Even Up the Odds by Leasing Nukes to South Korea and Japan
Has the Wuhan virus nudged China toward the virtues of peaceful co-existence? The first place to look for a sign of that is the Japanese Foreign Ministry record of intrusions into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands:
The big jump in incursions in late 2012 was due to President Xi’s accession to the throne. Going into 2020 there has been no change in Chinese aggression as indicated by the rate of incursions. The Chicoms are still baiting the Japanese.
They are also building a highway towards the Vietnamese border town of Po Thiung. In their last attack on Vietnam in 1979 the Chicom forces suffered from poor logistics and so probably won’t attack until that highway is completed. Unfortunately Google looks to me almost as if it were infested with Chinese agents of influence, since the imagery over the area on Google Earth hasn’t been updated for a couple of years.
In late February a Chinese warship lased a U.S. Navy P-8 flying 380 miles west of Guam, which is about two thirds of the way from the Philippines towards Guam. So China’s level of aggression hasn’t moderated at all.
Which means war with China is still coming, virus or no virus, because the situation in the South China Sea cannot be resolved any other way. China wants all the islands claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, for one, won’t give them up without a fight. The death and wealth destruction caused by the Wuhan virus is just a warmup to the main event – war with China.
The Chicoms will start that war with a surprise attack and, in the words of former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work, the United States and its allies will have “to eat the salvo.” After that it will largely be a slugfest with missiles and torpedoes. The only ground campaign will be in north Vietnam with Chinese armor being ground up by Vietnamese ATGMs, 40 years after the last such event.
The threat of the coming war with China has made the Department of Defense take the results of war gaming exercises seriously. Systems that will be shot down or sunk too readily are being dropped from production, including the Triton drone, and production of the Ford class carriers are being stopped at four.
Development of technology over the last 20 years has favoured the defense because enemy ships and planes can be detected and engaged at far greater ranges. China is building big amphibious assault ships to take the Vietnamese bases in the South China Sea. But these can be sunk by missiles fired from mainland Vietnam. Missiles are far cheaper than ships and planes and theoretically China could be defeated by expenditure of a fraction of what the Chicoms are spending.
But we don’t want the potential for it to be a ‘damn close-run thing’, as Wellington said of Waterloo. The bigger the margin of safety, the better. An idea to that end has come from an unlikely place, a website called Defense One, set up by the Trump-haters at The Atlantic, associated with the evil Council on Foreign Relations. That article complains that “America’s allies are becoming a nuclear-proliferation threat.” Never mind that the worst people in the world, the North Koreans and the Iranians, are developing nuclear weapons and the systems to deliver them.
The South Koreans made an attempt to develop nuclear weapons in the 1970s and were stopped by the United States. The United States also stopped a more recent attempt by the South Koreans to deploy longer range missiles which could reach the northern end of North Korea, in the interests of pacifying North Korea -- which went on to develop nuclear weapons anyway. The Trump administration until recently had tried to extract $5 billion per annum from South Korea to pay for the American troops there, which worked out at $172,000 per soldier per annum. But $5 billion per annum would pay for a thousand or more long-range surface-to-surface missiles per annum, providing far greater overmatch against the North than boots on ground.
Decades ago, Donald Trump, opining on geostrategic issues, said that he would understand if South Korea and Japan acquired nuclear weapons. The importance of those countries doing so is not in deterrence but in guiding how China’s war ends. At the moment the likely sequence is:
- China launches surprise attack.
- Slugfest with missiles and torpedoes sees China losing most of its fleet at sea.
- China’s seven bases in the South China Sea are suppressed and occupied with Chinese forces attempting relief and resupply severely mauled.
- Nobody wants to set foot on mainland China so stalemate follows.
- China threatens to nuke individual Japanese and Taiwanese cities unless they capitulate and yield up great areas of seabed and associated islands, and threatens to nuke Los Angeles if the United States retaliates after the Chicom nuclear attacks.
The crystal ball can’t see any further. Lots of doubt is created. A lot would depend upon the character of the U.S. president at the time. If South Korea and Japan possessed 30 or 40 warheads in the half megaton range, that would create a lot more Mutually Assured Destruction for the Chicoms and they would be the ones suffering from doubt and unexpected developments.
The warheads could be leased from the U.S. stockpile with the lease term being up to five years beyond the ending of Chinese military occupation of their South China Sea bases. Just about everything the Obama regime did was wrong, including making Japan give back 330 kg of weapons grade plutonium, on the insistence of the Chicoms. For the sake of peace, it is time to send that plutonium back in the form of warheads. When that happens, we will all sleep more soundly.
David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare