Most analysts believe that China will look to avoid any military confrontations, even over touchy issues such as the South China Seas and Taiwan. Simply put, with the Chinese economy is booming and the American military is technologically far superior to China’s, the Chinese have little incentive to go picking a fight. At least, that’s what the mainstream narrative argues.
Ask Captain James Fannell, however, and you’ll hear a different view. Captain Fannell believes that the Chinese are training for a “short, sharp” war with Japan and will look to establish dominance in the South China Seas with an air defense zone. He also believes that the Chinese could make their moves within the next year.
Remarks stirring up tensions
Captain Fannell’s remarks are drawing ire from both Beijing and Washington, where policy makers appear to be looking to avoid any sort of direct confrontations. His remarks were made at a recent panel discussion at the West 2014 conference in San Diego.
The American military has stated that his remarks do not represent the government or military’s view. A military spokesperson also stressed that his remarks were not a test balloon to test the waters for a tougher military stance in regards to buffering against Chinese expansion in Asia.
Reportedly, the military is considering whether or not to punish Captain Fannell internally. At least publicly, the Pentagon has been trying to ease tensions with China. Given that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq incurred trillions of dollars of debt, the U.S. is looking to avoid any measures that might increase the costs of the military.
Tensions have been rising between Japan and China
Japan and China
have been rivals for centuries. So far, the Japanese have come out on top in most of the conflicts, or else been defeated by other powers, such as the United States. Now, however, a largely demilitarized Japan appears to at a disadvantage when compared to the larger China.
That doesn’t mean that Japan will be going away quietly. Prime Minister Abe has been pushing Japan towards rearming itself and has been taking a more aggressive stance when dealing with the Chinese. Japan is also committed to expanding its military spending, but high levels of debt and a stagnant economy may limit the extent to which Japan can expand its military presence.
The United States, on the other hand, is looking to contain China through political alliances, rather than a massive expansion of its military presence in the region. War and standing armies are expensive, alliances can be more cost effective. Either way, China and the United States may find themselves on a collision course in the near future.