With recent revelations that the Wuhan virus may have been released by a poorly run bio lab and then covered up, we have now moved into far more dangerous world. This is the problem with totalitarian regimes: They are not made to allow bad news to see the light of day so that corrective action can be taken. Best case for the messenger, he ends up in work camp, the worst being a single 7.62mm to the back of the head and the family being billed for it.
China has always been notorious for this behavior. Couple that with the cultural tendency to save face, and it’s the worst of all worlds. The world is mad at China and has every right to be. Many countries will seek retribution, justice, and compensation for the tens of thousands who will died and didn’t not need to. (Other countries, like Iran, may instead see this an opportunity to flex their muscles while the world is perceived to be preoccupied.)
I mentioned in my previous piece that it was more than likely China’s domination in the manufacturing world would be coming to a close, but now it is more probable than not that we will see a faster mass exodus. The Chinese government simply can’t be trusted.
Here comes the big problem: China will not take this well, and it could push them over the edge to lash out. Right now, China has the three components to power project: a large military plus the capital and manufacturing base to support any expansion efforts. If their capital begins to dry up, that means losing the ability to run its massive surveillance state, which in turn means losing control of the masses. The last thing the Chinese Communist Party wants is unrest and loss of power. The clock is now ticking. Don’t mistake China’s most recent nuclear test as anything less a than a message of “don’t mess with us.” This is the common language of superpowers and, trust me, we didn’t miss it.
What happens next? Possibly a trade war, or an attempt by China to make sure the world depends on them by unleashing cyber attacks to further financially destabilize its adversaries. With China holding much of the world’s debt, this could be their action of first choice. Like any battle plan, a significant left turn is always possible. In this case, that might mean China’s people begin to show signs of unrest or a last option to power project into the Pacific.
What does a war with China look like? Well, one of the obvious choices would be for China to strike Taiwan, which unquestionably brings the United States into the fight. The distance is relatively short —only 110 miles through the South China Sea. There is also China’s ability to influence the North Koreans to move into South Korea and drag Japan into the fight, as well. In short this is a very dangerous scenario. Let us also not forget India, as well; China hasn’t.
One of axioms of warfare is never get dragged into a land war in Asia, where the human cost would be unlike anything we have seen since WW2. The other side of the coin, however, is despite China’s so-called blue water navy, it’s just not that good beyond the theoretical. The U.S. Navy and its allies remain supreme. After all, we have been playing in the Pacific since the 1800s.
China has also not conducted large scale military operations since the Korean War, while the United States and allies have been fighting for the last 20. One of the chief reasons China has never invaded Taiwan is the ever-present U.S. nuclear submarine force. The end result of naval aggression would be much of China’s new blue water fleet at the bottom of the sea. This could be followed up with a series of cruise missile attacks on Chinese bases and air defense to allow U.S. carrier battle groups freedom to strike where they please. Not to mention the significant air power we can project from multiple U.S. staging areas and friendly nations.
This all would come with a massive cost in both men and material. We are certainty at one of the most dangerous times in history, at least since the Cuban missile crisis, and it will require statesmanship backed up by a superb military with the ability to carry out any threats, implied or promised. China needs to be brought to heel for its criminal behavior, but getting there will be perilous.
Freedom is never free, and this is one of those moments we all may have to pay for it.