Fighting words: China disses U.S. soldiers as worthless

Miles Yu reports for The Washington Times, April 17, 2014:

A casual remark by a U.S. general during a breakfast has made China mad, really mad, and Beijing’s response is far less than civil and humble.

On April 11, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of the 18,000 Marines in Okinawa, Japan, told reporters at a Washington breakfast meeting that the Marines in the Pacific would quickly retake the Senkaku island group and return it to Japan if China were to invade it.

Note: China and Japan both claim ownership of the islands, called Senkaku by Japanese and Diaoyu by Chinese.

U.S. Marines Lt. Gen. John Wissler

U.S. Marines Lt. Gen. John Wissler

The statement was nothing new, as U.S. officials from the president on down repeatedly have told the Chinese that the United States would fulfill its defense treaty obligations to help Japan militarily in any conflict with China over the islands.

What apparently incensed the Chinese was what Gen. Wissler said next: “You wouldn’t maybe even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat, so to speak.”

The Chinese military is supremely confident of its invincibility in the Pacific and is taking Gen. Wissler’s remark as a great insult.

The first return salvos were fired by the Communist Party-owned and operated newspaper Global Times.

“These U.S. warships roaming around here [in the East China Sea] are slowly being considered by us Chinese as our moving targets right in front of our eyes, and the [U.S.] bases in Okinawa as a whole are also no longer a big deal [to us],” said the newspaper in an April 15 editorial.

When facing China, these U.S. soldiers are really not worth anything,” the Global Times said. “If China and the U.S. were to start an all-out fight, these American Marines would be more like a marching band, charging with others, but with their musical instruments in hands. Wissler seems still living in the 20th century. In the new century, he and his comrades in arms should see their own reflections in the water with which they use to wash their own feet.”

Beijing recently issued its broadest definition of “national security” — including virtually all aspects of the communist state’s daily routine and giving new meaning to China as a “national security state.”

Obama bows to China's president Xi Jinping

Obama bows to China’s president Xi Jinping

Billed as the “National Security Path with Chinese Characteristics,” the new definition was announced by Supreme Leader Xi Jinping on April 15 at the first plenary meeting of the newly created, all-powerful National Security Commission.

It is significantly different from other conventional definitions of “national security” around the world in its comprehensive coverage and its dual emphasis on external and internal security.

To begin with, Mr. Xi listed 11 “security” areas in which China’s new national organization will operate and oversee — politics, territories, military, economy, culture, community, science and technology, information, ecology, natural resources and nuclear.

At the top of this security behemoth sits Mr. Xi as chairman of the National Security Commission — a position renders him the world leader with the most institutionalized and centralized powers.

In addition to being China’s national security czar, Mr. Xi is chief of the only real political party in China, president of the world’s most-populous nation, and commander-in-chief of the world’s largest military, while holding additional positions in charge of China’s foreign affairs and economic reforms.

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21 responses to “Fighting words: China disses U.S. soldiers as worthless

  1. Reminds me of the joke where an enemy is sending lots of soldiers to kill a lone Marine, only to have them killed instead, until a wounded enemy guy comes back says “It’s trap, there are TWO of them!”


  2. Typical PRC (and Marine) bluster. The best idea is to put a few Japanese and US troops on the islands, so the PRC would have to kill bunches of them to take the islands. Then they have committed an act of aggression and would find themselves at war with the US and Japan.

    It reminds me of Goering’s advice to Hitler in 1939. Paraphrasing it, what he said essentially was: “We are getting what we want by threats and hard line diplomacy. We don’t need to start a big war, at least not now.” Hitler wanted a war for his own ego, so he ignored Goering and invaded Poland.


  3. Reblogged this on Flurry of Thoughts.


  4. anchorageknight

    Attitudes of this sort are remarkable in several respects.

    First of all, they are almost a mirror image of perceptions of China by US military members. It has been routine to “dis” Chinese technical capabilities as well as to claim it lacks organizational sophistication. At least this article admits there are some unique dimensions to Chinese national security institutions. They have, perhaps, the largest military planning staffs on the planet. [For example, the number working on a “strait crossing operation” is about 40,000].

    Second, these attitudes remind me of the similar disparity between Japanese perceptions of Japan, and vice versa, before World War II. It is in large measure because of such stark disrespect for the professionals of the other side that miscalculations were possible on a monumental scale, leading to a war whose outcome should not have been a surprise to anyone – at a cost far greater than should have been paid for everyone.

