A major new report by the Washington-based Center for
International and Strategic Studies (CSIS) has laid out detailed plans
for the Pentagon’s preparations for war in Asia. The report, entitled
“Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025: Capabilities, Presence, and Partnerships,”
examines the range of threats to US dominance in Asia, but there is no
doubt that its chief preoccupation and target is China.
The CSIS document, released last week, has a semi-official status. It
was commissioned by the US Department of Defence at the instigation of
Congress under the 2015 National Defence Authorisation Act. The report
is a follow-up to a similar CSIS study conducted for the Pentagon in
2012 following President Obama’s formal announcement of the “pivot” or
“rebalance” to Asia in November 2011.
Since 2012, last week’s report declares, “the international security
environment has become significantly more complicated. China has
accelerated the frequency of its coercive activities and the pace of its
island building in the East and South China Seas.” After noting that US
military interventions in Eastern Europe against Russia and in the
Middle East have “competed with the Asia Pacific for attention and
resources,” it stresses the importance of countering China. “Militarily,
the Pacific Command has fully embraced the rebalance, but the [Chinese]
anti-access challenge is worsening and China’s tolerance for risk has
exceeded most expectations,” it states.
The very terms used in the report are designed to present China as an
aggressive, expansionist power and obscure the dramatic US military
build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific over the past three years as part
of the pivot. The phrase “China’s tolerance of risk” really means
China’s failure to bow to sustained US pressure and provocations in the
region and accept Washington’s demands.
The Pentagon’s overall strategy for war against China, known as
AirSea Battle, involves massive air and missile strikes on the Chinese
mainland aimed at destroying key military assets, bases and
infrastructure, as well as disrupting the country’s communications,
economy and political leadership. It also involves an economic blockade
of the country by cutting off shipping lanes, particularly those
bringing vital supplies of energy and raw materials from the Middle East
and Africa via the Indian Ocean and South East Asia.
These operations are premised on US control of the air and seas near
the Chinese mainland from US military bases in South Korea, Japan, Guam
and Australia, as well as the ability to launch strikes from aircraft
carriers and submarines. The report’s summary of the current US force
posture in the Asia-Pacific underscores these aims:
“Current US capabilities resident or routinely deployed
in the Asia-Pacific include power projection from carrier strike groups,
strategic bombers, and guided-missile submarines; ballistic missile
defence from a network of installations and platforms in Japan, Korea,
Guam, and forward-deployed Aegis-equipped navy ships; anti-submarine
warfare (ASW) capability resident in ships, submarines, and patrol
aircraft operating throughout the Asia-Pacific theatre; air superiority
from fourth- and fifth-generation fighters deployed to Japan and Korea;
and ISR [Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities
from space-based to tactical systems to provide early warning and
support to warfighters.”
If China were to “forward-deploy” military forces on this scale
permanently to waters off the Californian coast and openly discuss plans
to annihilate forces on the American mainland, it is not difficult to
imagine the belligerent and aggressive US response. Yet that is exactly
what Washington is doing in the Western Pacific and more broadly in
Not surprisingly, Beijing is seeking the means to counter the US
threat through what is referred to as “anti-access/area denial” or
A2/AD—that is, the military capacity to restrict or deny access to US
naval and air forces to sensitive waters off the Chinese mainland and to
attack US bases, particularly in South Korea and Japan. The CSIS report
reflects concerns in the Pentagon that China might be able to disrupt
US plans to devastate Chinese bases and cities and “at the current rate
of US capability development, the balance of military power in the
region is shifting against the United States.”
After assessing the potential threats, primarily from China, as well as Russia and North Korea, the report bluntly declares:
“We reject the option of withdrawal from the Western
Pacific because of these new challenges. Such a withdrawal would lead to
rapid deterioration of the security environment and render operations
more difficult rather than easier.”
The 275-page CSIS study is devoted to a detailed and comprehensive
analysis of what is required to speed up the US military build-up in
Asia, to ensure maximum military support from regional allies and
strategic partners, and to research and build new weapons systems to
neutralise Chinese defence capacities.
The report is nothing less than a master plan for an accelerating
arms race in Asia in preparation for a conflict that would inevitably
draw in the entire region and the world. It is critical of the Obama
administration for failing to articulate “a clear, coherent or
consistent strategy for the region, particularly when it comes to
managing China’s rise,” and for making cuts to the defence budget that
have “limited the Defence Department’s ability to pursue the rebalance.”
One element of the CSIS’s solution to the budgetary difficulties is
to place new demands on other countries. The study examines in detail
and in turn the role that each of the US allies and partners would be
required to play, as well as the necessary expansion of their military
forces and facilities. While focusing considerable attention on Japan,
South Korea and Australia, it appraises a long list of countries,
including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the
Philippines, as well as the potential for political resistance and
opposition to US plans. Its recommendations include mechanisms to ensure
the interoperability and integration of the various military forces
into a US-led conflict against China.
At the same time, the CSIS study foreshadows a huge expansion of US
military spending, involving trillions of dollars, to fund its
recommendations. These recommendations include:
* Restructuring and consolidating US military forces in Japan and
South Korea, including the completion of new bases, a major extension of
military facilities on Guam, and the expansion of the American Marine,
air and naval presence in Australia.
* Stationing a second aircraft carrier strike group to complement one
already permanently stationed in Japan, as well as “additional surface
force presence,” such as Littoral Combat Ships, four of which are due to
be stationed in Singapore.
* Improving “undersea capacity,” such as the “near-term” stationing
of two additional nuclear attack submarines in Guam and the future
basing of advanced Virginia class nuclear submarines elsewhere in the
region, including at Stirling naval base in Western Australia and the
Indian Ocean base of Diego Garcia.
* Expanding and reorganising the US Marine and Army forces throughout the region.
* Diversifying air bases to counter potential Chinese attacks, including to “the Philippines, Australia and others.”
* Boosting anti-missile systems throughout the region to neutralise
China’s ability to respond to a US attack—nuclear or non-nuclear.
* Stockpiling “critical precision munitions” in secure locations to
ensure the US military’s ability to engage in “large-scale and
* Undertaking major research aimed at countering any potential
Chinese military response to US attack, such as a new generation of
advanced, long range anti-ship, anti-surface and anti-air missiles, and
the development of new weapons, including “three promising
options”—railgun, directed-energy and upgraded conventional guns. Other
projects include a new long range strike bomber, greater payload
capacity for nuclear submarines, and augmented space, cyber and
electronic warfare capabilities.
The Pentagon’s watchword is that US forces must have the ability to
“fight tonight.” In other words, the military must be able to launch a
major war against China within hours and sustain it for whatever time is
The massive expansion of the military budget required for this arms
race will necessarily take place at the expense of the working class.
This means the gutting of what remains of social programs and
infrastructure and the further impoverishment of the working class. Both
in the US and in each of its allies and partners, the turn to
militarism will only intensify the class struggle. While the CSIS study
makes no mention of the political consequences of its proposals, the
boosting of the military abroad takes place alongside the build-up of
the police-military apparatus, and police-state measures at home aimed
against the eruption of social unrest.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole
responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on
Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect
statement in this article.
ROLAND SAN JUAN was a researcher, management consultant, inventor, a part time radio broadcaster and a publishing director. He died last November 25, 2008 after suffering a stroke. His staff will continue his unfinished work to inform the world of the untold truths. Please read Erick San Juan's articles at: ericksanjuan.blogspot.com This blog is dedicated to the late Max Soliven, a FILIPINO PATRIOT.
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