Posts by Victor:

    US Dim Mak Point 9 – Vulnerability of Carrier Battle Groups*

    June 18th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    February 8, 2017

    AIRCRAFT carrier battle groups are the mainstays of U.S. military supremacy. They serve as America’s chief instrument for global power projection and world dominance. In this category, the U.S. has no equal. At the moment, it maintains a total of 12 aircraft carrier battle groups, with another one about to be added. In comparison, China has none.

    From June to August 2004, the U.S., for the first time in its naval history, conducted an exercise involving the simultaneous convergence of seven of its 12 aircraft carrier battle groups to within striking distance of China’s coast. Dubbed Operation Summer Pulse, it was the biggest and most massive show of force the world has ever seen. It was to remind China that if it uses force against Taiwan, China must contend with this kind of response.

    China’s strategy in “defeating the superior by the inferior” is shashaojian or the “assassin’s mace”. Mace is not only a blinding spray, it is also a mean and deadly weapon, equivalent to a spiked war club in ancient times, that is used to knock out an adversary with one blow. The spikes of the modern Chinese mace may well spell the end for aircraft carriers. These comprise the second half of the feared “assassin’s mace”.

    Spikes of the ‘Assassin’s Mace’

    The first of these spikes consists of medium- and short-range ballistic missiles (modified and improved DF 21s/CSS-5 and DF 15s) with terminally guided maneuverable re-entry vehicles with circular error probability of less than 10 meters. DF 21C/D/Ms can hit slow-moving targets at sea up to 1,500 kilometers away. China’s latest development of anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is the DF26, an intermediate range ballistic missile with a reach of 4,000 kilometers. A direct hit is not even necessary. Missiles armed with non-nuclear EMP or thermobaric warheads can put carrier battle groups out of action in a flash.

    The second spike is an array of supersonic and highly accurate cruise missiles, some with a range of 300 kilometers or more, that can be delivered by submarines, aircraft, surface ships or even common trucks (ideal for use in terrain like that of Iran along the Persian Gulf). These supersonic cruise missiles travel at more than twice the speed of sound (mach 2.5), or faster than a rifle bullet. They can be armed with conventional, anti-radiation, thermobaric, or electro-magnetic pulse, or even nuclear warheads if need be. The Aegis missile defense system and the Phalanx close-in weapon system of the U.S. Navy are ineffective against these sea-skimming, end-maneuvering, supersonic cruise missiles. Examples of these deadly cruise missiles include Yakhonts, Klubs, Granits, Moskits (or Sunburn), Brahmos, C301s, YJ12s, YJ83s, YJ91s, KH31As/Ps, etc.

    Defense analyst Richard D. Fisher had made an evaluation of the Sunburn. Fisher reported that the Sunburn is capable of a dive speed of nearly 3000 miles an hour, helping it evade U.S. naval defenses. “The Sunburn anti-ship missile is perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missile in the world,” wrote Fisher in a review of the Chinese navy. “The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.5 speed with a very low-level flight pattern that uses violent end maneuvers to throw off defenses. After detecting the Sunburn, the U.S. Navy Phalanx point defense system may have only 2.5 seconds to calculate a fire solution – not enough time before the devastating impact of a 750-lb. warhead.”

    A barrage of these supersonic cruise missiles to destroy the Aegis and radar systems of the battle group as well as the main surface ships, followed by a second barrage of land-based intermediate- or medium-range ballistic missiles to finish off the remaining survivors of the first barrage, could wreak havoc on an aircraft carrier battle group. Whether there are seven or 10 carrier battle groups, it will not matter, for China has enough ballistic and cruise missiles to destroy them all. Unfortunately for the U.S. and British navies, they do not have the capacity to counter a barrage of supersonic cruise missile followed by a second barrage of ballistic missiles.

    The first and second spikes of the “assassin’s mace” are sufficient to render the aircraft carrier battle groups obsolete. But there is a third spike which is equally dreadful. This is the deadly SHKVAL or “Squall” supercavitating rocket torpedo developed by Russia and passed on to China. It is like an underwater missile. It weighs 6,000 pounds and travels at 200 knots or 230 mph, with a range of 7,500 yards. It is guided by autopilot and with its high speed, it will be highly difficult for carriers or nuclear submarines to make evasive maneuvers. It is truly a submarine and carrier buster, and again, the U.S. and its allies have no known defense against such a supercavitating rocket torpedo.

    The “assassin’s mace” has still more spikes. The fourth spike consists of extra-large, bottom-rising, rocket-propelled sea mines (EM52s) laid by submarines along the projected paths of advancing carrier battle groups. These sea mines are designed specifically for targeting aircraft carriers. Lying at the sea bottom, these mines are difficult to detect. They can be grouped in clusters to hit the carrier in barrages.

    Completing the ‘Assassin’s Mace’ Picture

    If we now combine the mace as a means of blinding an adversary and the mace as a spiked war club, one can see the complete picture of how China will use the “assassin’s mace” to send America’s aircraft carrier battle groups into the dustbin of naval history. Although China does not possess a single operational aircraft carrier, it has converted the entire Chinese mainland into a “virtual aircraft carrier” that is unsinkable and capable of destroying all the aircraft carrier battle groups that the U.S. and its allies can muster.

    At this point, the question may be asked: How will China find the moving aircraft carriers in the vast expanse of the Pacific and guide its missiles to their targets? Lt. Col. Steven A. Smith, USAF, answers this question in detail: [48]

    China has launched and operated ELINT systems in the past. If they did acquire a space-based ELINT system, how would they use it and the rest of their suite of space capability against U.S. naval forces? Chinese discussions envision using space systems to track American naval forces and ELINT systems enable this. Space-based ELINT systems can be used to acquire maritime target location for Chinese naval forces. China’s improvements in satellite communication and space-based reconnaissance allow them to identify, target and track U.S. military activities deep into the Western Pacific providing maritime target locations directly to their forces.

    In addition, ELINT systems can be used to provide general location of U.S. naval assets which the Chinese could then use to cue searches for U.S. naval forces using the Canadian RADARSAT and ESA’s ERS-2 and ENVISAT synthetic aperture radar systems with their wake detection capability. Using these systems, the Chinese could more precisely locate and determine heading and velocity of carrier battle groups. Once found, China could keep the carrier’s location current using its full imagery suite: ZY-2, RADARSAT, ENVISAT, ERS, JERS, Israeli and Russian commercial sources and any micro satellite experiments on orbit (e.g. the Beijing-1). Of course, the indigenous imagery sources would not have the time delay which can occur with commercial systems. However, the Chinese have ENVISAT, RADARSAT and ERS receiving stations in country for near real-time receipt of imagery thus minimizing the time delay between when the satellites obtain the imagery and when an analyst can process the data. Thus, this suite of space-based capability – ELINT systems used in conjunction with imagery systems with satellite communications disseminating the data – could provide excellent target information for Chinese anti-naval weapon systems.

    Ultimately, some analysts believe the U.S. could lose a carrier or two during a Taiwan conflict. If this were to happen, Chinese space systems would have played a role, and this would be a clear example of the “prohibitive interference” required by the definition of space superiority. Thus, this scenario provides one example of the impact of one instance of Chinese space superiority.

    We can add to this the GLONASS system of the Russians, since a U.S. conflict with China will surely involve Russia fighting on the side of the latter. Besides, it was Russia who provided most of those supersonic cruise missiles that need to be guided to their targets. And Russia’s electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar satellites, communication satellites, in addition to the GLONASS navigation constellation can supplement China’s own satellite-based C4ISTAR system to make sure that U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups are properly tracked and targeted when it is time to do so.

    Satellite surveillance is just one of the methods for tracking down the carriers. Other methods include long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), airborne early warning and airborne warning and control system aircrafts, nuclear submarines doing reconnaissance, and even Special Forces disguised as fishermen or merchant marines equipped with satellite phones and GPS. All of these, combined with satellite-based C4ISTAR, can direct those deadly precision- guided missiles to the carrier battle groups.

    U.S. Stuck with Carriers

    Sadly for the U.S. Navy, even if American leaders and naval theorists realize the horrible truth that aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete in modern warfare by China’s “assassin’s mace”, it cannot just change strategy or discard its carriers. Tens of billions of dollars have been poured into those weapon systems and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be affected if such behemoths are turned into scrap. Besides, even if U.S. Navy authorities wanted to change strategy, the all-powerful military-industrial complex lobby would not allow it. So, when a major conflict between the U.S. and China occurs, say over the issue of Taiwan or Tibet, or the South China Sea maritime dispute, pity those thousands of American sailors who are unfortunate enough to be in one of those aircraft carrier battle groups. They won’t stand a chance.

    China knew that aircraft carrier battle groups are highly vulnerable, with the advent of global reconnaissance systems and long-range, maneuverable, precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles. This is why, despite China’s huge foreign exchange reserves ($3+trillion), it has built only one aircraft carrier of its own. Instead, it is busy enlarging and strengthening its submarine fleet which can better survive in the modern battlefield.

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    Why the US Scrapped the Iran Nuclear Deal*

    June 10th, 2018

    June 10, 2018

    Why did the US withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal; re-imposing economic sanctions against Iran; risking a major war that could easily turn nuclear; and even alienating its major allies in NATO?

    The main reason may be traced back more than a century ago, in 1904, when a British Lord and geographer Sir Halford Mackinder formulated his now famous geopolitical doctrine: “Who controls Eastern Europe rules the Eurasian Heartland; who controls the Eurasian Heartland rules the World Island; who controls the World Island rules the World.”

    Since that time, up to now, big global powers have exerted efforts to control the so-called “Heartland” of Eurasia; i.e., that huge and relatively flat land mass bounded by the Volga River in the West; the frozen ice caps of the Arctic in the North; the deserts of the Gobi and Taklimakan in the East; and the Himalayas and the mountain ranges of Afghanistan and Iran in the South. It is like a natural fortress with a huge, plain, land mass in the middle that is rich in oil, gas, mineral and human resources; just the right ingredients needed by a great power for world domination. Sir Halford Mackinder called this “Heartland” the “Geographical Pivot of History”.

    The term “World Island”, in turn, refers to the three continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa taken as one. UK and Russia tried to gain control of the Heartland in their so-called “Great Game” during the past century. Adolf Hitler tried to control the “Heartland” when German forces invaded Russia during the Second World War – but failed. The US, too, had tried to gain control of this so-called “Heartland” with its wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria – all of which have failed so far.

    Iran may hold the key to US control of the Eurasian “Heartland”. If Iran falls in US hands, it will open the floodgates to US entry and control of the vast plains of Eurasia. Iran is like a fortress guarding the front door of the “Heartland”. It is one of the most mountainous countries in the world; defensible against any form of foreign invasion using tanks; with terrain ideal for guerrilla or asymmetric warfare. Underneath its mountainous terrain are extensive and complex webs of strategic tunnels hiding missiles that could hit targets all over the Middle East, to include Israel. Said missiles can also be used against any ship entering the Persian Gulf, including US aircraft carriers.

    Iran’s current anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles can turn the entire Persian Gulf into a modern-day “Battle of Cannae” for the US Navy and its allies Saudi Arabia and Israel in the event that US decides to war with Iran. In addition, Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz where 60% of NATO oil and 90% that of Japan pass through. Iran’s closing of the strait with mines and land-based missiles can force NATO’s war machine to grind to a halt. Iran straddles both the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf – two of the richest regions in the world when it comes to oil and gas. Working in tandem with Russia who is now the biggest oil and gas producer, and with some key oil and gas producers in Central Asia like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, they could squeeze out the US and its allies of their oil and gas requirements – or require Japan and US NATO allies to pay only in gold and no longer in petro-dollar.

    Iran has a population of 80 million, the second most populous in the Middle East. It also has the highest literacy rate in that region. So if war breaks out against the US and its allies, Iran will have a sufficient supply of highly educated warriors to man and defend its nation-fortress. The strategic importance of Iran extends to geography: it lies at the vital crossroads of Central Asia (the “Heartland”), West Asia, and South Asia; exerting influence on these important regions of the Asian Mainland. And looking at it on a wider perspective, Iran also lies at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa – what Mackinder calls the “World Island”! Iran lies smack in the middle. Unfortunately for the US, Iran is applying for full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, where China and Russia belong; together with India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and some other Central Asian countries belong – all occupying the Eurasian “Heartland”. With the entry of Iran into this aggrupation of nations, the Eurasian “Heartland” will then be under the full, solid control of the SCO. Mackinder’s geopolitical theory will then be fulfilled. And it will be cemented by China’s Belt and Road Initiative or BRI.

    This is also the reason why the US abhors and fears the BRI. With BRI, the Eurasian Heartland is being criss-crossed by high-speed rail, superhighways, fiber-optic networks, economic corridors, ports, airports, power facilities, and new financial institutions that do not use the US dollar (i.e., they use gold-backed currencies instead).

    Now covering more than 60 countries, it is fast spreading to cover the “world island” consisting of Asia, Europe and Africa. Pretty soon, South America and Central America will also be covered. China is now starting a high-speed rail in Panama going to Costa Rica. So now, it seems that the lone Superpower US is panicking. It sees that the Eurasian Heartland, the key to its continued global domination and hegemony, is slowly being interconnected by thousands of kilometers of high speed rail; while its own territory does not have a single kilometer of high speed rail up to now! And such ironclad control is being initiated by its chief geopolitical rival China.

    Unable to gain physical presence and control of the Eurasian Heartland, the US tried to establish its control by setting up hundreds of naval, air, military, and drone bases on the Eurasian Rim-land; surrounding Russia, China, and Iran with hundreds of these bases. And with the unilateral scrapping of the Iran Nuclear Deal, egged on by Israel and Saudi Arabia, the US seems poised to go for the jugular. What could be the possible worst-case scenario if the US really go for full control of the Eurasian Heartland using military means? That would be my topic of discussion in my next article.

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US Dim Mak Point 8– Vulnerability of C4ISR*

    June 4th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    February 1, 2017

    C4ISR stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. In a war situation, C4ISR is a prime target because therein lies the center of gravity of one’s adversary. Neutralizing C4ISR is like cutting off the head of a chicken. It can run around in circles for a while, but will soon collapse and die. The same is true in warfare.

