Chinese Wisdom

Trade War …

Posted on October 7, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom |

New York Post – Steven W. Mosher is the author of “Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.”

With China still running a record trade surplus with the US, it seems premature — to say the least — to say that Trump has won his long-overdue trade war with China.

But it is not too early to conclude that, despite their threat of retaliatory tariffs, China’s Communist authorities know that they have lost.

The increased tariffs to date, combined with the threat of more, have already clipped the wings of China’s economic rise. Its stock market is down 21 percent year over year, industrial output is slowing and its currency is weakening.

Looking beyond the bluff and bluster emanating from Beijing, there is evidence that Party leader Xi Jinping is looking for a way to stand down.

Let’s read the Chinese tea leaves.

In early July Xi ordered state-media outlets to tone down their rhetoric. “Self-deception and boasting will not bring about true self-confidence and pride,” the official Communist Party newspaper dutifully editorialized.

This sudden modesty was a striking turnabout from five years of constant bragging — by none other than “Core Leader” Xi himself.

Almost from the moment he took power in 2012, the Chinese leader was so confident that his own country’s rise was unstoppable, and so certain that America was in terminal decline, that he openly boasted about the China-dominated world to come.

The Art of War has met The Art of the Deal. And The Art of the Deal has won.

He even drew up a series of grandiose plans — China would dominate high tech by 2025, the Asia-Pacific region by 2035 and the world by 2049.

Xi may try to blame his propaganda flacks for overdoing it, but the Chinese people know who is responsible. In backing off the braggadocio, Xi is “slapping his own face,” as the Chinese say.

The Chinese state-run media has been busily throwing up a smokescreen to cover Xi’s retreat. It has launched increasingly unhinged attacks on what it calls the “lunatic,” “insane” and “terroristic” Trump administration.

After all, the masses must be told who to blame for China’s recent economic difficulties.

The official Global Times has even published an article calling for US administration officials to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.

In private, however, senior Chinese officials have come to view Trump as a Sun Tzu-like strategic genius.

Yes, you heard me right.

After the election, Xi Jinping tried to rope Europe and other Asian countries into a new, anti-US coalition, only to see this initiative fail.

The EU recoiled from Xi’s embrace and is now in serious free and fair trade talks with Washington.

Even the Philippines, which Xi tried desperately to woo with the promise of billions in investments, has now backed away from China.

But as Xi was stumbling, Trump went on the offensive. He signed a new trade agreement with South Korea and expanded defense cooperation with Japan and Australia.

Using the threat of tariffs as leverage, he even got Xi to agree to UN sanctions against North Korea, stifling the economy of China’s only formal ally.

This week, with the successful renegotiation of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada — the USMCA — Trump is now able to control China’s access to the entire North American market.

Beijing officials now realize, even if many in the US foreign policy establishment don’t, that they are facing a master tactician, one who is moving steadily from deal to deal, getting as many concessions as he can, and then moving on the next.

But they also see Trump as not just transactional, but strategic. He is pressuring China not just on the economic front, but on the military and ideological front as well. They fear that his goal is not just to rectify the trade deficit, but to eliminate the threat that a rising China poses to the US.

The Chinese have been set on their heels by an American adversary who quotes Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

The Art of War has met The Art of the Deal. And The Art of the Deal has won.

Only the terms of the surrender remain to be negotiated.

China is eager to resume talks but, as Trump said this week, he is in no hurry to reach a deal.

I am pretty sure he means that China is not yet sufficiently subdued.

















































































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China – South China Sea …

Posted on October 7, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, Uncategorized |

By Steven Lee Myers – NYT —– 

In April, on the 69th anniversary of the founding of China’s Navy, the country’s first domestically built aircraft carrier stirred from its berth in the port city of Dalian on the Bohai Sea, tethered to tugboats for a test of its seaworthiness.

“China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier just moved a bit, and the United States, Japan and India squirmed,” a military news website crowed, referring to the three nations China views as its main rivals.

Not long ago, such boasts would have been dismissed as the bravado of a second-string military. No longer.

A modernization program focused on naval and missile forces has shifted the balance of power in the Pacific in ways the United States and its allies are only beginning to digest.

While China lags in projecting firepower on a global scale, it can now challenge American military supremacy in the places that matter most to it: the waters around Taiwan and in the disputed South China Sea.

That means a growing section of the Pacific Ocean — where the United States has operated unchallenged since the naval battles of World War II — is once again contested territory, with Chinese warships and aircraft regularly bumping up against those of the United States and its allies.

To prevail in these waters, according to officials and analysts who scrutinize Chinese military developments, China does not need a military that can defeat the United States outright but merely one that can make intervention in the region too costly for Washington to contemplate. Many analysts say Beijing has already achieved that goal.

To do so, it has developed “anti-access” capabilities that use radar, satellites and missiles to neutralize the decisive edge that America’s powerful aircraft carrier strike groups have enjoyed. It is also rapidly expanding its naval forces with the goal of deploying a “blue water” navy that would allow it to defend its growing interests beyond its coastal waters.

“China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” the new commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Philip S. Davidson, acknowledged in written remarks submitted during his Senate confirmation process in March.

