Deconstructing Chinese Military Advances

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j20.jpgThis is a guest note by Jordan D’Amato who has recently joined the New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program as a research assistant.
As grainy pictures of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter circulate the internet, many American defense analysts have been tempted to sound the alarms. After all, the past few weeks have been full of news which could be read as success in China’s push to achieve parity with American military hardware.
In late December, Admiral Robert F. Willard of U.S. Pacific Command claimed that China’s “carrier killer” ballistic missile had reached “initial operational capacity.” Recently, one of Japan’s leading newspapers reported that China’s nuclear submarines has been able to operate around Taiwan undetected. And, looming in the background is China’s first aircraft carrier, expected to be completed by 2014.
News from the American side has, likewise, reinforced the notion that the Sino-US military balance is shifting. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has announced that he intends to reduce the size of the Marines and Army. America’s fifth generation fighter planes have run into a seemingly endless series of budget expansions and schedule delays–forcing the Pentagon to purchase more F-18’s instead. The military, spread thin by years of war, needs time for its soldiers and equipment to recuperate.
In other words, if the news is to be believed, China is aggressively developing new military capabilities while America’s armed forces face serious budgetary constraints. While the underlying message is true, the hype surrounding it needs to be deconstructed.
America’s annual defense budget is still greater than the next top ten military spenders around the world combined. China’s defense budget, by contrast, falls somewhere between 1/7 and 1/5 of that of the United States, according to a 2009 Pentagon report. While more money does not necessarily indicate a better military, in this case the US can claim a decisive advantage–experience.
While China may be fielding the early stages of next generation military platforms, it has yet to demonstrate that it can integrate and deploy them successfully in military action. “We’re seeing [this type of integration] in individual elements of warfare, but not across the joint spectrum of warfighting” said Chief of Naval intelligence, Vice Admiral Jack Dorsett.
Instead of focusing on China’s tactical level breakthroughs, the United States should be working to articulate its own grand strategic position more clearly. A strategy which regards the Peoples Republic of China as a rising power with legitimate regional interests and anxieties will better interpret China’s actions for what they are. Acknowledging the constraints which China faces–from issues like pollution to demographic change to the enormously complex task of interacting with an international system as its primary challenger–will likewise reduce the chance for American overreaction. Buying into hype only intensifies spiraling mistrust. Fear may sell news. But it also puts pressure on policymakers to act, even if action is ill-advised.
Clearly defined grand strategic objectives would help guide long-term US military procurement. Strategic goals would provide a structure through which scarce resources could be distributed amongst competing objectives. Finally, an American grand strategy would give much needed context to Chinese military developments.
Viewed on their own, a stealth jet and an anti-ship ballistic missile should be a cause of alarm. But when the USS George Washington likes to drop by your backyard, it makes sense to have something guarding your door.
— Jordan D’Amato

Comments

38 comments on “Deconstructing Chinese Military Advances

  1. erichwwk says:

    Pentagon Ecstatic Over New Chinese “Threat”
    By ANDREW COCKBURN
    http://www.counterpunch.org/andrew01182011.html

