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11 January 2009


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David Habakkuk

"The Russians have excellent anti-ship weaponry and, by past practice, would welcome cash purchases from their clients in the area."

An important question is whether the readiness of Russia to sell military technologies to countries whose natural use for them is to counter U.S. (or Israeli) military power is or is not affected by the state of the political relationship between Russia and the U.S.

So for example, after weird contradictory reports on whether or not it was going to go ahead, the sale of the S-300 surface to air missile to Iran now appears to have gone through.

Was this purely a commercial matter -- or is there an element of payback for U.S. and Israeli arms supplies to Georgia, and the plans to install anti-ballistic missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland?


The two things about the PLA that frighten me the most are -

1) Their utter devastating candor about their own shortcomings.

These people seem to be coldly realistic about what's withing their grasp and what isn't.

Such people make very good allies and very bad enemies.

2) Their utter disregard for the confines of "the box" most military analysts in other places prefer to stay within.

Expect them to play into our own estimates even less than most of our enemies have done.

Ken Roberts

What is the medium-term (30-50 year) projected and /or desired relationship with China? That seems to me the important determinant of stance re military systems.

I don't really see China as one of "our enemies". That is a cognitive trap, old history. Rather, likely a valuable ally. Exceptionally rational, and a useful counterbalance to impulsiveness. Think of how well the combo of Chinese and US economies worked - individually unbalanced, but seen together, soundly structured operationally. (Well, more-or-less, there are always dumb-ass details in any large enterprise.)


We would do well to make China an ally and not an enemy. The combination of their search for reseources to sustain their economy and desire to assert their mandate from heaven is a tinderbox simply waiting.

The chinese have no qualms with coming into conflict with us if it suits their long term strategic interests. Many argue that is impossible due to the heavy investment they have in us and that would ruin them and on and on. The problem is that is the western and not the chinese view. Ask yourself why the chinese buy oil on the spot market which is more expensive than trying to in the futures? Because the chinese see oil as strategically so important that it is worth the cost. The Chinese will care little about trying to crush us as they can accept the costs in the long term.

With the cost of oil potentially going back up in the future, the concern about Eurasia should be Russia and who we choose as allies in that issue. Though Russia will continue to Re-arm once oil becomes profitable it faces another potential future collapse in it's society in the first half of this century. The collapse will be due to the combined effects of a graying population bulge, alcoholism, HIV, a shortened life span, a mentally and physically incompetent population and no foreseeable uptick in healthy children being born. We would be best served to have China as an ally along with Europe to catch the fallout of a Russian Collapse. Unlike Zimbabwe, Rwanda, or Somalia, it will be a collapse so big we cannot ignore it.

Overall, to have China as an ally with carriers is better to have them as an opponent in the pacific ocean.


The fascinating question is how Lord Acton's dictum will play out against China's isolationist culture. The immovable and unstoppable collide.

Daniel Shays

I think American statesmen really ought to aim for something like a Concert of the Pacific in our relationship not only with China, but the other heavies in the area, e.g. Japan, Australia, S. Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, etc. The Chinese are actively expanding into not only Africa, but also Latin America; that is their prerogative, given that the US is up against China's very borders in the form of Japan (the local unsinkable aircraft carrier). However, one can certainly imagine that, in a geopolitical moment of resource scarcity, that these incursions in one another's backyards may lead to friction, or even outright violence, between the US and China. Responsible leaders on both sides would seek to create some clear delineation of influence.

The other big question, of course, is India. I tend to view them as a natural ally, occupying crucial territory between the Islamic and East Asian worlds.


China ship building is booming phase, similar to Japan in the 70's, Korea in the 90's.

I think they are second biggest container ship maker or so (don't have exact data. Korea, Norway are the big player. They make container ship like they make toaster oven)


Interesting to note: aircraft carrier was first use effectively only starting the WWII. It's relatively new equipment. Japan at that time was the early innovator and have the best battle group during the opening of pacific front. But their economy is not big enough to sustain combat lost. (plus they don't radar and their subs is weak.)

Had the German invest in carrier group like Japan instead of basic gunboat, combined with sub, they would have won the WWII. But than again. They couldn't build big war ship by treaty after WWI. So they were lagging on big ship technology.


Why must China and India be either allies or enemies?

I look at them as competitors in a game of global leadership, neither can stand up to America now, but time is on their side.

Both need us right now, but soon we will need them since we no longer make anything of value apart from movies, iPods, and military weapons.

Everyone wants to play in this game:




Perhaps the leaders of U.S. of A can take a page off Sun Tzu (sorry, Col., sir), what was it... "winnin' without fightin' is the acme of skill"?

Methinks, IMHO, the reasons that the Chinese have continuously engaged in armin' 'emselves to the teeth are : #1. fear of conquest by foreign powers ("Evil Western Imperialists" ideal propagated in schools) & the ensuin' humiliation along with occupation (read up on China's track record of DEFEATS, 'specially the past 2 cent.), & #2. G.W.B.'s fat trap, i.e. : "America's Strategic Competitor".

The Chinese, after the "defeat" of the Soviets after the Cold War, probably viewed American bases as the same sorta of "encirclement" that the U.S. of A used on the Russians. Since American leaders can't do without fightin' foreign devils, China was very much a convenient foe durin' the 90's.

Once read an article witten by an American C.E.O. (can't recall his name, could anyone link me to his paper?) 'bout the Ming Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho). Perhaps there is much that American leaders could glean from the diplomacy of this naval ambassador?


"Those who fight monsters should take care that they never become one. For when you stand and look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Frederich Nietsche

William R. Cumming

Increasingly it looks like the 550 years of western military dominance might be ending. The joker factor in US and China relations for me is the Japanese. There is some evidence that even now the Japanese have conducted the world's largest short-sale ever of the US Economy and convinced the Chinese to play along. WOW. US being played like a dummie by both China and Japan as implicit economic allies, can a military alliance be far behind? How about an analysis of Japan + Chinese navies two decades down the road. What is the saying--countries really have no allies just interests!


curious: How would the Kriegsmarine having aircraft carriers won WWII for Germany? They could have won the Battle of Britain and successfully carried out Operation Sealion, and therefore defeated the Soviet Union because they would not have been fighting a two-front war?

I wonder if the Chinese will name their carriers after the ironclads of the Beiyang Fleet (1894), Dingyuan and Zhenyuan.

Michael Chevalier

RE: Kriegsmarine with carriers.

They would have been hard pressed to protect them. Unlike blue water, to help with Sea Lion, they would have been exposed to land based airpower. The Repluse and Prince of Wales are a testament to how bad that might have gone.

I believe the failure of the Germans and Italians to deal with the British Carriers is a sign of how little regard for this kind of asset they had.


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