22 August 2011

David Axe, The Diplomat: “China, the US and Transparency”

David Axe, China, the US and Transparency,” The Diplomat, 22 August 2011.

Lately, every major Chinese military development has provoked the same response from the US government. The American reaction to the appearance of new aircraft, ships and missiles is to ask, essentially, ‘What’s it for?’ …

But this lack of transparency can cut both ways, according to Andrew Erickson, an analyst at the US Naval War College and editor of the new book, Chinese Aerospace Power. ‘Lack of strategic transparency and understanding remains a major problem between the US and China,’ Erickson told The Diplomat. ‘Beijing has traditionally disclosed far less information about the most critical aspects of its military capabilities than has the US; its strategists believe that as the weaker party it must use ambiguity to compensate for technological inferiority.’

‘Meanwhile, Beijing complains that Washington lacks “strategic transparency,” or credible explanations, regarding its own intentions,’ Erickson added. …

For complete information on the book mentioned above, see Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein, eds., Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011).