Thursday, June 09, 2005

Taiwan should be afraid

The Washington Times has a very disturbing report on how the Chicomms have upgraded their military capabilities in the past decade. In a report produced for new DNI chief John Negroponte, it appears that the Red Chinese have:

- deployed a new warship equipped with a stolen Chinese version of the U.S. Aegis battle management technology.
- deployed a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet.
- developed surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.

What is also disturbing is that these revelations may not have been a failure of US intelligence but potentially a result of the CIA's China analysts not using the information properly because it didn't suit their world view.

Critics of the study say the report unfairly blames intelligence collectors for not gathering solid information on the Chinese military and for failing to plant agents in the communist government.

Instead, these officials said, the report looks like a bid to exonerate analysts within the close-knit fraternity of government China specialists, who for the past 10 years dismissed or played down intelligence showing that Beijing was engaged in a major military buildup.

"This report conceals the efforts of dissenting analysts [in the intelligence community] who argued that China was a threat," one official said, adding that covering up the failure of intelligence analysts on China would prevent a major reorganization of the system.

A former U.S. official said the report should help expose a "self-selected group" of specialists who fooled the U.S. government on China for 10 years.

"This group's desire to have good relations with China has prevented them from highlighting how little they know and suppressing occasional evidence that China views the United States as its main enemy."

For decades the conventional wisdom held that the Chicomms could not re-take Taiwan by force because they lacked the ability mount a massive amphibious assault - "it would take a million man swim" the joke would go. Their improvements over the past few years including an Aegis copy, attack subs and surface to surface missiles point to a goal of being able to keep the US Navy far enough from the Taiwan Straits in the event of an invasion. It doesn't seem that they have nearly enough to field a true blue water navy but are huge steps toward possibly deterring US involvement sufficiently to re-take Taiwan.

Washington and Taipei need to look at this as a big wake-up call.

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