Admiral Keating dismisses these worries as not "an accurate or valid prediction." He deftly punts the question of budget cuts: "There are decisions being made in the Department that could have longer-term implications for us in the Pacific community." When asked what he would do if he had more resources, he gives the stock answer: "more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance." As regards China, Adm. Keating wants to engage, engage, engage: "We would like to work more closely with their military. We would like to understand their strategy better than we do. We want to get a much better grasp for their intentions: short-, mid- and long range," he says.Imagine, doing all those things for China and getting nothing in return. That just never happens. The US Navy's relationship with China reminds me of one of those delusional mothers who repeatedly insist that their severely autistic child really is communicating with them.
Yet it's unclear what this stance has accomplished. Only a few months after taking his job, in May 2007, Adm. Keating held a news conference in Beijing and said if China chose to develop an aircraft carrier program, the U.S. would "help them to the degree that they seek and the degree that we're capable, in developing their programs." That offer was quickly shelved back in Washington. Earlier this month, he suggested the U.S., Australia and China should hold a joint exercise together—which also came as a surprise to many back in Washington. China still hasn't responded to the offer. Meanwhile the Chinese are aggressively defending their ever-more muscular naval stance: "The way to resolve China-U.S. maritime incidents is for the U.S. to change its surveillance and survey operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop such operations," China's Defense Ministry declared last month. No nuanced talk of "engagement" there.
Admiral Keating himself has a hard time citing what has changed for the better vis-à-vis China in his two-and-a-half years at the PaCom helm, besides the resumption of military-to-military talks (which the Chinese unilaterally suspended in October 2008) and the fact that since 2007, "we haven't had a ship visit denied." The transparency of China's military intentions is "less than completely fulfilling." U.S. military exchanges with the Chinese are "very limited." The missiles Beijing has pointed at Taiwan are "not insignificant in terms of quantity." In sum, "there is no question that we are going to have to deal with a Chinese military that is increasing in quantity and in some areas, quality, over the Chinese military of 20 years ago," the admiral admits.
Hello Washington! The future is out here, in Asia. Bring our boys home from our wasteful and criminal wars in the Middle East...
...why am I even talking like this? Our elites are never going to wise up (see this testimony from a CFR analyst, for example). A decade from now our generals will still be saying if they just get more troops for
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