A Cabbage Grows in Asia
China Secretly Building New Aircraft Carrier, Plans More
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  • Anthony

    The Central Powers remain active and, perhaps in China, playing the long range game; power establishes its own legitimacy. Next to that as intimated in essay the end of history ends, U.S foreign policy (inclusive of but also beyond Obama years) must not be misdirected vis-a-vis importance of geopolitical power dynamics.

  • Andrew Allison

    Aircraft carriers are obsolete. One might assume that any which might actually appear to be a threat are being shadowed by subs capable of sinking them in a heartbeat.

    • rheddles

      Many in the U. S Navy will refer to it as China’s second target. But you’ll never hear them say that because they’re in the Silent Service.

      btw, how do you build something as big as an aircraft carrier in secrecy?

      • Anthony

        “But you’ll never hear them say that because….” Sometimes greater danger comes from success and praise than from criticism; public attention is actually a nuisance and distraction especially when buoyed by illusion.

      • TommyTwo

        The PLAN doesn’t appear to be much of a match for the USN for the foreseeable future, but these developments raise the stakes of any possible confrontation. Assuming the PLAN is halfway competent, a couple of aircraft carriers should be enough to win battles against most of its neighbors, while being significant enough that any US attack on them would credibly risk full-scale war. Not a happy position for US decisionmakers.

    • Jim__L

      They’ve been obsolete for decades, and yet, we still make good use of ours.

      This may actually be a sign of China’s interest in joining the international order. Devoting the resources to a number of carriers would be foolish in the case of nuclear war, as opposed to the sort of bushwar / gunboat diplomacy and maneuver that has been normal for (again) decades.

      • B-Sabre

        “This may actually be a sign of China’s interest in joining the international order. ”
        Or it may be a sign that China is serious about intimidating the smaller countries in the South China Sea into respecting China’s territorial acquisitions, as most of those countries don’t have a significant submarine threat.

        • Andrew Allison

          But most of them do have treaties with the US which obligate us to go to their defense.

          • B-Sabre

            1) Several don’t, like Vietnam. To Beijing, it may not matter which one gets beaten up first if it intimidates the others. “Kill a chicken to scare the monkeys.”
            2) Do you really think the US will go to war with China for the Phillipines over a bit of rock in the Spratlies?

          • Andrew Allison

            1. Exactly why the monkeys need protection.
            2. Do you (or the treaty partners) really think China will go to war with the US over a bit of rock in the Spratlies?
            3. If the US is not prepared to go to war for the Spratlies, it will eventually have to for Hawaii again.

          • B-Sabre

            1. We’re the monkey, along with Japan and South Korea. Vietnam and the Phillipines are the chickens.
            2. Why would the Chinese expect anything except a stiff diplomatic note (and an invitation to Geneva to talk about the problem) from the US? We’ve had an administration that has retreated from “redlines” consistently for the past 5 years. Why would they grow a spine for a nameless rock owned by another country?
            3. Don’t necessarily disagree.

          • Andrew Allison

            2. I agree. And if this doesn’t change, see 3, above.

          • TommyTwo

            Both of you remind me of “Der ganze Balkan ist nicht die gesunden Knochen eines einzigen pommerschen Grenadiers wert.” And yet… (Or “Quelques arpents de neige,” and innumerable other cases without pithy descriptions of their own.)

          • Andrew Allison

            Tommy, Tommy are you seriously suggesting that a replay of “a date which will live in infamy”” is not worth preventing? That the lessons of Munich are irrelevant? History tells us that China will push until sufficient resistance is met.

          • Jim__L

            Meeting resistance is essential. It can be argued (in my mind, convincingly) that the leadership of late-30’s Germany didn’t think they were starting another World War…. they didn’t believe that England and France would go to war to save the junta that ran Poland, when they didn’t try to preserve democratic Czechoslovakia.

          • TommyTwo

            “It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation…”

          • Jim__L

            Once upon a time, the United States would pass up that chance. Apparently in the Treaty of Versailles we were handed Istanbul, but we declined.

            Cincinnatus went back to his plow, and people (except for Churchill) liked us better for it.

