There are a few essays filed today at Strategypage.com that concern how China is developing into a credible future threat.
One of the most exciting developments in weapon systems over the past several years has been the emergence of sophisticated Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, robot planes that are controlled from the ground which are unfettered by the frailties that come with having a human pilot on board. This article details how the Chinese are looking to field their own version of the Global Hawk, one of the more capable UAVs in the US arsenal.
The reason why this is interesting to observers in the West is due to the fact that this new aircraft is intended to be used for maritime patrol, even though China is hardly a great naval power. The only credible justification of the expense for development and deployment of the new weapon is as yet another tool to be used in the military conquest of Taiwan, a goal the communist government of China has never been shy about expressing.
The Chinese have no real chance of landing troops on Taiwan unless they first neutralize any US aircraft carriers in the region. This article details how Chinese submarines are stalking American carriers, something that strongly reminds me of the bad old days of Soviet/American cat and mouse naval games during the Cold War.
If you should be moved to click on that last link, please note how some Chinese subs are being deployed even though they are unsuited to this kind of work because of excessive noise. This shows that the Chinese military understands that real world training is paramount if one is to have an effective military. It also indicates that they are well aware that the Americans are very unlikely to attack the Chinese vessels, and so they can gain that training at very little risk to their scarce and expensive submarine fleet.
Besides the naval assets that the US has in the area, China must also destroy or neutralize any land based aircraft that have the range to oppose an invasion of Taiwan. This article explains how one of the more likely scenarios hinges on deals the Chinese could secretly broker deals with South Korea and Japan, the two countries that host extensive American air bases, to sit out any conflict. This would be based on a promise from Beijing to limit their attacks to US targets only, leaving Japan and South Korea intact and virtually untouched.
This might seem far fetched, two of our most important allies in the region sitting out a major conflict between the US and China, but the author of the essay opens by explaining that “South Korea and Japan are concerned about the Chinese military buildup…” Unless both countries have some sort of guarantee that the US will vigorously defend them in the face of Chinese aggression, they might very well decide that such a deal is in their own best interests.
Again, keep in mind that all three articles were posted on the same day. This increased activity from China shows that they are preparing for a possible military solution to what they see as the Taiwan Problem, and at a frantic pace.
Why would they be doing that? What is the rush?
The most likely explanation is that the growth of the Chinese economy in recent years has allowed the Communist government to afford all of this weapon development, weapon building, and increased training. They are doing it because they have the money, so why not?
But another factor might be that they realize that with Obama in the White House, there is very little chance that the US Commander in Chief will be inclined to resist military aggression with military might. Toss in a Congress dominated by Democrats who cling to the notion that America is always wrong in a conflict, and the odds of the Chinese trying to invade Taiwan with a modern day blitzkrieg becomes frighteningly credible.
It seems obvious that the Chinese military is decades away from threatening the United States directly by conventional means, if ever. But one of the most important assets they need to enslave millions of people who are currently free is a US that loses the will to protect those people. Obama likes to claim that his so far unrevealed diplomacy skills will make the world a less violent and safer place. I think the evidence points towards the exact opposite.