Category Archives: Russia

FRED REED: War With China! Another Bright Idea From The Yankee Capital

America, China, Foreign Policy, FRED REED, History, Military, Russia, The South, Trade, War

America starts its wars by overestimating its own capacities, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the nature of the war it is getting into…And the Chinese are not little-leaguers

By Fred Reed

Discussions of war with China over Taiwan often assume a short, regional war won by superior American technology, after which things go on approximately as before. A few observations:

First, overconfidence is an occupational disease of militaries and militarists. Wars very often fail to proceed according to the expectations of the aggressors and not infrequently end in catastrophe.  The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas; wrong by four years and 630,000 dead, equivalent to over six million today.

When Napoleon invaded Russia, he did not foresee Russian troops marching in Paris, which is what happened. When Germany invaded France in 1914, it expected a short, victorious war of movement, and got four years of a losing attrition war. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, GIs sleeping with their daughters in Tokyo was not among their war aims, but it is what happened.

When the French went back into Vietnam after WW II, being catastrophically defeated by les jaunes at Dien Bien Phu was not a strategic objective. When America invaded Vietnam, Washington did not expect a panicked flight from atop the Embassy. When Hitler invaded Russia, GIs in Berlin were not in his plans. When Russia invaded Afghanistan, it did not expect the same outcome that the Americans should have expected, but didn’t, when they did exactly the same thing. The list could be extended. Caution often is a wiser plan than martial enthusiasm.

Second, America starts its wars by overestimating its own capacities, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the nature of the war it is getting into. There is probably a manual on this. Usually the US has no end game and no “what if” plan in case the unforeseen occurs. These traits are clear in America’s wars since Korea.

The reason for this curious behavior is that war is only tangentially a rational endeavor, being chiefly a limbic, instinctually driven habit probably of genetic provenance. War is just what men do, tribe against tribe, country against country, empire against empire, world without end. War is a major, perhaps the major, focus of human endeavor. A glance at history reveals it to be chiefly a tapestry of war. The literature of civilizations reflects this: The Gilgamesh Epic, the Iliad, the Aeneid, El Cid, Orlando Furioso, Lord of the Rings.

Does America have a clear reason for defending Taiwan? It is not of vital importance to America, and arguably not of minor importance. Few Americans know quite where it is, and few can distinguish it from Thailand. If it became part of China almost no one would notice. Before getting into an unpredictable war with a massively populous nuclear power of formidable economic and military resources on the other side of the world, it might be wise to answer the question, “Why? What do we gain? How do we get out of said war?”

Regarding war in Chinese waters:

The US fleet has not been in combat since 1945, over seventy-five years ago. American pilots have not flown against a competent enemy since 1973, almost half a century ago. Enormous changes in technology and armament have occurred in the intervening years. Nobody really knows what a battle of naval forces against modern antiship missiles would look like. Those who can guess are not sanguine. Most warships today lack armor. Anyone looking at what a couple of French Exocet missiles did to the USS Stark in 1987 would not bet on equally unarmored Ticos or Arleigh Burkes. An aircraft carrier is a large bladder of aviation fuel wrapped around high explosives. Look at the accidental launch in 1967 of one Zuni five-inch ground-attack missile aboard the USS Forrestal, igniting raging fires, cooking off bombs, killing 134 sailors and putting the ship in the repair yard for many months.

Militaries grow slack in extended periods of peace. Training decreases to save money. War stocks of tank treads are cannibalized for training and aren’t there when war comes; the company that made them has gone out of business. Supplies of critical parts dwindle as budgets go to procurement of future hardware. After all, nobody really expects war. Rapid mobilization, it turns out, is impossible.

If the war was not won as quickly and decisively as hoped, as it very likely would not be, would an American public already under severe economic stress support the heavy cost of a war having no obvious end point or relevance to their lives? Conscription?

