Fields: It’s Back…The Yellow Peril

Guest Columnist

“We’re not gonna have a war, we’re gonna have the appearance of a war”.Robert De Niro as political fixer Connie Brean in the movie Wag the Dog.

Ever vigilant to protect its bankroll, the military-industrial complex is setting the stage to justify the bloated Pentagon budget beyond The War on Terror, which many in America are already losing interest in.

The new enemy is the ever reliable “Yellow Peril.

You know, those sneaky little people that have come in a variety of subdivisions over the years:  Japanese, Vietnamese (formally, North not South), Korean (North not South) and even space aliens.

(Check out the 1930’s Flash Gordon movies. Planet Mongo’s evil Ming the Merciless looks strangely Asian.)

Flash Gordon’s Nemesis: Ming the Merciless

The latest version of the Yellow Peril is the Chinese, whose President Hu Jintao makes a historic visit to the United States this week.

Despite the kisses and handshakes you’ll see all over the TV, I predict a different future.

Based on a phony military threat from China, we are planning a huge military buildup.

There will be no war with China–unless we make it happen.  But the military industrial complex only needs the appearance of an impending war to make huge amounts of money.

Why would China want to fight us?  We are its biggest customer.

China has a reason to be annoyed with us militarily.  We are at its borders.  We are off its coast.

Imagine our reaction if China conducted massive naval exercises off the coast of San Diego.

From its point of view, we are the threat and the reason they are building up its military.

Almost 50 years ago, we almost started a nuclear war because of missiles placed 90 miles off our coast in Cuba. We have nuclear missiles right off China’s coast today.

The U. S. military finds it hard to put itself in China’s shoes. Instead, the military community fumes and rants.

As early as 2001, Dr. Jeffrey Record of the Air War College was writing that war with China was looming on the horizon.

Last year, the RAND Corporation — a think tank with many from the military on its Board — issued a report warning about the Chinese military buildup.  By 2020 we will no longer be able to defeat China in a war over Taiwan.

Why would China invade Taiwan since it could easily absorb Taiwan in a fashion similar to Hong Kong?  Why would we go to war over Taiwan?

In December, Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace “Chip Gregson, warned that the Chinese buildup could upend the balance of power in the China Sea region.

The balance of power will be upended no matter what happens since China has become the 800-pound economic gorilla in that part of the world?

Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ramped up the “Yellow Peril mania while on a trip to China.  Taking one from “Column A and one from “Column B, he warned reporters that China will soon have ICBM’s that could reach the U.S. and that they are testing stealth fighters.

Yes, I am aware that the Pentagon is allegedly in a belt tightening cycle.  A closer look makes clear there is no real planned reduction in a spending spree that has tripled the DOD since 9/11.  It’s a $750 billion budget that is equal to all the other military budgets in the world combined.  It is a budget that is 8-10 times the Chinese military budget.

This Pentagon’s contribution so far to deficit reduction means it won’t spend $78 billion or so on some previously planned projects.  Chump change when compared to the $4-$5 trillion they expect to spend over the same five years.

The Pentagon is setting the stage to justify a massive build up beginning in the middle or latter part of this decade.

Arguably, we might want to start a war so that we could repudiate the trillion or so that we owe them.  We could use the threat of war to push back China’s economic competition/gains around the world.

But we don‘t need a real war.  A “Virtual Cold War will do. One that can be egged on by continuing to conduct military exercises off its coast.

While China may have the world’s second largest GDP, it is not close to ours.  More importantly it is 98th on a per capita basis.

The current and foreseeable Chinese leadership has only one goal: reduce the social unrest that comes with a China that faces a growing divide of rich and poor.

That effort has not always been pretty.

Beginning with their “one family one child campaign, they have employed some harsh standards on their own people and their own natural environment.

I am not sure they can sustain their Wild West 8% GNP growth.

For the foreseeable future China is not an enemy.  It is a rival. Much the same way Boeing is a rival of the European’s Airbus.

We are rivals with China for supremacy in the control of rare earth metals in Afghanistan and oil in the south Sudan. These should be economic rivalries, not steps to war.

The arms makers and their revolving door friends in the Pentagon would have us think otherwise.

It once again boils down to the observation of the Mel Brooks character in the movie Blazing Saddles: “Gentleman, we have to protect our phony-baloney jobs.

7 Responses to “Fields: It’s Back…The Yellow Peril”

  1. Fields is Naive says:

    What about North Korea, Mr. Fields? The country is run by a mad man and could start a war at any moment. China would have to support them against South Korea or the USA.We need to be prepared for that. Or should we just dismantle the entire military?
    Your knowledge of geopolitics is about as deep as your knowledge about everything else. Allowing you to contribute to this website is a mistake.

  2. Floridan says:

    @10;35 pm: “China would have to support them [North Korea] against South Korea or the USA.”

    China is not going to get into a war with the US over North Korea.

    Fields’ basic point is, for the most part, correct. Or do think it’s a coincidence that there’s all this hullaballo over a Chinese stealth aircraft at the same time Congress is looking for budget cuts?

    The Chinese stealth is several generations behind U.S. stealth development and poses little or no threat to our military, but it will be played as the reason more money (or at least no less money) must go to the Pentagon.

  3. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Naïve
    If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula it is absurd to imagine that China would intervene with armies. This is not 1950 where a bloviated Douglas MacArthur was moving troops up to the Yalu River threatening a nuclear attack on China.

    In 2011 China views North Korea as an albatross. The thing that China most fears is a war that leads to millions of North Korean refugees going over the border into China.

    By co-incidence today is the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower’s speech warning America about the “military industrial complex.”

    You need to read it along with the Art of War.

    The last time troops from China successfully moved out of it’s environs of Southeast Asia was the 12 century under Genghis Khan who was Mongolian. In the 13th century his grandson Kublai Khan launched 900 ships to invade Japan. He succeeded about as well as the Spanish Armada.

    While China’s response to our needless Cold War provocations will lead to developing an ICBM arsenal there is no possibility that China will create a navel force capable of invading anything other than Taiwan which is for the foreseeable future just big talk for internal Chinese politics.

    For the moment our most serious non economic threat from China is the cyberwar that we are fighting both defensively and offensively.

  4. Tiny Bubbles says:

    If Floridian and Sam Fields believes the the U. S. would stand by and let North Korea overrun South Korea, destroying one of the world’s biggest economy which would only benefit China, they are sadly mistaken. If Flordian and Sam Fields believes that China would allow North Korea to be overrun by a coalition of US and Souht Korean troops, you are wrong. Any threat to North Korea is seen by them as a threat to China. Any war could easily turn into a worldwide war. Unfortunately, there are mad men in control of North Korea and they can’t be controlled. The region is unstable which is why we need a strong military.

  5. Floridan says:

    @Tiny Bubbles – I never said that war on the Korean peninsula was not a possibility, just that China and the United States are not going to war against each other over it.

    I think some sort of joint U.S.-Chinese initiative to hold North Korea in check is much more likely.

  6. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Bubbles,
    The most likely disprutive scenario is that North Korea implodes. Where that would lead to is impossible to say. I am however certain that China would do whatever it took to not have to go to war. Their interests are 180 degrees different from what they were in the 1950’s.

    War would mean wiping out 30 years of progress which could lead to an imploding China.

    You need to get you head out of the 1950’s

  7. Tiny Bubbles says:

    Your theory would be fine if the Chinese had a government led by civilians. As was printed last week, the military often “does its own thing” in China like when they surprised the president by testing a stealth bomber when the American defense secretary was visiting.
    There is not one iota of doubt that if North Korea started a war, China would be on its side all the way. Then we would be left to a decision. Allow thousands of U. S. troops in South Korea to surrender or be slaughtered or fight back.
    Despite “Professor” Fields ridiculous assertions, there is absolutely no evidence that the North Korean government is failing from within. If anything, the aggressive military there is getting stronger and its number enemy is us. By the way, it has nuclear bombs.