          • TommyTwo

            I was suggesting that China’s aggressive policies could well result in a military confrontation that neither it nor the US would or should want a priori. (See WW1.) The decision lies with the PRC, and if it insists on playing chicken, on its hands be it.

            (Simpler version: I am in general agreement with you.)

          • Anthony

            You know as well as I that armchair generalship is both folly of the uninitiated and given to flights (long flights) of fancy. I am starting to believe WRM’s demographic has too much time on its hand.

          • Jim__L

            Did we go to war over Matsu and Qemoy? Results vary.

        • Jim__L

          Hm. Are we cynical enough to say we’re both right? 😉

      • Andrew Allison

        You are correct. I should have written, “obsolete as weapons of war involving countries with modern submarine capability”. They are, of course, still useful (albeit incredibly expensive) for humanitarian and minor military operations.

  • B-Sabre

    “Early on the mission the Liaoning nearly rammed an American ship, the USS Cowpens, which was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision, to the frustration of American officials.”
    It wasn’t the Liaoning which neary rammed the Cowpens, it was an escort vessel (usually unspecified, but I remember seeing it described as an LST) that blocked the US cruiser as it was tailing the Chinese carrier.
    More to the point, the skipper of the Cowpens broke off at that point and left scene. US 0, China 1.

    • Andrew Allison

      Actually, the escort vessel broke off after the Captain of the Cowpens called the Captain of the Liaoning and presumably said something along the lines of please don’t make me sink this little squirt.

      • B-Sabre

        Is that what happened? The Cowpens got the cold shoulder 27 miles out of the “inner defense zone.” I’ve seen reports that he Cowpens broke off surveillance activities after the incident.

        “the Captain of the Cowpens called the Captain of the Liaoning and presumably said something along the lines of please don’t make me sink this little squirt”

        I haven’t seen any reports saying anything of the sort – I have seen reports that the Chinese commander of the flotilla gave the CO of Cowpens a piece of his mind and a lecture on seamanship after the incident.

        And it may not have been a “little squirt” – outside of a few references to an “escort”, neither the Chinese nor the US Navy has identified the ship that did the blocking, despite the fact that the US probably has some damn good close-ups of her. This article ( http://nextnavy.com/laffair-cowpens-did-china-plan-push-back-of-americas-liaoning-tail/ ) has an interesting take – that the blocker was not a frigate, destroyer or “little squirt” LST, but one of their new LPD’s, which weigh about twice what the Cowpens does. Be a little hard to shove that out of the way. And since it is minimally armed, it would be hard to justify sinking the ship with gunfire.

        • Andrew Allison

          Not hard to find http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/dod-downplays-south-china-sea-incident-involving-uss-cowpens-and-chinese-warship-1.257958
          This account fails to mention that failure of bridge-to-bridge communication with the PLAN Amphibians Transport to resolve the issue necessitated communication with the carrier.

          • B-Sabre

            The article is very vague on what happened after the “close call” so I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to find – and as I noted, the “little squirt” was twice the tonnage of the Cowpens. No way was she getting shouldered out of the way.

            The fact that we don’t have nice, glossy photos of the carrier taken at close range and credited to the US Navy tells me that the Cowpens disengaged and effectively acknowledged the Chinese “exclusion zone” around the carrier.

          • Andrew Allison

            I suggested that the squirt was in danger of being sunk, not shouldered away. What you were supposed to find is that it required communication with the CARRIER to break off the engagement, and that the “little squirt” had, what, 0.001% of the firepower of the Cowpens?
            The fact that we don’t have nice glossy photos of the carrier taken at close range and credited to the US Navy tells me that the Cowpens was at no time close enough to the carrier to justify the brinksmanship on the part of the PLAN.

  • Atanu Maulik

    The problem for China: US is in no mood to relinquish its position as the top dog. To make matters worse, Japan is starting to act as a normal nation again. Unlike China, a cheap labor power, these two nations are serious industrial powers with serious technological bases. The more China tries to scare its smaller neighbors, the more tightly they are likely embrace US. So Chinese ambitions will have to wait.

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