Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tale of a Tiger, Part 7

We began this series with Part 1 where we briefly considered China's ties to Iran, and mentioned China's espionage program against the United States as a source of technology which China uses to develop its own capabilities, and which China passes on to Pakistan and others. In Part 2 we looked at the possible ramifications of China's growing maritime capabilities, specifically how that could impact power projection into the Indian Ocean.

In Part 3 we looked at a new missile under development by China which could threaten US carrier battle groups, then went on to consider how China's economic growth of nearly 10% per year over the past four decades is fueling its growing power, including the power of its navy, which seems to finally be beginning to see some of the fruits of that economic growth.

In Part 4 we looked specifically at the physical geographic connection between Pakistan and China - the Karakoram Highway. Coupled with diplomatic maneuvers that may be intended to push international recognition of Jammu and Kashmir as belonging to Pakistan, this could open up a militarily significant land route from China to new port facilities in Gwadar, Pakistan. Should Afghanistan be stabilized by a pro-Pakistani force - such as the Taliban, whom Pakistan helped establish in Afghanistan - both flanks of this road would be protectable by China's large army and air force, allowing Gwadar to be a secure base for Chinese naval forces to project power into the Persian Gulf region. In Part 5 we explored this border issue with India more in-depth. In Part 6 we looked at another border dispute China has with India, and then considered the ramifications should these border issues with India be resolved militarily in favor of Beijing. We also touched on some blowback to Sino-Pakistani relations: the economic impact on Pakistan of cheap Chinese goods, and growing Islamization and related matters in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

We now begin with the initial excerpt of China-Iran nuke pipeline by Gordon G. Chang, May 2, 2011:

Earlier this year, Malaysian police in Port Klang seized two containers from a ship en route to Iran from China. Authorities suspect that items labeled "Goods Used for Liquid Mixing or Storage for Pharmaceutical or Chemical or Food Industry" were actually parts for nuclear warheads.

With regularity, officials in Asia have confiscated shipments of equipment and materials sold by Chinese state enterprises to Iranian companies in contravention of international treaties and U.N. rules. The United States has yet to convince Beijing to terminate its support for the covert nuclear weapons program of the "atomic ayatollahs" and appears unwilling to impose meaningful sanctions on the Chinese for continuing their trade in the world's most destructive technology.

That trade began in earnest in 1974, when China started to help Pakistan develop an atomic weapon. Later, Dr. A.Q. Khan, the "father of Pakistan's bomb," merchandised China's nuclear technology to rogue states, almost certainly with Beijing's knowledge and perhaps at its direction. China also directly aided Iran.

Chang then goes on to provide a brief yet informative history of Chinese-Iranian connections regarding nuclear weapons proliferation, as well as some quality analysis and questions regarding US policy. Please read the entire article, keeping in mind Chang has been following this topic for some time.

We now consider an article by Chang from over a year ago, entitled Iran Tried to Buy the Pakistani Bomb. What Was China’s Role?, dated March 17, 2010:

Iran tried to buy three nuclear weapons from Pakistan at the end of the 1980s. Islamabad rebuffed the attempt but ended up transferring to Tehran bomb blueprints, centrifuge parts, and a list of black market suppliers of components. So says Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, in an official account revealed on Sunday.

Skipping down:

The significance of Khan's assertions is that they undermine the stout Chinese defense of Iran. First, they highlight long-held Iranian ambitions to build an atomic arsenal.

Second, by detailing how the Pakistani government was involved in nuclear transfers to Iran, Khan raises new questions about Beijing's role. Why? The Pakistani nuclear weapons program is essentially an extension of the Chinese one. China, beginning around 1974, transferred bomb technology to Pakistan. Beijing's assistance was crucial, extensive, and continuous. As Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control has noted, "If you subtract China’s help from Pakistan's nuclear program, there is no nuclear program." Moreover, Beijing has remained involved in Islamabad’s nuclear efforts, long after the events Khan so meticulously describes in Sunday's statements.

