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Peter Navarro
Peter Navarro is the author Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and is a business professor at the Merage School of Business, UC Irvine.

Entries by Peter Navarro

Orlando and Hillary's "No Way Out" Box

(1) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 4:23 PM

*This post previously appeared on The National Interest

With each new terrorist attack -- Orlando is just the latest of a lengthening global string- Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects sink further. The reason may be traced to the four corners of a "no way out"...

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Harry Wu Steals the "Death By China" Show - A Tribute

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 4:06 PM

I had the great honor and privilege of interviewing Harry Wu for my film Death By China. It was a most difficult interview as the pain that Harry suffered over the years made it difficult for him to open up initially. However, as you will see in the...

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The Revenge of Gordon Chang and the Coming Collapse of China?

(1) Comments | Posted May 1, 2016 | 7:18 PM


In July of 2001, Gordon Chang predicted an inevitable meltdown of the Chinese Communist Party in his best-selling book The Coming Collapse of China. Since that time, China's economy has increased by more than 8-fold to surpass even the United States on a purchasing parity power basis. Oops?

In Chang's defense, he could not have anticipated the colossal blunder of President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress in paving China's ruthlessly mercantilist way into the World Trade Organization just five months after his book was published. That mother of all unfair trade deals - a well-deserved target of both the Sanders and Trump presidential campaigns - kept China's Great Walls of Protectionism largely intact. However, it also opened U.S. markets to a flood of illegally subsidized Chinese imports - and catalyzed the offshoring of millions of American manufacturing jobs.

Since China's entry into the WTO in 2001, the center of the world's manufacturing base has seismically shifted as the People's Republic of Unfair Trade Practices has used a dizzying array of illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, sweat shop labor, and pollution havens to seize market share from both Europe and North America. To date, more than 70,000 American factories have closed, over 20 million Americans have been put out of work, and Chinese Communist Party leaders have laughed at Gordon Chang - and all the way to their Swiss, Panamanian, and Cayman Island bank accounts.

China's mercantilist WTO windfall notwithstanding, there are nonetheless growing signs that the collapse of China as Gordon Chang once predicted - and David Shambaugh is now intimating at - may soon be at hand. As Exhibit A of the signs of China's troubles, I offer, in the remainder of this missive, an email correspondence directly from the Chinese mainland. It's from an American citizen living and working with his Chinese wife and son in the PRC.

I will let you decide whether the views of this observer (name withheld to keep him out of a Chinese prison or shallow grave) is an accurate one or overly pessimistic. If it's the former, it could well be the harbinger of Gordon's Chang's crystal ball revenge.

From what I can see, and my Chinese wife can see, China will probably soon implode. Just what the catalyst will be is uncertain. Just before that time, or as a result of that implosion, the CPC [Chinese Communist Party] will probably try to get the population to focus outside the country, probably through conflicts in the South China Sea or Taiwan.

For more than two decades, I have been telling people that the first thing China would do before trying to take Taiwan would be to take the Spratly Islands. If the world simply ignored that, then Taiwan would be next.

Hong Kong is a bitter, poison pill left by Britain for China. There will be no peaceful resolution of that problem.

The biggest problems in China right now are poisoned food, water, and air. Nobody trusts anybody, which is the reason why there is huge capital flight out of the country.

China has a national debt in excess of $28 trillion. But anybody knowing anything about Chinese accounting practices knows that number is probably just a very conservative number. Add some of the data and stuff Caixin [an online newspaper] is telling us about in terms of city and provincial accounting practices, and the numbers are horrible.

China wants its currency to become an international currency, but nobody knows its value. The only effective taxation going on here in China is [protectionist] for imports. The taxation system of businesses and income tax is completely broken and non-functional. There is no transparency in the financial system here. That is quite different from that of the Euro or the dollar. The fact is, the government is printing money like crazy here.

People are buying houses around here, but nobody is living in them. They don't trust potential renters. Homes are unaffordable for most people unless they use corruption to get the money needed. People have been investing in houses only because that is the only relatively secure form of asset management. Yet home purchases are at best leases since the government can come in at any time and requisition the land for other purposes.

Construction quality of housing here is horrible. If [province name withheld] had a big quake, the dead would be in the millions. China would almost immediately collapse.

The education system wherein I work is horrible. People in the West look at high math and science scores, but they don't realize that most of the students, like my son, cannot apply what they learn to similar math or science problems.

Students are completely unable and unwilling to ask questions. Professors and instructors don't have offices, let alone office hours, so questions on content the students don't understand are never answered. Of course, if a student fails a course, the teacher loses face, so every student passes.

If the university has a graduation rate at the end of four years of less than 97%, the university president loses face. Add on top of that the fact that around 2000, there were about 1 million college graduates. Compared to now, with over 7 million graduates, one has to ask: Where did they get all the qualified teachers?

My wife teaches in a public elementary school. The CPC is putting pressure on everybody to conform. Fun, considering the fact that the school would collapse overnight if its corruption were rooted out.

Real inflation in China is considerably higher than what the government figures reveal. For example, my wife reports that nearly all the food here in this Tier 2 city has doubled in price over the past three years.

While food prices typically go up about two weeks before Chinese New Year, they also normally go back down to pre-holiday prices. This year, food prices went up about 20% and have not gone back down.

My wife reports that middlemen in the food chain are mostly responsible for the food price increases. The farmers have not increased their prices because many prices are set by local government. However, because the middlemen have increased prices, demand for certain types of fresh foods has gone down. That means that while people in the cities are not buying because of increased food prices, the farmers have food rotting, unable to sell it.

I went to a farm not too long ago. What struck me was that in the apple orchards, as well as in the surrounding fields, even though the food was at that time being harvested, there were no bugs. I never saw that problem in the States, since there are mandated pesticide non-application times before harvest.

In most American markets, there will still be some food sold with insect marks on it. Most Americans don't realize what that really means. It means the pesticides are nearly, if not completely, gone from that food [because, unlike in China, they can't be used during harvest time].

I have about 300 papers from my composition students about their lives to grade, many of which confirm some of the things I said above.

Have a great day.

Have a great day indeed!
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books). His Netflix documentary film Death By China documents China's entry into the World Trade Organization and its impacts on...

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Trump, Indiana and the Tragedy of Great Trade War Politics

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 12:18 AM


Bad trade deals like NAFTA and China's entry into the World Trade Organization have shuttered over 70,000 American factories, depressed wages, slowed the U.S. economy, and kicked millions of workers to the curb. In sharp contrast, American farmers have been riding...

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Who Will Win World War III?

(1) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 2:51 PM

Get the Death By China film free now on YouTube!

Reprinted By Permission The National Interest and Crouching Tiger

I was on this hill as a battery commander with six 88-millimeter antitank guns, and the Americans kept sending tanks down the road and we...
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How North Korea Got Its "Made in China" Nukes

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2016 | 9:21 PM


The wild child of North Korea - Dictator-in-Chief Kim Jong-un - has overseen four nuclear tests to date, the earliest in 2006 and the latest just this year. It is now only a matter of time until Pyongyang can order direct strikes on Seoul, Tokyo, or Seattle.

Just how did the Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. let North Korea get the bomb? In my book/film Crouching Tiger, the Free Beacon's Bill Gertz, Princeton's Aaron Friedberg, Forbes columnist Gordon Chang, and the Potomac Foundation's Phillip Karber trace the origins of North Korea's nukes right to China's doorstep.

GERTZ: China is a major proliferator of nuclear weapons technology. Back in 2003 when Libya gave up its nuclear programs, among the documents that were discovered were Chinese language documents showing how to make a small nuclear warhead.

CHANG: China transferred all that Pakistan needed for a splendid nuclear weapon; and then the Pakistanis merchandised that around the world, including to the Iranians. We did nothing about it.

KARBER: China stole some of our nuclear designs and helped Pakistan develop its own nuclear weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. And we know that because Pakistan then gave those designs to the Libyans, and we found them in Libya. It was our designs with Chinese characteristics.

FRIEDBERG: So China perhaps has gotten a little tougher about proliferation than it was 20 years ago. But most of the major proliferation problems in the world right now track back to China.

GERTZ: So secrets were stolen by China in the 1990's. Those secrets were then passed on to China's ally Pakistan and proliferated around the world, including to the most dangerous rogue states today, Iran and North Korea.

While China, Iran, and Pakistan all have their fingerprints on North Korea's nukes, the biggest dupe of all in this "Mouse That Roared" set piece may well be former President George W. Bush. It is by now conventional wisdom that Bush committed a tremendous strategic blunder by putting far more emphasis on the invasion of Iraq than the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

What is far less known is Bush's incompetence in the surveilling of North Korea nuclear weapons program during his 2003 Iraqi invasion. As Brookings Institution analyst Michael O'Hanlon explains in my book/film Crouching Tiger:

O'HANLON: If there was a moment for preemption in North Korea it was 2003 when the Bush administration was more focused on Iraq. Up until 2003, the North Korean bomb material was all in reactor fuel inside a nuclear reactor and in a place where it could not be immediately converted into a weapon. And we knew where it was, and we could watch with satellites, and also inspectors.

Then, the North Koreans kicked out the inspectors, reprocessed the plutonium, and separated it chemically from all the other reactor waste products. At that point, the fissile material became small enough amount that they can put it wherever they want. So we don't know where it is any longer. And they have probably ten bombs worth of material.

As a result of Bush's Middle East distraction - and China's supplying of nuclear technologies to North Korea - Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. are now faced with a nuclear fait accompli. And here's the biggest folly of all: Despite China's prominent role in North Korea's dangerous proliferation, a naïve White House still clings to the unrealizable hope that somehow Beijing will rein its Wild Child.

Against the backdrop of this increasingly perilous situation, it is only appropriate that Gordon Chang and Bill Gertz, along with Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center have these last words from Crouching Tiger:

CHANG: For more than a decade North Korea and Iran have essentially had a joint venture on nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and the Chinese have been in the background aiding North Korea in proliferation. This is the nuclear chain reaction.

GERTZ: The Chinese have been the main suppliers of missile technology, and now we have North Korea, a rogue state, which has threatened to fire nuclear missiles at the United States with Chinese made ICBM mobile launchers.

CHANG: The United States has been hesitant to confront China over proliferation. We don't want to anger Beijing leaders. But when some American city is a radioactive slab, it's not going be good enough for an American leader to say: "I could have done something about this, but I didn't want to anger the Chinese."

FISHER: When North Korea and Iran begin selling nuclear missiles to other hostile regimes, then the United States is going to be facing a virtual global whack-a-mole challenge, endless wars, endless challenges, with nuclear armed states.

CHANG: We should be demanding that China stop support of North Korea's nuclear weapons proliferation. China permits Iranian technicians and scientists to transit through its airport, on the way to Pyongyang and back. Every single test of a North Korean nuclear weapon has had Iranian technicians onsite in North Korea. You know, we talk about these Geneva negotiations with Iran, hoping to put the Iranian program in freeze. And we think that if we come to a deal with Iran that we'll be able to do so. The problem is that while we're talking to the Iranians, we have Iranian technicians and scientists in North Korea working on nukes. Take a look at a map, how do the Iranians get to North Korea? Well, we know that they've been transmitting through the Beijing airport. We know this. We track these guys. And what do we do? We do nothing about it. So we're not freezing the Iranian program at all, it's going full speed in the hills of North Korea.

Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of Death By China, a documentary history of China's entry into America's markets. Contact

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Will Hillary Repudiate Bill on the China Trade?

(3) Comments | Posted April 10, 2016 | 12:42 AM

Reprinted By Permission The National Interest


Will Hillary Repudiate Bill on Trade?
A rock and a hard place. Scylla and Charybdis. Sanders and Trump. These are just some of the metaphors and men Hillary Clinton finds herself caught between on the trade issue.

In truth, Hillary's ultimate problem in the 2016 presidential race may not be Benghazi, Emailgate, Filegate, Monica, Pardongate, Vince Foster, Whitewater, or a broad-based perception of a cold, calculating, and untrustworthy woman. Instead, it may simply be America's ill-considered trade deals - and the pivotal role her husband Bill has played in selling American workers down the offshoring road.

It's bad enough President Bill, with Hillary's support, signed the NAFTA agreement in 1993. The Clinton spin here was that we had to help Mexico build up its manufacturing and jobs base to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

Of course, all we got was a flood of even more illegal immigrants - with a healthy dollop of drug traffickers and criminals mixed in. Yes, Donald Trump will have a field day quite rightfully pinning that sin on "Billary" in the general election.

But what is likely to turn out far worse for Hillary is President Bill's pivotal role in shoehorning Communist China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. I know this sad and sordid story all too well because I carefully documented it in my film Death By China - I was a Clinton fan before I did the research.

In that Death By China film, you can catch this astonishing clip of Clinton lobbying on behalf of Communist leaders who he, himself, had called during his 1992 campaign the "butchers of Beijing." Here's what Clinton had to say - and check out the companion video to this article for the whole story:

Economically, this [WTO] agreement is the equivalent of a one-way street. It requires China to open its markets with a fifth of the world's population, potentially the biggest markets in the world. For the first time, China will agree to play by the same open trading rules we do. Never happened before. For the first time our companies will be able to sell and distribute products in China made by workers here in America.

The only question for voters in 2016 is whether Bill Clinton in 2000 was naïve enough to believe such nonsense. Alternatively, was he cynical enough to just flat out lie on behalf of his well-heeled corporate contributors intent on offshoring America's manufacturing base at the expense of US workers? Either way, there is this grim political reality for Hillary:

Because of her husband's ill-considered WTO deal, the good old USA has had to endure a tsunami of illegally subsidized Chinese exports, the closure of over 50,000 American factories, the creation of a huge American army of the permanently angry and unemployed, and a crushing debt of several trillion dollars to a communist country now rapidly using those Made in China dollars to build up a military with the clear intention of seizing territory from its neighbors in the East and South China Seas and pushing the American navy out of the Western Pacific.

If an image of Kevin Costner in the classic film "No Way Out" just flashed into your mind, well, that's exactly the situation Hillary now finds herself in. Bernie Sanders knows it - he voted against both NAFTA in 1993 and President Bill's WTO deal in 2000 and "man of the people" Bernie now has the very clear moral high ground here. That's why Sanders is prominently featuring a crackdown on China's unfair trade practices in his raise the roof populist campaign - and exactly why he upset Clinton in Michigan, which has been particularly sliced, diced, and flayed by the Chinese.

Donald Trump has taken an even more sophisticated approach to politically leveraging the China issue. He has been as clear about the myriad ways in which China uses unfair trade practices to cheat America as he has been resolute about the need to impose stiff defensive tariffs to countervail China's illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, sweat shop labor, pollution havens, and rampant intellectual property theft.

As the final nail in Hillary's trade coffin, there is her well-publicized flip-flop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. First, she said the TPP "set the gold standard in trade agreements." However, once Bernie backed her into a corner and her "coronation" looked more like a quagmire, she reversed her position - reaffirming that strain of political opportunism that seems to infect the Clinton DNA and reinforcing public mistrust of Hillary on the trade issue.

At the end of the day, the 2016 presidential race should come down to the single most important triad of inter-related issues on voter's minds - jobs, the economy, and trade. If the race plays out as it should - rather than as a mud fest clash of personalities - Bernie may yet overtake Hillary at a contested convention. If not, Donald Trump will surely defeat "Billary" because Trump is far more credible on all three points of this economic compass.
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books). To view the documentary film Death By China and learn more about the Crouching Tiger Project, visit

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Senkaku Suicide Scenarios: China vs. Ameripan

(1) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 12:06 PM


It's now only a matter of time before an increasingly well-armed People's Liberation Army attempts to take the Senkaku Islands by force. China calls them the Diaoyutai and claims these Japanese territories in the East China Sea by historical right.

The strategic question is how will America and Japan ("Ameripan") respond to a Chinese thrust - retreat, bombs and bullets, or embargo? The broader existential question is whether a military response would trigger, Sarajevo-style, a broader World War between the three largest economies on the planet and two reigning Superpowers.

On a personal note, I've seen at least one possible future less than 30 miles down the road from where I live in Southern California. At Camp Pendleton, Japanese Defense Forces regularly train with US marines. One of the top war games is defending the Senkakus from a swarming Chinese invader.

Rocks In the Sea?

China doves dismiss the Senkaku Islands as "rocks in the sea" not worth risking the nuking of American cities or Japanese blood. On the surface, this seems right:

The Senkakus are five small, uninhabited volcanic islets with a total land area of less than three square miles. The largest and tallest of the islets is Uotsuri. With an elevation a little higher than the Eiffel Tower -- just over 1200 feet - Uotsuri features a barren, hilly, and beautiful landscape.

The smallest islet is Taishō with a narrow spire-like elevation of about 250 feet and a land area no bigger than the size of about 14 football fields. It is one of two islets, along with the 383-foot tall Kuba, that accounts for the name given to the Senkakus by British sailors - the Pinnacle Islands.

Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers?

There are two very big problems with the "rocks in the sea" critique - one economic, one strategic.

Economically, the UN Law of the Sea Treaty established Exclusive Economic Zones that extend 200 nautical miles in concentric circles around tiny habitable "rocks" like the Senkakus. At stake are not just fertile fishing grounds but also the potential of huge, Persian Gulf-size oil and gas reserves underneath the seabeds surrounding the islands.

Strategically, the Senkaku "rocks" are located about 200 miles east of mainland China, 120 miles northeast of Keelung, Taiwan, and about 100 miles from Ishigaki Island, part of Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

Here, China has already brazenly illustrated its ability to transform tiny specks of reefs and shoals in the South China Sea into heavily armed, cruise-missile equipped garrisons and command centers replete with 10,000-foot runways. In the hands and bulldozers of Beijing, the relatively far larger Senkakus would pose a significant increased threat both to Taiwan and Japan's Okinawan territories.

Attack Scenarios

In the Clausewitz scenario, China's military grows against the backdrop of a shrinking US naval fleet and a withering Japanese economy. At some point - as early as 2020 - China may seize its "war by algebra" moment and simply overpower Ameripan forces.

In a "wag the dog" scenario, President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party are about to be engulfed by a sea of domestic discontent over economic stagnation or environmental pollution or Orwellian repression. To rally support, Xi orders a full-scale invasion - think Argentina trying to grab the Falklands from Britain here, with a far greater Chinese chance of success.

In a "people's war at sea" scenario, Beijing recruits Chinese commercial fishing vessels to get close to the islands and lay strings of mines. China has one of the biggest mine arsenals in the world and regularly trains its commercial fisherman to carry mines on behalf of the motherland.

And how about the "flotilla" scenario? Private Chinese citizens whipped into a nationalist frenzy advance in a flotilla of "freedom boats," land in the dead of night on Uotsuri, and plant the Chinese flag. All Hell breaks loose on social media and both Beijing and Tokyo are faced with rocks in the sea and hard place choices.

