Blog: China Shifts Strategy in the Ocean

May 11, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower

In the emerging global landscape, it seems increasingly clear to many that China's catapult to power will bring more challenges for international security to the surface. Dr. Patrick Cronin, senior adviser and senior director, Asia-Pacific Security Program Center for a New American Security, said that China has focused on an asymmetrical rise to power using cyber warfare-hacking without precedent in the world of espionage. Joe Purser, director, Joint Futures Group, U.S. Joint Forces Command, added that China has changed more in the past 40 years than any other nation in the world.

China's push to gain power in the naval arena raised questions about the country's capability and intent in and on the oceans--a theme that dominated the Tuesday morning panel discussion on power shifts at Joint Warfighting Conference 2010 led by Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, USA (Ret.). Vice Adm. John Morgan Jr., USN (Ret.), said  it is clear the Chinese plan to craft an anti-access strategy which will aim to limit the effectiveness of U.S. fleets in its backyard, but this rise does not necessarily mean a blue-water war is on the horizon.

Panelists agreed that financial problems in Greece and Britain will weaken Europe's global presence. "Traditional allies won't be traditional allies anymore" thanks to a lack of funds for burden sharing, Cronin stated. Russia, struggling with a birth rate well below 11.5 births per 1,000 people, and North Korea also ranked in the panelists' list of "who's down." At the brink of a political power shift in North Korea, panelists called the United States "ill-prepared" for a range of scenarios that could arise.

NATO landed on the list of "who's changing," and Dr. Michael Vlahos, professor of strategy, Naval War College, called the alliance's global partnerships "overstressed."

While the panelists agreed that the United States remains up, Cronin says it needs to make serious changes and "clean up its economic house." As financial problems continue, the United States may not be able to provide the global security blanket it once used to for the world. This presents an interesting question for additional discussion: Will anyone be able to step up to the plate the way the United States has? As the issues progress, will it force more cooperation with powers like China?

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This article was insightful. However we see also the rise of individuals and groups emerging on the scene to challenge governments - in terms of control of the internet. China now is struggling with various secret groups inside it's country it can' t seem to control, despite it's best effort to crackdown, control and censor the internet .

The first is called: "the Shadow Network" and it operates in secret inside China as an espionage network (see more on Wikipedia) .

The second group is called: "Ghost net", which has engaged already in recent large scale cyber operations against the Dia Lama and others around the world who it perceives as a threat to China, including attacking various defense related computer networks in the U.S. They are suspected of monitoring social networking siteslike Facebook and Twitter for the purposes of targeting people with information relating to national security, military, technology, and computer science.

Both groups are structured in ways very similiar to "organized crime", especially those of the "Tong". Making it very difficult to identify individual members, especially online where the use of aliases are commonplace. In one case a suspected Ghost Net member goes by the Handle of "the dragon", his symbol is always a "5 clawed" dragon posed to strike. This individual may have been born with a birthmark in the shape of dragon. Some rumors claim the dragon is "fenghuang" and could mean that this individual using this handle is female. Either way the members of Ghost Net are a complete mystery at this point.

Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and interesting argument. I appreciate the input!

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