The continuation of Chinese involvement in the Pakistani program was revealed when Islamabad ended the Khan ring. Due to Chinese pressure, Pervez Musharraf, then the country's strongman leader, conducted a hurried probe, forced Khan's confession, and then immediately pardoned him in 2004 to cut off any disclosures embarrassing to Beijing, which supported the controversial decision to end the inquiry prematurely. Given China's role in the Pakistani nuclear program and its influence in Islamabad, it was not possible for Khan, with official blessing, to transfer Chinese technology to Iran without Beijing's knowledge and consent.

This history goes back decades.

And anyone who has been following this knows this is true (just like anyone with a clue knew Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan somewhere, either along the Durand Line or, more likely, near Rawalpindi or some military facility).

As an example, we consider the first paragraph of Is China Playing a Dual Game in Iran? by John W. Garver, dated Winter, 2011:

One aspect of China's Iran policy suggests a sincere effort to uphold the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime in cooperation with the United States. Another suggests that Beijing believes a nuclear-armed or nuclear-armed-capable Iran would serve China's geopolitical interests in the Persian Gulf region.1 Is China playing a dual game toward Iran? This question cannot be answered with certainty, but given its importance, a tentative and necessarily somewhat speculative effort to think through the matter is in order.

And, here is an excerpt from near the end of Is China Playing a Dual Game in Iran?:

The circumstantial evidence suggests that China is playing a dual game in Iran. Beijing seeks to convince U.S. leaders that China is a willing and responsible partner in maintaining the NPT regime, but it also helps Iran win the time, international space, and continuing economic wherewithal necessary for it to push its nuclear plans to a successful outcome.

Pakistan offers China technology from weapons bought from the US. (And these weapons are paid for with US taxpayer dollars in the form of military aid; it goes over back home, because we are told that the aid will go to buy weapons made in the US, thus bringing jobs to the districts of elected officials who support it. American voters look at jobs, American officials look at the next election, and Pakistan and China look at how they can improve their position relative to their enemies, mainly us. And don't even try to argue that many Pakistani authorities don't think of the US as a key infidel enemy.) Pakistan also offers a tenuous overland connection to the approaches to the Persian Gulf, and port facilities there.

In return, Pakistan gets nuclear weapons technology from China, which Pakistan can spread to other interested parties - furthering China's goal of building up enemies of the United States, while maintaining deniability plausible enough to keep from suffering consequences.

And let's not forget that China launders money into the campaigns of key politicians in the US, and maintains an excellent espionage network that has key officials on Beijing's payroll. Bill Clinton got caught doing this - and nothing happened. Why should anyone else be afraid? Partisan politics will only push this so far - on the important issues, people from both sides of the aisle are involved in selling America out.

An excerpt from page 6 of China's Use of Perception Management and Strategic Deception, dated November, 2009:

Strategic Deception and Perception Management — A Chinese Perspective

One Chinese description of strategic deception emphasizes its comprehensive nature, broadly targeting an opponent's strategic assessment process about foreign capabilities and intentions.9 This authoritative source for a Chinese military audience indicates that strategic deception has specific battlespace applications, but by its nature deception at the strategic level of warfare is not constrained by the physical space of combat actions. Rather, strategic deception is an ongoing process and covers "all types of measures and activities" designed to confuse an opponent in peacetime or wartime, emphasizing the latter. Confusing the opponent then leads him to make "major errors in judgment and decision-making," since strategic deception aims at foreign intelligence institutions and thus influences the "highest military authorities responsible for formulating strategic decisions."10

Strategic deception in this Chinese conceptualization employs a diversity of methods that merge military with non-military actors and historical with contemporary means:

 Political and diplomatic false actions and conduct
 News media for "deceptive propaganda and false news"
 Electronic measures, such as broadcasting false information and jamming
 Information network deception, especially on the Internet
 Strategic camouflage and fake military targets
 Simulating large-unit activities and strategic demonstration
 Spies and double agents

Sun Tzu's classic admonition to "know your enemy and know yourself" also contributes conceptually to this Chinese definition of strategic deception. Understanding the enemy's psychology and his psychological weaknesses is crucial for deception to achieve the intended effect and to maintain the secrecy of deception activities. China has a long history of employing strategic deception, this definition asserts.11 The continuing development of military technologies is a key factor increasing the means to conduct strategic deception

Works like a champ... especially when you have key people like our steely-nerved Warrior Princess Condoleezza Rice and the Clintons either compromised or on Beijing's payroll.

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