting an otherwise-unannounced major naval exercise in the South China Sea. Another agreement reaffirms the now 50-year-old traditional rules for encounters at sea and in the air, because, apparently, these things aren’t patently evident to all civilized nations by now, having been codified into international law for half a century or so. Great job, Chosen One! We’ll show those naked aggressors who’s boss!

Meanwhile, as Russian President Vladimir Putin tries desperately to get the gang back together – a few invasions of sovereign states, a shoot-down of a plane carrying a few hundred innocent civilians – Team Hopeless is trying to return to its “pivot” script. Never mind that Putin just solidified Russian economic ties to China with another Siberia gas deal. Also overlook the fact Moscow has reclassified NATO as Russia’s official adversary (did we mention NATO is ostensibly led by the U.S.?). We should also not dwell on “blame” for that SA-11 shot that murdered 300 innocents, either, right? Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

The whole reason Barack Obama “pivoted” to “Asia” (read: China) in the first place was because of so much intense saber-rattling in the South China Sea. China’s bald regional hegemonic machinations meant the U.S. could no longer ignore the threats to its allies – Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a host of others within that vulnerable region.

Our “good friends” in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) recently developed their own version of the Marshall Plan to cope with all the unrest (which, by the way, they have generated): The so-called “Silk Road” is a $40 billion plan to buy off opposition to Chinese designs on regional hegemony. Effectively, it will force nations in the region to “choose a side” – the sides being, of course, the U.S. and China. As such an unwaveringly solid friend as the kowtow administration has demonstrated itself to be to these “lesser” states, any guesses which side most of them will choose?

Luckily, China has a long way to go to catch up with the U.S., despite the debut of its new J-31 stealth fighter – during Obama’s attendance at the Asian economic summit in Beijing, no less. Who could have predicted such timing for test flights? Of course, the “Chinese stealth fighter” is better known as the “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” an American jet, since the Chinese unabashedly stole top-secret technical data through cyber espionage against Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors. Testing their plane during Obama’s visit signals they know they have nothing to fear from him.

We should also point out the inconvenient truth of China’s deployment of two brigades of DF 21D ballistic missiles – so-called “carrier killers,” and not without good reason. Supposedly, these missiles had been a long way off from reaching operational capability. Yet they are now part of what the emperor Chinese leader might call a “fully armed and operational battle station.”

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall put a fine point on the whole issue of technology: “Our technological superiority is very much at risk. There are people designing systems specifically to defeat us in a very thoughtful and strategic way, and we’ve got to wake up, frankly.” Kendall went on to name several areas in which the U.S. remains critically vulnerable: China’s threat to the U.S. surface fleet as well as U.S. overseas bases; China’s challenge to U.S. air dominance; Chinese threats to U.S. space capabilities and access to space; and finally, China’s ability to mount cyber assaults on U.S. networks. The myth of U.S. technical superiority is quickly becoming just that: a myth.

The real lesson here is what is wrought when a nation chooses a position of weakness. Starting in 2009 with his World Apology Tour and continuing with numerous international failings and foreign-policy-related humiliations, Obama has abjectly demonstrated what happens when the U.S. abdicates its leadership role in the world and chooses instead to be the world’s buddy. Rogue nations, belligerent nations and nations ruled by an iron thumb are not content with being anyone’s buddy. They are content only with being conqueror.

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