• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Chairman Mullen: China Military Buildup “Very Much Focused” on United States

    While China continues to insist its military expansion is purely defensive in nature, yesterday the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs expressed his doubts: “They are developing capabilities that are very maritime focused, maritime and air focused, and in many ways, very much focused on us.”

    Even though China’s long-term intentions are still very much unknown, the Chairman’s clarity on China’s military capabilities is an encouraging development.

    The Pentagon’s 2009 report on China’s military capabilities reflected Mullen’s concerns. Secretary Gates has also discussed the near-term challenge China poses due to the PLA’s ability to “deny the U.S. military freedom of movement and action while potentially threatening our primary means of projecting power: our bases, sea and air assets, and the networks that support them.” But the Secretary has also argued that the nation must be willing to accept greater strategic risk as it shifts its focus towards “the wars we are most likely to fight.” To do this, he has proposed canceling the F-22 and C-17, delaying a next-generation long-range bomber and Navy cruiser, and reducing the budget for missile defense.

    If Secretary Gates’ strategic vision is implemented, it will help to generate the casual erosion of U.S. primacy. This development will have lasting international consequences. As Australia clearly articulated this week in their new defense White Paper, “the wider Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed an unprecedented era of peace and stability underwritten by US strategic primacy.” The retreat of American power will bring “escalating strategic competition” and greater risks and instability throughout the region.

    Over the next year the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review process will generate a new document to help implement the strategic posture Secretary Gates’ has favored. To hedge against the prevailing opinions at the Pentagon, the Congress should mandate a National Defense Panel to conduct its own independent assessment.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Chairman Mullen: China Military Buildup “Very Much Focused” on United States

    1. Tim Higgins, Covingt says:

      China's military development and expansion has been focused on the United States for the last 20 years. I am amazed that only now does the Chairman of the Join Chiefs recognize this threat. I find Mullen's to be epiphany on the matter, while long over due, is at least a positive step in realizing that Communist China is not our friend nor a reliable trading partner. We have financed our enemy's military expansion against us via our trade. China's military development and expansion of the last 20 years is astounding in it's scope. The myth that trading with China ensures that China will moderate into a more freedom loving and liberal society has been proven false. It is a communist dictatorship and the military is not restrained by the political government in the same way that it is in the USA. China's long-term goal has always been and remains the re-taking of Taiwan. To that end, China is building the force necessary to neutralize the ability of the US to project force in the Pacific in defense of Taiwan thus making sure that there will be no US intervention on behalf of Taiwan or that any re-taking of the Taiwan will be assured in spite of a US response. China is also expansionist which would come as a surprise of most analyst. China understands the strategic importance of hegemony over physical territorial expansion and is strategically expanding it global influence and power in a direct confrontation with US interests. The dictatorial powers of China understand that with their enormous population, to remain in power requires the that China continuously expand it's economy therefore there is no market the China will not seek to exploit. The largest threat to the Chinese communist dictatorship is civil unrest due to economic collapse. The US trade policies toward China have helped ensure the success of the communist dictators of China as well as their military expansion. It is important to note that because there is no free press and all information within China is presented as the government chooses it be or not be, the government of China does not have to answer to the people of China. Therefore, China, as it operates on the global stage and domestically, has no nor requires any moral compass as to whom they will deal with and there are no repercussions to the communist dictators for any atrocities, malfeasance or acts of outright aggression committed by the communist leaders of the country. In such a reality, the idea of trading our way into a peaceful relationship with China is complete pipe dream on a dangerous scale. The China policies of the last 20 years have only assured that the US will at some point violently collide with China of much greater magnitude than had we developed relationships with other nations and left China to be contained instead of bringing them into the mainstream of nations. The Chinese dictators have only used their increase in technology to tighten their grip and control domestically and have demanded and received unfair trade agreements, expanded their corporate espionage to unprecedented levels, have used the openness of it's trading partners to expand it's spying and espionage against the US and it's allies also to unprecedented levels and as Mullen is now realizing expanded their military to directly confront the US. It is impossible to use trade to make China a responsible peaceful partner because the communist dictatorship of China and it's military are not held responsible by to the people of China. It cannot be expected that any government that is not held accountable by the people of the nation it rules be a peaceful and responsible player on the world stage. The list of dictatorships and their aggression toward their own people and their neighbors is long and proven. China is no different only now much more powerful.

