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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Interests in common: Should China join the Global SOF Network?

    Thanks to a Twitter tip for a RAND podcast 'China:The Reluctant Partner' which advocates that China (PRC) becomes a partner against terrorism and piracy:http://www.rand.org/pubs/presentations/PT123.html

    Their precis:
    U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has developed and put forth its Global SOF Network vision, which calls for a distributed overseas posture for Special Operations Forces (SOF). There's a high probability that the establishment of a U.S. Global SOF Network will reinforce Beijing's extreme insecurities about Washington's intentions towards China, and heighten Chinese perceptions of enhanced US military encirclement capabilities. However, if China is invited to partner with U.S. SOF, this may alter Chinese thinking on military cooperation. While there is likely to be significant initial reluctance in Beijing, there may be considerable receptiveness to active cooperation in counterterrorism and counterpiracy activities. This video podcast is based on research for USSOCOM that is not available to the general public.
    Clearly such a partnership is problematic and requires a political / policy decision.

    For the Beijing Olympics counter-terrorism assistance was reportedly provided beforehand by Australia and some EU members (France, Germany and the UK come to mind).

    China already plays a role in countering piracy in the Indian Ocean, although it retains national control. For a host of reasons the PRC has engaged in the multi-national co-ordination centre (located in the Gulf, in Bahrain or Dubai IIRC).

    Now whether the PRC already has a SOF Capability beyond its borders and adjacent seas is a moot point. I know one "lurker" who doubts it.

    How would China respond to say a kidnapping of VIPs in Africa, where it has no capability to act, whilst others - not its existing allies and friends - do have?

    Aside: RAND has an extensive publications on the SOF theme at:http://www.rand.org/topics/military-...perations.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-14-2014 at 11:34 PM.
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    It would seem logical that China would share many of our security concerns related to terrorism, since they certainly experience their share of terrorism events in their country and against their expats. I would also think a stable Afghanistan would be in China's interest, which could in theory put Pakistan's ISIS in an uncomfortable position.

    Military to military engagements with China and the U.S. ebb and flow, but generally seem to be moving in positive direction if you view it over a long time span.

    Ultimately this is a policy decision, but I suspect our policy makers would be hesitant to help China gain advanced skills that they could use to against their own people who are terrorists, but rather ordinary citizens protesting for increased liberty, reduced corruption, etc. On the other hand, it may be worth taking baby steps to start developing a relationship that results in a trusted relationship overtime. Who knows, this approach could result in more cooperation on other international concerns.

    Maybe I am showing my age, but personally I lean towards caution when it comes to dealing with China. We're pretty transparent in our CT efforts, China not so much. What would be their goals if policy makers in both the U.S. and China supported this proposal?

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Perhaps the best way to start - if given political consent - is to look at emergency responses, not partnership with its multitude of issues. Even knowing who to call is a start.
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    If the politicians on both sides of the Pacific agree in concept to ultimately develop a SOF to SOF relationship, then I would recommend identifying a specific terrorist problem that is a shared interest where we have mutual objectives, and then explore the potential of first a relationship to discuss it. If that bears fruit, then maybe a limited partnership where we both take action that is mutually supporting.

    Identifying the shared problem where we have common objectives will be more difficult than it appears at the surface level.

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    http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/11/world/asia/china-us-isis/

    U.S . likely to get Beijing's 'quiet' support in bid to destroy ISIS, analysts say

    "If these groups have cells in Xinjiang, if it can be confirmed that ISIS members were recruited from China, if we are already becoming a ground for recruitment for these people then China has a stake in keeping ISIS away from its borders," said Xie.
    In response to a reporter's question on whether China would join U.S. efforts to combat terrorism, Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, said that China hoped that "with joint efforts of the international community, the countries involved will soon restore stability and order, achieve reconciliation, peace and development."

    "Abiding by the principles of mutual respect and equal cooperation, China is willing to enhance anti-terrorism communication and cooperation with the international community so as to safeguard international security and stability," she added.
    We'll see how this plays out, I have little faith in China actually moving beyond words, but then even words supporting the effort is a positive movement.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Before one can reasonably discuss the participation of China in a Global SOF Network that is designed, organized, and ran by the US (so, not really a "Global SOF Network," but more a US SOF Global Network), one has to ask: What exactly is this network, what does it do, and how does it do it?

    The previous USSOCOM commander was clear that in his mind, it was to "maintain pressure on violent extremist organizations."

    Agree or disagree, that was the purpose that drove the efforts to get where this concept is today. It is not clear yet how the new USSOCOM Commander sees the future purpose of design of this network; but I suspect there will be subtle, but significant changes.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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