Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Let's Hope China Doesn't Have Grenadiers

China's military leadership is considerably more belligerent about territorial disputes--and getting more vocal:

China's government has demanded talks with Japan in their latest dust-up over a set of tiny islands, but a high-ranking Chinese military officer has suggested drastically more belligerent responses.

Dispatch hundreds of fishing boats to fight a maritime guerrilla war, says Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan. Turn the uninhabited outcroppings into a bombing range. Rip up World War II peace agreements and seize back the territory, now controlled by Japan but long claimed by China.

"A nation without a martial spirit is a nation without hope," Luo declared at an academic forum this month in the southern city of Shenzhen while officials in Beijing continued to urge negotiations.

This is a problem. One, it means we don't know who gets to order the Chinese military into action with enough certainty for my comfort, anyway. Soothing word's from Communist Party civilian leadership may mask dangerous actions by military leadership.

Two, those belligerent generals may believe falsely that their status as a rising power means they've already passed us by in power. And so can afford to take military action against us.

We can comfort ourselves that nobody would go to war over specks of land off of the Asian continent. I'm not confident that I can appreciate what Chinese decision-makers--whoever they are--believe is rational.

Wars really can start over issues that nobody believes is worth the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier.