‘FIERCE OF MIEN BUT FAINT OF HEART’

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

The re­cently an­nounced shift in the U.S. strate­gic em­pha­sis to­ward the Asia-pa­cific re­gion rep­re­sents a strate­gic bluff by a de­clin­ing Amer­ica against a ris­ing China that will fail be­cause China can de­feat the U.S. mil­i­tar­ily.

That’s the as­sess­ment of a lead­ing spokesman for the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, as re­ported Tues­day in the state-run Chi­nese press.

Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan was quoted in a long in­ter­view first pub­lished in Guangzhou Daily and reprinted through­out China’s main me­dia out­lets, in­clud­ing Xin­hua News Agency.

Gen. Luo is a prom­i­nent princeling whose fa­ther, Luo Qingchang, was Mao Ze­dong’s for­eign in­tel­li­gence and sab­o­tage chief. He is one of the few high-rank­ing Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army of­fi­cials al­lowed to make public state­ments on de­fense mat­ters.

nown for his hawk­ish views and bom­bas­tic style, Gen. Luo has been a fre­quent source of com­ments on the United States in of­fi­cial publi­ca­tions such as the Peo­ple’s Daily, the PLA Daily, Xin­hua and the Global Times.

“Amer­ica’s re­turn to Asia-pa­cific may well be a grave strate­gic mis­take . . . the U.S., by so do­ing, has cho­sen a wrong time, a wrong place and a wrong ad­ver­sary,” Gen. Luo was quoted as say­ing.

It’s a wrong time, Gen. Luo elab­o­rated, be­cause the cur­rent ethos calls for peace and de­vel­op­ment, not war. It’s a wrong place be­cause Amer­ica’s home­land is still un­der grave dan­ger, and Washington is still bogged down in the cri­sis-rid­den Mid­dle East. It’s a wrong ad­ver­sary be­cause, by choos­ing China as a pre­sumed neme­sis, the United States has cho­sen an en­emy it can­not de­feat.

As to why U.S. de­fense of­fi­cials de­vel­oped a habit of say­ing the U.S. pivot to Asi­aPa­cific is not meant for China, Gen. Luo used a Chi­nese proverb to car­i­ca­ture this Amer­i­can way of public speak­ing.

It is like a per­son in the folk tale who put up a sign say­ing “No 300 Taels of Sil­ver Buried Here!” at the ex­act spot where he had hid­den 300 taels of sil­ver, Gen. Luo said, mean­ing a guilty per­son gives him­self away by con­spic­u­ously protest­ing his in­no­cence.

Gen. Luo went to great lengths in the long in­ter­view to an­a­lyze U.S. strate­gic vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties that he claimed ren­der the Pen­tagon’s pivot to Asia-pa­cific mean­ing­less.

Top­ping his list are Amer­ica’s con­tin­u­ing strate­gic fo­cus on Europe de­spite re­cent Washington state­ments in­di­cat­ing oth­er­wise; the gravely weak­ened U.S. econ­omy, which will ad­versely af­fect the Pen­tagon’s mil­i­tary bud­get for beef­ing up forces in Asia-pa­cific; and the lin­ger­ing trauma in­flicted on Amer­i­can so­ci­ety by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

“To­day’s Amer­ica,” Gen. Luo said, “is no longer able to ex­tend all of its 10 fin­gers. It must re­treat and clench the 10 fin­gers into a fist. This is what the Chi­nese call ‘fierce of mien but faint of heart.’ ”

Af­ter dis­parag­ing the United States, Gen. Luo pre­dicted that a ma­jor mil­i­tary ac­tion in the South China Sea is “most likely” to oc­cur this year, as China’s “re­straint” and “tol­er­ance” over the South China Sea ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with sev­eral “lit­tle coun­tries” will run out soon.

Re­cent re­ports by the IAEA, the U.N. nu­clear agency, ex­plic­itly chal­lenge the U.S. view that Iran has stopped weapons de­vel­op­ment work. They say that some such ac­tiv­i­ties “con­tin­ued af­ter

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