He described China as a “peer competitor” gaining on the United States not by matching its forces weapon by weapon but by building critical “asymmetrical capabilities,” including with anti-ship missiles and in submarine warfare. “There is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China,” he concluded.

Last year, the Chinese Navy became the world’s largest, with more warships and submarines than the United States, and it continues to build new ships at a stunning rate. Though the American fleet remains superior qualitatively, it is spread much thinner.

“The task of building a powerful navy has never been as urgent as it is today,” President Xi Jinping declared in April as he presided over a naval procession off the southern Chinese island of Hainan that opened exercises involving 48 ships and submarines. The Ministry of National Defense said they were the largest since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.

Even as the United States wages a trade war against China, Chinese warships and aircraft have picked up the pace of operations in the waters off Japan, Taiwan, and the islands, shoals and reefs it has claimed in the South China Sea over the objections of Vietnam and the Philippines.

When two American warships — the Higgins, a destroyer, and the Antietam, a cruiser — sailed within a few miles of disputed islands in the Paracels in May, Chinese vessels rushed to challenge what Beijing later denounced as “a provocative act.” China did the same to three Australian ships passing through the South China Sea in April.

Only three years ago, Mr. Xi stood beside President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden and promised not to militarize artificial islands it has built farther south in the Spratlys archipelago. Chinese officials have since acknowledged deploying missiles there, but argue that they are necessary because of American “incursions” in Chinese waters.

When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Beijing in June, Mr. Xi bluntly warned him that China would not yield “even one inch” of territory it claims as its own.

China’s naval expansion began in 2000 but accelerated sharply after Mr. Xi took command in 2013. He has drastically shifted the military’s focus to naval as well as air and strategic rocket forces, while purging commanders accused of corruption and cutting the traditional land forces.

The People’s Liberation Army — the bedrock of Communist power since the revolution — has actually shrunk in order to free up resources for a more modern fighting force. Since 2015, the army has cut 300,000 enlisted soldiers and officers, paring the military to two million personnel over all, compared with 1.4 million in the United States.

While every branch of China’s armed forces lags behind the United States’ in firepower and experience, China has made significant gains in asymmetrical weaponry to blunt America’s advantages. One focus has been in what American military planners call A2/AD, for “anti-access/area denial,” or what the Chinese call “counter-intervention.”

A centerpiece of this strategy is an arsenal of high-speed ballistic missiles designed to strike moving ships. The latest versions, the DF-21D and, since 2016, the DF-26, are popularly known as “carrier killers,” since they can threaten the most powerful vessels in the American fleet long before they get close to China.

The DF-26, which made its debut in a military parade in Beijing in 2015 and was tested in the Bohai Sea last year, has a range that would allow it to menace ships and bases as far away as Guam, according to the latest Pentagon report on the Chinese military, released this month. These missiles are almost impossible to detect and intercept, and are directed at moving targets by an increasingly sophisticated Chinese network of radar and satellites.

China announced in April that the DF-26 had entered service. State television showed rocket launchers carrying 22 of them, though the number deployed now is unknown. A brigade equipped with them is reported to be based in Henan Province, in central China.

Such missiles pose a particular challenge to American commanders because neutralizing them might require an attack deep inside Chinese territory, which would be a major escalation.

The American Navy has never faced such a threat before, the Congressional Research Office warned in a report in May, adding that some analysts consider the missiles “game changing.”

The “carrier killers” have been supplemented by the deployment this year of missiles in the South China Sea. The weaponry includes the new YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missile, which puts most of the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam in range.

While all-out war between China and the United States seems unthinkable, the Chinese military is preparing for “a limited military conflict from the sea,” according to a 2013 paper in a journal called The Science of Military Strategy.

Lyle Morris, an analyst with the RAND Corporation, said that China’s deployment of missiles in the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands “will dramatically change how the U.S. military operates” across Asia and the Pacific.

The best American response, he added, would be “to find new and innovative methods” of deploying ships outside their range. Given the longer range of the ballistic missiles, however, that is not possible “in most contingencies” the American Navy would be likely to face in Asia.

The aircraft carrier that put to sea in April for its first trials is China’s second, but the first built domestically. It is the most prominent manifestation of a modernization project meant to propel the country into the upper tier of military powers. Only the United States, with 11 nuclear-powered carriers, operates more than one.

A third Chinese carrier is under construction in a port near Shanghai. Analysts believe China will eventually build five or six.

The Chinese military, traditionally focused on repelling a land invasion, increasingly aims to project power into the “blue waters” of the world to protect China’s expanding economic and diplomatic interests, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

The carriers attract the most attention but China’s naval expansion has been far broader. The Chinese Navy — officially the People’s Liberation Army Navy — has built more than 100 warships and submarines in the last decade alone, more than the entire naval fleets of all but a handful of nations.

Last year, China also introduced the first of a new class of a heavy cruisers — or “super destroyers” — that, according to the American Office of Naval Intelligence, “are comparable in many respects to most modern Western warships.” Two more were launched from dry dock in Dalian in July, the state media reported.

Last year, China counted 317 warships and submarines in active service, compared with 283 in the United States Navy, which has been essentially unrivaled in the open seas since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A third Chinese carrier is under construction in a port near Shanghai. Analysts believe China will eventually build five or six.