And by the way, to measure Chinese nationalism on the "crazy scale," it's off the charts. In 2012, violent Senkaku demonstrations erupted in over a hundred Chinese cities. One protester wrote: "Even if China is a graveyard, still need to kill all Japanese. Even if no grass grows in China, still need to recover Diaoyu Islands."

America Dragged Into War?

Would America have Japan's back in a Senkaku Suicide Scenario as it is required to do by treaty? Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said firmly in 2010: "the [Senkaku] islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations." Secretaries of State Chuck Hagel and John Kerry reiterated that pledge. Says Heritage Foundation scholar Dean Cheng:

The United States has consistently said that the US-Japan mutual security relationship covers the Senkakus because those islands are under the administrative control of Japan; and I believe that, as with other treaty commitments, any decision to walk away from that commitment will have devastating consequences.

So if I were to be asked to the White House to talk to the chief executive in a situation where the Chinese have seized the Senkakus, I would be advising the President that he must stand firm with Tokyo, make very clear to Beijing that this would not be allowed to stand, and to extend support, including weapons, including American forces, to the aid of the self-defense forces, in retaking those islands.

Counterattack Scenarios

Professor Lyle Goldstein of the US Naval War College says the US should do absolutely nothing.

Those are rocks. They're not important to anyone. They're not important to Japan. They're not important to China. They're certainly not important to the United States.

If, however, the US stays on the sidelines, a war between Japan and China could quickly go nuclear. Japanese forces, outnumbered though it may be, are quite capable and may, in the early stages of any war, get the upper hand. At that point, national pride - and perhaps survival of the Chinese Communist Party -- would likely dictate China bombing Tokyo.

As a second scenario, Colonel T.X. Hammes of National Defense University suggests using the same kind of thermobaric weapons Russia has used to great effect in both Chechnya and Syria. Explains Hammes in this exchange with the interviewer:

HAMMES: A thermobaric weapon is a weapon that spreads a fuel air mixture, and it disseminates fuel air all the way over, and then it detonates. So it goes into the holes in the ground, you breathe it in, and then it detonates and by over pressure, it kills. The Russians used thermobarics in Chechnya - hand-held RPG type thermobarics. They're a devastating weapon.

INTERVIEWER: So if we wipe out every Chinese soldier on the islands, what happens on the mainland in terms of their nationalism?

HAMMES: Well, that's the problem. Nationalism will get going. There's, no accounting for stupidity, so you have to be prepared to fight

Here's still a third "embargo" response option offered up by Brookings Institution scholar Michael O'Hanlon: Japanese and US naval and air forces establish a perimeter and starve out the invaders.

Would today's China allow itself to be so intimidated? The more likely response is some form of escalatory behavior, e.g., a barrage of antiship ballistic missiles raining down on Japanese and US surface ship or ultra-quiet Russian-designed Chinese subs launching torpedoes and cruise missiles.

The Broader Tripwire Point

There are any number of scenarios in which China might attack the Senkakus. There are an equal number of scenarios where such an attack quickly escalates into something of far more significance.

Until disputes like these are unequivocally resolved, does it really make sense to continue to engage in massive economic trade with China? Such trade only helps Beijing more rapidly build up its war machine at the same time it helps an increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist Party stay in power.

Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of Death By China, a documentary history of China's entry into America's markets. Contact

Special Offer: For a free copy of the Crouching Tiger film, send an email to and put "RCD" in the subject...

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Land of Trade and Greed: Death By China

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 9:55 AM

This is the theme song to the film Death By China, narrated by Martin Sheen -- remixed and reimagined by Fleetwood Mac producer Ken Calliat.

For more about China's economic and military aggression visit:

Look around and tell me what you see
Everyday more people in the street
Said I used to work in a factory
Right now I don't work for anything

It's not me but my family I wish to feed
Not much we got simple needs
Too bad they sent our jobs away

As the CEOs get richer
And our jobs all move offshore.


We go to the store and spend our money
Send all our dollars overseas
This ain't the land of milk and honey
This is the land of trade and greed

My brother, he got his college degree
He dreamed of running a factory
Now he's back home, living with Mom again
Because there's no bright future for a workingman like him.


We go to the store and spend our money
Send all our dollars overseas
And this ain't the land of milk and honey
This is the land of trade and greed

We go to the store and spend our money
Send all our dollars overseas
This was the land of milk and honey
And now its the land of trade and greed

Music and Lyrics by: Peter Navarro
Produced by: Ken Calliat
All Rights Reserved: DBC Productions



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Run Silent, Think Deep: Captain Bernard Cole Speaks

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 4:55 PM

Visit for more interviews (see cast clips link)


As part of the research for my book and film Crouching Tiger, I interviewed 35 of the top experts in the world from all sides of the China issue. These are key edited excerpts from my sit-down with Captain Bud Cole. From the moment Captain Cole began to speak on camera, I sensed the precision of a chess master with many years at sea. He was as insightful in his remarks as he was gracious.

I began the interview by asking Captain Cole to size up the competing US and Chinese nuclear submarine fleets.

The U.S. nuclear powered submarine feet as far as I know is far superior to the Chinese, anything the Chinese Navy can put to sea. On the other hand, the numbers within the U.S. nuclear powered submarine fleet are decreasing. And I think that by 2020, we're only going to have 40 or so submarines available Navy-wide, not all of which of course will be in the Pacific fleet. So while a U.S. submarine is going to be far more capable than a Chinese submarine, numbers do count in the final analysis.

Where Captain Cole may be most at odds with many of his colleagues is on the importance - or lack there of - of Taiwan in the strategic calculus of both the US and Japan.

My own view is that Chinese control of Taiwan would not significantly increase the threat to Okinawa or U.S strategic interests. The Eastern Coast of Taiwan is not at all amenable to building naval ports. There's only one really significant naval base in Northeastern Taiwan and a smaller one down on the Southern part of the island. So from a practical ship home porting bases, Taiwan does not give the Chinese very much, and it would only extend their aircraft range by a hundred miles or so to the east.

So my personal opinion is that should China gain full operational access to Taiwan, it would not dramatically increase their strategic capability or operational abilities. However, I think I'm in the minority to be perfectly honest. Any Japanese naval officer that I've talked to is of the opinion that possession of Taiwan would, in fact, seriously impact Japan's defensive capability.

One of Captain Cole's biggest concerns is the ongoing dispute between China and the United States over freedom of navigation:

In 1982, the United Nations came out with a new set of Maritime regulations and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the acronym for which is UNCLOS.

When China signed the UNCLOS and ratified it, it expressed four declarations; and one of them was that sovereign territorial rights extend out to the two hundred nautical mile limit defined by "Exclusive Economic Zones" -- and possibly beyond. So from China's perspective, any foreign military aircraft or ship, steaming within that two hundred nautical mile EEZ limit is required to ask permission from the host nation to do so.

From a U.S. perspective, freedom of navigation dictates that a foreign ship or aircraft is not required to request host nation permission to steam within the Exclusive Economic Zone outside of sovereign territorial waters.

If China's view on sovereign territorial rights within the Exclusive Economic Zone and, and possibly all the way out to the 350 nautical mile Continental Shelf limit were to prevail worldwide, it would severely restrict freedom of navigation, potentially. And by freedom of navigation, I mean not just warships but also commercial trade afloat. It would have very serious consequences.

Here Captain Cole explains some of the serious economic consequences:

When merchant ships travel at sea, they don't steam randomly from port to port. There are sort of, I guess you could say there are highways at sea. So consider a merchant ship steaming, say, from Long Beach to Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf. If we broke out a chart, we could lay out exactly the course that ship is going to steer because they want to save fuel and they want to go by the most direct, most economical route.

Many of those routes go obviously well within Exclusive Economic Zones. So if these ships are somehow restricted in their transit, it could very much slow and increase the expense of sea born trade.

It's not just economic costs the world has to worry about from China's rogue view of Exclusive Economic Zones:

If you recall the EP-3 incident in 2001, a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying 70 nautical miles off of Hainan Island was intercepted by a Chinese Navy fighter. It collided with the EP-3, forcing the EP-3 to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island while the Chinese fighter went into the water, killing the pilot. This is the worst example so far where the differing interpretations of the sovereign territory rights within the EEZ under the UNCLOS led to a tragedy.
As a career naval officer, Captain Cole is particularly concerned about the ability of the United States to pay for the weapons systems it needs to defend itself. Says Cole:
One of the problems facing the Navy today, in fact the whole U.S. military, is the declining defense budget. Even though our defense budget is still huge by global standards, the fact is that our Navy has been used for decades and decades to operate globally all the time.

As the defense budget declines, that's going to become more and more difficult, particularly in terms of operational funding. If you want to maintain a constant global naval presence with a declining budget, it means longer deployments for the ships, more stress on the personnel manning those ships, and perhaps less money for fuel and weapons, weapons ordinance and, and other necessary systems.

Captain Cole is also increasingly worried about America's drift towards neo-isolationism and what it may portend for America's Asian alliances. While noting the American mood and the need for dialogue on a large US presence in Asia, there is no doubt where he stands:

In the Pacific, if we were to say, we're going to completely withdraw military forces from Japan and South Korea, it would dramatically change the strategic balance of power in the region. It's in the direct U.S. interest as well as in global security interest to keep those forces present that are required to reassure our friends and allies and to thus insure security and stability in the area.

What happens if we do not have a mutual defense alliance with Japan? Japan then would confront an expanding China, a relationship that is based on historic enmity and on current, very active disputes, and on a modernizing Chinese military. A logical assumption would be that Tokyo would then decide to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. This would not be in the interest of anybody in the world.

