Forum Article Updates May 6th


05/06/2011 Dr. Harald Malmgren weighs in on the core question for the month and suggests that looking at China 15 years out will be significantly different than the history of the past decade.  He argues that the possibility of Chinese domination would be a function of failures of US policy, as much as any forward trajectory of China itself.

There is no preordained outcome of China emerging as the dominant superpower in Asia.  China’s starting point is too fragile.  The key question is whether the US abandons interest and involvement with Asia, or instead has a policy of engagement and encouragement of a growing web of mutual interests across the Pacific in which China can prosper without ability to seek, much less achieve, domination.

Robbin Laird continues our discussion of the potential impact of the Indian downselect of European fighter aircraft in their fighter competition.

The core point discussed: The Indian decision to downselect European combat aircraft does raises a number of core questions about the potential impacts on the global defense industry and geopolitics.

Leonard Zuga looks at the rare earths case an example of Chinese influence which needs to be dealt with.

One of the alternatives I see very little discussion of is R&D activity towards developing alternatives to REEs.  Until the China chokehold on rare earths can be broken through new mines outside China, cost effective recycling and alternative materials development, we are in a box.

At the moment price is not the issue, access and availability are. In the meantime, China continues to make REE processing technology transfer part of its national policy by making it a condition of foreign owned processors to operate in China.

And finally Ed Timperlake introduces a discussion of the need for a high-low mix of technology for the Pacific engagement.  Most focus solely on the potential high end forces which might be necessary with Chinese projection of power; Ed suggests a more balanced view and sees a real need to engage in counter-insurgency collaboration in the Pacific with allies and partners.

Now over a century later after successful COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan American political leadership must quickly end those campaigns in order to build sufficient 21st Century forces.  Concurrently, America must politically engage in successful coalition building from India to the Russian Arctic in order to deter the Peoples Republic of China’s rapid and unrelenting military modernization.