It is very likely that all hopes for a reduction in tensions between Washington and Beijing in connection with the change of the White House owner turned out to be in vain. Moreover, the "center of gravity" of the conflict between the two world powers is increasingly shifting in a very dangerous direction - from economic competition to geopolitical confrontation, which may well end in an armed conflict.
Recently, we have seen more than enough signs of just such a transformation. The war between these states, which have the most powerful armies and navies, and, moreover, possess nuclear arsenals until recently seemed completely impossible, and now some people speak of it as inevitable. Is this so, and how can such a development of events affect our country? Let's try to figure it out.
Exchange of "pleasantries" on the verge of collision
First of all, here it is worth mentioning the words of Mr. Biden himself, who not so long ago quite unequivocally stated that, with his submission, the Pentagon would "revise its strategy" in relation to the Celestial Empire, and this will be done "in the very near future." In what direction will the adjustment be made? Does Washington really intend to abandon indiscriminate criticism of China, constant attempts to interfere in its internal affairs, or at least from provocative demarches near the borders of this country? It is hardly worth counting on this. Rather, we can talk about a further toughening of the US position and "increasing the degree" of confrontation. This version is supported by the recognition of the head of the American military department Lloyd Austin, who claims that the "priority course of confronting Beijing," taken, among other things, by his department during the presidency of Donald Trump, will not undergo any changes in the future.
Moreover, according to available information, a task force of military analysts and representatives of the army command has now been created at the Pentagon, which will have to develop and submit appropriate strategic recommendations to the country's leadership over the next four months. What kind of strategy this is likely to be can be gleaned from recent American actions. In particular, large-scale exercises, demonstratively conducted by the aircraft carrier strike groups of the US Navy as part of the aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS Nimitz (CVN-68), as well as accompanying missile cruisers and destroyers in the South China Sea on February 9 this year ... Rear Admiral Doug Verissimo, commander of the 12th AUG, said the maneuvers were "a demonstration of US support for a free and open Indo-Pacific".
Nevertheless, in Beijing, where 90% of the South China Sea is considered its own inland waters, these "efforts to ensure freedom of navigation" were perceived in a completely different way and reacted very harshly to them. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a special briefing made it clear: "It will be much better for peace and stability in this region if the United States stops flexing its muscles there, sending warships and aircraft out of its own shores." Well, to make it absolutely clear, China added the actions of the military to the words of the diplomatic department. While the American aircraft carrier group led by USS Theodore Roosevelt, which seems to be the embodiment of indestructible power and undeniable strength, entered the waters of the South China Sea, the PLA sent a very representative "group of welcomers" there, consisting of 8 H-6K bombers, 4 J fighters -16 and one Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft. Tellingly, the aviation group of the Chinese comrades calmly crossed the Taiwan air defense identification zone, once again demonstrating that they consider this unrecognized state and its "defense" to be pure fiction, which Beijing does not intend to reckon with.
We must pay tribute to the Chinese comrades - the pilots acted extremely carefully and professionally, their vehicles never approached the American ships within the range of the YJ-12 anti-ship missiles, which are the main H-6K weapon for such cases. Nevertheless, the aircraft carriers considered their maneuvers to be "imitation of an attack" (and most likely they were right). US Indo-Pacific Command spokesman Capt. Mike Kafka said the PLA Air Force flights were "aggressive and destabilizing." They scare, you know ...
"Asian NATO" will create a military alliance between Beijing and Moscow?
However, the same speaker ended his speech with a very unequivocal promise: "The United States will act where international law allows it, including sailing and flying, to demonstrate determination and its own operational presence throughout the Indo-Pacific." ... Well, from now on, American military pilots and sailors can with good reason perform to the tune of the famous Soviet song: “We were born to make Kafka come true ...” But the reality can end up being pretty ugly. In addition to the South China Sea, about "free shipping" (and speaking frankly, about its own military domination) in which Washington is so concerned, there is another "bone of contention" between it and Beijing - Taiwan. The vast majority of military analysts agree that it is because of this island, which to this day remains in the status of either an unrecognized or semi-recognized state and periodically tries to proclaim itself "true China", such a mess can be brewed in the region that its consequences will have to "disentangle" the whole world.
Considering how much Beijing's official rhetoric on this issue has changed recently, there is a strong feeling that the patience of the Chinese comrades from the mainland is running out. A few more "separatists" who stubbornly refuse to agree to reunification, even according to the formula that suited Hong Kong: "one country - two systems", will cease to persuade and will simply be forced to "return to the fold" by military force. At the same time, according to experts, if a dozen or two years ago such an escapade would have cost China a lot, and indeed it could have ended in a fiasco, now Taiwan has no chance of success.
The local army, accustomed to existence "in the shadow" of the US allies, not only lazy, but in a very real way decomposed. Such things often happen to those armed forces from the "states" - little ones, whose military doctrine fits into the phrase: "Hold out until the Americans arrive in time." So - in this case, military experts believe that they will not arrive in time ... They take from three days to two weeks maximum to take Taiwan under full control. This is well known on both sides of the ocean, and if in China such calculations serve only as a basis for strengthening combat and political training, the United States is of very serious concern. The country has experience in conducting hostilities in the Pacific Ocean, and not to say that it was too successful - either against Japan, or in Korea, or in Vietnam.
In any case, such a collision promises heavy human and material losses. It is on the basis of an understanding of these moments that the United States has been trying for a long time to put together a military-political alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, which many call the "Asian NATO" ahead of time, although so far it bears the deceptively peaceful name: "Quadripartite Security Dialogue" (QUAD). In addition to the US itself, it is planned to involve Japan, Australia and, most importantly, India, which has serious geopolitical differences with Beijing, into the alliance. It is known for certain that the new head of the White House has already discussed with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a possible meeting of the leaders of these countries in Tokyo. As far as is known, the idea was received quite favorably. In the Celestial Empire, one must assume, such initiatives do not cause the slightest enthusiasm.
Perhaps this will force China, on the eve of the prolongation of the Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighborliness, which is in force today between it and our country, to think about seriously changing the document in terms of military-strategic partnership? Indeed, in essence, Beijing has no one else to conclude a defensive alliance with. In turn, this will not be superfluous for Russia either, both in light of the steadily deteriorating relations with the United States, and on the basis of Japan's incessant territorial claims, which, as was once again stated in the Kremlin the day before, no one is going to satisfy. Of course, entering into a "brotherhood in arms" with a state that is the most likely enemy of the United States is a rather risky business. However, perhaps not in our case, since Russia has exactly the same status for Washington. Perhaps a firm and unequivocal statement that in the event of an open armed confrontation, American soldiers will have to deal with the combined defense power of our two countries will seriously cool the notorious "hotheads" overseas.
In the meantime, the United States has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to the same tactics of blackmail and intimidation, which it would be high time for them to abandon. The new head of the State Department, Anthony Blinken, during the very first telephone conversation with a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, not only congratulated his interlocutor on the upcoming New Year according to the calendar of the Celestial Empire, but also promised him a lot of the most unpleasant things in the same conversation. In particular, "hold China accountable for actions that threaten peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region." And also - to punish for "attempts to undermine the rules-based international order." This, of course, is about the "rules" that Americans come up with and establish for the whole world. From such "congratulations" to the declaration of war - the distance is less than one step. Whether the United States intends to take this step will become clear in the near future.