Does this force structure really work if the Filipinos won’t let you in, the Taiwanese can’t let you in, and the Japanese will try as hard as they can to concentrate you in a few locations?

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

The USMC is smack-dab in the middle of a transformational institutional revolution, where it has decided to redefine itself as anti-China force, but China-hawk T. Greer is not gung-ho about this new self-conception. He presents three questions Congress should be thinking through as they evaluate the USMC plan:

  1. Was this plan developed in consultation with America’s Indo-Pacific allies or with the other branches of the U.S. military, all of whose cooperation is needed for its success?
  2. Is the Marine Corps optimizing itself for the range of possible conflicts with China, or just the one it most wants to fight?
  3. What if the Marine Corps’s predictions for the future are wrong?
  4. He asks, “Does this force structure really work if the Filipinos won’t let you in, the Taiwanese can’t let you in, and the Japanese will try as hard as they can to concentrate you in a few locations?”

Most damning is this parting shot:

There will be some who claim all of these issues have been addressed at the classified level. I do not believe this. Why? I wrote this piece after talking to several Marine Corps officers inside the system who extremely frustrated with the way these reforms are unrolling. Many of the ideas I raise in the essay are not my own, but come originally from these officers, whose objections and questions have been sidelined in the rush to make these changes stick. None of them wished any credit for the ideas they gave me; rather, they feared that being cited would damage their careers. That should worry you! A Marine Corps whose officers are unable to raise very basic questions about the diplomatic and political conditions of their new operating environment is not in a healthy place.


  1. Purpleslog says:

    This will be the end of the USMC. The US has no need for an anti-china missle marine force. The other branches can do that. The marines had a good long run. Maybe their lineage can be kept alive as a brigade in the army.

  2. Snipet says:

    There won’t be a war. China will rise, slowly and constantly, until about in the mid 2030s, where it will collapse demographically to never return. China’s “japanification” will be the most brutal ever seen, and they, as a society, won’t manage to enjoy much time as a rising star, or even the world’s protagonist. There’s also all of the cheap coal question, which is running out in China, that will force its economy to be a lot more expensive to run as well.

    All in all, the US is irreversibly declining (so is the entirety of the “West”), but China’s turn will come very fast as well, maybe only 10 to 15 years later.

    So really, I just consider all this to be just some geopol porn, akin to fiction.

  3. Bob Sykes says:

    This sounds like a guerrilla force. In which case, you don’t need more than about 5,000 Marines, not the 170,000 planned. Also, they could be folded into SOCOM. A separate Marine Corps is not needed.

  4. Kirk says:

    The one thing you can count on: The forecasters for all these things are going to be mostly wrong, and in so many different ways and levels.

    Marines looking forward? Wrong. Whatever comes, the fact is that they’re going to be overcome by events, changing conditions, and an abundance of Black Swan events.

    China? LOL. Won’t even go there–They could somehow manage to overcome their issues, but I really have to agree with Snipet: They’re not going to wind up on top of the heap globally, and will again do a “Warring States”-style devolution to local warlords and God alone knows what. The Chinese are like the Russians: Essentially unlikeable cunts who can’t pull their shit together enough to manage a decently-run country. Both China and Russia are doomed to failure, and that’s mostly because they, as nations, love them some totalitarian bullshit. Russia is Russia because it can’t resist a Tsar-like “man on a horse”, and have the inability to work together unless someone is there to beat them down into serfdom. Same-same with China–The mentality in that civilization is towards centrism and central control, which cannot lass under natural conditions. I seriously doubt that the CCP actually planned the Covid-19 thing–It likely just spun out of control from things they thought they could control, and now here we are. Watch how they manage the whole Three Gorges Dam thing, and observe the same syndromes along the way.

    Frankly, I think that the whole “nation-state” idea is essentially unworkable, inherently corrupt, and due for a serious comeuppance. China and Russia are merely the harbingers for the whole mess to come crashing down–Here in the US, same things are taking place: The discrediting of the elites. In China, it’s going to be something like the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam, or some other state-caused disaster. Russia? The massive ineptitude at nearly everything–Only Russia could manage to turn a hydroelectric dam into something akin to Chernobyl.

    The way forward for humanity ain’t massive hierarchy-based social reef structures. Small, cohesive and pragmatic is the way to go, and tear down the resultant social structures you find you need to build on an ad-hoc basis as quickly as you erect them. Human beings are not meant to be members of an ant-heap society; we’re strictly small-band types, ones that work together cohesively as needed, and leave each other the hell alone when not. The future looks a lot more like the chaotic manner in which we colonized the Americas and the South Pacific–Small groups pushing forward, doing their thing, prospering, and then collapsing in turn to allow other small groups to take over the project.

    Big doesn’t work, folks. Not in terms of long-term stability–Witness the fall of empire, and note how the little groups on the peripheries always manage to keep on keeping on. The survival of most of Western Civ didn’t happen because some “Noble Roman” chose to preserve it, but because a bunch of busy-beaver types out on the edges (Irish monks, Syrian monks, etc.) kept on keeping on, and the records survived.

    We very badly need to stop, look at the realities of human nature, and then design social structures accordingly. Big ain’t it–We just don’t function well over the long haul in that sort of system.

