Does CCP China Really Want a Fight? What If It’s Making a Strategic Mistake in South China Sea?

Photo by the IDF

Daily we see reports of escalations, provocations and tensions rising in the South China Sea, with U.S. and allied forces regularly crisscrossing the area to counter Chinese bullying and illegal claims to full ownership of the strategic waters. Based on China’s actions and increasing bellicosity, many analysts believe China’s communist leaders are itching for a fight.

But what if their actions are just blustering that they can’t help doing, and instead are painting themselves into a bad corner – making a significant strategic mistake?

Preparing for a fight, and even increasing the chances of a fight, don’t necessarily mean wanting a fight – and this distinction of CCP China’s goals, if accurate, requires a very different reaction from the U.S. and its allies.

James Holms, J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific, argued in 2018 that: “CCP chieftains may be pursuing self-defeating policies and strategies in the South China Sea.” And the argument may still be valid.

His piece in The National Interest, “Take Note: China May Not Want to Fight in the South China Sea,” was recently reprinted, and worth reading.

At the time Holms was rebutting China hawk Gordon Chang, who maintains that “China Wants Confrontation in the South China Sea.” Holms wrote:

Gordon regards Chinese bombast as proof that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are spoiling for a fight of some sort, rather than as yet more proof that bombast is encoded in Communist China’s political DNA.

Keyword: wants. It’s the job of all strategic leaders to prepare for confrontation. To do otherwise courts disaster should confrontation come. But few sane leaders crave strife.

That includes Chinese leaders. We make much of Chinese sage Sun Tzu’s maxim that winning without fighting constitutes the supreme excellence in statecraft. Short of that, Master Sun implores generals and sovereigns to take enemy states intact, and to wage short, sharp wars in order to avoid bankrupting the treasury and national manpower. Their paramount mission is to win.

Next most important is to hold down the expense in resources and lives for both combatants. Sun Tzu’s Art of War remains a staple of strategic discourses in China today, and justifiably so.

Holmes continues:

CCP chieftains may be pursuing self-defeating policies and strategies in the South China Sea. They may have resigned themselves to a rumble. And opportunism is their watchword: they will doubtless attempt to turn such encounters as do occur to diplomatic and strategic advantage.

But wanting to fight is another thing altogether—and would warrant different American and Asian countermeasures. An antagonist who stumbles into the arena of combat is different from one who strides into the arena.

Read the entire piece HERE. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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OldGoat
2 months ago

China has become predictably more aggressive now that we have a terribly weak, disillusioned leader in the White House. We will most certainly witness more China agression as well as more terrorism from Iran thanks to reinstating the failed policies from the Obama administration.

Duggan Flanakin
Duggan Flanakin
2 months ago

If the United States still had a patriot as President, i would agree — but with Xi Biden in the White House and decades of ignoring Chinese intellectual property theft and human rights abuses, I doubt that the Biden Administration would sneeze if Xi Jinping moved a million Chinese troops onto Taiwan, or Los Angeles.

Gene Ralno
Gene Ralno
2 months ago

He’d never know. His only job is to read the teleprompter and flash cards.

libra
libra
2 months ago
Reply to  Gene Ralno

And to amuse himself traveling around on Air Force one and visiting ice cream shops. Problem is –his Keeper Dr. Jill has taken away his airplane and is in Tokyo with friends for the Olympics, then on to Hawaii to visit the military and on to Alaska to visit more military. Care taker respite. Why are the American People being subjected to this mess of a President and Vice President.. It really hurts and now with news coming out daily about how the election was stolen by the Demomarxists in order to put damaged goods in charge of our GREAT NATION. It is treasonous and very wrong.

