The China Israel Defense Connection – Shutdown, or Change in Direction

Silicon Hutong Operations Center

The U.S. Government has successfully demonstrated their power to manipulate Israel’s export relationships by shutting down a deal whereby Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) was to upgrade a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) purchased a decade ago. (Given the horrible reputation the PLA has for line maintenance of weapons systems, the lot of them are probably stuck on the ground at the moment.)

The Neocon Neanderthals at the Jamestown Foundation are running a somewhat triumphalist article by an apparently like-minded prof at the University of Haifa, suggesting that this means the end of military sales from Israel to China. The thinking is that this, in combination with the Pentagon’s veto of Israel’s sale of an airborne early warning (AEW) system to China several years ago, will effectively end Israel’s military sales to China.

This may well true. But there’s one problem.

As good as Israel’s military technology is, it’s not their most valuable military resource for China. China’s real military problems, after all, are not in the weapons systems: it’s in doctrine and training. And as anyone who has bothered to read a newspaper since 1948 knows, Israel’s doctrine and training have allowed that country to prevail in nearly every conflict it has fought, against enemies superior in numbers and armaments.

That is the true prize. And if Israel wants to build a closer relationship with China based on something other than agricultural technology, the only military coin it has left it its bag is its most valuable. Just try to regulate the conveyance of training and doctrine. How can you regulate the flow of advisors?

The U.S. has blundered. Better to let China have a few toys than the real prize.

And now, the PLA will be a stronger, smaller, more appropriately armed force because of it.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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