In a Wall Street Journal article, US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said: "Every conflict in history has seen its share of rumor, propaganda and misinformation."
Misinformed planners make incorrect decisions.
The US Department of Defense was trying to inform members of Congress about the state of China. In the 2005 report on China's military power released on Tuesday, US military strategists put a big question mark over China's future.
It will be a future that drives other parts of the world to live on their nerves, according to the report.
The US Department of Defense described three possibilities for the direction China may take. China can choose a pathway of peaceful integration and benign competition.
China could also choose, or find itself upon, a path leading it to exert a dominant influence in an expanding sphere. Alternatively China may emerge as less confident and more inwardly focused on challenges to national unity.
"The future of a rising China is not yet set immutably on one course or another," the report said. "China faces a strategic crossroads."
China is facing piles of problems. These challenges, however, will not divert the country from its drive to peace and prosperity. China's development has come about through participation in economic globalization, competition with others in the world market and recognition of a world system that is beneficial to all.
Its growth in global stature has come from its peaceful economic development, the government's decisiveness in managing difficult developmental challenges, and the consequent improvement in the lives of its citizens, not from its military power or geopolitical assertiveness.
The annual report, which was originally scheduled to be released in May, sent out mixed messages. It stated the US welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China but is wary of the choices the nation's leaders will make as China's power and influence grow particularly its military power.
According to the assessment by the Department of Defense, China's military build-up is broadening the reach of its forces in Asia and poses a long-term threat not only to Taiwan but to the US military in the Pacific and to regional powers such as India and Japan.
Like any other country in the world, China is building a force that would be able to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The government is responsible for keeping the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity intact. The use of force would be the last resort if a part of the country were to declare "independence."
The government is empowered by the Anti-Secession Law to take military action. This is an internal affair that other nations are not entitled to interfere with.
The report exaggerated China's military strength and uncertain elements that could divert China from a peaceful path. US military strategists were trying to paint China as a threat with these uncertainties.
In contrast to previous reports, this year's placed a heavier emphasis on the threat posed by the modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to other regional powers beyond Taiwan and to US forces stationed in Asia, as well as to the US itself.
"Over the long term, if current trends persist, PLA capabilities could pose a credible threat to other modern militaries operating in the region," the report said. The report is clear -- China is a threat.
The US document recommends a renewed wariness of China on the part of the Bush administration, which has collaborated with Beijing on the effort to curb North Korea's nuclear programs and in the fight against terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Based on incomplete data and wild surmises, the Department of Defense gave congressmen and congresswomen poisonous information. It does not engender concord, but conflict.
(China Daily July 21, 2005)