Monday, January 28, 2008

Where are the SSGNs?

The Yomiuri Shimbun recently described Japan's growing concern over China's capability to attack bases in mainland Japan, citing Defense Ministry reports that Chinese jets "were repeatedly approaching Japan--close enough to launch a cruise missile--before returning to Chinese air space." With both Chinese aircraft and submarines being equipped to carry cruise missiles, and the cruise missiles themselves becoming more capable with each passing year, Japan could no longer rely on sheer distance to stand off from China.  "Beijing is believed to have started developing advanced precision-guided missiles with a range of about 3,000 kilometers--a range similar to the U.S. military's Tomahawk cruise missile."

These long range capabilities are in line with what is known about Chinese strategy in the unlikely event of conflict with the United States. A sudden strike at US facilities to even the odds before American reinforcements could be brought in from other theaters. Chinese military planners have described war against the US as akin to " throwing an egg against a rock." If China were to have any chance at all it would have to rely on a surprise attack, counting on the sensitivity of an American public to casualties and the "domestic anti-war cry" movement to prevent any recovery from a sudden blow, according to the US Air Force Aimpoints magazine.



Striking U.S. air bases — specifically command-and-control facilities, aircraft hangars and surface-to-air missile launchers — would be China’s first priority if a conflict arose, according to [a Rand] report. U.S. facilities in South Korea and Japan, even far-south Okinawa, sit within what Rand calls the “Dragon’s Lair”: a swath of land and sea along China’s coast. This is an area reachable by cruise missiles, jet-borne precision bombs and local covert operatives. China is designing ground-launched cruise missiles capable of nailing targets more than 900 miles away — well within striking range of South Korea and much of Japan, according to the report. Cruise missiles able to reach Okinawa — home to Kadena Air Base — are in development.

The threat to US installations in the region would be complemented by attempts to neutralize US aircraft carriers. The Kyodo News Service reported that on November 23, 2007, a Chinese submarine and destroyer shadowed the USS Kitty Hawk while it was en route back to Japan after being denied entry into Hong Kong "causing the group to halt and ready for battle." Although the entire incident was later dismissed as a misunderstanding the point had been made that even aircraft carriers were not safe while within striking distance of China's increasingly long arm.

But declining ship numbers were forcing the USN to deploy its vessels forward in order to remain effective. The Navy "has accepted the inevitable budget realities that it is no longer possible to have a 55 SSN fleet and that numbers will decline with decommissioning to 42 in coming years." To make up for declining numbers, naval units will have to be based as close as feasible to points in South East Asia and the Indian Ocean for them to be effective -- that is within range of China's burgeoning navy and its new, long-ranged weapons.

One weapons system which reduces the Navy's vulnerability to a surprise attack are its new SSGNs, consisting 4 submarines of the Ohio class. Converted from their former Cold War configurations as seagoing nuclear deterrents, these ships have been recast as extremely potent strike platforms. Armed with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles each or varying combinations of missiles, UAVs and decoys, they can constitute an assured second strike capability. An article on the Navy's website describes their role succinctly: to serve as invulnerable strike platforms which cannot be taken out by surprise attack. "In crisis and transition to war, when air dominance and surface superiority are not assured, an SSGN can serve as a stealthy strike platform that could operate independently in denied areas, no matter who dominates the air or surface battle space."

In its "Maximum Strike" configuration with 154 TLAM missiles, a single SSGN provides striking power almost equal to the 120 to 180 TLAMs normally carried by all the ships in the typical carrier battle group (CVBG) deployed to the Arabian Gulf. ... SSGNs in the "Strike/SOF" configurations (with 66 SOF personnel and as many as 140 TLAMs) could operate covertly in close proximity to an enemy coast to perform multiple surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions for 90 days or more. ... Two SSGNs, each manned by two crews, could provide continuous presence in any theater, ready to launch their 154 TLAMs 365 days a year, and thus preclude redeployment of assets from other theaters to cover contingency requirements. This advantage will assume increased importance with any further decline in overall Navy force levels.

As the Defense Industry Daily observed, "in the past, when trouble struck in a global hotspot, it has been said that one of the first questions an American President asks has been 'Where are the carriers?' In future, that question may often change to 'Where are the Tactical Tridents?'" But since the SSGNs are subs, that is for the USN to know and others to find out. No one will be asking themselves this question more keenly than the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). As China's overseas trade and appetite for imported energy have increased, the PLAN faces the challenge of securing its vital sea lanes from blockade. It is a daunting task. The PLAN's naval bases are masked from the open sea by Korea, Japan, Okinawa and Taiwan. In other words, they are covered by a string of American allies or bases -- and now the SSGNs.

