In an in-depth article entitled "How we would fight China" published in the June issue of The Atlantic Monthly, military correspondent Robert D. Kaplan analyzes the encroaching specter of a cold war between the US and China. He also sets out the strategies and tactics that the US military's Pacific Command is constructing to contend with the emerging reality.
In his words, "the center of gravity of American strategic concern is already the Pacific, not the Middle East." From the US military's perspective, "the current epoch of Middle Eastern conflict... will start to wind down during the second Bush administration."
Kaplan quotes a US Marine general in the Pacific Command who explains that the nascent US strategy for dealing with China will be based on multilateral military cooperation, or as he put it bluntly, it will be "military multilateralism on steroids." As its Atlantic alliances with NATO countries are breaking down in the face European rejection of America's decision to fight Islamic imperialism rather than appease it, the US is quietly building deep military alliances with countries such as Singapore, India, Australia, Japan and Thailand, which will all play key roles in containing China in the coming cold war in the Pacific.
Kaplan notes that one of the US's Achilles' heels in building this alliance structure is the technological gap between the US military and these crucial allies in the Pacific. As he writes, "Getting militarily so far ahead of everyone else in the world creates a particular kind of loneliness that not even the best diplomats can always alleviate, because diplomacy itself is worthless if it's not rooted in realistic assessments of comparative power."
Kaplan's report points to a strategic reality that US policymakers in Washington seem intent on ignoring. Israel's military sales and strategic military ties to linchpin states in the Pacific, like Singapore and India, have made it possible for these states today to center so prominently in American long-term strategic planning for its emerging cold war with China.
Israel was the first state to offer military assistance to Singapore, back in 1965 when that tiny island nation's entire military amounted to one battalion. For the next 10 years Israel was the only state assisting the Singaporeans, who one US military official interviewed by Kaplan referred to today as "just awesome in every way."
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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