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“Thinking Through the Unthinkable”: RAND Corporation Lays out Scenarios for US War with China

by Peter Symonds, Global Research:

A new study by the RAND Corporation titled “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable” is just the latest think tank paper devoted to assessing a US war against China. The study, commissioned by the US Army, provides further evidence that a war with China is being planned and prepared in the upper echelons of the American military-intelligence apparatus.

That the paper emerges from the RAND Corporation has a particular and sinister significance. Throughout the Cold War, RAND was the premier think tank for “thinking the unthinkable”—a phrase made notorious by RAND’s chief strategist in the 1950s, Herman Kahn. Kahn devoted his macabre book On Thermonuclear War to elaborating a strategy for a “winnable” nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

According to the preface of the new study, released last week, “This research was sponsored by the Office of the Undersecretary of the Army and conducted within the RAND Arroyo Center’s Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.”

The paper is a war-gaming exercise in the Kahn tradition: weighing the possible outcomes of a war between two nuclear powers with utter indifference to the catastrophic consequences for people in the United States, China and the rest of the world.

The study is based on a series of highly questionable assumptions: that a war between the United States and China would not involve other powers; that it would remain confined to the East Asian region; and that nuclear weapons would not be used. In reality, a war on China would from the outset involve US allies and would thus, in all likelihood, rapidly escalate out of control, spread beyond East Asia, and heighten the danger that nuclear weapons would be used.

As part of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” the US has been strengthening alliances throughout the region, establishing new basing arrangements and consolidating military “interoperability.” The US military could not wage war against China without the intelligence and military and basing resources of, at the very least, Japan, Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The RAND Corporation study considers four simplistic scenarios for a conflict defined by two variables: intensity (either mild or severe) and duration (from a few days to a year or more). It also notes that given the pace of advances in military technology—in what is already an undeclared arms race—the outcomes change over time. Thus, it studies the losses and costs for both sides of a war fought in 2015 and one in 2025.

The summary of findings pays far more attention to the outcomes of severe conflicts than for mild ones. In both cases—a brief, severe war and a long, severe war—the study estimates that the economic and military impact on China would be far greater than on the United States. At the same time, it concludes that the US would suffer greater losses and costs in 2025 than in 2015.

The paper states:

“As its military advantage declines, the United States will be less confident that a war with China will conform to its plans. China’s improved military capabilities, particularly for anti-access and area denial (A2AD), mean that the United States cannot count on gaining operational control, destroying China’s defences, and achieving decisive victory if a war occurred.”

The unstated conclusion, which underpins all of the Pentagon’s planning and preparations, is that a war with China must be fought sooner rather than later. The US military build-up envisages 60 percent of all air and naval assets in the Indo-Pacific region by 2020—now just over three years away. Moreover, Washington’s deliberate inflaming of dangerous flash points in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, is aimed at portraying Beijing as “aggressive” and “expansionist” and concocting the necessary casus belli.

In advising the Pentagon and the White House, the RAND Corporation paper calls for “prudent preparations to be able to wage a long and intense war with China.” It continues: “Of no less importance is the ability of the United States to limit the scope, intensity, and duration of a war with China through its planning, its system of civilian control and its ability to communicate with China.”

The reference to the necessity of a “system of civilian control” in the United States is particularly sinister. Behind the backs of the American population, plans are being drawn up by think tanks like the RAND Corporation, by the military/police forces and by the broader state apparatus for police state measures to suppress anti-war opposition that go well beyond those employed in World War II.

The RAND Corporation paper is a chilling confirmation of the warnings made by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in its statement of February 18, 2016 titled “Social ism and the Fight Against War.” The statement notes that at a certain point, military fatalism becomes a significant contributing factor to the outbreak of war. It cites an international relations specialist who wrote: “Once war is assumed to be unavoidable, the calculations of leaders and militaries change. The question is no longer whether there will or should be a war, but when the war can be fought most advantageously.”

The new study indicates that such a shift in thinking is underway in Washington. And while the RAND Corporation study dismisses the possibility of nuclear war, other imperialist strategists are planning for such an eventuality.

Just two weeks ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which has played a central role in the planning of the “pivot to Asia,” issued a report assessing the Chinese nuclear arsenal. The paper was titled “China’s nuclear forces and weapons of mass destruction.”

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7 comments to “Thinking Through the Unthinkable”: RAND Corporation Lays out Scenarios for US War with China

  • CalSailX

    Bla…bla…bla We are going to step on our own member… just pay us more money to… “never mind” that’s classified.

  • AgShaman

    Hahaha….

    “They were mainly economists by training, and had developed a vocabulary for ‘thinking about the unthinkable’ which had all the weaknesses of economic jargon.”

    -Denis Healey

  • Millicent

    The Plan:

    1: Spread all sorts of “the sky is going to fall… real soon now” stories to panic the people.

    2: Create a movement that consists of “we can help you prepare to avoid the falling sky” websites complete with “guru” experts who are there to sell you something.

    3: Sell “preps” and PM’s so people can “keep stacking”.

    4: None of this is likely to play out like it is presented to the people but it keeps them preoccupied, fighting & arguing among themselves and out of the government’s hair.

    • willygroper

      you make valid points there mill.

      considering hitliary already cemented the alliance thru U1 w/pooty, a mil friend seems to think there will be an alliance against china.

      who do we owe the most money to & who has the gold?

      historically speaking they’ve been allies in wars before.

      cat n mouse…misdirection for preoccupation trying to make sense of the insane.

  • CalSailX

    As someone that was once a sailor, you know that sharp pointy stick that got stuck in the eyes of those that didn’t obey… Tell me about a 13 billion dollar aircraft carrier that just doesn’t work! These jack offs have seen my last dollar, they can go die! Utterly useless I don’t care how you cut it!

    Somewhere in my utter disgust for those that care not one shit for the sailors they send to sea. Is an anger that having seen men die for their folly will not forgive them ever!

    Tell me again Senator how you care… Oh that right 20+ died because even though you were told of the faults that killed them. I wasn’t paying you to be on the committee! You didn’t, and still don’t give less then a shit about those dead sailors!

  • CalSailX

    Senator… retired or not. You might want to watch your six… you left a paper trail, and god help you if I’m ever asked to disclose just what you knew! I’m not an Arkancide candidate my give a shit meter has maxed out, and died long ago. Then again the last man that stalked my ass found out just how ugly I can be.

    Always a plus!

  • anon

    1) Global DEBT-ENSLAVEMENT
    2) Global DE-POPULATION

    Those are the two main stated goals of the Western “elites”. The debt-enslavement is part of their desire for global control (or “full-spectrum dominance” or “PAX AMERICANA”, or “Jew” World Order. Additionally, the CLUB OF ROME has stated a policy of ZERO GROWTH, which is exactly what we are seeing in this current economy – an essentially FLAT-LINED global economy, with massive “bubbles” about to burst.

    War with China? War with Russia? TOTAL INSANITY. It would just further enrich the Western “elites” at the expense of everyone and everything else on the planet.

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