The Chinese military, traditionally focused on repelling a land invasion, increasingly aims to project power into the “blue waters” of the world to protect China’s expanding economic and diplomatic interests, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

The carriers attract the most attention but China’s naval expansion has been far broader. The Chinese Navy — officially the People’s Liberation Army Navy — has built more than 100 warships and submarines in the last decade alone, more than the entire naval fleets of all but a handful of nations.

Last year, China also introduced the first of a new class of a heavy cruisers — or “super destroyers” — that, according to the American Office of Naval Intelligence, “are comparable in many respects to most modern Western warships.” Two more were launched from dry dock in Dalian in July, the state media reported.

Last year, China counted 317 warships and submarines in active service, compared with 283 in the United States Navy, which has been essentially unrivaled in the open seas since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Unlike the Soviet Union, which drained its coffers during the Cold War arms race, military spending in China is a manageable percentage of a growing economy. Beijing’s defense budget now ranks second only to the United States: $228 billion to $610 billion, according to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The roots of China’s focus on sea power and “area denial” can be traced to what many Chinese viewed as humiliation in 1995 and 1996. When Taiwan moved to hold its first democratic elections, China fired missiles near the island, prompting President Bill Clinton to dispatch two aircraft carriers to the region.

“We avoided the sea, took it as a moat and a joyful little pond to the Middle Kingdom,” a naval analyst, Chen Guoqiang, wrote recently in the official Navy newspaper. “So not only did we lose all the advantages of the sea but also our territories became the prey of the imperialist powers.”

China’s naval buildup since then has been remarkable. In 1995, China built only three new submarines to begin replacing an older fleet that totaled 83. It now has nearly 60 new submarines and plans to expand to nearly 80, according to a report by the United States Congressional Research Service.

As it has in its civilian economy, China has bought or absorbed technologies from the rest of the world, in some cases illicitly. Much of its military hardware is of Soviet origin or modeled on antiquated Soviet designs, but with each new wave of production, analysts say, China is deploying more advanced capabilities.

China’s first aircraft carrier was originally launched by the Soviet Union in 1988 and left to rust when the nation collapsed three years later. Newly independent Ukraine sold it for $20 million to a Chinese investor who claimed it would become a floating casino, though he was really acting on behalf of Beijing, which refurbished the vessel and named it the Liaoning.

The second aircraft carrier — as yet unnamed — is largely based on the Liaoning’s designs, but is reported to have enhanced technology. In February, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation disclosed that it has plans to build nuclear-powered carriers, which have far greater endurance than ones that require refueling stops.

China’s military has encountered some growing pains. It is hampered by corruption, which Mr. Xi has vowed to wipe out, and a lack of combat experience. As a fighting force, it remains untested by combat.

In January, it was embarrassed when one of its most advanced submarines was detected as it neared disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The attack submarine should never have been spotted.

The second aircraft carrier also appears to have experienced hiccups. Its first sea trials were announced in April and then inexplicably delayed. Not long after the trials went ahead in May, the general manager of China Shipbuilding was placed under investigation for “serious violation of laws and discipline,” the official Xinhua news agency reported, without elaborating.


China’s military advances have nonetheless emboldened the country’s leadership.

The state media declared the carrier Liaoning “combat ready” in the summer after it moved with six other warships through the Miyako Strait that splits Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and conducted its first flight operations in the Pacific.

The Liaoning’s battle group now routinely circles Taiwan. So do Chinese fighter jets and bombers.

China’s new J-20 stealth fighter conducted its first training mission at sea in May, while its strategic bomber, the H-6, landed for the first time on Woody Island in the Paracels. From the airfield there or from those in the Spratly Islands, the bombers could strike all of Southeast Asia.

The recent Pentagon report noted that H-6 flights in the Pacific were intended to demonstrate the ability to strike American bases in Japan and South Korea, and as far away as Guam.

“Competition is the American way of seeing it,” said Li Jie, an analyst with the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing. “China is simply protecting its rights and its interests in the Pacific.”




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Korean War – Valor …

Posted on September 29, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom |

Gen Bhimaya – 

A courageous battle fought by the First Gloucester in the Battle of Imjin River is worthy of mention. The Battalion’s indomitable courage gained precious time for the Corps to organize Seoul’s defense.
When determined efforts to link with the encircled Battalion failed, Col Carne, the commanding officer, ordered the coy commanders to break out.
Only 38 soldiers from D Coy eventually made it. Two VCs and one GC were awarded to the Battalion.
On return to England, the City Freedom was awarded to the entire Battalion, which marched through the city, with Col Carne, VC in the lead, and cheered by the entire city!

In a somber ceremony at Honolulu’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in early August 18, the remains of 55 U.S. troops who fought and died in the Korean War were repatriated from North Korea. Of those 55, 35 were service members recovered from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Chosin was the site of the first major engagement, in November 1950, between Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s United Nations coalition force, spearheaded by Gen. Oliver Smith of the First Marine Division, and Mao Zedong’s People’s Volunteer Army.

