The United States Is Pushing Toward War With China

Authored by Michael Klare via The Nation,

The decision to change the name of US forces in the Pacific is more than symbolic... it’s a threat.

On May 30, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a momentous shift in American global strategic policy.

From now on, he decreed, the US Pacific Command (PACOM), which oversees all US military forces in Asia, will be called the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).

The name change, Mattis explained, reflects “the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” as well as Washington’s determination to remain the dominant power in both.

What? You didn’t hear about this anywhere? And even now, you’re not exactly blown away, right? Well, such a name change may not sound like much, but someday you may look back and realize that it couldn’t have been more consequential or ominous. Think of it as a signal that the US military is already setting the stage for an eventual confrontation with China.

If, until now, you hadn’t read about Mattis’s decision anywhere, I’m not surprised since the media gave it virtually no attention—less certainly than would have been accorded the least significant tweet Donald Trump ever dispatched. What coverage it did receive treated the name change as no more than a passing “symbolic” gesture, a Pentagon ploy to encourage India to join Japan, Australia, and other US allies in America’s Pacific alliance system. “In Symbolic Nod to India, US Pacific Command Changes Name” was the headline of a Reuters story on the subject and, to the extent that any attention was paid, it was typical.

That the media’s military analysts failed to notice anything more than symbolism in the deep-sixing of PACOM shouldn’t be surprising, given all the attention being paid to other major international developments—the pyrotechnics of the Korean summit in Singapore, the insults traded at and after the G7 meeting in Canada, or the ominous gathering storm over Iran. Add to this the poor grasp so many journalists have of the nature of the US military’s strategic thinking. Still, Mattis himself has not been shy about the geopolitical significance of linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans in such planning. In fact, it represents a fundamental shift in US military thinking with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Consider the backdrop to the name change: in recent months, the United States has stepped up its naval patrols in waters adjacent to Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea (as has China), raising the prospect of future clashes between the warships of the two countries. Such moves have been accompanied by ever more threatening language from the Department of Defense (DoD), indicating an intent to do nothing less than engage China militarily if that country’s build-up in the region continues. “When it comes down to introducing what they have done in the South China Sea, there are consequences,” Mattis declared at the Shangri La Strategic Dialogue in Singapore on June 2.

As a preliminary indication of what he meant by this, Mattis promptly disinvited the Chinese from the world’s largest multinational naval exercise, the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), conducted annually under American auspices. “But that’s a relatively small consequence,” he added ominously, “and I believe there are much larger consequences in the future.” With that in mind, he soon announced that the Pentagon is planning to conduct “a steady drumbeat” of naval operations in waters abutting those Chinese-occupied islands, which should raise the heat between the two countries and could create the conditions for a miscalculation, a mistake, or even an accident at sea that might lead to far worse.

In addition to its plans to heighten naval tensions in seas adjacent to China, the Pentagon has been laboring to strengthen its military ties with US-friendly states on China’s perimeter, all clearly part of a long-term drive to—in Cold War fashion—“contain” Chinese power in Asia. On June 8, for example, the DoD launched Malabar 2018, a joint Pacific Ocean naval exercise involving forces from India, Japan, and the United States. Incorporating once neutral India into America’s anti-Chinese “Pacific” alliance system in this and other ways has, in fact, become a major 21st-century goal of the Pentagon, posing a significant new threat to China.

For decades, the principal objective of US strategy in Asia had been to bolster key Pacific allies Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines, while containing Chinese power in adjacent waters, including the East and South China Seas. However, in recent times, China has sought to spread its influence into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region, in part by extolling its staggeringly ambitious “One Belt, One Road” trade and infrastructure initiative for the Eurasian continent and Africa. That vast project is clearly meant both as a unique vehicle for cooperation and a way to tie much of Eurasia into a future China-centered economic and energy system. Threatened by visions of such a future, American strategists have moved ever more decisively to constrain Chinese outreach in those very areas. That, then, is the context for the sudden concerted drive by US military strategists to link the Indian and Pacific Oceans and so encircle China with pro-American, anti-Chinese alliance systems. The name change on May 30 is a formal acknowledgement of an encirclement strategy that couldn’t, in the long run, be more dangerous.

