By Baycrest - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60980675

Daily we see reports of escalations, provocations, and tensions rising in the South China Sea, with U.S. and allied forces regularly crisscrossing the area to counter Chinese bullying and illegal claims to full ownership of the strategic waters. Based on China’s actions and increasing bellicosity, many analysts believe China’s communist leaders are itching for a fight.

But what if their actions are just blustering that they can’t help doing, and instead are painting themselves into a bad corner – making a significant strategic mistake?

Preparing for a fight, and even increasing the chances of a fight, don’t necessarily mean wanting a fight – and this distinction of CCP China’s goals, if accurate, requires a very different reaction from the U.S. and its allies.

James Holms, J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific, argued in 2018 that: “CCP chieftains may be pursuing self-defeating policies and strategies in the South China Sea.” And the argument may still be valid.

His piece in The National Interest, “Take Note: China May Not Want to Fight in the South China Sea,” was recently reprinted, and worth reading.

At the time Holms was rebutting China hawk Gordon Chang, who maintains that “China Wants Confrontation in the South China Sea.” Holms wrote:

Gordon regards Chinese bombast as proof that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are spoiling for a fight of some sort, rather than as yet more proof that bombast is encoded in Communist China’s political DNA.

Keyword: wants. It’s the job of all strategic leaders to prepare for confrontation. To do otherwise courts disaster should confrontation come. But few sane leaders crave strife.

That includes Chinese leaders. We make much of Chinese sage Sun Tzu’s maxim that winning without fighting constitutes the supreme excellence in statecraft. Short of that, Master Sun implores generals and sovereigns to take enemy states intact, and to wage short, sharp wars in order to avoid bankrupting the treasury and national manpower. Their paramount mission is to win.

Next most important is to hold down the expense in resources and lives for both combatants. Sun Tzu’s Art of War remains a staple of strategic discourses in China today, and justifiably so.

Holmes continues:

CCP chieftains may be pursuing self-defeating policies and strategies in the South China Sea. They may have resigned themselves to a rumble. And opportunism is their watchword: they will doubtless attempt to turn such encounters as do occur to diplomatic and strategic advantage.

But wanting to fight is another thing altogether—and would warrant different American and Asian countermeasures. An antagonist who stumbles into the arena of combat is different from one who strides into the arena.

Read the entire piece HERE.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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John Kociuba
John Kociuba
1 month ago

Joe Biden v The Dragon

“I would rather fight armies of lions led by a sheep than armies of sheep led by a lion.
~Master King Alexander The Great

Joe Biden’s “illegal replacement migration, covid fraud, Jan 6th propaganda, BLM/Antifa Anti-White manifesto approved by J7 Commanders is the perfect distraction and deterrent blocking Chinese transgressions.

Respectfully,
🔺️

Alfie
Alfie
1 month ago
Reply to  John Kociuba

Biden is CATHOLIC ; the ILLEGAL ALIEN CATHOLIC INVADERS ARE –CATHOLIC– The invasion has been going on for a hundred years.
Now, the VATICAN sees total victory in sight and all the “C” traitors in the USA are trying to make the USA just as failed as every “C” nation on earth.
Vote for ANY “C” and you vote for failure of the USA forever.

Joey Baloney
Joey Baloney
1 month ago
Reply to  Alfie

Biden is Catholic in name only. Same with the Pope – who is a NWO plant. There has rarely been a pope who “retired” in the history of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict was forced out under the guise of “health issues” and yet he is still doing just fine, writing encyclicals and visiting relatives. Francis is an avowed communist spewing nonsense related to global warming and open borders. what do you think?

Chainlink700rt
Chainlink700rt
1 month ago
Reply to  Alfie

If China attacks japan, being a catholic will be the last thing on anybody’s mind.
They will definitely use nuclear weapons
and the fallout from these weapons will be world wide.

Wild/Mann9
Wild/Mann9
1 month ago

“scroo” U Alfie

Chainlink700rt
Chainlink700rt
1 month ago

China only threatened the Japanese with a nuclear deterrent, but they underestimate the Japanese capabilities. The Japanese are very capable of defending themselves.
Only problem is….. the Chinese will be a 10 minute war…and they will launch their nuclear options. That will cause the Japanese to return the favor, and 48 hours after that every human on the planet will go under ground for the next
forty years because of the nuclear fallout.