Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fear? No. Respect? Yes

This article asks if we should fear China's military and answers by saying "no," we will figure out how to mitigate our counter China's threats. This is a little short of the respect I'd hope we'd have for China's military.

I'm on board with not fearing China's military, but that shouldn't mean we don't respect it as a potential foe that could inflict defeats on us:

Washington must take a balanced approach towards China’s A2/AD challenge—not overhyping the threat, but certainly not underappreciating the challenge, either. In the very near future (some would argue even today), American strategists must now factor in the challenges presented by an increasingly robust Chinese military that holds growing capabilities to effectively deny large sections of the Pacific Ocean to U.S. forces. American defense experts are already at work recognizing the challenge and are developing the tools to negate such a scenario. Washington clearly realizes A2/AD weapons and strategies are diffusing around the globe, putting American and allied forces in danger, unless they evolve or adapt.

I've even mentioned that the DF-21 is hardly revolutionary because we've faced other land-based threats to our naval power (and China will face it, too). There are points of vulnerability in the kill chain.

But I worry a lot that we are trying to evolve or adapt a platform-centric weapon system that just cannot evolve or adapt to face this type of network-centric threat.

And I worry that we need a point to sailing into the western Pacific.

And China can inflict defeats on us in the short run in the western Pacific because of the simple geography that China is capable of seizing the initiative by initiating the war and is concentrated there while our forces are scattered around the globe.

This should not be a difficult concept to grasp since we faced it in NATO before (and may again if Putin gets his way).

So a little less fear is in order. And perhaps a little more respect is needed. And we certainly need to examine whether our notions of evolving or adapting are sufficient to actually meet the new challenges.

I have seen a glimmer of hope recently. But I've also been disappointed.