Leadership: China Strikes Back


October 17, 2011:  Over the last decade, China has built air, cyber and naval forces, and developed new tactics, designed to neutralize American naval and air power in the Western Pacific, and make it more likely that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would succeed. These new forces also make any Chinese military threats against their neighbors more credible.

After years of discussion and debate, the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force developed a new strategy to cope with this new situation in the Pacific. Called Air-Sea Battle, it called for tighter planning and coordination of navy, marine and navy forces, plus the development of some new weapons and tactics. The details, obviously, have been kept secret, but word of the plan got out. China, fearing that the Americans might be up to something that would thwart Chinese plans, unleashed a diplomatic and media counterattack. They persuaded some senior American officials to question the wisdom of pursuing Air-Sea Battle, especially since it would make the Chinese unhappy, and liable to respond with economic sanctions (like buying less stuff from the United States or selling U.S. debt at a sharp discount.) The Chinese also repeated their decades old accusation that new American strategies are usually just efforts by the Military-Industrial Complex to get more money from American taxpayers. So now the generals and admirals are on the defensive, with demands that they explain to Congress and the White House why they are seeking to sour relations between the United States and China.



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