- A U.S. military strategy more limited than ‘Air-Sea Battle’ would be cheaper and sufficient to face potential conflict with China, argues William Yale at The Diplomat.
Patterns of analysis, namely game theory and the Net Assessment process, have led to unhelpful assumptions, Yale writes. Running under the surface of this argument is the power of military interests to drive strategy when broad-stroke decisions go un-examined by civilian leaders.
“In planning for the China scenario, the U.S. should be focusing on acquiring weapon systems that have low-visibility, low-escalation potential, high-survivability, and high-deterrence value, which would allow the U.S. military to conduct a blockade (lower-end surface combatants sitting outside of China’s reach) and deny the PLA Navy the ability to sail in their neighborhood (Virginia-class submarines).”
- The United States and China might be at greater risk of military conflict now compared to if they were Cold War-style adversaries, argues Avery Goldstein in Foreign Affairs.
The risk of conflict is low, but in a conflict, the risk of escalation is currently high, Goldstein argues, recommending use of the U.S.–China hotline as intended and increased mil-mil exchanges.
“It is true that China and the United States are not currently adversaries — certainly not in the way that the Soviet Union and the United States were during the Cold War. But the risk of a U.S.-Chinese crisis might actually be greater than it would be if Beijing and Washington were locked in a zero-sum, life-and-death struggle. As armed adversaries on hair-trigger alert, the Soviet Union and the United States understood that their fundamentally opposed interests might bring about a war. After going through several nerve-racking confrontations over Berlin and Cuba, they gained an understanding of each other’s vital interests — not to be challenged without risking a crisis — and developed mechanisms to avoid escalation. China and the United States have yet to reach a similar shared understanding about vital interests or to develop reliable means for crisis management.”
- A translation of the purported full text of the Communist Party internal “Document 9” from April on managing the ideological sphere was published by the Asia Society’s ChinaFile.
This document targets incorrect views supposedly promoted by those abroad and those who question Communist Party rule, including the virtue of constitutional governance, free press, civil society, and on the other hand anti-reform voices. The full text fits many recent reports of “crackdowns” on diverse viewpoints.
“These mistaken views and ideas exist in great numbers in overseas media and reactionary publications. They penetrate China through the Internet and underground channels and they are disseminated on domestic Internet forums, blogs, and microblogs, They also appear in public lectures, seminars, university classrooms, class discussion forums, civilian study groups, and individual publications. If we allow any of these ideas to spread, they will disturb people’s existing consensus on important issues like which flag to raise, which road to take, which goals to pursue, etc., and this will disrupt our nation’s stable progress on reform and development.”
This is an experiment. In my new position, I need to keep close track of news developments. Perhaps a good way to do this is to build a daily briefing, in the tradition of Bill Bishop’s update at Sinocism or Politico’s morning e-mail, or indeed of this blog’s former practice of posting Del.icio.us links. Only time will tell just how daily this actually is, and here goes a first shot. Of course, this is far from comprehensive.
South China Sea
- China has raised the status of three island groups from county- to prefecture-level. This raises the level of the Hainan Province administrative body with purported jurisdiction over the Paracels and the Spratlys.
- “Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun summoned Vietnamese Ambassador to China Nguyen Van Tho on Thursday to lodge a solemn representation to the Vietnamese side on passing a national law of the sea.” The law reportedly asserted sovereignty over the islands.
- A South China Morning Post article considers the potential for the Philippines to bring China to international arbitration or tribunal unilaterally, despite the convention that both parties need to agree to such a resolution.
- The Philippines will conduct a flyover of the Scarborough Shoal, and its ships will return if foreign vessels are present in the region, President Aquino said.
- Both the Philippines and China had previously reportedly pulled out their vessels from the area surrounding the Scarborough shoal, a land feature in the South China Sea claimed in various ways by each country. The reason? Supposedly, bad weather.
- Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen met on June 18and discussed the South China Sea, among other issues.
Air-Sea Battle Concept
- U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke on the Air-Sea Battle “concept”/”doctrine” at Brookings May 16. No mention of China, but the opening of the Arctic is noted, as is electronic warfare.
Scientific Collaboration With China
- A U.S. Congressional committee chairman may or may not have called China “the enemy.” While a colleague questioned White House advisor John Holdren—previously a key figure in the Harvard environmental politics world—House Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) had something to add. “I don’t think you’re gonna get the answer that you expected to get, Mr. Rohrabacher,” Hall said, referring to his colleage. “I too have seen our president bow and scrape to the enemy on many occasions.” The line of questioning was on scientific collaborations with China.
China–U.S. and China–World Investment
- A Missouri man has been stuck in China over a business dispute for several months, the Associated Press reported. I think Dan Harris of China Law Blog would offer a forehead-slapping motion over the following: “Because of the unpaid debt to Chinese suppliers, and citing Fleischli’s status as NorthPole’s legal representative in China, a court in Xiamen ordered Fleischli detained. … Fleischli hadn’t even realized he was NorthPole’s legal representative, a role that makes Fleischli the point of contact for the company.” Why you pay attention to business laws.
- In my first contribution to Fortune Magazine, I explore what’s behind some sizable investments apparently by Chinese individuals in Toledo, Ohio. The article will run in super-short form in the magazine, but this version is more complete.
- Foreign investment in China may get a bit simpler, reports the Wall Street Journal: “the China Securities Regulatory Commission said it would lower entry requirements and simplify the approval process for applicants under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors program, the primary program for foreign investors to enter China’s capital markets. It also will allow qualified foreign investors to hold more shares in domestically listed companies and enter the country’s interbank bond market.”
Daily Translation (another experiment)