R.E. Pearson
R.E. Pearson
2 months ago

Americans have sent more than $7 trillion U.S. Dollars to China since 2000, The CCP has kept the dollars and issued Yuan to their sellers. They have used the dollars to buy much of the world and build a very powerful military. Americans have paid for all that. Our leaders have done nothing to stop this economic warfare. We may have already lost.

libra
libra
2 months ago
Reply to  R.E. Pearson

That all began during Slick Willy’s reign.. He gave them membership in the WTO World Trade organization (FAVORED STATUS).. Slick was hoping China would fairly trade with the USA.. Problem was the USA did all of the purchasing from China and they bought nothing from the USA.. Every year there was a MULTI-BILLION dollar trade deficit. Trump tried to stop it and put on tariffs but Biden is giving the USA away to the Chinese again. Of course The Biden Clan is their employees. The Chinese were selling their steel in the USA called dumping for less than it cost the Chinese to make even with their slave labor. That caused the the steel industry excepting the small specialty steel makers to close their USA plants.. I wondered what will happen if we are in another war? You should too… .

Wildmann
Wildmann
1 month ago
Reply to  R.E. Pearson

China does not have any Allies, except for possibly North Korea! I don’t think Russia would help them in a real WAR!

Daniel Lee Rhoads
2 months ago

With “China Bribe Taking and Coward CHEATER Joe Biden opposing them, how can they lose’????????????

Joe
Joe
2 months ago

No, China does not want a war, especially with us,unless our allies are a bunch of chickens, china would have more than they could handle. But, they are always blowing smoke, trying to intimidate everyone, their harmless, as senilelfrail,old,fool,puppet,dementia,joe says,they want to be our friends, that’s why he has to go. They want us destroyed like iran, that will take some doing.

Fran Schroeder
Fran Schroeder
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe

China wants the total power of its people and everyone else. Our government is now acting like a communist power in some ways with the threats and intimidation of Trump supporters. Why is our congress not doing anything about the illegal holding of Trump supporters in jails without bond or any charges and some in solitary confinement and purportedly enduring torture.

Recce1
Recce1
2 months ago

For all its bellicose rhetoric and posturing, China doesn’t want a war with the US and its allies. They’re counting that in the long run we’ll back down and acquiesce to their taking over all the S. China Sea and environs. Near the Spratly Islands between Vietnam and the Philippines, far from Chinese territorial or economic zone waters, there’re enormous oil reserves. IT’s not the only area with natural resource potential that China covets.

It may come down to the US, Britain, Australia, Japan, and others to tell the Chinese to remove their man-made islands and allow freedom of the seas or we’ll take all necessary actions to forced them to do so.

Fran Schroeder
Fran Schroeder
2 months ago

China has Joe in their pocket. He has received millions of dollars from them through Hunter. I wonder how long it will be before Hunter is thrown under the bus. Trump was impeached for literally nothing, just because Nancy has an iron grip on the Dems in congress and the media has been and is anti-Trump. Joe does not have the best interests of America. He only cares about his pockets being full of cash. He is a known liar and cheat. Joe is also weakening our military from the top down.

Frank
Frank
2 months ago

OK Exie Jing-Ping, double or nothing!

Murphmeister
Murphmeister
2 months ago

Well, Hitler was really bombastic before a series of military aggressions. Need I list them from occupying the Ruhr and then the Sudetenland, then Poland, France and the low countries and his air war against Britain and finally Russia and Finland. So bombast can be air or a prelude to war.

Bret
Bret
2 months ago

China is taking a big gamble against the USA! Sure China direct deposited $50 million into Biden’s bank account immediately after Biden announced he would run in the 2020 Presidential Election they thought that China had bought America’s silence while China would repeatedly talk badly about the USA! They thought by buying off Biden and forcing him into the whitehouse they could use the rest of the Demo RAT politicians they are paying to force America into Communism so it will be easier for China to take the land of the USA! They thought that they could unleash the weakest of all Biological Weapons ever produced and use the media to hype up the actual potency to enstill fear upon the American citizens so that the government could paint them into a corner so they felt that they had no choice but to commit suicide by way of Covid-19 shot! The Death rate from the actual coronavirus is 0.02%, the death rate for Covid-19 shots is averaging about 60%!