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Pearlman takes up where Nadine leaves off. Nadine is into the carefully manicured propaganda offered by organized and well managed Bullshit Mills, such as the Hasbara organiziation.
    But Pearlman is into the nasty irritating one line crap, designed to piss off, and derail the debate.
    And NO, it has not “always been this way”. Yes, politics is a contentious and divisive practice, always has been. But the demise of the Fourth Estate, replaced by these fucking pieces of SHIT like the fat addict Limbaugh, or that pervert chauvanist O’reilly, has seriously poisoned the well. Even on the left, the likes of Olberman or Maddow are little more than partisan mouthpieces, bought and paid for by corporate and/or partisan interests.
    Try talking to a human with a Fox News contaminated mind. Or a left wing Maddow’s-shit doesn’t-stink liberal. Cronkite, and the Fourth Estate he belonged to, is dead and buried. The result is obvious. Have ya tried to find any pure news on the television lately, that isn’t tainted by carefully presented opinion manufactured to advance the interests of one side or the other, or some special interest group, like the murderous scumbag Israelis that are dragging Israel over the abyss?
    And you gotta love all this doublespeak convoluted pseudo-think about global armaments and the age old pursuit of technological dominance in the ability to wipe out wide swaths of humankind. Its really quite basic. If your adversary has a gun, you will want one too. If we have advanced stealth fighter technology, than China will strive to possess it as well. If the Israelis have nukes, Iran is going to pursue them. If we develop tactical nukes, so too will Russia and N’Korea. Its not rocket science, and we don’t really need a bunch of money sucking “think tanks” to dream up ten million different ways to describe what is, unfortunately, “human nature”.
    Its comical. Who the fuck are we to criticize or bemoan another nation’s pursuit of military superiority? What other country has attacked and invaded, overtly, two soveriegn nations in the last decade, while covertly involved in many different military adventures in many more theatres than our leaders will openly admit to?
    So what??? Fuck these people, this elitist ruling class that always seems to derail the people’s pursuit of basic security, comfort, health and sanity. What can we do, the global legions of simple folk, about the machinations of the megolamaniacs that always seem to lie, murder, posture, and claw their way to the top of the heap?
    N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
    Read Pearlman or Nadine’s spew. Guess what, people? Their mindsets and personalities are far more indicative of the atmosphere and motives prevalent in Washington DC than that of commentors here of more astute or conscience driven opinion, such as Kervick or Norhiem.
    And obviously DC isn’t the only cesspool of power-gone-mad leadership currently suffered by mankind. Picture Genghis Khan with nukes. Or Adolph Hitler with a stockpile of Ebola germ.
    Or Idi Amin with white phosphorous munitions.
    Mankind has ALWAYS been running towards the abyss. And we aren’t slowing our pace through lessons learned. We are gaining speed as history marches us towards the edge. Too bad, really.
    Think what we could have done, what we could have been.
    I just spent the last few days on the coast, Morro Bay, working on a house. For those of you that have seen the California coastline, perhaps you’ll relate when I say I’ve come to realize what a huge fucking waste of time it is reading, and responding to, the horseshit that is the daily fare here. We aren’t changing anything. Steve Clemons isn’t a saint amongst monsters. Dan, Paul, myself, we don’t have the answers anymore than this posturing sack of shit in the White House does. Same oh, same oh.
    Damn, can you imagine the garden I’d have if my time here had of been spent there? What sights could I have seen were it not for this futile expedition into online mental masturbation and the unrealistic pursuit of an empowerment the system will never allow people like me to have. What a classic example of time ill spent.
    Fuck it. It stinks in here. I wish I woulda smelled it sooner.
    Thanks for being such a gracious host, Steve. I hope you get out soon, before you forget what the Sierras smell like. You’re swimming in foul water.
    Adios.

    Reply

  3. Paul Norheim says:

    John McCain sends a message to the Tea Party movement and
    right wing political entertainers in today’s Washington Post:
    “I disagree with many of the president’s policies, but I believe
    he is a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to
    advance our country’s cause. I reject accusations that his
    policies and beliefs make him unworthy to lead America or
    opposed to its founding ideals. And I reject accusations that
    Americans who vigorously oppose his policies are less
    intelligent, compassionate or just than those who support
    them.
    Our political discourse should be more civil than it currently is,
    and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not
    being so. It probably asks too much of human nature to expect
    any of us to be restrained at all times by persistent modesty
    and empathy from committing rhetorical excesses that
    exaggerate our differences and ignore our similarities. But I do
    not think it is beyond our ability and virtue to refrain from
    substituting character assassination for spirited and respectful
    debate.”
    More here:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
    dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011403871.html?
    hpid=opinionsbox1

    Reply

  4. copy writing says:

    China is old agressor!!!We need to deconstruct their military advanced!!!

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    As if Nadine wasn’t bad enough.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/
    “Saudi Arabia officially anoounced early on Saturday that it was hosting Ben Ali and his family.
    A palace statement carried by the official SPA news agency confirmed that Ben Ali arrived early on Saturday in the kingdom.
    “Out of concern for the exceptional circumstances facing the brotherly Tunisian people and in support of the security and stability of their country… the Saudi government has welcomed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family to the kingdom,” the statement said.
    A Saudi source said earlier that Ben Ali’s plane had landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah but did not specify who had accompanied him to the kingdom.
    Earlier, French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, had refused to allow Ben Ali to land in his country.”
    Gee, wonder who arranged this?

