ANA Members of the Board, Wings Commanders, Squadron Commanding Officers, Members -
Over the last week or so, there have been a few articles and reports on US-China relations, one of the most recent being an article in the Washington Post this Tuesday last that covered a May speech critical of U.S Foreign policy by a Rear Admiral of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Our Chairman Emeritus, ADM James L. Holloway, III, USN (Ret) has written the Post regarding that article and the situation in general.
Both are provided. For continuity, the Post article is first; ADM Holloway’s ‘reply’ is second.
++++++++^^^^^^ Washington Post article ^^^^^^+++++++
In Chinese admiral's outburst, a lingering distrust of U.S.
By John Pomfret
On May 24 in a vast meeting room inside the grounds of the state guesthouse at Diaoyutai in Beijing, Rear Adm. Guan Youfei of the People's Liberation Army rose to speak.
Known among U.S. officials as a senior "barbarian handler," which means that his job is to deal with foreigners, not lead troops, Guan faced about 65 American officials, part of the biggest delegation the U.S. government has ever sent to China.
Everything, Guan said, that is going right in U.S. relations with China is because of China. Everything, he continued, that is going wrong is the fault of the United States. Guan accused the United States of being a "hegemon" and of plotting to encircle China with strategic alliances. The official saved the bulk of his bile for U.S. arms sales to China's nemesis, Taiwan -- Guan said these prove that the United States views China as an enemy.
U.S. officials have since depicted Guan's three-minute jeremiad as an anomaly. A senior U.S. official traveling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's plane back to the United States dismissed it, saying it was "out of step" with the rest of the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue. And last week in Singapore, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sought to portray not just Guan, but the whole of the People's Liberation Army, as an outlier intent on blocking better ties with Washington while the rest of China's government moves ahead.
But interviews in China with a wide range of experts, Chinese officials and military officers indicate that Guan's rant -- for all its discomfiting bluster -- actually represents the mainstream views of the Chinese Communist Party, and that perhaps the real outliers might be those in China's government who want to side with the United States.
Guan's speech underscored that 31 years after the United States and China normalized relations, there remains a deep distrust in Beijing. That the United States is trying to keep China down is a central part of the party's catechism and a foundation of its claims to legitimacy.
More broadly, many Chinese security experts and officials view the Obama administration's policy of encouraging Chinese participation in solving the world's problems -- including climate change, the global financial crisis and the security challenges in Iran and North Korea -- not as attempts to elevate China into the ranks of global leadership but rather as a scheme to enmesh it in a paralyzing web of commitments.
"Admiral Guan was representing what all of us think about the United States in our hearts," a senior Chinese official, who deals with the United States regularly, said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with a reporter. "It may not have been politically correct, but it wasn't an accident."
"It's silly to talk about factions when it comes to relations with the United States," said a general in the PLA who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The army follows the party. Do you really think that Guan did this unilaterally?"
China's fear of the United States was very much on display this past weekend during the Shangri-La Dialogue, where Gates and his Chinese counterparts clashed repeatedly throughout the program.
Gates said it was unnecessary for the PLA to hold the military relationship hostage because U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are, "quite frankly, old news." The United States has provided military assistance to Taiwan since 1949, when the Nationalist government of China fled to the island after the Communist victory on the mainland; this assistance did not stop when Washington normalized relations with Beijing in 1979.
"You, the Americans, are taking China as the enemy," countered Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu. Zhu rose to prominence in China in 2005 after he warned that if the United States came to Taiwan's defense in a war with China, Beijing would abandon its "no first use" doctrine on nuclear weapons and attack the United States.
In January, Washington announced a $6.4 billion arms package for Taiwan, prompting China to downgrade its military ties with the United States. China's stance on the issue is part of a concerted campaign to change a foundation of U.S. policy in the region -- its security relationship with Taiwan. At the very least, Chinese officials said, they want the Obama administration to reiterate a commitment it made in a joint communique with China in 1982 to decrease arms sales to Taiwan.
The U.S. framing of Guan's speech and the entire PLA as being out of step with the times is significant, analysts said, because the Obama administration could fall into a trap of expecting more from China than it can deliver. On the plane back to the United States, for example, U.S. officials predicted that despite Guan's outburst, China would welcome Gates and that it would also begin to side with South Korea against North Korea following the release of a report in Seoul implicating the regime of Kim Jong Il in the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship on March 26. China did neither, and interviews with PLA officers indicate that the military is highly suspicious of the South Korean report.
U.S. officials have also expressed the hope that China would work harder to press Iran, for example, to engage in talks on its nuclear weapons program. The United States also wants China's cooperation on slapping new sanctions on Tehran. China has shown more flexibility on this issue, but it is still unclear whether it will ultimately support sanctions.
Chinese analysts say the Obama administration ignores what China calls its "core national interests" -- especially U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan -- at its peril.