Until that point, Beijing had refrained from lending military support to Pyongyang, which had sparked the war five months earlier by invading South Korea. As U.N. troops appeared close to destroying the North Korean army and putting an unfettered force on China’s doorstep, Mao finally decided to join the fray.

The U.S. Army and other coalition forces were also involved, but the Battle of Chosin Reservoir holds a special place in Marine Corps lore—alongside Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima and Khe Sanh—notable not as one of the Marines’ greatest victories but one of military history’s greatest tactical retreats.

Countless books have been written about this storied battle, recounting many individual acts of bravery, as well as the maneuvers and strategies that helped extricate the troops from an unwinnable battle amid treacherous weather conditions.

Subzero temperatures not only froze to death in their foxholes some of the ill-equipped Chinese troops, but also saved the lives of many coalition fighters by freezing otherwise life-threatening wounds. Among Marines, the battle has come to be known as “The Frozen Chosin.” Those who survived are reverentially referred to as “The Chosin Few.”

Some of the best books on the subject include “Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950,” by Martin Russ, and “Frozen Chosin,” by Edwin H. Simmons—both authors had served in the war—and “The Last Stand of Fox Company,” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, who provide a more focused telling of one Marine company’s ordeal in the battle.

To this pantheon we can now add Hampton Sides’s “On Desperate Ground,” which hits all the right notes in the novelistic way that histories are written today.

Mr. Sides does an admirable job of balancing the book’s two storylines, explaining the upper-echelon politics that put the Marines in such a precarious position, and the on-the-ground planning, execution and sheer bravery that helped them escape.

To Mr. Sides, the Marines’ Gen. Smith is the hero of the story, and rightly so. Smith had the better understanding of the conflict his men were thrust into, even as he was being thwarted at almost every turn by MacArthur and his staff.

As commander of the U.N. forces, MacArthur had ambitions to further aggrandize himself in the Far East. He greatly underestimated the willingness of the Chinese leaders to engage the Americans, and the difficulty his own troops would have against a force that was numerically, if not militarily, superior.

MacArthur had surrounded himself with yes-men so beholden to and in awe of the general that they refused to believe their own intelligence reports about Chinese troop movements.

Mr. Sides makes the legitimate argument that the ill-informed hubris of MacArthur and his staff, rather than the deadly fighting on the ground, played the biggest role in causing the Chosin Reservoir casualties.

Mr. Sides sets the scene well, beginning with the Battle of Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950, when U.N. forces invaded the seaside South Korean town to expel North Korean forces.

MacArthur ignored his ground commanders when they warned that Inchon was a poor choice for an amphibious landing. Luckily for him, the North Koreans put up only a token resistance. “The reason it looked simple,” Smith said later, “was that professionals were doing it.”

From there U.N. forces proceeded northeast toward Seoul. Smith cautioned MacArthur that the troops were moving too far, too fast. But MacArthur had imposed a deadline of Sept. 25 for liberating the capital city—three months to the day North Korea invaded the South.

The only way to meet MacArthur’s target was to thoroughly bombard the city. When, on Sept. 29, the general visited a not-quite-liberated Seoul, he was aghast at the destruction that resulted from his own rash and ill-advised orders.

It was with this same hubris that MacArthur and his staff, ensconced in their palatial headquarters in downtown Tokyo, convinced President Truman that China had no intention of joining the war. The path to Pyongyang was supposed to offer little resistance.

MacArthur ordered his troops to proceed north, through narrow mountain passes carved with steep ravines and onto the high, flat ground around the Chosin Reservoir, an ideal staging ground for what the Chinese feared (and MacArthur hoped) would be an advance into communist China.

As Mr. Sides explains, the Marines knew they were walking into a trap. Even MacArthur’s own intelligence reports warned that Chinese forces had already crossed the Yalu River into North Korea. The general refused to believe them, attributing the sightings to rogue units, not a broader strategy.

Realizing he could do nothing but obey orders, Smith planned his defenses well. At Chosin, he ordered that a runway be built, to help, Mr. Sides writes, with “bringing in and taking out everything Smith needed to keep his division alive.”

Smith also placed troops on the perimeter of the reservoir, pre-emptively taking the high ground from the Chinese.

Despite this planning, the Marines’ biggest foe would be the weather, which, in Edwin Simmons’s own description, was cold enough “to numb the spirit as well as the flesh.”

The freezing temperatures were “a physical force you had to reckon with,” another Marine told Mr. Sides. “It got down into the marrow of our bones.”

On the evening of Nov. 27, all of MacArthur’s prognostications were proved ridiculous—and all of Smith’s planning paid off. The Chinese, some 150,000 strong, charged up the hillsides toward the U.N. positions, which were manned by some 30,000 troops (about half of which were Marines).

Mr. Sides does some of his best work recounting the combat, thanks in part to his interviews with Hector Cafferata, who saw the worst of it with Fox Company. (Cafferata died in 2016, at the age of 86.)

Twenty-four Marines were killed, more than 50 wounded and three were missing. Fox Company lost nearly a third of its force that night. “The Chinese casualties, on the other hand, were more difficult to ascertain, but they were impressive,” Mr. Sides writes.

