Is China Preparing for War?

Is China Preparing for War? By David Archibald.

We tend to rationalize other countries’ behavior because it is hard to accept, in this day and age, that a country would go to war just for the sake of it. Thus, there is a theory that China is just testing the limits of what it can get away with in the South China Sea, the Senkakus, etc., like a two-year-old testing the limits of tolerated behavior, but will stop short of war.

It was the same situation prior to World War II. There were some individuals who saw what was coming and prepared accordingly. A few years ago, I was at a reception in Washington at which the guest of honor was Gen. Edward Rowny, then aged 96. As a teenager, Edward Rowny attended the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He saw that Germany was preparing for war, so he came back to enroll at West Point.

At about the same time, a British air force officer inspected a German airfield for fighter aircraft. When he saw that the airfield was set up with refueling points around the apron, to minimize turnaround time between sorties, he realized that the Germans were intending to fight a war, not just enforce a peace.

Churchill was both hero and villain in this period in that while he was a lone voice in the House of Commons warning of the coming conflict, he was also the original author in 1919 of the “ten-year rule” under which the U.K. declared that, as it was not expecting a war within the following ten years, it could run down its armed forces. The effects of that policy were still being felt when the war started in 1939. The modern parallel is Obama’s shrinking of the defense budget from 2010. …

Chinese naval officers can’t stand to be in the same room as Japanese naval officers – the hate they have drilled into them overcomes any basic civility they might have. If you want to read the heartbeat of that hate, the Japanese Foreign Ministry provides a monthly update of Chinese incursions into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands:

The fishing vessels involved are paid by the Chinese government to do this. The incursions started with Xi Jinping’s ascendancy to chairman of the Central Military Commission in 2012, before he became president in 2013. Until those bars go to zero, war is coming in East Asia. …

[Xi] wants to establish a dynasty like Mao before him. Mao’s son was killed by a U.S. air raid during the Korean War, thus China has so far avoided leadership by inheritance as per the North Korean communist model. But Xi has started talking about the importance of “red genes” in running the country, legitimizing rule by the descendants of the generals of the Long March. This is to set his daughter up to succeed him.