"For years, China has opposed arms sales to Taiwan among other things, but we were never strong enough to do anything about it," said Cui Liru, the president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank run by the Ministry of State Security. "But our national strength has grown. And it is time that the United States pay attention."
"This is not just a talking point that can be dismissed by your government," he continued. "It is something that must be dealt with or it will seriously damage ties."
&&&&&&++++++++++END OF ARTICLE ++++++++++&&&&&&
REPLY BY ADM JAMES L. HOLLOWAY, III
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Gates on China
With reference to the piece in Tuesday’s Washington Post regarding China’s outlook at U.S. interests in the Pacific, the critical influence on this nation’s foreign policy is the number of aircraft carriers and their associated carrier striking groups in the active fleet of the United States Navy . Today and into the future, this country will go to war with no more than the carrier force in being when the shooting starts. In the Korean War, when the successful outcome of that conflict was dependent upon the available airpower that could be brought to bear against the Chinese invaders, the U.S. Navy was able to triple the size of its carrier fleet by bringing back World War II Essex Class ships out of mothballs and manning them with World War II veterans from the Naval Reserve. Today there are no carriers in mothballs available for mobilization. It takes five years to construct a large deck carrier even with the highest priorities. Therefore the carrier force in being must be capable of supporting the nation’s foreign policy in the most critical scenarios.
A particular area of concern is the question of China. Our foreign policy for decades has been to support the independence of Taiwan, and the U.S. Government has been quick and positive to react whenever the status quo of Taiwan has been threatened. In October of 1958 the U.S. Seventh Fleet was reinforced to seven carriers which were deployed to the Straits of Taiwan to deter the mainland Chinese from their threat to occupy the Taiwan affiliated offshore islands, Kemoy and Matsu. The Chinese Communists backed down as a result of this confrontation with US Naval carrier aircraft maneuvering in the Chinese claimed territorial waters. They ceased their artillery bombardment and withdrew all threatening gestures toward the offshore islands.
However the situation that existed in the ‘50’s, has changed. Intelligence analysts from multiple sources, agree that China is building a modern navy of nuclear submarines, missile ships and supersonic maritime strike aircraft, and long range missiles on an accelerated basis. Considering China’s long land border with Russia and India, and the lack of any Japanese navy – only a maritime self defense force – China’s new navy can only be for the purpose of confronting the U.S. Navy. In any Sino-U.S. confrontation in the western Pacific the U.S. carrier strike groups would be our main source of military power. Our Expeditionary Strike Forces with their smaller helicopter carriers carrying only a small number of VSTOL fighters, could not survive in the Western Pacific against the Chinese land-based air without the cover of carrier-based air superiority strike fighters to establish local zones of air and maritime control. Basing U.S. Air Force aircraft on Taiwan airfields would not appear to be an option because they would be within range of China’s new long range missiles launched from mainland sites. As immovable targets, the Taiwan bases would be completely vulnerable.
Such a conflict with the People’s Republic of China need not occur, but only if the U.S. is able to dissuade the mainland Chinese from encroaching on our vital interests. To deter the PRC, the U.S. must maintain a realistic capability to defend our trade and political interests on the Pacific Rim by superior military forces. This capability resides only in the carrier striking groups of the U.S. Navy. It could be disastrous to even suggest a threat of nuclear weapons. The potential of a miscalculation on the part of the Chinese or ourselves could lead to an attempt at preemption, resulting in a nuclear exchange. This would result in a nuclear war with the Chinese whose ballistic missiles could cause the destruction of American cities and industries.
Taiwan and our vital trade and political interests in the Western Pacific can best be defended by deterring People’s Republic of China (PRC) from conflict, by maintaining the threat of intercession from a force of aircraft carrier striking groups in sufficient strength to achieve air and maritime superiority wherever challenged on the Pacific Rim.
The U.S. experience during the Cold War in the Pacific encompassed two major wars, in Korea and Vietnam. Both were resolved in our favor by a strategy that in its initial stages depended upon forward deployed U.S. Navy carrier battle groups to establish an immediate U.S. presence in the theater of operations. Recent studies carried out by the Center for Naval Analysis conclude compellingly that carriers smaller than the Nimitz Class ships do not have the capability of supporting the requirement to provide tactical air cover over an objective area 24 hours per day at a distance of 500 miles. Only a carrier of Nimitz’ size has the deck size and the facilities to operate sufficient combat aircraft to maintain a minimum number for around the clock coverage over the target indefinitely.
Because of the great expanses of ocean involved, the current force level of eleven or twelve large deck nuclear carriers is the minimum for keeping three carrier striking groups deployed to the western Pacific and maintaining the other commitments of the existing global strategy of “from the sea”.
Secretary Gates has demonstrated his clear grasp of America’s requirements to effectively implement this nation’s global strategy by confirming the continuation of the eleven carrier force level.
J. L. Holloway III
9 June 2010
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