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A WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES "is not far from us now," wrote Liu Jiangjia, an officer in China's People's Liberation Army, in a recent issue of China Miliary Science. This according to an article by Washington Post writer John Pomfret appearing in the November 16, 2000 Fresno Bee. Liu is but one of several Chinese military stratigists whose writings in China Military Science have grappled with the possibility or even the likelihood that China and the United States could go to war.
Isolated views? Hardly. China's "White Paper" on national defense issued October 2000, representing "the consesus view of the government," mentioned the United States 13 times, and "all but two of the references were negative," Pomfret wrote.
"In government pronouncements, stories in the state-run press, books and interviews, the United States is routinely portrayed as Enemy No. 1."
Preparations for War
The popular view in the United States is that China is benign and that its increased emphasis on building its military strength and technology does not pose a threat to the United States. The knowledge that Chinese missiles with nuclear warheads are pointed at the United States seems to cause most Americans little concern. Nor does the fact that the Clinton Administration sold to China a high tech computer which gave Beijing the technology to guide those missles accurately to their targets.
Many, perhaps most Americans seem to be convinced that China is interested only in more fully embracing free enterprise so its 1.2 billion people can afford to buy more McDonalds hamburgers and western style consumer goods. And that is exactly what China would like us to think. While they, perceiving the U.S. as an obstruction to their true objectives, are preparing for a clash, they are eager to persuade us that they are completely harmless and just want to be more like us, so we will feel no need to bolster our own defenses.
Too Poor To Be a Threat?
China would also have Americans believe that they are far too poor a country to be threat to anyone. That party line was played once again by a Chinese government official in a conversation that this writer overheard recently between the official and a U.S. agricultural industry representative. When the U.S. representative raised concerns about the Chinese military's preparations for a possible war with the United States, the Chinese official responded, "There's nothing to worry about. We are a poor country."
It is true that there is much poverty in China. There was also much poverty in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, when the Kremlin was bleeding its people to finance the nuclear arms race.
China "perceives the United States," Pomfret wrote, "as opposing Beijing's two premier goals in the region: unification with Taiwan, thereby ending what the Communist Party has called 150 years of humiliation at the hands of foreigners; and gaining control over the strategic shipping lanes in the South China Sea, through which the bulk of Asia's oil passes."
Beijing, he wrote, "increasingly has viewed the United States as an obstacle to its rise as an Asian power."
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2000 by Rand Green Communications