    Having the mightiest and most modern armed forces in the world, America prides itself with having the most sophisticated and advanced C4ISR. U.S. military spy satellites can gather intelligence data and disseminate it on a real- time basis. U.S. surveillance and reconnaissance satellites are so sophisticated that their sensors can detect objects on earth as small as five to six inches in size, from several hundred miles above the surface. Satellite sensors can also penetrate clouds and is functional in bad weather and darkness. Some of these spy satellites can also monitor radio or telephone conversations.

    Aside from communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, satellites are also used for navigation, most especially in guiding ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and other smart weapon systems to their targets. Without satellite guidance, such “smart” and precision weapons turn into “dumb” bombs and directionless missiles.

    The advances in C4ISR are rapidly revolutionizing warfare. Gathering, processing, disseminating, and acting on intelligence is now made possible on a real-time or near real-time basis on a global or regional level. Because of these developments, coupled with long-range, stealthy, precision-guided and supersonic weapons, a new war principle is emerging in the modern battlefield: “If the enemy sees you, you are dead.”

    The U.S. is far advanced in its C4ISR compared with, for instance, China. China cannot hope to catch up and match the American system anytime soon. So, for China to survive in the event of a major conflict with the U.S., it must resort to asymmetric methods. This means that China had to develop effective means of countering and neutralizing America’s C4ISR, which is highly dependent on space. And that is what China had been working on for more than two decades now.

    The “Assassin’s Mace”

    The heart of America’s C4ISR lies in its technologically sophisticated space satellites. But this seeming strength in space is also an Achilles heel. Neutralize or destroy the key satellites, and America’s major forces, such as aircraft carrier battle groups, are blinded, muted, and decapitated. This concept is part of China’s strategy for “defeating a superior with an inferior” called shashaojian, or “assassin’s mace”. It is like the spray kept by ladies in their purses, which they use when attacked by a mugger or rapist. They spray irritants into the eyes of an attacker to temporarily blind him, giving the intended victim time to escape.

    China now has the capability to identify and track satellites. And, for more than two decades it has been busy developing anti-satellite weapons. The country has been developing maneuverable mini-satellites that can neutralize other satellites. They do their work by maneuvering near a target satellite and neutralizing the target by electronic jamming, electro-magnetic pulse generation, clinging to the target and physically destroying it, bumping the target out of orbit, or simply exploding to bring the target satellite down with it. Such mini-satellites can be launched in batches on demand by road-mobile DF21 or DF31 booster rockets.

    Another anti-satellite weapon in the works is a land-based laser that blinds the sensitive sensors of satellites or even destroys them completely. But what surprised Western observers was the anti-satellite missile test conducted by China on January 11, 2007. It shot down its own weather satellite with a kinetic vehicle launched from a medium range ballistic missile, probably the DF21C MRBM. To hit such a small object in outer space at such high speed requires a highly-advanced terminal guidance system. The implications of this demonstration by China on U.S. space assets as well as aircraft carrier battle groups are quite horrifying to contemplate. This minimal Chinese ASAT capability imperils some valuable American military intelligence satellites in low earth orbit (LEO).

    Some three months before China’s spectacular anti-satellite (ASAT) test, President Bush signed an executive order creating a new National Space Policy emphasizing that the U.S. “rejects future arms control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone hostile to U.S. interests.” Asia Times Online, on Oct 20, 2006, reports:

    What concerns international observers and America’s potential competitors in space is that the US refuses to negotiate a space arms-control accord. Its rationale is that no such agreements are needed, because there is no space arms race. However, the US Air Force has published a Counter-space Operations Doctrine, which “calls for a more active military posture in space”, and says that protecting US satellites and spacecraft may require “deception, disruption, denial, degradation and destruction”.

    America’s space competitors also vividly recall that the current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld chaired a commission which recommended to Congress that it develop space weapons to protect military and civilian satellites.

    In an analysis for Harvard’s Neiman Watchdog, CDI Senior Advisor Phillip Coyle writes: “The Pentagon visualizes space as a platform for prompt global strike capabilities that could threaten the entire world. As explained in the Air Force Space Command Strategic Master Plan for Fiscal Year 2006 and beyond: A viable, prompt global strike capability, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, will allow the U.S. to rapidly and accurately strike distant high-payoff, difficult-to-defeat targets. This capability provides the U.S. with the flexibility to employ innovative strategies to counter adversary anti-access and area denial strategies. Such a capability will provide war-fighting commanders the ability to rapidly deny, delay, deceive, disrupt, destroy, exploit and neutralize targets in hours/minutes, even when U.S. and allied forces have a limited forward presence.”

    Two weeks before China’s ASAT test, on December 26, 2006, Anatoly Permikov, chief of Russia’s Federal Space Agency, said that Russia is not going to transfer space technology to China. “The Chinese are still some 30 years behind us, but their space program has been developing very fast,” Permikov said at a news conference. “They are quickly catching up with us…We aren’t transferring any technologies to China now. This issue has been under special control of the government.” The 2006 Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of China by the Pentagon likewise underestimated China by stating that “China can currently destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle armed with a nuclear weapon”.

    On September 2008, China conducted its first spacewalk together with the launch of a 40kg nanosatellite designated as BX-1. Some analysts saw the test as a demonstration of China’s advances in its ongoing anti-satellite (ASAT) program. Experts categorized the BX-1 as a co-orbital ASAT weapon. A co-orbital ASAT shares the same mean orbit with its target satellite.

    There is a famous saying that goes: actions speak louder than words. China’s answer to U.S. and Russian pronouncements on space dominance was to demonstrate what it can do. And it has shown that it can shoot down the eyes and ears of its adversaries. It would have been to China’s advantage if it resisted the temptation to show off its ASAT capabilities, as Deng Xiaoping advised the Chinese leadership while he was alive to “hide our capabilities”. But China could not resist the urge to puncture the ballooning egos of the two superpowers in space.

    With China’s demonstrated capability to neutralize U.S. C4ISR in a major conflict, America would be likened to “a blind man trying to catch fish with his bare hands”, to quote Mao Zedong. In short, America would be brought to its knees by a successful attack on its C4ISR.

    This is the first half of China’s “assassin’s mace.”

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US Dim Mak Point 7 – Air Bases Vulnerability*

    May 28th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    January 26, 2017

    LAST  Dec. 5, 2016 The Sun, a UK publication, reported: “THE US is readying for World War Three with China by mobilizing 400 bases packed with warships and nukes to create a “perfect noose” around the superpower.” It is part of US preparation for the possible implementation of its “Air-Sea Battle” doctrine that Pentagon planners have prepared to use against China’s “anti-access, area-denial” – a term coined by US military writers to describe China’s series of weapons’ systems that will prevent US military from gaining access to potential battlefields (i.e., Taiwan, Korean Peninsula, South China Sea, East China Sea, Malacca Strait, etc.) or coming to the rescue of their principal allies in the region (such as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, etc.).

    Such military encirclement is reminiscent of the Cuban missile crisis in October 16, 1962 when the USSR emplaced its missiles in Cuba. The world was put on the brink of a nuclear war then.  Military analysts may be wondering why China is so silent on the matter. Such silence can mean only two things: either China is too timid and afraid to react to this very serious US provocation; or, China is confident that it can react and win if the US make the first move – whether it be a conventional attack or a nuclear first strike.

    China has long prepared for an event such as this. They knew that this event will eventually come when Paul Wolfowitz crafted his famous Wolfowitz Doctrine way back in the early 90s: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.”

    At that time, China was not yet prepared. China has not yet perfected its “assassin’s mace”, a trump card weapons’ system designed to neutralize asymmetrically the advantages of its adversary in aircraft carrier strike groups, C4ISR, and military air and naval bases harboring not only advanced stealth bombers and fighter aircraft, but its logistic and communication hubs, command and control centers, and forces-in-being.

    At that time, too, China’s new great walls were not yet in place (i.e., the 5000-km strategic tunnels, underground air bases, undersea submarine monitors, air defense system on east coast, the artificial islands with runways, subway systems for civil defense, etc.)  Hence, China’s leader at that time, Deng Xiaoping, cautioned the Chinese nation: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”

    So, no matter how grave the US provokes China, the latter kept its cool. The US even deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999; or when the US concentrated the largest naval armada (i.e., 7 aircraft carrier strike groups) massing off Taiwan in 2004 – China just shrugged them off.

    Now we have this situation where “400 bases packed with warships and nukes” seem to be tightening their noose around China’s neck. Why does China seem so cool and silent? Because China, to this analyst, is simply laying a trap!  How so?

    Those 400 bases, if they ever exist, cannot escape the intelligence gathering of China. Each of those bases would have been plotted as to exact GPS location, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, capabilities, major assets, and strategic importance. Corresponding barrage of missiles would have been assigned to each one of them to ensure their neutralization and destruction within the first 10 to 15 minutes of start of armed conflict. Since China’s military doctrine mandates that China will never be the first to attack, China will just wait for the first shot to be fired by US forces; but once the US starts shooting, all those 400 bases encircling China would go up in smoke – within minutes.  That is how “high-intensity war of short duration” as envisioned by Chinese strategists will be conducted.

    The US bases now surrounding China, to include those US bases surrounding Russia and Iran, are fixed, vulnerable targets that turn to weakness instead of strength for the US and its allies.  China, Russia and Iran would surely concentrate on air bases harboring US stealth fighters and bombers. They will be eliminated in the initial salvo of missile barrages targeting those air bases.  The elimination of these select air bases would mean the loss of air cover for US and allied forces; and the loss of air cover would mean the loss of the war itself.

    And the US with its allies would have fallen into China’s trap.

    “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”  Sun Tzu

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US Dim Mak Point 6: Diplomatic Weakness*

    May 21st, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    January 18, 2017

    IN 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed from its own financial and bureaucratic weight, the U.S. emerged as the sole superpower in the world. At that crucial period, it would have been a great opportunity for the U.S. to establish its global leadership and dominance worldwide. With the world’s biggest economy, its control of international financial institutions, its huge lead in science and technology and its unequaled military might, America could have seized the moment to establish a truly American Century.

    But in the critical years after 1991, America had to make a choice between two divergent approaches to the use of its almost unlimited power: soft power or hard power.

    Soft Power was first conceptualized by Harvard University professor Joseph Nye, Jr. in his 1990 book Bound to Lead. Nye defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion.”

    Hard Power, on the other hand, is the exercise of military and economic means to compel others to conform to one’s designs.

    The exercise of soft power would have seen America leading the world in the fight against poverty, disease, drug abuse, environmental degradation, global warming and other ills plaguing humankind. It would have meant America writing off the debt burden of poor, underdeveloped or developing countries; promoting distance learning in remote rural areas to empower the poor economically by providing them access to quality education; and helping poor countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America build highways, railways, ports, airports, hospitals, schools and telecommunication systems. Unfortunately, such was not to be.

    If there was any effort by the U.S. to exercise soft power at all, it was minimal, or with strings attached weighed heavily in its favor. It is ironic that the “soft power” concept originated in America but it is the Chinese that has used it to its geopolitical advantage. China has been busy in the past decade or so exercising soft power in almost all countries in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, winning most of the countries in these regions to its side. Using soft power, China has created a de facto global united front under its silent, low-key leadership.

    The U.S., on the other hand, decided to employ mainly hard power in the exercise of its global domination. It adopted the policy of unilateralism and militarism in its foreign policy. It disregarded the United Nations (UN). It set aside the advice of its close allies. It unilaterally discarded signed international treaties such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. It adapted the policy of regime change and preventive war. It led the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the 78-day bombing of Serbia purportedly for “humanitarian” reasons. It even bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade — later claiming it was an “accident” – in an age of precision-guided munitions.

    Before 1991, it was hard to imagine China and Russia coming together to form a close-knit alliance politically, diplomatically and, most important of all, militarily. For more than three decades before the break-up of the Soviet Union, China and the USSR had been bitter rivals, even going into a shooting war with each other. But now the picture has changed dramatically. China and Russia have embraced one another and are helping each other ward off the military advances of the lone superpower in their respective backyards. In fact, it was a series of strategic blunders by the superpower that forced China and Russia into each other’s arms. How so?

    When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, it would have been the best time for the U.S. to use soft power to win Russia over to the Western fold. Russia at that time was an economic basket case, with the price of oil at $9 per barrel. But the promises of economic assistance from the U.S. and Europe proved empty, and Russian oligarchs became the main beneficiaries of relations with the Western powers.

    NATO then slowly advanced eastward, absorbing many of the countries making up the former Warsaw Pact alliance by inviting them to join. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were the first batch to come on board, followed by Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The third batch included Albania and Croatia.

    Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, was subjected to 78 days of continuous air bombardment. Regime changes were covertly instigated by U.S. and Western-financed non-governmental organizations such as the George Soros Open Society Institute in Georgia, the Albert Einstein Institution in Ukraine and the USAID / UNDP in Kyrgyzstan – all former Soviet republics and in Russia’s backyard – giving Russia that eerie feeling of strategic encirclement by the U.S. and its allies. There was also the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by the establishment of U.S. bases and the deployment of troops in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

    One of the successful color revolutions instigated by the U.S. occurred in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. The Rose revolution as it was called in 2003 replaced Eduard Shevardnadze with American-educated Mikheil Saakashvili. Emboldened by the tacit support he received from his American benefactors, President Saakashvili directed his U.S. trained and equipped troops to assault the break-away region of South Ossetia on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Apparently, he miscalculated the severity of the Russian response and was soundly whipped. Russia’s prompt action served a notice to the West that Russia will not tolerate any further encroachment in her sphere of influence. But this was followed by another Western move of regime change in Ukraine that topple the pro-Russian President of Ukraine. But this US adventure ultimately resulted in a humiliating reversal when Crimea voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. This prompted the US and its NATO allies to impose economic sanctions against Russia, driving the latter to establish closer ties with China.

    The latest aggressive move against Russia is the U.S. plan to set up ballistic missile defense systems in Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic that is being strongly criticized by Russian President Putin. Russia responded to this U.S. plan to set up its Anti-Ballistic Missile system in Europe by threatening to bomb the sites with its supersonic strategic bombers. Dmitry Medvedev, in his State of the Nation address in November of 2008, stated that Russia was prepared to respond to this perceived threat from the U.S. by deploying Iskander Theater Ballistic Missiles in Kaliningrad. These highly accurate ballistic missiles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads to a range more than 400 kilometers. A lethal characteristic of the Iskander is its unique ability to evade anti-missile systems by varying its flight pattern on its way to the target. Its flat trajectory makes it harder for the Iskander’s target to react.

    The aggressive geopolitical moves of the U.S. pushed Russia into the waiting arms of China. The Chinese dragon thirsts for Russian energy resources, modern weapon systems and military technology because of the U.S.-led arms embargo imposed after the Tiananmen incident of June 1989. China also needed a reliable and militarily capable ally in Russia because of the perceived threat from the U.S.

    Reinforcing this Chinese perception (of a U.S. threat) were the outrageously wanton bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by U.S.-led NATO forces in 1999; the spy plane spat with the U.S. in April 2001; the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the ABM Treaty in December 2001; the concentration of 7 aircraft carrier strike groups near Taiwan in 2004; the enhanced military cooperation between the U.S. and Japan; the inclusion of Taiwan in the Theater Missile Defense program; the continuous subversion of China through the Tibet issue; and the setting up of a U.S. military base in Kyrgyzstan, which is only some 250 miles (a few minutes by jet) from the Chinese border near Lop Nor, China’s nuclear testing ground.

    Both China and Russia needed a secure and reliable rear, and both are ideally positioned to provide it. Moreover, their strengths ideally complement each other. It must be borne in mind that both are nuclear powers. The abundant energy resources of Russia ensure that China will not run out of gas in a major conflict – a big strategic advantage.

    Russia is also supplying China with many of the modern armaments and military technology it needs to modernize its defense sector. This effectively mitigates the arms embargo imposed by the U.S. and the European Union on China. Russia is also diverting some of its oil and gas it was formerly supplying to Europe to pipelines going to China. Russia in turn needed the increased trade and arms market of China and China’s financial clout.

    The reconciliation of China and Russia was one of the most earth-shaking geopolitical events of modern times. Yet hardly anyone noticed the transition from bitter enemies to a solid geopolitical, economic, diplomatic and military alliance. The combined strengths of the two regional powers greatly surpass that of the former Western nemesis — the Warsaw Pact. The current situation now may be likened to two brother male lions working in tandem and eyeing the reigning but aging alfa male lion of the pride. They know that it is just a matter of time before they eventually take over pride.

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Why is China Risking a Major War with the US in the South China Sea?*

    May 14th, 2018

    May 14, 2018

    Why is China risking a major war, even a nuclear one, by deploying cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts?

    The US have warned that there will be consequences with this move by China. If the US launch a pre-emptive strike on these island outposts using its stealth bombers with JASSMs, China will surely retaliate against US air bases harboring said bombers in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and even Guam. China has the capability of obliterating said US air bases in a matter of 15 minutes or less with their DF26 and DF17 ballistic missiles with hypersonic glide vehicle warheads. And this could easily lead into a nuclear war between the US and China that can lead to the extinction of the planet.

    Here are the reasons why:

    1. Since 2005, the US had been conducting biennial naval exercises with Australia which they call “Talisman Saber”; primarily involving the naval blockade of the Malacca Strait and other vital choke points in the area (i.e., Lombok, Sunda, Makassar, etc.).

    Basically, this is in line with Alfred Thayer Mahan’s doctrine of controlling the vital choke points to control the oceans. The said straits are where most of China’s oil and foreign trade pass through; and a naval blockade of these straits can force the entire Chinese economy to grind to a halt. Hence, China’s very own survival as a nation depends on preventing any foreign power from conducting such a naval blockade (and Japan and N. Zealand have joined some of those past exercises). That was their reason for building those artificial islands – to prevent such naval blockade.

    Now, the US and its allies will think twice before conducting such blockade because those islands can accommodate more combat aircraft (J-20s, Su-35s, J-31s), ballistic missiles (DF17s, DF26s, DF21Ds), and air defense systems (S-400s, HQ-9s) than all of the US aircraft carrier strike groups combined, and counter such planned blockade.

    It is often said that geography is immutable; in this case, China has modified its geographical disadvantage and turned it into an advantage with the building of those artificial islands. And China seems determined to defend them at all cost, even if it means engaging in a nuclear exchange with the US and its allies.

    China had long prepared itself for the coming of this kind of event a long time ago, when Mao enjoined the entire Chinese nation: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony”. Now China had created more than 5,000 kilometers of strategic tunnels and an underground subway system in almost all major Chinese cities. No other country in the world possesses such massive passive defense or “new great wall” against nuclear attack.

    2. The second reason is the Scarborough Shoal, where the Manila Trench passes nearby. Said trench is the only portion of the South China Sea that is deep enough where US nuclear attack submarines such as 4 Ohio Class (or the more modern Virginia Class) nuclear attack submarines, each carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each missile packing 200 kilotons with a range of 2,500 kilometers (those dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were less than 20 kilotons each) can approach surreptitiously and launch a first strike against China’s east coast where China’s population and industry are concentrated.

    Because of its proximity, China will have no time to react against such first strike; and in a matter of minutes, the entire Chinese nation and civilization can be driven to extinction! So, what is the best strategy for Philippines given such circumstances? I believe that a neutral stance and a “win-win” approach are still to the Philippines best interest.

    A neutral stance means the removal of the EDCA bases in the Philippines; because US forces using those EDCA bases such as nuclear submarines, destroyers, and aircraft carrier strike groups can carry nuclear weapons. If the US uses the EDCA bases as launching pads to attack those artificial islands or the Chinese mainland itself, and nuclear weapons are used, the retaliation from China would also be nuclear in nature.

    Have our leaders thought about this? A “win-win” approach, on the other hand, involves the Philippine approach to negotiations with China in resolving our sea dispute.

    Insisting on our so-called victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling by The Hague Tribunal will get us nowhere. It will only agitate and anger our negotiating partner and we will surely end up with nothing but headache and WAR. If war is what we really want, then we pursue what Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario are strongly advocating by insisting on the PCA ruling. This is the “win-lose” approach. It was a tactical victory for the Philippines but could easily lead to strategic defeat because we will be giving China enough reason to make sure that we don’t get a single drop of oil or a single piece of fish in the said disputed area in the South China Sea. And not even Big Brother America can do anything about it.

    But if we want peace and joint prosperity with our neighbor, we support President Duterte’s position of a “win-win” approach in resolving the South China Sea issue.

     

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US Dim Mak Point 5: Vulnerability to Asymmetric Warfare*

    May 7th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    January 4th, 2017

    ASYMMETRIC warfare is a form of warfare used by the weak to defeat the strong. A classic example is found in the Bible — the story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a giant of a man, clad in full battle gear, with heavy armor, spear and an extra-large sword. David was a simple shepherd boy, barefoot, with only his sling shot to fight Goliath. But as everyone knows, David knocked the giant down with a slingshot to the forehead and then beheaded him.

    The basic principle in asymmetric warfare is to avoid the enemy’s strength and attack his weak points. If your opponent is Mike Tyson, do not fight him in the ring. Force him to fight your way. If you are good in chess, challenge him in a game of chess. Force your opponent to fight your way – in your own element.

    Asymmetric warfare may be likened to a lion invading a pool full of piranhas. The lion may be considered the king of beasts, fierce and strong, but its ferocious fangs and sharp claws are rendered useless against the piranhas in their watery environment. It will be the tiny creatures that will eat the lion alive. Or take a king cobra invading a colony of fire ants. The cobra’s potent venom is useless against the tiny creatures that will eventually devour the cobra alive. The same thing happened to superpower America in Vietnam against the “ill-clad, ill-fed, and ill-armed” Vietcong, or to the former Soviet superpower against the Mujahideens in Afghanistan, or the French colonialist forces against the Vietminh in Dien Bien Phu in Indochina. The same thing happened to the American-led coalition forces in Iraq and the NATO forces that fought in Afghanistan.

    Since the U.S. is now the lone superpower in the world, its adversaries in the future will be resorting more and more to asymmetric warfare to stand a chance of winning against its superior forces. America is particularly vulnerable to asymmetric attacks. A classic example is September 11, 2001. Nineteen determined attackers, armed with nothing but box cutters, succeeded in toppling the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and causing the death of some 3,000 people. Notice the asymmetry of casualty ratio as well – one of the most lopsided casualty ratios ever recorded in history.

    China, Russia, and Iran also possess asymmetric weapons that are designed to neutralize and defeat a superpower like America in a conventional conflict. Modernized supersonic and now, hypersonic cruise missiles in their inventories can defeat and sink U.S. aircraft carriers. They also have medium-range and intermediate range ballistic missiles with maneuverable, hyoersonic, and terminally guided re-entry vehicles (DF21Ms, DF26Cs), bottom-rising, rocket-propelled sea mines (EM52s), and supercavitating rocket torpedoes (SHKVAL or “Squall”). The U.S. Navy has no known defense against these weapons.

    China successfully tested an anti-satellite missile on January 11, 2007. If a Chinese medium range ballistic missile can hit a small satellite traveling in outer space at hypersonic speed (five times the speed of sound), then more so will the same type of missile hit a lumbering aircraft carrier traveling at a snail’s pace at sea. The asymmetry here is that, even if China and Iran do not possess a single operational aircraft carrier, they can defeat said carriers with missiles now in their inventories. And they do not have to spend for the acquisition and maintenance of such expensive platforms as aircraft carrier battle groups. Even though China does not possess the highly sophisticated and advanced C4ISTAR of the U.S., it can neutralize said system in a major conflict with its much cheaper ASATs. Herein lays the hidden secret power of asymmetric warfare.

    Asymmetric warfare may take other forms. Iraqi insurgents are already conducting a type of asymmetric warfare by using improvised explosive devices, car bombs, booby traps and landmines against the most modern army the world has ever seen. The U.S.’ huge advantage in weaponry is negated by the fact that its soldiers cannot see their adversary. They are fighting against a “phantom” enemy.

    And how can anyone possibly win against an enemy one cannot see? This may be one reason why massacres of Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers have been increasing. But turning sophisticated weapons against civilians will never win wars for America. It will only heighten the rage of the victimized population and increase suicide bombings against U.S. forces.

    The U.S. may possess the most sophisticated weapons system on earth. It may have the most modern planes, helicopters, ships, precision-guided weapons, sophisticated sensors and command and control systems, but if its adversary is neither identified nor seen, and, as a result, [the U.S. forces] confront either an “invisible” enemy or the shadows of its foes, then such sophisticated weapons systems are useless.

    In asymmetric warfare, most of the fighting is conducted at the team level. Thousands of agile and elusive teams consisting of two to five members equipped with man-portable surface-to-air missiles, portable anti-tank guided weapons, sniper rifles, man-portable mortars, anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines, sea mines, C4 explosives (for making car bombs, booby-traps and improvised explosive devices or IEDs) moving on foot or riding on bicycles and motorcycles and fast boats will make the lives of any invading or occupying forces extremely miserable.

    These “invisible” agile teams can merge with the population most of the time and come out only when there is a vulnerable target to strike at. Then, they disappear into the shadows. They communicate via runners bringing coded written messages, so there are no electronic signals to track. They operate semi-autonomously, so there are no centers of gravity that can be targeted.

    And since they are indigenous to the area and are one with the local people, their human intelligence (HUMINT) is far more superior compared to that of the invaders. They will also enjoy a tremendous advantage in psychological operations (PSYOPS), for it is much easier to mobilize nationalist sentiments against a foreign occupier, than an aggressor to justify its occupation.

    The U.S. may possess the most state-of-the-art satellites for gathering electronic intelligence (ELINT) via its ECHELON system; but China’s advantage in HUMINT is not bound by national borders because it maintains a truly global presence unmatched by any country. Now consider this: Is it easier plucking a constellation of satellites out of the sky or rooting out millions of Chinese patiently and covertly harvesting secret information worldwide?

    Asynchronous Warfare

    Complementing asymmetric warfare is asynchronous warfare, where the weaker side bides its time to strike back. And it strikes at a time and place where the adversary is totally unprepared.

    For example, if the U.S. were to strike Iran’s so-called underground nuclear facilities with bunker-busting tactical nuclear warheads, Iran could bide its time until it develops its own nuclear weapons. Iran can then retaliate by using its own Kilo class submarines, equipped with long-range Kh 55 cruise missiles (bought from Ukraine) and supersonic “Yakhont” or “Club” cruise missiles armed with its own nuclear or EMP-enhanced warheads, to hit Northeastern U.S. and California. Or, the Iranians can infiltrate nuclear scientists into the U.S. who will fabricate a “dirty” bomb to be detonated near the U.S. Congress in full session while the president is making his annual state of the nation address.

    The possibilities for asymmetric and asynchronous warfare are limitless. Various weapons are available to the asymmetric or asynchronous attacker. If a simple box cutter produced such devastating results on September 11, 2001, imagine what chemical or biological weapons dropped from a private aircraft could do to a crowded city; or trained hackers attacking the US banking system and other key infrastructure and basic services; or man-portable surface-to-air missiles attacking U.S. airlines taking off or landing in various airports around the globe; or non-nuclear suitcase EMP weapons hitting New York City or the U.S. Capitol. Even the best intelligence in the world cannot stop a determined asymmetric attacker.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    America’s Dim Mak Point 4: Geography*

    April 30th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Dec. 28, 2016

    GEOGRAPHY is one of the soft spots in the US anatomy. The most important region in the world in terms of geography and geopolitics is the Eurasian Heartland. This is what Sir Halford Mackinder, who is considered as the father of geopolitics, referred to as the “geographic pivot of history”; wherein Mackinder theorized: . . . who rules (the Eurasian) Heartland controls the World Island (referring to the three continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa taken as one); who rules the World Island controls the World.

    Since 1904 when Mackinder put forth his theory, great powers have been ceaselessly trying to gain control of the Eurasian Heartland. The US-led wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, Libya, and Syria were all part of this effort of controlling the Heartland. This includes the hundreds of US/NATO military bases deployed to encircle the three major powers physically occupying the Eurasian Heartland: Russia, Iran, and China.

    If a major war will eventually break out between the US with its NATO allies and the major occupiers of the Heartland, the main battlefield will be in the Heartland of Eurasia. Being the sole world superpower, the US and its NATO and other allies (like Japan, Australia, Canada, etc.) will necessarily be the invaders or aggressors; while Russia, China, Iran, and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be the defenders.
    In this kind of scenario, the Heartland defenders have the edge; while the US and its major allies are placed at a great disadvantage by geography. How so?

    Being the invader, the US has to bring its troops and war materials to the battlefields of Eurasia. In doing so, it has to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; thus being forced to operate on exterior lines with extended sea lanes of communication (SLOC) vulnerable to interdiction by enemy submarines, strategic bombers, long-range cruise missiles, and land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles.

    In contrast, the Heartland defenders will be operating on secured and protected interior lines within their respective territories or the territories of their allies within the SCO. In the case of China, their troop movements and maneuvers will be greatly aided by the proliferation of high-speed rail system; which now exceeds all of the world’s high-speed rail combined. High speed maneuver will allow Chinese forces to rapidly concentrate firepower to defeat any invading forces one by one. In the not too distant future, the whole of the Heartland of Eurasia will be crisscrossed by this high-speed rail system – courtesy of China. Not only does high-speed rail aid in rapid military maneuvers; it also links supply chains, markets, and trade routes. In the end, high-speed rail can turn out to be a much better strategic weapon than aircraft carrier battle groups, strategic stealth bombers, and nuclear submarines.

    So the Heartland defenders (Russia, China, and Iran) enjoy the geographical advantage of operating on secured interior lines while the US and its allies will be disadvantaged by being forced to operate on vulnerable exterior lines. In addition, the US will be forced to fight in several major fronts: the Russian Front (Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, etc.); the China Front (South China Sea, East China Sea, Japan, Taiwan, Korean Peninsula, etc.); the Iranian Front (Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, etc.); and the Indian Ocean Front (Pakistan focused on Gwadar). These four major fronts can be expanded further if the US attacks the Russian and Chinese mainland themselves. Russia and China can send their own nuclear submarines to attack US east and west coast respectively; thus creating six major war fronts simultaneously. This will force the US to spread its military forces thinly on a global scale, rendering it to be weak everywhere.

    There is a military dictum which states: “Never hit with both fists in two directions at the same time.” In the battle for control of the Eurasian Heartland, the US will be forced to hit not only in two, but six directions at the same time.

    Now, what about the hundreds of US and NATO military bases surrounding Russia, Iran, and China? Are they not a huge advantage for the US and its allies? The US maintains some 150,000 of its troops in these military bases (US forces-in- being) with logistics-in-place in such foreign military bases. These US forces-in-being and logistics-in-place no longer need to cross the oceans to reach the Eurasian battlefields.

    The US problem is that these US/NATO bases surrounding Russia, Iran, and China, because of their geographic proximity to the Heartland defenders, become highly vulnerable. Such military bases are fixed, whose exact location can be plotted in advance. At the outbreak of a major military confrontation, said military bases can be wiped out in a pre-planned missile barrage attacks. They can be neutralized within the first few minutes, together will all the stealth and advanced aircraft they may be harboring. So instead of gaining advantage from this seeming encirclement of the Heartland, such bases become serious liabilities; as geographic proximity makes the missiles of the Heartland defenders highly effective against the easily targetable and fixed military bases.

    Geography blessed the Heartland dwellers with rich energy and other strategic natural resources, huge population, and vast flat lands making the father of geopolitics (Mackinder) conclude that he who controls the Heartland will eventually rule the world. This fact forces the US to play the role of the aggressor, or the foreign invader in its attempt to control the Eurasian Heartland; while the Heartland dwellers play the role of the defender of their homeland. Hence, the latter enjoys the “home court” advantage. They will enjoy the advantage of popular support among the populace while the US invaders will be faced with an angry and hostile population. Here is what Mencius had to say on the subject of popular support in relation to war: “Perfect timing is less important than geographical advantage; geographical advantage is less important than popular support.”

    For the US, the problems posed by geography are immutable. “Geography is destiny”, says one famous geopolitical analyst (Kaplan). That is the sad fact that the US leadership aspiring to maintain their global hegemony has to live with.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    America’s Dim Mak Point 3: Dollar Vulnerability*

    April 23rd, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Dec. 21, 2016

    ONE of the pillars propping up the United States’ superpower status and worldwide economic dominance is the dollar’s being accepted as the predominant reserve currency. Central banks of various countries have to stock up dollar reserves because they can only buy their oil requirements and other major commodities in U.S. dollars.

    This U.S. economic strength, however, is a double-edged sword and can turn out to be America’s economic Achilles’ heel. A run on the U.S. dollar, for instance, which would cause a dollar free-fall, can bring the country’s entire economy toppling down. What is frightening for the U.S. is that China, Russia and Iran possess the power to cause a run on the dollar and force its collapse.

    Billions of Dollars in Reserves may Shift Away from the U.S. Dollar

    China’s foreign exchange reserve reached U.S. $3.12 trillion as of October, 2016. This puts China on top of the list of countries with huge foreign exchange reserve holdings. This is almost two trillion dollars greater than the next country in line – Japan, with only US$1.24 trillion. China also owns US$1.157 trillion in US debt as of September 2016; the biggest amount owed by the US to a foreign country. These huge forex reserves and U.S. debt holdings are China’s aces. But there are other important aces up China’s sleeves: gold. China is the largest producer of gold in the world for several years now – since 2007.

    In 2015, China’s gold production reached 490 tons. But the more important factor is the huge gold purchases done officially and unofficially that go in the tens or sometimes hundreds of tons per month. China had been using its massive forex reserves to buy all the gold they can buy; as much as the market can bear. Not only is China buying much of the world’s gold output; it is also buying the gold mines that produce the precious metal. And this massive gold hoarding and silent accumulation had been going on for years; in preparation for the time that China is prepared to announce a gold-backed Yuan.

    Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are among the top oil and gas producers in the world, along with Saudi Arabia and the US. Although the US had caught up with Russia and Iran (former # 1 and # 2) as a result of fracking shale, US is faced with the problem of bringing its gas output to European and Asian markets; unlike Russia who has existing gas pipelines to Europe and Asia. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is important in this equation because the Saudis hold the key to the petro-dollar. Saudi Arabia has a big say on the survival or demise of the petro-dollar; if Saudi Arabia stops selling its oil in U.S. dollars and starts using other currencies that would start the end of the dollar status as the world’s reserve currency. Since a law was passed in the US Congress that will allow the victims of 9/11 to file damage suits against the Saudi ruling family, Saudi-US relations have been frosty.

    China had foreseen the possible collapse of the dollar when the US started its “Quantitative Easing” policy (or QE) as an aftermath of the global economic crisis of 2008. In order to save US banks that were “too big to fail”, the US Federal Reserve resorted to QE. QE is nothing more than the FED printing money out of thin air to restore liquidity to the failing banks and prevent their outright bankruptcy. Then, every time the federal government suffered a budget deficit, the answer was another QE. When there was a huge trade deficit gap to be filled, again QE. When there were foreign debts to be paid, of course – QE. China knew that this QE thing cannot last. Russia, Iran as well as Saudi Arabia also knew.

    When QE started, China also took steps to meet the impending challenge. She started secretly to convert its US $ assets in its huge reserves into hard assets: gold, silver, other strategic metals, strategic oil reserves, mines, oil fields, high technology companies, real estates, farmlands, port/airport facilities, railway networks, highways, communication facilities, power plants, revival of the ancient silk road, development of economic zones, etc. When part of the QE overflowed to China via speculators, China simply printed its own currency to exchange for the inflow of QE dollars and used the same dollars to add to the buying spree as enumerated above; after making sure that the local currency printed does not create inflation by taking appropriate measures through its local banks. So when the day of reckoning for the US $ arrives, most of China’s dollar assets would have been converted into hard assets that will shoot up in value when the dollar falls.

    China can even determine or dictate when that day of reckoning for the US $ will come. All she has to do is to announce to the world that henceforth, China is backing its currency with GOLD. This will be followed by Russia, Iran, and perhaps, even Saudi Arabia announcing that henceforth, they will not accept the dollar for oil and gas transactions. All the Central Banks in the world will then be rushing to the exit with their US dollar holdings. That will spell the end of the once mighty DOLLAR.

    When the dollar was removed from the gold standard in August 1971, the dollar gained its strength through its use as the currency of choice in oil transactions. Once the dollar is rejected in favor of another currency for oil transactions, the dollar will rapidly lose value and central banks all over the world will be racing to diversify to other currencies. The shift away from petro-dollar to a basket of currencies will have a potentially catastrophic effect on the dollar. And that shift begun in 2008 with new oil exchanges set up in St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Dalian, Mumbai, Qatar, and Tehran. The massive shift away from the dollar in energy transactions could cause the dollar to collapse; and, the whole U.S. economy crashing down with it – a scene reminiscent of the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. But this one will be a thousand times more ruinous.

    As Sun Tzu said in his famous Art of War, “. . . attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence.” The fall of the dollar will hasten the downfall of Pax Americana.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    America’s Dim Mak Point 2: Vulnerability to Information Attack*

    April 16th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Dec. 14, 2016

    THE United States is the most advanced country in the world in the field of information technology (IT). Practically all of its industries, telecommunication systems, key government services and defense establishments rely heavily on computers and computer networks.

    But this heavy dependence on computers is a double-edged sword. Advanced IT has thrust the U.S. economy and defense establishment ahead of all other countries, but this strength has also created an Achilles’ heel that can potentially bring the superpower to its knees with a few keystrokes on a dozen or so laptops.

    China’s new concept of “people’s war” incorporates cyber warriors from its more than two million-strong military force together with its citizenry of some 1.3 billion people. Select Chinese civilian and military personnel who are naturally talented in computers become part of trained regiments for information warfare. If we add the hackers and information warriors from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and several other countries sympathetic to China, a cyber attack on the U.S. would indeed be formidable.

    In April 30, 2001, BBC News gave us a preview of what may lie ahead when Chinese hackers launched a cyber attack against U.S. institutions after that U.S. spy plane incident where a Chinese pilot was killed:

    Media reports say sites run by the US labor and health departments have already been broken into and altered. It is reported that in each case tributes to the Chinese pilot killed in the spy plane collision have appeared. That incident greatly increased political tensions between the US and China, but there is no evidence linking the government in Beijing to the hacker offensive.

    A report in a Chinese newspaper claims that a week-long campaign is planned by a group of Chinese computer enthusiasts, known as the Honkers Union of China, starting from Monday. The newspaper report says the group is led by a leader known as “lion”. It was set up within the last two years.

    In an article from the Washington Post, the U.S. Commerce Department was the target of a Chinese cyber attack:

    Hackers operating through Chinese Internet servers have launched a debilitating attack on the computer system of a sensitive Commerce Department bureau, forcing it to replace hundreds of workstations and block employees from regular use of the Internet for more than a month, Commerce officials said yesterday.

    In July, the State Department confirmed that hackers in China had broken into its computers in Washington and overseas. Last year, U.S. officials reported that the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies were under relentless attack from unidentified computers in China.

    So, if a major conflict erupts between China and America, expect a swarm of cyber warriors hacking at America’s civilian (business), government and military establishments. America’s command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) will be the prime target.

    The U.S. ballistic missile system, the anti-ballistic missile system, and the air defense system would be priority targets as well. (Just imagine U.S. ICBMs reprogrammed by hackers to explode a few seconds upon launch!) Neutralization of these systems through cyber attacks would decapitate the entire U.S. defense and deliver a fatal blow to its center of gravity, such as, the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) computers.

    A major, all-out cyber attack, however, will not be limited to attacks on strategic military offensive and defensive systems alone. The U.S. banking system will surely come under attack. Serious attempts will be made to disrupt the stock market as well. Other vital services will be equally vulnerable. The air traffic control system can be disrupted or manipulated to cause air traffic collisions. The train traffic control system can be manipulated in the same manner to cause train “accidents.”

    Pressure in oil and gas pipelines can be overloaded to cause major pipeline disasters. Dams can be made to burst, telecommunication systems to fail, faucets to run dry, power plant generators and power grids to malfunction, and nuclear power plants to experience catastrophic meltdowns.

    All of these potential effects of cyber warfare can engulf the U.S. mainland in a well-planned cyber attack or counterattack in the event of a major confrontation between America and major powers like China or Russia. More ominous, there is no fool-proof method of defending against this type of attack.

    A case in point is the “storm worm” that had affected millions of computers worldwide. Its source code is constantly updated by its authors, which allows it to morph and adapt, giving it the ability to defeat anti-virus software thrown against it. It can lie dormant, enabling it to evade anti-virus programs searching for it, and be activated at a moment’s notice. And it allows the hacker who created and released the “worm” to control all infected computers. Computer security experts suspect that Russian hackers created and released the “storm worm” into the World Wide Web.

    The War Memorial Incident in Estonia graphically illustrates the use of information warfare by Russia against an adversary.

    Estonia forcibly transferred a Soviet-era World War II memorial statue to a new location. This action by the Estonian government inflamed Russian nationalistic passion. Russian response was immediate and devastating. Russian cyber warriors launched a massive distributed denial of service botnet attack against Estonia’s national information infrastructure.

    As reported in the Guardian of U.K. on May 17, 2007 this undeclared cyber war by Russia paralyzed NATO-member Estonia’s websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks and private companies.

    A more ominous application of this new form of warfare debilitated Georgia during the 5-day war on August 2008. Russia combined a physical military attack with information warfare against Georgia when U.S. trained and equipped Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia. The result was a humiliating rout of the invading Georgian forces. This marked the first recorded instance of a cyber attack coordinated with a conventional attack by one nation against another.

    A slight modification of this tactic is to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack blanketing the entire U.S. continent followed by a concerted cyber attack on select computer systems that survive the initial attack. Such an electro-information attack can literally throw American society back a hundred years. America, as a whole, has not adequately prepared for this kind of concerted electro-information attack. Such an attack on this “Dim Mak” point can render the superpower powerless, with a minimum of effort and resources.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Dim Mak 1: Vulnerability to Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack*

    April 9th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    December 7, 2016

    CHINA and Russia are two potential U.S. adversaries that have the capability for this kind of attack.

    An EMP attack can either come from an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), a long-range cruise missile (HN3 or Kh55), or an orbiting satellite armed with a nuclear or non-nuclear EMP warhead.

    An insidious danger lurking like Damocles’ sword over America are innocent-looking satellites disguised for civilian purposes but carry powerful EMP-enhanced warheads. Russia even went to the extent of developing suitcase and hand grenade versions of EMP weapons for use by their SPETSNAZ commandos.

    The Backgrounder, a journal published by The Heritage Foundation described EMP thus: The scientific principles behind generating a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse are relatively simple. If a nuclear weapon is detonated between 25 miles and 300 miles above the earth’s surface, the radiation from the explosion interacts with air molecules to produce high-energy electrons that speed across the earth’s magnetic field as an instantaneous, invisible electromagnetic pulse.

    An EMP can have devastating consequences for developed countries, because any metallic conductor in the area affected becomes a “receiver” for the powerful energy burst released by the blast. Such receivers include anything with electronic wiring – from airplanes and automobiles to computers, railroad tracks and communication lines. If systems connected to these receivers are not protected, they will be damaged by the intense energy pulse.

    Having repeatedly refused to agree on a ban on putting weapons in space, the U.S. is particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack. Such repeated refusals send clear signals to China and Russia of the U.S.’ intention to deploy weapons in space. The U.S. refusal and moves to dominate outer space are strong motivations for the two countries to speedily develop their own space-based weapon system.

    An orbiting satellite carrying a miniaturized, EMP-enhanced, megaton-size warhead exploding some 400 kilometers above central U.S. (Omaha, Nebraska) can blanket the continental U.S. with an electro-magnetic pulse in less than one second.

    Electricity and electronics are so pervasive in American society and military, increasing the country’s susceptibility to an EMP attack. A single attack can bring catastrophic consequences.

    It will damage most electrical grids in the U.S. mainland. It will disable computers and other similar electronic devices with microchips. It will bring motor vehicles on the road to a full stop, causing massive traffic jams. Trains, planes and ships will cease to function altogether. Life support systems in hospitals will be severely affected. Power plants will close. People will have to go back to firewood to heat their homes.

    With electricity and electronic devices failing, most businesses and industries will shut down. Basic services will be disrupted. The entire U.S. economy will practically grind to a halt. Satellites within line of sight of the EMP burst will also be damaged, adversely affecting military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (C4ISTAR). Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will be rendered unserviceable in their silos. Anti-ballistic missile defenses will suffer the same fate.

    In short – total blackout. No TV. No radio. No internet. No cell phone or land line communication. No heater. No air conditioner. No water in faucets. No gas in the pump. Food crops remain in the field. Supermarkets emptied. The after-effects of such an attack will be long-lasting, and a difficult recovery period for America.

    American society as we know it will be thrown back to the Dark Ages. The catastrophic effects of EMP are best described by the 2004 EMP Threat Commission Report chaired by Dr. William R. Graham: The electromagnetic fields produced by weapons designed and deployed with the intent to produce EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics, and information systems upon which American society depends. Their effects on dependent systems and infrastructures could be sufficient to qualify as catastrophic to the Nation.

    Depending on the specific characteristics of the attacks, unprecedented cascading failures of our major infrastructures could result. In that event, a regional or national recovery would be long and difficult and would seriously degrade the safety and overall viability of our Nation. The primary avenues for catastrophic damage to the Nation are through our electric power infrastructure and thence into our telecommunications, energy, and other infrastructures. These, in turn, can seriously impact other important aspects of our Nation’s life, including the financial system; means of getting food, water, and medical care to the citizenry; trade; and production of goods and services. The recovery of any one of the key national infrastructures is dependent on the recovery of others. The longer the outage, the more problematic and uncertain the recovery will be. It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country’s ability to support its population.

    Because of the devastating effects of an EMP attack on the U.S. economy and military, the U.S. may decide to strike first, but China and Russia now have the capacity to retaliate with their own submarine-launched ballistic missiles, road-mobile ICBMs protected by 5,000 kilometers of strategic tunnel that are immune from EMP, strategic bombers — and most probably, their own EMP-armed satellites as well — with equally devastating results.

    China’s strategy of “active defense” demands that when a war with the U.S. becomes imminent and America starts mobilizing or is poised to strike, China will seize the initiative, as mandated by its military doctrine, by striking first. China has repeatedly announced that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

    But as an old Chinese saying goes: “There can never be too much deception in war.” If the survival of the whole nation is at stake, then China will surely disavow a public statement that binds its hands and prevents it from seizing the initiative.

    Put another way: “All is fair in love and war.”

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    U.S. ‘Dim Mak’ Points in Unrestricted Warfare*

    April 2nd, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Nov. 30, 2016

    UNRESTRICTED warfare, like asymmetric warfare, is a weapon of the weak to fight and defeat the strong. It is a form of fighting where anything goes: “a poke in the eye, a stab in the back, a kick in the groin”. Anything that will help the weak defeat the strong is brought into play. Nothing is prohibited. No target or weapon is off-limits.

    If ever a major war erupts between superpower America and weaker nations like China, Russia, or Iran, we can expect the weaker ones to resort to unrestricted warfare. It will not be confined to a mere shooting war. It will involve combat on land, sea, air, in outer space, cyber space and even into the microbial realm. It will encompass attacks on a nation’s electric grids, computer networks, strategic resources, oil supply routes, logistic sea lanes, national currency, trade, banking and finance, stock exchange, basic services, and the nation’s social fabric. It will also include combat in the realms of media, the environment, diplomacy, culture, and the struggle for alliances.

    Unrestricted warfare was conceptualized by two senior colonels of the People’s Liberation Army of China, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, in their famous book, Unrestricted Warfare published in 1999. Qiao’s famous quote on the subject is that “the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden.”

    Usually, rules are laid down by the strong to dominate the weak. To level the playing field, the weak has to break the rules, avoid the enemy’s strength, and hit the strong side at its most vulnerable points.

    Another Chinese theorist on modern warfare, Chang Mengxiong, compared China’s form of fighting to “a Chinese boxer with a keen knowledge of vital body points who can bring an opponent to his knees with a minimum of movements”.

    It is like key acupuncture points in ancient Chinese medicine. Puncture one vital point and the whole anatomy is affected. Acupuncture is normally used for healing. But some acupuncture points called Dim Mak, when hit in a specific way at certain times of the day can cause paralysis or instant death.

    Dim Mak is a form of martial art which literally means “meridian press”. Meridians are energy channels in the human body through which “chi” or vital life forces flow. There are twelve primary meridians in the body. Within these channels are 800 cavities or points. When struck, 36 of these points can cause death while 72 others can cause numbness or unconsciousness. A weaker combatant skilled in Dim Mak will know which particular point along the meridians to strike in a given time of day in a certain way to defeat a more powerful opponent with a minimum of movement.

    Taken in a geopolitical context, China can be likened to the weaker fighter that uses deep understanding of her adversary’s anatomical vulnerabilities to bring a much stronger belligerent nation like the United States of America to her knees with minimum effort.

    If America ever wages war against China, say, over Taiwan or the South China Sea, then it should be prepared for the following Dim Mak points in its [national] anatomy to be the focus of attacks.

    Each one of these vital points can bring America to its knees with a minimum of effort:

    • Vulnerability to Electro-information Attack

    • U.S. Dollar Vulnerability

    • Asymmetric Vulnerability

    • Satellite-based Military Command and Control

    • Geographical Military Handicap

    • Fixed Military Bases

    • Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups

     

    * The opinion of this author is his alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US: Superpower no more?*

    March 26th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Nov. 23, 2016

    WHEN the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90s, the US emerged as the sole Superpower in the world.

    A group of neo-conservatives (or neocons) also sprouted during this period that had great influence in US defense policy; as exemplified by the defense strategy they have formulated.

    The gist of their thinking is contained in what is now referred to as the Wolfowitz Doctrine: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, which poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. . . While the U.S. cannot become the world’s policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations. (Paul Wolfowitz – Defense Strategy for the 1990s, 1994)”

    For China, this means that the US will not allow China to rise peacefully; that the US will act unilaterally to prevent China becoming a peer competitor of the US as the sole Superpower; that the US will use every pretext to launch a preventive war against China to prevent China from gaining military strength that can compete with the US; and strike China while she is still relatively weak or before China’s economy surpasses that of the US. Hence, Deng Xiaoping issued the now famous 24-Character Formula: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”

    Deng recognized that China needed time to develop its defensive and offensive capabilities:

        • • China’s “trump card” – the Assassin’s Mace – was not yet ready at the time;
        • • The “New Great Walls” were still under construction;
        • • Stealth fighters and bombers were still under development;
        • • China’s anti-satellite/anti-space weapon were also under development; and,
        • • Artificial islands in the South China Sea were not yet in place.

    So, when the US tried to provoke war with China with the sending of two aircraft carrier battle groups during the Taiwan Incident in 1996; the US/NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999; the spy plane Hainan Incident in 2001; and the massing of 7 aircraft carrier battle groups near Taiwan (Operation Summer Pulse) in 2004 – the biggest naval armada the world had ever seen; China religiously followed Deng’s exhortation: “observe calmly…. cope with affairs calmly….hide our capacities and bide our time….”

    China’s offense and defense capacities were not yet ready at the time. But now, times have changed. In 2016, China’s offense and defense capacities are practically all in place.

    The “assassin’s mace” system (DF21s, DF26s, HN2000a, DF16s, DF15s, DF12s) is now ready to wipe out all US aircraft carrier battle groups, air bases together will all the stealth aircraft that are based in such bases, logistics hubs, communication nodes, command and control centers, and forces-in-being stationed in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, all the way to Guam. The offensive system also includes the destruction of US satellites used for C4ISTAR as well as nuclear submarines within striking distance to China’s east coast.

    China’s offensive capacities also include DF31s, DF41s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear submarines that can strike any place in the US with nuclear warheads in the event that the US decides to launch a nuclear first strike.

    On defense capacities, China has also finished several new “great walls”. More than 5,000 kilometers of strategic tunnels have been built to hide and protect its strategic weapons for a second strike that can also double as civil defense; 41 of its vital air bases have underground hangars; all of its major cities have extensive subway systems that double as civil defense; anti-ballistic missile and anti-aircraft surface to air missile systems (HQ9s, HQ19s, S300s, S400s) blanket the entire east coast of China; and anti-submarine under-water hydrophones coupled with swarms of underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs) that can monitor and attack submarines, plus more than 70 Chinese submarines protect China offshore.

    All these defense capacities are now in place. Hence, there is no more need to hide Chinese capacities in offense and defense. So, when the US tried to provoke another war with China by using the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling from The Hague as its pretext for war; and sending two aircraft carrier battlegroups, nuclear submarines, and strategic stealth bombers to the South China Sea – China responded with a big NO!

    China informed the US that they were ready to go to war if the US uses military force to enforce the PCA Hague ruling on the South China Sea dispute. And the US Superpower had no choice but to meekly withdraw – for the very first time.

    This was followed by the collapse of the US-Russia peace talks on Syria on Oct. 3, 2016. Russia immediately deployed its air defense systems to Syria (S-300s/S-400s) and warned that any combat aircraft that will attempt to attack Syria will be shot down. Again, like in the South China Sea with China, the US backed down.

    When Russia put up that “no-fly zone” in Syria, Russia was ready to fight the US head-on – either conventional or nuclear; the same way China was willing to fight the US in the South China Sea.

    In both of these instances, it was the US that backed out and retreated. These two separate instances coming one after the other is a signal that a tectonic shift has occurred in the global balance of power. It is like two brother male lions challenging the dominance of the reigning but aging alpha male lion of the pride. We are now witnessing the beginning of the end of the unipolar world order and the birth of a multi-polar world order.

    The pathetic end of a superpower that used to always have its way around the world came when President Barack Obama went to Hangzhou, China for the G-20 summit where he was forced to exit from the emergency exit of his Presidential plane instead of the regular plane exit because the stairway for the Presidential plane was not there. Then there was the victory of Trump that can result in the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP). Trump had already agreed to fight ISIS together with Russia; and also expressed his intention of joining the One Belt One Road initiative and the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) led of China.

    If all of these latest developments come true, then the world may finally find long lasting peace.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Short Assessment of Trump’s Victory*

    March 19th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Nov. 15, 2016

    THE Positive Side

    Donald Trump’s victory may have saved the world from nuclear catastrophe, for the moment.

    Had Hillary Clinton won, she would have pushed NATO to continue the dangerous provocation of war along Russia’s border and those so-called “freedom of navigation” provocations of China in the South China Sea. There is also the big possibility of WW III being triggered had she won because of her position of pursuing a regime change in Syria.

    A US direct attack on Assad’s forces in Syria would bring Russian and American troops in direct confrontation. And since Chinese troops are now involved in helping train Syrian troops, and Iranian troops are also directly helping in Syria, the possibility is great that the Syrian conflict could lead to world war three.

    In this sense, the victory of Trump over Hillary had postponed the possible extinction of our planet.

    The Second Positive Side

    The second positive aspect of Trump’s victory is that, for the first time perhaps, we have a non-traditional and independent President in the White House; a President that is not beholden and dictated to by the banking cabal that owns the Federal Reserve, controls the mainstream media, and choose US Presidents.

    This, in itself, is a feat of Trump and the ordinary American people worthy of praise by the people of the world – a miracle indeed.

    The Third Positive Side

    We now have a US President who readily changes his mind when he realizes his mistake; and admits he was wrong. He has often been criticized for this frequent flip-flopping; but the world is better off with a President of the most powerful country in the world who is courageous enough to admit his mistakes and correct them.

    Now the Bad Side

    One of Trump’s campaign promises is to impose a 45% tax on Chinese imports. If Trump pushes through with this threat, he will trigger a trade war and force China to retaliate in kind. Both sides will end up the loser. But the sector that will be hurt most is the American consumer, for they are the ones buying cheap Chinese goods that will now become expensive.

    Trump also accuses China of currency manipulation; while the US Federal Reserve is the biggest currency manipulator of all when it prints money by the trillions of dollars out of thin air to pay for its foreign debts, budget deficits, trade deficits, and liquidity for its banks. If China retaliates by dumping its US treasury bonds of more than a trillion, it could spell the final nail in the dollar’s coffin. The collapse of the dollar also means the collapse of the US economy.

    The problem with trade wars is that they can easily get out of hand and turn into a shooting war. China had long anticipated the possibility of war with the lone superpower. They have been studying the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the Thucydides Trap, and Mearsheimer’s Offensive Realism. So China is well aware that the US will do all it can to stop its rise; and attack China while it is still weak or before it attains parity with the US.

    China tried to hide its defensive and offensive preparation; heeding Deng Xiaoping’s call: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.” Hence, despite US war provocations (i.e., 1996 Taiwan Incident; 1999 Bombing of Chinese embassy in Belgrade; the 2001 Hainan Island Incident; and the 2004 Operation Summer Pulse – all deliberate war provocation by the US vs China.), China kept its cool, continued its preparations, and bided its time.

    Now, the situation has changed. China has created a 5,000-km underground Great Wall of strategic tunnels; underground subways in all major Chinese cities; underwater Great Wall of submarine sensors with swarms of underwater unmanned vehicles for anti-submarine warfare; China east coast Great Wall of anti-missile/anti-aircraft air defense system; 41 underground air bases; one underground submarine base; and last but not least – China’s “assassin’s mace.

    The latter is China’s sort of “trump card” weapon that can trump US superiority in aircraft carrier battle groups, C4ISTAR (satellites and space stations), stealth fighters and bombers, and US bases designed to encircle China.

    Since China’s defensive and offensive capacities, “hidden” before but not anymore, China accepted the US challenge in its last provocation in the South China Sea. And the US backed out.

    If Trump will pursue his plan to initiate a trade war with China; China is now prepared, whether it be a trade war – or a hot one.

    Let us just hope that Trump is not that foolish to plunge the world into the brink of another nuclear Armageddon.

    If Trump decides to join the One Belt One Road initiative later on, then the world may at last find lasting peace.

     

    * The opinion of these authors are theirs alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Permanent Court for Arbitration a Double-Edged Sword: Handle with Care*

    March 13th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Nov. 8, 2016

    THE Permanent Court for Arbitration (PCA) ruling that Justice Carpio worked for at The Hague with US support is like a double-edged sword that is best kept sheathed in its scabbard. Once we unsheathe that sword, the sharp blade has more chances of hurting its wielder rather than the enemy.

    First of all, the US wants RP to unsheathe that sword so that the US can use it as a pretext to contain China, like how the US used the Ton-kin Gulf Incident to wage war against North Vietnam, or how the US used the pretext of Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” to attack and destroy Iraq.

    Unsheathing that sword for the benefit of the US is clearly not in accordance with RP national interest.

    Unsheathing that same sword to wield it against China to stake our claim of ownership and drive the Chinese out of the area won’t do either; for the Chinese have time and again shown by their actions that they are ready to go to war with anyone who will force them out of those islands by force.

    Hence, the PCA, which is an issue of sovereignty or ownership is an important weapon for RP; and the Philippines is grateful to Justice Carpio for providing our country with that vital legal weapon. But we must know how to use it well to advance Philippine national interest; not against it.

    We can use this legal weapon against China’s own historical weapon: as China claims sovereignty of those same islands that we claim based on history; that they discovered those islands and gave them names way back in 1279, and according to international law, the one that made the discovery and gave names have the right to sovereignty.

    Since RP will never surrender its claims based on the PCA ruling; and China will also never surrender its claims based on history and international law; RP and China can never resolve the sovereignty or ownership issue even if we negotiate or debate for the next one hundred years.

    Hence, the best option for both countries is to set aside this contentious issue for the rest of the century; with both agreeing that each side will continue holding on to their respective claims without surrendering their right of sovereignty so that neither side loses face before their respective constituents.

    Dwelling on this issue will only lead the two countries eventually to war. Only when both countries agree to set aside this dispute can we begin the real WIN-WIN NEGOTIATION that will benefit both the Philippines and China.

    The PCA that Justice Carpio gifted to the Filipino people, as I have mentioned above, can bring both good and bad result depending on how we use it.

    Good if we use it as a legal counter-weight to China’s claim of sovereignty based on history and international law. Hence, since we will not surrender our claim, and China will also insist on their claim; even if we argue for a hundred, nay, a thousand years, we will never resolve the issue of sovereignty.

    So the best way is for both parties to set aside this contentious issue of sovereignty for the rest of the century with both holding firm to their respective claims. Only after both sides agree to set aside disputes can we then start discussing development and cooperation.

    Now, the bad side.

    The PCA becomes bad for us if we use it to bludgeon China and force China to accept it; for China merely walks out of the negotiations and opt for war instead.

    This is what I mean when I say that Justice Carpio’s position on insisting wielding the PCA against China will lead to WAR.

    This is because we will be forced to cross China’s red line, or what they call in negotiation as BATNA: better alternative to a negotiated agreement; wherein the other party would rather walk out of the negotiation because for them, they would rather opt for WAR as that is the better alternative to a negotiated agreement.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    China’s New “Great Walls”*

    February 26th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    October 31, 2016

    NO one seems to notice, but China now has built, not one but three new “Great Walls”.

    The first of these three is the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). China is the only country in the world today that has this type of ballistic missile; although Iran may be close to perfecting their own ASBM.

    China’s ASBM consists of DF21D medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) with a range of 1,500 kilometers, and DF26Cs intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) that can reach some 4,000 kilometers – far enough to reach targets in Guam. These missiles are designed to hit moving targets at sea, such as US aircraft carrier battle groups and other major surface ships; but they can also be used to attack fixed targets such as US air and naval bases deployed around China from South Korea all the way to Guam. Such missiles are designed to launch in simultaneous barrages or volleys to avoid counter-measures.

    df-26In the event of any major armed conflict with the US and its main allies in the Asia-Pacific region, China’s DF21Ds/DF26Cs can wipe out all aircraft carrier battle groups, other major surface warships, air bases, and naval bases of US and its allies within minutes of start of conflict – up to 4,000 kilometers from the Chinese mainland. This follows Chinese military dictum of fighting “high-intensity wars of short duration”.

    This, in effect, erects a “Great Wall” that protects China up to 4,000 kilometers from its coast. The vulnerability of US and allied air bases to China’s ASBMs needs special mention. The loss or destruction of such air bases will mean US air superiority from their possession of advanced stealth bombers and fighter-bombers will be lost as well. And loss of air cover means loss of the war itself.

    Of the numerous US and allied air bases surrounding China, only one air base in South Korea and one in Taiwan are underground; compared to 41 airbases in China which are underground. And it is doubtful whether those two underground bases can last for long with China’s bunker-busting DF15C SRBMs.

    The new Great Wall provided by China’s ASBMs in complemented by a second “Great Wall”: China’s Undersea Great Wall against US and allies submarines.

    According to the United States Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Beijing “has deployed fixed ocean-floor acoustic arrays off its coasts, presumably with the intent to monitor foreign submarine activities in the near seas.” These fixed underwater monitors are augmented by swarms of unmanned underwater vehicles as well as unmanned surface vehicles or robots that can both monitor and attack enemy submarines.

    Working with these underwater monitors are China’s various anti-submarine aircraft and sizeable submarine force of some 70 units. US submarines and that of its allies may survive the first few minutes of a “high-intensity war of short duration”, but without air cover, those submarines will not last for long and will be doomed.

    The third “Great Wall” of China consists of some 5,000 kilometers of underground tunnel; almost the same length as the ancient “Great Wall” of China itself. When China did not have nuclear weapons in the early fifties, and General Douglas MacArthur threatened it with nuclear weapons during the Korean War, Mao made a call: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony.”

    Since then, the Chinese people kept on digging tunnels that they have dug thousands of miles like no other country on earth. These is where they keep their strategic missiles for a counter-strike in case the US or any other country conducts a first strike.

    In addition, China has also constructed 41 of its most important air bases with underground hangars. This is in stark contrast to US air bases or that of its allies which are almost all out in the open; except one in Taiwan and another in South Korea.

    In the first salvo, US air cover might be crippled badly by China’s ASBMs. These underground “Great Wall” of 5,000 kilometers of tunnels are augmented by metro subways in every major Chinese city; thus forming an extensive civil defense for a good number of its urban population.

    No other country has a comparable system of civil defense. Hence, in the event of a major conflict, be it conventional or nuclear, China seems to be the most prepared.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    RP’s Pivot to China*

    February 19th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Oct. 26, 2016

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s China trip may be the first shot fired to save the world from nuclear destruction. At least it has diffused the tense situation in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea and shoved under the rug one legal justification (PCA Hague ruling) or pretext that the US can use to wage war against China.

    This is reminiscent of the Tonkin Gulf Incident that the US used as pretext to wage war against North Vietnam; or the so-called “weapons of mass destruction” of Saddam Hussein to wage war against Iraq.

    President Duterte has preempted US war plans by shoving the PCA under the rug – hopefully for the rest of this century – so that the Philippines and China can really engage in a “win-win” solution on the SCS issue. The whole nation should be grateful to the President for not allowing the Philippines to be a pawn in this Great Game of the superpowers.

    Although the flash point in the South China Sea has been diffused somewhat by President Duterte’s visit to China, the danger of a major war still persist in another flash point in the world: Syria.

    China has already joined the side of Russia and Iran in Syria. Negotiations between Russia and the US had bogged down; and Russia had declared that it has deployed S-300 and S-400 air defense systems in Syria and will shoot down any aircraft that will attempt to attack Syria. In effect Russia has declared a “no-fly zone” in Syria.

    If the US and its NATO allies decide to cross this red line set by Russia, it will mean the start of world war 3.

    In this case of a worst-case scenario, the Philippines might still get involved because of EDCA and the VFA, as well as its military alliance treaty with the US. If the US uses the EDCA bases as jumping boards or launching pads to attack China, China will surely retaliate; and such retaliation can be nuclear in nature if the war among the great powers turn nuclear.

    This is the great danger that EDCA and the VFA bring to the Filipino people. We can just hope that President Duterte recognize this problem in due time and act accordingly before a worst-case scenario such as this come to pass.

    One consolation for Filipinos is the fact that President Duterte’s declaration in China of RP’s separation from the US of its military and economic ties may prompt China’s leadership not to retaliate against US EDCA bases in the Philippines; but against mainland US itself – as China has now the capability of doing so using its DF41 ICBMs and nuclear submarines.

    China’s leadership will now think twice before releasing and raining their barrage of missiles on the Philippine EDCA bases when RP President Duterte is bullshitting their principal adversary.

    But still, no one can say for sure.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    “BATNA”: Better Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement

    February 12th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the still relevant articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Oct. 18, 2016

    IN negotiation, both parties have their respective “BATNA”, or what negotiators call“better alternative to a negotiated agreement”. This is the bottom line of each side. It is the “red line;” the crossing of which will prompt either party to walk out of the negotiation.

    In the forthcoming negotiations with China, it is very important for the Philippine negotiators to know China’s BATNA.

    We should answer the following questions: What is it that will drive China to walk out of the negotiations with the Philippines and opt for WAR instead, because they feel that war is a better alternative to a negotiated agreement? Why did China build those artificial islands, some with runways, in the South China Sea? And why did China risked war with the US, even a nuclear one, to hold on to those so-called “barren rocks”? (the term used by US geopolitical strategist Robert Kaplan). And why will China risk war again with anyone who will step or cross this “red line”?

    There are two basic reasons for China’s BATNA.

    The first major reason is China’s very own survival as a nation and civilization literally depends on those so-called “barren rocks”. How so? The Scarborough Shoal is one of the contested area that lies close to the Manila Trench. The Manila Trench is the deepest portion of the South China Sea that can allow US submarines to maneuver surreptitiously and approach China’s east coast near Taiwan and occupy firing positions for a first nuclear strike some 200 to 300 kilometers from China’s coastline.

    The Manila Trench is easily accessible from Subic Bay in the Philippines by US Ohio class nuclear submarines. Each Ohio class carries 154 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers, with each missile armed with a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead; each warhead more than ten times that used in Hiroshima (15 kilotons).

    If 5 or more of these US Ohio class nuclear submarines launch a first strike against China’s east coast where China’s industrial base and most of its nearly 1.4 billion population is concentrated, then the Chinese nation as we know it will cease to exist – in just a matter of minutes! Hence, China needs to establish its presence at Scarborough Shoal to prevent this worst case scenario from happening.

    philippine-trench

    Manila Trench

    (The figure above shows the Manila Trench – the only portion in the South China Sea with enough depth that will allow US nuclear submarines coming from, say, Subic Bay in the Philippines to secretly approach the Eastern Coast of China for a surprise first nuclear strike.)

    The second major reason why China built those artificial islands, some of which contained runways, is to prevent any potential naval blockade by the US 7th Fleet of the Malacca Strait and other straits in the vicinity (i.e., Sunda, Lombok, Makassar, etc.).

    China’s oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa and China’s trade to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa pass through these vital straits. A US blockade of these choke points can drive the whole Chinese economy to grind to a halt. Hence, China is prepared to go to war with anyone trying to implement the Hague PCA ruling; no matter if that war be nuclear or conventional. China will use those artificial islands with runways as forward bases to prevent any attempt of a naval blockade.

    malacca-sts

    Malacca Strait

    (The map above shows the Malacca Strait and other nearby straits. A blockade of these vital straits where China’s oil and trade pass through can force the Chinese economy to grind to a halt. China built those artificial islands to prevent the US 7th Fleet from attempting that option.)

    These are the two main reasons why China built those artificial island with runways. China is prepared to go to war to defend its rights to these islands; even if it means a nuclear war with the US and its NATO and other allies like Japan, Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

    Philippine negotiators should know these BATNA of the other side of the panel. Ignorance of these factors may lead us blindly into WAR. And if that war goes nuclear, the Philippines will get its share of nukes because of EDCA and the VFA.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    EDCA and VFA: Are they good for RP?*

    February 5th, 2018
    Due to popular demand, Beyond Deadlines is reposting every Monday the articles of retired Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence chief Brig. General Victor Corpus that appeared in his BD’s column, Views from the East.

    Oct. 12, 2016

    WHEN maverick Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was alive, she fought for the scrapping of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) as well as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

    Santiago said the theory that the EDCA finds its validity on the VFA is flawed, as both agreements fall under the category of treaties prohibited by the Constitution, Article 18, Section 25, which states that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate…and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

    It is difficult for one to fathom how the Supreme Court can declare or rule that EDCA and the VFA are constitutional when both agreements have not been duly concurred in by the Senate … and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State (i.e., the United States). But setting the legal issue aside, Filipinos should start asking themselves: Are EDCA and the VFA in conformity with Philippine national security? Are they promoting Philippine national interest?

    “The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States to use five military bases where US troops and supplies can be stationed under a security deal agreed amid rising tensions with China’s excessive claims in the South China Sea. . . The EDCA grants Washington increased military presence in its former colony through rotation of ships and planes for humanitarian and maritime security operations. It allows US soldiers, warships and planes to temporarily base in Filipino military locations.” (by Jose Katigbak, The Philippine Star, March 20, 2016).

    What are the implications of these agreements? First, let us consider the situation if there are no EDCA and VFA. This means that there will be no US military presence based in the Philippines; and no rotation of US ships and planes in Philippine territory. Without US military presence, there is no danger of the Philippines being put in the cross-hair of Chinese medium or intermediate range ballistic missiles; whether armed with nuclear warheads or not.

    This is based on China’s military doctrine contained in China’s Defense White Paper stating that China will not be the first to attack (or to use nuclear weapons); but if they are attacked, they will surely counter-attack. Part of this doctrine also states that they will never use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state; or threaten the use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear nation or in a nuclear-free zone.

    The security picture completely changes with the implementation of EDCA and the VFA.

    With the presence now of the US military forces with their warships and warplanes stationed on rotation basis in those EDCA bases (some of which may possibly be carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles with nuclear warheads), China will be forced to zero-in a barrage or volley of missiles to neutralize each and every one of those EDCA bases in the event of a military confrontation with the US. And if the US uses any of its nuclear weapons in attacking China, China will respond in kind by raining missiles armed with nuclear warheads on these EDCA bases.

    China does not even have to wait for the US to attack first.

    Based on China’s military doctrine of “active defense”, if China perceives that the US forces in the Philippine is already poised to attack, China will not passively await to be attacked; it is mandated to seize the tactical or operational initiative and will attack first. These are the dangers posed on Filipinos by EDCA and the VFA. These agreements serve US national interest first and foremost, because they give the US military convenient jumping boards or launching pads in a military confrontation against China; but they run counter to Philippine national interests and national security because they expose our population to the danger of a nuclear counter-strike or a conventional missile counter-attack or preemptive attack.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Why China built its little islands…*

    January 18th, 2018

    THERE are two main reasons why China built those artificial islands in the South China Sea and took control of Scarborough Shoal:

    1. To prevent the US from using the Manila Trench to approach China’s east coast with its Ohio Class nuclear strike submarines (SSGNs) that can conduct a first nuclear strike against China. The Manila Trench is the only portion of the South China Sea deep enough to allow said first strike SSGNs to surreptitiously approach China’s east coast where majority of China’s 1.4 billion population and most of its industrial base are located.

    Four Ohio Class SSGNs approaching China through the Manila Trench can drive the whole Chinese nation and civilization to extinction within hours, if not minutes. The Scarborough Shoal is in the vicinity of the Manila Trench; serving like a “gateway” for US SSGNs for a first strike on China. So it is not fish, or gas, or oil that China is interested in. It is China’s very own survival. And they are prepared to go to war on this issue; even a nuclear one.

    2. To prevent the US and its allies (Japan, Australia, and India) from conducting a naval blockade of the Malacca Strait (and other nearby straits) which the US and Australia had been rehearsing biennially since 2005 called “Talisman Sabre.”

    China’s oil supply from the Middle East and Africa, and its foreign trade to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Africa passes through these straits. A naval blockade of said choke-points can force China’s economy to grind to a halt. The only way for China to remove the “Malacca Dilemma” is the artificial islands with three 3-km runways that can accommodate more combat aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles than all aircraft carriers of the US and its allies combined.

    It is often said that geography is destiny; that it is immutable.

    In this case, China has modified its geography because it involves its very own survival.

    Even the US, with its two aircraft carrier strike groups with its complement of stealth bombers and nuclear submarines sent to enforce the Hague ruling, were forced to back off.

    For the very first time, the world’s sole superpower, the most powerful military force on earth, was forced to retreat!

     

    * The opinion of this author/s is/are his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    BATNA: Better alternative to a negotiated agreement*

    July 12th, 2017

    WHILE taking up my Masters in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, I was allowed to cross-enroll and take some subjects at the Harvard Business School.

    There were five of us Filipinos under the Mason’s Program: Nieves Confessor, Alberto Lim, Rufo de Vera, Angelo Reyes and myself. If I remember right, all of us in the Filipino group cross-enrolled at the business school to take up the course, Negotiation, under Professor Linda Hill. It was one of my favorite subjects, and one item that really stuck in my mind is the term “BATNA,” or “Better alternative to a negotiated agreement.”

    The relevance and importance of BATNA comes to the fore now that we are about to negotiate with China in resolving our maritime dispute. Our negotiators must know what China’s BATNA is. Why? Because not doing so could lead the other party to walk out of the negotiations and we will be left with no other alternative except to go to war. Not only do we get war, we will also be prevented from getting a single drop of oil, or gas, or fish in the area. And we will be faced with a never-ending conflict with a giant neighbor for decades, if not centuries. And no other country can help us on this except ourselves, not even the vaunted might of the United States.

    So, what is this thing called BATNA as applied to China? To answer this question, we must find out why China built those artificial islands, three of which have runways three kilometers long. We must find out why China is so insistent on maintaining its presence on Scarborough Shoal. Why is China prepared to go to war with the United States and its allies for those so-called “barren rocks” (the term used by US geopolitical strategist Robert Kaplan) that seemingly have no geostrategic value? Why would China risk even a nuclear war for these islands in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea? We should answer the question: What is it that will drive China to walk out of the negotiations with the Philippines and opt for war instead, because they feel that war is a better alternative to a negotiated agreement? What is it that will drive China to risk war with anyone who will step or cross this “red line”?

    There are two underlying reasons for China’s BATNA.

    The first major reason is that China’s very survival as a nation and civilization literally depends on those so-called “barren rocks”. How so? The Scarborough Shoal is one of the contested areas that lies close to the Manila Trench. The Manila Trench is the deepest portion of the South China Sea that can allow US submarines to maneuver surreptitiously and approach China’s east coast near Taiwan and occupy firing positions for a first nuclear strike some 200 to 300 kilometers from China’s coastline.

    The Manila Trench is easily accessible from Subic Bay in the Philippines by US Ohio class nuclear submarines. Each Ohio class submarine carries 154 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers, and each missile armed with a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead. Each of these warheads is more than 10 times that used in Hiroshima (15 kilotons). If five or more of these US Ohio class nuclear submarines were to launch a first strike against China’s east coast where China’s industrial base and most of its nearly 1.4 billion population is concentrated, then the Chinese nation as we know it will cease to exist–in just a matter of minutes!

    Hence, China needs to establish its presence at Scarborough Shoal to prevent this worst-case scenario from happening. The figure above shows the Manila Trench, the only portion of the South China Sea with enough depth to allow US nuclear submarines coming from, say, Subic Bay in the Philippines to secretly approach the eastern coast of China for a surprise first nuclear strike.

    The second major reason why China built those artificial islands, some of which contain runways, is to prevent any potential naval blockade by the US Seventh Fleet of the Malacca Strait and other straits in the vicinity (i.e., Sunda, Lombok, Makassar, etc.). China’s oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa, and China’s trade to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, pass through these vital straits. A US blockade of these choke points can cause the whole Chinese economy to grind to a halt.

    Hence, China is prepared to go to war with anyone trying to implement the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, no matter if that war be nuclear or conventional. China will use those artificial islands with runways as forward bases to prevent any attempt at a naval blockade. The map above shows the Straits of Malacca and other nearby straits. A blockade of these vital straits where China’s oil and trade pass through could force the Chinese economy to grind to a halt.China built those artificial islands to prevent the US Seventh Fleet from attempting that option.

    These are the two main reasons why China built those artificial islands with runways.

    China is prepared to go to war to defend its rights to these islands, even if it means a nuclear war with the US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other allies like Japan, Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.
    Philippine negotiators should know these BATNA of the other side. Ignorance of these factors may lead us blindly into war. And if that war goes nuclear, the Philippines will get its share of nukes because of itsEnhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    US: Lone superpower no more?*

    July 5th, 2017

    WHEN the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, the United States emerged as the sole superpower in the world.

    A group of neo-conservatives (or neocons) also sprouted during this period that had great influence on US defense policy, as exemplified by the defense strategy they have formulated. The gist of their thinking is contained in what is now referred to as the Wolfowitz Doctrine: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, which poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. . . While the US cannot become the world’s policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations. (Paul Wolfowitz – Defense Strategy for the 1990s, 1994)”

    For China, this means that the US will not allow China to rise peacefully; that the US will act unilaterally to prevent China becoming a peer competitor of the US as the sole superpower; that the US will use every pretext to launch a preventive war against China to prevent China from gaining military strength that can compete with the US; and strike China while she is still relatively weak or before China’s economy surpasses that of the US. Hence, Deng Xiaoping issued the now famous 24-character formula: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”
    Deng recognized that China needed time to develop its defensive and offensive capabilities: • China’s “trump card”–the Assassin’s Mace–was not yet ready at the time; • The “New Great Walls” were still under construction; • Stealth fighters and bombers were still under development; • China’s anti-satellite/anti-space weapon were also under development; and • Artificial islands in the South China Sea were not yet in place. So, when the US tried to provoke war with China with the sending of two aircraft carrier battle groups during the Taiwat Incident in 1996; the US/NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999; the spy plane Hainan Incident in 2001; and the massing of seven aircraft carrier battle groups near Taiwan (Operation Summer Pulse) in 2004, the biggest naval armada the world had ever seen–China religiously followed Deng’exhortation: observe calmly…cope with affairs calmly…hide our capacities and bide our time…”

    China’s offense and defense capacities were not yet ready at the time. But now, times have changed. In 2016, China’s offense and defense capacities are practically all in place. The “assassin’s mace” system (DF21s, DF26s, HN2000a, DF16s, DF15s, DF12s) is now ready to wipe out all US aircraft carrier battle groups and air bases, together with all the stealth aircraft that are based in such bases, logistics hubs, communication nodes, command and control centers, and forces-in-being stationed in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, all the way to Guam. The offensive system also includes the destruction of US satellites used for C4ISTAR as well as nuclear submarines within striking distance of China’s east coast. China’s offensive capacities also include DF31s, DF41s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear submarines that can strike any place in the US with nuclear warheads in the event that the US decides to launch a nuclear first strike.

    On defense capacities, China has also finished several new “great walls”. More than 5,000 kilometers of strategic tunnels have been built to hide and protect its strategic weapons for a second strike that can also double as civil defense; 41 of its vital air bases have underground hangars; all of its major cities have extensive subway systems that double as civil defense; anti-ballistic missile and anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile systems (HQ9s, HQ19s, S300s, S400s) blanket the entire east coast of China; and anti-submarine underwater hydrophones coupled with swarms of underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs) that can monitor and attack submarines, plus more than 70 Chinese submarines protect China offshore. All these defense capacities are now in place. Hence, there is no more need to hide Chinese capacities in offense and defense.

    So, when the US tried to provoke another war with China by using the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling from The Hague as its pretext for war, and sending two aircraft carrier battlegroups, nuclear submarines, and strategic stealth bombers to the South China Sea-–China responded with a big NO! China informed the US that they were ready to go to war if the US uses military force to enforce the PCA Hague ruling on the South China Sea dispute. And the US superpower had no choice but to meekly withdraw-–for the very first time. This was followed by the collapse of the US-Russia peace talks on Syria on Oct. 3, 2016. Russia immediately deployed its air defense systems to Syria (S-300s/S-400s) and warned that any combat aircraft that will attempt to attack Syria will be shot down. Again, like in the South China Sea with China, the US backed down. When Russia put up that “no-fly zone” in Syria, Russia was ready to fight the US head-on–either conventional or nuclear; the same way China was willing to fight the US in the South China Sea.

    In both of these instances, it was the US that backed out and retreated. These two separate instances coming one after the other is a signal that a tectonic shift is occurring in the global balance of power. It is like two brother male lions challenging the dominance of the reigning but aging alpha male lion. We are now witnessing the beginning of the end of the unipolar world order and the birth of a multi-polar world order.

