Obama’s World War III in Three Years
Recently I enjoyed dinner with a friend, and we got on the subject of the potential for military conflict with China. We made some notes and it was suggested that I share this conversation with you. It is pretty close to verbatim — with some edits to make me a little more articulate than I am off the cuff. Lee, you are predicting a military confrontation between the United States and China sometime before Obama leaves office. With so much attention on the Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula lately, why are you saying this? First, a military clash with China is completely avoidable. I see Obama as a “slide to war” kind of President. He is poised to blunder us into an unwanted clash with Beijing.
Okay, though, what about the
reemergence of an
American rivalry with Russia?
Yes, it has been Russia that’s been in the headlines. The way I see it, Russia’s bullying of its neighbors is sadly nothing new. Vladimir Putin’s push to secure his Crimean water port access and annex new land is just a new twist to an ancient Kremlin obsession. Mr. Putin and others seem to dismiss America as war weary, bankrupt and overextended. Look, I am not suggesting that the U.S. act as the world’s policeman in the Ukraine. Russians seem to have a history of being opportunists when the world is focused on its own issues. Think of it. Putin took down Georgia in 2008 during the closing days of George W. Bush’s conflict-softened administration. The Soviets made an incursion to crush rebellion in Hungary in 1956 — when the West was preoccupied with crises such as in the Suez Canal. Russian troops repressed Czechoslovakia in 1968 when the U.S. was politically wracked by major assassinations and Vietnam street turmoil. The Kremlin moved into Afghanistan in 1979 when the Carter Administration was paralyzed by a pending war with Iran over an embassy hostage crisis. None of those events led to direct American intervention. We had no defense pacts to enforce with those unfortunate countries.
Most eyes are on Putin,
not China, right now….
And so are those of Chinese military strategists. Because we do have military obligations to enforce in their part of the world. Mr. Obama’s future dealings with Beijing worry me. He seems adrift and unaware of what sets the Chinese off. Or how ugly they can get when they perceive Western powers as being too close to their borders.
Ok, explain that.
My read is that the Chinese can be aggressive in a way that is completely different from what we saw with the Soviet Union. In some ways, the Chinese regime is almost “conservative.” Especially as compared to the Kremlin’s foreign adventurism during the Cold War. That too is a danger if you don’t know what boils their water. When something they don’t like is happening near their borders, Beijing’s rulers have a history of being fearless, brutal and extreme.
Mr. Obama would be wise to educate himself on this Chinese trait or we are all in for a very unpleasant surprise. In the early months of the Bush Administration, the Chinese shot at and detained a U.S. surveillance plane and its crew. Beijing forced the pre-9/11 Bush White House to apologize and insisted that the plane be dismantled, crated and shipped back to the U.S. via a rented Russian air transport.
That’s just one plane in
disputed airspace. A blip.
True. But they are slowly expanding their “airspace” to include disputed regions with Japan and Taiwan. Mr. Obama is used to dealing with Somali pirates, insurgents and small countries. China is essentially warning, through their actions, that they will take out a U.S. carrier under the right circumstances. Their current military deployments tell the story. But by then Obama may be tired of being covered as “losing” to Putin and decide to ignore Chinese preparations to deny U.S. ships safe access to the region. Under certain circumstances, Beijing will enforce what they see as their ancient claims to disputed areas. They won’t be impressed by thinly enforced U.S. defense commitments. Even with a resurgent Japan.
The rising danger of war with China is not a prediction I make lightly.
What are the President and his
foreign policy advisors missing here?
Beware of Chinese steeliness. During the Korean war, U.S. troops suffered massive casualties at the hands of 700,000 troops that Beijing threw at General Douglas T. McArthur’s forces. It was a bold and unexpected risk. This massive intervention by China came long before they tested their first nuclear bomb in 1964. Put another way, Beijing was not afraid to kill large numbers of American GIs near their border. And at a time when we enjoyed a total nuclear advantage over them. It had been only 6 years since we had used A-bombs on Japan. American nuclear credibility was at its peak.
Even the Soviets never dared to send their forces directly against U.S. troops in the Cold War.
And now China arguably is much closer to nuclear parity with us. The military preparations they are making now are deeply worrisome. Especially if we employ overstretched naval forces to operate near Taiwan and Japan. The Chinese are building a very large coastal defense that can take out capital ships — such as U.S. carriers — in just a few strokes.
You generally don’t make your primary
focus on foreign policy issues.
What is your track record
on predicting conflicts?
My main job is to teach people smart methods of selfreliance in dangerous times. That is what Independent Living’s primary mission is. So that’s my normal focus. But there have been exceptions when I see a major war brewing.