Some Chinese troops charged the Marine positions with crude weapons; Cafferata describes these as being “almost archaic in some cases,” including “a long pole at the end of which a knife had been attached with string.”

Sometimes the Chinese charged with no weapons at all. As Cafferata’s squad leader surveyed the scene the next morning, he estimated that “two enemy platoons had been destroyed.”

Over the course of the two-week battle, the Marine-led forces fought bravely. According to best estimates, their casualties totaled around 10,000 troops, some 4,300 of them Marines. More than 7,000 other Marines suffered noncombat injuries, primarily frostbite.

By contrast, the Chinese reported roughly 50,000 killed or wounded, but some estimates put that figure as high as 60,000. “Was it this bad on Okinawa?” Cafferata remembers asking. “Doesn’t matter where you are,” his sergeant replied. “When the lead is flying, that’s the worst place you’ve ever been.”

Despite their massive casualties, however, the Chinese made it so that all the coalition could do was defend its position. MacArthur was eventually persuaded that the Chosin Reservoir stalemate was untenable.

If left there, his troops would have been decimated by the weather and Chinese reinforcements. China’s entry into the war changed everything.

Instead of simply mopping up what was left of the North Koreans, the U.N. coalition had to completely rethink how it would deal with its new foe. The smartest thing to do, MacArthur realized, was to retreat and regroup.

Smith led his troops through one choke point after another, encountering attacks by the remnants of the Chinese force, until they reached the harbor in Hamhung, almost 80 miles away, where they boarded ships, pulling out of North Korea entirely and sailing south to regroup around Pusan.

In the end, it was one of the greatest retreats in military history. It’s a story Marines are rightly proud of and one that should be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the remains that just returned home from Korea, and why those men deserve to be remembered.

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Chinese Freedom of the Press …

Posted on July 15, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom |

Re Current China – US Trade War –

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Doklam to Wuhan …

Posted on July 7, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, From a Services Career |

The Wuhan understanding was accomplished so subtly by China that India’s seasoned opinion-makers seemed to have missed the brilliant manoeuvre. They were left wondering why after the Wuhan visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was excessively cautious in his keynote address at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Instead of underlining the strategic intent of the new Indo-Pacific theatre nomenclature which recognised India’s reach beyond its borders and the emerging Quadrilateral (Quad) narrative, Modi sought to downplay Chinese apprehensions by saying ‘it was not directed against any country.’

Since the genesis of Wuhan lies in the Doklam crisis, a recapitulation is in order. Talking exclusively to me on condition of anonymity in the Chinese embassy on July 10, 2017, a senior official made the following points:

“We reached out to your (Indian Army) local commanders thrice to discuss matters, before starting the road construction on 16 June 2017 in Doklam, which belongs to China. But we got no response.

On June 18, the Indian side blocked our construction party by bringing nearly 200 soldiers about 180m inside our territory in Doklam, and hundreds of soldiers were reinforced behind in layers as back-up.

China does not want war but wants to solve the problem by diplomatic channel. However, we will not stop construction on our side. You (India) have always misjudged China even when we always reach out.”

His parting shot was: “You overstate your strength”.

This is precisely what India, and especially its army leadership, had done by mistaking battle (or tactics) for war (series of battles).

Unable to grasp the complexity of modern war because of the lack of military reforms, the Indian army informed the National Security Advisor that the disengagement of the two troops was the end of the crisis.

Feeling victorious, it did not occur to India at that moment that except for the Japanese ambassador in India, no country (especially the US which has elevated India to ‘major defence partner’ status) even murmured against China in support of India’s position.

Once Chinese build-up in various domains of war started within months of the tactical crisis, its tangible assets like new roads, aircraft hangers, military construction and missile firings in Tibet informed India that it had bitten more than it could chew.

China, it was clear, had the capability to fight a non-contact war (through its space, cyber, electromagnetic domains, its range of accurate cruise missiles and armed unmanned vehicles), which India could not match.

Once the reality hit, Modi, who did not want a bigger Doklam before the 2019 general elections, sought and met President Xi Jinping for the informal Wuhan summit. Undeniably, China’s military coercion – which is always supported by credible military power – had won the day for China without it even firing a shot.



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1962 War – Chinese Preparation …

Posted on June 22, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom |

China went to war against India 55 years ago. But the planning began much earlier The Indo-China war began on October 20, 1962.

A new book states that it was China that decided to go to war, ‘China’s India War: Collision Course On The Roof Of The World’, Bertil Linter, Oxford University Press. 

Mao sent altogether 80,000 Chinese soldiers to Ladakh and the eastern Himalayas to attack India. Supply lines had to be established and secured to the rear bases inside Tibet.

China depended entirely on human intelligence collected by its agents in the field, which would have taken time in the North-East Frontier Agency [NEFA]’s rough and roadless terrain. But China’s agents would also be confined largely to areas where the local population spoke languages and dialects related to Tibetan.

Consequently, the areas where the Chinese launched their attacks were carefully selected, and contrary to what many researchers, including those from India, have assumed, relatively limited.
There is a common misperception that the PLA overran most of the NEFA and reached the lowlands at Bhalukpong, which now marks the state border between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Bhalukpong was abandoned and the PLA’s last encounter with Indian troops was at Chakhu, a small town near Bomdila, south of Rupa. In the eastern most valley, they did not go much farther than Walong, and the incursions into Subansiri and Siang in the central sector were relatively minor.

