Here is a choice tidbit from the Washington Post. The Chinese, it seems, have been constructing a tunnels which some believe are meant to contain (possibly) strategic nuclear weapons and large numbers of people.
What China is actually up to and what it means for the control of nuclear proliferation is unclear. Generally, when a country builds fortifications like this alleged underground capacity, it is for a reason. They wish to be perceived as an irresistable force or an immovable object.
It is also worth considering that a massive, opaque, underground fortification with ICBM capacity is a step change away from the 20th century-style logic of Mutual Assured Destruction. MAD, as it was called, relied on opponents coming to the conclusion that there would be no winners in a nuclear exchange. If this structure is a fact, then it could mean that China means to survive nuclear war. The logic of MAD was based on holding the respective civilian populations hostage. As crazy as that sounds, it worked.
One of the criticisms of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or Star Wars) of the 1980’s was that it undercut the balance imposed by MAD. In the end, the USSR collapsed at a time and circumstance that not even the CIA was able to forecast. The biggest threat that SDI posed to the Soviets was the inevitability of yet another crippling arms buildup.
A hardened and opaque Chinese missile capability will not go unnoticed by hawks in western governments. This development, real or not, may kick the mania for weaponization of space up a notch or two and tip the guns-or-butter equilibrium even further from butter.
To we Americans, like others throughout history, the impulse to devise new weapons is irresistable. We’ll throw hundreds of billions of dollars of national treasure at the arms and aerospace complex to come up with zesty new engines of war and call it just. Yet we are unable to justify upgrading infrastructure or a plan to sustain an egalitarian society.
What the US needs to do at this point is to begin intense high level talks with the Chinese to bring strategic armament issues onto the table, if they have not already begun to do so. China has built a friendly and industrious looking store front. But inside is a tightly wound and ambitious party-controlled military apparatus that is anxious to test its mettle against the US.
If Americans continue to parade around spouting this directionless free market blather instead of devising a more coherent national plan for thriving in the century of China, we will become the next fallen empire. Privatization is decentralization. Even businesses know that market share is not gained by fragmenting command and control. If the Chinese whip us, it will be for this reason.