And similarly, South Korea, is in a very difficult strategic situation, sandwiched between Japan and China. It might also feel the need in the absence of a treaty with the United States to develop its own nuclear arsenal.

I personally believe that the more nuclear weapons in the world, the more unstable the world becomes, not the opposite. This is one justification for maintaining a U.S. nuclear guarantee, if you will, in these areas.

Captain Cole notes that many of the weapons systems China is now fielding originate in some way from beyond its shores - either through reverse engineering or through the provision of so-called "dual use" technologies from countries like Germany and Australia that are supposed to be American allies.

Any military modernization system has to take advantage of both indigenous and foreign systems if you will. In China's case, they have relied heavily on foreign systems either by importing the systems directly or by reverse engineering systems.

The Chinese have proved to be very good at reverse engineering in systems they've imported from Russia or using systems they've acquired through duel use. In other words, a Chinese civilian company may form a joint venture agreement with a foreign company, import goods that are nominally civilian in intention, but then adapt it to military use.

Let me give you some examples. In the 19080s, the German diesel company, Siemens, established a joint venture with a Chinese company. The first time I want on board a Chinese frigate in 1994 and I went down into the main engineering spaces, this frigate was powered by diesel engines; and the diesel engine had a big Siemens logo right on the engine. Okay? A diesel engine's a diesel engine. Whether it's designed to drive a tractor or a ship, it can be adapted.

The other area I'm aware of is ceramic engineering technology. A French company formed a joint venture with a Chinese company for the purpose of developing ceramic engineering. Well, the principle technology that goes into constructing a sonar dome aboard a surface ship is ceramic engineering. So here again we have an incidence of a legal importation or establishment of French technology into the, which converted into the Chinese military.

A third example, which is perhaps most egregious, is, in the 1990s, an Australian company designed a catamaran passenger ferry. And this, again they formed a joint venture with a South China company to build passenger ferries, and of course South China is rife with waterways that are very amenable to use of ferries. And this basically provided the whole technology for the Hubei Class [Type 022] missile boat. This is a catamaran boat that's designed for relatively inshore, short-range operations carrying, I believe it's four anti-surface ship missiles. Potentially a significant weapon system.

In the case of Russian technologies, the situation is even more complex. By selling China SU-27 and SU-30 tactical fighter aircraft, Russia basically gave China the engineering technology for those aircraft, technology China has reverse engineered -- to the great annoyance of the Russian military, I might add.

Such Chinese theft of Russian fighter technology hasn't, however, stopped the flood of sophisticated weapons from Russia to China.

The Chinese have bought 12 kilo-class conventionally powered submarines from the Russians. Those are near the top of the list as the best conventionally powered submarines in the world.

As China rapidly expands its submarine fleet, Captain Cole sees great danger, particularly from China's growing fleet of conventional diesel-electric subs.

Obviously we could discuss many different Naval missions. The one that's most difficult in my personal experience and in my view today remains combating submarines.

China has developed a variation on conventionally powered submarines, which is utilizes something called air independent propulsion. A conventionally powered submarine generally has to surface every four days to recharge its batteries, which means it has to have access to fresh air. A submarine equipped with air independent propulsion can generally steam for at least fourteen days before surfacing to recharge its batteries.

On the role of conventional submarines in the Chinese strategic calculus, Captain Cole notes:

Anti-submarine warfare is extremely difficult, and I think China feels, correctly in my view, that if it can deploy two or three dozen conventionally powered submarines - submarines that the U.S. Navy feels it has ta at least localize before it can interject itself into a specific scenario - that will slow U.S. interventions sufficiently

China's conventional submarine threat is not the only one of concern. Captain Cole predicts it is only matter of time before its ballistic missile nuclear subs will easily range America.

The idea of home-porting their new ballistic missile submarines, the Jin-class, out of Sanya [on Hainan Island] first indicated to me that they were going to follow a sort of a bastion strategy for having a sea-born nuclear deterrent.

Up until now China has followed a policy of a minimal nuclear deterrent. That means they want just enough nuclear missiles available so that should some other nation - and obviously they're looking primarily at the U.S. or perhaps India - decide to engage in nuclear warfare against China, China could at least put one or two missiles on the opposition.

The problem with China following a bastion strategy, that is keeping their nuclear arm ballistic missile submarines within the South China Sea, is that the JL-2 [Julang class] missile does not have the range to reach most of the United States so the boat would have to exit the South China Sea and steam a considerable distance into the Philippine Sea to be within range of the United States.

I think eventually they would like to be able to do that. I think that's something that we should expect them to do.

Cole counts himself among the skeptics regarding China's much-ballyhooed DF21-D antiship ballistic missile:

The DF-21D is an intermediate range ballistic missile that China has been attempting to develop so that after it reenters the atmosphere and after ballistic flight, it can be redirected and targeted against a specific target, usually termed the U.S. aircraft carrier. It's a very difficult technical problem. And I am not convinced that China has accomplished that achievement yet.

In fact, Captain Cole sees a far more conventional missile threat.

As China has modernized its military, of course it's engaged in developing or acquiring a whole host of weapon systems. The one that's most dangerous in my mind, apart from the conventionally powered submarine itself, is cruise missiles; and of course the reason that submarines are dangerous is not only because they can fire torpedoes but because the modern boats can also fire cruise missiles from a submerged position.

A cruise missile is an air breather. That is, it is launched from a submarine or a surface ship or an aircraft.

If it's a modern cruise missile, it generally flies at a relatively low altitude, seeking out its target, and this is a key to the employment of missiles. They need targeting information; and it's only been within the last decade that China has begun developing the space-based assets and other sorts of radars to enable them to locate the target and to direct the missile onto it.

China's also recently, apparently, been developing hypersonic cruise missiles, that is cruise missiles that can go faster than the speed of sound at some multiple. These are experiments that I assume the U.S. is also engaged in. Cruise missiles are very challenging.

Beyond China's missiles and submarines, China's advanced mine warfare is very much on Captain Cole's mind.

There are are few Naval weapon systems that are as adjustable if you will or as dangerous as Maritime mines. There's a whole raft of families of mines, some of which include ship counters. In other words, if there's a proximity fuse on the mine, you can set it so the third or fourth or tenth ship passing over it will be the one to detonate the mine.

You have mines that can be fired from the ocean bottom like torpedoes when a ship passes over it. You have mines that are, are set off by a ship's magnetic field or by the noise from a ship's propeller. China apparently has access to all this sort of technology, none of it's really new or revolutionary. What's more the point is the fact that no Navy in the world has really very significant mine sweeping or mine hunting capability.

You may recall that during Operation Desert Storm, two U.S. ships struck mines in the Persian Gulf. One of those mines was an Italian design plastic-encased mine that Iraq had acquired on the open market. Another one was a Russian design that was designed by Tsarist Russia in 1908. It was the old John Wayne movie kinda mine, you know, with horns sticking out that John Wayne usually exposed by shooting one of the horns with a rifle. So modern warfare is not new but it's still very, very dangerous.

There's no question that China has thousands of mines that they could lay in specific scenarios. Our mine sweeping capability or mine hunting capability is pitiful.

On China's equally ballyhooed strategy of asymmetric warfare, Captain Cole has this terse critique:

I don't like the concept of asymmetry because it simply implies to me what any intelligent military Captain does, which is trying to find the enemy's weakness and attack that. You don't attack an enemy's strength on purpose.

As for China's operational concept of anti-access area denial, here's Captain Cole's more subtle take through the lens of history:

One of the things we've seen described in the last few years is not a strategic concept really but more of an operational concept on the part of Chinese maritime strategists is called anti-access, area denial; and that is the idea that if you take the waters within the First Island Chain, the Three Seas, and if you can prevent U.S. incursions into those Three Seas, you therefore could win a Maritime conflict.

Now there's nothing new about anti-access, area denial. You could go all the way back to Thomas Jefferson with his gunboats against the British Navy as that sort of strategy.

You could look at Japan's strategy in 1941 to build a defensive perimeter about 2,000 miles into the Pacific, the idea being: If it could prevent the U.S. Navy from re-entering that area of the Pacific for two years, it could then force a truce. That's really anti-access, area denial.

Or you can look at the Soviet campaign during the 1980s against the U.S. Navy where it thought it establish defensive zones off the Soviet Coast and preclude U.S. naval entry into those zones.
China's campaign tries to take advantage of that theory and to implement it within the First Island Chain. It's never succeeded before in history so we don't know if China's effort would or not.

Here's Captain Cole on the very the critical difference between fighting the China of today versus the Soviet Union of yesterday:

For China, it's not necessary to match the U.S. military missile for missile, ship for ship, tank for tank. Rather, I think what China is consciously trying to do in its military modernization is to develop the capability to achieve very specific strategic aims during very specific periods.

In other words, should Taiwan declare independence and China decide to employ military force against Taiwan, it wants to have the military strength necessary to accomplish that specific purpose. Not to establish command of the seas within the first or second island chain permanently. So I think that's a crucial difference between what the Soviet Union was trying to do during the Cold War and what China is trying to do today.

To end our interview, I asked Captain Cole how probable war might be with China. His remarks were encouraging for the cause of peace - with an important caveat.

The chances of a conflict, I think, are relatively minor. There are many, many territory disputes in East Asia. We have many areas of disagreement economically with China. None of these threats, none of these disagreements are existential, that is none of them threaten the existence of either China or the United States or any other nation in East Asia, other possibly than, if we look at the Korean Peninsula.

