China’s Military Threatens America: ‘We Will Hurt You’ – The Pentagon finally takes the hint from China’s openly hostile flag officers. by Gordon G. Chang – June 14, 2010 – 12:02 am
“Every nation has a right to defend itself and to spend as it sees fit for that purpose, but a gap as wide as what seems to be forming between China’s stated intent and its military programs leaves me more than curious about the end result,” said Admiral Mike Mullen this Wednesday. “Indeed, I have moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned.”
It’s about time the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in public, expressed disquiet about the Chinese military buildup. For decades, American flag officers, many of them from the Navy, have remained optimistic about America’s military relations with China. And after every Chinese hostile act — even those constituting direct attacks on the United States, such as the March 2009 attempt to interfere with the Impeccable in the South China Sea — American admirals have either remained silent or said they were “perplexed” or “befuddled” by Beijing’s intentions.
Why the befuddlement? The assumption in Washington has been that America was so powerful that we could integrate hardline Chinese leaders into a liberal international system they had no hand in creating. To this end, successive administrations sought, among other things, to foster ties between the American and Chinese militaries.
The Pentagon, therefore, pushed for port calls, reciprocal visits of officers, a hot line, and an incidents-at-sea agreement, with varying degrees of success. Admiral Timothy Keating even went so far as to offer to help China build aircraft carriers.
Keating’s offer, made in May 2007 when he was commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, may have been extended with the knowledge the Chinese would reject it, but the apparent generosity was nonetheless in keeping with the general approach of the Navy during the Bush administration, an approach that President Obama has also adopted. So if there is any significance to Mullen’s recent comment, it is that the American military, at the highest levels, is beginning to voice in open forums its doubts about Beijing’s ultimate intentions. At this point, however, the expressions of “genuine concern” remain muted.
Senior Chinese officers, on the other hand, have no trouble telling us how they really feel.
In February, Colonel Meng Xianging promised a “hand-to-hand fight with the U.S.” sometime within the next 10 years “when we’re strong enough.” “We must make them hurt,” said Major-General Yang Yi this year, referring to the United States.
And last month, at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, a Chinese flag officer launched a three-minute rant that stunned the 65 or so American officials in the audience. Everything that is right with U.S. relations with China is due to China, said Rear Admiral Guan Youfei. Everything that is wrong is Washington’s fault. According to Guan, the United States sees China as an enemy.
A senior American official traveling on Secretary of State Clinton’s plane back to the United States said the admiral’s comments were “out of step” with the views of China’s civilian leaders. U.S. officials at the time also predicted that Beijing would soon welcome Robert Gates on his long-planned trip to China.
They were wrong. On June 3 the Chinese foreign ministry announced that the Defense secretary was in fact not welcome. Gates, who also thought he would travel to Beijing this month, said the turndown was just the military’s fault. “Nearly all of the aspects of the relationship between the United States and China are moving forward in a positive direction, with the sole exception of the military-to-military relationship,” he said on his way to Singapore. “The PLA is significantly less interested in developing this relationship than the political leadership of the country.”
Is that true? “Admiral Guan was representing what all of us think about the United States in our hearts,” a senior Chinese official told the Washington Post. “It may not have been politically correct, but it wasn’t an accident.” Chinese flag officers do not launch into polemical speeches at tightly scripted events, such as the once-a-year Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and it was reckless for American officials to assume, despite everything, that Admiral Guan was speaking only for himself.
Gates perhaps knows better now. After having his visit rejected at the last moment, he had to endure a series of hostile comments from Chinese flag officers at a security conference in Singapore at the beginning of this month. And that is just more evidence our officials and diplomats, even after more than three decades of close relations with their counterparts in Beijing, still do not understand China.
That, of course, is another “genuine concern.” So what, exactly, is the consequence of our miscomprehending the Chinese, refusing to hear what they openly say? It’s worse than the rejection of official visits to Beijing by overly eager Defense secretaries. Listen to former State Department analyst Robert Sutter: “China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans.”
Gordon G. Chang is the author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World and The Coming Collapse of China.
