It’s time to clear the decks for war with China

It’s Time To Clear The Decks For War With China

by David Archibald

11 December 2018


A strange thing about human history is the fact that races that separated tens of thousands of years ago ended up producing large stone buildings within a couple of thousand years of each other. The Mayans were effectively contemporaneous with the Egyptians and the Chinese, without any of these groups being aware of each other’s existence. It is as if there was an alarm clock in human development, a kind of inevitability about the outcome.

Egypt civilization and the Mayan civilization both arose around 3400 B.C.

There is something of that sense of inevitability at the moment; that history is on a timetable and ratcheting forward.

A number of things are coming to a head much at the same time. Let’s start with China. Early in his reign Dictator Xi directed the Peoples’ Liberation Army to be capable of invading Taiwan in 2020. Now only one calendar year separates us from that target kick-off date. What if he meant it? Considered opinion is that China won’t prevail with the current state of its armed forces but Xi might try if he sees his options being closed off by a weakening economy. We know war is coming because of the steady drumbeat of Chinese incursions into Japanese territory.

Then there’s Europe. Macron and Merkel’s call for a European army to enforce EU directives on recalcitrant Europeans has been followed by Merkel saying that the sovereignty of European countries should be abolished and that all should be dissolved into the EU morass.  She said this even as Paris was burning in response to Macron’s attempt to remold France using global warming as the excuse. She clung on to power by the skin of her teeth at the last election, but appears to have no self-awareness. But perhaps she and Macron are on a timetable. They must press on and keep to the timetable despite setbacks. They are not bothering to win popularity contests. They are seemingly compelled to get the statist EU project as far along as possible in the time left to them.

Some of the militaries in Europe have started training for fighting in civil wars — the Polish military for civil war in Germany, and the French in their own country. The intersection of these two trends — the EU statist project and civil war to defend against it — looks like coming sooner rather than later.

In the Middle East, Iran is continuing to build its stock of rocket artillery in Syria and Lebanon, and adding GPS guidance to the larger ones to make them far more effective. Israel has been good at swatting down individual rockets and salvos. But it appears that what Iran has in mind is a mass attack that will overwhelm the Israeli defenses. And bankrupt them, as each Tamir rocket in an Iron Dome battery costs $70,000 to make while intercepting rockets cost only a twentieth of that. It doesn’t matter to Iran how many Iranians and their proxies like Hezbollah die. If Israel is seriously damaged by a hail of missiles then Israel’s sense of invincibility, its self-image, and its legitimacy will be degraded, weakening it before the next round of hostilities.

Iron Dome system in Ashdod intercepts a rocket fired from Gaza, 2012.

The big one is China and everything should be subordinated to winning that one. Some have been wondering if the U.S. has the resources to win against China and Russia at the same time. This is delusional. Russia is paranoid more than powerful, barely able to afford the military it has — which is far too large for the size of the Russian economy. There is no appetite in Russia for losing blood. From individuals through mafia chiefs up to the national level, they are more interested in hanging on to what they have than military adventurism. That is not to say the Russians are not opportunistic.  Therein lies the problem. The Russians have probably promised China that they will not stab them in the back when China starts its war in East Asia, but in the turmoil coming their form suggests they will seize opportunities when they see little risk and cost.

If we want to keep our casualties down, if we want a shorter war, if we want it to cost less, then Russia needs to made less paranoid. Only facts on the ground can change that, not words. The first thing to do is withdraw from Afghanistan. Add it to the tally of lost wars and get over it. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis has recently reverted to the notion that if we don’t fight them there then we will be fighting them here. Of course the opposite is true. American efforts at nation-building created perfect breeding conditions for Afghanis. There are now fifteen million more of them now than when the war started, up 40 percent. There is nothing for most Afghan adults to do, so a proportion become terrorists. The more Afghanis there are, the more terrorists are created.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan will lead to starvation as nobody will be paying for the imported grain. Surviving Afghanis will be too busy surviving to worry about much else.  Only travel restrictions stop terrorist attacks on Australian and U.S. soil, nothing else does.

The next thing to do is to chuck Turkey out of NATO. This has parallels in history. Responding to Turkish atrocities against Slavic peoples in the Balkans, Russia invaded Turkey in 1878. Nobody had any sympathy for the Turks but the other European powers didn’t want Russia to get too powerful. So Britain stepped in to halt the war and further Russian gains. This time we withdraw from Turkey so that Russia will feel less encirclement.

American diplomacy should be encouraging a wedge between China and Russia, not driving Russia into China’s embrace because nobody else will pretend to be friends with them. If China wins the war it wants in East Asia then that will be very bad long term for Russia, because China will eventually try to seize Siberia. That should be our message.

Who wants this?

It’s hard to be friends with people who kill their escaped citizens with radiological and nerve poisons, as Russia has done. But President Trump was praised for declaring Kim Jong-un a best friend forever, despite the fact that Kim was known to have ordered the deaths of dozens of people in inventive ways such as 30 mm anti-aircraft fire and mortar rounds. And busing in the elite of Pyongyang to witness the spectacle.

For some reason the Chicoms feel the need to kill a lot of non-Chinese in the war they have planned, in order to be able to feel better about themselves. Let’s not make that struggle any more difficult than it need be.


David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.