Everybody’s Suddenly Talking About Deterring China At Sea
Now the rest of the world is catching up. In a “Proceedings’” interview with retired Navy Capt. Wayne Hughes, the master tactician makes this hawkish recommendation on China strategy:
. . . . in the China seas we probably can keep the peace if we demonstrate the ability to deny movement of their trade at sea, and that means taking the offense. We can take the offense with a sea denial strategy. Offense is less expensive and sea denial is easier to do than sea control, because sea control requires you to be ever ready for an attack at a time of the enemy’s choosing. We just have to intimidate the Chinese by a sea denial strategy so they can’t conduct their trade, and they are a lot more vulnerable to the loss of trade than the Soviet Union ever was. So I’m fascinated by the idea of keeping the peace by showing the Chinese that we can execute a sea denial strategy in their home seas.
I am not so sure that being openly confrontational is the right way for the United States to go. We do best in the region when we back up others. Remember when we fought a war in Vietnam to prevent communist expansion? That didn’t go so well. But when we left, the new government in Vietnam promptly fought a war with China. Southeast Asia generally got its act together. ASEAN was formed—and eventually even Vietnam joined it.
I favor a more restrained approach. It rests on the views that China’s historic vulnerability is cultural and ethnic arrogance, which leads to overreach. China has fought many of its neighbors, especially …read more
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