A new study by the RAND Corporation titled “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable” is just the latest think tank paper devoted to assessing a US war against China. The study, commissioned by the US Army, provides further evidence that a war with China is being planned and prepared in the upper echelons of the American military-intelligence apparatus.
That the paper emerges from the RAND Corporation has a particular and sinister significance. Throughout the Cold War, RAND was the premier think tank for “thinking the unthinkable”—a phrase made notorious by RAND’s chief strategist in the 1950s, Herman Kahn. Kahn devoted his macabre book On Thermonuclear War to elaborating a strategy for a “winnable” nuclear war against the Soviet Union.
The study is based on a series of highly questionable assumptions: that a war between the United States and China would not involve other powers; that it would remain confined to the East Asian region; and that nuclear weapons would not be used. In reality, a war on China would from the outset involve US allies and would thus, in all likelihood, rapidly escalate out of control, spread beyond East Asia, and heighten the danger that nuclear weapons would be used.
The RAND Corporation study considers four simplistic scenarios for a conflict defined by two variables: intensity (either mild or severe) and duration (from a few days to a year or more). It also notes that given the pace of advances in military technology—in what is already an undeclared arms race—the outcomes change over time. Thus, it studies the losses and costs for both sides of a war fought in 2015 and one in 2025.
The summary of findings pays far more attention to the outcomes of severe conflicts than for mild ones. In both cases—a brief, severe war and a long, severe war—the study estimates that the economic and military impact on China would be far greater than on the United States. At the same time, it concludes that the US would suffer greater losses and costs in 2025 than in 2015.
The paper states:
“As its military advantage declines, the United States will be less confident that a war with China will conform to its plans. China’s improved military capabilities, particularly for anti-access and area denial (A2AD), mean that the United States cannot count on gaining operational control, destroying China’s defences, and achieving decisive victory if a war occurred.”
The unstated conclusion, which underpins all of the Pentagon’s planning and preparations, is that a war with China must be fought sooner rather than later. The US military build-up envisages 60 percent of all air and naval assets in the Indo-Pacific region by 2020—now just over three years away. Moreover, Washington’s deliberate inflaming of dangerous flash points in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, is aimed at portraying Beijing as “aggressive” and “expansionist” and concocting the necessary casus belli.
Just two weeks ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which has played a central role in the planning of the “pivot to Asia,” issued a report assessing the Chinese nuclear arsenal. The paper was titled “China’s nuclear forces and weapons of mass destruction.”
The CSIS also downplayed the likelihood of nuclear war, but did not reject it out of hand. “History is a grim warning,” it stated, “that deterrence sometimes fails, and escalation occurs in ways that are never properly planned or controlled.
Obama is trying to go around congress and us the UN to dictate the laws regarding nuclear testing. There are many signs that point to the US government getting ready to declare a state of emergency and then martial law, locking down the US. Support for Merkel plunges to its lowest level. US government trying to cover up what the 400 million payment was for regarding Iran. Bombs dropped in Yemen were made by the UK and US. The offensive in Aleppo failed and the Syrian forces have found weapons that were made in the US. Obama states the deal with Russia is breaking down, the war in Syria will continue. Russia blames the chemical attacks on the US terrorists groups and will increase the bombing against them. Obama reports that ISIS is on the run but will still attack the US.
On Sunday, Pope Francis responded to questions from reporters about why he won’t call out Islamic violence or reference Islamic terrorism when responding to terrorist attacks like the one that took the life of French priest Jacques Hamel last week. The pope denied any associations between Islam and violence and said “If I speak of Islamic violence, I should speak of Catholic violence.” By speaking this way, he does a disservice to his followers, and world leaders, who would look to him for the confidence and moral backing to call out Islamic terrorism and face it head-on.
According to Pope Francis, every religion has the potential for violence, including Catholicism. This, of course, is true, because every single human person has the potential to do wrong, as Catholicism itself teaches. So we’ve seen violence play out in the history of the Catholic Church. But that doesn’t mean that today some religions’ adherents don’t encourage it more than others, or have a greater potential for violence. Context and culture matters.
The Islamist ideology and doctrine terrorists follow today wasn’t created out of thin air in the past few years or decades. It has roots in an early interpretation of Islam dating from the first centuries after Mohammed’s revelations. In the world of Islamic jurisprudence, it’s just as legitimate as other interpretations of the faith. But as far as I know, there is no early church interpretation of Christianity still popular today that promotes violence like Wahhabism or Salafism does.
The pope also described reading about murders Catholics have perpetrated. Therefore, in his convoluted reasoning, Francis surmises he couldn’t possibly draw a distinction between Catholic violence and Islamic violence. But what the pope misses, either intentionally or through naïveté, is the crucial difference between committing a crime and happening to belong to a given religion, and committing a crime in the name of that religion.
No one is claiming that every murder, assault, and robbery a Muslim perpetrates is an example of Islamic radicalism. But, as Europe is discovering, a significant minority of Muslims commit violence explicitly in the name of Islam.
Pope Francis apparently can’t see the difference between crimes that share a single motivation and those that don’t. According to French officials, there are approximately 11,000 suspected Islamists in France who are on what they call their “Fiche S” list.
This means there are thousands of people in France alone who might be willing to kill, not randomly, but in the name of Islam.
The pontiff makes a similar mistake as President Obama, who loves to remind his staff that more people die in America from slipping in their tub every year than die from Islamic terrorists.
But there isn’t an explicit sect of bathtubs plotting against bathers, hoping to extinguish them from the earth. Intentionality matters. It matters because it makes the violence more menacing—and more likely to spread.
Pope Francis told the media, “It’s not fair to identify Islam with violence. It’s not fair and it’s not true.” Perhaps it’s not fair to equate Islam with violence, but it’s deeply dishonest for him to say that Islam has nothing at all to do with violence, especially since we see weekly evidence to the contrary, not just in the West but in Muslim countries throughout the Middle East.