Азиатские тигры (igor_tiger) wrote,
Азиатские тигры

Пентагон вцепился в Азию


According to the recently  released US National Military Strategy (NMS), the international order has  reached ‘a strategic inflection point.’ The US Department of Defence still has to win the wars in Iraq and  Afghanistan, but other regions are of increasing need of  attention—particularly Asia.
That the  NMS suggests Asia is the region of fastest rising global importance isn’t  surprising—Pentagon leaders and other senior Obama administration officials  note that Asia contains two rising  powers (China, India), several  pparticularly dangerous states (North Korea and Iran), numerous diplomatically important countries and the world’s most vibrant economic region (growing  wealth allows regional armies to better bolster their capabilities).

Unsurprisingly,  China looms large in the minds of US defence strategists. Managing China’s  rising economic and military strength has for some time been a clear  preoccupation of Pentagon planners, and some of the text in this latest  
is explicit about the unease China’s rise is generating in Washington. The NMS  reports declares, for instance, that the United States will closely follow how the  modernization of the People's Liberation Army could adversely affect the
military balance across the Taiwan Strait; the US Defence Department also  states that it is ‘concerned about the extent and strategic intent of China's  military modernization, and its assertiveness in space, cyberspace, in the  Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.’

Still,  although there are some overt signs of US worries, most of the text’s concerns  over China are implicit. For example, when the NMS expresses alarm about  expanding ‘anti-access and area-denial capabilities and strategies to constrain
US and international freedom of action,’ the allusion is clearly to China’s  development of the Dong Feng 21D anti-ship ballistic missile, anti-satellite  weapons, cyber strike capabilities, emerging long-range precision strike  systems and other military-related technologies. ‘To safeguard US and partner  nation interests,’ the NMS section on China affirms that the Pentagon ‘will be  prepared to demonstrate the will and commit the resources needed to oppose any  nation’s actions that jeopardize access to and use of the global commons and  cyberspace, or that threaten the security of our allies.’

But despite  the concern over China’s military build-up, the NMS supports the  administration’s broader ‘shaping and hedging’ strategy of transforming China  into a responsible global stakeholder. It states, for example, that the United
States will pursue a ‘positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship’  with Beijing that ‘welcomes’ a ‘responsible leadership role’ for China. At the regional level, meanwhile, the  NMS especially cites the potential value  of working with Beijing to counter WMD proliferation, maritime piracy and  instability in the Korean peninsula.’

The US side  has made it clear in recent months that it hopes Sino-US defence diplomacy will  be able to improve the often tense relationship between the PLA and the  Pentagon—or at the very least avert unsought confrontations. With this in mind,  it suggests that the United States ‘seeks a deeper military-to-military  relationship with China to expand areas of mutual interest and benefit, improve  understanding, reduce misperception, and prevent miscalculation.’

Ironically,  at the same time that these words were appearing in print, the international  media was publishing WikiLeaks cables  documenting how the Chinese government had refused to engage in defence  dialogue with the Pentagon on a range of important security issues. In  addition, the PLA has continued to reveal new military technologies most likely
designed to challenge US armed forces in the Pacific region.

So how will  the United States respond to such challenges? The NMS insists that, ‘We expect  to maintain a strong military presence in Northeast Asia for decades,’ but  suggests that Asia’s elevated importance won’t necessarily result in an  increase in the number of US troops stationed in the region. The reality is  that few opportunities exist to base more forces in Japan and South Korea due  to popular opposition, among other constraints. Indeed, the United States
expects that these traditional US security allies will gradually use their own  expanding military power to assume more regional security responsibilities.

Instead,  the hope is to rotate more forces through the region on a temporary basis,  especially to countries that don’t host a permanent US military presence.
Southeast Asia is one area the Pentagon has in mind, and the NMS suggests there  will be new attention and resources focused on Southeast and South Asia,  including the strengthening of US ties with the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations and other regional multilateral forums.