    2. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      I agree with Mr. Tim Higgins's assessment of China's military posture. I would add a few additional points.

      1. China holds nearly $1T of our debt and we are begging China to keep buying more. Hillary Clinton pleaded for their continued purchase even foregoing any discussion of their human rights violations. Position of the US is further weakened as a result.

      2. China is engaged in cyber attacks with hacking into Pentagon computers trolling for information. That could expand into generating chaos within the US by shutting down infrastructures.

      3. Chinese navy has been harassing the US navy vessels in South China Sea with no response from the US.

      4. The US government allowed sale of sensitive computer and missile technologies to the Chinese government.

      5. N. Korea has tacit approval of the Chinese government and it will not curb any excess there.

      6. Obama Administration is weak. I am sure the Chines government knows it. They will use it before too long.

      7. The US is a paper tiger. When the push comes to shove Americans do not have the stomach to fight a war and take on casualty. Gone are the days of the American resolve of WWII. Regardless of what Chairman Mullen writes, when China takes over Taiwan, the US will lodge protest in the UN and nothing else. Look at the way Israel is being handled by the Obama government.

    3. Barb -mn says:

      As long as there are countries overseas that can attack anywhere in the world, man-made global warming need not be an issue…but the priorities of the American government of the 21st century is to oppose those who love this country and support those who hate it. DESTROY THE COUNTRY.

      If the government of America cared any bit about the people, their swine flu scare would have expedited border closings.

      The facts are in everyone's face and everyone's ears.

    4. Cooper, Alabama says:

      History repeats itself. We are in the early stages of the third reich without Military Power.

      We have become a lazy fat irresponsible nation with a play boy as President in International Affairs.

    5. Patty's girl says:

      The Regan administration was able to facilitate the implosion of the Soviet Union because the U.S.S.R. became bankrupt trying to sustain the programs of its own communist government and eventually could not afford to maintain its own military power. The increasing wealth of the United States during the Regan years, which provided the money for our military expansion, allowed us to exercise our influence over foreign markets as well. It seems to me that the ensuing bankruptcy of the U.S, .coupled with the over burden of increasing government programs is now causing a similar contraction of our military axis, while, at the same time, China is the power exercising influence over foreign markets. If we cannot afford to keep the pace against foreign militaries and we cannot control foreign markets those militaries and markets will no doubt control us

    6. Angel, Ohio says:

      Has America become weak and complacent?

      Look at the story of the Troy and the Trojan Horse. No one was prepared for what happened. The citizens of Troy thought they were too big to fail.

      Wake up America!

    7. Tim Higgins, Covingt says:

      The question I would like to pose and hear answers to is: How much better off would the US be both economically and militarily had we sought to develop the markets and cheap labor of Central and South American nations as opposed to feeding China's expansion for the last 20 years? Illegal immigration would be less of a problem on our southern border as economic prospects south of the US would have been greatly improved. Political, economic and military allies would have been forged. Drug Cartels would have found fewer opportunities to exploit and corrupt the governments and people of a more prosperous region. Hugo Chavez would and other left-wing nuts of Latin America would have been sent to the trash bin of history. The US would have much greater access to tremendous natural resources, something China does not have to offer. Our hemisphere would be much more secure and a magnet for world trade. In addition, the pressures on Casto's Cuba would have been enhanced.

