by WorldTribune Staff, October 14, 2022
The capabilities of the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have advanced to the point that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership “believe China can conduct a short, sharp war (or maybe even a long, sharp war) near its borders and succeed,” an analyst noted.
At the 20th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress opening on Oct. 16, party general secretary Xi Jinping is poised to be granted an unprecedented third five-year term at the helm of the authoritarian regime in Beijing.
Xi himself set up the conditions for his ascendancy to essentially unchecked power by purging hundreds of CCP members, including some of its most senior officials, and changing the Chinese Constitution to abolish term limits on his rule.
This month’s CCP Congress will be the first “since Mao Zedong’s era that will solidify the position of a Chinese leader who can take China to war – and who probably will do so if current trends remain as they are,” Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. marine and a former diplomat and business executive who spent many years in Asia, wrote for Japan Forward on Oct. 10.
Related: A ruthless but failed ruler, Xi Jinping set to assume unprecedented power, October 11, 2022
“The groundwork has been laid and the dirty work done. It’s not as if previous Chinese leaders had been nice guys, but Xi is the first to combine the capability to go to war with the messianic desire to do so – if he can’t get what he wants via intimidation. He sees himself as a man of destiny who will restore China to its rightful place in the world,” Newsham wrote.
On Oct. 13, a private screening of the upcoming film, “Final War” was held at the Heritage Foundation. The film, an Epoch Times production, addresses a decades-long secret plan by the CCP to displace the United States and all other rivals as the world’s dominant superpower (see the film’s trailer below).
In the last couple of years, Newsham noted, “the United States – and even the Japanese and the Europeans – have kind of woken up” to China’s threat “and are starting to take measures to defend themselves.”
In that time, Xi has been “sanctions-proofing” China’s economy and financial system, “and also exerting total control over the population via the ‘zero Covid’ crackdowns. Or, in effect, conditioning the public to hardships,” Newsham noted. “China has been stockpiling food and fuel. It has been building coal-fired power plants (it has plenty of coal) at breathtaking speed.”
CCP officials “have also been ordered to sell their own and their relatives’ overseas holdings and bring the cash back to China. And of course the PLA buildup continues unabated,” Newsham added. “It seems that Xi is battening down the hatches and getting ready for a fight.”
Meanwhile, Team Biden appears “to lack resolve, and Xi might agree with that assessment,” Newsham wrote. Xi “just might be thinking, ‘The time is right.’ ”
What must Tokyo do?
“Once the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress takes place on October 16, a conflict in East Asia may arrive soon enough — and long before the contemplated improvements in Japanese defense capabilities,” he wrote. “Japan may indeed find itself in the position of having to fight with what it has, not what it would like to have.”
Though waking up late to reality, Tokyo can still “make the best of it,” Newsham added. “Start with improving Japan Self-Defense Forces operational capabilities. This doesn’t require money or much new hardware. And after 60 plus years, ensure that Japanese and American forces can fight together. This too requires little money or hardware. Indeed, emulate and expand what the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy have quietly achieved over a number of decades.”
Newsham concluded: “For Japanese and U.S. leaders, a changed mindset is the main thing – and then getting down to business, and fast.”