I think if North Korea were to attack the south, either conventionally or nuclear, with nuclear weapons, that North Korea would very rather quickly cease to exist as an independent nation. So I don't see potential conflict between the United States and China.

Now I hasten to caveat that with if we were sitting here a hundred years ago, we would be saying the same thing with respect to the European area of operations and yet, unfortunately people tend to do stupid things sometimes. But sitting here today, in Roosevelt Hall, in Washington D.C., I personally don't see a conflict emerging between the United States and China.

Peter Navarro is a business professor at UC-Irvine and author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World.

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Trump's Foreign Policy: An Interactive Adventure

(26) Comments | Posted March 27, 2016 | 8:40 PM

Reprinted With Permission The National Interest

Compare your own foreign policy views with that of Donald Trump in the companion video to this article!

Those who insist Donald Trump has no foreign policy have simply not been listening. The "Trump Doctrine" is as clear as a reveille bugle piercing the dawn at Fort Bragg; and it's a page right out of Ronald Reagan's playbook: Peace through economic and military strength.

Trump knows the key to keeping America safe in an increasingly dangerous world is to "make America great again." Only through broad-based economic renewal will this country have the fiscal firepower to end its budget sequestration lockdown of the Pentagon and fully fund the military it needs to defend itself.

From this Reaganesque perspective, cutting the corporate tax rate and cracking down on unfair trade practices to increase America's GDP growth rate are just as potent weapons of comprehensive national power as the additional F-35s and navy ships the increased tax revenues from that renewed growth will bring.

As for how a President Trump would specifically deal with an emerging "whack-a-mole" world of strategic rivals:

#1: The ISIS Beheading Machine
The best way to kill the ISIS beheading snake is to cut off its own financial head in two ways: Precision bomb any oil fields that it may be using as a cash register and "follow the money" through the Internet and expropriate it.

Trump is fully aware of Nietzsche's admonition to beware that "when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster." Trump also knows that when you are facing an enemy willing to suicide bomb your sons and daughters and randomly cut off heads, you must strike equal fear into that enemy. Under a Trump Administration, no ISIS member will be immune from sudden death, the cells of Guantanamo will be fuller, and America will be safer.

#2: The Oil and Water of Iran and Israel
Trump believes as the strange bedfellows of Saudi Arabia and Israel do that the Obama Administration made a TERRIBLE deal with Iran. The removal of sanctions will allow this fascist, terrorist state to simultaneously restore it economy and continue to develop capabilities to deliver nuclear warheads as near as Riyadh and Tel Aviv and as far away as Brussels and eventually New York.

President Trump will abrogate that deal on Day One. As Commander in Chief, he will maintain both economic and military pressure on a true Great Satan that has pledged to destroy Israel and dreams of ruling a new Middle Eastern Caliphate.

As for Israel, Trump clearly regards this democratic state as America's most important ally in the Middle East. However, Trump, along with most Americans (Jews and non-Jews alike), parts ways with those hardliners who insist there can be no deal brokered between Israel and the Palestinians. You cannot have peace unless you are willing to negotiate.

#3: From Russia, With Revanchism
Trump recognizes Vladimir Putin for the clever, ruthless, charismatic chess master he is. Putin has, indeed, run strategic circles around both America and its NATO allies when it comes to its adventures in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and former Socialist Republics like Georgia and Latvia.

For his part, Putin recognizes Trump as a strong and fearless leader who will draw clear red lines in Europe and the Middle East that Putin dare not cross. This is a far better and safer situation for America than a status quo that leads from behind and inspires far more contempt than respect.

#4: The Hegemon of China
Trump will no longer tolerate a mercantilist China having its way with America's factories and jobs. He will firmly crack down on unfair trade practices like illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft and bring American jobs and factories home.

That's not just good trade policy. It's good foreign policy, too, because the fountainhead of China's rapidly advancing military strength has been its ability to economically grow much faster than its strategic rivals. In other words, by rebalancing trade between the US and China, Trump will also rebalance the military equation.

#5: Equal Alliances, Not Wards of the American Taxpayer
Trump has made both noise and headlines about revamping America's alliances - from Europe's NATO to Asia. Trump knows the problem here is not that these alliances are not useful to the defense of the American homeland. As World War II painfully taught us, they surely are.

Rather, Trump is simply tired of the U.S. having to foot the lion's share of the bill for the dubious "privilege" of protecting wealthy nations unwilling to spend the requisite funds to defend their own homelands. Consider, here, that while the US spends fully 3.5% of its GDP on defense, Japan is at a measly 1.0%, Germany is at 1.1%, and even South Korea, with an absolute madman on its border is at 2.6%. All Trump is looking for here is a better deal for American taxpayers.

#6: Trump's "Distributed Network" of Advisors
In laying out his Trump Doctrine, the candidate has assiduously avoided surrounding himself with a circle of advisors simply. He has done so both because he is exceedingly well read and, far more importantly, he has "off the record" access to a broad distributed network of experts around the world -- as well as an inner circle that stays out of the limelight..

From his own detailed foreign policy research over many years -- required due diligence to conduct business globally -- Trump has developed a strong aversion to the kind of "nation building" that dragged America into wasted and protracted wars in God-forsaken killing fields like Iraq and Afghanistan. Accordingly, Trump has promised himself -- and the American people -- he will not be shedding the blood of any American soldier either in vain or under the vanity banner of American Exceptionalism.

In this way, Trump is in tune with an American public that is not just tired of war but ready for a renewed prosperity that will be the best catalyst for an ultimate peace based on true American power.

Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of Death By China, a documentary history of China's entry into America's markets. Contact

Special Offer: For a free copy of the Crouching Tiger film, send an email to and put "HuffPo" in the subject...
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Chussian Wedding: Revanchist Dreams, Pentagon Nightmare

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 7:34 PM



What happens when you marry the world's largest land mass, richest resource base, and best air defense systems with the world's most populous country, de facto factory floor, and largest military force? The...

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Kasich, Cruz, and the Tunnels of Chu Chi

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2016 | 10:13 AM

Reprinted With Permission Real Clear Politics


A not so funny thing is happening on the way to Donald Trump securing the Republican presidential nomination. He must increasingly deal with underhanded tactics that simultaneously conjure up the Viet Cong sappers from the...

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China's ASBMs vs America's Interceptors

(59) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 1:29 PM

Reprinted With Permission of Real Clear Defense

Can China's anti-ship ballistic missile really hit an American aircraft carrier zigzagging at 30 knots in the Taiwan Strait? That remains unclear as there is no record of China successfully testing its growing suite of "carrier killer" missiles on a moving target at sea.

This uncertainty leaves the door open to the possibility that Beijing's ASBM hype is merely a Sun Tzu ruse to prod America into spending countless billions on new weapons to defend against a chimera.

Ruse or not, the theoretical beauty of China's ASBM lies in at least three dimensions:

  • A relatively low "asymmetric warfare" cost to the carriers it targets
  • An ability to "outrange" America's carriers with their current air wings
  • Mach 10 speed, verticality, and maneuverability as it approaches its target

In reality, there are four basic ways to neutralize China's ASBM threat, and these "four corners" of an American ASBM defense are not mutually exclusive.

Strategy #1: Interceptor Missiles

The US and its allies have been rapidly moving ahead in the development of interceptor missiles. Some poster children for the interceptor missile response are growing up in the "Standard Missile" series being fathered by Raytheon.

For example, the SM-3 is geared towards "mid-course defense" - hitting an ASBM early in its trajectory at longer distances and higher altitudes and possibly even in space. In contrast, the SM-6 Dual specializes more in "terminal defense" should an ASBM break through the SM-3 perimeter - and it is equally potent against incoming cruise missiles.

While each of these missiles have been successfully tested against isolated missile threats, the Achilles Heel of a missile interceptor strategy is its possible inability to counter the kinds of swarming cruise and ballistic missile attacks that China's Second Artillery Corps is likely to launch. Such "salvoing" does indeed present both economic and operational problems.

Economically, missile interceptor missiles are costly, e.g., about $10 million a pop for the SM-3 and $4 million for the SM-6. Operationally, the question arises to whether you can even fit enough missiles into a strike group's magazines to shoot down all of the missiles in repeated Chinese swarms - much less fire these missile interceptors fast enough to prevent a mission kill.

Strategy #2: Outranging China's Carrier Killer

In a seminal report published by the Center for a New American Security in October of 2015, Dr. Jerry Hendrix documented the deadly decline in the range of American aircraft carrier strike groups since the end of World War II. The problem here is not with the carriers themselves but rather with their air wings, which now feature shorter-range fighters.

To see the historical problem framed by Hendrix, consider that the average unrefueled combat range of an American carrier has shrunk from over 1,200 nautical miles in 1958 and over 900 nautical miles in 1986 to less than 500 nautical miles today. In contrast, the range of China's DF21-D antiship ballistic missile is between 800 and 1,000 nautical miles.

The obvious strategy here to save aircraft carriers as a viable fighting platform is to focus once again on range. To Hendrix, one way to work this problem is to develop "a new long-range, deep strike asset in line with the A-3 Skywarrior and A-6 Intruder of the past that could take off from a carrier, fly more than 1,500 nm, penetrate a dense anti-air network of sensors and missiles, deliver multiple weapons on target, and then return to the carrier."

In Hendrix's vision, the most logical means to do this is through "an unmanned platform" along the lines of the X-47B that was cancelled in 2006. The plane remains on life support as a test vehicle that has successfully completed carrier landings, but it is literally "waiting in the wings."

