Monday, August 26, 2013

China: New Developments Show Growing Threat to U.S. National Security

Concern over the threat that China poses to U.S. national security is nothing new. The cyber threat the Chinese present, along with whatever intelligence the Chinese may have obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, along with general espionage and military buildup have been of concern for quite some time.

However, recent stories show that there are new developments in matters that should concern senior U.S. policy makers, private and public officials, and even think tanks.

The War Is Boring blog reported that a, “Mystery Weapon Terrifies America’s Admirals”. There might be a bit of hyperbole in that assessment but with the history of Chinese espionage and the relatively recent revelation that the Chinese have stolen intelligence on many major weapons systems, the War Is Boring story probably is something that leaders should notice.

And then there has been the news that there is a, “Massive Military Drill Under Way In Russia’s Far East”. This could be interpreted as a show of strength towards the United States. It also could be interpreted as Russia attempting to build stronger ties with China in order to build a coalition of Eastern powers to challenge the West.

But it also could be interpreted as a show of strength towards China and fear of incursion into its territory. Furthermore, it also was an explicit test of Russian military readiness.

Russian fear of Chinese incursion is old. And while any expressions of concern about incursions might be dismissed, recent events indicate that the Russian concern is perhaps justified.

The Chinese military occupied Indian territory earlier this year. The low-profile invasion didn’t draw much attention and while it may have been resolved, news from mid-July indicates that tensions are heating up again.

Perhaps the most interesting of the latest developments regarding China is that some believe it is becoming increasingly unclear who is in control of China: the Communist government officials, or the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

S&CI spoke with its own subject-matter expert (SME) on China and asked about that assessment.

“I think the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has always been in control of China,” he told S&CI. “There hasn’t ever been a ‘successful’ military coup or rebellion since the PLA establishment. However, it is true that the Chinese top leaders have to be on the military and national defense commissions of the CCP,” he added.

“Also, various leaders have repeatedly emphasized that the PLA serves the CCP, not the country,” the SME continued. “This is still the predominate view held by most Chinese leaders, with top military leaders (generals) and CCP media publishing their interpretation or support of this view.”

The bottom line is that with the U.S. downsizing its armed forces and the Chinese increasing its armed forces, American public and private leaders should focus an increasing amount of attention on the growing threat that China poses to American national security.

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