GIRDING FOR WAR WITH CHINA

To grasp the ramifications of such moves, some background on the former PACOM might be useful. Originally known as the Far East Command, PACOM was established in 1947 and has been headquartered at US bases near Honolulu, Hawaii, ever since. As now constituted, its “area of responsibility” encompasses a mind-boggling expanse: all of East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans—in other words, an area covering about 50% of the Earth’s surface and incorporating more than half of the global population. Though the Pentagon divides the whole planet like a giant pie into a set of “unified commands,” none of them is larger than the newly expansive, newly named Indo-Pacific Command, with its 375,000 military and civilian personnel.

Before the Indian Ocean was explicitly incorporated into its fold, PACOM mainly focused on maintaining control of the western Pacific, especially in waters around a number of friendly island and peninsula states like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Its force structure has largely been composed of air and naval squadrons, along with a large Marine Corps presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Its most powerful combat unit is the US Pacific Fleet —like the area it now covers, the largest in the world. It’s made up of the 3rd and 7th Fleets, which together have approximately 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 sailors, pilots, Marines, and civilians.

On a day-to-day basis, until recently, the biggest worry confronting the command was the possibility of a conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea. During the late fall of 2017 and the winter of 2018, PACOM engaged in a continuing series of exercises designed to test its forces’ ability to overcome North Korean defenses and destroy its major military assets, including nuclear and missile facilities. These were undoubtedly intended, above all, as a warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about what he could expect if he continued down the path of endless provocative missile and nuclear tests. It seems that, at least for the time being, President Trump has suspended such drills as a result of his summit meeting with Kim.

North Korea aside, the principal preoccupation of PACOM commanders has long been the rising power of China and how to contain it. This was evident at the May 30 ceremony in Hawaii at which Mattis announced that expansive name change and presided over a change-of-command ceremony, in which outgoing commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., was replaced by Adm. Phil Davidson. (Given the naval-centric nature of its mission, the command is almost invariably headed by an admiral.)

While avoiding any direct mention of China in his opening remarks, Mattis left not a smidgeon of uncertainty that the command’s new name was a challenge and a call for the future mobilization of regional opposition across a vast stretch of the planet to China’s dreams and desires. Other nations welcome US support, he insisted, as they prefer an environment of “free, fair, and reciprocal trade not bound by any nation’s predatory economics or threat of coercion, for the Indo-Pacific has many belts and many roads.” No one could mistake the meaning of that.

Departing Admiral Harris was blunter still. Although “North Korea remains our most immediate threat,” he declared, “China remains our biggest long-term challenge.” He then offered a warning: Without the stepped-up efforts of the US and its allies to constrain Beijing, “China will realize its dream of hegemony in Asia.” Yes, he admitted, it was still possible to cooperate with the Chinese on limited issues, but we should “stand ready to confront them when we must.” (On May 18, Admiral Harris was nominated by President Trump as the future US ambassador to South Korea, which will place a former military man at the US Embassy in Seoul.)

Harris’s successor, Admiral Davidson, seems, if anything, even more determined to put confronting China atop the command’s agenda. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 17, he repeatedly highlighted the threat posed by Chinese military activities in the South China Sea and promised to resist them vigorously.

“Once [the South China Sea islands are] occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania,” he warned.

“The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] will be able to use these bases to challenge US presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants. In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

Is that, then, what Admiral Davidson sees in our future? War with China in those waters? His testimony made it crystal clear that his primary objective as head of the Indo-Pacific Command will be nothing less than training and equipping the forces under him for just such a future war, while enlisting the militaries of as many allies as possible in the Pentagon’s campaign to encircle that country.

“To prevent a situation where China is more likely to win a conflict,” he affirmed in his version of Pentagonese, “we must resource high-end capabilities in a timely fashion, preserve our network of allies and partners, and continue to recruit and train the best soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen in the world.”

