So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
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03-09-2015, 02:33 PM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
(03-09-2015 01:40 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(03-09-2015 01:15 PM)yakherder Wrote:  What's most troubling about China right now, however, is it's ability to fuel and manage proxy wars. Why risk a direct confrontation with someone when they already have a bunch of enemies for you to arm and train? This isn't meant as a jab against China, we've done and do the same thing. They're just better at it, partially due to the fact that they don't have to answer to the judgement of their own population in the same was as we do. It's just strategy. There's no right and wrong here, just our interests and theirs, and they happen to be in conflict with each other. In that other thread when I said "we should invade Mexico and South America because China," I was only half joking. They've effectively taken over South America politically over the last decade and a half, giving them a platform to send all sorts of shit our way without us being able to pin anything on them to the extent that it would satisfy our black and white interpretation of law and what is required in order to serve as justification to defend oneself. The world is changing, and we're not changing with it.

The irony of using South America as a proxy for political and military influence is a bit much, no? It's like they read all the books Noam Chomsky wrote, detailing the way the USA behaved from the 1950s-2000s in South and Central America, using them as proxies for our anti-Soviet ideologies, and China thought, "Hey, we can do that even better than they can!"

There wouldn't be nearly the same opening if the US hadn't behaved as it did, mind; it wasn't exactly a great way to build lasting relationships.

(03-09-2015 01:40 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  And I disagree that we can take them in a fight. Their 10,000 "special forces" soldiers are part of a ~250,000 soldier "modern" army, based on c3i and mobility and the latest tech... the other million or so are fodder, but it means they can be used in large numbers to guard valuable territory on the defensive. Even so, the power of their AF over short ranges and their ability to ward off our carrier fleets means that they will be able to refuse our resupply, mobile force deployements, and c3i efforts to a larger degree. Battlefield Air Interdiction as a way of effectively pinning and decimating a superior land force is a technique we showed the world in 1991 and again in 2003. If we fight China somewhere they have to reach out as far as we do, like Guam or the Spratlys (~1000 nm) then yes I think we can take them, but no way if it comes to Taiwan or, say, a march on Singapore.

It would obviously depend on the parameters, but really, the problem for the Chinese is that all of their theoretical opponents are in no position to be isolated. Korea, Japan, and the Philippines have binding mutual defense treaties with the US, the Vietnamese hate them but think the Filipinos and Japanese would make pretty good friends, Malaysia and Singapore have plenty of their own bilateral arrangements with the US plus the UK and Australia, and Singapore's been courting India like mad for the last 15 years.

Between that and the looming demographic situation I'd sure hate to be top Chinese brass if the Politburo came to me with any "big" ideas.

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04-09-2015, 12:09 AM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
(03-09-2015 02:33 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It would obviously depend on the parameters, but really, the problem for the Chinese is that all of their theoretical opponents are in no position to be isolated. Korea, Japan, and the Philippines have binding mutual defense treaties with the US, the Vietnamese hate them but think the Filipinos and Japanese would make pretty good friends, Malaysia and Singapore have plenty of their own bilateral arrangements with the US plus the UK and Australia, and Singapore's been courting India like mad for the last 15 years.

Between that and the looming demographic situation I'd sure hate to be top Chinese brass if the Politburo came to me with any "big" ideas.

Totally agree, in terms of the defensive alliances against them. And a big part of the reason Singapore's been courting India like mad has exactly to do with the probability that at some point, those two powers (China and India) are going to want control of those straits, and they'd better have a partner to help them defend it. Australia can't do it, with 12 frigates and less than 100 fighters, total, none of which are fifth-generation (they're in process of buying F-35s from the USA, but still will only have a handful). The UK has next to no ability to base out of that area, and few forces that could handle that task, while even the USA would be hard-pressed unless we could stage out of Japan (debatable!) or the Philippines, which still would press our fighters to the limit to even reach targets.

And while I agree that I'd hate to be in the shoes of any Chinese brass who're tasked with something like that, it begs the question of why China is upgrading its land, air, and naval forces almost as fast as it is humanly possible to do outside of wartime unless they foresee some such conflict. Fifth-generation fighters and long-range ballistic carrier-killer rockets aren't really necessary, if their only intent is to fight defensively against an invasion.

And as Yakherder pointed out, their financial/diplomatic actions in South America, Africa, and parts of central Asia have been interesting to watch, as it seems to be similar to what the USA did in the decades when we were asserting hegemonic control over the globe in the wake of WW2 and during the Cold War. The reason we did it (however you feel about it) was obvious; if you are not of the opinion that China is a threat, it begs the question of why they'd waste more effort than it takes to simply secure business deals that ensure their supply of needed resources. They are making a play for empire, which I'm sure they'd prefer to accomplish without force, but which they appear to clearly be prepared to employ force to attain.

