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Old 09-10-2008, 04:01 AM
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Default The Longer Version Part 3

Webstral 07-31-2008, 01:04 AM The first winter of the Sino-Soviet War (’95-’96) did not see any dramatic changes on the battlefield, despite a great deal of small-unit fighting and a few larger actions. Soviets and Chinese alike were determined to strengthen themselves and improve their positions for the presumed Soviet offensive in the spring. Likewise, both sides were determined to spoil the enemy’s preparations as much as possible. Raids, artillery bombardments, and air attack were commonplace, despite the respite in operational maneuvers. Little ground changed hands, but the casualties continued to mount.


Strategically, however, the winter brought about massive changes. TCHAIKOVSKY and TCHAIKOVSKY II had wrecked enormous damage to China’s war industry and economy. Tank production had ground nearly to a halt, as had production of most other machinery of mechanized warfare. Utilizing the astonishing advances in aerial bombardment since the Second World War to the fullest, the Soviets attacked vital industries throughout northern China: steel production, copper smelting, electricity generation, light manufacturing (principally high-tech), and many others. The transportation network was highly degraded across the northern half of the country. The Soviet Union possessed an ability to deliver airborne ordnance to its target to a degree that was second only to the United States. Indeed, whereas the USAF and USN had greater precision, the Soviet Air Forces had a superior ability to deliver ordnance. Brute force paid its own dividends.


Peace might have come had the Chinese Politburo been a different creature. Unfortunately for China, admission of defeat would have resulted in regime change. The only foreseeable outcome of a regime change under such circumstances would be bullets in the backs of the heads of the reigning Politburo and their families. At any rate, the Chinese Politburo firmly believed this to be the case. It might happen anyway, but the Chinese leadership would not walk willingly to their own executions, national interest be damned. The war had to continue by any means necessary.


The Chinese strategy for prolonging the war was ingenious. Recognizing the power of profit over Western policy, China arranged to make truly spectacular purchases on credit. In the first half of 1995, China had run an impressive trade surplus with the West. China’s reserves of hard currency were large and growing. The Politburo turned all of this around quite deliberately. Beijing spent everything and borrowed fantastic sums to buy more. In the West, a scramble ensued as lenders acquired cash from anywhere and everywhere to lend to China. In a month’s time, Communist China put herself in debt to the West to the tune of nearly three-quarters of a trillion US dollars. US lenders held more than half of the debt. The West, and in particular the US, was tied to ensuring that China would not default on her debt.


American arms manufacturers were the first to profit from the bonanza. China wanted everything: tanks, aircraft, lighter AFV, electronics, missiles of every type, artillery, small arms, trucks, trailers, tents, cots, personal equipment, and so on. Although limits were placed on the high-end items for national security reasons, the production of more mundane materiel for China commenced immediately.


The Sino-Soviet War, which had become somewhat prominent in the American media, returned to the place of dominance it had enjoyed during the autumn of the previous year. Wall Street reporters noted an unusual phenomenon: cash and credit were scarce, but money was pouring into the coffers of key industries. Never before had so much money been lent in such a short period of time. It was a testimony to the power of the Chinese market that Beijing was able to accumulate such a staggering volume of cash so quickly. Equally remarkable was the skill with which the Chinese used the capitalist world’s own laws of competition to drive banks to offer credit far beyond any reasonable limit. Banks could not afford to be left out of the largest event in a generation. The borrowing went on and on, driven in the end by a logic all its own. The impact was far-reaching. The American media devoted much airtime and ink to reporting on and pondering the financial effects.



Naturally enough, speculation on the future of the Far Eastern battlefield came to command more and more air time and ink as the winter came to a close. Expert opinion and non-so-expert opinion offered an increasing volume of predictions regarding the shape the expected Soviet offensive would take. During the course of this media-based discussion, the use of CBN (Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear) weapons inevitably arose. The Soviets and the Chinese had used chemical weapons extensively the previous year. Would the agreed-upon moratorium last, or would the Soviets use chemicals in their opening salvoes? The discussion of chemical warfare led to the discussion of the nuclear options for the Soviets and the Chinese.


At the same time, certain similarities between the Second World War and the Sino-Soviet War were noted. In the former, the United States had acted as the “arsenal of democracy” for her allies until Pearl Harbor prompted full American involvement. The United States again was providing support for an ally “fighting tyranny.” Would the US be dragged into conflict with the Soviet Union? If so, what were the nuclear implications?


Pat Buchanan went on record as being entirely in opposition to supporting China. He claimed that while he was in favor of almost anything that weakened the Soviet Union, the unfolding US involvement in China put the country at risk. If Sino-American cooperation worked out as planned, the Soviets would be stymied. They would have the US to blame. What if, Buchanan asked, the Soviets preferred a nuclear option to defeat? That nuclear option might well include the chief supporter of China.


Although the Pentagon and White House officials scoffed at the idea of the coming Soviet offensive in China leading to the use of nuclear weapons against the US, public sentiment ran the other way. The media, sensing a ratings bonanza, capitalized on the nuclear discussion. Media competition resulted in widespread stories on the worst-case scenario: an East-West nuclear exchange. Alarmed and anxious citizens began contacting their elected representatives at every level of government. A Newsweek poll released on April 10, 1996 showed that the US citizenry strongly favored increased military spending and increased civil defense spending. Congress and state legislatures reacted.


Webstral

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FightingFlamingo 07-31-2008, 12:18 PM Hey Web,

Was this piece intended to add to TSiG?

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Webstral 07-31-2008, 01:46 PM I wanted to provide a little context for the next step in the Thunder Empire development. What happens in southeastern Arizona is a) extraordinary and b) defies canon. Both require some justification. Huachuca receives a great deal of federal funding between early 1996 and late 1997. The CD receives a good deal of assistance from the State of AZ in terms of researching projects and conducting experiments/pilot programs. It's a major departure from the expected. The Sino-Soviet War creates a climate of anxiety in which Huachuca is doing the right thing at the right time to reap a massive benefit. So I wanted to talk a but about the Sino-Soviet War before getting back to Huachuca.


Webstral

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