This post was removed in deference to its reposting at Time's Battleland blog on 7 August 2012.
I remember watching the combat footage from the Falklands War. The Argentine air force gave the Brits a real scare. Missiles slammed into British ships and things could have been much worse had the Argentine ordinance proved more reliable. A number of direct hits by 500 lb (dumb bombs) were negated when the bombs failed to explode. The United States Navy does not want to admit that big surface ships are very slow lumbering targets. Nuclear torpedoes and tactical missiles have changed the game. The Army has modernized at a much faster pace than the Navy. The concept of massive "Corps" with Divisions of infantry has been replaced with fast maneuver brigades. We have been beating up on 3rd world countries for too long. We really have not been in a fight with a formidable sea power since WWII.
P.S. As an old field artillery man I never did believe the Navy's claim that naval gunfire was the most accurate.
Though much smaller in scope and significantly less dangerous, your post reminded me of the efforts to create the Cross Florida Barge Canal. This was the dream of big landowners and contractors who found argument after argument to use taxpayer money to buy land and dredge a canal across the state. It was finally defunded under Nixon, but ecological relics exist today along with concrete structures in the middle of nowwhere.
That sounds wonderful. Just let China grab the West Philippine sea from VietNam and the Philippines, because China knows that no one will stop her.The Chinese is increasing their military, and gee, nothing like a small war with an "aggressive" Philippines to distract the populace from the corruption and the economic problems.
Who is going to back the law of the sea that they signed? Who will enforce the 200 mile "economic zone"? The ASEAN debacle shows us that organization is meaningless. The UN? Don't make me laugh.
The Philippines is being threatened because we are the weakest link, and without American protection, we are sitting ducks. Raise the stakes a bit and we are safe.
Vietnam is "safe" because although they "lost" their last war with China, the Chinese took many many casualties, something that wouldn't be covered up in today's tweet era.
But the Philippines? No problem. They bribed Arroyo to look the other way, but Aquino is clean, so they are now pushing around fishermen within our 300 km economic zone...and getting away with it because they know Obama will do nothing.
For an amusing contrast, compare this article from Wired's "Danger Room" blog, "North Korea Invades America in Dumbest Movie Ever".
To quote: "As originally written, the relaunched 'Red Dawn' was only slightly less silly. The bad guys were Chinese. And while China has no discernible intention of invading anyone, much less the U.S., Beijing at least commands a $7.3-trillion economy and an increasingly modern, two-million-man army. But it’s bad business to portray one of the world’s fastest growing film markets as brutal world conquerors, so the producers swapped in North Korea, a country no one counts on for ticket sales."
I guess it's getting really hard to find suitable cinematic enemies these days...
I always respect, appreciate and enjoy your analysis, and I am honored to be under your tutelage at Wikistrat, but I would respectfully like to take issue with two related lines from two of your blog posts, one from this current post and one from your post entitled, "Chart of the Day: North Korean mobiles" from 08/02/12.
The first line from the North Korea post last week with which I would like to take issue is: "That way, we can all get jacked about arresting fishermen in the South China Sea, pretending it serves as prelude to a high-tech war with China."
The second line from today's post is: "And when the right Vietnamese fisherman is arrested, well . . . hell, man! We'll be ready for World War III."
I believe that I have pretty good understanding of your viewpoint and Grand Strategy, and I would agree that the economic inter-connectivity between the U.S. and China will likely ultimately prevent military conflict between the two countries.
Furthermore, I am an admitted card-carrying member of the Military-Industrial Complex.
However, my point is that if you have family members in Vietnam, as do I, then China's belligerence in the South China Sea takes on a completely different context. As I have written elsewhere, the Vietnamese government and the Vietnamese people, including the global diaspora, have tied the South China Sea issue to their historical struggles for independence, and have linked current disputes with China to Vietnam's pantheon of legendary generals from the past several millennia that includes many who earned their stripes through defeating and expelling Chinese invaders; including, as you know, as recently as 1979.
And I am not saying that there will necessarily be a great power "high-tech war" or "World War III" between the U.S. and China, but sometimes a country needs to defend its allies and emerging allies (as Vietnam is an emerging ally of the U.S.) no matter the cost/benefit, simply because it is the right thing to do.
For an additional follow-up comment, my wife (who is originally from Vietnam), daughter and I have sat and played in the sand on Vietnam's beaches in South China Sea, and my extended family (my in-laws live in Saigon) have taken overnight cruises in Ha Long Bay in the South China Sea.
Therefore, all I am saying is that my analysis of Vietnam is firsthand and very personal, and the disputes in the South China Sea are not simply some sort of academic exercise for me.
Debating Airsea Batlle, I recommend Kissingers epilogue in his book "On China". He warns the USA and the triumphalists in China not to perceive another like the Crow memorandum of the British Empire was perceiving Imperial Germany. Kiisnger warns not of a selfserving MIC fantasy, but a selffulfilling prophecy.However I would be interested what Kissinger thinks of Airsea Battle. Does he perceive it as a new Crowe meomorandum or would he say it´s good for the power eliquibrium in Asia, the balance of power between the USA and China? However: The Chinese side says that the bad thing on Air Sea Battle is not the military aspect, but the political implications which are preventing strategic trust between the USA and China.China doesn´t fear the US military, but more the political sied effects of this new concept.
Two articles for your perusal;StrategyPage on China's slow grab of the region: LINK
and Global Security on the shipping lanes that go through the region: LINK
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