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04-09-2015, 12:46 AM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
(03-09-2015 01:40 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  If we fight China somewhere they have to reach out as far as we do, like Guam or the Spratlys (~1000 nm) then yes I think we can take them, but no way if it comes to Taiwan or, say, a march on Singapore.

I think a march on Singapore would be an onerous task for China. In such a drive, control of the sea (and that means control of the air, far from friendly bases for them) would be crucial, and while I don't doubt that the Chinese soldier is up to the task of such a long campaign, air support would be difficult in part because of terrain and in part because carrier groups, mobile as they are, would play a key role.

This doesn't even account for the difficult terrain they'd have to traverse, nor dealing with the interposing armies. The Vietnamese in particular could play havoc on their supply-lines, and I think would happily do so, given historical relations.

Taiwan is what they're gearing up for, I think.
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04-09-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
China beats USA ... spells end times for Jesus.

Strikes me as a good trade.

Go China!

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04-09-2015, 09:17 AM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
(04-09-2015 12:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Totally agree, in terms of the defensive alliances against them. And a big part of the reason Singapore's been courting India like mad has exactly to do with the probability that at some point, those two powers (China and India) are going to want control of those straits, and they'd better have a partner to help them defend it. Australia can't do it, with 12 frigates and less than 100 fighters, total, none of which are fifth-generation (they're in process of buying F-35s from the USA, but still will only have a handful). The UK has next to no ability to base out of that area, and few forces that could handle that task, while even the USA would be hard-pressed unless we could stage out of Japan (debatable!) or the Philippines, which still would press our fighters to the limit to even reach targets.

Indeed. To a very rough approximation, Darwin, Zhanjiang, and Port Blair are at about a 4:3:2 ratio, in terms of distance, discounting Manila. But the only way the Japanese got to Malaya in 41 was by staging out of occupied Saigon. Obviously it's a heck of a different game with much fancier toys nowadays, but having to sail past hundreds of kilometres of potentially hostile coastline hasn't gotten any more fun than it ever was.

Don't get me started on the epic boondoggle that is the F-35. The French offered us Rafales on a golden platter and we still can't make up our minds...

(04-09-2015 12:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  And while I agree that I'd hate to be in the shoes of any Chinese brass who're tasked with something like that, it begs the question of why China is upgrading its land, air, and naval forces almost as fast as it is humanly possible to do outside of wartime unless they foresee some such conflict. Fifth-generation fighters and long-range ballistic carrier-killer rockets aren't really necessary, if their only intent is to fight defensively against an invasion.

Why did the Kaiser want a world-class navy?
(or the Great White Fleet, for that matter...)

(04-09-2015 12:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  And as Yakherder pointed out, their financial/diplomatic actions in South America, Africa, and parts of central Asia have been interesting to watch, as it seems to be similar to what the USA did in the decades when we were asserting hegemonic control over the globe in the wake of WW2 and during the Cold War. The reason we did it (however you feel about it) was obvious; if you are not of the opinion that China is a threat, it begs the question of why they'd waste more effort than it takes to simply secure business deals that ensure their supply of needed resources. They are making a play for empire, which I'm sure they'd prefer to accomplish without force, but which they appear to clearly be prepared to employ force to attain.

cf the Delians and the Peloponnesians. It's the same things everybody's always wanted: as much power, wealth, and influence as possible. You can't get those without at least posturing for hardball.

If Brazil's pro-US, does it matter if the Chinese run Ecuador? If ECOWAS is pro-EU, does it matter if the Chinese run Tanzania? In the 1950s the United States was the world's biggest economy by an order of magnitude. That much relative dominance is impossible to maintain.
(I am certainly not saying there aren't a lot of important interests worth defending, mind)

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04-09-2015, 09:26 AM
RE: So... how 'bout that South China Sea eh?
(04-09-2015 12:46 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  Taiwan is what they're gearing up for, I think.

It's about the only plausible target.

Not that "surely the decadent western capitalists will never have the will to die for foreigners half the planet away" worked out too well last time.

Not that anyone has to be planning for anything, necessarily. There were dozens of major international crises in the years up to 1914; only crackpots and hardliners actually wanted conflict, but so long as it's possible you've got to roll the dice each time, and eventually you might get snake eyes.

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