Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Final Exam

Defense Statecraft

Spring 2007

Final Exam

Please answer one of the following three questions. Your answer is due by 2:15pm today.

1. Evaluate the Revolution in Military Affairs. Is there really a revolution, or as some commentators have argued, are we merely seeing an evolution of technologies and tactics? What are the international political implications of your answer to this question?
2. The United Kingdom is currently evaluating the purchase of a pair of new aircraft carriers (to be equipped with the F-35B Lightning II), and a new group of nuclear ballistic missile submarines. The former would constitute the primary expeditionary capability of the Royal Navy, and the latter the central nuclear deterrent of the United Kingdom. If the UK could only afford one set, which would you recommend, and why?
3. Various pundits have argued that the United States military is incapable of carrying out competent counter-insurgency operations. Is this an accurate assessment? If so, what is the problem, and can it be solved?

To answer Hans Morgenthau

I strongly agree with Hans Morgenthau about Chinese military is mainly defensive in nature. Of course, there maybe offensive diplomatic language about Taiwan because Chinese think Taiwan is a domestic issue.But I really think Taiwan issue is the only one that chinese government announce that it will not give up " military might".

I want state three points here:

First, it is a common sense that a healthy and normal individual can not only grow with increasing flesh but with no growth of bones. China's military budget grows by 14-18% everyyear with the rapid growth of economics.

Second, China was a continental power countries in history. Great Wall was built over 2000 years ago to defend its territory from Mongolian and Tujue minority nationality. The politics and diplomacy in China Empire in the history was based on continental prosperousness rather than maritime prosperousness. USSR former Navy General Admiral Sergey G. Gorshkov thinks that navy is the essential tool for any empire in history to expand politlical and diplomatic influence. But that is not true for China. The only one historical issue for chinese maritime activity is Zhenghe , a chinese mariner , who sent their marine into Africa with trading and culutual exchange. Until 1860-1870, China began to build navy, Li hongzhang and Zuo zongtang, the chief administrator of Qing Dynasty built a weak navy to defend itself against aggressive Japan.

Third, China has ten different countries in its boundary. Geographic character is the main obstacle for chinese to focus all attention on maritime development. It is impossible for chinese to practice intensive strategy like Great Britain and the United States.

Of course, security dillema happens in East Asia when China began military modernization. So for chinese, I think military transparency and military coopeation like Thousand-ship Navy may be two good ways to settle the doubts.

Security Dilemma Presented by the PLAN

I appreciated your comment 'Dawn is Coming'. The Great Wall is indeed symbolic of Chinese military posture over the past thousands of years; primarily defensive in nature. I couldn't help but feel that you meant to imply that China's navy would be used as a "Great Wall" of the sea to secure China, and China's interests. This is reasonable, a navy is an integral part of defense, particularly for a nation with thousands of miles of coastline.

The world is weary however that the Soviet Air Craft Carrier the Varyag undergoing overhaul now in China, or the second 93,000 ton aircraft carrier currently under construction are not defensive type weapons, neither are the water-born SU-33 fighters that China bought to ride along with it. This is particularly troubling for some analysts when China purchased this aircraft carrier under the pretext that it was to be a floating casino, pictured here. As soon as China started practicing fighter take-offs on its deck and painted it the colors of the PLAN, there was no-longer any question as to China’s intention with this vessel. Casino my 屁股!

President Cheney and Secretary Rice have illustrated this concern as well stating that China’s build-up was inconsistent with China’s claim to a peaceful rise, as I noted in a prior post. I think however that Chinese motivations can still be understood as defensive in nature.

An aircraft carrier, the modern-day Mahanian capital ship, is about power projection. Obviously China has sufficient airfields in mainland China without the added 4 vulnerable acres this aircraft carrier will provide. I think the way to interpret these moves as defensive is to understand that a large portion of China's oil arrives by ship from Middle East and Africa (particularly hotspots like Iran and Sudan). Per Mahan, Naval power is about controlling the flow of goods and men. These oil-tankers ferrying to and from China not only carry oil, but a growing industrial China's energy security as well. While this will always be vulnerability for the PRC, building a blue water navy is the military means to reinforce Chinese energy security.

The problem with China building its navy though is as Stephen Walt’s balance of threat theory suggests, China’s rise will encourage regional neighbors to arm themselves and form alliances to balance a perceived Chinese threat. This will result in a classic security dilemma as delineated by Robert Jervis. China may be unwittingly creating a new twenty-first century arms race in East Asia or with the United States.

How to win China's support in Thousand-ship Navy

Long time ago, China's frontier is great wall, Yumen Guan, in Gansu Province( Northwest part of China) , and Jiayu Guan (Northeast part of China). Since Opium War , the tranditional defense strategy was overturned;Guangzhou ( the city in the south of China) and Shanghai ( in the delta of Yangtze River)began to replace Yumen Guan and Jiayu Guan to become the frontier.

Although the majority of chinese are settling in the coastal area of China, China are still a continental country with deeply-rooted idea of continental power. Robert Ross holds firmly that in East Asia, China with continental power and America with maritime power are the two actors in bipolar game. But with the expansion of overseas interests, China is beginning to shift its focus from the ground to the navy and their air force.

Thousand-ship Navy proposed by US Navy Chief Admiral Michael Mullen last year is a good way to bring chinese navy into more transparent international cooperation, although chinese is still not interested in it and even have doubts over it. Then how to win china's support in this plan?

First , to state American's welcoming China's peaceful rising. Secondly, to let China know the importance of stable and smooth sealane for its energy searching. Third, to pay attention to china's quest for sovereignty and natural resource interest in South China Sea.

Anyway, I think it still takes time for China to chcange its idea of continental power into maritime power, and because of the geography, China will never become a maritime superpower. Before China's expansion of its navy, it will benefitable for the United States to bring Chinese navy into cooperation.

A "War on Terror" Paradox

Report: Global terrorism up more than 25 percent

I am sure this was not the current administration's desired headline when plans were being drawn to invade Iraq and conduct a global "war on terror." The state department recently released a report saying the that global terrorist attacks have increased to over 14,000 and been responsible for the deaths of nearly 20,000. To be fair, those number include the statistics for Iraq as well. I don't have the current numbers, but I am sure that those numbers have grown exponentially since the war on terror began and sought to eliminate terrorist activity.

The report goes on to say that the militants are finding safe havens along the Pakistan - Afghanistan border and also are beginning to establish sanctuaries in Iraq. Concerning the Pakistan - Afghan border, the report blames most of the terrorist stronghold on the deal Pakistani leaders made with with border tribal leaders and their unwillingness to live up to the agreement and deny shelter to suspected Islamic Militants. The Iraqi war has diverted us from our primary mission of destroying the Taliban and Al-Quaeda militants it housed and created a chaotic environment that the militants have preyed on.

The report also cited some successes last year including the foiled plan to blow up several trans-Atlantic airliners and the fact that no major terrorist events occurred in Europe for the entire 2006 year. While minimal, the successes are worthy ones to be noted and the fact does remain that there have been no major attacks in the U.S. since 9/11. Is the "war on terror" working? It depends on if you define "working" as a global issue or domestic one. I think I know how most Iraqi civilians would define it...