Monday, September 25, 2006

When people other than me are right, I get frustrated

Robert at LGM reads the same news I did, except he wrote an interesting, intelligent blog post about it. Wonder why he gets more traffic than I do?
When facing a profound disadvantage in one area or another of military capability, states often fall victim to the temptation to narrow the inequality through mirroring procurement decisions. For example, the US and the USSR most often responded to each others developments in military science by creating capabilities that mirrored their opponent....

There is certainly a sociological imperative to engage in this kind of behavior, as possession of the most modern types of weapons conveys, both internationally and domestically, prestige and a sense of what might be termed "modern state-hood".

China's defense procurement, by and large, does not seem driven by this logic. Instead, China seems to be actively thinking about and planning for a war with the United States over Taiwan, a project which, among other things, must be regarded as quite sensible from the Chinese point of view. Instead of trying to equal US naval capabilities, the PLAN is working hard to develop the means to kill US carriers, thus largely nullifying the US naval advantage. In response to "network-centric" warfare that relies heavily on satellite communications, the Chinese are thinking about how to break the US system, rather than how to replicate it.
I would add that this is why I'm not concerned about Chinese military adventurism beyond the immediate Taiwanese question (and less concerned there than some.) China is building a modern military with a specific objective - "re"taking Taiwan. This will not, for a variety of reasons, be the same military that can invade Korea, Japan, or march south to Singapore. It will by necessity be a military that can repulse American attacks, but there is no sign of Chinese carriers bombing Pearl Harbor. Not just "no sign in the near or mid-future", no sign at all.

Now, after China were to theoretically retake Taiwan, there would be opportunities to build a larger Navy and Air Force with more offensive capability. But that's literally so far in the future it is barely worth thinking about. Especially when America is already losing two wars while spending a half trillion dollars a year.

1 comment:

Jan_ from_ BruceCounty said...

And the fact that China, philosophically and culturally, believes in "PEACEFUL RISING." When we read anothers cultural through our own cultural lens, we make mistakes about their intentions. Thinking within the context of "peaceful rising" gives way to their growing economic clout on the world stage. The states won't attack China, because China is the biggest holder of American debts bonds - one does not bite the hand that feeds you. The American economy would tank if China called it on its debts. Of course, China would not do this because, by buying this debt, it keeps the USA economy humming for more Chinese goods, so they have a symbiotic relationship.
If you are unsure about China's military intentions, look to history for a road map.