Saturday, May 27, 2006

Horns of a Dilemma

China is splitting its resources between efforts to secure sea imports and land imports for their energy needs. They will end up having insufficient resources to protect both sources.

As background, I'm upset that Russia has successfully pointed China south at America by selling arms useful for a naval war over Taiwan. China also sees this naval power as a way to secure their oil imports by sea.

I argued that we need to point China inland to avoid a fight with China over Taiwan rather than prepare to beat China over Taiwan. In part, I wanted China to import energy via overland pipelines to get China looking to the interior of Asia instead of the sea.

And then I noted here that China was indeed building energy supply lines to central Asia to reduce their high dependence on sea imports that we will be able to inderdict with ease. I concluded:

And as I note, if it comes to the worst case and war, China will never be freed from the need to import oil by sea. Our naval power will have Chinese supply lines to interdict. We will also be able to hit the land routes with our air power, too, I think. The advantage to us will be that China will have to split their resources between an eastern sea threat and a western land threat. Like the Kaiser's Germany trying to be both a sea and naval power, China will fail at both.

And now via Winds of Change is this description of Chinese investments in land power to be able to secure these Asian supply sources:

By the end of the decade, Kazakhstan will become vital to China's energy security. China is buying up Kazakh oilfields and companies. If there were to be a problem with the flow of oil to China, its doctrinal philosophy of "active defense" means that the Chinese government will launch a pre-emptive strike to ensure the security of the state and its assets. The PLA is mechanizing much of its army and is creating at least two powerful armor heavy mechanized corps modeled after the 1980s Soviet Operational Maneuver Groups, which are designed for both breakthrough and exploitation roles in an offensive operation. Too heavy for amphibious deployment against Taiwan or for operations in China's tropical areas, the corps is designed to ensure China's future energy security. The force, using Xinjiang province as its springboard, would quickly overrun the defenses of any Central Asian state and would then be able to secure relevant oilfields. The PLA has already announced its readiness to go to the next stage of its development and "forge a strong military force powerful enough to take on important missions on the basis of China's economic development".

Surrounded by potential enemies around nearly their entire perimeter with America in the background supporting most of these threats to China, Peking is forced to build land and sea power. And as China builds this armored offensive capability, Russia may be forced to reconsider their decision to sell arms to China.

I would never trade places with China. Their strategic situation purely sucks.

Couldn't happen to a nicer group of dictatorial thugs, in my opinion.