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11:27AM

The latest US missile defense announcement re: Asia

What to say?  WSJ says US is planning yet another "major expansion of missile defenses" in Asia.

The excuse continues to be North Korea, but that's a lot of money for just the DPRK.

"The focus of our rhetoric is North Korea," said Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service . . . "The reality is that we're also looking longer term at the elephant in the room, which is China."

As usual, I ask you to consider the reverse scenario:  China placing missile defense systems around the perimeter of the United States so it could maintain "access" for its carriers and their air wings.  Imagine the Congressional hearings on that one.

But we are only being prudent while the Chinese are being aggressive.  After all, it's East Asia, where the U.S. military has long ruled as de facto Leviathan.  We did this so powers could rise peacefully - through economics, which China most certainly has (how many wars has China fought since 1980 versus the United States?), but China grows it's military quite a bit, even as observers might note just how much bigger the US defense budget has become over the same time period (let's say the US has increased its budget by $500m since 1990 and China has probably jacked its budget up by about $125).

From Wikipedia

Yes, no doubt that China is spending plenty to make it hard for the US to get in close, and that worries its neighbors.

But you really have to ask, is this an arms race we can expect to afford - much less win?  Their neighborhood: we can plant plenty of defense systems, they can stock up on plenty more missiles, but what is the end-point here?

We spent decades encouraging the peaceful rise of Asia writ large, and now we flood the place with weaponry? Triggering a race dynamic with China?

Makes you wonder where our mil-mil could be if not for the Taiwan situation holding it back all these years.

 

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    Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - Blog - The latest US missile defense announcement re: Asia
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    Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - Blog - The latest US missile defense announcement re: Asia
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    Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - Blog - The latest US missile defense announcement re: Asia
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    Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - Blog - The latest US missile defense announcement re: Asia

Reader Comments (4)

I´ m not sure if this missile defense is just another Reaganlike Starwars utopia or a successful weapon system like the B-2.Does it work? Till now many tests just failed and those not failing were tests where the US military knew before the tests in which directions the test rockets were flying.In addition there are a lot of ways to counter the missile defense.But China could also react in another way and install 500 instead of 20 ICBMs--to become so powerful as Russia.It seems to me that in qusetions of Airsea Battle, Joint Operational Access Concept and missile defense there seems to be a bipartisan consensus in military affairs between the two big parties in the USA, the Democrats and the Republicans. In economic affairs there seems to be a bipartisan consensus and bipartisan stagnation: Obamas Transpacific Partnership Programme (TPP) is a regression of the former APEC. Japan and Southkorea have shown no willingness to join TPP and China was not even invited.The APEC is in stagnation.While there are no US initiatives to revive APEC or to make a transpacific energy cooperation as Tom Barnett proposed (fracking revolution and renewable energies), China, Japan, Southkorea and the ASEAN are thinking about creating a giant free trade zone, the Asian states founded an Asian Monetary Fund and China and Japan signed a currency swap agreement.I don´t see an alternative in Mitt Romney as he declared that Obama would be "soft on China".The USA seem to be stuck in their own protectionist swamp and compenate this by military strength.

August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

At some point, a US president is going to make the same offer on missile defense that Reagan made to the Soviets. With the Indian missile test demonstrating New Delhi's capability ability to reach Beijing I wonder if China will agree to the deal?

August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTMLutas

TMLutas: Very interesting idea: ASB, Missile defense, a US forewardbased nuclear base like India and the Chinese will surrender and make a compromise. Let´s see if they will do. I never understood how the Sowjets could surrender to SDI. Maybe Airlandbattle and NSC-directive 57 (limited nuclear wars)were more convincing.However, the Chinese could increase their number of ICBMs.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

Am feeling the need to vent, apologies in advance.

Even as I agree with this post, I can't help thinking it illustrates the big problem with the defense spending debate at the moment--it's all about the money. One side wants to protect or expand defense contracts, the other wants to spend money somewhere else. Aside from the tangential debate over China (one side's excuse vs the other side calling dangerous BS), not much debate about what our future needs are or our abilities at present, just assumptions which can be challenged either way.

The odd thing is, such debates wouldn't be that hard. Instead of arguing over what price tag to put on the Army of the future, for example, why not look at what we have now? As Afghanistan rolls down, a lot of soldiers are going to want out of military life. More of them will need to leave whether they like it or not--they shouldn't have been recruited in the first place or are burned out by repeat deployments. That leaves capable combat veterans who are willing to make a career of it; the foreseeable future Army's officers and cadre. Your recruitment levels are set by the number of new recruits those vets can train and lead. There's your Army size: What can be done with it?

Focus on money, you risk losing people - or equipment, like specialized ships- who can't be brought back easily, if at all, or relying in part of people who are better off in civilian life and equipment that we can't build properly yet (LCS and JSF coming to mind).

Venting done. Time to watch the Daily Show.

September 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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