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  7. Carroll says:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/
    “Saudi Arabia officially anoounced early on Saturday that it was hosting Ben Ali and his family.
    A palace statement carried by the official SPA news agency confirmed that Ben Ali arrived early on Saturday in the kingdom.
    “Out of concern for the exceptional circumstances facing the brotherly Tunisian people and in support of the security and stability of their country… the Saudi government has welcomed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family to the kingdom,” the statement said.
    A Saudi source said earlier that Ben Ali’s plane had landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah but did not specify who had accompanied him to the kingdom.
    Earlier, French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, had refused to allow Ben Ali to land in his country.”
    Gee, wonder who arranged this?

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  8. Carroll says:

    There was no ‘military revolt’ in Tunisia–unless you want to count the refusal of the military to fire on the citizens.
    This revolt involved everyone from small towns and workers to the middle class in Tunisia.
    Good for them– but I wouldn’t be expecting some kind of ‘democracy’ out of it.
    Iran has Iraq, Hizbullah now has Lebanon—things not going all that well for Poppa Pig and Baby Pig eastward are they?

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  9. JohnH says:

    Stupid: “people who are starving are too concerned with finding their next meal to make revolutions.”
    Tell that to Mao, Lenin, or Robespierre.
    Nadine should have said “people who are starving are too concerned with finding their next meal to make revolutions that Nadine would approve of.”

    Reply

  10. John Waring says:

    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/
    Please read the last several posts on Marc Lynch’s blog. He has very good insights on Tunisia and the wider Middle East.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    JohnH, In Ukraine, there definitely was a middle class that backed the Orange Revolution.
    “Middle class backs Orange Revolution
    By Marina Denysenko
    BBC News, Ukraine
    Expensive cars festooned in orange; orange-clad demonstrators queuing at McDonalds; ladies dressed in fur coats with orange ribbons – these are all signs that Ukraine’s “orange revolution” has enormous support from its newly emerging middle class. ”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4057839.stm
    In Georgia, you might have more of a point; though observers point out there was a middle class in income, it was just based on corrupt practices.
    The main point is: people who are starving are too concerned with finding their next meal to make revolutions. You need more affluence to look around you and get politically active, and you need ideas that will justify revolution to start planning one. A formerly rising, but currently thwarted, literate middle class fits the bill perfectly. Without those conditions, you may have a lot of unrest, you may have some ‘people’s champion’ making himself dictator, but you won’t have a revolution.
    Which is the answer to Dan’s point: the Arab countries’ youth bulge and unemployment is ripe for lots of unhappiness and unrest. But until now, we have seen very little of it turn into revolution. The local governments have been able to turn the discontent to external targets: “Look how the Palestinians are suffering! It’s all the fault of the Jews and the US!”

    Reply

  12. JohnH says:

    Tunisia “has followed the dictates of Washington and the International Monetary Fund in instituting “structural adjustment programs” in privatizing much of its economy and allowing for an unprecedented level of “free trade.” These policies have increased rather than decreased unemployment while enriching relatives and cronies of the country’s top ruling families. This has been privately acknowledged by the U.S. embassy in a recently-released Wikileaks cable, which labeled the U.S.-backed regime as a “KLEPTOCRACY.” The U.S. has also been backing IMF efforts to get the Tunisian government to eliminate the remaining subsidies on fuel and basic food stuffs and fuel and further deregulate its financial sector.
    Rather than anti-American extremism in the Arab world being a result of hostility towards “our freedoms,” it is such policies backing such corrupt authoritarian regimes as Tunisia which have alienated so many young Arabs from the United States. As John F. Kennedy once warned, ‘Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.'”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/14-10

    Reply

  13. John Waring says:

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/the-first-middle-eastern-revolution-since-1979.html
    The above is a good discussion on Tunisia from Juan Cole.

    Reply

  14. Dan Kervick says:

    “Tunisia has one. Most of the Arab world doesn’t, not really.”
    But most of them do have rising populations of young men who have received a higher education. This breeds meritocratic resentment in itself. I imagine there are young guys across the Arab world who easily identify with a man who worked hard to get an advanced education, and yet can’t even open up a fruit stand or afford to start a single family, while illiterate scions of privileged clans get everything, including multiple wives.

