Imperial Energy asks –
It would be good to see you do a piece on China given this:
A great challenge!
So, if you were Trump’s NSA what would advise?
The only advice to give is one compatible with America’s type of world power.
America is the world’s first Regionalist world power, a unique power system defined as –
- A Realist strategy where a great Capitalistic power uses regional alliances with other Capitalistic states to check any threat from a hostile power to either the physical security or commercial interests of the allied Capitalists. Minor powers have the option of being part of this alliance, neutral outside of it, or hostile. Regardless whether minor powers join or not, the great power is able to exercise this strategy so long as other advanced powers agreed to the system.
The Regionalist response to any Chinese expansionism is suitable to the task because the major advantages of Regionalism are applicable as part of a deterrence posture by America and, if necessary, direct conflict.
Those deterrent advantages are leveraging our regional alliances in the Asia-Pacific to keep them well enough armed to at least make China hesitate before making aggressive moves, deploying our own forces in a reserve posture, and holding logistical hubs and military bases scattered across allied territory so our forces can be moved and supplied wherever needed.
Maintaining strong regional alliances is essential to deterring war from happening in the first place because China’s actual regional position is rather inhospitable to wars of expansion.
Consider China’s situation from their own vantage point and one quickly observes China has no attractive areas to expand into.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Asian geography greatly favors defensive operations over offensive ones. To China’s Southeast there are vast jungles; their Southwest is obstructed by the Himalayan mountains; their ports face formidable navies controlled by America and its allies; to their North is the harsh land of Siberia.
Geography alone makes invasion through any one of these directions difficult for any attack. Fighting through multiple directions would be still more taxing given how each particular geography demands different types of military forces, supplies, and strategies be prepared and used simultaneously.
This geographic hurdle is complemented by the occupants of those terrains, none of whom are hesitant to fight dirty. China directly borders two nuclear powers, Russia and India. India is a close American ally and Russia would soon become at least a tactical American ally if China displayed aggressive tendencies.
Japan is protected by not only the Sea of Japan and American seapower but by its own underrated navy and capacity to develop nuclear weapons.
Smaller powers like Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and South Korea have their own geographic and native militaries.
At this moment China does not appear to be engaging in serious expansionism. At most they are testing the waters. They are mostly keeping to themselves because their neighbors by themselves are not pushovers.
For the United States, what deters China today – strong regional powers allied with the United States – should be the situation America seeks to maintain.
Each regional ally should be given additional indirect American support that best fits their own geographic strengths – though our support should not be so excessive that it encourages an arms race: India should gradually receive more land, sea, and naval weapons from the United States and be encouraged by us to further economically develop. Japan should be should be encouraged to bulk up its naval and airpower but refrain from developing nuclear weapons that would excessively alarm China. Relations with Russia should be improved.
As a deterrence strategy that upholds a balance of power which incentives major powers not to fight, Asia is ideal grounds to implement Hamiltonian Regionalist offshore balancing.