Some selected responses :
Dave M. (now in S. Korea)
I’ll say it on behalf of the American people: China, you are our enemy. There, now that it is out in the open let’s prepare ourselves to make China hurt even more in our soon to come “hand-to-hand fight.” Oh, and when the missiles start firing, remember that it was Bill Clinton’s White House that provided the Chicoms with the technology. If Bush gave them anything, he needs to be called on it as well. – June 14, 2010 – 4:20 am
Stop obsessing about what an unknown Colonel says and focus on what Chairman Hu says. There will always be hawks and doves in any nation, so anyone should understand what harm such words can cause. Be sincere and consistent in actions as well. Respect the 1China policy and compare how China does not sell weapons to Cuba or other US unfriendly Latin American nations as opposed to the US selling weapons to Taiwan. – June 15, 2010 – 12:26 am
These would be good thoughts if they were true. As centralized as the Chinese communist government is the Premier sneezes and a colonel breaks wind. China has exported conventional arms to countries which include Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, North Korea and Bangladesh. These weapons include submarines, various missile types, fighter and transport aircraft, radar intercept devices and artillery pieces. Taiwan IS the legitimate China, the one China. The other China would be remiss to assume that Taiwan will be an easy conquest, even without US help which is problematic given our current stupidity. Lastly, no one but no one really wants to confront the Japanese when their precieved national interest is at stake and anything involving Chinese “adventurism” involves the Japanese national interest. – June 15, 2010 – 5:41 am
Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand and Bangladesh are not US unfriendly nations are they? And these are countries mostly in Central Asia and Asia. Does the US have more right than nations nearby to ‘project power’ in these regions when US does not even have the respect or goodwill of South American nations? As for North Korea, let us say that it is in China’s best interests to normalize their neighbours. And Iran is a likely a tit for tat response for US’s meddling in Taiwan. Try reversing the Taiwanese weapons sales policies and China will respond in kind on Iran.
Try making friends with parts of Europe to begin with instead of using the IMF to indebt them, and engaging the Middle East with more respect. Finish those wars in the Middle East (or quit the region), remove the Zionists back home to a state of reasonable democratic independence, and solve the multi-trillion dollar debts and dismantle the Federal Reserve before getting all paranoid on China. US has enough problems at home without wanting to make an enemy of China via irresponsible commentators who represent organisations that thrive on war and geo-political chaos.
China’s just doing it’s own thing AND does not have 101 military bases around the world poised to seize ‘rogue’ governments (aka not US/NWO/Zionist puppets). All this meaningless posturing while the unaccountability, irresponsibility and greed of some factions back home have reached unbelievable proportions is a sign of very deep rot, the world needs a peace-loving US reflected in policy and action as well . . .
June 17, 2010 – 4:47 am
BobN writes: “…China will attempt to conquer Taiwan during the Obama regime’s first term.”
Your otherwise solid analysis was sullied by the laughable use of the quantifier “first” in describing Obama’s length of time at the helm. Four years will be all that rational and sane people will be able to take. Now, do we have a lot of irrational and insane people? Sure. But by November 2012 the mask will be completely off and there won’t be another term for the current regime.
June 14, 2010 – 11:03 am
The Taiwanese are Chinese as well, culturally and linguistically similar. There is no need for China to conquer anyone. It is political power mongers within local parties that have no regard for the lives on either side of the straits and that the Taiwanese would be far better off rejoining China than being a US(Illuminati/NWO) puppet.
Try getting the Zionists out of your own home nation first and getting out of the Middle East and closing down all those offensive military bases worldwide before even engaging the Far East in supposed friendly overtures. Having Japan by the throat in Okinawa is enough of a deterant to any development in friendly ties with any nation worldwide anytime soon.
Oh and what has the UN and Security Council done so far to punish the US/England for the unilateral war on Iraq that resulted in 100s of thousands killed? Nothing? And when Iran exercise it’s 2nd Amendment Rights in building nuclear deterants or asking for S300 defenses, the IAEA sanctions them? Why has Israel the right to own nukes but Iran has not? Racism and religious discrimination are ways of fascist regimes, which US increasingly looks set to become. At least stop projecting power via the 1000s of military bases around the world for a start, then talk.
June 15, 2010 – 12:59 am
@Mary in LA
Since when does Iran have “Second Amendment rights?” They’d have to be using the U.S. Constitution. They don’t. Under sharia, no one has rights — only obligations to submit to Islamic authority and kill infidels. “Islam” does not mean “peace”, but “submission”.
June 15, 2010 – 9:41 am
They do not, but the US should extend all the democratic freedoms it believes in for itself to all other nations of the world. The world’s super power could do no less ! And in sharing these freedoms, the obligation to respect the US will come later . . .
