The REALLY Worrying Thing About the Chinese Stealth Fighter Test

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 13, 2011

I have no problem sticking with my analysis about how Robert Gates pwned the Chinese, some of the statements made in this New York Times article notwithstanding. But one revelation from the article serves as a serious cause for concern; the Pentagon’s statement that “the Chinese military had staged the test without informing President Hu Jintao, embarrassing him as he met with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in an effort to mend badly frayed relations between the two nations’ militaries.” More:

Mr. Gates said on Wednesday that China’s civilian leadership, a group that included Mr. Hu, appeared surprised about the test when he asked about it, raising the question of whether Chinese military leaders had independently sought to undermine Mr. Gates’s visit, which was intended to build ties between the mutually suspicious American and Chinese militaries.

How much is the Chinese military under the control of the civilian leadership these days? And if the Chinese military is able to run test flights that serve to embarrass the civilian leadership, shouldn’t we be worried? For that matter, shouldn’t the Chinese? After all, a nation-state’s rise to superpower status may well be hampered if that nation-state has to deal with all of the headaches a rogue military has to offer.

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