What was curious was that mainland Chinese naval brass were invited to view the proceedings, along with dignitaries from other Pacific nations. I shudder to think of the valuable intel they scoffed up. But maybe the putative sub-text of the exercise sunk in on the Chinese, too: "Don't Screw With Uncle. We may be occupied with Iraq and Afghanistan, but we can still blow you back into the Gobi desert if you try anything in the Taiwan strait."
Granted, such a lesson has a limited deterrence value on an enemy that has never valued the lives of its subjects, and outnumbers us four-fold. The communists have always been willing to spend Chinese lives in furtherance of a goal, no matter how unworthy. Jung Chang's recent biography of Mao Ze-dong alleged that one reason Mao got into the Korean War was to kill off the remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army, which had surrendered to the communists the previous year. So, we'll need every edge we can get, as China advances militarily and economically in the coming decades.
China is not, as is invariably said, in transition from communism to a freer and more democratic state. It is, instead, something we have never seen before: a maturing fascist regime.
Heading off threats like that, as well as international Islamic terrorism, is why I Support The Troops.©