  5. Gavin Longmuir says:

    “Recognizing that the Marines will not be able to pierce through enemy “weapons engagement zones” once hostilities begin, Berger proposes that the United States should have Marine Corps units stationed inside these zones before war begins. He envisions turning the islands of the West Pacific into small redoubts bristling with Marines.”

    Sounds like setting up high value US targets which would be totally destroyed by Chinese missiles in the opening moments of any war.

    The bigger question is — Under what circumstances would the US ever want to engage China in a shooting war?

    China has taken Hong Kong — and all anyone in the DC circus cares about is getting rid of the elected US President. If China invades Taiwan, the usual suspects will be out in the streets of the US rioting in favor of the Chinese military — with the full approval of the mayor of New York City.

    China’s strategy is clear. They will patiently buy every politician in the West, every academic, every media type. And they will continue to pursue their long-term “Build It In China” policy which will insulate them from much outside pressure — while reducing the West to a Cargo Cult economy dependent on Chinese imports.

    The only kind of warfare to be expected from China is economic warfare (see, eg, how the Chinese-originated Covid-19 Scam is having a much worse economic effect on the West than on China).

    The best preparation for conflict with China would be to hang most Western politicians along with most of the lawyers, academics, and media types. Then simplify tax regimes to encourage capital investment and roll back excessive regulation to reshore productive manufacturing. Since our own Powers That Be are never going to let that happen, we just have to accept that China is going to dominate the Eurasian land mass from Ireland to Oman along with much of the Pacific Ocean.

  6. Kirk says:

    China can buy all the politicians it wants, suborn all the academics it desires… And, it still won’t really manage much influence.

    The Chinese are wrapped up in their own illusions about America, much as the Japanese and Germans were. The Japanese were certain that Pearl Harbor would suffice to intimidate, the Germans sure that the “mongrels” wouldn’t be able to fight effectively. Likewise, the Chinese oligarchs think that they can buy American oligarchs, and achieve something. Reality? The fractious and reactionary American public, which is derived from the rebels and malcontents of the world, will turn around and bite them in the ass, likely rejecting their home-grown elites.

    You can buy the NBA; you can’t buy Joe Sixpack, except at ruinous cost and exceeding risk. I don’t think the Chinese really grasp that fact. They think that they’ve bought the elite, and are going to be shocked when they discover that that means nothing.

    It’s a cultural disconnect; the American elite thinks that the world is just like them, including their countrymen. The Chinese think similarly, with identical blindness.

    The whole thing is very unlikely to turn out the way any of the elites think it will. I suspect, too, that the Chinese CCP-elite don’t really understand much of what goes on in China. They’re very self-deluded, believing the things that their underlings tell them about all the “ghost cities” and the like, within their own nation. Bad information has a way of destroying the status quo and the current elite.

    I’m sure that the Chinese underlings who were in charge of reporting on the Three Gorges quality control told their bosses that everything was hunky-dory, which is gonna work right up until that dam breaches. Then, it won’t. These things have a way of catching up with totalitarian states like the one that the CCP has built.

  7. RLVC says:

    Snipet: “There won’t be a war. China will rise, slowly and constantly, until about in the mid 2030s, where it will collapse demographically to never return. China’s “japanification” will be the most brutal ever seen, and they, as a society, won’t manage to enjoy much time as a rising star, or even the world’s protagonist.”


    China is the transhumanist standard-bearer.

    By 2025, the majority of their newborns will be CRISPR-enhanced. Everyone wants this.

    By 2030, the Chinese state will have the capacity to produce tens of millions of CRISPR-enhanced children in artificial wombs. They are willing, if necessary.

    AI is progressing at the most astonishing rate that anything has ever progressed. Machine learning techniques are improving at dozens of times the speed of Moore’s Law.

    By 2025, you will call up a corporation’s customer service department and it will be literally impossible to know that you are speaking with a real person.

    By 2030, there will be between one-half and one-quarter as many jobs as there are now, and you will not be able to get one no matter how hard you are willing to work or how much you are willing to abase yourself.

    In 2010, Chinese technology was a joke. It was the butt of a joke, of a joke. Today, it is at parity, or is the cutting edge, in every relevant area. In 2030, Chinese technological superiority will be unimaginable.

    Trump will kill China, or the Swiss will inherit the world.

  8. Unicephalon40D says:

    “There won’t be a war. China will rise, slowly and constantly, until about in the mid 2030s, where it will collapse demographically to never return.”

    This may be the dumbest take I’ve ever seen.

    1. China’s TFR was 1.68 in 2017. Officially. Births were probably under-reported.

    The USA’s TFR was 1.77 in that same year.

    And, what’s more, TFR in the USA is dropping faster than it is in China.

    2. China has a broader population base. 15.23 million births were recorded in China in 2018. In the USA, just 3.78 million children were born that same year.

    3. China simply isn’t the sort of “welfare state” that’s prone to demographic collapse. One doesn’t see large pension or wealth-transfer programs in China. The notion that families exist to take care of each other, and that children should eventually come to take care of their elders, still exists in most parts of the country.

    4. China has a small handful of subversive ethnic minorities, but those minorities are already beaten, and they know it. Europe and the USA have subversive ethnic minorities of their own, but here the situation is very different — they know that they are ascendant, and that the indigenous societies they live in are sick unto death. This is the cordyceps strategy in action.

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