Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The 10/22/21 dispatch.
Happy Friday! Hope everyone is doing well!
I thought we’d start this edition off with the situation in China and Taiwan again.
I came across an excellent piece that really got me thinking. Published by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), the author argues (and describes how) the U.S. military has historically created a powerful enemy to justify its need for massive budgets. He argues that this happened previously with Russia during the Cold War.
And the author says that’s what is happening with this tiff with China.
Two primary examples of this over-statement by the U.S. Defense Department are cited in the post.
First, the author explains how the Pentagon states that China has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships. In comparison, they list the U.S. Navy’s battle force as approximately 293 ships.”
But the author counters this point with something not often discussed. Citing a longtime Pentagon watcher at the Brookings Institution, the author quotes the analyst as saying:
“I have big issues with this simplistic argument. The United States has much larger and more sophisticated ships than China. … America’s Navy remains way ahead in tonnage — still by a factor of at least two-to-one over China’s. It is ahead by at least ten-to-one in carrier-based airpower.”
Secondly, the author lays out a point that I made in the 10/15 edition. Our economies are intricately linked, which should help discourage any kind of skirmish.
As the author, Mark Thompson, writes in his article, “For better or worse, the world’s two largest economies are locked in a chilly marriage, each too heavily dependent on the other to risk war. Put bluntly, a Chinese decision to invade Taiwan, via bombs, or choke it, via a blockade, would be very bad for business. Like gravity, big money can invisibly move things or, more importantly, keep them in place: an analysis from December 2020 estimated that U.S. investors held $100 billion of Chinese debt and $1.1 trillion in Chinese stocks; Chinese investors hold $1.4 trillion in U.S. debt and $720 billion in U.S. stocks.”
Nonetheless, the risk of war remains…
As Thompson notes:
“China’s view is that the U.S. is in decline, and it doubts the American commitment to Taiwan’s defense.”
China even views our withdrawal from Afghanistan as evidence of this. But President Biden views the withdrawal as a pivot. And he has strenuously stated the opposite of what China believes.
“China has … an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world,” Biden said in March. “That’s not going to happen on my watch.”
If you get a moment, read the full article here: The Pentagon's China Syndrome. (It’s not too long and has some great historical examples of our cold war with Russia and how previous reports were overblown.)
And after you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below. (Or you can email me privately by simply hitting “reply.”)
Moving to other matters, there hasn’t been much news about this yet, but U.S. forces came under attack in Syria recently. That could lead to a counter-response that you may (or may not) hear about.
The U.S. has about 200 Americans at the position, according to The Washington Post, which is a base that controls a highway that runs from Damascus to Baghdad.
So far, no one has been blamed for the attack, though it is likely Iranian-backed militias.
Why are the troops there? Good question. The military tells the Post:
The United States initially deployed a sizable contingent of troops to Tanf in 2016 to train Syrian fighters to counter the Islamic State. The Syrian and Russian governments oppose the U.S. presence, but the U.S. military continues to partner there with a group called Maghawir al-Thawra.
This situation will definitely be something to keep an eye on.
In other matters, I came across this really cool article this week:
Check it out if you get a moment. I remember that knife as if it was yesterday.
I still remember it as a young man, wanting one so desperately. In the end, when I enlisted, I settled for a K-Bar, but always wanted one like Rambo had.
And we’ll end this edition with a positive thought, as usual.
That’s it for this post. Stay safe and be kind. As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.
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Every Tuesday and Friday, I write about conflicts and military matters that are happening throughout the world. I do this from a moderate perspective that focuses on unity in our country. I also don’t believe in clickbait, over-the-top headlines, or other tactics that increase fear or panic, all in the hope of web traffic. You will always get the sober, mature view, with a slight bit of my optimism peering through.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I write fast-paced military and mystery thrillers. You can find all ten books here: amazon.com.