recently published book by two US Department of Defense insiders
and Cold Warriors, Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II
provides an extremely one-sided yet nevertheless sobering account
of China’s arms dealings. In Red
Dragon Rising, Timperlake and Triplett point to "Communist
China" as the chief threat to World Peace (i.e. Pax Americana),
surpassing the "axis of evil," Al Qaeda and Russia in
terms of danger and audacity.
book provides details on China’s involvement – including funding,
parts, and supervision – of Iraq’s, Iran’s, North Korea’s and Pakistan’s
nuclear programs. The authors also attempt to persuade the reader
that the PLA is an aggressive force, hoping not only to acquire
territory and intimidate neighbors, but also enrich itself with
the sale of obsolete – and not so obsolete – weapons along with
the "legitimate" goods manufactured in the many PLA owned
PLA’s surprise invasions of India and Vietnam, continuous hostile
posture and rhetoric toward Taiwan, surprise attack in North Korea,
occupation of the Spratlys, Tibet and East Turkestan and infiltration
of Burma are evidence of the PLA’s intentions to be much more than
a home defense against greedy foreign powers, according to Timperlake
only is China arming "terrorists and terrorist sponsoring states,"
but arms deals with Russia for an increasingly powerful navy – Kilo
class subs, Sovremeny class destroyers and various missile technologies
– and slow but sure encirclement of India and increasing naval penetration
of the Indian Ocean constitute a direct threat to … US power in
East Asia (and our allies of course).
and Triplett are two of many in the US Establishment who see China’s
continued reluctance to heed America’s call to stop selling weapons
to US enemies as a direct challenge and threat. This particular
group of China Watchers point to the corrupt leadership and clan-based
dominance of the PLA hierarchy as the main catalyst for arms sales.
As the sons and daughters of the PLA leadership and their friends
become rich, China also gains the allegiance of certain client states
within its sphere of influence that allow it to ease Western powers
and their allies out of East Asia.
with the goodwill of those who have fallen afoul of US graces, China
slowly gains the military might to deter the US from intervening
in Taiwan and eventually to challenge the US outright. China’s gains
in the arms trade seem to be quite clear: money and power.
needs to be looked at even more closely is why so many client states
out there are willing to "risk the wrath" in order to
obtain these weapons? Is it really so they can attack and destroy
Europe and the US after all? Or perhaps is it because of the last
few countries to get slapped up militarily, all have been Third
World countries, almost all have been Middle Eastern and almost
all have been hit with a "made in the USA" stick – be
it Israel or the US itself.
Red Dragon Rising, the authors give examples of the aggressive
nature of the Chinese military. But in accordance with Department
of Defense rules of engagement, not one example is given for the
US Army’s aggressive nature. And we can all name a few. The arms
dealings of the Western powers, most notably France and the US,
are unparalleled – terrorists, dictators, practitioners of apartheid:
all were happy customers of the Western arms dealing machine. The
treaties that the US so often invokes to punish China, North Korea
and too a lesser extent Russia are seen by the rest of the World
(that is outside of the First World") as a means to keep the
power in the hands of the few.
Britain and the US have nuclear weapons, as does Israel. In the
Third World, the technology is fervently sought yet so often denied.
Only those with whom Russia or China have dealt with have a chance
to gain "the ultimate weapon." There is good reason for
the "terrorist" nations of the world to seek these weapons.
With "axis of evil" and "with us or against us"
rhetoric, a DOD list of those who need to get punished and the obvious
willingness of the US Army to fight in any terrain strikes the fear
of God into the hearts of most nations.
order to protect themselves, "axis" nations would be absurd
not to look to China and Russia for help. In Central Asia, the US
promised training, arms and funding for several corrupt regimes
in return for the use of bases. This is seen as a necessary evil.
In response, Iran looks to Russia and China for help. China and
Pakistan’s friendship probably did result in Pakistan gaining the
bomb. And the US friendship with India certainly aided their nuclear
US and Indian air forces are planning joint exercises, the first
since 1962 (ominously enough) and the reason is probably increased
Chinese presence in the area and continuing economic and military
aid to Pakistan. It’s the Great Game all over again, but with nukes
and tanks and missiles and gas instead of muskets and cavalry.
order to "ensure the stability" of Central Asian regimes,
the US must arm and train CIS militaries, according to Prof.
Stephen Blank of the Army War College. Granted Professor Blank laments
the lack of spending on social development, but he sees no alternative
to the "logical" path of rearming the CIS. So we are caught
in a steady spiral of rearmament, with the US and France on one
side and Russia and China on the other.
between are various regimes or varying stability sitting on various
(and huge) amounts of strategic resources. Is there a way out? If
men like Professor Blank are the only experts, then the answer is
No, there is no way to regain stability but to give the armies of
the world new weapons with which to suppress and kill.
we should look at the real problems that result in anger, violence,
and "gunboat diplomacy": poverty and an extreme gap in
living standards. The people of the world aren’t selling enriched
uranium and AK-47s, the people of the world aren’t slipping past
arms proliferation treaties and helping this or that nation make
a nuclear bomb. The people of the world benefit in no way
from the military industrial complex. When you look to see who does,
you will find the cause of war.
long as the elites of the world – the PLA leadership, the ex-Soviet
bosses and the Lockheed-Martin lobbies – continue to live fat off
of war, we will continue to hear that war is necessary, "we
had to destroy the village in order to save it."
a hilarious side-note, Jiang Zemin promised a new and improved missile
proliferation treaty in exchange for a visit to Dubya’s Texas Ranch.
The US gets an empty document and Jiang gets a little boost before
the delayed 16th Congress, which may help him hold onto
a little more power than the new generation of leaders would like.
Hail the "Elites."
printable version of this article
Matuszak is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily, and elsewhere.
His exclusive Antiwar.com column (usually) appears Fridays.
the World: What the US Fears
Billion Problems For China
New Post-9/11 Status
Room for Growth
Back in the USA
Missing the Boat?
Sweep 'Em Off the Streets
Chinese Embrace Progress
War May Reveal New Superpower, Part II
War May Reveal New Superpower
Chance for a New Friendship?
as a Way of Life
Markets or Supermarkets
Towards World Significance
on the Road to Capitalism
American in China
the Street in China: A Report