By Timothy D. Naegele
While it would certainly be nice to think of China as a benign, friendly, democratic nation, if not an ally of the United States—which makes the computers and cellphones that Americans use, and provides most of the products sold in Walmart stores—the fact is that China is our enemy, now and in the future. A failure to recognize this fact has serious national security implications for our great nation. Those who cavalierly dismiss this and similar assessments, as nothing more than the rantings of "Cold Warriors," may be condemned to repeat and relive the world wars of the past.
Does this mean that we will be in a shooting war with China any time soon, or that we should gird for war in the future? No, but it means that we must maintain and strengthen our military might, and do nothing to diminish it. We face deadly challenges elsewhere in the world too: for example, from North Korea, Iran, Russia and terrorists. However, we must never underestimate the threat from China, America's rising Asian rival globally. Among other things, there is a "disconnect" between China's civilian and military leaderships, which may grow dramatically—and it does not bode well for the future.
As the Wall Street Journal reported:
China conducted the first test flight of its stealth fighter just hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sat down with President Hu Jintao here to mend frayed relations, undermining the meeting and prompting questions over whether China's civilian leadership is fully in control of the increasingly powerful armed forces.
In early 2001, at the beginning of George W. Bush's presidency, China's military tested his metal by forcing down one of our spy planes near the island of Hainan. There were serious questions raised then—as they are being raised now—about whether China's civilian leadership was fully in control of the country's military.
Also, the New York Times had a fine article recently, which stated in part:
Older Chinese officers remember a time, before the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 set relations back, when American and Chinese forces made common cause against the Soviet Union.
The younger officers have known only an anti-American ideology, which casts the United States as bent on thwarting China’s rise.
. . .
Chinese military men, from the soldiers and platoon captains all the way up to the army commanders, were always taught that America would be their enemy.
Viewed in its starkest terms, China has threatened a nation-ending EMP Attack against the United States already—which went largely unnoticed by most Americans, even though such an attack might kill all except 30 million of us. In addition to its submarine forces that have been expanded greatly in the past decade, China's military is deploying new ballistic missiles that can sink U.S. aircraft carriers, and are potentially game-changing, unprecedented threats to our supercarriers and their carrier battle groups.
Also, China is preparing to build an aircraft carrier, which symbolizes the ambition to move far beyond its own shores. Its growing anti-satellite capabilities and quite soon its fifth-generation fighter, not to mention its ongoing Cyberwarfare and economic warfare, are alarming to say the least.
Barack Obama manipulated the 2010 lame-duck session of Congress to ratify the "90 percent useless and 10 percent problematic" New START Treaty with Putin's Russia—from which the next Republican administration should withdraw, just as George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty, which had expressly prevented major American advances in missile defense. However, the United States' focus must be on China, not on an essentially-Third World, backwater country like Russia.
As one China military-affairs specialist put it:
Clearly, China's communist leadership is not impressed by the [Obama] administration's ending of F-22 production, its retirement of the Navy's nuclear cruise missile, START Treaty reductions in U.S. missile warheads, and its refusal to consider U.S. space warfare capabilities. Such weakness is the surest way to invite military adventurism from China.
On the positive side, China represents an enormous consumer market. Yet, even on that front, caution is advised and prudence is required. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
It’s tempting for U.S. companies to believe they can rely on access to hundreds of millions of new consumers in China and other emerging-market countries for the lion’s share of future profits. But they had better be prepared for a wide variety of unforeseen barriers.
The United States has other issues and problems with China, including but not limited to Chinese adoption policies that foist “sick” children on unsuspecting, needy American adoptive parents, leading to tragic human suffering and other consequences; China's human rights abuses, including political prisoners who often serve their terms in an archipelago of labor camps scattered across the country called Laogai; North and South Korea—and their respective international protectors, China and the U.S.—which might be heading for a showdown in the future; and China's expanding influence in the world, such as its willingness to bail out debt-ridden countries in the euro zone.
China has a violent history, which is of recent vintage. Indeed, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin and China's Mao Tse-tung were the most ruthless killers of their own people in the 20th Century, and perhaps in the entire history of mankind. Mao was directly responsible for an estimated 30-40 million deaths between 1958 and 1960, as a result of what his regime hailed as the “Great Leap Forward.” Even though human rights activist Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize—after having been sentenced to prison for putting his name to the “Charter 08″ human-rights manifesto, which says that the Chinese people “see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values”—he was denied the right to have a representative collect the prize for him.
Perhaps the best hope for a democratic China at peace with the world rests with the expansion of human rights in the country, as well as consumerism and capitalism; and greater civilian control over the country's potentially-renegade military. Whether this hope comes to fruition, or ends up as a pipe dream, remains to be seen. Will China's bluster and swagger lead to war, or dissipate over time; and are the United States and China on a collision course in the Western Pacific and elsewhere? Only time will tell. However, one can never forget that China's violent past was only a short time ago, and its human rights abuses continue to this day.
© 2011, Timothy D. Naegele
 Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, and Who's Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
 See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-1014: see alsohttp://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-1167and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-1245
 See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/problems-with-foreign-adoptions/; see alsohttp://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-348and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-434 ("[B]oth Russia and China have used the U.S. as dumping grounds for their 'sick' children")
 See, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/documents/BretStephens-FromAthenstoBeijing.pdf ("How strong can China be if it is terrified of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo?"); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-824
 As I have written:
Like Stalin, Mao’s crimes involved Chinese peasants, many of whom died of hunger from man-made famines under collectivist orders that stripped them of all private possessions. The Communist Party forbade them even to cook food at home; private fires were outlawed; and their harvests were taken by the state. Those who dared to question Mao’s agricultural policies—which sought to maximize food output by dispossessing the nation’s most productive farmers—were tortured, sent to labor camps, or executed.
 See infra note 12; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo#Nobel_Peace_Prize
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.