    Reply

  15. JohnH says:

    Funny, I didn’t think Georgia or the Ukraine had sizable middle classes. Yet (Nadine conveniently forgets) they had color revolutions. And Latin America had a series of popular revolutions–Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador–even though the middle class in these countries is not sizable.
    My guess is that rising food prices and diminishing economic prospects are going to be the impetus for widespread unrest and possible revolutions. And it may prove more than what a bloated, inefficient $Trillion military can cope with. Which is another reason for the US to start reassessing its priorities and deciding whether opposing every popular uprising is really in America’s best interests.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    “But the problems of massive unemployment, the extravagant incomes of elites, corruption in high places, plutocracy and privileges, and now surging food prices, are a problem in just about every country that has been impacted by the Great Recession.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, you left out a necessary condition for a real revolution (as opposed to a palace coup): a sizable middle class whose rising expectations have been thwarted. Tunisia has one. Most of the Arab world doesn’t, not really.

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    What I’m interested in finding out is whether the Tunisian revolt represents ferment that will prove to have a global dimension, or whether it is instead limited to either Tunisia itself or the Arab world at the most.
    After all, the frustrations that appear to have instigated this revolt are rooted in (i) the mass unemployment and dispiriting economic prospects afflicting Tunisian youth, (ii) resentment of the economic privileges and corruption endemic to Tunisia’s ruling class and dominant clans, and (iii) rising food prices.
    But the problems of massive unemployment, the extravagant incomes of elites, corruption in high places, plutocracy and privileges, and now surging food prices, are a problem in just about every country that has been impacted by the Great Recession.
    We are seeing around the world, including in the US and Europe, anxieties over what might prove to be permanent declines in the majority standard of living, as those whose affluent way of life has not yet been impacted by the global readjustment are scrambling to protect their assets and impose austerity on the debt-strapped, flailing and underemployed many. However, this reactionary tendency will only make things worse and exacerbate tensions.
    How different are the young Tunisians who started this revolt and the young people in the UK who rocked Prince Charles’s car in response to tuition hikes? Both see the closing of the gates to the path to the future that they had previously dreamed for themselves.

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Nadine misrepresents the facts, as usual. The US Ambassador to Honduras, in a report released by Wikileaks, admitted that the ouster of Honduras’ democratically elected president was a coup. But TWN barely expressed any concern over the action.
    The Tunisian event may well end up as musical chairs, with one tyrant replacing another. And if I had to bet, I would say the France and the United States are scrambling to make sure that the Tunisian security state remains intact.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    Tunisia seems more like a military coup than a democratic rebellion. Military coups have certainly happened before in Arab countries. Tunisia has had a long history of being, if not exactly liberal, less repressive than Egypt or Syria or Iraq.
    JohnH, if you said “dictators who are America’s ENEMIES are supposed to be given license to oppress their people forever” you would have more accurately described the situation in Honduras, where a Hugo Chavez protoge was supported by Obama even after having been constitutionally overthrown by the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court.

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    I expect TWN to receive the Tunisian coup with the same amount of enthusiasm that it gave the Honduran coup–a cold shoulder. This event will not be dubbed a Color Revolution–dictators who are America’s friends are supposed to be given license to oppress their people forever.
    I wish the Tunisian people well in their quest for leaders who will respond to their interests, not just to the narrow interests of their personal clique or to those of foreign powers.

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    “Arab excitement has been maintained by al-Jazeera, the freest and feistiest TV
    channel in the region, which has broadcast riveting pictures of Tunisian crowds
    facing down well-equipped security forces. Twitter, Facebook and blogs have
    circumvented state censorship to provoke excited debate about the impact of the
    resonantly-named “Jasmine Revolt” or “youth intifada”

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    “Some demonstrators also cited the evidence of cables from the United States
    Embassy in Tunisia that were released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks
    providing vividly detailed accounts of the first family

    Reply

  23. Paul Norheim says:

    Re. the dramatic events in Tunisia: Who said the “Arab
    streets are insignificant and irrelevant”?
    Right now, the whole Arab world is watching this closely –
    both in the streets and in the palaces. I wonder if this will
    spread to other countries in the region with similar
    problems.

