Two recent items reveal Moscow's intentions. First, President Vladimir Putin has announced that he is suspending Russia's commitment to follow the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE). This means that Russia can move tank and motorized infantry divisions to NATO's doorstep. Second, Russian radio news broadcasters have been ordered to make 50 percent of their reporting on Russia "positive," and that the United States is - from now on - to be described as Russia's enemy.
President Putin's intentions are clear. The Cold War is to be renewed. America is the "main enemy" once again. It has been my contention, for many years, that this was the KGB's intention from the outset. The collapse of Communism was a staged event. It was a repeat of Lenin's New Economic Policy of the 1920s, in which Russia pretended to liberalize and move toward capitalism, drawing investment and technology from the West. I believe that the political process in Russia, from 1989 to the present, was guided to this end. In 1989 America's leaders could not see the Kremlin's intentions because intentions are invisible to the naked eye. And so America's leaders were fooled. Now Russia and China will emerge together as "one clenched fist," and their intention is to smash America.
The Chinese, like the Russians, have carefully crafted their excuse for enmity. And like the Russians, they will blame the American side. The Chinese government, through its official organ (The People's Daily), says that U.S. Right-wing forces are determined to destroy a "fragile" Sino-U.S. relationship. The American side has supposedly manufactured an imaginary "China threat." A typical column published by The People's Daily rhetorically asks: "Why Does U.S. Preach 'China Military Threat'?" According to Beijing's official organ, the Americans are determined to misread China's intentions. "In the opinion of the United States," says the Daily, "... it is still the traditional countries [like Russia and China] that constitute strategic threats." The People's Daily has also stated: "U.S. Right-wing forces ... have all along clung to the Cold War mentality and held fast to the principle of containment in their policy toward China." The People's Daily bitterly complains that the Americans oppose Chinese military expansion in Asia. Psychologically, the outrage expressed by Beijing inadvertently reveals the malevolence of China's leaders. After all, why would The People's Daily express outrage at U.S. opposition to Chinese military expansion? Only a would-be aggressor feels thwarted by the collective security arrangements of neighboring countries. In fact, if we look at recent history we find that China has sent its armies against at least five neighboring countries since World War II: against Korea and the U.N. forces in 1950; against Tibet in 1950; against India in 1962; against Russia in 1969; and against Vietnam in 1979. Each instance involved a sudden, unprovoked strike against foreign forces outside China.
If we examine Chinese propaganda with a psychological eye, we catch a glimpse of Beijing's evil intentions. They are not as easy to see as Moscow's; but they are nonetheless real, and observable. Contrary to Chinese propaganda, American officials and analysts hardly agree there is a China threat. The American side prefers to believe that Marxism-Leninism is dead, that China is evolving into a "normal" country. The received wisdom of our time holds that peace can be established through technology transfers and trade. Wrap China in a blanket of dollars and Communist ideology will find itself smothered. On June 13, 2005, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell gave the keynote address at the Asia Leadership Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. He said that China's increased military spending doesn't threaten the United States. "My analysis in the last four years," he explained, "is that China has no such [hostile] intention. China wishes to live in peace with its neighbors and the U.S."
Prior to Powell's statement, on June 4, 2005, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Fourth Shangri-La Dialogue Conference that China did not pose a threat, adding that "no nation threatens China" either. When Rumsfeld admitted that the Chinese military buildup was upsetting the military balance in Asia, he was asked to talk further about the "China threat." Obliged to follow President Bush's line on China, Rumsfeld quickly corrected himself, saying. "No. We don't feel threatened by the emergence of China."
In late June 2005, American security officials admitted that China was building its military forces "faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected...." But the Bush administration did not sound any alarms. In statement after statement, the leaders of democratic countries have publicly denied the existence of a China threat. On March 16, 2007, the Secretary General of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party visited China and publicly stated: "China, which is seeking to build a harmonious society and become an economic power, is not a threat to Japan...."
President Bush laid down his three-part China policy while running for president in 2000: (1) Trade with China will promote freedom; (2) China is not our "strategic partner," but neither is it our enemy; (3) trade with China serves American economic interests. Prior to Bush's presidency, in 1999, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 106-65, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000, which directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a report "on the current and future military strategy of the People's Republic of China." In the 2006 Annual Report of this series, the authors carefully reiterated America's good wishes toward China in its Executive Summary: "The United States welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China," the report said. "U.S. policy encourages China to participate as a responsible international stakeholder by taking on a greater share of responsibility for the health and success of the global system from which China has derived great benefit."
The American side doesn't want to be misunderstood. America wants peace with China (and with China's ally, Russia). America doesn't want conflict. But the 2006 report raised eyebrows when it admitted that several "aspects of China's military development have surprised U.S. analysts, including the pace and scope of its strategic forces modernization. China's military expansion is already such as to alter regional military balances." Although exact figures do not exist in open literature, the People's Liberation Army probably deploys over 100 infantry divisions, 11 armored divisions, 13 artillery divisions, 3 paratroop divisions, 2 amphibious divisions, 15 anti-aircraft divisions, over 50 independent regiments and 70 divisions of border and garrison troops (People's Armed Police). One should compare this to the U.S. Army of 10 divisions. Whatever qualitative differences exist between U.S. and Chinese forces, the quantitative differences are striking. At full mobilization the Chinese can probably double the number of their divisions to well over 300. The 2006 report stated: "Many aspects of China's national security policy, including its motivations, intentions, and decision-making processes, remain secret. Key aspects of China's military modernization goals and plans are not transparent."
Intention is everything. If the Chinese leaders harbor benevolent intentions toward the U.S., then the size of the Chinese military is unimportant. But if the Chinese intentions are evil, then even a small military machine - equipped with nuclear weapons - might defeat the United States in a future conflict. It is an odd observation, but nonetheless true, that if you begin your analysis assuming Chinese benevolence, then the size or capabilities of the Chinese military are irrelevant. You will conclude that the threat is nonexistent. At the same time, if you begin your analysis by assuming Chinese malevolence, then the Chinese military becomes more and more threatening as it grows in sophistication.
According to Bill Gertz, reporting in his Washington Times column of last Feb. 7: "the Bush administration remains divided on the threat posed by China's rise." In the nuclear age, nobody in American politics wants to be accused of sparking a new Cold War. The Chinese leaders, therefore, find it easy to deceive the Americans about China's intentions. The fact that Chinese decision-making is secretive, that the order of battle of the Chinese military is unknown, begs the question: namely, what are they up to? Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld asked an important question in June 2005: "Since no nation threatens China, one must wonder: why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why these continuing robust deployments?"
Actions reveal intentions. Words are a cover for shady deeds. Behind closed doors the Chinese leaders discuss the future destruction of the United States. To this end, China and Russia are allies. And here is my prediction: Putin's hostile moves in Europe will be followed by similar moves from China in Asia. The Russians and Chinese are moving toward "one clenched fist." The American side has been weakened by Bush's adventure in Iraq. NATO has been diluted with the addition of former Warsaw Pact countries that are, in themselves, penetrated by Russian agents at the highest levels. The stage is set for an unprecedented reversal of fortune.