China's Military Domination Over Asia Oct 15, 2019 18:24:17 GMT
Post by Admin on Oct 15, 2019 18:24:17 GMT
With President Xi Jinping having consolidated his power at the 19th Party Congress, and the United States increasingly distracted at home, it may seem like a given that China will reestablish its predominance over the Asia-Pacific region. A new study casts doubt on this, however, arguing that Beijing doesn’t have the military power to defeat its neighbors. In fact, it probably can’t even conquer Taiwan.
A study published several years ago by Michael Beckley, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, was published in the academic journal International Security. In the article, Beckley argues that China’s neighbors could thwart Chinese military aggression through anti-access/area denial strategies with only minimal U.S. assistance.
“My main finding is that there is a budding balance of military power in East Asia, which the United States can reinforce at moderate risk to U.S. forces,” Beckley writes in the article. “Furthermore, this balance of power will remain stable for years to come, because China cannot afford the power-projection capabilities it would need to overcome the A2/AD forces of its neighbors. The main reasons are that power projection forces are more expensive than A2/AD forces by an order of magnitude.”
A2/AD is most commonly discussed in relation to China’s efforts to deny America the ability to intervene in any regional conflict or make it so costly that Washington is deterred from doing so. Some observers, including James Holmes, Toshi Yoshihara and Andrew Krepinevich, have argued that the United States and its Asian allies should this strategy around on China. Instead of seeking to maintain command of the sea and air as America has traditionally done, these scholars suggest Washington and its allies could simply seek to deny China the ability to achieve its goals. As Beckley puts it, “Under this strategy, the United States would abandon efforts to command maritime East Asia and, instead, focus on helping China’s neighbors deny China sea and air control in the region.
Beckley’s main contribution is to test the viability of this strategy for a number of foreseeable conflict scenarios. One of these, of course, is a Chinese invasion of the Taiwan strait. While amphibious invasions have always been the most difficult military maneuver to pull off, they are especially difficult in an era of precision-guided munitions that can pick off an invading force while they are still at sea.