Putting offensive capabilities like long-range missiles on the islands would be “a very destabilizing move,” said Andrew Krepinevich, former president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Such assets would be intimidating in a crisis, but so vulnerable in an actual shooting war that China would face the temptation to “use it or lose it.” “Given the small size of the islands, the missiles would be highly vulnerable, as they could not rely on mobility or hardening to provide passive defense against attack,” said Krepinevich. “They are high-value assets that are also soft targets tethered to a very small area—the island they are on.” “The deployment makes the most sense if you have a military doctrine that calls for striking first,” Krepinevich continued, “or if your principal purpose is not to fight, but to intimidate your much weaker neighbors in the absence of a serious effort by the United States.
Chinese Scarborough Shoal Base Would Threaten Manila
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