Sofge prudently observes, "Chances are that war between China and the United States will not happen in 2015, or at any other time. Under normal circumstances, a war for Taiwan would simply be too costly for either side to wage, especially given the chance of nuclear escalation. But circumstances are not always normal." He quotes retired Rear Admiral Eric McVadon of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in Cambridge, Mass., as saying, "They, (Beijing) are obsessed with Taiwan" and that "it's entirely possible" someone in Beijing's Politburo "gets the ball rolling and when it stops we're at war." McVadon also told the magazine, "I get criticized often for saying this, but I think Beijing is capable of acting irrationally when it comes to Taiwan."
Of course, the Admiral says nothing about other countries that act irrationally to start wars. He might have mentioned one country in particular that got "the ball rolling" against Viet Nam, Nicaragua, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and which overthrew by force and violence Iran in 1953, and Chile in 1973. A certain irrational country also meddled in the Chinese civil war in the first place back in the 1940s, giving aid to the Nationalist armies of dictator Chiang Kai-shek whose troops, defeated on the Mainland, fled to, and overran, Taiwan, a country whose defense the lucky U.S. taxpayers have paid billions for ever since. (The official Chinese Website publication "Global Times" claims the U.S. has given Taiwan as much as $60 billion in total military aid.)
"Preparedness is the cornerstone of deterrence," author Sofge writes, "and some analysts say that the Pentagon must match Chinese advances to prevent conflict. 'Part of what keeps the probability of war so small is that the U.S. and Taiwan have taken steps to make sure it would be painful for China,'" think tank RAND's David Shlapak is quoted by PM as saying. Even so, "Senior Pentagon leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about the Chinese arsenal," Sofge continues. He quotes Admiral Robert Willard, head of the Navy's Pacific Command, who told Congress that "the PLA's continued military advancements sustain a trend of shifting the cross-strait military balance in Beijing's favor." As well, Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that he has "moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned" about the buildup. (Uh-oh!)
"Right now the Chinese seem to have taken the lead in this new arms race," Sofge writes. "When RAND released a report in 2000 describing the potential outcome of a Sino-American conflict over Taiwan, the United States won the war handily. Nine years later, the think tank revised its analysis, accounting for Beijing's updated air force, its focus on cyber warfare and its ability to use ballistic missiles to take out American satellites. RAND's new conclusion: The United States would ultimately lose an air war, and an overall conflict would be more difficult and costly than many had imagined." As the New York Times editorialized Jan. 1, 2011, however, "The Pentagon has a long history of hyping the Chinese threat to justify expensive weapons purchases..."
PM warns, "When it comes to missiles, China may be surpassing the United States. Earlier this year, the Pentagon said China has 'the most active land-based ballistic and cruise missile program in the world.' And no one else has developed an ASBM." And there, dear taxpayers, you have an inkling of where the article is leading----to A MISSILE GAP! Back in 1958, when Senator John F. Kennedy said the Soviets had the lead in intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs), he opined there was a "missile gap" and blamed it on the Republican administration of President Dwight Eisenhower. That "Ike," the general who did so much to win World War II, would allow anything of the sort to occur on his watch, was dubious to begin with. It is also doubtful that the warmongering Bush regime (2001-2009), awash in "defense" dollars, would allow a new missile gap to develop. (In fact, the original "missile gap" was a fraud and Kennedy later admitted he was sorry he even uttered the phrase. )
What this all means is that, assuming the veracity of China's advances in missile technology, we have here the classic arms race. This is reminiscent of the sort that existed between the U.S. and Japan prior to World War II, as each country studied the latest designs of the others' warships and improved their own accordingly. And we know where that led. According to the Congressional Research Service of May 30, 2003, " Among other things, President Bush has publicly stated that the United States will do 'whatever it takes' to help Taiwan's defense -- an unprecedented statement which no prior U.S. President has made. In April 2002, the President also approved a substantial sale of U.S. weapons to Taiwan, including Kidd-class destroyers, antisubmarine P-3 "Orion" aircraft, and diesel submarines."
Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, points out: "Starting with the Bush Jr. administration the United States has deliberately exacerbated this volatile situation by providing high tech weapons systems to Taiwan in knowing violation of the 1982 Shanghai Communique' concluded between the PRC and the Reagan administration."
That declaration reads: "Having in mind the foregoing statements of both sides, the United States Government states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution. In so stating, the United States acknowledges China's consistent position regarding the thorough settlement of this issue."
However, Boyle comments, "The Obama administration has indicated its intention to carry-on with the sale of high tech weapons systems to Taiwan in violation of the Shanghai Communique'. So who is provoking whom?" Boyle is the author of " Tackling America's Toughest Questions " (Clarity Press).
Boyle says further that Beijing has indicated "it would be prepared to apply the Hong Kong Solution to Taiwan, which would put this dispute on ice for the next 99 years. By then I suspect the Communist System in China will have collapsed. In the meantime, there must also be a bilaterally negotiated and progressive demilitarization of military forces directed against each other on both sides of the Taiwan Straits." So far, however, no one in authority at the White House or State shows the slightest inkling of bringing the Taiwan issue before the World Court and resolving this interminable and volatile crisis by legal means.
While it is doubtful the Pentagon actually wants a war with China over Taiwan, there are arms manufacturers here who will profit handsomely from this escalating arms race and who march in lockstep with the Pentagon. And as ever more billions are poured down the China rat hole it will only further deprive Americans of needed funds for domestic necessities. But how valuable is housing, education, and medical care next to the production of missiles and aircraft carriers? And might that not explain why "China's Secret War Plan" fell into the hands of Popular Mechanics? #
(Sherwood Ross is director of the Anti-War News Service(AWNS) of Coral Gables, FL. He formerly worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and as a wire service columnist. To comment or contribute to AWNS, contact him at Email address removed)