The following is an addendum to my latest TomDispatch article, “Overkill: Future Weapons, Future Wars and the New Arms Race” which offers a peek at futuristic new weaponry — from smart-bullets that follow their targets to a plane that transforms into a submarine — being developed by the Pentagon for the wars of 2020-2040. It will make a whole lot more sense if you read that piece first by clicking HERE:
Chicken Little: Who’s Talking Up the Chinese Military Threat and Why
By Nick Turse
Recently FOX News contributor Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, played Chicken Little, writing that the U.S. is beginning to fall behind China in a new arms race and that Beijing is “investing heavily in military capabilities that will dominate Asia in the future,” before ending his piece with this understated line: “Beware America, time is running out!” His solution was predictable: more defense spending.
Meanwhile Richard Fisher, an Asian military-affairs specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told the Washington Times, “[W]e are seeing the erection of a new Chinese wall in the western Pacific, for which the Obama administration has offered almost nothing in defensive response.” He continued, “Clearly, China’s communist leadership is not impressed by the administration’s ending of F-22 production, its retirement of the Navy’s nuclear cruise missile, START Treaty reductions in U.S. missile warheads, and its refusal to consider U.S. space warfare capabilities. Such weakness is the surest way to invite military adventurism from China.”
Weakness, eh? No defensive response? I guess neither the retro-fitting of F-15 fighter jets to act as “America’s main countermeasure to China’s new fighter for the next 20 years” nor the Navy’s new electronic warfare efforts, both reported by David Axe at Wired’s Danger Room, count. Nor that, as Loren Thompson of the Virginia-base think tank, the Lexington Institute, pointed out at Defence Professionals, “The Navy is currently investing in upgrades to its Aegis combat system and other defensive equipment aimed at dealing with maneuvering warheads such as the [“carrier killer” missile] would carry.” Nor even that, as Gordon Adams and Matthew Leatherman of the Stimson Center, a global security think tank, note in the Washington Post, the U.S. is currently “diversifying [its] capabilities to strike China, including a new long-range bomber program, and modernizing [its] carrier fleet at a cost of about $10 billion per ship.”
Even forgetting that the U.S. has surrounded China with military bases — close to 200 in Japan, South Korea and Central Asia alone — with 50,000 troops deployed in East Asia and the Pacific and more than 100,000 deployed in South Asia, these panicky pundits would do well to look at theDepartment of Defense’s blue skies research branch, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – better known as DARPA — and think of how American military plans for weaponry in the coming decades look to the Chinese military leadership. It’s just possible that China doesn’t quite believe that DARPA’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile is meant to take out Somali pirates, that the Triple Target Terminator isn’t geared to counter the al Qaeda air corps (which now seems to consist primarily of bomb-laced underwear or printers on commercial aircraft) and that the U.S. military really doesn’t need Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munitions to fight the Taliban.
Could there be an ulterior motive for such panicked talk? Who’s to say? Yet, it might be worth noting that in 2008, FOX News’ McInerney was exposed by the New York Times as one of 75 retired military brass — most of them, like him, tied to defense contractors with a vested interest in big national security budgets — involved in a sophisticated Pentagon propaganda campaign which covertly disseminated official military “talking points” into the mainstream media.
If it was all in the past, we might well leave it there. But in his case, it’s notable that McInerney is at the very same media outlet, FOX News. For its part, the Washington Times didn’t even give Fisher’s affiliation, let alone explain that the think tank he works for, which supports a “strong national defense posture,” regularly does contract work for “various U.S. Congressional and Executive branch consumers” and the Department of Defense. Nor would readers be aware that it puts together studies on “East Asian security issues” for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Director of National Intelligence and analyzes Chinese military technology for the House Armed Services Committee. All of whom, I might add, depend on conflict, potential conflict, and the fear of conflict for their financial well-being — from a bigger slice of the budgetary pie for the Pentagon to defense contractor dollars for House hawks in their next reelection campaigns.
It does make you wonder…