Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cold War II Watch

As if Islamofascism and Iran aren't troubling and demanding enough, there's this:

In a surprisingly short time, China has accomplished two feats. One, it has focused its energy and wealth on creating an army within an army. It has devoted huge amounts of capital to create a small high-tech army within its old 2.2 million-member rifle and shoe-leather force.

The specialty of this modern force, about 15 percent of the PLA, is to conduct lightning attacks on smaller foes, using an all-out missile attack designed to paralyze, and a modern sea and air attack coordinated by high-tech communications. In other words, this new modern force is designed to attack Taiwan.

Second, China has taken painful but successful steps to create a "defense industrial base," or weapons-building capability. The PLA has improved its factory quality control and its ability to adapt foreign technology. It is bringing an indigenous small-wing F-10 fighter off the production line, and it is moving rapidly toward a "blue water" Navy with ships built in China.

For the longest time we didn't have to worry a lot about China, except their nuclear capabilities, because there army was composed of low-tech and high-numbers. Sure we could never fight a ground war with them, but the air and the sea were clearly the U.S.'s advantage. Now? Not so much. China is changing the game fast, and now has a force that could be used to cripple Taiwan fast. The U.S. pledges to defend Taiwan, but then there's this little gem too:

This summer, Gen. Zhu Chenghu, dean of China's National Defense University, raised the subject of weapons of mass destruction, which China rarely mentions, in connection with Taiwan. Should US forces aid Taiwan in a war, he told bewildered US visitors, "Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds ... of cities will be destroyed by Chinese" nuclear weapons.

As much as Bush wants to visit China and talk up Taiwan, things aren't rosy and defending Taiwan could turn into a bloodbath. It's not guaranteed, and the U.S. could pay a severe price for it. Letting China steamroll Taiwan and invade it is an even steeper price and blow to world democracy. What to do, what to do? If we had a properly funded DoD (not one logjammed and hijacked by Congressmen and their ridiculous pet projects and insane weapons systems no one in DoD or the President wants) we could better deal with the situation. Sadly, we don't. But the important lesson is that unless China falls apart from its own internal contradictions of being a capitalist and communist country at the same time (always a possibility), real hostilities could be in the near future.