The United States is moving forward with plans to include the Chinese navy in next year’s Rim Of The Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the largest international warfare exercise in the world.
China’s never participated in the U.S.-led RIMPAC; in fact, it’s never been invited before. But the Pentagon issued an invitation this year, falling in line with President Barack Obama’s evident desire to mollify military relations with a country whose military leaders have gone on record as hopeful for the day when their own fighting power will present a practicable challenge to that of the United States’.
“Our allies should signal their intent to withdraw from the exercise if China participates. Failing that, the invitation should be withdrawn. RIMPAC is for allies and friends, not nations planning to eventually wage war on the United States,” wrote the Los Angeles Times Thursday. “While the Chinese plan to dominate their waters and eventually ours, we are helping them increase their effectiveness with invitations to RIMPAC and other exercises and by including them in joint operations like the one directed against Somali piracy…There is something very wrong at the core of the Obama administration’s and the Pentagon’s China policies.”
Including a country — one possessed of the hostile military momentum China has long been building — in a strategic exercise intended as practice for warding off hostile military threats is both strategically foolish and tactically suicidal. As it continues to grow, both in fleet size and in technological capability, China’s navy, in particular, is positioning itself to wield tremendous political influence at home, regardless of China’s diminishing dependence on American economic fortunes. Is the President really ready to take China into American confidence to so great an extent?