Within the Beltway many seem to think that China is Cambodia with more people. Some in Washington harbor a residual belief that America is militarily supreme, that its mere entrance into war seals the outcome. Think again, carefully. Rand has wargamed regional war in the Strait and South China Sea and concluded that America has a very good chance of losing. he Chinese are smart, and excellent engineers. Chinese students dominate America’s best technical universities and the elite high schools. CalTech and MIT, for example. Look at the Chinese space program, the upcoming 360 mph maglev trains using high-temperature superconductivity. The Chinese are not little-leaguers. They have put many resources into antiship missiles specifically designed for US carriers. These, note, greatly outrange carrier aviation. Iraq was predicted to be a “cakewalk.” China won’t be.

Allies? In naval circles there is much talk about the First Island Chain and an assumption that Japan will join a war against China to protect Taiwan, or at least let its bases be used by American forces. Are we sure? Japan is within missile and air range of China. All of its petroleum arrives by sea, and China has pretty decent submarines. Japan’s trade mostly moves by sea. China is a crucial trading partner whose elimination in a war would devastate the Japanese economy. Japan is close to China. America is not. Tokyo might worry that America would grow weary of the war and go home, as it usually does, and leave Japan, all alone, in a shooting war with China. How would that end?

What stake does Japan have in the independence of Taiwan? Today it trades with both Taiwan and China. If China absorbed the island, Japan would continue trading with both. Only the letterhead would change. Are we quite, quite sure Tokyo would want any part of this?

South Korea? Its cities and entire economy are within missile range of China. Does it really want to get into a shooting war with its huge neighbor, which has a land border with the peninsula, to maintain American hegemony in the Pacific? Having gotten into a war, how would it get out? The Koreans may have thought of this.

Wars as imagined inside the Beltway often seem to assume that the enemy will just lie there and be bombed without doing anything untoward or unexpected. Are we sure? The United States has 28,000 troops and their families within range of Chinese weaponry, the killing of whom would force Washington into desperate measures. Could China encourage North Korea to attack southward, creating a two-front war far beyond Washington’s ability to handle? Or Kim to think he saw a chance and attack on his own initiative? Might China annex Myanmar? Perhaps this is farfetched. Perhaps it isn’t. Remember that nobody expected China’s entry into the Korean war.

One might suspect that Taipei, seeing overwhelming forces arrayed against it across the Strait, will one day cut the best deal it can with Beijing rather than be devastated first and then have to accept whatever conditions Beijing chose to impose. It could get a sweetheart deal as Beijing would much prefer this to invading with all of its risks. Here is a factor I am not competent to judge, but that might be worth judging: The Chinese, as I knew them long ago when I lived in Taiwan, are (very) racially aware and nationalistic. The Taiwanese are Chinese. You can bet they know of the Legations, the Opium Wars, the Boxers, the burning of the Summer Palace, the Korean War. As I write, the most popular movie on the mainland is about a Chinese victory over Americans in the Korean War.

What might a Chinese attack on Taiwan look like? The Chinese general staff mysteriously does not confide in me, but a good guess is easy. The Chinese often do beach-assault exercises on their side of the strait, obviously practice for the genuine assault. One of these turns suddenly into the real thing. Ballistic missiles crater Taiwan’s military runways, missiles in large numbers hit air defenses. Troop ships head for Taiwan, getting there in eight hours at fifteen knots, helicopters and paratroops in less. China’s large and reasonably good air force bombs and bombs and bombs. After twenty-four hours, the US is still trying to decide what is happening, talking to the JCS, asking the President what to do.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, the talented Confederate general, is said to have said that the secret of victory is to “git thar fustest with the mostest.” In the event of a surprise attack, how long would it take—in the real world, not in PowerPoint slides—for America to get there with how much of what? If the Chinese got substantial forces ashore, it would be the end of the story. Keeping troops out of an island is one thing, getting them out quite another. Not even John Bolton—perhaps not even John Bolton—can imagine that America could win a land war with China in Asia. Selling the American public on a large war over things in which it has no interest would be difficult. Under these circumstances, the chances are nonnegligible that the US would make loud noises, huff and puff, save face as best it could, and do nothing.