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    Correction at 11@29: (last paragraph) “And we just might NOT be so happy with that”.

    Reply

  25. Dan Kervick says:

    Tunisia’s president was just forced out of power. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi says he is taking over:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12195025

    Reply

  26. John Waring says:

    http://www.bernardfinel.com/?p=1684
    Bernard Finel thinks we can have a much smaller military. He has laid out a grand strategy and a military strategy to support this view. Please read the above linked article for his thoughts on the subject and for his links to his other articles.
    My heart pines for a rational discussion of these issues, but my head despairs of it seeing as I do a military establishment pointlessly tying down the world’s finest infantry, by using it to pursue 4th world insurgents across the wastes of Afghanistan. We have yet to step back, throttle down our emotions, and analyse our global situation with a cold clear eye of reason and logic. I think the outcome of such a process would yield the imperative of dialing back our world-wide military footprint in general and cutting or losses in Afghanistan in particular.

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    Shamelessly OT: “Centrism”
    ” . . . devoid of any coherent worldview and instead has one overarching purpose: to defend Beltway elite prerogatives and specifically the bipartisan orthodoxies of the National Security State”
    A rather long Glenn Greenwald post on the pernicious meaning of “centrist” as [he says] practiced by the Washington establishment, and in opposition to the rule of law. (interestingly, Krugman’s column today last sentence pointed to emphasis on the rule of law as a needed antidote to the moral polarities in our country today). Greenwald makes specific reference to the ongoing US torture regime and Obama’s ratifying previous administration criminality. His example of the establishment Washington ‘centrist’ is the Bookings Institution (and other think tanks), with good historical references to the founders:
    “Those who favor what Wittes calls “the two-century-old tradition in American life of incoming presidents

    Reply

  28. DonS says:

    Further on the M/I complex overkill front.
    “GAO: U.S. Has Fired 250,000 Rounds For Every Insurgent Killed . . . The General Accounting Office (GAO) reports that our forces are now using 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition a year

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    “I don’t know what the zinger concluding sentence means, if it doesn’t mean that China should fear US military aggression, which is preposterous and ahistorical:”
    Drew, now let’s not be boy scouts here. Since when has fear of an actual military threat been the moving force behind military overkill? In the US, the whole outsized military establishment (now larger than the 10 largest other militaries in the world) has continued long after the reduced threat of conventional war declined.
    China has a long history of xenophobia. Why should their own military build up ,commensurate with increased wealth, be illogical, as military/political thinking and posturing goes?
    Your mentioning that they own our debt and are therefore coopted into a peaceful relationship with the US, for one, sounds logical. But that never seems to convince the defense planners. I wish your sober logic could have been, and could still be applied to the far bigger threat of the galloping US military expenditure and real destructive use. What’s the difference, except jingoistic perspective?
    Of course cutting the US military umbrella might mean Europe has to pick up some slack, in line with their own threat evaluation. And we just might be so happy with that. Certainly the defense industry wouldn’t be happy about US defense planners being slapped into some sort of reality.

    Reply

  30. drew says:

    I don’t know what the zinger concluding sentence means, if it
    doesn’t mean that China should fear US military aggression,
    which is preposterous and ahistorical:
    “But when the USS George Washington likes to drop by your
    backyard, it makes sense to have something guarding your
    door.”
    But the hardliner PLO generals do think this, so perhaps the
    author is reflect their, rather than his own, opinion — if in fact
    they are different.
    The J-20 is a true fifth-gen fighter; it lags in engine design, and
    may not be able to sustain supercruise (mach flight without
    afterburner), but if so, the Chinese will figure that out in the
    next few years (trade reporting says they are still using older
    Russian engines).
    At one level, the Chinese have already pre-empted a military
    build-up competition, because they own too much of our debt
    and we can’t afford it. I assume that Pacific Rim democracies will
    have to play a larger role in their own defense, and I’m curious to
    see what happens in the Indian Ocean.

    Reply

  31. Josh says:

    Ok Bill Pearlman, so if I follow, your logic is that about 60 years ago your father fought in a proxy war against the Chinese THEREFORE they are a threat now. First of all you are not adding anything to this conversation. Second of all no one is saying we should ignore China, merely keep the debate level-headed and strategic.

