In 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Navy and the Air Force to develop an AirSea Battle concept to deal with increasingly aggressive Chinese behavior and military posture in the Western Pacific, as well as Beijing’s expansive territorial claims that China has threatened to go to war over. The two services completed the work in late 2011 and stood up an AirSea Battle office in the Pentagon.
No sooner had that happened than liberals – who, for decades, have falsely claimed (and continue to) that China is a peaceful state with benign intentions that resolves its disputes peacefully and doesn’t provoke or attack anyone – began denouncing AirSea Battle as a mere justification for weapon systems, a gold vein for the defense industry, and a provocation against China that could lead to nuclear war. Examples of these liberals’ blatant lies can be found here and here.
They falsely claim that:
- AirSea Battle is an unnecessary and aggressive provocation against a peaceful China which will lead to escalation and to nuclear war with that country;
- ASB is a mere justification for more defense spending and for weapon systems that the defense industry could make money on;
- China is a peace-loving, nonaggressive state that resolves its disputes with others peacefully; and
- China’s defense budgets and military capabilities are nonthreatening to the US, meager, and way behind those of the US; warnings about China’s military are mere “China hype.”
All of their claims are blatant lies. There is not a single shred of veracity to them; their claims are 100%.
Writing recently in The Diplomat, Robert E. Kelly falsely claims that:
“And the U.S. Department of Defense, eager to cash-in on the China hype in an era of sequestration and domestic exhaustion with the “Global War on Terror,” tells us now that the U.S. must shift to an Air-Sea Battle concept (ASB). In a not-so-amazing coincidence, ASB is chock of full of the sorts of costly, high-profile, air and maritime mega-platforms the military-industrial complex adores. China’s single, barely functional aircraft carrier—the second one is not due for awhile—is a god-send to hawks and neo-cons everywhere. Even as the U.S. scales back in the Middle East, defense can seemingly never be cut.”
Those are blatant lies.
China’s aggressive behavior
Regionally, China is trying to dominate the Western Pacific by coercion and if necessary by military force. It has made vast (and ridiculous) territorial claims WRT and around the Senkaku, Spratly, and Paracelsus Islands. It has repeatedly sent submarines and entire flotillas of surface warships into Japanese and Philippine waters to bully those countries into accepting these claims. They have repeatedly threatened war on these countries over those islands, have repeatedly used force to expel the Vietnamese from the Paracelsus Islands, allowed (if not encouraged) Chinese mob attacks on Japanese businesses, and repeatedly threatened (and are quite prepared) to use force to subjugate Taiwan.
(And yet, liberals claim that America is the aggressor and the wrong side here!)
As for China’s global ambitions, one of China’s most prominent political analysts let the cat out of the bag last year in the pages of the NYT. He said that China and the US are in a struggle for world leadership and world influence, and that for him and his fellow countrymen, including China’s leadership, this is a “zero-sum game” (his words, not mine).
Analyst Robert Sutter was absolutely correct when he wrote in 2005 that “China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans.”
And indeed, the Chinese are vying with the US for influence and world leadership – the world over. In Latin America, they are actively courting that region’s leftist, anti-American dictators, from Rafael Correa to Cristina de Kirchner to Nicolas Maduro to Raul Castro. In Africa, they’re courting governments too – and the US, for its part, is countering that with its own reachout, investments, and trade proposals. (When Barack Obama recently visited Africa, he brought some 500 American businessmen with him.)
In Europe, China has long been lobbying the EU to abolish its arms embargo against China, so that the PLA could get access to Europe’s top-drawer weapons. And in Asia, in addition to bullying the above-mentioned allies and partners of the US, China has been significantly (and covertly) aiding North Korea with ICBM launchers (the ones first displayed in 2012, supplied by China’s CASIC company). Moreover, China has been supplying anti-American terrorists with weapons, including MANPADS, and has extended diplomatic protection to Syria, Iran, and North Korea – the most anti-American regimes on this planet.
In the outer space, China has blinded a US satellite with a laser (in 2006) and has tested two ASAT ballistic missiles: one (SC-19) in 2007 and another one (the Dong Ning 2) last May. Internal PLA documents reveal plans of waging massive (and integrated) warfare against the US in cyberspace and the outer space, including attacks on US satellites, which, as China knows, are very vulnerable to kinetic hits and jamming. Internal PLA documents also call for destroying eight US GPS satellites, which would cripple the US military’s communications, navigation, and weapon guidance capability.
So yes, the Chinese ARE trying to forcefully expand their territory and unseat the US as the world’s top power. And they ARE preparing to wage war against the US.