But let us assume that Washington fought and lost the regional war, Taiwan perhaps surrendering after the U.S. lost a dozen ships and a carrier was disabled. What would Washington do after such a humiliation? Never underestimate the influence of vanity on world affairs. The hawks in DC have elevated titles and, sometimes, considerable ability, but they also have the same hormones and egos as patrons in Joe’s Bar in Chicago. A Chinese victory in the style of Tsushima Strait would end the world’s view of America as an invincible hegemon. The fernbar Napoleons might well decide to up the ante and turn a regional into a world war. This it would win. “Win.” Perhaps by blocking the Strait of Malacca and threatening the Three Gorges Dam. The expectation in the Pentagon would likely be that Beijing would see the futility of resistance and surrender. But if it did not?

America’s trade with China in goods in 2020 was $660 billion, $120 billion of that being exports, making it America’s largest trading partner… Cutting this off would wreck the American economy. This is far more than a matter of iPhones and cheap plastic buckets for Walmart. Though most may not know it, America is an economic dependency of China.  The US gets from China countless things it cannot make but cannot do without. For example, cars require computers to control their ignition and transmissions. Where do we think these are made? Companies like Boeing sound American but many vital assemblies come from China. High-end semiconductors, crucial to today’s economies, come predominantly from East Asian companies, notably Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung, both of which would be hostage to Chinese attack. The great majority of rare earths, critical to the manufacture of chips, come from China. Similar considerations exist for industry after industry. While America has the technology to make most of the things it gets from China, it does not have the manufacturing capacity, and would need years to develop it.

Has anyone in Washington checked industry by industry to see what the effects of the end of imports would actually be?

Further, China is the largest trading partner of most of the world, Germany and the European Union for example, and close with most of the rest. If an American war took China out of the global supply chain, the resulting depression would make 1929 look like the height of prosperity, turn the entire earth against the US, and likely lead to the lynching of everyone in Washington.

Never mentioned is that America is trying, with considerable success, to block China’s economic progress by preventing its acquisition of advanced semiconductors. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer of chips, is in Taiwan. Reunification of Taiwan with China would solve this critical problem. Beijing has probably thought of this.

Considering the costs, risks, and benefits if any of such a war, the question may be, “How bright an idea is this?”

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

* Image courtesy FP

Douglas Murray CAN’T Say ‘Happy, Homogeneous Hungary,’ So I Did

America, Argument, Christianity, Conservatism, Democracy, English, Europe, IMMIGRATION, Nationalism, Neoconservatism, Russia, The West

British commentator Douglas Murray proves over and over again that the American right is gulled by utterly banal ideas, so long as they are expressed in posh English.

I give Douglas Murray top marks for English oratory. From there on, it’s downhill: His writing is not nearly as good as his speaking. Once a committed neoconservative, Murray’s ideas are now wishy-washy, safe, middle-of-the-road conservatism.

Tucker Carlson took a daring trip to Hungary. The pointy heads stateside frothed and foamed at the mouth—in the same way they fulminate over Putin and Russia.

Remix News, a central European news and commentary organization, reports that “Carlson, who’s widely regarded as the most influential figure on the American Right today, has endeavored to familiarize his American audience with the widely successful policies enacted by the [Viktor] Orbán government, policies the majority of conservative Americans would like to see introduced in the US.”

Via REMIXNews:

Establishment leftist outlets are using Carlson’s trip to propagate their usual disinformation against right-thinking people. Newspapers and outlets like The Washington Post, CNN, Vox, and Business Insider continue to make outrageous and unfounded claims such as: Hungary’s democracy is in terminal decline; freedom of the press in the country has not only been eroded but no longer exists; and that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has leveraged his position to enrich his political allies and do away with the independence of the country’s judicial branch.

But despite outwardly championing the rights of historically oppressed minorities and appearing, deceptively, to be on the side of righteousness and justice, Western liberal elites – i.e., Western governments, media, activists and intellectuals – are supporting Hungary’s opposition electoral alliance, the two largest parties of which are known for their open anti-Semitism and sympathy for, or membership in, the country’s communist party.

On an August 6 segment of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Murray claimed the West had turned on Hungary around the time the latter had rejected mass Muslim immigration, the kind of invasion Angela Merkel embraced, with tragic consequences for her countrymen.

