Several news outlets are now reporting that Chinese troops are being welcomed on American soil to train for disaster relief. This is not something new and no, there are not hundreds or even thousands participating in the training, just 80 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army. However, is there a deeper concern that should alarm Americans?
First, Military.com reports:
Last month the Pentagon sent a tough signal to its fastest-growing rival in Asia when a U.S. Navy warship sailed close by an artificial Chinese island in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
The message: The U.S. will stand by its allies as they confront China’s increasingly muscular military.
This month, the Defense Department picked Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a friendlier exchange between the two world powers.
The Army is opening up the South Sound base for a weeklong exercise with its Chinese counterpart, the People’s Liberation Army.
It’s fairly small compared with some of the standard engagements that pull JBLM soldiers all over the Pacific. Only 80 Chinese soldiers are expected to visit JBLM.
“It’s a big deal,” said China expert at the Rand Corp Timothy Heath. “It’s a sign of an improving security relationship that needs more stability. This is a good sign. We need exercises like this to promote stability.”
A slideshow of the operations can be seen here.
The Disaster Management Exchange is in its 11th year, but this is the first time Chinese soldiers have participated here. Later this week Chinese and American soldiers will respond to real-world disaster scenarios, triaging “victims” and clearing rubble.
As the world’s two largest economic powers, the U.S. and China have a major trade relationship, but military relations between the two countries can be tense.
Maj. Gen. Edward Dorman III, commander of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, says it’s only a matter of time before a major event requires international cooperation involving the nations’ troops.
“Hurricane Katrina and hurricane Sandy have taught us the importance of well-synchronized interagency and intergovernmental response and the need to have a central element in charge and to have good communication,” said Dorman, who is leading the exchange.
“I think we build trust between the two countries. I think we reduce the potential for misunderstanding,” Dorman added.
“Despite our differences with China, we can still work together and come together to work on common challenges, such as natural disasters and humanitarian crises,” said Lt. Col. Jason Shelton.
Robert Brown and Jason Adler agree that there are is values to the exercises, even when engaging them with potential foes.
“They prevent conflict by demonstrating the capabilities of the U.S. military as a reliable partner engaged and focused on creating a stable security environment.”
It should be noted that China is also Washington State’s largest export market.
I don’t know about you, but the concept of training foreign soldiers on American soil does not sit well with me, and never has. I get what some of these people are attempting to do, but I question paling around with China, Saudi Arabia and other troops in the manner that has been done for years. I question what else these soldiers pick up on from our own troops in how we do certain things and learn potential weaknesses inside the united States.
The other part that is concerning is that national boundaries may become blurred in some aspects here which could lead to an easier acceptance of a New World Order type of strategy to one day have these national armies fighting alongside one another, just like what takes place often when the United Nations inserts itself into other countries.
Call me cynical, but this just doesn’t seem like something that we should be involved in, especially when you consider who our Commander-in-chief is.