Also, Islam is not all like you think. Under sharia, Muslims have obligations to submit to Islamic authority but non-Muslims do not. There are some very prominent Muslims who can make the distinction between both Muslim and non-Muslim and respect the rights as well as not impose the responsibilities on non-Muslims.
Speaking as if Islam was blindly oppressive does not make a case for better relations, nor encourage better behaviour and only re-affirms the wrong application of the religion for the lunatic fringe among Muslims. If properly studied, your understanding of Islam was not what the Prophet had intended in application, though in SOME (and only SOME) places what you say is true.
Talking like that is insulting, insensitive and provokes worse behaviour from Muslims, especially the less educated and emotional among them. How about a little apology to all Muslims reading here and a pledge to not label all Muslims like this in the future? It’s not helping the situation.
There are Muslims where I reside, and everyday is a struggle for quite a number them in trying to differentiate their rights and the rights of non-Muslims. Help them think clearly by being patient and polite, yet not conceding when they encroach on your rights (i.e. Stand your ground.).
There is no harm in engaging a fellow human being at their level if only to teach them what self determinism and the right to self expression is about, even while they themselves may choose to never experience it. Is this not supposed to be the American way, embrace of diversity? Or have I set too high a standard for ‘Superpower Nation’? Where is that positive aspect of exceptionalism that this exchange implies is required of USA?
June 17, 2010 – 5:33 am
Master C – Iran’s 2nd Amendment Rights to develop nukes? Surely you don’t believe Iranians are bound by our United States Constitution, do you? The idiocy of the people like Master C never ceases to amaze me, and the sad reality is that Master C probably voted for Obamalamadingdong in reaction to “hope and change”. God Save Us!
June 15, 2010 – 10:39 am
Paul, I understand your sentiment, but I believe we must avoid the urge to characterize ‘Master C’ and ‘alex’ as idiots. Their comments serve to remind us that there are people out there who do not wish us well. And they are constantly working and struggling to achieve a level of power that will allow them to seriously harm us if we give them the opportunity. The problem with sites like this one, even as informative as this one, is that they run the risk of being echo chambers. That’s why as irritating as ‘Master C’ and his ilk may be, their comments give us a look into how our adversaries think. We need to evaluate their comments and act accordingly. We must never take our leadership in science, technology, medicine, etc, for granted; the moment we do will be the moment we surely begin to lose it. “A wise man is constantly seeking knowledge; but the moment he believes he has found it, he becomes a fool.” Our institutions, media, etc are infested with leftists and Marxists whose primary goal is the destruction of America. I agree with one of commenters above, that China is, as of now, the least of our worries. We need to concentrate on the fight at home.
June 15, 2010 – 12:32 pm
Breeding paranoia and distrust never benefited anyone and only shows a deprived upbringing. But if basing action on insecurity instead of sincere engagement with would be friends is necessary to the process of a nation growing up, it is the misfortune of the citizens of that nation then. But remember that the rest of the world will have closed ranks while ‘Superpower Nation’ arms itself to the teeth to militant agendas, oppresses it’s own citizens with idiot laws and becomes from unaccountable Capitalists sequestering wealth in third world tax-havens, makes enemies with it’s immediate neighbours, obsesses with Zionist cult theology, cuts of trade via useless sanctions, wages meaningless and unwinnable wars and angers local populations, and makes enemies of allies by imposing military bases and missile shields on continents 1000s of miles away (while the South American backyard or even Mexican immediate neighbour remains unfriendly at best.) It’s hard to be friends with nations like that, though the rest of the world and China (via the SCO Shanghai Cooperative Operation) can certainly try to contain these ills to their sources. Other than that US and Israel are absolutely the most well loved nations in the world.
June 17, 2010 – 5:04 am
ICCR does not support ethnic Chinese persons like Gordon G. Chang who author disparaging and ‘enemy propaganda-like’ books like ‘Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World’ and ‘The Coming Collapse of China’, and would advise all ethnic Chinese to boycott where possible where aware of any and all books published by Random House, Inc.. We hope all authors who might be affected by such a boycott to change publishers or get into self publishing and use Random House unaffiliated publishers instead. Any with the best interests of Mankind in mind will wish the best for ASEAN+3 (North Korea makes up 0.5 of the 3), instead of promotion of War in the Oriental Far East.