    Third, both sides are remarkably similar in their ability to have double standards, in every sense. In both cases, this is in part a reflection of the majority race which is in power’s historical attitudes about “foreign” people and institutions. But also in both cases, people who are not of (or not purely of) the majority race who have bought into the nationalism of their country also share these attitudes. China sees itself as a formerly great power that naturally should reconstitute its empire – and has rationalized that to mean things that were never true historically: to ‘reacquire a lost territory’ means to rule it in a modern sense wholly unrelated to a distant prince sending a bit of tribute to the Chinese capital – whose wishes he could reject if inconvenient. At the same time, the US has a hard time with the concept that sovereignty really ought to be equal for all nations: double standards (such as we can have nuclear weapons but others may not) are not popular among officials. The entire history of NPT involved agreements we have never intended to honor, obligations we did not even attempt to begin to pay lip service to for more than two decades; a full compliance date of the year 2000 which had to be delayed because we were not even close; and we now plan to invest in another generation of SSBNs not even one of which could be built if we intended to honor the deal. Never mind wether we should honor or scrap NPT – the point is we have used it precisely as Putin says we do – a device to punish nations we don’t like without the slightest intent of respecting it in terms of our own obligations. Only India negotiated in good faith – eventually giving up after Pakistan got the bomb WITHOUT effective sanctions by anyone. But at least India consistently pointed out our policy involved “double standards of sovereignty.” This is a pot and kettle situation: both China and the USA have problems respecting other nations, and look at issues through nationalist glasses.

    This situation is actually dangerous. The reason the START negotiations succeeded, after two generations of SALT treaties which, instead of “limiting” nuclear weapons only succeeded in defining new, higher levels which would require years to build up to, is that the Reagan administration approached the PROCESS of negotiation with the goal of REDUCING MISCALCULATION. It did not matter if we got a deal or not: what mattered was that we negotiated in terms the Russians could understand, and that both sides came to understand each other to such an extent miscalculation became very unlikely. In that context it WAS possible to agree on meaningful things, and against all hope, the strategic nuclear arms race was turned into a build down that continues to this day.

    The situation between China and the USA is similar. There is not much grounds for hope there will not be a clash in East and Southeast Asia, unless Japan, the USA, and the smaller countries of the region lay down for what amounts to Chinese domination. The reason the Russians are engaged in expansion by a carefully calculated, very limited war mechanism is that EU and the USA have both divested in military capabilities to such a point the ability to resist if push comes to shove is so marginal that it must seem likely the West will surrender – no matter what is annexed – just as it did with two territories in Georgia. China believes the US Seventh Fleet is too small to stop the growing combined arms capability of the PLA. [Chinese power projection is not merely a naval matter: offensive “bomber” forces are substantially a branch called the Second Artillery – the largest missile force in the world. The Chinese Army has more amphibious sealift than the Chinese Navy, and coastal provinces have as much as the Army does again – almost entirely missed by academics and many policy analysts. Chinese surface naval forces have, by US standards, limited objectives for which their designs are generally well conceived and practical. US surface naval forces, on the other hand, are not fundable in the numbers required by US planning, and are over committed, and in spite of theory inadequate technically for some of their missions. [Two generations of mine warfare ships have failed to achieve their design goals. The new generation of mobile mine hunting systems is not able to deal with certain mine types at all and “requires support by traditional mine hungers” (CBO). Anti-missile and anti-aircraft capabilities are marginal, in particular because there is no ability to rearm at sea missiles that can be expended in toto in a matter of minutes – forcing operational commanders to leave the area or operate without their hard kill capabilities.] The Chinese have a very different organizational concept and it is unclear that it is guaranteed to fail just because it isn’t the mirror image of the US approach. For example, anti-carrier sea denial technologies are not primarily found in Chinese aircraft carriers – not even in theory for the day after they are fully developed. Instead, they are found in the hypersonic ballistic missiles of the Second Artillery, the subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles of the PLAAF and PLANAF, and the cruise missiles of the bombers of two air forces, of surface warships and submarines, and even of coast defense units. Because of the stark differences in the Chinese and US concepts, it is very easy for nationalists on both sides to assume “our way is better than their way” to the extent it is “almost certain to succeed.”

    This is all bad. Both sides assuming they are “really” superior leads to thinking that the other side “must either back down or lose.” It is on the basis of such analysis that miscalculation often leads to war. Given that both the US and PRC are nuclear powers, a shooting war is a very bad idea. Doubly so if we don’t understand each other and don’t respect each other’s capabilities.