Davidson’s first priority is to procure advanced weaponry and integrate it into the command’s force structure, ensuring that American combatants will always enjoy a technological advantage over their Chinese counterparts in any future confrontation. Almost as important, he, like his predecessors, seeks to bolster America’s military ties with other members of the contain-China club. This is where India comes in. Like the United States, its leadership is deeply concerned with China’s expanding presence in the Indian Ocean region, including the opening of a future port/naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan, and another potential one on the island of Sri Lanka, both in the Indian Ocean. Not surprisingly, given the periodic clashes between Chinese and Indian forces along their joint Himalayan borderlands and the permanent deployment of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has shown himself to be increasingly disposed to join Washington in military arrangements aimed at limiting China’s geopolitical reach.

“An enduring strategic partnership with India comports with US goals and objectives in the Indo-Pacific,” Admiral Davidson said in his recent congressional testimony. Once installed as commander, he continued, “I will maintain the positive momentum and trajectory of our burgeoning strategic partnership.” His particular goal: to “increase maritime security cooperation.”

And so we arrive at the Indo-Pacific Command and a future shadowed by the potential for great power war.

THE VIEW FROM BEIJING

The way the name change at PACOM was covered in the United States, you would think it reflected, at most, a benign wish for greater economic connections between the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions, as well, perhaps, as a nod to America’s growing relationship with India. Nowhere was there any hint that what might lie behind it was a hostile and potentially threatening new approach to China—or that it could conceivably be perceived that way in Beijing. But there can be no doubt that the Chinese view such moves, including recent provocative naval operations in the disputed Paracel Islands of the South China Sea, as significant perils.

When, in late May, the Pentagon dispatched two warships—the USS Higgins, a destroyer, and the USS Antietam, a cruiser—into the waters near one of those newly fortified islands, the Chinese responded by sending in some of their own warships while issuing a statement condemning the provocative American naval patrols. The US action, said a Chinese military spokesperson, “seriously violated China’s sovereignty [and] undermined strategic mutual trust.” Described by the Pentagon as “freedom of navigation operations” (FRONOPs), such patrols are set to be increased at the behest of Mattis.

Of course, the Chinese are hardly blameless in the escalating tensions in the region. They have continued to militarize South China Sea islands whose ownership is in dispute, despite a promise that Chinese President Xi Jinping made to President Obama in 2015 not to do so. Some of those islands in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries in the area and have been the subject of intensifying, often bitter disagreements among them about where rightful ownership really lies. Beijing has simply claimed sovereignty over all of them and refuses to compromise on the issue. By fortifying them—which American military commanders see as a latent military threat to US forces in the region—Beijing has provoked a particularly fierce US reaction, though these are obviously waters relatively close to China, but many thousands of miles from the continental United States.

From Beijing, the strategic outlook articulated by Secretary Mattis, as well as Admirals Harris and Davidson, is clearly viewed—and not without reason—as threatening and as evidence of Washington’s master plan to surround China, confine it, and prevent it from ever achieving the regional dominance its leaders believe is its due as the rising great power on the planet. To the Chinese leadership, changing PACOM’s name to the Indo-Pacific Command will just be another signal of Washington’s determination to extend its unprecedented military presence westward from the Pacific around Southeast Asia into the Indian Ocean and so further restrain the attainment of what it sees as China’s legitimate destiny.

However Chinese leaders end up responding to such strategic moves, one thing is certain: They will not view them with indifference. On the contrary, as challenged great powers have always done, they will undoubtedly seek ways to counter America’s containment strategy by whatever means are at hand. These may not initially be overtly military or even obvious, but in the long run they will certainly be vigorous and persistent. They will include efforts to compete with Washington in pursuit of Asian allies—as seen in Beijing’s fervent courtship of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines—and to secure new basing arrangements abroad, possibly under the pretext, as in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, of establishing commercial shipping terminals. All of this will only add new tensions to an already anxiety-inducing relationship with the United States. As ever more warships from both countries patrol the region, the likelihood that accidents will occur, mistakes will be made, and future military clashes will result can only increase.

With the possibility of war with North Korea fading in the wake of the recent Singapore summit, one thing is guaranteed: The new US Indo-Pacific Command will only devote itself ever more fervently to what is already its one overriding priority: preparing for a conflict with China. Its commanders insist that they do not seek such a war, and believe that their preparations—by demonstrating America’s strength and resolve—will deter the Chinese from ever challenging American supremacy. That, however, is a fantasy. In reality, a strategy that calls for a “steady drumbeat” of naval operations aimed at intimidating China in waters near that country will create ever more possibilities, however unintended, of sparking the very conflagration that it is, at least theoretically, designed to prevent.

Right now, a Sino-American war sounds like the plotline of some half-baked dystopian novel. Unfortunately, given the direction in which both countries (and their militaries) are heading, it could, in the relatively near future, become a grim reality.

Comments

philipat vaporland Fri, 06/22/2018 - 04:13 Permalink

Any future war with China will, in fact be a war with both China and Russia. The US realizes too late that it has forced China and Russia closer together into a deep strategic alliance which will look away from the US towards Eurasia (and probably Europe also if the US stays on its present path with "allies" in Europe) and away from the USD (which is, of course a large part of the US's problem with them; like with Libya).

And Russia has developed some powerful weapons, which probably explains the upcoming summit with Putin to try to fool him into some sort of arms agreement. These weapons were, of course, developed only as an asymmetric response by Russia to the unilateral withdrawal by the US from the ABM treaty. Putin is not stupid enough to fall into any US trap which would freeze the strategic advantage these weapons give Russia and will just string the US along.

Long story short, if the US wants to go to war with China, it had better be ready to take on BOTH China and Russia along multiple fronts.

In reply to by vaporland

Heros philipat Fri, 06/22/2018 - 05:55 Permalink

Like every other political event in the west, the first question you have to ask is "how is it good for the jews".

We know that their big project is Eretz Israel, and that Russia stood up and said Nyet.  First in Ukraine, then in Syria.

Even worse, there seems to be an Orthodox Christian revival going on in Russia, and Putin has, though absence of anyone else being willing to take the crown, become the defender of Christianity.  Throw in the never ending sodomite hissy fit and poo-flinging at their hate-hate-hated Putin.  Jews like it when goyim turn fag.

So the real target is Russia, the problem is that China knows that if Russia goes, they are next.

Especially American Jews have declared Putin and Russia Amalek, just like they did to Germany before they started WWII.  In exactly the same fashion they are trying to get WWIII for Israel started against Russia, but like Hitler, they can't coerce Putin to take the bait.

So just like in WWII, they are turning to another target to get the war started.  Then it was Japan, now it is China.  If China refuses to back down on supporting the Amalek Russia, then now China, like then Japan, will face being declared Amalek too.  Part of this message is Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In reply to by philipat

keep the basta… Heros Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:37 Permalink

Hiroshima and Nagasaki was then.

However American bases are still in Japan against the wishes of the people... old traditional Japanese standing outside bases for years in protest. USA kidnapping young girls raping and killing, drunken hit and runs.. noise, polution, dud planes dropping bits or falling out of the sky on schools and such. 

Russia was Christian until the kazarians got out of the Pale with Talmudic Marxism. 64 million ethnic Russians and others died in Gulags due to Jewish bolsheviks, and they are NOT sated. Russian Christianity is fine, it was that for a millennia or more.

In reply to by Heros

Heros keep the basta… Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:48 Permalink

I called up wiki and checked the map. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement#/media/File:Map_showin…

Modern day Russia is completely outside of the pale of settlement, except Crimea.  Belarus, Poland and Ukraine were all within the pale.

They always say that is was Al Queda that claimed whatever Islam conquered remained theirs forever.  In reality, it is the jews who are implementing this doctrine.

In reply to by keep the basta…

any_mouse Heros Fri, 06/22/2018 - 07:25 Permalink

Wikipedia is not reliable.

