China, China, China
Whenever investigators are looking at who could have committed a crime they often look for three famous indicators, Motive, Means, and Opportunity. If you applied this paradigm to the current geopolitical state of world affairs, China would be the only one to pose a real threat to the stability and safety of every nation’s affairs.
There are regional threats, like the Taliban following Biden’s disastrous withdrawal, but they do not have the ability to drastically affect global conditions or larger countries. Despite Chinas increasing domestic economic problems, their ability to exert economic, diplomatic, and military strength anywhere on the globe is undeniable.
Following the national disgrace that was the summit between Chinese and American diplomats in Alaska earlier this year, China has ramped up their military movements. After months of ignoring this clear escalation by the Chinese Communist Party’s military leaders the United States and its allies have finally begun matching their show of force.
Earlier this week the American aircraft carriers, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Carl Vinson, have engaged in joint maneuvers with the U.K. HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as Japans JS Ise. As USNI News reported,
The exercise involved six different navies – the U.S Navy, the U.K. Royal Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy – making up a total of 17 surface ships, which included four aircraft carriers.
The exercise enhanced JMSDF tactical skills and interoperability with the participating navies, the JMSDF said in a news release on Monday. Anti-submarine warfare, air defense warfare, tactical movement and communications training were carried out for the exercise, according to the JMSDF.
These movements were provoked by the Chinese Airforce flying the largest assortment (38) of military aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) on October 1st, which is their National Day. As the Economist wrote,
Over the next three days China sent another 111 planes. In response, Taiwan scrambled jets, broadcast warnings and tracked the Chinese aircraft with missile systems. The island’s defence minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, called it “the toughest situation I have seen in more than 40 years of my military life”.
Taiwan has been a target of strategic importance because they are responsible for producing almost the entire global supply of computing chips including for iPhones. Combined with the strategic location for ensuring the free passage through shipping lanes along the eastern coast of Asia. Combined with the sense of entitlement from the Chinese government regarding their assumed ownership of the independent state of Taiwan, the stakes and tensions are rising.
China has not limited its military maneuvers to Taiwan.
Just over a month ago the United States Coast Guard spotted a chinese envoy according to the South China Post,
Four Chinese warships, including one of its most advanced destroyers, were spotted sailing in the waters off Alaska late last month as the Chinese navy steadily expands its range, according to photos posted on a Pentagon information service.
Reportedly, the envoy included a Type 055 Guided Missile Destroyer class vessel. These are among the most advanced in the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Navy and significantly increased the lethality of their carrier strike forces.
The PLA Navy has also been active off the coast of Australia over the summer, requiring that the State controlled propaganda outlets in China run interference for their actions. The United States was engaging in joint training exercises with the Australian Navy and were graced by some unexpected guests, two type 815 Chinese auxiliary general intelligence vessels studied their opponents training.
Despite the reassurance of the innocence of their movements from the Global Times, a mouth piece for the CCP, some unbiased observers are more concerned. Analysis from the Lowry Institute found that,
As the international scope of China’s economic interests has expanded over time, China’s strategic horizons have broadened correspondingly, and so have its military capabilities. China is engaged in the largest and most rapid expansion of maritime and aerospace power in generations. Based on its scope, scale, and the specific capabilities being developed, this buildup appears to be designed to, first, threaten the United States with ejection from the western Pacific, and then to achieve dominance in the Indo-Pacific.
The PLA Navy and Airforce are not the only branches practicing for future engagement, the infantry has been engaged in specialized training along the Himalayan border with India. According to WION News,
The exercise known as “Snowfield Duty-2021” involved ten brigades and regiments affiliated with the PLA Tibet military command. The drill included the latest weapons and equipment as PLA troops held the exercise at an elevation of 4,500 meters.
The night and day exercise was conducted with howitzers, multiple rocket launcher systems including anti-aircraft batteries.
Although India is hardly the first country one thinks of whenever compiling a list of allies to fight back against China should the current cold war turn hot, they would potentially be the lynch pin to the success of an allied coalition.
Not only do they have the only national population comparable to China, the fact they share a land border, engagement with India would spread resources from the PLA over a much larger area. History tells us that an aggressor which takes on too many fronts at the same time is almost guaranteed to lose.
Despite the outward downplaying by this administration of the potential threat from China for public consumption, the fact that joint exercises with the Japanese and Royal Naviies are starting belies an uptick in even Biden’s concern. The implications of potential Chinese aggression, further supply chain disruptions, loss of computer chip supply from Taiwan, shipping lanes potentially being shut off completely in the world’s busiest shipping channel, and countless unforeseeable consequences.