There were also areas where human intelligence operations had been possible before the war and where the Chinese, through their Tibetan interpreters, were able to communicate with the locals who stayed behind once the PLA crossed into the NEFA.

Although the Indian Army had retreated from all its positions in the northeastern mountains, it is significant that the PLA did not venture into areas of  NEFA populated by Mishmis, Apatanis, Nyishis, and other non-Tibetan speaking tribes because no ground intelligence had been collected from there before the meticulously planned war.
There were also other preparations that the Chinese had undertaken before the attacks in October 1962. Indian brigadier John Dalvi, who was captured with some of his men on October 22, 1962 and remained a prisoner of war in China until May 1963, has recorded the events in his book Himalayan Blunder: The Angry Truth about India’s Most Crushing Military Disaster.
Brig Dalvi was able to observe how meticulously the Chinese had prepared their blitzkrieg against India.
He discovered that the Chinese had erected prisoner of war camps to hold up to 3,000 men and found out that interpreters for all major Indian languages had been moved to Lhasa between March and May 1962.
Not only had tens of thousands of troops been redeployed to the area to be acclimatised to the high altitudes of the border mountains well before the attacks took place, but thousands of Tibetan porters had also been recruited and forward dumps had been established all along the frontier.
Even more tellingly, Dalvi noticed that the Chinese had built a road
strong enough to hold 7-tonne vehicles all the way up to Marmang near the McMahon Line.
All this,  Brig Dalvi wrote later, “was not an accident and was certainly not decided after 8th September 1962. It was coldly and calculatingly planned by the Chinese.”
While it is not inconceivable that the final order to attack was given a week or so before the PLA swung into action (which would make sense from a tactical military point of view), it is also important to remember that the 1962 War also had nothing to do with the establishment of an Indian Army post in one of the remotest corners of the subcontinent.
That could be seen as a pretext, but even then, at best, a rather flimsy one. Even Mao Zedong had told the Nepalese and the Soviet delegations before and after the war that the issue was never the McMahon Line or the border dispute. China thought that India had designs for Tibet, which, in the 1950s, was being integrated into Mao’s People’s Republic.
At a meeting on March 25, 1959, only three weeks after the outbreak of the Lhasa uprising and as the Dalai Lama was on his way over the mountains to India, Deng Xiaoping, then a political as well as a military leader, made China’s position clear: “When the time comes, we certainly will settle accounts with them [the Indians]”
And, according to Bruce Riedel, one of America’s leading experts on US security as well as South Asian issues, probably as early as 1959, Mao decided that he would have to take firm action against Nehru.
Zhao Weiwen, a South Asian analyst at China’s premier intelligence agency, – the Ministry of State Security – wrote after the war in 1962 that “India ardently hoped to continue England’s legacy in Tibet” and that Nehru himself “harboured a sort of dark mentality”.
Those factors, Zhao argued, led Nehru to demonstrate an “irresolute attitude” in 1959. And that “dark mentality”, US-China scholar John Garver quotes him as saying, led Nehru to give a free rein to “anti-China forces” in an attempt to foment unrest in Tibet to “throw off the jurisdiction of China’s central government”.
According to Garver, Mao was also present at the same meeting as Deng in March 1959, and the Chairman said that India “was doing bad things in Tibet” and therefore had to be dealt with.
Mao, however, told the assembled members of the inner circle of the Chinese leadership that China should not condemn India openly for the time being. Instead, India would be given enough rope to hang itself, quo xingbuyi bi zibii, literally “to do evil deeds frequently brings ruin to the evil doer”.
China was waiting for the right moment to “deal” with India. But first, it needed precise and accurate intelligence from across the border.
Findings by Nicholas Effimiades, an expert on China’s intelligence operations, reveals that the Chinese began sending agents into the NEFA and other areas two years before the military offensive.
“The PLA gathered facts on India’s order of battle, terrain features, and military strategy through agents planted among road gangs, porters and muleteers working in border areas.”
These agents, Effimiades states, “later guided PLA forces across the area during offensive operations…junior PLA commander – disguised as Tibetans – had reconnoitred their future area of operation.”
‘Two years before the military offensive” began in October 1962 means at least a year before the Forward Policy was conceived, which makes it hard to argue that India’s moves in the area provoked China to attack.
Furthermore, the date, October 20, 1962, for the final assault after years of preparations was carefully chosen because it would coincide with the Cuban missile crisis, which the Chinese knew about before hand through their contacts with the leaders of the Soviet Union.
With Soviet missiles on Cuba, the Chinese were convinced that the USA would be too preoccupied to pay much attention to a war in the distant Himalayas.
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Real Politic – China, India, Russia …

Posted on May 29, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, From Russia with Love, Pakistan |

The Statesman – Pk Vasudeva 

According to RAND Corporation, Beijing may not have even wanted India to join the SCO. Russia first proposed India as a member mainly to contain China’s growing influence in the organization. Russia is increasingly concerned that post-Soviet SCO members ~ Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan ~ are drifting towards China’s geostrategic orbit.

