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« The threat of great power war recedes | Main | Here's how globalization meets Pakistan »
Sunday
Mar152009

China’s naval shenanigans: the young and reckless

Those aggressive and immature Chinese are at it again: sending their spy ships to harass our spy ship as it conducts submarine-related surveillance in international waters off their coast.

Our new director of national intelligence warns that this is the “most serious” military pushback we’ve encountered since 2001, when the Chinese forced down one of our spy planes right off their coast.

Sense a pattern?

I’m not a China expert, but it strikes me that Beijing manufactures a new spy crisis every time we field a new president — like clockwork.

Yes, American military surveillance is conducted to promote international peace and not merely to achieve operational advantages in future potential conflicts.

But I would also point out to all you woolly-headed peaceniks that — since 2001 — America has engaged in two wars on the Eurasian continent and has used its forces to conduct strikes in numerous additional countries around the world, so if anybody needs a lot of up-front surveillance, it’s us.

Meanwhile, the Chinese haven’t engaged in any significant military operations since a 1979 border dust-up with Vietnam.

With that sort of pathetic record, the Chinese should be the last to complain about our military’s enduring requirements for surveillance off anybody’s coast. Taiwan-Chinese relations may be warmer now than at any time since 1949, but that’s hardly a reason to let our guard down now.

As for the Chinese picking last week — mind you, just days after agreeing to reopen military-to-military cooperation with us — to step up their harassment of our long-time surveillance efforts off their coast, why … that’s just weird. America’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had just visited Beijing, whereas China’s foreign minister was just arriving in Washington for further talks.

If I didn’t know better, I’d assume the Chinese navy is operating with complete indifference to their strategic pursuits of its political masters — again, highly suspicious.

As for the bigger picture, don’t let yourself be fooled by the fact that there have been no submarine battles anywhere in the world since World War II.

And just because I can count on my left hand the number of torpedoes since fired in anger — with three fingers to spare — doesn’t mean that China’s growing submarine fleet isn’t a clear and present danger to our ability to threaten China’s ability to threaten Taiwan’s ability to stand up to China’s military threat.

Please, some sense of priority and proportion here: The world is currently suffering its worst economic crisis in decades, one that cannot be solved until consumer confidence is once again re-established in America.

So duh! Wrong time to pick a fight with us right now!

China, the largest foreign holder of American dollar reserves, has to continue buying up our Treasury bills at a world-record rate if we’re going to finance trillion-plus dollar deficits this year and the next.

China is also providing the second biggest stimulus package in the world right now, dwarfing those of Europe and Japan. If either of those efforts were to falter, America’s economy might just tank, taking the rest of globalization with it.

Again, does this sound like the right time for China to be confronting our military spy-craft off their coast?

If anything, China should be concentrating on doing more to bail out America, not just financially but in terms of our strategic military tie-down in southwest Asia.

If you haven’t noticed, our foreign policy of the last two years has consisted of Washington asking Beijing for help in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea — the list goes on and on.

A China that truly understood its responsibilities as a mature world power wouldn’t let itself get wrapped around the axle of “who’s spying on whom off China’s coast?”

It would understand that it has bigger fish to fry — and behave accordingly.

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