July 26, 2005

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Heritage Foundation: Bullets Over Beijing

The Heritage Foundation has put together their typical doomsday scenario forecasts making a case for clear and present danger over the Taiwan Strait. John Tkacik makes a case for helping Taiwan double its defense spending, rebuffing pro-China politicians in Taiwan, make Congress see the 'light' of the trigger-happy China hawks, and for 'speaking the truth' by saying that China is our enemy. All this he extracted from the Pentagon report recently, which said that China was developing in a way that suggested it was becoming more powerful.

Well, overly trigger-happy hawks generally get their wish. If you tell someone they're your enemy enough times, they'll naturally start to believe it. Of course, China has its own share of loose cannons, what with generals saying that they'll nuke the US if they intervene in a Taiwan scenario. But it seems that this author has forgotten about the much more powerful 'soft power' that can be used both with China and its neighbors to achieve results, as the yuan revaluation demonstrated last week. The report makes for interesting reading, but is all too typical of the Heritage Foundation's strategic worldview - all guns, no butter.

posted by HK Dave on 07.26.05 at 11:50 AM in the


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What is the Pentagon's official view of China's military strategy? PINR also comment on the Defense Department's report. (Intelligence Brief: US-China Relations, http://www.pinr.com/).

>The report. . . was supposed to have been completed in March, but had been delayed because of conflicts within the Bush administration between the Defense Department [Pentagon] and State Department over its tone and judgments.Under the direction of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department has sought to move Washington's foreign policy away from the unilateralism favored by neo-conservatives to a traditional balance-of-power diplomacy that includes greater engagement with Beijing on issues of trade, North Korea's nuclear weapons program and security in East Asia. In contrast, under Donald Rumsfeld the Defense Department has remained wedded to the view the Beijing is Washington's "strategic rival."

posted by: IJ on 07.26.05 at 08:20 PM [permalink]

So, the 1st round, Gen. Powell lost;
this round, Miss Rice won?
Or it's just a retraction for a further attack in the near future?

posted by: lin on 07.27.05 at 06:44 AM [permalink]

IJ, it seems like the prevailing view at the Pentagon and the DoD is that China has the potential to become a threat, if not to the US then to its neighbors, but it is not entirely clear yet that it should be perceived as such. I think a substantial portion, albeit a minority, of the intelligence community, do not hold the view that China is slowly building towards taking a more belligerent stance.

Lin, I may be wrong, but my perception of recent moves from the Department of State and from Condoleeza Rice seems to indicate that the White House intends to use more of American 'soft' power than was evident in the 1st Bush term. Iraq has exposed the limits of American conventional military might, and using influence-peddling to achieve American interests seems more on the front-burner these days.

posted by: HK Dave on 07.27.05 at 11:32 AM [permalink]

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