Receive "The World According to Tom Barnett" Brief
Where I Work
Search the Site
Buy Tom's Books
  • Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 1): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Emily V. Barnett
Monthly Archives
Powered by Squarespace
« WIKISTRAT's "CoreGap Weekly Bulletin" (#2) | Main | Chinese military threat skyrockets just as Gates previews his defense cuts! Eta nye slyuchaina! »
4:13PM

Much better, less hyped NYT piece on same reporting (Chinese stealth fighter captured . . . on film!)

Sorry, but China on the brain.  Spent half-hour taping today at WFYI (local PBS) for NPR's "All Things Considered" weekend show (based on my recent China-focused Esquire article).  I will be interspliced with the eminently sensible Jim Fallows and Gideon (Mr. Zerosum!) Rachman.

Just had to include this piece from the NYT because the same story in the WSJ (see below) just set me off a bit.

Best bits here:

First, from VADM Dorsett, who's the N2/6 (or combo intell and info dominance guy):

Still, a top Navy intelligence officer told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the United States should not overestimate Beijing’s military prowess and that China had not yet demonstrated an ability to use its different weapons systems together in proficient warfare. The officer, Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, said that although China had developed some weapons faster than the United States expected, he was not alarmed over all.

“Have you seen them deploy large groups of naval forces?” he said. “No. Have we seen large, joint, sophisticated exercises? No. Do they have any combat proficiency? No.”

Admiral Dorsett said that even though the Chinese were planning sea trials on a “used, very old” Russian aircraft carrier this year and were intent on building their own carriers as well, they would still have limited proficiency in landing planes on carriers and operating them as part of larger battle groups at sea.

That guy is sensible.

Then this bit from the Chinese side:

In an interview on Wednesday, a leading Chinese expert on the military, Zhu Feng, said he viewed some claims of rapid progress on advanced weapons as little more than puffery.

“What’s the real story?” he asked in a telephone interview. “I must be very skeptical. I see a lot of vast headlines with regards to weapons procurement. But behind the curtain, I see a lot of wasted money — a lot of ballooning, a lot of exaggeration.”

Mr. Zhu, who directs the international security program at Peking University, suggested that China’s military establishment — not unlike that in the United States — was inclined to inflate threats and exaggerate its progress in a continual bid to win more influence and money for its favored programs.

Ouch!  Very ouch!

Nicely reported and written piece.  Makes me feel sad for the WSJ (see below), and makes me wonder if Murdoch's influence is weakening its objectivity.

I especially agree with the NYT citation from the expert that this sort of military porn is China's preferred deterrence.  I think that's a brilliant conclusion:

It is the J-20, a radar-evading jet fighter that has the same two angled tailfins that are the trademark of the Pentagon’s own stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor. After years of top-secret development, the jet — China’s first stealth plane — was put through what appear to be preliminary, but also very public, tests this week on the runway of the Aviation Design Institute in Chengdu, a site so open that aircraft enthusiasts often gather there to snap photos.

Some analysts say the timing is no coincidence. “This is their new policy of deterrence,” Andrei Chang, the Hong Kong editor in chief of the Canadian journal Kanwa Defense Weekly, who reported the jet’s tests, said Wednesday. “They want to show the U. S., show Mr. Gates, their muscle.”

Think about it:  they put together a plane that looks just like ours.  Can it get any more obvious?

Now, whether it operates as well as ours . . . that's a VERY different question.

Again, great piece.

Reader Comments (8)

Over on the financial blogs, including my fav, The Big Picture http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/
They've been decrying the hype content in the WSJ for some time now. No surprise that it's the same low standard on other sectors of their reporting.

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjnutley

We are approaching a similar situation to Korea - where our systems and technology will be roughly similar to China's. The difference, especially in the air and on the sea, will be training as the VADM pointed out. The problem with this theory is that numbers still matter... even a poorly trained force can win against a well trained force if you have enough numbers. I'm not worried about conflict with China now... the problem is that China is still run by the Communist party with the consent of the PLA. If they suffer a serious economic decline, the results could be difficult to predict. We need to at least be able to maintain a deterrent against China. Doing so shouldn't prevent us from talking to them... after all, we had the USSR pretty well surrounded and painted as an Evil Empire, but we were still able to hold a dialogue with them....

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCliff

The Soviet Union then, and Russia now, don't comprise a "Trading Partner" equivalent that we have in China, so the two cannot be viewed as the same or comparable.

China should be viewed more or less, at this time as at least, an equal, unless of course, the USA wishes to contract for the Defense of China . . Personally, I don't think we can afford it and if we can't, China doesn't really need to go to great lengths . . A carrier or two, a few stealth fighters, so what? The biggest thing Militarily, China has is an Army, and it's only mobile within it's own country . . Kinda puts a limit on aggression, I would think . .

But this is just my own opinion, influenced to a degree by the Prof. Tom . .

January 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlarge

Didn't Ike tell us about the US folks who wanted to highlight a 'right' type enemy?

They certainly put a more modern spin on the older idea of a 'right enemy' being more
important than a 'right friend.'

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlouis heberlein

Are we not just witnessing the Chinese begin their own journey down the path of the few, expensive and the big.

Great powers rise, and along with them so too do their defence structures, and thusly their military capabilities.

What I fail to see adequately analyses in mainstream media is the actual likelihood of J-20's and F-22/JSF's sparring over the pacific. Me, as per Tom's through line on this topic, don't see it any time soon.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Cockeyed Optimist

And we are off to the arms races! Really, the Chinese have blown it this past year. They unnecessarily stirred up the Indians in Aranchal Perdesh, failed to act as a responsible actor in the United Nations on Iran and North Korea and they completely blew any sense of a peaceful rise in the South China Sea. Now they deliberately roll out a stealth fighter just before the Defense Secretary of the super power comes to visit. Wow, could they screw this up any worse? Good luck next year!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJerry

I agree Jerry. Sloppy, uncoordinated foreign policy by China recently, reflecting growing diversity of place and growing uppitness of military, which needs to be reigned in. I think the succession shift is hurting them some, making them simultaneously too aggressive and too uncoordinated--their version of an "election."

And it's costing them.

Still, to place in context, check out US foreign policy, say, 1895 to get similar sense. They don't like to hear it, but they have serious growing up to do.

January 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterThomas P.M. Barnett

Tom,
With regard to 1895, I am finding that analogy working better and better with each passing day except that when Great Britain passed off the reins to the United States there was a confidence that the international system of system would be managed in a manner similar to the way Britain had been doing it. I am not convinced that China, as it rises, seeks to align itself with the American born system of system , but instead will seek to supplant it with one more in line with their culture and historical view of the world.
Jerry

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJerry

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>