ominous developments in the Chinese military are the ones that get little media
attention. These include improvements in training, recruiting and logistics.
None of these are headline grabbing subjects, but all go to the very basics of
what it takes to create more powerful armed forces. Training has become more
frequent and realistic. Training is expensive, and necessary for developing
more effective troops. In the past, there was a lot less training because it
was expensive (especially the cost of fuel, and wear and tear on vehicles,
aircraft and ships). There are now higher recruiting standards, and that's one
reason for the spiffy new uniforms everyone in the military were recently
issued. The most ominous developments are in logistics, which were long the
major shortcoming of the Chinese military. No more. Now China is increasingly
able to sustain military operations inside the country, and in nearby
July 25, 2007: The U.S.
military commander in the Pacific pointed out that American operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan have no practical effect on the U.S. ability to defend Taiwan.
For that, warplanes and warships are needed. Few of these are engaged in the
Iraq and Afghanistan fighting, and are available for any operations around
July 24, 2007: Facing U.S.
import restrictions, China finally allowed major software counterfeiters to be
shut down. Nearly ten million dollars in CD manufacturing equipment was seized,
along with nearly 300,000 CDs, many packaged to appear identical to the real
thing (various Microsoft, and other major publishers, products). Ironically,
this rampant piracy has prevented the Chinese government from getting most
civilian Chinese PC users to switch to Linux. With the pirated Windows software
available, the Linux price advantage largely disappeared. There was more
application software available for Windows, thus it was much more popular than
Linux. However, this makes the Chinese economy much more vulnerable to attack
via the Internet. This is just what the American military, and many civilian
agencies, are calling for. The U.S. wants to establish a policy for
retaliating, on a massive scale, for increasing Chinese Internet based
espionage operations. China would like to force Chinese to pay full price for
Microsoft products, thus forcing more people to use Linux. But because of the
shortage of business and game software for Linux, most people still prefer
Windows, and will continue to support counterfeiters. Looks like hard times
ahead for the software pirates.