      Having our businesses using cheap labor in the Americas to export products to Europe and Asia building strong economies in our hemisphere while increasing the security of our hemisphere makes tremendously more sense. Developing African economies and creating consumers for American products and taking advantage of cheap labor there also makes much better sense than doing business with China. In every case where we could have gained all the benefits, businesswise, we could have gained elsewhere without financing a enemy military force against us.

      As it now stands, who is entering Africa and Central and South America in a very big way in our absence? China and why not? The Chinese already have the contract operate the American built Panama Canal. Our focus should have been and should be now to follow the European explorers and develop the new world, that has so long been neglected, to our benefit. Maintain and defend our relationships that exist in democratic Asia and Europe and seek to develop businesses in Central and South America and Africa where it is possible while ending this dangerous open relationship with a very closed communist China.

      I am sure Wal-Mart, China's American distributor, could find plenty of places south of the border to develop and produce cheap good to sell in the US. Ask your self this question, if Wal-Mart bought every product it sold in it's stores elsewhere, any place other than China, would the US have a trade deficit with China and how much smaller would China's military budget be? Remember Wal-Mart just buys from China and doesn't sell anything American to the Chinese so every dollar spent at Wal-Mart is pure trade deficit and money in a Chinese bank.

    8. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      Ask obama to talk to the chinese, he belives that talk will solve all the world problems and ours. Lets see how well talk goes over when the bulklets and bombs are flying on our heads, and keep cutting the defence budget. We do not need to keep up the military, his thinking is the military are just a drag on the rest of us. I guess the military budget keeps too many people from the give away programs that he will insist on being funded.

    9. duelles, santa fe, n says:

      Read Thucydides, Athens saved the Greek states from the Persians. They became rich, powerful envied and hated, until one day when all their attention was focused on art and culture, they got their tails kicked.

      As Cooper notes – history does repeat itself. Maybe Obama can give us the translation of 'altruism' form the Chinese. Perhaps Madame State Department lady can what the difference in China is between 'truth' and fact'. We all know neither of our leaders know the answers.

    10. Brad Raffensperger, says:

      I reviewed Mr. Higgins' assessment and believe he is on point regarding Chinese intentions. You may ask what drives this motivation for Chinese hegemony. If you watch Chinese films like "Fearless" starring Jet Li you will get a glimpse into the Chinese psyche. Words such as "invaded and humiliated by a foreign power" are constant themes in this movie with the underlying thrust that the Chinese must avenge for this past insult.

      What is puzzling is that present day China has mis-directed their anger from the British Empire, no longer in operation to America. Somewhere along the line they have forgotten about the Flying Tigers and our assistance with them against the brutal Japanese conquest. Revenge is a powerful force, never a positive one, always negative, quite often destructive.

      As the Dragon gains in military and economic strength it will need every increasing conquests to satisfy its thirst for its honor to be restored due to China's perceived slight to its people. President Obama will watch as Taiwan is gobbled up, either militarily or economically, most likely similar to Hitler's absorption of the Czech Sudetenland.

      The Bear will enjoy the show until the Dragon decides that it is in China's perceived interest to expand into Siberia for timber and raw mineral resources and into Kazakhstan and the Caspian for oil to fuel its economic engine.

      Meanwhile, back at the ranch the American consumer will continue to spend his hard earned money on trinkets of junk of no lasting value, purchased at his local superstore.

      There is a solution, it is to re-energize the manufacturing base of America and to implement incentives for the small business owner and entrepreneurial class. Big government, big banks, big labor, big business got us into this mess. Free us, the little people in the heartland to do what we do best, apply our hard work and ingenuity to build things and build this country. We can do it, we have before.

    11. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Sounds like protecting your home and loved ones by removing all the doors and windows, and putting a sign on the lawn that says, "We are Peace Loving Idiots Who Do Not Believe In Guns, Or Banks, Or even Vicious Dogs". Then placing a small sign below that says, "We have lots of extra food and jewelry and our kitty is cute!"


