Following a New York Times look at the launching of the Chinese Navy’s first Aircraft Carrier….
I did a piece here about the possible threat to countries bordering the South China Sea and the worry about this to the people in the American Defense Department….
Defense One has a more detailed examination of the Chinese military that confirms concern, but paints the capabilities of the Chinese military are much less then what one might think they are….
Last week’s New York Times offered a breathless take on China’s Navy, noting that its two-carrier fleet is now larger than the United States’ and poised to project power globally. This naval prowess, plus a new generation of accurate land-based anti-ship missiles, create a robust anti-access/area denial capability, which, the Times suggests, means China may “prevail” in a fight with the United States off its coast.
The United States and its Asian allies are “only beginning to digest” the implications of this shift in the “balance of power,” according to the article. That worry fits with Washington’s emergent conventional wisdom, as delivered with varying degrees of explicitness in think tank reports, congressional hearings, and years of reporting. The idea is that China’s military gains undermine the deterrence essential to the U.S. alliance structure in East Asia, which is what ostensibly keeps its peace. China may attack a U.S. ally, gambling that a successful missile attack on a U.S. carrier or destroyer would cause a U.S. military withdrawal, or the United States might effectively abandon its allies to avoid such an attack. It follows that, to maintain stability in Asia, the United States needs to do something radical and expensive—maybe invest more heavily in submarines and long-range strike options, throw money at theater ballistic missile defense, or more.
But the conventional wisdom is unduly alarmist.
China’s gains have upped the cost of going to war against it, but there are several reasons why that shift doesn’t much threaten East Asia’s peace or demand splashy new U.S. military efforts…..
image….AP Photo Kin Cheung