Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sino Strategic Trust


Sino speak for asymmetrical irony ala puissance - nicht wahr?

Great Satan's exDef Sec's semi recent hello about China's massive opaque military bling bling got dissed down on touch down with a sad boring asset'd lecture about Taiwan yet it hasn't stopped Great Satan from trying to be cool to a near field wannabe.

Like any long term hook up - a Great Satan/China Super Friends Hotline has got to be all about honesty and trust on a strategic level.

Joint Chief Chairman Admiral Mullen gives up hot! deets about the state of the challenging challenge for diplopolititary tete a tete with the world's largest autocratic collectivist nation state on earth. 

First, we’ve got to keep talking. Dialogue is critical.

A good bit of misunderstanding between our militaries can be cleared up by reaching out to each other. We don’t have to give away secrets to make our intentions clear, just open up a little.

That’s why I invited my counterpart in the People’s Liberation Army, Gen. Chen Bingde, to the United States in May, and it’s why he was my host in China two weeks ago. We broke new ground by, among other things, showing him Predator drone capabilities in detail and a live-fire exercise; the Chinese reciprocated with a tour of their latest submarine, a close look at an SU-27 jet fighter and a complex counterterrorism exercise.

Our discussions were candid and forthright. General Chen made no bones about his concerns about American arms sales to Taiwan, and I made it clear that the United States military will not shrink from our responsibilities to allies and partners. He said the P.L.A.’s strategic intentions were purely defensive; I said that neither the skills they were perfecting nor their investments seemed to support that argument.

Not exactly cordial, but at least we were talking.

Second, we need to focus on the things we have in common.

We’re both maritime nations with long coastlines and economies dependent on unhindered trade. We both face threats of drug trafficking, piracy and the movement of weapons of mass destruction. We both want stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Pakistan. We both recognize the need for coordinated international humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

These are challenges we can tackle together, and missions we can plan and train for, and perhaps someday execute side by side. Our staffs signed a few initiatives in that regard, including a commitment to conduct joint counter-piracy exercises in the Gulf of Aden this year.

Good steps all, but there is a long way to go.

We still don’t see eye-to-eye with China over military operating rights in the South China Sea. We still don’t fully understand China’s justification for the rapid growth in its defense spending or its long-term military modernization goals. And we don’t believe that China should be allowed to resolve disputes in contested waters by coercing smaller nations. Instead, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has made clear, we advocate a collaborative diplomatic process among all parties to resolve disputes under international law. And we need better mechanisms to deal with inevitable tensions.

That said, these sticking points aren’t all bad. It’s all right to disagree sometimes, to have substantial differences.

In fact, sometimes bluntness and honesty are exactly what’s needed to create strategic trust. And we will need more of it. Our military relations have only recently begun to thaw, but China’s government still uses them as a sort of thermostat to communicate displeasure. When they don’t like something we do, they cut off ties. That can’t be the model anymore. Nor can we, for our part, swing between engagement and over-reaction. That’s why the commitment by 44 and President Hu Jintao to improve military-to-military relations is so important. Real trust has to start somewhere. And it shouldn’t be subject to shifting political winds.

So, General Chen and I are considering more frequent discussions, more exercises, more personnel exchanges. We both believe that the younger generation of military officers is ready for closer contact, and that upon their shoulders rests the best hope for deeper, more meaningful trust.

I’m not naïve. I understand the concerns of those who feel that any cooperation benefits China more than the United States. I just don’t agree. This relationship is too important to manage through blind suspicion and mistrust. We’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.

I’m not suggesting we look the other way on serious issues, that we abandon healthy skepticism, or that we change our military’s focus on the region. But we need to keep communication open and work hard to improve each interaction.

We can shrink from this opportunity, or rise to it. We can let narrow interests and suspicion define our relationship, or work toward more transparency, more pragmatic expectations of each other, and more focus on our common challenges. That would be a great start toward strategic trust.

Pic - “Red Star over the Pacific"


Blake said...

The link at the end under the text "Pic - 'Red Star over the Pacific' " is broken.

Also, I think you should note that you modified Mullen's op-ed, adding all the links (except one) and replacing Obama's name (and anything else I didn't notice).

Anyway, I'm surprised you don't have more to say about China's immoral autocraziness. I guess there are some realpolitik exceptions to your baseline hyperpuissant rah-rahs, right?

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Actually tho't Admiral M handled all that prett well.

The Red Star link is working for moi.

Any perceived exceptions are hardly realpolitik. Consider Uncle Tony's admonishing admonition:

"Ppl say to me all the time 'Oh, what about Mugabe - or the Burmese lot?' Yes, let's get rid of the entire lot. We don't because we can't. Yet when we can - we should"

Have written tons of stuff about empowering Taiwan, SoKo, and Nippon along with Australia to stand up to collectivist China's not so peaceful looking rise of diplopolititary chicanery.

Blake said...

All I get from the Red Star link is a Blogger login page.

"[W]e can't" get rid of Mugabe, or the Burmese junta? You can't be serious. That's not "can't," but "won't"--certainly in the case of Mugabe. You think Zimbabwe's, or even Myanmar's military is a match for ours/ours plus allies?

Writing about empowering allied Pacific Rim nations close to China is off my point. What I meant was I thought I would see the same kind of judgment on China's oppressive regime and culture as I've seen from you on Iran, for instance.

Wilbur said...

Re: the seven Korean girls in military garb - are we sending them in to destabilize China (perhaps infiltrating via the ethnic Korean populations in Shandong and Heilongjiang)? Or are they supposed to inspire an affinity for Western culture among the Chinese youth? We can't topple a billion-plus, but maybe we can melt their hearts? Or maybe the seven Korean girls are supposed to represent the Chinese military of the future (once China takes over the Korean peninsula). Is that going to happen? I would prefer not.