    The pathetic end of a superpower that used to always have its way around the world came when President Obama went to Hangzhou, China for the G-20 summit where he was forced to exit from the emergency exit of his presidential plane instead of the regular plane exit because the stairway for the presidential plane was not there. Then there was the victory of Trump that can result in the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP). Trump has already agreed to fight ISIS together with Russia; and also expressed his intention of joining the One Belt One Road initiative and the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) led by China. If all of these latest developments come true, then the world may finally find long-lasting peace.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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    China’s assassin’s mace*

    June 28th, 2017

    A MACE is a blunt weapon of medieval times that was used to strike down a more powerful enemy with a single blow. “Assassin’s mace,” or shashoujian, is the term used in China to describe a weapon that they have developed and designed to strike at United States aircraft carrier battle groups.

    China started thinking of developing this special weapon way back in 1996. This was the time when the issue of independence was gaining ground among Taiwan’s electorate during the local elections of that year.

    China tried to send a warning to Taiwan by firing missile tests near one of Taiwan’s islands. The US responded by sending two of its aircraft carrier battle groups (one of which ironically is named USS Independence). This forced China to back off.

    This incident was followed years later (2004) with a US naval exercise code-named Operation Summer Pulse where the US massed a total of seven aircraft carrier battle groups in the vicinity of Taiwan, sending a very clear message to China that if it ever attempts to invade Taiwan, it will have to deal with this kind of force–-the biggest naval armada the world had ever seen!

    This wanton show of force intended to intimidate China could have prompted the latter to hasten the development of a ballistic missile that could hit a moving target at sea, such as an aircraft carrier.

    Initial reports of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) started appearing in 2010, in the form of DF21C. The DF21Cs gradually evolved into the more advanced DF21D medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a range of 1,500 kilometers, and the DF26C intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a range of 4,000 kilometers.

    Variants of the missiles were also tested successfully as direct-ascent anti-satellite missile. And since such missiles were designed to hit moving targets, they can surely hit stationary targets as well, like air and naval bases, logistics hubs, communication nodes, command and control, and forces in being of the US and its allies from Korea all the way to Guam. This means that the US’s vaunted air superiority in this part of the world will be at risk to these missiles, as those air bases are out in the open; except one underground hangar in Taiwan and another in South Korea.

    Within 15 minutes of a major conflict with China, these targets may all be gone. What good are advanced stealth bombers and fighter aircraft if they no longer have functioning air bases? Loss of air superiority can mean loss of air cover and air support; loss of air cover can mean loss of the war itself.

    China’s Assassin’s Mace is designed to be launched in barrages or volleys so that aircraft carrier battle groups and air bases targeted for attacks will have no chance for defense. This will ensure that “one blow” can knock down the superior foe, whether the US uses seven or even all of its existing aircraft carrier battle group in the South China Sea.
    This development by China of the so-called “Assassin’s Mace” is a virtual Great Wall of China for the modern era. It is coupled by an equally modern air defense system (HQ-9, HQ-19, S-300, S-400); underwater submarine monitors and UUV robots; and some 5,000 kilometers of underground tunnels and 41 underground air bases; plus extensive subway systems in every major Chinese city that serves or doubles as civil defense in times of emergency. This is China’s modern great wall that is not known to the general public.

    The Chinese nation really implemented Mao’s call: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony.” And Deng’s exhortations as well: “… secure our position … hide our capacities and bide our time …”

    The “Assassin’s Mace” is a real game changer in the balance of forces between China and the US and its allies. Coupled with China’s geographic proximity making the “Assassin’s Mace” effective in the entire region, there is no way the US can hope to win a conventional war with China.

    The US advantages of stealth aircraft, aircraft carrier battle groups, satellites, military bases encircling China, and bigger military budgets are all negated by asymmetry: the “Assassin’s Mace” which trumps them all. Herein lies the danger of a nuclear war. There is a good chance that neocon strategic planners in Washington realize by now that there is no way they can win a conventional war with China, or even Russia and Iran; and the only way for the US to win is a nuclear first strike against this triumvirate.

    This is what the citizens of this world should prevent at all costs. The people of the United States, in particular, should wake up now and prevent the handful of neocons and the banking cabal behind them that are bringing the world to the brink of extinction.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    China’s new ‘Great Walls’*

    June 21st, 2017

    NO ONE seems to notice, but China now has built, not one but five new “Great Walls.”

    The first of these five is the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). China is the only country in the world today that has this type of ballistic missile, although Iran may be close to perfecting their own ASBM.

    China’s ASBM consists of DF21D medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) with a range of 1,500 kilometers, and DF26Cs intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) that can reach some 4,000 kilometers–far enough to reach targets in Guam. These missiles are designed to hit moving targets at sea, such as US aircraft carrier battle groups and other major surface ships; but they can also be used to attack fixed targets such as US air and naval bases deployed around China from South Korea all the way to Guam.

    Such missiles are designed to launch in simultaneous barrages or volleys to avoid counter-measures. Variants of the DF21 were also successfully tested as a direct-accent anti-satellite weapon. In the event of any major armed conflict with the US and its main allies in the Asia-Pacific region, China’s DF21Ds/DF26Cs can wipe out all aircraft carrier battle groups, other major surface warships, air bases, and naval bases of the US and its allies within minutes of the start of conflict–-up to 4,000 kilometers from the Chinese mainland. This follows the Chinese military dictum of fighting “high-intensity wars of short duration”. This, in effect, erects a “Great Wall” that protects China up to 4,000 kilometers from its coast.

    The vulnerability of US and allied air bases to China’s ASBMs needs special mention. The loss or destruction of such air bases will mean US air superiority derived from their possession of advanced stealth bombers and fighter bombers will be lost as well. And loss of air cover means loss of the war itself.

    Of the numerous US and allied air bases surrounding China, only one air base in South Korea and one in Taiwan are underground, compared to 41 airbases in China which are underground. And it is doubtful whether those two underground bases can last for long with China’s bunker-busting DF15C SRBMs.

    The new Great Wall provided by China’s ASBMs is complemented by a second: China’s Undersea Great Wall against US and allies’ submarines.

    According to the United States Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Beijing “has deployed fixed ocean-floor acoustic arrays off its coasts, presumably with the intent to monitor foreign submarine activities in the near seas.” These fixed underwater monitors are augmented by swarms of unmanned underwater vehicles as well as unmanned surface vehicles or robots that can both monitor and attack enemy submarines.

    Working with these underwater monitors are China’s various anti-submarine aircraft and sizeable submarine force of some 70 units. US submarines and that of its allies may survive the first few minutes of a “high-intensity war of short duration,” but without air cover, those submarines will not last for long and will be doomed.

    The third Great Wall of China consists of interlocking web of air defense systems consisting of HQ9s, HQ19s, S-300s, and S-400s with anti-stealth radars as shown in photo. The systems are designed to guard and protect the entire east coast of China (where most of China’s industrial/technological base and majority of its nearly 1.4 billion population are concentrated) from ballistic and cruise missile attacks as well as from enemy strategic bombers and fighter-bombers.

    The fourth of these Great Walls are some 5,000 kilometers of underground tunnel; almost the same length as the ancient Great Wall of China itself. When China did not have nuclear weapons in the early 1950s, and General Douglas MacArthur threatened it with nuclear weapons during the Korean War, Mao made a call: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony.”

    Since then, the Chinese people kept on digging tunnels that they have now dug thousands of miles like no other country on earth. These tunnels are where they keep their strategic missiles for a counter-strike in case the US or any other country conducts a first strike.

    In addition, China has also constructed 41 of its most important air bases with underground hangars. This is in stark contrast to US air bases or that of its allies which are almost all out in the open; except one in Taiwan and another in South Korea. In the first salvo, US air cover might be crippled badly by China’s ASBMs. These underground Great Wall of 5,000 kilometers of tunnels are augmented by metro subways in every major Chinese city, thus forming an extensive civil defense for a good number of its urban population. No other country has a comparable system of civil defense. Hence, in the event of a major conflict, be it conventional or nuclear, China seems to be the most prepared.
    The fifth of this new Great Wall are the reclaimed islands in the South China Sea, three of which have three-kilometer runways. These elements of the new Great Wall have two principal purposes.

    First is to prevent a first nuclear strike by US submarines using the Manila Trench as a surreptitious avenue of approach to get near and strike China’s east coast where most of China’s industrial base and majority of its nearly 1.4 billion population are concentrated.

    A US first nuclear strike of this nature can drive the whole Chinese nation and civilization to extinction in a matter of hours, if not minutes. The artificial islands can support land-based anti-submarine monitors and anti-submarine aircraft, missiles, and swarms of underwater unmanned vehicles to counter any attempt by the US or its allies to use the depths in the South China Sea for a first nuclear strike against China.

    The second purpose of China’s artificial islands is to prevent any possible naval blockade by the US 7th Fleet of the vital Malacca Strait and other nearby straits in the area (i.e., Lombok, Sunda, Makassar, etc.). China’s oil supply coming from the Persian Gulf and trade to and from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa pass through these strategic bottlenecks. A naval blockade of this nature can choke China’s economy and force it to grind to a halt. The runways in those artificial islands reclaimed by China will be used by China’s strategic bombers and multi-role combat aircraft to prevent such blockade from happening. They can also be used by China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles (DF21s and DF26s) to counter such naval blockade against China.

    If you are a Pentagon planner, try cracking your brains thinking of a way to penetrate these five “New Great Walls” of China. Just be careful that you don’t go nuts. There is an easy way to do it, however. Uncle Digong just did it when he went to China. Our President is really showing the right way.

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    A win-win solution in PH sea dispute with China*

    June 14th, 2017

    THE Philippines-China talks in May 2017 place the Philippines at a vital cross-road to war or peace. The choice of which road to take all depends on what strategy the Philippine negotiating team will adapt.

    A “win-lose strategy,” otherwise known as a “zero-sum game” will lead the Philippines to war; and end up with zero benefits: zero oil, zero gas, and zero fish, in addition to angering a neighbor that is now the largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. The other road, which is a “win-win strategy,” will lead the Philippines to peace and progress. It involves settling the issue of sovereignty acceptable to both parties, and ensures that the core interests of both are addressed and satisfied.

    We have had a taste of a “win-lose strategy” when we unanimously won our case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague. It was a total win for the Philippines and a total loss for China. But this victory will eventually end up as a “zero-sum” game for us because China will make sure that we do not get a single drop of oil, a single cubic foot of gas, or even a single piece of fish from the disputed area.

    What we got instead are China’s fully armed strategic bombers patrolling Scarborough Shoal and other Chinese-occupied islands in the disputed area. What if China, in revenge for what we have done, start occupying all the islands claimed by the Philippines? Will the US come to our aid and die for us? This is the dilemma we now face as a result of the “win-lose strategy” of the previous administration. It may be timely to contemplate the right strategy to adopt in the forthcoming talks.

    The initial choice of our negotiating team is critical. If the President chooses negotiators who are inherently or historically hostile to China, then expect that our team will pursue a “win-lose strategy”. If President Rodrigo Duterte really does not want war as he has declared in the past, then he should make sure that each team member is not a warmonger, does not harbor innate hostility against the other party, and has the interest of the nation at heart, and is not a willing pawn of foreign interests. The wrong choice may mean the difference between war and peace. But before real win-win negotiation can begin, the highly contentious issue of sovereignty must be settled.

    The Philippines claims sovereignty based on legality; especially the recent PCA decision. China claims sovereignty based on history; that they discovered those islands in 1279 and gave them those names. Both sides have their points, but never the twain shall meet – even if they negotiate for a thousand years! Hence, better for both sides to set aside the sovereignty issue for the time being, making clear that each is not abandoning their territorial claims. Once both sides agree on the issue of sovereignty, then genuine “win-win talks” can begin.

    What is a “win” for the Philippines? This consists of four basic items comprising Philippine core interests: 1. Joint development, environment protection and exploitation of fishery and maritime resources in the disputed area; 2. Joint exploration, exploitation and development of oil, gas, and other mineral resources in the said area; 3. Visa-free status and cooperation in people-to-people exchanges and tourism development in the disputed islands; 4. For China to include and make the Philippines the easternmost terminal hub of the Maritime Silk Road of the 21stcentury.

    The fourth item is the most important. It involves “enlarging the pie” to create a big win for both sides. It involves China helping the Philippines become the gateway to the Americas (i.e., North and South America) via Port Irene in the north and to Oceania via Port Bunggao in the south. It involves China assisting the Philippines in reviving the ancient Manila-Acapulco galleon trade route, thus extending China’s Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, or New Silk Road, to cover not only the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa, but also the continents of North and South America and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).

    This will be a big win for China, as it will connect the New Silk Road to a revived Manila-Acapulco galleon trade route, and extend the Belt and Road initiative to six continents instead of three. But the biggest winner will be the Philippines, as it will become the epicenter of a planetary-scale economic development that will literally circumnavigate the globe. The fourth item also involves China helping the Philippines to modernize its other major ports (Batangas Port); a railway network north to south of both Luzon and Mindanao, to include Panay island and Cebu; a modernized telecom system (fiber optic networks and high-speed info highway); an alternative energy development (solar, wind, etc.); and industrial/ manufacturing zones in select cities along the railway networks.

    What is a “win” for China,” aside from the extension of its B&R initiative to cover the whole planet? Our negotiators should be aware of China’s core interests in the South China Sea. Why did China build those artificial islands, three of which have three-kilometer long airstrips? And why is China prepared to risk war with the US and its major allies like Japan and Australia over those tiny islands? There are two major reasons: the first is to prevent a US first nuclear strike, and the second is to prevent a US 7th Fleet naval blockade in the Malacca Strait. A naval blockade of the Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok Straits where China’s oil supply from the Middle East and Africa, and trade to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Africa, passes through — which the US and Australia have been rehearsing every other year in their “Talisman Saber” naval exercises (that included Japan in its latest exercise in 2015) — could force the Chinese economy to grind to a halt.

    China’s artificial islands can prevent such naval blockade because they can host China’s combat aircraft and anti-ship ballistic missiles. So, a win for China is for the Philippines to agree to the current status quo: that both China and the Philippines continue occupying and developing the islands each country is occupying at the moment. This will put China’s mind at ease; free from worry of a possible first nuclear strike by US nuclear submarines secretly approaching China’s east coast from the Philippine Deep, or being blockaded at the Malacca Strait or other straits in the area.

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

     

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