China isn’t a nail

Bill Gertz’s article in The Washington Times is a perfect example of the old saying that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. From “China’s Pearls“:

A recently published U.S. military report identifies China as the most significant potential threat for the U.S. military in the future and discloses new details of what it describes as Beijing’s efforts to build political influence and military power along the strategic oil-shipping route from the Middle East to China — a so-called "string of pearls" strategy.

The report, "Joint Operating Environment 2008," was produced by the Norfolk-based U.S. Joint Forces Command. It lists China as the main emerging nation-state threat that U.S. forces could confront in a future conflict, along with potential threats from Russia, the Middle East and other places in Asia. It was made public Nov. 25. …

This type of article gets me going. China isn’t the "most significant potential threat for the U.S. military" but a "significant potential threat for the U.S." (I won’t get into whether they are the “most” anything). We are too focused on military threats and military responses, a focus both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs want to break.

Look at the big picture people. The struggle is global, not non-US, and its broad. it’s economic and political. Fighting “wars” in those two realms is not only cheaper but creates an enduring victory, unlike military action.

By the time the threat is kinetic, it’s too late. Until we get competent leadership in State (and elsewhere) to return State to a position of relevance, this type of reporting will simply continue. 

The hammer is telling us to buy more tools… let’s hope the right people get into position to start resourcing and reorganizing so the appropriate tools can be used.

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