For decades now China has been adjusting its rhetoric and tactics for trying to keep the US and other countries from interfering in their affairs. The message of the sleeping dragon has been their calling card for ages, and they are playing it to keep others from stopping them as they use man-made islands to set up new bases and land across the South China Sea.
This kind of progression is an act of aggression and being done to shut out other nations as well as secure the need for themselves in the decades to come. It also sends a message that while they do not believe they should be trifled with. They also seem to be under the impression that they can do anything they want.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner recently spoke at a Center for Strategic & International Studies conference. While speaking he informed those listening that China was beginning to pose a real problem to global security.
“We see Beijing combining its growing military power with greater willingness to take risks. In recent months, we’ve witnessed a sharp increase in unsafe and unprofessional behavior by [Chinese] ships and aircraft — implicating not only US forces, but allied forces operating in the region.” Ratner then went on to explain how the number of “unsafe” Chinese fighter jet intercepts over the South China Sea has “increased dramatically”. He also emphasized how the “dangerous” incidents already number in the dozens in 2022 alone.
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He also reminded the audience that “these are not isolated incidents.” He also pointed out China’s “aggressive and irresponsible behavior” is presenting “one of the most significant threats to peace and stability in the region today.”
While we as a nation should not fear the Chinese, this has been a long-brewing conflict. Given the current state of their economy, the idea of completely taking over Taiwan and trying to spread out their control across the globe is not far from plausible. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have both made remarks in the last few months about the growing problem with China.
Given the current situation, the US is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was slated to visit Taiwan back in April, but contracted COVID, and was forced to put her trip on hold. Now back to full strength (for her), she is looking at taking the trip soon. This is something the Chinese have warned against explicitly.
As Ratner pointed out, it’s “only a matter of time” before there is a “major incident or accident.” Given the drum beating by Chinese officials over the One-China deal, and the US issuing mixed messages about defending Taiwan, it’s a perfect storm for misunderstandings and poor messaging to take over during her visit.
Another development from China complicates things even more. Currently, they are reported as supplying tanks to the Russians to help them in their attempted takeover of Ukraine. Given the US and other nations’ supply of missiles, defense equipment, and other tools to the Ukrainians, this puts the two nations at odds. A conflict over this conflicting interest would not only be one of the dumbest things the US could get involved in, but it could be one of the costliest.
For years now China has been working on their Navy. This includes a new stealthy submarine drone, that also happens to be capable of nuclear attacks. A vessel like this is not only a game changer for armed conflict, it makes the timing of Pelosi’s visit even worse. While the US can reposition troops, ships, and fighter jets to help ensure her safety, this new submarine hasn’t had a full real-world test yet. It might be even more capable than the Chinese have let on.