Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How a War Can Start

We may be pretty certain that if China starts a war with us right now that we'd win that war.

I suspect that China, by virtue of its geographic advantage of being far closer to the western Pacific than we are, would get in some good licks--hopefully not decisive--before we can mobilize and concentrate our globally scattered power and defeat them.

But this does not mean that China will not start a war with us.

The Chinese have to believe that if they start a war with us that they will lose the war. Otherwise, even if we do win that war as we expect, we will still have to fight that war--with all the death and costs that represents--to win the war.

Losing a war is surely worse than winning a war, but just fighting a war is not good, to state the obvious.

But it gets worse.

Not only do the Chinese have to believe that they would lose a war, but as I've noted before, that knowledge has to be shared by the Chinese military leadership and not just the political leaders.

And that's where it is still worse. After a couple decades of dramatic Chinese military improvement, China's generals are feeling their power--a bit too much:

But while the Chinese troops are much better, they are not as good as they think. This is what worries Chinese leaders because many generals and admirals are now clamoring to be turned loose on real or imagined Chinese enemies. More thoughtful political leaders realize that the Chinese generals and admirals probably overestimate their capabilities and that could lead to economic and political disaster if China suffered humiliating defeats as a result of being too aggressive in combat. The CCP leaders are having an increasingly hard time dealing with their aggressive military commanders, who are sometimes acting first and conferring with their political bosses later.

If the Chinese generals have to learn that they are not as good as they think, may it be in a war with a country that isn't us or one of our allies.