Nato failing to recognise threat from Russia and China: book
The Australian counterinsurgency specialist, David Kilcullen, has written a book warning Nato that Russia and China have used civilian techniques to expose vulnerabilities in western military dominance.
The Rosslea Hall Hotel overlooks the Firth of Clyde in western Scotland. It is now under Chinese ownership and offers sweeping views of the UK’s nuclear submarines leaving the Faslane naval base.
In his book, The Dragons and the Snakes, Kilcullen said the hotel could be the “perfect listening post” for enemy agents. He does concede that there is no evidence of Chinese state involvement in the hotel purchase.
But the influential strategist argued that a vessel’s departure from Faslane, its location, speed and heading could be observed from the hotel, which sits on a bottleneck on the banks of the loch.
Kilcullen, 53, said other Chinese purchases near key Nato installations included the Hotel del Coronado in southern California. It was bought in 2015 for US$1 billion by China’s Anbang insurance group and later taken over by the Beijing government.
The hotel is between the San Diego naval base, Fleet Intelligence Command Pacific, the headquarters of the Navy Seals and a nuclear submarine base. Kilcullen described the hotel as “a near-perfect listening post”.
The era of Nato’s air superiority is likely to end soon with the arrival of drones that cannot be jammed, wrote Kilcullen, who is chairman of Caerus Associates, a strategy organisation he founded.
Kilcullen said Russian efforts to destabilise Nato and its allies in countries like Georgia and Ukraine were domestically popular. The entire Russian nation held grievances about the eastward expansion of Nato during the 1990s, the author argued.
He said the vast majority of Russian action took place below the surface, rather than through military action. Kilcullen shows respect for the “undeniable genius of Vladimir Putin, who has played a very poor hand extremely well”.
The author says China is largely motivated by the US destruction of its embassy in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, during the 1999 Kosovo war. China is determined to never again find itself incapable of responding to a similar humiliation, he argues.
Kilcullen quotes a book by two Chinese colonels, Wang Xiangsui and Qiao Liang, who forecast a future conflict away from the traditional battlefields. Conflict would use “all means, including armed force or non-armed force … to compel the enemy to accept one’s interest”, the colonels wrote.
The Chinese book ridiculed US defence spending, describing it as “attacking birds with golden bullets … an American-made bomber is like a flying mountain of gold”.
The Byzantine Empire held on for nearly 1,000 years after Rome fell and Kilcullen observed that the west might maintain its security if it abandoned its hopes of dominating the planet militarily.
Picture credit: Wikimedia