    12. Richard, Washington says:

      The excerpt of Admiral Mullen's remarks is well taken, so far as it goes. It should be clear to any informed observer that China's strategic focus is on us, but only one of their long-term objectives, aptly summarized by Mr. Higgins in his well-articulated remarks, is the capture (I will not say RE-capture because they have never held it) of Taiwan (Formosa). Their larger objective is absolute hegemony in the Western Pacific region. Should they gain this through their growing military strength they will be in a position to threaten all the nations in the region including Japan and Australia as well as the smaller nations of Southeast Asia. Japan in particular is vulnerable to China's still-smoldering resentment over the atrocities of World War II. In response to this vulnerability they have very quietly built the third largest navy in the world.

      The Chinese military is increasingly able to build on the dramatic growth of its economy, fueled by technology developed in China itself and bought or stolen from other countries. The current issue of the Naval Institute Proceedings has a lead article covering the revelation of a Chinese "carrier killer" ballistic missile which is able to adjust its trajectory in-flight to compensate for movement of its target. This missile reportedly will be able to damage our Nimitz-class carriers to the point of complete disability. Its range is reported to be approximately 1500 miles, which if launched from bases inside China's southeastern coast will be able to strike targets along the entire east Asian seaboard from the Western Pacific to the South China Sea. China has also embarked on an ambitious program building and procuring a fleet of submarines. Some of these are Russian KILO-class diesel-electric types; others are similar designs of their own construction. These are highly stealthy, some to the point of being very difficult to detect by equipment on our nuclear attack subs. The Chinese are also reportedly purchasing a Russian-built torpedo capable of 200-knot speed.

      Although these developments are cause for serious concern, at the present time they have not yet reached the point of becoming a unified threat. However, the decline of the US submarine force due to decommissionings and a build rate now down to two hulls per year has brought the fleet down to 49 Los Angeles class attack subs, 3 Seawolf class, 4 Virginia-class with 3 more under construction and 3 additional on order, and 18 Ohio-class ballistic missile subs, of which four have been converted to cruise missile platforms. This totals 74 of all types currently in service; projections indicate that at the current rate of replacements the Chinese fleet will surpass the American within ten years.

      All of this presents what to this observer is a very serious long-term threat. The Obama administration's plan to cancel next-generation aircraft programs such as the F-22 and C-17 as well as the Navys's DD(X) destroyer in favor of lower-cost programs designed to combat asymmetric warfare as the predominant threat in the 21st century is extremely ill-advised and short-sighted. If these trends continue we will ultimately find ourselves at the short end of the strategic stick.

    13. Ron, Noblesville, IN says:

      Well folks come June 1st you're going to have a hell of a time trying to protect yourself… "They" not only want our guns, now they want to know who is buying Amo for their guns & the beat goes on…

      Thomas Jefferson said " Those who beat their wepons into plow shares will become emslaved by those who do not"…

      It's time we all took a look at where we're headed as a County and start to elect folks who want this Country to remain the Land of the free & the home of the brave… Because of the Brave…

      But then again the Silent Majority will sit o their back side & look at each other, again, & just say "How the hell did that happen?"

      AMERICA PLEASE WAKE UP we aren't really as stupid as we look are we ?

    14. chuck, wy says:

      This is the plan by obama and his other cohorts,

      weaken america, sell it to china, open the borders because the influx of illegals creats the confusion needed and supported for our demise to our new masters. COMMUNISM. (can you say dictatorship)

    15. Richard, Washington says:

      I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Raffensberger's assessment of China's territorial ambitions. China wants Taiwan because that island has always been part of China and is occupied by ethnic Chinese. They claim it as their right to "unify" China by whatever means is required. It would be a great stretch for them to attack Russia and attempt to drive to the Caspian Sea — that is a huge area for them to capture and it is doubtful that even with the strength they have now or in the foreseeable future they would be militarily capable of doing.

    16. Pingback: More Chinese Crap - Page 3 - Political Wrinkles

    17. kevin ct says:

      all china needs is aircraft carriers to project its force across the pacific.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.