"Beyond the Pale of Settlement"

The Pale refers to poles with fencing that mark the extent of the Settlement.

Beyond the Pale is uncivilized land.

The map you've linked to is deceit.

Imperial Russia enacted the law restricting Jews to living Beyond the Pale of Settlement, Imperial Russia being the Settlement.

The area marked in red, where the Jews lived, was beyond the pale.

Those areas of Europe were infested.

The law was in place until the Jew Bolsheviks took over. First thing they did was ship the Imperial Treasury westward. Beyond the Pale to financiers.

In reply to by Heros

Grimaldus philipat Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:41 Permalink

Bullshit.

Russia is too smart to get in bed with the pirate Chinese.

This article is yet another disgusting piece of Chinese pirate state propaganda.

China has been and always will be the aggressor, the US is reacting to Chinese piracy.

How do you deal with pirates?

You blow them out of the water.

Check Indonesia and Argentina actions concerning the Chinese pirate militia "fishing fleet" for example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grimaldus

In reply to by philipat

Quantify philipat Fri, 06/22/2018 - 08:00 Permalink

Russia would be foolish to back China. The U.S. on the other hand will have ample help from Japan and other regional powers (quite a few) due to Chinas push into the S. China sea. Nobody wants to see a single country claim an entire ocean to itself. It will get tense over that subject in the coming months or few years.

In reply to by philipat

gregga777 Food Loaf Junkie Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:49 Permalink

No one in the last 1000 yrs. has been able to "finish off" Afghanistan, amazing resilience.

It set of helps that there is nothing much worth destroying there. Since, as you correctly noted, there have been people fucking up. their shit for at least several millennia. Remember Alexander the Great tried it about 2300 years ago. He said, that even the dirt there is lethally hostile. 

In reply to by Food Loaf Junkie

char_aznable p4424119 Fri, 06/22/2018 - 04:14 Permalink

It's a fucking show you idiots. God, Americans are so dumb. Go to war with China. Seriously, I want to see the west coast of America turned to smithereens and your circumcised troops made fodder. LOL jew slaves incarnate. Americans are so dumb, they consider paint splatter art, a scaly dick head hygienic, and theft government.

 

I can't wait to see them burn and starve. 

 

t. the true inheritors of our great sphere

In reply to by p4424119

Matteo S. Lost My Shorts Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:07 Permalink

Yes. So basically your idea is the Chinese will lose their already worthless dollars while the US corporations will lose all their production base in China !

 

What a great deal ! LOL !

 

Oh by the way, do you know about rare earths ? China has almost world of them. No IT industry can live without rare earths.

 

So you’d better quit smoking crack.

In reply to by Lost My Shorts

keep the basta… TheSilentMajority Fri, 06/22/2018 - 06:22 Permalink

I can’t imagine the USA taking on China in a war. It has allies. It is strong. The USA would not have a hope of defeating China. And if it did, what gain, oil fields, gold, farmland? American factories operating in China?  When 200 planes are delivered to the Pentagon and they are corroded it’s a joke. The USA is being mislead somewhere.

as well the Shanghai co operative organisation, the BRICS, China has support.

how do empires end?

Offered links to a friend, now screaming left in USA terms, (hates Trump because he married a beautiful woman instead of an ugly) she snarled that she respected Aus msm. So much for uni studies on peloponesian wars etc. the Hillary mindset spread far and wide over the planet.

meanwhile the north and South Korea’s are having happy happy thoughts of reunification, having a railway right thru to Russia to the trans Siberian, having an oil pipeline and Russian electricity. Happy times. Kindness. Respect. So sad. 

In reply to by TheSilentMajority

any_mouse Yen Cross Fri, 06/22/2018 - 07:41 Permalink

There are software packages that do that based on service/billing/shipping address. Wireless providers have used these packages for some time.

City, County, State.

Also affects taxing before or after Rebates and Discounts.

California being a real bitch with taxing the price before rebate and or discount. $100 rebate on a smartphone matters.

In reply to by Yen Cross