China’s military: far more powerful than you may think
And their military capabilities are growing rapidly, and are already close to matching and surpassing those of the US – with or without sequestration of America’s defense budget. China currently has, inter alia:
– enough ICBMs to deliver over 460 nuclear warheads to the US, plus 6 SSBNs with further dozens of SLBMs, again multiple warhead;
– over 1,600 SRBMs and over 140 MRBMs, as well as numerous GLCMs and 120-160 cruise-missile-capable H-6 bombers, to destroy targets inside both the First and the Second Island Chain;
– potent cyberwarfare capabilities that have repeatedly and successfully attacked US cyber networks and stolen the design docs for dozens of American weapon systems;
– carrier-killer DF-21 ASBMs and 500 carrier-killer SS-N-22 Sunburn ASCMs, as well as hundreds of ASCMs of other types (notably the SS-N-27 Sizzler and the Yingji family);
– about 100,000 naval mines;
– 63 nuclear- and conventional-powered submarines of all types (BM and attack), most of them being quiet attack submarines;
– over 500 modern 4th generation aircraft, such as the J-10, J-11, Su-27, and Su-30, superior to everything the US has except the F-22 and the F-15, plus hundreds of upgraded J-8 interceptors and lightweight, very maneuverable (though aging) J-7 (MiG-21) fighters;
– dozens of modern and well-armed DDGs and FFGs, most notably the Type 052, the latest variant of which, Type 052D (AKA the Chinese Aegis) is more capable than any destroyer currently being built by the US;
– anti-satellite weapons, including up to 24 ASAT missiles and 3 recently-launched ASAT satellites (yes, there is such a thing – these PRC satellites would engage US satellites in orbit and damage or destroy them);
– between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads (depending on whether you ask Gen. Viktor Yesin or Professor Philip Karber);
– the second largest military budget in the world, which has been growing at double digit rates for the last 24 years uninterrupted, to $235 bn this year (without even accounting for PPP differences), and shows no sign of slowing down;
– the largest and most active ballistic missile program in the world according to USAF intelligence (NASIC);
– and the largest and most capable ground army in the world.
On top of all of that, China is currently developing, among other things:
– TWO medium range stealthy fighter/strike aircraft, the J-20 and the J-31, BOTH of which will, when commissioned, be superior to every other fighter on the planet except the F-22 and the PAK FA; the J-20 is due to enter service 4-5 years from now;
– a carrier-capable fighter (the J-15, already tested numerous types on the Liaoning aircraft carrier);
– a new, long-range anti-ship missile called the HN-2000, with a planned range of 3,000-4,000 kms;
– new ASAT weapons;
– a stealthy, intercontinental, nuclear-capable bomber.
In addition, China plans to build SEVERAL new aircraft carriers – in the 100,000 ton league of the Nimitz class – and create entire carrier battle groups, as has been confirmed by Chinese shipbuilding companies and PLAN admirals.
So China’s military capabilities are already awesome – and they will overtake America’s before long. So now, ASB was NOT developed in “a foreign policy vacuum”, is NOT provocative or aggressive, and is well justified. It is merely a response to China’s ever-more-belligerent actions, both in the Western Pacific and around the world, and its rapid military buildup that long ago exceeded China’s legitimate self-defense requirements.
ASB is NOT a gift to the defense industry
As for the claims that ASB is a gift to the “military-industrial complex” and that the DOD just wants to get more funding based on “China hype” – those are also blatant lies. There is no such thing as the “military-industrial complex”, and the DOD knows full well that its budget will decline significantly under any scenario. ASB is designed to help the DOD counter the real and growing Chinese threat in an era of quickly declining defense budgets – which means tight cooperation between the services, among other things.
This was the ASB concept’s authors’ challenge from the start: how to counter the Chinese threat (and other A2/AD threats) in an era of rapidly declining defense budgets.
As for the platforms required by ASB – they don’t have to be (and probably won’t be) expensive, and they have been singled out by the DOD and the CSBA because they are the ones needed to win wars of the future – especially in the vast expanses of the Pacific, but also in the Middle East, whee US military access to warzones and to in-theater bases is under doubt.
Liberals: “Let’s be weak! Weakness leads to peace; strength is provocative!”
Liberals, including Kelly and Etzioni, falsely claim that AirSea Battle is a needless, aggressive “provocation” against China which, they claim, will lead to unnecessary escalation and to nuclear war.
This is utterly false too, and it’s essentially a claim – which the Left has been perpetuating for decades – that military strength is provocative and leads to war while weakness leads to peace.
But, as all human history shows, the CONVERSE is true: it is military WEAKNESS that is provocative, while military strength safeguards peace and prevents war – as Ronald Reagan showed during the 1980s, while Carter’s military weakness only led to a more warlike and less peaceful world. Indeed, throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Left, including RINOs within the GOP, falsely claimed that Reagan’s peace through strength policies, especially his reconstruction of the US military, would lead to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. History, of course, proved them dead wrong once again.
Nowadays, China, like the former Soviet Union, is conducting a military buildup that long ago exceeded China’s legitimate self-defense capabilities, challenging the US to an arms race, and bullying America’s allies – even threatening war over territorial claims and engaging in naval standoffs against US allies. It is also supplying Islamic terrorists with weapons and North Korea with ICBM launchers.
Liberals claim ASB will spark an arms race, but China is ALREADY engaged in such a race against the US – but America is currently slow to respond.
America can ignore the lessons of all human history, continue to gut its military, cancel ASB, and adopt a posture of appeasement and military weakness towards China – as Kelly, Etzioni, and other liberals advocate – and hope that it brings about peace contrary to all human experience.
Or, America can heed the lessons of history, learn for once that weakness only invites aggression while strength prevents it, reverse its defense cuts, and fully implement the ASB concept. If history is any guide, THIS is the road to peace.
Moreover, as the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the think-tank where ASB originated, has stressed, ASB is based on the assumption that CHINA, not the US, will initiate hostilities. All China has to do to avoid a fight with the US is not to attack the US or any of its allies. That’s not an unreasonable demand.
As for the rest, a nice rebuttal of the Left’s lies about AirSea Battle is here: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/09/why_air-sea_battle_is_needed.html
The US government is absolutely right to adopt the ASB concept and to start implementing it. Shame on liberas like Kelly and Etzioni for lying so blatantly on China’s behalf, downplaying and understating the Chinese threat while blaming solely the US. The American Left has not learned ANYTHING since the Jimmy Carter days. Just like in those days, they claim that weakness brings about peace, that military strength is provocative, and that America’s adversaries are benign and peace-loving – when precisely THE OPPOSITE is true.
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