Thursday, November 15, 2018

All Your Far East are Belong to Us*

America has said that it won't send missiles to Europe after exiting the INF treaty. Which makes sense because the real target of the decision is China, which is building a large arsenal of conventional intermediate range missiles that threaten our military and allies in Asia.

Seriously, Russia is not the target of the exit even though Russia clearly benefited from cheating on the deal while America did not:

The Russians also know this American decision is really aimed at China which, and the Americans know and the Russians refuse to admit, has a more powerful military than Russia (for the first time in centuries). The Chinese lead is growing and unlike the United States or NATO, has very real and recently (1970s) fought over claims on Russian territory (the Far East and parts of eastern Siberia). China has very deliberately never renounced these claims, not after the Chinese communists took over China in 1949 and not since. Now Russia is increasingly economically dependent on China, a condition that is getting worse for Russia and appears headed for China getting its disputed territories back via economic not military conquest. For the moment Russia plays down the Chinese threat and makes much of the imaginary one posed by NATO.

Yes, China has temporarily suspended claims on Russian territory. How long will China continue to do that and what price will Russia have to pay to get China to extend that suspension of claims?

Our military would like to be able to match those missile capabilities. That would certainly lessen the burden on our aircraft and ships trying to pierce China's anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. Softening up the Chinese missile arsenal with our own missiles will make it easier to support our allies close to China.

And really, exiting INF doesn't affect the ability of Russia to pretend NATO is a threat while they appease the real threat of China.

*For those who have forgotten.