In  Southeast Asia, the United States will  ‘expand our military security cooperation, exchanges, and exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam,  Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, and other states in Oceania.’
These rotations will allow the Pentagon to strengthen the capabilities of local  military forces through enhanced training opportunities. In addition, the United States will pursue ‘expanded  military cooperation with India on non-proliferation, safeguarding the global  commons, countering terrorism, and elsewhere.’

Noting the  confluence of interests between Moscow and Washington in the Pacific region—perhaps the geographic region where Russian and American interests  overlap the most due to mutual concerns regarding North Korea, China and other  developments—the NMS says the United States would ‘welcome’ a more active
roleby Russiain preserving security and stability in Asia.

The big  question looming over all these plans is the cost. The Obama administration is  eager to shift more resources toward tackling the PLA’s growing capabilities.
For example, the fiscal 2012 Defence  Department budget submission includes $2.3 billion for fortifying the new US
Cyber Command (CYBERCOM
), for instanceby launching the planning and design  of the envisaged CYBERCOM Joint Operations Center at Ft. Meade in Maryland. The  proposed funding for Science and Technology Programmes in fiscal2012,  meanwhile, exceeds $12 billion,  which would represent 2 percent real growth in basic research in an effort to
sustain US military technological superiority.

The sheer  vastness of the Asia-Pacific theatre means it’s always going to be costly  trying to ensure robust military air and naval assets. The Defense Department wants to spend almost $10 billion in fiscal2012  to continue acquisition of all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter  (JSF). The F-35, along with the F-22, will prove essential in enablingthe
US Air Force to counter the new Chinese J-20 stealth fighter and other PLA Air  Force warplanes. When he defended the budget before Congress on February 17,  Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon would have 325 F-35 jets by
the end of 2016, and about 850 5th-generation aircraft by 2020 if the F-22s are  included. The Australian Air Force and other US Asian allies also plan to  acquire the JSF, which will enhance interoperability between the US military  and its regional allies.

In addition  under the proposed fiscal 2012 budget submission, the US Navy would receive almost $25 billion to fund the procurement of  11 warships that can help defend Taiwan and contest the PLA Navy’s growing capabilities in the contested waters surrounding China. These include one DDG  51 destroyer, one Mobile Landing Platform, one LPD-17 amphibious transport dock  ship, two Virginia class submarines, two joint high speed vessels, and four  littoral combat ships.

But the NMS  doesn’t just focus on conventional weapons—it also underscores the need to  bolster the US nuclear arsenal.

The United  States relies on its nuclear weapons both to deter a direct Chinese nuclear  attack on the US homeland (something that is anyway unlikely), as well as  strikes on US regional allies. It’s with this in mind that the United States  has extended nuclear security guarantees, in an effort to dissuade Japan, South
Korea, Taiwan
, and other states that have the capacity to make nuclear weapons  from doing so. Although the Obama administration has endorsed the vision of a  world without nuclear weapons, and has taken some steps towards this end, the  NMS reaffirms the administration’s commitment to retaining US nuclear weapons  as long as they exist.

To this  end, the US budget submission for both the Departments of Defence and Energy
support the continued strengthening of the US nuclear arsenal.
In part to  overcome China’s improving air defence network, the Defence Department has also  decided to commit to the development of a new long-range strategic bomber that  could carry both nuclear and conventional weapons. Interestingly, in  recognition of recent advances in unmanned aerial vehicles, the department has  left unresolved the question of whether the new bomber needs to have a pilot.

All this  said, although the NMS naturally focuses on military power, it does note the  importance of strengthening and applying other US national security tools, such  as economic, diplomatic, information, legal, and intelligence assets. With this  in mind there’s one thing that the US Congress could do if it wants to help  bolster the US presence—oppose the administration’s plans to end the Voice of America’s  Mandarin-language TV broadcasts into China. At a time when China is emerging as  a global power, and as Chinese becomes an increasingly important global  language, such a move might be penny wise, but it would be pound foolish.
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