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Is China preparing for war with U.S.?
By ZACHARY HUBBARD
All eyes in Washington are focused on the Middle East as the war there continues, the troop surge in Iraq nears its climax and the ever-elusive Osama bin Laden, assuming heâ€™s still alive, continues to evade capture. Iran is rattling its sword and the hawks in Washington are demanding satisfaction. The 2008 election countdown has started and politicians on both sides of the aisle have begun the traditional blame game of finger pointing, name calling and jockeying for political advantage. The American political process is once again paralyzed by the politiciansâ€™ lust to retain power. Forget the business of running the nation; thereâ€™s an election to be won! And so it will go until November of next year.
Meanwhile, in a country far, far away, the political, military and economic downfall of the United States is being planned by an intelligent, patient, industrious enemy who hopes never to fire a shot in anger, yet fully expects to win. Its goal: To replace the United States as the worldâ€™s reining superpower. The war, by all indications, may have already begun.
Chinaâ€™s grasp of history
China counts its history in millennia. It has seen enemies come and go, yet one thing remains constant â€“ China continues. Why should the Chinese expect America to be different from their enemies of yore? Chinese politicians and military officers study history. They know the writings of Sun Tzu, a legendary warrior-philosopher whose 6th century BC military treatise â€œThe Art of Warâ€ is mandatory reading for military officers worldwide.
Sun Tzu has dozens of notable quotes, but the greatest may be, â€œFor to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.â€
The Chinese may have already begun a campaign to subdue the United States following Sun Tzuâ€™s model. As Sun Tzu said, you can subdue an enemy without fighting. In fact, it is best to win without having to go to war. Some would argue that this is what diplomacy is about. Certainly, diplomacy is part of the strategy, but there is far more to the Chinese game plan.
Reflecting Sun Tzuâ€™s philosophy, many recent Chinese writings have focused on asymmetric warfare as a means of defeating a militarily superior enemy. Asymmetric warfare uses political, economic, informational and military power. Military power is the least emphasized.
A different kind of war
Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, two colonels in Chinaâ€™s Peoplesâ€™ Liberation Army, published a treatise in 1999 titled â€œUnrestricted Warfare.â€ The treatise was not an official publication of the Chinese government, but it was published by the official PLA publishing house, indicating at least some degree of acceptance. â€œUnrestricted Warfareâ€ contains chilling instructions on how to defeat an enemy using asymmetric attacks in such a manner that the enemy may not even realize they are under attack until it is too late to respond effectively. The techniques they describe include cyber warfare, attacks against financial institutions and critical infrastructure, terrorism, manipulating the media, biological warfare, chemical warfare and a variety of other ruthless methods.
Developments since â€œUnrestricted Warfareâ€ was published seem to suggest that China may be waging such warfare today. China now faces many of the same problems that Germany faced in the buildup to World War II. Like Nazi Germany, China has a booming economy, a growing population and a hunger for energy and other resources to fuel its economic growth.
The Germans needed to expand their â€œlebensraumâ€ (living space) to attain the natural resources needed to fuel their economy. China appears to be implementing a sort of â€œlebensraumâ€ program of its own. As the United States was engaged in returning the Panama Canal Zone to Panama, China was busy establishing a beachhead there. Through land deals with Panama, the Chinese have gained control of both ends of this critical waterway, today controlling port facilities in Balboa, the canal’s only Pacific port, and a major Atlantic port in Cristobol. The agreements allow China to run them for the next half-century.
Chinaâ€™s hunger for natural resources
China also is stretching out to grasp resources needed to fuel its economy. In January 2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (no friend of the U.S.) and Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong signed 19 agreements covering oil, agriculture and technology. These included five agreements between Venezuela and the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation. In 2006 China signed an oil exploration agreement with Nigeria, one of the largest oil exporters to America. Today China is conducting a diplomatic â€œlove-inâ€ across Africa.
The BBC reported in January 2006 that there were an estimated 700 Chinese-funded ventures in Africa. Many are in the fields of energy and natural resources, including oil and gas development, copper, cobalt, coal and gold mining. Unlike many Western powers whose diplomatic policies prevent or restrict dealing with ruthless regimes, China has no qualms about making deals with repressive governments having human rights issues. The Chinese are busy cutting deals to gobble up resources in such countries in Africa. For example, the U.S. Public Broadcasting System reported in April 2006 that China imports 10 percent of its oil from Sudan. Not surprisingly, China has worked diligently in the U.N. Security Council to water down potential punitive measures against Sudan, thereby helping to prolong the Darfur crisis.
Cuban oil is in Chinaâ€™s crosshairs as well. While environmentalists continue to block offshore drilling along Floridaâ€™s coastline, China is moving to capitalize on Cubaâ€™s oil potential. In February 2005 the Havana Journal reported that Cubaâ€™s Ministry of Basic Industry announced that the Cuba Oil Company (Cubapetroleo) signed a production contract with the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (SINOPEC) to explore areas around Cuba believed to contain petroleum deposits. The agreement means that while Americans continue to squabble about the wisdom of offshore drilling in Florida, the Cubans and Chinese are beginning exploration some 50 miles from the Florida coastline.
China recently has begun to extend its oil search into the Caspian Sea region of Asia. The German army pushed towards the Caspian oil fields in the summer of 1942, nearly reaching the Soviet oil center of Grozny before the attack faltered. You may recall Grozny is the embattled capital of the Russian region of Chechnya, where Russia has fought against a violent Islamic separatist movement for nearly 10 years. Grozny today is an important transit route and confluence for petroleum pipelines coming out of the Caspian oil fields headed towards Europe. Although in this instance the immediate impact is on Europe, Chinaâ€™s thirst for oil is affecting global oil markets and forcing prices higher.
â€˜Loot a burning houseâ€™
Can China succeed in bringing America to its knees without firing a shot? It is not inconceivable given todayâ€™s global situation.
Sun Tzu said, â€œLoot a burning house.â€ By this he meant kick your enemies when they are down. How is China doing this? By arming Americaâ€™s global adversaries and attacking the U.S. economy.
North Korea, a thorn in the sides of President Bush and former President Clinton, is overflowing with Chinese arms. North Koreaâ€™s nuclear program and missile tests in the Sea of Japan have caused President Bush great consternation. Fortunately, recent diplomatic efforts by the Bush Administration appear to have put an end to Koreaâ€™s quest for nuclear weapons, but at great cost in aid paid to the North Korean regime.
Meanwhile, China is arming the Middle East and other potential hot spots. In February 2004 the Washington Post reported that Chinese nuclear weapons design plans provided to Pakistan made it into the hands of Libya. CNN later reported that China was concerned about these allegations and was conducting an investigation. The Pentagon reported in May 2007 that Chinese-made armor-piercing missiles fell into the hands of anti-American militants in Iraq. It is assumed the missiles came through Iran.
The Iranians, who have nuclear ambitions of their own, depend upon Chinese and North Korean technology to keep their nuclear missile delivery program moving forward. The Iranians also have purchased sophisticated Chinese cruise anti-ship missiles that can be employed to interdict the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation suggested in September 2006 that China is providing Iran diplomatic cover for its nuclear ambitions in exchange for lucrative oil and gas deals.