Caption: An American Carrier Struck By A Chinese ASBM

Strategy #3: Destroy China ASBMs On Their Launch Pads
This option immediately brings to mind the contentious AirSea Battle vs. Offshore Control debate that has raged for years over whether it is prudent to strike the Chinese mainland should China launch an attack on American carriers or forward bases. Suffice it to say that any strike on the Chinese mainland would invite possible strikes on the American homeland, possibly nuclear strikes.

There is also the logistical "whack a mole" matter of whether it is even possible to accurately target Chinese ASBMs moving randomly about on camouflaged mobile missile launchers and on rail tracks beneath the Great Underground Wall of China.

That said, this strategy should not be ruled out publicly for one obvious strategic reason: Any American promise to never strike the Chinese mainland would establish that mainland as a sanctuary and turn American carriers and forward bases into sitting ducks for the Second Artillery Corps.

Strategy #4: Force Restructuring
The most common form of the force restructuring argument goes like this: "If China's ASBMs can sink our carriers, we should rely more on submarines."

Here's one problem: No amount of newly constructed Virginia attack class submarines can make up for the ability of an aircraft carrier to establish air dominance in critical theaters of war. Thus, while building more submarines to control the chokepoints of the First Island Chain should China attack the US or its treaty allies is an essential part of any true "pivot" to Asia, it is no panacea.

At the end of the day, China's ASBM threat needs to be addressed using all four corners of an American defense. Even if these missiles don't yet fully deliver on their promise, the technology certainly exists and sooner or later our carriers will be at risk.

In the meantime, defense analysts must get out of their comfort zone and start thinking more about how interactions between economics, trade, and national security are now shaping the battlefield. The obvious strategic question here is this: Is it wise for American to engage in massive economic trade with a nation that is using the fruits of such trade to finance the construction of a war machine that increasingly threatens the US and its allies?
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of the companion Crouching Tiger documentary film series. For more information, visit

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Flattop Faceoff: China's Pride vs. America's Arrogance

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2016 | 8:12 PM


"Anonymous sources within the US Navy's senior command have revealed that the US is not concerned over any immediate threat from the introduction of China's latest aircraft carrier in the Pacific, the Liaoning." --

China's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a great source of national pride. It is also a grim symbol of the arrogance of an American defense establishment that largely dismisses Beijing's under-sized training carrier as an antiquated bucket of rusty Soviet bolts.

The prevailing Pentagon opinion is not wrong, at least when viewed through the keyhole of tactics and short term thinking. The Liaoning is indeed a refurbished Soviet carrier originally launched in 1988 that the Chinese picked up for a rusting song from the Ukraine in 1998.

The Liaoning is also a bit undersized. Its deck is just shy of 100 feet shorter than a American supercarrier like the Nimitz.

On flattop of that, the Liaoning has little in the way of advanced electronics or weaponry so that taken as a whole, it is clear that the Liaoning poses no direct competition to any American aircraft carrier strike groups patrolling in the East or South China Seas. Nor does the Liaoning pose a viable threat to any American forward bases in the region - tactical or otherwise.

These limitations of the Liaoning notwithstanding, there is also this stark reality: In an era of a rapidly shrinking American fleet, the Liaoning and its picket ships and air wing pose a growing threat to many of China's neighbors in the South China Sea, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

Both of these countries are currently involved in contentious maritime disputes with China over contested land features. Both of these countries have also had territory and natural resources stripped from them at the point of a naval artillery gun.

For example, Beijing's revanchist navy took the Paracel Islands from Vietnam decades ago in a fiery battle based on an ancient historical claim unrecognized by international law. It now periodically sends huge drilling rigs backed by military forces into disputed areas of Vietnam's 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone base - even as it engages in an almost constant bullying of Vietnamese fisherman, who have been driven further and further offshore.

In a similarly belligerent fashion, and with its growing naval forces and paramilitary China Marine Surveillance ships as the tip of its spear, Beijing has also taken land features from both the Philippines and Vietnam in the Spratly Islands - with full American acquiescence. These land features, in turn, have been transformed into "unsinkable aircraft carriers" replete with 10,000 foot runways, missile-guidance capabilities, and sophisticated sonar and avionics with which to track enemy shipping and aircraft - forcing an "under-shipped" US to futilely send "freedom of navigation" patrols into the area.

Top: Liaoning Bottom: Type 001A Chinese Carrier Under Construction

As to where the Liaoning fits into Beijing's overall pattern of revanchist aggression, Heritage Foundation scholar Dean Cheng has succinctly captured the essence of a problem that the Pentagon has woefully failed to acknowledge:

Says Cheng:

When you look at the South China Sea and when you look at where various countries have their airfields and their air forces, what you can very quickly see is that much of the South China Sea is very far from land. So, as a result, if you put even a small aircraft carrier there, what you can create is something like an air defense bubble; and one of the lessons the Chinese have taken away from the wars of the past twenty years - Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Balkans, Afghanistan - is that air superiority is essential to winning modern wars.

You may not win with air superiority, but you will certainly lose without it; and so the ability to deploy an aircraft carrier, even if it is just to keep three or four modern aircraft overhead, is a huge advantage when everybody else in the area really can't put any aircraft overhead for any sustained period of time.

As for the Liaoning's broader strategic value, China looks to be playing the kind of long game that American leaders simply don't have in their intellectual and strategic wheelhouse. The White House and Congress are all about today and tomorrow. China's authoritarian junta is all about the 21st century. And the Pentagon doesn't really seem to grasp the fact that a threat to the Philippines or Vietnam from the Liaoning also poses a threat to the US presence in the Asia-Pacific.

From this perspective, the Liaoning should not simply be dismissed as a "training carrier." Rather, it should be seen as the first step in China's fielding of a fleet of flattops that will pose an ever-increasing threat from the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the waters of the Pacific out to the Second Island Chain and beyond to the Hawaii.

Here, no one should doubt the ability of China to steal America's aircraft carrier technology and eventually sail fine ships - it's stolen virtually every other major weapons system from the Pentagon. Nor should anyone doubt the ability of China's shipyards to rapidly churn out carriers - even as American shipyards whither and die on the budget sequestration vine.
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of the companion Crouching Tiger documentary film series. For more information and to access film interview clips, visit or see his book talk on...

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Is It Already Over for Rubio in Florida

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 11:04 AM

You want to find out why Marco Rubio has ALREADY lost the Florida primary to Donald Trump? Read the full article in Real Clear Politics here. Here's a key excerpt:

Floridians love to vote absentee, and a not insignificant fraction of these voters have already cast their ballots...

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Mearsheimer on Strangling China & the Inevitability of War

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2016 | 9:18 AM


As part of the research for my Crouching Tiger book on the rise of China's military and its companion documentary film, I interviewed 35 of the top experts in the world from all sides of the China issue. These are key edited excerpts from my sit-down at the University of Chicago with Professor John Mearsheimer, author of the realist classic work The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.

My argument, in a nutshell, is that if China continues to grow economically over the next 30 years, much the way it has over the past 30 years, that it will translate that wealth into military might. And it will try to dominate Asia, the way the United States dominates the Western Hemisphere.

And my argument is that this makes good strategic sense for China. Of course, the United States will not allow that to happen if it can. And the United States will, therefore, form a balancing coalition in Asia, which will include most of China's neighbors and the United States. And they will work overtime to try to contain China and prevent it from dominating Asia. This will lead to a very intense security competition between the United States and China's neighbors on one hand, and China on the other hand. And there will be an ever-present danger of war.

Of course from this observation rises the imperative if not to strangle China's economy then to certainly slow it down.

There's no question that preventive war makes no sense at all, but a much more attractive strategy would be to do whatever we could to slow down China's economic growth. Because if it doesn't grow economically, it can't turn that wealth into military might and become a potential hegemon in Asia. I mean, what really makes China so scary today is the fact that it has so many people and it's also becoming an incredibly wealthy country. Our great fear is that China will turn into a giant Hong Kong. And if it has a per capita GNP that's anywhere near Hong Kong's GNP, it will be one formidable military power. So the question is, Can you prevent it from becoming a giant Hong Kong?

My great hope is that China's economy will slow down on its own. I think it's in America's interest, and it's in the interest of China's neighbors to see the Chinese economy slow down in terms of its growth rate in really significant ways in the future because if that happens, it then can't become a formidable military power.

As for the possible hegemonic intentions behind China's rapid military buildup, Professor Mearsheimer is unequivocal:

I think it's very clear that China is a revision of state. The Chinese have made it clear that they think that Taiwan should be made part of China. They believe that the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, in the East China Sea, should become Chinese. The Japanese, of course, now control them. And they believe that they should dominate the South China Sea in ways that they don't at the moment.

And what the Chinese would like to do, is they'd like to push the United States back towards the United States. And the first step would be to push them beyond the First Island Chain, which would allow them to control all of the waters in between that First Island Chain and the Chinese mainland. And then, of course, if they push the Americans out beyond the Second Island Chain, they'd control most of the West Pacific. They'd control the waters off their coastline.

On the inevitably of conflict between the US and China, its roots lie in the necessity of adopting a "containment strategy" much as the US had to do with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Says Mearsheimer:

I think that the optimal strategy for the United States for dealing with China is to pursue a containment strategy similar to the one that we pursued with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. There will be some people who will argue for preventive war or for a rollback strategy, but it would be remarkably foolish, in my opinion, to pursue that option. It makes much more sense for the United States just to work with China's neighbors to try and contain it and to prevent it from becoming a regional hegemon.

The problem that we face, however, is that as we move towards a containment strategy now, we almost certainly guarantee that there will be an intense security competition between the United States and China. One might say to me: "John, the argument you're making for containment now, basically creates a situation where you have a self-fulfilling prophecy, where it guarantees that China and the United States will compete for security and they will always be a danger of war."