    Reply

  32. rc says:

    When can I buy one in Walmart?
    btw: one for the never-ending off-topic discussion
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/africa/2011/01/13/if-bishop-desmond-tutu-anti-semite-what-hope-rest-us

    Reply

  33. questions says:

    Steve,
    This is a link on copyright/fair use/law suits….
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1/13/936208/-Righthaven-Sues-Bloggers-for-Copyright-Infringement
    Since we all copy/paste large blocks of text, maybe we should all read this and alter our practices before the proprietor gets sued by this organization.
    There is a registry that seems to offer some protection — you get a take down notice rather than a call from a lawyer….
    It’s worth looking into, and it’s worth our all putting in links and very little text rather than the other way around, perhaps.

    Reply

  34. runescape gold says:

    Classic exposition, I have also mentioned it in my blog article. But it is a pity that almost no frienddiscussed it with me. I am very happy to see your article.

    Reply

  35. Richard Frost says:

    This note represents a healthy perspective in contrast to the omnipresent and over-bearing militarism of the warmongering right. But I doubt we will be sanguine enough to allow the many constraints on China to reassure us that we need not respond to their muscle-flexing with yet more military spending.
    On the contrary, we will be told – despite an ever-worsening fiscal posture at home – that now is not the time to cut the “defense” budget. We will remain on a perpetual, global war footing, guaranteeing the very descent into insolvency that will translate into ultimate victory for the Chinese. For if their objective is really economic, not military, primacy, they have every reason to provoke their arch-rival into an utterly inappropriate but financially ruinous arms race. With clockwork predictability, we will take the bait and swallow it whole. They are laughing all the way to the bank.
    The real battle we must win is the restoration of our financial order. This requires a fundamental reassessment of our hitherto imperial attitudes and actions – a retrenchment towards a sane and affordable defense policy. Realistic threat assessments such as this guest note will be the building blocks of such reform.

    Reply

  36. WigWag says:

    “Acknowledging the constraints which China faces–from issues like pollution to demographic change to the enormously complex task of interacting with an international system as its primary challenger–will likewise reduce the chance for American overreaction. Buying into hype only intensifies spiraling mistrust. Fear may sell news. But it also puts pressure on policymakers to act, even if action is ill-advised.” (Jordan D’Amato)
    China’s challenges like pollution and demographic change are only a small part of its problem. The major problem is that it is surrounded by Asian neighbors that view its rise with suspicion, if not outright hostility.
    The list of countries in China’s “near-abroad” that have engaged in recent hostilities with China or which view it as a strategic competitor is surprisingly large. Viet Nam and India come to mind immediately. So do Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines and maybe, someday, even Burma.
    The United States has naval and other military bases in the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. It has a military relationship with Taiwan and increasingly warm relations with India and Viet Nam.
    If I were a Chinese military planner I would see problems everywhere I looked. And if I were contemplating a future military confrontation with the United States, I would immediately realize that while the United States has enormous capabilities in the Indian Ocean, China has almost none in the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific near the American mainland.
    It is true that the days when the United States has unfettered control of the Indian Ocean are slowly drawing to a close but the unipolar world is an historical anomaly anyway; it’s only existed for the few short years since the death of the Soviet Union.
    In the end, diplomacy will be as important as military capabilities. If China continues to antagonize its Asian neighbors in the manner it has recently, these neighbors will continue to glance a longing eye towards the United States. This is far more important than whether China refurbishes an aging aircraft carrier or is able to build new ones of its own.

    Reply

  37. PrahaPartizan says:

    That grainy picture of this ostensibly stealthy Chinese fighter/attack aircraft seems to show an airframe which doesn’t advance much beyond the F15. Frankly, given the advances which are likely in armed uncrewed aircraft over the next ten to twenty years, I would encourage the Chinese to build as large a fleet of expensive to build and very expensive to maintain crewed stealth fighter/attack aircraft as they want. Uncrewed vehicles which can turn at 2X to 4X the rate of a crewed aircraft will sweep them from the sky, with no risk of losing the vehicle’s operator either. This is simply the last generation’s technology, not the next.

    Reply

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