Expert: THAAD cannot enhance U.S. sense of security

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-08-01 17:55

BEIJING, August 1 (ChinaMil) -- Some say that the U.S. is the biggest beneficiary of the deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile battery in ROK because it adds a new strategic pivot in its missile defense system in the Asia Pacific.

This may be true in the short term, but in the long term, THAAD missile battery cannot enhance United States' security, and it may even become another trap that will drag U.S. from its "super power" pedestal.

When the U.S. is thickening its shield, it will definitely stimulate other major countries to sharpen their "spears".

The U.S. and ROK claimed that THAAD missile battery is aimed to counter threat from the DPRK, but it's actually a strategic deterrence targeting China and Russia and consequently concerns global strategic stability.

After the WWII, the world has maintained general peace and stability for more than 70 years thanks to the strategic balance among major powers.

During the Cold War, although the U.S. and former Soviet Union were rivals, their nuclear landscape of "mutual assured destruction" prevented any direct conflict between them. They even restricted their anti-missile capability with a treaty in 1972, namely the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, to consolidate the bipolar strategic stability.

After the Cold War, major powers continued to maintain a fragile strategic balance even though the U.S. had obvious superiority in the number and quality of nuclear weapons. But the U.S. wasn't content and energetically developed missile defense systems. In Europe, it opened positions in Poland, Romania and Czech to build a missile defense wall on Russia's western border. In East Asia, it intensified the anti-missile system along the First Island Chain, not only blockading Russia completely but also impairing China's capability of strategic deterrence.

But diamond cuts diamond. What the U.S. did forced China and Russia to expand their anti-missile cooperation and speed up the modernization of strategic penetration capability.

United States' ill-intentioned "Asia Pacific rebalancing" strategy will court more serious imbalance.

Deploying the THAAD missile battery in ROK is the latest move taken by the U.S. under its "Asia Pacific rebalancing" strategy.

This important legacy left by the Obama administration attempts to create an Asian Pacific security environment beneficial for the U.S. by adjusting its global distribution of strategic resources. The U.S. wants to interfere in the security affairs of Asia Pacific by adding fuel to flame, which will only lead to more new problems instead of solving old ones.

On the Korean Peninsula, for example, the U.S. has worked out all kinds of combat plans and its joint military drills are getting increasingly targeted with larger scale and more subjects. Its actions will only sharpen DPRK's sense of insecurity and strengthen its resolve to have nuclear weapons.

Immediately after the deployment of THAAD missile battery in ROK was announced, DPRK, in response, launched three ballistic missiles from Hwangju, which was only 280km away from Seongju where THAAD will be deployed.

The China-U.S. relation has been in a competition-cooperation balance in general, but the U.S. has kept pushing its "Asia Pacific rebalancing" strategy, stepped up efforts to contain China and even challenged its sovereignty and security in the name of "freedom of navigation". This will definitely drive their bilateral relations in the direction of competition and confrontation.

United States' reliance on military approach will cumber its economy and people's livelihood.

Deploying THAAD missile battery in the ROK is the latest demonstration of United States' reliance on military means.

For a long time the U.S. dollar and U.S. military are the two pillars that support the country's super power position. The U.S. wants to guarantee its advantageous position in the global economic system by sending troops to every corner of the world and taking global actions, so as to underpin the aggressive position of its currency. But its excessive expansion and abuse of force in recent years is dragging down the American economy and corroding the central position of U.S. dollar.

According to a report by a research institute of the U.S. Congress, the country spent $814.6 billion on the Iraqi War and the expense on the Afghanistan War amounted to $685.6 billion by 2014. If the long-term medical care and casualty compensations for soldiers and their families are taken into account, the two wars cost a total of $4 to 6 trillion according to the calculations of Professor Linda Bilmes, an economist at Harvard University.

The U.S. economy has had a series of problems in recent years, such as financial crisis, budget deficit, fiscal cliff and decreasing military expense, all of which had something to do with the two wars. Ironically, the tremendous expenditure didn't bring peace and stability to Iraq or Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, the U.S. is trapped in a strange cycle - wherever it steps foot on, that place is reduced to chaos, which requires more interference from the US military, and that results in bigger chaos.

This happened to Syria, Libya and Ukraine, and now the U.S. is turning its eyes to East Asia. The frequent use of military power actually revealed United States' lack of confidence. The more diffident it is, the more it wants to put on a tough appearance, but that only ends up hurting its image and economy and making it even more diffident. This is a dangerous cycle for world peace, and a cycle of decline for the United States.

We are all intertwined and interdependent in the world today. No country or region can develop in isolation from the rest of the world, the super power U.S. not being an exception. Security goes in both ways and no country can build its own security on the insecurity of others. There is only one way for the U.S. to achieve sustainable security - giving up the Cold War mindset and truly playing a constructive role in international affairs.

By Zhao Xiaozhuo, researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science

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