My response to that is it's true, but we have no choice because we cannot afford to let China grow and dominate Asia for fear that it might have malign intentions. So, therefore, we have to contain it now, and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And my argument is that this is the tragedy of great power politics.

As for whether the Hillary Clinton "pivot to Asia" is simply an old-style containment in a new rhetorical bottle, there is this bit of history:

Now, in the 1990s, the Clinton administration did pursue engagement. There was little evidence of containment: and you could do that in the 1990s because China was then weak enough that it didn't matter.

So I believe in the 1990s that the Clinton administration really did believe in engagement and thought that containment was a bad idea and pursued this policy of engagement.
But we're now reaching the point where China is growing economically to the point where its going to have a lot of military capability, and people are getting increasingly nervous. So what you see is we're beginning to transition from engagement to containment; and this, of course, is what the pivot to Asia is all about.

Hilary Clinton, who is married to Bill Clinton and pursued engagement in the 1990s, is now the principle proponent of the pivot to Asia; and she fully understands that it is all about containment.
Of course, what's going to happen here given that we live in the United States is that we're going to use liberal rhetoric to disguise our realist behavior. So we will go to great lengths not to talk in terms of containment even though we're engaged in containment and even though the Chinese know full well that we're trying to contain them. But for our own sake and for our public we will talk in much more liberal terms. So it's liberal ideology disguising realist behavior.

As for the idea that economic engagement itself is a viable peace strategy, Professor Mearsheimer sees this as decidedly counter-historical:

Many people find it hard to believe that countries that engage in security competition also continue to trade with each other economically. But if you look at Europe before World War I-- and, indeed, if you look at Europe before World War II, what you see is that there was a great deal of economic interdependence on the continent and with Britain before both world wars. So I believe that if China continues to grow economically, there will still be much economic intercourse between China and its neighbors and China and the United States. And I still think that you will have a lot of potential for trouble between these two countries. And don't forget, even though you had all this economic intercourse between World War I and World War II, you still got World War I and you still got World War II.

If you look at Europe before World War I, there were extremely high levels of economic interdependence between Germany and virtually all of its neighbors, certainly between Germany and Russia, Germany and France, and Germany and Britain, these were the main players. And despite this economic interdependence, these high levels of economic interdependence, you still got World War I.

Another example would be the period before World War II. The Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. And for the previous two years, Germany and the Soviet Union-- this is Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union-- had been close allies in Europe. In fact, in September 1939 they had invaded Poland together and divided it up.

So there was a great deal of economic intercourse between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union between 1939 and 22 June, 1941. Nevertheless, that economic interdependence did not prevent World War II from escalating into a major war between Moscow and Berlin.

And, in fact, there are all sorts of stories about the German forces invading the Soviet Union and passing trains that were going into the Soviet Union that were carrying German goods, and trains coming from the Soviet Union towards Germany that were carrying Soviet raw materials and some Soviet goods as well. So there was economic interdependence between Germany and the Soviet Union and yet you still got a war.

Closely related to the argument that economic engagement will prevent war between the US and China is the economic interdependence argument. In Professor Mearsheimer's world that's a dangerous gamble because politics and nationalism can often trump economics.

I've talked about the fact that I think China cannot rise peacefully, probably a hundred times; and the argument that is used against me most often is clearly the economic interdependence argument, and it goes like this:

The United States and China, and China and its neighbors are all hooked on capitalism and everybody is getting rich in this world of great economic interdependence; and nobody in their right mind would start a war because you would, in effect, be killing the goose that lays the golden egg. So that what is happening here is that economic interdependence has created a situation where it's a firm basis for peace.

I think this is wrong. Let me explain. I think there's no doubt that there are going to be certain circumstances where economic interdependence will be enough to tip the balance in favor of peace; but I think as a firm basis for peace, it won't work because there will be all sorts of other situations where politics trumps economics.

People who are making the economic interdependence argument are basically saying that economics trumps politics. There are no political differences that are salient enough, right, to override those economic considerations?

Again, there will be cases where that's true. But there will be many more cases, in my opinion, where political considerations are so powerful, so intense, that they will trump economic considerations.

And just to give you an example or two. Taiwan: The Chinese have made it clear that if Taiwan were to declare its independence now, they would go to war against Taiwan, even though they fully understand that that would have major negative economic consequences for Beijing. They understand that, but they would go to war anyway. Why? Because from a political point of view, it is so important to make Taiwan a part of China, that they could not tolerate Taiwan declaring its independence.

Another example is the conflict in the East China Sea between Japan and China, over the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands. It is possible to imagine those two countries, China and Japan, actually ending up in a shooting match over a bunch of rocks in the East China Sea. How can this possibly be because it would threaten the economic prosperity of both countries? It would have all sorts of negative economic consequences.

But the fact is, from the Chinese point of view and the Japanese point of view, these rocks are sacred territory. The politics of the situation are such that it is conceivable that should a conflict arise, it will escalate into a war because politics will trump economics.

One of the equally enduring themes of American foreign policy is that the existence of nuclear weapons will insure the peace in Asia. However, Professor Mearsheimer is not so sure of that at all - and makes a powerful case the existence of nuclear weapons actually opens the door to more limited conflicts in Asia over key flashpoints like Korea and the Senkaku Islands.

The existence of nuclear weapons makes it virtually impossible for the United States and China to end up fighting World War III, in other words, a large conventional war. I think that the presence of nuclear weapons makes that one scenario impossible; but I do think it's possible that the United States and China could end up in a limited war over, let's say, Taiwan, over Korea, over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, or over a series of islands in the South China Sea.

These are more limited conflicts, and I think that nuclear weapons do not make them impossible.
So I think that nuclear weapons are a force for peace between the United States and China in the sense that they rule out World War III; but there are all sorts of other kinds of war, more limited in nature, that I believe are not ruled out by the presence of nuclear weapons.

And I would note to support this that during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both had thousands of nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, they maintained large conventional forces, and they even thought about fighting a conventional war in the heart of Europe.

Of course, that was almost unthinkable because of the presence of nuclear weapons in Europe. World War III with nuclear weapons in Europe was virtually unthinkable. But nevertheless, we still had very powerful conventional forces, and we worried about all sorts of contingencies where we could end up fighting against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the most prominent of which, by the way, was the Persian Gulf, where we thought there was some possibility after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 that they might invade the Middle East or the Persian Gulf. We, therefore, built the rapid deployment force; and that was built, in large part, to deal with a war against the Soviet Union in the Persian Gulf.

As a final argument that China's rise will surely be peaceful, there is Confucian Pacifism. Professor Mearsheimer, however, wants no part of that argument:

Many Chinese believe that there will not be trouble in Asia because China is a Confucian culture. This is what I called the Confucian Pacifism argument; and the argument is that China has historically not behaved in an aggressive way towards its neighbors. It's behaved in a Confucian way, which is to say that it has behaved very defensively. It's not been aggressive at all; and to the extent that China has been involved in wars, it's due to aggression on the part of its neighbors. In other words, China is always the good guy, and its adversaries in wars are always the bad guys.

This is a lot like "American Exceptionalism," right? Americans believe that they're almost always the good guy, and it's the other side that is the bad guy. We tend to see the world in very black and white terms, where we're the white hats and the other side is the black hats. The same thing is true with Confucian Pacifism. It's basically a story that says, you know, the Chinese are the white hats.

The fact is if you look at Chinese history, what you see is that the Chinese have behaved, over time, much like the European great powers, the United States, and the Japanese. They have behaved very aggressively whenever they can; and when they have not behaved aggressively, it's largely because they didn't have the military capability to behave aggressively.

But the idea that China is a country that has not acted according to the dictates of realpolitik and has always been the victim, not the victimizer, is clearly contradicted by the historical record. China is like everybody else.

As hard as Professor Mearsheimer is on China's hegemonic intentions, he is equally critical of an American pattern of aggression that has, in his view, helped give rise to China's own increasingly militaristic behavior.

Many Americans think that because the United States is a democracy and it is a hegemon, that it is a benign hegemon. And those same Americans think that the rest of the world should view the Americans in those terms. They should see us as a benign hegemon. But that's not the way most other countries around the world see us, and it's certainly not the way the Chinese see us.
The United States has fought six separate wars since the Cold War ended in 1989, the first of which was against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 1991. Then we fought against Serbia over Bosnia in 1995, and again, in 1999 against Serbia, but this time over Kosovo. And then we went to war against Afghanistan in the wake of September 11th, and then in 2003, March 2003, we invaded Iraq. And in 2011 we went to war against Libya.

So anyone who makes the argument that the United States is a peaceful country because its democratic, right, is confronted immediately with evidence that contradicts that basic claim. It's not an exaggeration to say that the United States is addicted to war. We are not reluctant at all to reach for our six-shooter. And countries like China understand this.

And when countries like China see the United States pivoting to Asia, and they see what our record looks like in terms of using military force since 1989. And when they think about the history of US-Chinese relations, when they think about the Open Door policy and how we exploited China in the early part of the 20th century. And when they think about the Korean War - most Americans don't realize this, but we were not fighting the North Koreans during the Korean War, we were fighting the Chinese from 1950 to 1953. We had a major war, not with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but with China. China remembers all these things. So they do not view the United States as a benign hegemon. They view the United States as a very dangerous foe that is moving more and more forces to Asia and is forming close alliances with China's neighbors. From Beijing's point of view, this is a terrible situation.