As China gains more clout in Central Asia, Moscow welcomed New Delhi by its side to occasionally strengthen Russia’s hand at slowing or opposing Chinese initiatives. Indeed, during a recent visit to Moscow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “India and Russia have always been together on international issues.”

Going forward, this strategy is likely to pay rich dividends. New Delhi has a major hang-up related to the activities of its arch rival Pakistan ~ sponsored by Beijing at the 2015 SCO summit to balance Moscow’s support to India ~ and continues to be highly critical of China’s so-called “all-weather friendship” with Islamabad.

In May, New Delhi refused to send a delegation to Beijing’s widely publicised Belt and Road Initiative summit, which was aimed at increasing trade and infrastructure connectivity between China and Eurasian countries.

According to the Indian government, the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative ~ the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ~ was not “pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Indian opposition stems from the plan to build the corridor through the disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) region and to link it to the strategically positioned Pakistani port of Gwadar, prompting Mr Modi to raise the issue again during his acceptance speech at the SCO summit last month.

New Delhi is likely to continue criticising the corridor in the context of the SCO because, as a full member, India has the right to protest against developments that do not serve the interests of SCO members.

However, Beijing can play a balancing act to impart a measure of sobriety between the two warring countries by supporting the genuine demands of India on terrorism and counseling India on J&K for peaceful negotiations.

India-Pakistan tensions also occasionally flare up, and Beijing may have to brace for either side to use the SCO as a platform to mediate for an amicable solution. In the absence of a major incident, Beijing has admirably handled the delicate nature of this situation.

When asked in early June whether SCO membership would positively impact India-Pakistan relations, China’s spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “I see the journalist from Pakistan sit[s] right here, while journalists from India sit over there. Maybe someday you can sit closer to each other.”

Additionally, the Chinese military’s unofficial mouthpiece, Global Times, published an article suggesting that SCO membership for India and Pakistan would lead to positive bilateral developments. Even if that were overly optimistic, it would send the right tone as the organisation forges ahead.

Beijing needs to look no farther than South Asia for a cautionary tale. In this region, both India and Pakistan are members of SAARC. New Delhi, along with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan, boycotted last year’s summit in Islamabad because it believed Pakistan was behind a terrorist attack on an Indian army base in J&K.

Even with an official ban on discussing bilateral issues in its proceedings, SAARC has been perennially hobbled by the intrusion of India-Pakistan disputes. Beijing can probably keep its close friend Islamabad in line at the SCO.

However, New Delhi would also have to fall in line. Another major issue for the SCO to contend with is the security of Afghanistan. An integral component of the organisation is the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, aimed at combating China’s “three evils” – terrorism, extremism, and separatism.

India, however, is likely to highlight the contradiction between China’s stated anti-terrorism goals and the reality of its policy. Most notably, Beijing has consistently looked the other way as Pakistani intelligence services continue to support terrorist groups in Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.

Moreover, India being particularly close to Afghanistan, could seek to sponsor Afghanistan to move from observer status towards full SCO membership. This would give India even greater strength in the group and could bolster Russia’s position as well.

Persistent border disputes and fierce geostrategic competition in South Asia between China and India are likely to temper any cooperation Beijing might hope to achieve with New Delhi in the SCO.

On the one hand, mutual suspicions in the maritime domain persist with the Indian government recently shoring up its position in the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar island chain to counter the perceived Chinese “string of pearls” strategy.

It is aimed at establishing access to naval ports throughout the Indian Ocean that could be militarily advantageous in a conflict. Such mutual suspicions are likely to impact SCO discussions on military matters.

China has naval bases in the making ~ Gwadar/Pakistan, Hambantota/Sri Lanka, Chittagong/Bangladesh, Kyauskpyu/ Myanmar, Gan/Maldives, plus three ports, Iskander, Klang and Meluka in Malaysia. There is also a railway connection from its Malacca Straits/West Coast to East Coast South China Sea.

Although India may be an unwelcome addition and irritant to Beijing at the SCO, China does not necessarily need the SCO to achieve its regional objectives.

For instance, even though India rejected Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative overture, China remains India’s top trading partner and a critical market for all Central and South Asian states, leaving them with few other appealing options.

Regardless of the bickering between countries that may break out, Beijing is expected to buttress the importance of SCO, with due pomp and show of circumstances, at the next summit in June 2018, which Mr Modi is also likely to attend.

China as the host can emerge as a peacemaker in the continent if it handles the summit carefully by accepting the members’ genuine viewpoint and accepting their justified demands.

This is a golden opportunity for China to display its statesmanship by creating a peaceful environment where all disputes among the member countries are discussed, especially between India and Pakistan in order to arrive at a reasonable solution or a stage is set for further negotiations.


The writer is former Professor of International Trade. He may be reached at


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Facts belie Modi Xi Bonhomie …

Posted on April 29, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, Personalities |

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China’s OBOR …

Posted on April 23, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom |



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Xi Jinping – Statesman, Strongman, Philosopher, Autocrat …

Posted on April 3, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, Personalities |

From Business Standard -Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Professor of Chinese and World History, University of California, Irvine

What kind of leader is Xi Jinping, who became general secretary of China’s Communist Party in November 2012 and China’s president in March 2013?Specialists are giving very different answers to this question now than they did five years ago.