Jim Richardson
Jim Richardson
2 months ago

The rivalry between China and the U.S. will ultimately come down to “education”. Right now Chinese high school students are outperforming American students by orders of magnitude.
While American students are learning all about “equality”, “critical race theory” etc….and other nonsense Chinese students are excelling in math and science. Chinese technology is in many areas now equal to American technology and is leading in others. Of course China doesn’t really want a war…Who does? China’s economy is on track to overcome the American economy very soon and with that comes more advances in technology and military might. Right now the Chinese navy is larger than America’s and in war that larger navy would be brought to bear against a smaller force that must be supported from thousands of miles away. The Chinese have the means to sink the carriers and in conflict you could count on them doing it.
If all out war should occur….horrible thought it is…..and America used nukes the Chinese would respond in kind and in a lightening strike take out Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guam and the bases on Okinawa….no support anywhere for the Seventh Fleet which would find the larger Chinese navy coming for it.
China will be ready for a war in the future but would of course rather win without a war. America’s best choice is to stop trying to rule the World and concentrate on building our own country and industry and correcting the problems in our education system. We should not try to be the policeman for the World and only worry about defending America which is in keeping with the advice from our Founding Fathers..

max
max
2 months ago

China can’t handle India and they want to mess with the US????China is a joke…What is the last war they fought????

Peter K Baker
Peter K Baker
2 months ago

Big war number four is gearing up with nukes on the table for use and the last two big wars started for the U.S. on a year with a two in it according to the historic track record . Anyone ignoring the tendencies of history learn the hard way about history repeating itself . Right now our government is compromised and working on compromising our military so while Red China doesn’t want a honest fight they are performing as the Art of War dictates and when they feel that we are subverted enough they will strike to win it’s just the Art of War looks to defeat you enemy before the first shot is fired are they are on track to do just that .

Elizabeth Estrada aka CHIAKIA

LISTEN UP…There will Be a WORLD WAR 3. THERE is a TERRORIST Problem….Problems from CHINA….N. KOREA….RUSSIA. AMERICANS will Need to UNITE as ONE. AMERICANS will Need to PUT GOD First. ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. GOD is Second to NONE. The FOREFATHERS were BLESSED…THEY Put GOD First and ACKNOWLEDGED HIM. From SamuraiQueen. 😄😄😄

ILIVETHERE
2 months ago

“But wanting to fight is another thing altogether—and would warrant different American and Asian countermeasures. An antagonist who stumbles into the arena of combat is different from one who strides into the arena.“

Giving a determined enemy (and that is what CCP China is) the benefit of the doubt, or assuming they do not mean what they say, is, and historically often has been, terribly dangerous, naive and self-defeating. I agree that if CCP China attacks one of our vessels, we should not respond with a strategic nuclear attack, but responding in non-kinetic ways (e.g., with economic or diplomatic “sanctions”), in the hopes that the attack was a “mistake,” will only lead to many more lost American lives.

No ship should be sent to waters claimed by CCP China without the back-up ready to severely punish any aggressor (i.e., at a minimum, the destruction of the aggressing unit). And the way to avoid “mistakes” on the part of CCP China is to ensure that policy is clearly communicated to them.

Wildmann
Wildmann
1 month ago
Reply to  ILIVETHERE

Without the U. S. and Allies buying up the Chino Cheap Products, the Chinos would go Broke VERY Quickly!

Micala
Micala
2 months ago

One must remember that the Chinese Race holds “HONOR” very high. They will bluff and pontificate but in the end, they know as well as all the Axis Powers, an all out Nuclear War leaves NO winners!

So, many small actions resulting in lesser destructive decisions is a much much smarter way to go for the entire Human Race!

I also believe the CCP being pushed in the corner and branded RESPONSIBLE for the Covid Pandemic has somewhat intimidated the CCP. When you have the entire World suffering major deaths because of a virus released out of one of the Country’s very active VIROLOGY LABS, people all over look down on China.

So all the bluster and bullying we are seeing by China’s Military around Taiwan, etc. can also be an effort to get the World’s attention off the CCP — who actually released the coronavirus (be it accidentally or not) — to a new concern threatening the South China Sea! Diversionary tactics to hide behind for the embarrassed yet chagrin CCP!

Billy Q
Billy Q
2 months ago

We have to many idiots in power, especially the Incompetent mentality challenged thing that was corruptly put in the White House

Jack65
2 months ago

Reminds me of a dog fight. The dogo thoght he was ready and would beat black angel, a pitbull. 10 mins later he found out he was dead wrong.


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