China is betraying a level of strategic anxiety not yet seen as the impact of trade tariffs looms and its return to its historical power role in the Asia seems to have stalled.
People – mostly people on the political left, and media “talking heads” (who are often also people on the political left) – often complain about U.S. President Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff and sometimes controversial remarks on Twitter.
But even his most outrageous “tweets” can’t match Chinese Rear Adm. Lou Yuan, who, while speaking at a military trade conference, “announced that what the United States feared most was casualties and that the easiest way to defeat China’s main rival was to sink two American supercarriers, killing over 10,000 sailors in the process.”
China is not the first Great Power to misunderstand and under-estimate American capabilities, and American resolve. Japan made that mistake once, and Germany twice. It did not end well, for either. China should take the advice of the author of this essay, Captain (USN, Ret.) Jerry Hendrix, who writes,
“Those who would believe that the sinking of two aircraft carriers would trigger an impulse toward retreat would do well to make themselves aware of the United States’ history and the impact events such as the sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the collapse of the World Trade Center had on the national psyche.”
“Any attack upon a single U.S. aircraft carrier by long-range aircraft, cruise missiles or ballistic missiles would surely generate a response against the bases from which those weapons were launched, the sensors associated with them and the command-and-control nodes that directed them, and then the United States would turn its attention on the Chinese naval and merchant fleet.
“Before China knew what was happening, it would be cut off from the overseas sources of energy and raw materials that fuel its import/export economy. Within weeks it would be without fuel and its factories would be shuttered. The American economy, established in a nation that has most resources domestically available, would be able to ride out the storm, even if China attempted to climb the escalation ladder and attack targets in North America,”
he cautions that
“[Chinese President] Xi Jinping should try harder to understand his real strategic position while remembering that he who rides the tiger finds it difficult to dismount.”