Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yes, But ...

Strategypage again notes (correctly) that neither Russia nor China are as formidable militarily as they appear. But that fails to account for how they threaten us which makes their threat more potent than a simple balance appears.

Okay, sure, Strategypage has a point:

[The] puffery [by our military about the military threat] is back now with regard to China and Russia. It's no secret that China and Russia have long found it impossible to create effective military forces in peacetime. Not to underestimate them, but both nations have a long history of spectacular failure in this area. The Soviets proved that the historical lessons still apply.

But this near dismissal of their threat fails to account for the fact that China and Russia are close to targets whose conquest could harm our national security; while we are far away.

So Russia and China can make gains by initiating a war that they prepare for; win that opening campaign against one of our allies who are badly outgunned; and then hold the line and dare us to take it back.

Japan had a tenth of our GDP in 1941. They won their opening campaign. Sure, we won in the end. But we took heavy casualties to do it.

Even Iraq managed to win their opening campaign by taking Kuwait in 1990.

Hell, ISIL managed that in Iraq in 2014.

And China and Russia have nuclear weapons--the ultimate weapon that the Japanese lacked in 1945 to dissuade us from rolling them back and crushing them.

Mind you, I readily admit that I would never trade places with Russia or China. (China has made great economic strides in a short time--from a very low base. So don't over-estimate what China has achieved compared to the Western world--which includes Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. I'm not sure where to place Singapore in this context.)

But both have opportunities to make gains at our expense against targets close to them while we mobilize and deploy our still-superior but largely distant military power to defeat them and roll back their gains.