Will All Hell Break Loose Soon? by Erick San Juan

If the world thinks that after the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the territorial disputes between the Philippines and China, conflict in the region or a possible war will be farfetched, think again.

Despite the diplomatic talks between US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and China’s Peoples Liberation Army Gen. Li Zuocheng in Beijing, the possibility of armed conflict is still on.

The recent study from the Pentagon’s think tank RAND Corporation — War with China, Thinking Through the Unthinkable — stated that “premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely. But the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states’ militaries have plans to fight one.”

How can one avoid the crisis if it is a programmed one? Yes, it can be delayed but it will happen whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, in this case, it could be sooner than we think.

As the present administration is busy solving problems here and there, even the problem with China using the backdoor, the US-China war could start in the East China Sea. In this case, the Japan-China territorial dispute at the Senkaku islands could be the trigger that will start the war between US and China. The bad part of this ‘studied scenario’ is the glaring reality of the US virtual military bases in the Philippines via the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Before we know it, we are waging the American war against China just because we allowed it  as our past leaders did as slaves to a perceived master.

Another irony according to RAND Corporation is the use of conventional warfare if ever the US-China war will happen. No nukes! Seriously?

It is insane for a nation that is in the league of nuclear-armed superpowers, not to use it.

To continue the RAND study, it states — “As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences.”

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other’s forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, non-military factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Political leaders on both sides could limit the severity of war by ordering their respective militaries to refrain from swift and massive conventional counterforce attacks. The resulting restricted, sporadic fighting could substantially reduce military losses and economic harm. This possibility underscores the importance of firm civilian control over wartime decision-making and of communication between capitals. At the same time, the United States can prepare for a long and severe war by reducing its vulnerability to Chinese A2AD forces and developing plans to ensure that economic and international consequences would work to its advantage.

Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict. If it happened in 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.

This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.

China’s A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.”

Now they are talking about a severe long war. A perpetual war? God forbid!

We have to be ready and if there is still time, [we must] correct the mistakes of the past leaders and demand what is due us from our treaty allies if war really is inevitable.