In 1998 I was so alarmed about the potential for a major terror attack on U.S. soil that I actually commissioned original artwork depicting the destruction of both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was on the front page of my then publication The American Sentinel. In my illustration, I depicted a mushroom cloud over the Trade Center.
One of my distant relatives, Admiral Patrick L. Bellinger issued what is an historical footnote known as the Martin-Bellinger Report. It specifically predicted an early morning Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And by aircraft carriers about 300 miles out. The report noted that the Japanese were sneak attack artists. Such as when they ambushed the Russian navy at the kickoff of the Russo-Japanese war of 1905.
The Martin-Bellinger report was published on March 31, 1941. Due in part to the existence of the Martin- Bellinger Report, many historians believe that the Roosevelt Administration had advance knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack. And that FDR had moved the U.S. carrier fleet to open sea to avoid the Japanese raid.
So what has happened recently
to convince you that war
with China is coming?
We already know the U.S. military is being cut to pre- World War II levels of readiness. That’s why we have elections, to decide big issues like that. And in Mr. Obama’s implementation is the most common mistake leading to war. He did not include proportionate downgrades to U.S. defense pact obligations to Japan, Taiwan and other security guarantees in Asian waters.
So America must
continue to be theworld’s policeman?
Your libertarian readers are
going to be upset to learn this.
Not so fast. If you are going to cut the U.S. military budget, you should also cut back on U.S. military guarantees. Especially to distant parts of the globe. Being stretched thin as a global military law enforcer is provocative under the right circumstances. That causes wars. And wars reduce our freedoms.
Mr. Obama is cutting back on power projection capabilities while the Chinese are steadily expanding their “airspace” over disputed territories and islands. They regard this as an ultimately inviolable zone of control. And they are making preparations to deny U.S. warships safe access to the region.
We should stand down from those obligations if we cannot fulfill them. Especially if we want to provide a high degree of safety for U.S. warships and carriers.
Here’s what scares me most. Like many, I love aircraft carriers. But the Chinese are creating some nasty surprises for our capital ships. China is not structuring their naval assets to challenge us on the high seas. They are adjusting their strategy to make their “local waters” an armored lake.
Explain that one please.
Most people see the U.S. Navy taking on China on the high seas as an inevitable win. And they are pretty much right. But the Chinese are preparing to make their stand based on their terms, not our assumptions. How inconvenient of them. If Mr. Obama tries to send in carriers near or around the Chinese coast in a future crisis, they can probably take at least one of them out.
If Hillary Clinton runs for President, she is going to have a lot of explaining to do. Thanks to Clinton-era technology transfers to the Chinese military, they have ringed key areas with new attack platforms. All specifically designed with advanced stolen technology to keep U.S. carriers at bay. These layered rings of Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles are mounted on movable land platforms to evade detection. Their estimated range is 800 miles. And unclassified information suggests they have been enhanced to break through current U.S. ship defenses.
Their new air arms include Su-30MK multirole fighters with sophisticated missiles. In large enough numbers these can probably overwhelm stout carrier defenses. As well as H-6 medium bomber missile platforms. Beijing has four new classes of stealthy subs that can lay in wait during a crisis farther out from the mainland. They are virtually undetectable if they stay put. And can pepper U.S. carriers from secret positions with anti-ship cruise missiles. The People’s Liberation Army Navy includes a large new fleet of Type-022 Houbei fast attack craft armed with long-range anti-ship missiles.
Lee, the U.S. far outclasses the
Chinese Navy, which remains a
glorified coastal force at best.
Exactly. The Chinese are actually mounting a layered coastal regional defensive zone. Theirs is a denial strategy. All based on new technology they have pirated from the West. A contingency for when U.S. carrier task forces come steaming in to defend Taiwan or support Japan. An alarming analysis by the U.S. Naval Institute shows that China’s plans for stopping us are based on Japan’s pre-World War II area denial tactics.
Yes, Lee, but Japan lost control
of the seas even before the
A-bombs were dropped.
It took 30+ months of nasty naval warfare to take down Japan’s anti-access wall. I don’t see us being able to replace capital ships such as U.S. carriers very quickly any more. In World War II we had virtually limitless means to crush Japanese naval forces surrounding their homeland. Today we are stretched pretty thin if you look at our military guarantees. The winds of war are gathering.
PUBLISHER’S ADDED COMMENT: Please know all that I do not support war drums! I see all of the above as a scenario to be avoided and prefer that my prediction be proven wrong. I think it’s worth keeping an eye on for now and to stay focused on your family’s future needs. I’d love to see your comments. Send them to me at [email protected]