Planning for War with China
By Nick Beams
The advanced stage of discussions in US foreign policy circles over the pursuit of an ever-more aggressive policy toward China has been revealed by the recent release of a chilling report under the auspices of the influential Council on Foreign Relations.Entitled “Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China,” the report is nothing less than an agenda for war. It is authored by Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis, both of whom have close connections to the US State Department and various American foreign policy think tanks.
The report’s central theme is that US global dominance is threatened by the rise of China and this process must be reversed by economic, diplomatic and military means.
Significantly, at the beginning of the report, its authors cite the Pentagon’s Defence Planning Guidance document of 1992, produced in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which insisted that US strategy had to “refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”
While asserting that China has a “grand strategy” for regional and ultimately global domination, the authors make clear they regard the threat to the US position as arising from China’s economic growth within the present international order.
Accordingly, in advancing the core elements of an American “grand strategy,” the authors place considerable importance on economic issues. As part of a plan to “vitalize” the economy, the US should “construct a new set of trading relationships in Asia that exclude China, fashion effective tools to deal with China’s pervasive use of geo-economic tools in Asia and beyond, and, in partnership with US allies and like-minded partners, create a new technology-control mechanism vis-a-vis China.”
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently excludes China and for which Obama is now seeking fast-track authority from the US Congress to negotiate, is regarded as essential. Failure to deliver it would “seriously weaken” the US grand strategy.
The relationship with Japan is regarded as occupying first place. The report’s proposals include an expansion of the US-Japan security relationship to encompass all of Asia, the upgrading of the Japanese military, aligning Japan with concepts such as Air-Sea battle—a massive attack on military facilities in mainland China—and intensifying Japanese cooperation with ballistic missile defence (BMD). Anti-missile systems are seen as vital for a first-strike strategy, which aims to render inoperable any retaliation.
With regard to South Korea, the report calls for increased BMD capacity, as well as a comprehensive strategy, developed with Japan, to bring about “regime change” in North Korea.
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