That’s a typical Murray cop-out: State a comfortable, uncontroversial half-truth. The whole truth Murray would never come out with—for he probably doesn’t grasp it; and he mostly still wants to be welcomed into polite society.

The whole truth about why the progressive West hates Hungary is the one articulated in “Happy, Homogeneous Hungary:

And it’s not just that “enlightened” western media object to “Hungary exercising its right to self-determination.” No. The media treat the sight of fruitful, happy whites as they would an aberration, a plague. Freud would have called this western attitude Thanatos: “the personification of death.” This mindset is pathological, for Hungarians look beautiful, happy and whole.

A related truth never to be spoken by the likes of Douglas Murray is in “America’s Radical, Foreign-Policy Alinskyites Destroyed South Africa!

Hungary is oh-so happy in its homogeneity and wants to keep it. But not if Washington can help it. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s motto is, “Procreation, not immigration.” Orban plumps for closed borders, and pro-Western, Christian, Hungarian-families-first policies. Yet his ongoing campaign against George Soros, an agitator for global government, was met by Donald Trump’s State Department with a stern rebuke to … Hungary claiming that its anti-Soros law will cost the country dearly.

UPDATE II (11/16/021): America’s Low-T Military Vs. The Fighting Men Of Russia And China

China, Gender, Homeland Security, Military, Race, Russia, Sex

Words here would be superfluous. Images paint a thousand words, none of them including the words male hormone. The ladies want in. Compared to the armies of our possible adversaries, the US military is high on the Disney quotient and low on testosterone:

Via The Saker:

US Military Ad: If you just dream it, girl …

China Military Ad:

Russia Military Ad:

UPDATED I (5/18): ‘Kim Philby of Wokeness’: It’s Tucker Carlson’s moniker for narcissist, me-me CIA, cisgender, intersectional, millennial agent, with anxiety disorder: “I am a woman of color.”
“I am a cisgender millennial.” “I am intersectional.” I am “brilliant” too.

UPDATE II (11/16/021):

I wonder if “big, bad” Putin tells the young grunts in Russia’s army how bad they are because so lily white? Rhetorical! Must be nice to be a soldier in an army in which white is not a blight.

Image

Cryptocurrency’s Max Keiser Vs. Gold’s Peter Schiff

Argument, Debt, Democrats, Donald Trump, Economy, Federal Reserve Bank, Foreign Policy, Republicans, Russia

I’ve never known what to make of the financial expert RT has stuck by, Max Keiser of the eponymous Keiser Report.

I had been more of a Peter Schiff gold devotee. Thing is, the devotion was not returned. Most of Schiff’s clients, especially the small fry, fared poorly over time and seldom or never heard from the money maestro (who himself is very wealthy; broker fees and all).

Schiff is still calling “Bitcoin the latest iteration of fool’s gold and anybody buying it [the] ultimate fool.” Keiser, the choice on the business page of RT (Russia Today), is a Bitcoin guy. Bitcoin is holding the value of assets and then some. Gold? It has been fractionalized (spelling?)—fractional reserve banking has bad connotations!—and manipulated by the brokerages.

Speaking of RT (which once published this writer’s weekly column): Republicans, like the Democrats, speak of that TV station as an arm of the Kremlin (presumably nothing like CNN or MSNBC or WaPo which are never an arm of the Democratic Party).

In truth, Trump conservatives never defended President Trump’s conciliatory position toward Russia and Vladimir Putin. Rather, Republican defense of Trump’s correct stance toward Russia consisted of bolstering his alleged anti-Putin credentials, and boasting that he was ACTUALLY tougher on Russia than the Dems. So weak. So dumb.

It’s never about principled argument with Republicans. In their narrow little minds, the American Empire is supposed to war with Russia. That Trump came to power opposing that position was no reason to reexamine their asinine assumptions.

Since they invariably always fall in-line with neocon and neoliberal foreign-policy orthodoxy—Republicans and conservatives only ever tried to nudge Donald Trump toward America’s wrongheaded, Russia monomania.

*Image courtesy of RT.