China's Greatest Military Threat is no longer its Submarines
John J. Tkacik's commentary in The Washington Times today recalls that "Fifteen years ago, the U.S. intelligence community judged that the People's Liberation Army of China was more than 20 years behind the West." Tkacik is a senior fellow in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation and also served as chief of China analysis in the State Department from 1992-1994.
China's recent submarine developments play a large role in Tkacik's thinking. You should read his full facts and explanations in the link above.
Some of Tkacik's conclusions are faulty, however. He sees a Chinese military capability that does not really exist and yet fails to see the significance of another, more ominous one that has been proven:
"The United States may no longer be strong enough to defend freedom beyond our shores....Apparently, the U.S. Navy can't track China's newest submarines."
This obviously erroneus assumption has been easy to rebuff by those in the know, both here (see comment time stamped 28 November, 2006 11:20) and here (29Nov06).
A much more ominous military threat from China, however, concerns another capability Tkacik mentions, but fails to fully appreciate:
China's recent anti-satellite test. The kinetic kill vehicle created the largest recorded volume of space debris in history (over 1335 pieces of trackable, golf ball size and larger objects). 
Why so ominous:
Space debris is a growing concern since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functioning satellites, produce more space debris in a process, called Kessler Syndrome, and requires tremendous effort and expense to track on a real time basis. Both civilian and military satellites, even armored or hardened ones, are vulnerable to malfunctions due to kinetic effects, which are relatively cheap.
If the Chinese can render trillions of dollars worth of communications, positioning, targeting and aquisition satellites useless for pennies on the dollar, countries relying on such military technology would be reduced to (but ill-prepared for) conducting military defense and offense as it had been decades earlier. That would require resources no longer readily available. Obviously, higher numbers of combat troops, ships, etc. had been replaced by technological advances.
Suddenly, a China with its million-man army and ships too numerous to have individual names would be very advantaged, perhaps the pre-eminent military power. Give such a military a Western port in Mexico or South America, and the writing would be on the wall.
Now, you are starting to see what has really been behind the U.S. policy on Mexican immigration. In November 15, 2005, Molten Eagle warned, Were China to garner a foothold in Mexico, Canada, or South America, the current Taiwan standoff could become weakened in China's favor. And, Molten Eagle is no longer the only submariner seeing positive ramifications of Mexican immigration. Read what this one is now saying about Mexican immigration, too.
Labels: Chinese subs kinetic satellites