One reason is that rules were in place then to make Xi step down from the presidency after serving two five-year terms. Now, the rules have been changed. He can rule as long as he likes.

In addition, there are now centers on Chinese campuses devoted to the study of “Xi Jinping Thought.” His name has been added to China’s Constitution. No living figure has gotten this treatment since the most famous Chinese Communist Party leader of all: Mao Zedong.

I am keenly aware of how dramatically Xi’s stature and the thinking about him have shifted due to my experiences working on two editions of  “China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know,”  the most recent of which was just published.

My co-author Maura Elizabeth Cunningham and I finished writing the second edition just as Xi rose to power. We completed work on the third edition late last year, when term limits were still in place. Even then, it was already clear that Xi was a charismatic leader of a kind not seen in China for decades.

What Chinese leader is Xi most like? Analysts now answer that question very differently than they did in 2013. Then, when international commentators likened Xi to other leaders they generally only went back as far as Deng Xiaoping, who became China’s most powerful figure in 1978.

The main question many asked about Xi was this: Would Xi be much like Hu Jintao, the first-among-equals, stay-the-course technocrat who held power from 2002 until 2012. Or would he be a bolder figure like Deng, who had instigated major reforms that started stalling out around the turn of the millennium.

Whichever category Xi fell into, many thought, he would go down in history as the third leader in a row to govern for 10 years and then step down. Both Hu and Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin, had done that. This would solidify a pattern of routine transfers of power that contrasted with the ruler-for-life one of Mao’s time.

Now, by contrast, some see Xi as the first leader of a new era of strongman rule, in which there are few constraints on the top leader.

Legal scholar Carl Minzner, for example, has titled his new book “The End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian Revival Is Undermining Its Rise.” In tandem with this emphasis on Xi differing from his immediate predecessors, many foreign commentators argue that he is less like Hu and Deng than he is like Mao.

Some go much further back in time, seeing him as similar to the emperors of the imperial era that ended with the fall of China’s last imperial dynasty in 1912. Still others argue that Xi is best compared with the strongman leader of neighboring Russia who keeps extending his rule: Vladimir Putin.

Is Xi a bold thinker, a tireless anti-corruption crusader, a man who cares not about personal power but only about helping his country regain the position of greatness it once had? Yes, say the official Beijing media. No, say many articles in the international press – think of him instead as a 21st century emperor, or a thuggish Chinese counterpart to Putin.

To understand Xi, the Beijing official media suggest, read his “The Governance of China,” a two-volume collection of his speeches that detail his devotion to China’s people and traditional Confucian morals.

Critics call him, instead, a Big Brother figure. Read George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,”which describes a surveillance state whose leader demands complete obedience. My own sense, based on following closely Xi’s moves to maximize his power and crush civil society, is that the official Beijing media’s celebration of him distorts reality.

I also feel, though, that it is not completely fitting to instead compare him to Putin, Mao, an emperor or Big Brother. Those four analogies have uses – but also shortcomings. They should be treated, however, as “imperfect analogies,” meaning parallels that, while flawed, can still be illuminating. And we also should bring into the picture leaders, periods and books not yet mentioned.

For instance, Xi shares some traits with Putin. But as political scientist Maria Repnikova notes, there are significant differences. In China today but not Russia, for example, the strongman operates within a long-established political party.

There are other leaders with whom both Xi and Putin have much in common. Using imperfect analogies, we can place both men beside figures such as India’s Narendra Modi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Each of them, like Xi and Putin, have little patience for dissent, speak of returning their nations to past positions of glory and promote macho, muscular forms of nationalism.

As for past Chinese leaders, the veneration of Xi’s thought invites comparison to Mao and there are imperial aspects of his style of rule. Historian James Carter and I have argued, however, that Xi also bears a surprising resemblance to someone who held power between the last emperors and Mao’s day: Chiang Kai-shek.

Chiang, the Nationalist Party leader who governed the mainland from 1927 until 1949, headed a weak and poor, rather than strong and economically booming, China. He was fiercely anti-Communist.

Still, Chiang and Xi share some interesting traits in common. Both felt that revolutionary ideas and Confucian values could go hand in hand, in contrast to Mao who reviled Confucius as a “feudal” thinker. In addition, Chiang, unlike emperors and unlike Mao, had a wife who was a stylish hit in diplomatic settings – also true of Xi’s spouse Peng Liyuan.

Turning to books, China today has features that bring to mind “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” but also ones that seem more like the pleasure-mad dystopia described in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” For example, journalist Christina Larson argues that, depending on what you are after, China’s internet can seem either the world’s best or worst. Limits on digital discussion of politics bring Orwell to mind, but the uncountable digital distractions available on smartphones fits in more with Huxley’s vision.

It is tempting to look for easy answers, one book to read or comparison to draw that will bring issues or people into focus. This desire for quick fixes is understandable. As the case of Xi illustrates, though, looking for multiple imperfect analogies and placing them side by side can get us closer to the truth than can any quick-fix approach.

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