On the inevitability of war between China and the US, Professor Mearsheimer sees it rooted in how the competition between China and the United States will ultimately play out on the world stage -- and on the high seas of the East and South China Seas.

So one of the really interesting questions here is what is the competition between China and the United States going to look like? First of all, I think there's going to be a serious arms race. I think that the Chinese will spend increasing amounts of money on defense and they will build more and better military capability.

At the same time, the United States is going to increase defense spending, and it's going to send more and more of its military assessments to Asia than it has in the past because the United States is going to be bent on containing China, and this will lead to an arms race.
The Chinese will try and best us, and we will try and best them, much the way the United States and the Soviet Union did during the Cold War.

I think it's almost for sure you'll have crises. You'll have crises in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. I wouldn't be surprised if you had a crisis on the Korean peninsula that threatened to bring the United States and China into the fray. That would be a very dangerous situation.
So I think, in addition to arms races, you'll have crises. And then, of course, you'll have the ever-present danger that those crises will escalate to wars. And given the geography of Asia, it is possibly that you could have a war between the United States and China. Just to give you one example:

If a conflict were to break out between Japan and China over the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands, the United States would almost certainly come in on the side of Japan; and it's possible to imagine shooting starting in that situation because you're talking about a war that would be fought at sea, and where there would be no need to use nuclear weapons.

This is not like a war on the central front during the Cold War where the United States and the Soviet Union, were they to fight, would end up fighting World War III with nuclear weapons; and because that possible scenario was so horrific, it was extremely unlikely.

We're talking about fighting a war over a series of rocks out in the East China Sea. It's easy to imagine such a war starting.

It's easy to imagine North Korea collapsing and a conflict breaking out between North and South Korea that pulls the United States and the Chinese in.

It's easy to imagine a war being fought over Taiwan and the United States coming in on the side of Taiwan, presenting a situation where the United States and China are fighting each other.

Against the backdrop of these rapidly rising tensions in the Asia-Pacific, Professor Mearsheimer offers some serious advice to a China that he sees badly misplaying its strategic hand of late:

Where the Chinese have gone wrong, in my opinion, is they have overreacted in almost every case; and, as a consequence, they have scared their neighbors, and they have scared the United States. The Chinese argue that it's imperative in these crises to lay down markers and to make it clear where China stands on the conflict or the dispute in question; and I understand that, but they do it in ways that seem very aggressive in tone and -- or aggressive in nature, and they end up scaring people. And that's not smart.

Now, some people might say, a lot of countries have pursued hegemony in the past and they have ended up destroying themselves. Look at what happened to imperial Germany, look at what happened to imperial Japan, look at what happened to Nazi Germany. Look at what happened to the Athenians.

Now, there's no question that, in the past, countries have pursued hegemony and have ended up getting destroyed in the process. What subsequent countries do, looking back, is say to themselves: We're going to be much smarter the next time. We're going to pull it off. We're going to be like the United States.

Just take China for example. The Chinese understand full well what happened to Imperial Germany, what happened to the Soviet Union; and the Chinese do not want to end up committing suicide. So what the Chinese are doing is thinking about how to maximize their power in smart and sophisticated ways.

So my argument would be that, given the tragedy of great power politics, they will pursue regional hegemony. They will try to push the Americans out of Asia, they will try to dominate Asia, and they will try to do it smartly. Whether they're successful or not is another matter.

Finally, Professor Mearsheimer offers a firm rebuttal to the case for American isolationism. It is a rebuttal firmly rooted in his theory of Great Power Politics that says an American retreat will only invite an unwelcome Chinese advance.

One might argue that what the United States should do if China continues to rise is that we should retreat to Hawaii or retreat to the continental United States; and we should pursue an isolationist strategy. And the argument here would be that it doesn't really matter whether China dominates Asia because it can't get at the United States anyway.

This is actually a very powerful argument. If you think about it, we're separated from China as we separated from Europe by two giant moats. The Chinese would have to come 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to get to California. There's not going to be an amphibious operation that's 6,000 miles long across the Pacific Ocean.

So not only do we have these oceans, we also have thousands of nuclear warheads, which are the ultimate deterrent. Furthermore, we dominate the Western Hemisphere.

So the United States is an incredibly secure country; and one can make a quite persuasive argument that, even if China dominates Asia, it's not going to affect the United States in any meaningful way.

My view is that there's one powerful counter to that argument; and it's the main argument again isolationism; and it says that if China dominates all of Asia, if it's a regional hegemon, it is then free to roam around the world much the way the United States, as a regional hegemon, is free to roam around the world.

Most Americans don't think about this, but the reason that the United States is wandering all over God's little green acre, sticking its nose in everybody's business, is because we are free to roam. We have no threats in the Western Hemisphere that pin us down.

Now if China is free to roam because it's a potential hegemon, it can roam into the Western Hemisphere. It can develop friendly relations with a country like Brazil or country like Mexico. It could put a naval base in Brazil much the way the Soviets were putting troops in Cuba, right?

So what the United States fears about China dominating Asia is the possibility that it will not invade the United States, but that it will move into the Western Hemisphere, form a close alliance with a country like Brazil or Cuba or Mexico, and become a threat to the United States from inside the Hemisphere.
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of the companion Crouching Tiger documentary film series. For more information and to access film interview clips, visit or see his book talk on...

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Swarm Wars At Sea: China's Cats vs. America's Dogs

(2) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 11:36 AM


China's New "Cat" -- Type 022 Houbei Fast Attack Catamaran

Source: US Navy

In an era in which Chinese hackers have stolen almost every major weapons system...

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Obama's Hawk: The Weird, Dangerous World of Robert Work

(1) Comments | Posted February 28, 2016 | 8:17 PM


Source: Department of Defense

Mine-hunting mini-subs, unmanned swarms, and human-machine "centaurs." These are the weird and dangerous "advanced capabilities" Robert Work is intent on developing to defend...

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Strange Anti-Trump Bedfellows: China and the Republican Establishment

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 3:06 PM

It's the "strange bedfellows" coalition of this new century: The Republican Establishment and Chinese Communist Party are both lobbying hard to defeat the Trump for President juggernaut.

Consider that in the wake of Trump's Nevada primary romp, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying "warned the United States not to adopt punitive currency policies that could disrupt U.S.-China relations" should Trump ultimately triumph. Within hours, Republican Establishment surrogate Mitt Romney launched a bitter and biting attack that parroted a recent Trump critique by Wall Street Journal editorialists.

As to which strange bedfellow has a better chance of knocking Trump off his perch, I wouldn't bet on Communist China -not if past is prologue. Indeed, the last time Beijing directly interfered in a presidential election, the result was an embarrassing landslide victory for the candidate China opposed.

Beijing's electoral embarrassment happened in the 1990s. To cow Taiwan voters into opposing pro-independence candidate Lee Teng-hui, Beijing quite literally fired "warning shot" missile tests less than 40 miles off Taiwan's bow. This was followed by a mock Taiwan invasion - and, shortly thereafter, Lee's landslide win delivered by an angry Taiwanese electorate.

As for the Republican Establishment's strategy to defeat Trump, here's the likely line of attack now that Establishment darling Jeb Bush has fallen on the scrap heap of voter disdain. Establishment Party leaders will find a dark, smoke-filled room and try to hammer out the details of a three-candidate "axis of Republican evil" between Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich.

The strategic goal will be to deprive Trump of the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the nomination before the convention so that Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich can pool their delegates on behalf of one of them - likely Rubio - at a brokered convention. Meanwhile, either Cruz or Kasich will get the VP slot while the "odd man out" will be assured of a high-level cabinet post (Treasury for Cruz or State for Kasich).

So will this cynical "Dump Trump" gambit work? Here's the clear danger for The Donald:
If Rubio wins his home state of Florida with its 99 delegates and Ohio's favorite son Kasich wins Ohio with its 66 delegates, that will make it difficult for Trump to lock up the nomination before the convention. This is because Florida and Ohio are two of only ten states where it's "winner take all" and a combined 165 delegates is a big bite out of the nomination apple for Trump to lose. Thus, the stage would be set for the dreaded brokered convention - which Trump would have great difficulty winning.

Of course, agreeing to any such backroom deal would be a very dangerous game for both Rubio and Kasich as these two are now the leading contenders for the vice presidential nomination. For Rubio's part, it has become all too clear he is simply too young to be a winning presidential nominee - particularly after the fiasco of a Barack Obama with a similar profile of inexperience and youth.

That said, Rubio could easily step into the VP role and help deliver the swing state of Florida for Trump and the Party. Win or lose in 2016, Rubio would then be very well-positioned for a presidential run in 2020 or 2024.

As for a Kasich knife in the back that fails to kill Trump, this would likewise end the VP dreams of a candidate who has shown an appealing Biden-like quality to play a solid "second fiddle" - but little ability to run and galvanize voters at the top of the ticket. So Kasich must weigh his own options here very carefully before getting into bed with the Establishment Republican cabal.

Ultimately, there is also this grave danger for the Republican Party itself. Any dirty tricks by Establishment Republicans to deny Trump the nomination would reopen the door to Trump's "nuclear option": An independent Trump campaign as a third party candidate.

Such a third party run would shatter the Republican Party into a million pieces and likely hand the election either to Trump or Hillary Clinton - but certainly not to any Republican Establishment candidate. That is perhaps why the ultimate strategy for the Establishment Base might be to bite the bullet and support Trump - and thereby satisfy a restive base longing for long overdue changes on key issues like trade, immigration and national defense.

Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of the companion Crouching Tiger documentary film series. For more information and to access film interview clips, visit or see his book talk on...

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