    • Lots of good stuff in here, and it deserves careful re-reading to ensure the reader ‘gets your drift’.

      When I read the following it made me think you are a player of the game of go, the premiere board game in China and Japan:

      “This is all bad. Both sides assuming they are “really” superior leads to thinking that the other side “must either back down or lose.” It is on the basis of such analysis that miscalculation often leads to war. Given that both the US and PRC are nuclear powers, a shooting war is a very bad idea. Doubly so if we don’t understand each other and don’t respect each other’s capabilities.”

      Go is the ultimate game of strategic thinking, often played by people in the military to help them develop both more adaptive insights and greater flexibility in what we might call the economics of strategy. I’ll close with a famous anecdote from the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.

      Shortly after the end of the War, the Emperor of Japan held a reception for Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, and asked him how was it that the Admiral achieved such a decisive victory over what had been thought was a superior military organisation. Admiral Heihachirō is said to have replied, “Your Majesty, I owe my success to my life-long study of go.”

      There may still be on the Internet copies of a US Army officer’s writing about his learning go, and what it taught him about military strategy and troop efficiencies. It has been several years since I saw it, but it’s likely Out There somewhere!


      • This Badministration,and recent previous ones,have whittled down our Military so badly that I’m inclined to doubt we have enough power any more to defend against an attack on the US. Of course,we would STILL have the Armed Militia Groups-which have been growing at a tremendous rate in the last 7 years.


    • James L Habermehl

      “Anti-missile and anti-aircraft capabilities are marginal, in particular because there is no ability to rearm at sea missiles that can be expended in toto in a matter of minutes – forcing operational commanders to leave the area or operate without their hard kill capabilities.”

      Sure, except for how USN’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft capabilities are in fact actually the best in the world, where even just one carrier defended by 1 or 2 cruisers and 2-3 destroyers have enough missiles to shoot down hundreds of attacking aircraft and anti-ship missiles, while the carrier’s own fighters can shoot down many more. In other words, actually their anti-aircraft capabilities are outstanding, and it’s just that they could be yet even more outstanding if we had even more resources to throw at the problem (which of course is true of any subject at any time). I love (as in I laugh at) you calling USN’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft capabilities marginal, yet you also steadfastly hold to the idea that USN should send a carrier battle group right through the straight during a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and that you think it could probably survive. I also love (as in I laugh at) you calling USN’s current decision to forego the ability to reload the Mk41 launchers at sea a marginal capability because it does not allow for prolonged operations without cycling ships back to port to rearm, yet you also steadfastly hold to the idea that China plans to fight a short war before America can intervene.


  5. Threats to US Security? The facts are the US spends 5X more on defence than China the nearest rival having 5X the population. That’s only the military portion. The CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security spends $ billions more on top of that. American security is being threatened everywhere even with all that cash being spent seemingly for naught.

    China does not operate far from home with military bases in far off places at great expense like the US has to bear.


  6. Beijing is provoking us to determine America’s resolve.
    Gen. Wissler should not have spoken (speak softly and carry a big stick).
    I note that he also appears to lack a combat action ribbon.
    Unfortunately, oftentimes those who may not have engaged
    tend to speak with bravado.


  7. Reblogged this on CrashCourse.


  8. The bellicose leaders of China’s military are nothing to laugh at. Thanks to the greed and corruption of Presidents Clinton and Obama, we now face an extremely serious threat. And our allies in Japan and Taiwan, due to Obama’s duplicity, are in a position where they must militarize in ways that could have other unforeseen consequences. I trust the brilliance and valor of our marines in Okinawa, and am convinced that our navy has pre-planned solutions to deal with China. However, the systematic destruction of our military by Obama will soon turn all things against us, unless he is removed from office, along with the stooges he has placed over our military and justice sectors.


    • You’re a joke, posturing about overseas military affairs you know nothing about in order to score domestic political points. Bush wasted blood and treasure for nothing, but I don’t see his name in your moronic post. Grow and up turn off the right-wing screamers.


  9. Hah, we will easily beat the Chinese, look how we did in Korea, er and Vietnam er, and Granada yes, we really showed Granada
    HOOO-bloody- RAAAAH


  10. Thank you StMA for this significant post. It seems like the president of China, Xi Jinping, is most similar to the Caesars in Rome, in light of his omnipotent jurisdictional status that is generalized to cover everything. China’s response in this matter is noteworthy and should be carefully analyzed by us.


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