It is unlikely that China will throw "an egg against a rock" any time soon except by miscalculation. But as its energy needs grow so will its strategic predicament. Without a secure energy lifeline beyond the reach of a USN strangulation, China's economy would be hostage to naval action. In reality America is unlikely to throttle one of its major trading partners. But it could. And that probably makes China's leaders uncomfortable. The Jamestown Foundation writes that China understands its strategic problem clearly. Already worried by a string of American bases off its coast, Beijing became even more nervous when the events in the Middle East brough a "strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 60% of its energy needs." With America in Afghanistan and Pakistan, China imagined the U.S. extending "its reach into Asian nations that ring western China. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies." To break the encirclement, China decided to focus its efforts on Central and South Asia. The Great Game, traditionally played on land, spilled over into the sea at an unlikely place called Gwadar. Gwadar was a sleepy port, "located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the Strait of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf." (Lat 25.1917° Long 64.6204°) It is located along a stretch of Baluchistan province some distance West from Karachi, which has been periodically menaced by the Indian Navy. This port is being developed by an astounding amount of Chinese money. And with good reason. As Wikipedia writes:

The significance of Gwadar is great to both Pakistan and China. Pakistan will be able to have a strategic depth southwest from its naval base in Karachi that has long been vulnerable to blockade by the Indian Navy. China is going to be the beneficiary of Gwadar's most accessible international trade routes to the Central Asian republics and Xinjiang. By extending its East-West Railway from the Chinese border city of Kashi to Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest, Beijing can receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route, from Karachi to Peshawar.The rail network could also be used to supply oil from the Persian Gulf to Xinjiang. ...

The construction of the Gwadar deep-sea port is just one component of a larger development plan which includes building a network of roads connecting Gwadar with the rest of Pakistan, such as the 650 km Coastal Highway to Karachi and the Gwadar-Turbat road (188 km). This network of roads connects with China through the Indus Highway. Pakistan, China, Kazakhistan, Kyrgizstan and Uzbekistan are developing extensive road and rail links from Central Asia and the Chinese province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea coast.

China for understandable reasons, must regard USN deployments aimed at controlling the Indian Ocean and the China Sea as a limitation on its freedom of action. Seapower acts not simply as a brake upon Beijing's ambitions on Taiwan, but a fundamental constraint on its ambitions as a great power. The rise of China's economy and its consequent dependence on foreign trade and energy cannot but remind Beijing daily that each ship and tanker which reaches its ports arrived by leave of the USN. In any crisis involving the two countries, the first questions not just the American President but the Chinese leadership will ask will be: 'Where are the carriers? Where are the SSGNs?'.



31 Comments:

Blogger RWE said...

What I find particularly intriguing is the incorporation of special ops SEAL team deployment capabilities on some of the USN Fleet Ballistic Missile subs.

Just what these would be used for has not been explained as far as I know, but it does bring to mind some Tom Clancyish images.

1/28/2008 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

We've moved into the ME because of the Islamists.

Anything that China does to make it harder to deal with those, may tweak our nose, but it means we'll be in the ME all that much longer.

Ya pays your money, and takes your choice.

1/28/2008 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

"If China were to have any chance at all it would have to rely on a surprise attack, counting on the sensitivity of an American public to casualties and the "domestic anti-war cry" movement to prevent any recovery from a sudden blow, according to the US Air Force Aimpoints magazine.

A surprise attack would have the effect of making us very mad, and the "anti-war" crowd wouldn't be paid much attention to. And some of the attention they'd attract in such circumstances would be ... very hostile.

1/28/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Two SSGNs, each manned by two crews, could provide continuous presence in any theater, ready to launch their 154 TLAMs 365 days a year

This ought to give Beijing's Mandarins some fits and starts.

The rise of China's economy and its consequent dependence on foreign trade and energy cannot but remind Beijing daily that each ship and tanker which reaches its ports arrived by leave of the USN.

The same goes for Gwadar. By trying to modernize, China now has everything to lose. It cannot have things both ways. Growth brings increased vulnerability. Somehow, China must have it spelled out that no amount of weapons will render it immune from the consequences of its own aggression.

It is rather easy to think that Bejing still retains a fondness for Stalin's observation that: "Quantity has a quality all its own." Their massive military buildup of conventional weapons surely indicates this. The redeployment of American nuclear submarines as conventional weapons platforms is a stroke of genius and a clear warning to Beijing that preemption still carries a stiff price tag.

1/28/2008 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger PapaBear said...

If China were to have any chance at all it would have to rely on a surprise attack, counting on the sensitivity of an American public to casualties and the "domestic anti-war cry" movement to prevent any recovery from a sudden blow

In 1941, the Japanese relied upon the exact same line of reasoning.

China should heed the lesson

1/28/2008 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

One thing I have said before to people who think the US is over-extended militarily is that the US has the ability to "draft" Japan by [partially] withdrawing from North Pacific.

1/28/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Would the US put Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles at risk of a retaliatory strike by launching 154 TLAMs against Chinese targets?

A retaliatory strike is a capacity the Japanese did not have, in 1941 or 1945.

It's now a MAD world.
Who thinks they could better survive a nuclear exchange?
Who would run the risk?

Which side expended almost 1 million KIA in Korea?
Which side started to balk before the 4,000 KIA level was reached in Iraq?

Johnnie is marching home, hoorah hoorah!
30,000 more US troops home by the 4th of July! 5,000 have already left!
Sharia rules in Basra!

Would President Billary or Obama take that risk, for Taipai or Tokyo?
Trade either of them in a tit for tat, for San Fransisco and Seattle, after those foreign cities were already lost?

Likely not.

Take the time, read elijah's link from RAND. It's a brave new world.

1/28/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Bugs said...

After 9-11, I seriously doubt the country's ability to respond in any meaningful way to any kind of attack. A significant percentage of our population will demand immediate capitulation to prevent further casualties; a further percentage will want to take the issue to the United Nations for reasoned discussion; and more will argue that a national unification of effort to defend the country amounts to fascism. If the response to 9-11 is any clue to our national character, another foreign attack will merely have the effect of setting our various factions at each others' throats again. I think the Chinese, with a clever strategy, superior numbers, and a strong national will, could walk all over the United States

1/28/2008 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

China, Nuclear Weapons, and the Vietnam War
U.S. State Department, Office of Politico-Military Affairs, Memorandum for the Record, "Discussion with Mr. Rice on Far East Problems," 26 April 1966

Joint Staff and State Department officials quizzed Edward Rice, a senior China-watcher at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. Wary of the risks of escalation, Rice counseled his audience that "the more we do in North Vietnam … the more risk we run of Chinese intervention." Mao's regime, Rice argued, had enough domestic support to make China "unconquerable on [its] own territory." If the United States used nuclear weapons in a war with China, Beijing was likely to accept "extensive industrial losses rather than capitulate." Taking into account the risk that the Soviets might "respond positively" to Chinese requests for aid, Rice "did not consider Southeast Asia worth getting the US into a nuclear war." In the event his message had not fully sunk in, Rice declared that "the most succinct advice he could give regarding waging war with China is don't."

This was US Policy before China had its' own nuclear capabilities.

US Policy has not gotten more aggresive towards the Chinese Dragon, in the period after they obtained capacity to strike at the US homeland, on their own.

In fact they are now an commercial ally, a Most Favored Nation since Mr Reagan extended that designation in 1979.
It has not been rescinded, since.
With Bush41 renewing MFN the day after the Tiananmen Square incident.

1/28/2008 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Apropos the wall that smashes the egg, I found this review of the new Rambo movie extraordinary.

The writer, Matt Zoller Seitz, is more leftist than not in orientation, but I can't help but think he's put his finger on something when he writes:

Stallone's understanding of the American imagination is reductive, but it's not wrong. The collective longing to relive The Good War has been handed from generation to generation like the gold watch in Pulp Fiction. This nostalgic fantasy is so overwhelming that for days and weeks and years following 9/11, Americans grasped after images that seemed to confirm that the period we'd been jolted into was "our" World War II...

Rambo is America's undying warrior spirit made flesh -- a human incarnation of the "sleeping giant" that Japanese admiral Yamamoto claimed had been awakened by Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor. By defining Rambo this way, and pitting him against murderous, torturing, decadent Others who, unlike Rambo (and us), have no code, no sense of decency, no humanity, this series aims to show that our nation is right even when it's wrong, and that it makes war because it is a righteous warrior nation in a barbarian world. The warrior spirit is America's defining trait, the double helix from which the rest of its character is built. We've come full circle.


That comes surprisingly close to hitting the mark.

American vengeance is a force of nature in the most terrible way.

It wants to be unleashed.

1/28/2008 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Chinese militants can snarl about being dependent on the USN but they cannot do a damn thing about it unless and until China is able to replace the USN as the global policeman. It would take decades of maximum effort to build the institutions and a fleet that could mount a challenge, and would cost far, far more than buying US debt.

China derives a great benefit from the USN because the USN makes a Japanese blue water navy unnecessary. Thousands of years of history are not forgotten in a generation or two.

The Chinese oligarchs are getting filthy rich from international trade and foreign investment in China. They have a lot more to worry about from the hundreds of millions of disenfranchised Chinese in the interior than they do about the loss of pride associated with playing second fiddle to the USN.

1/28/2008 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger herb said...

The Chinese have become us. They are no more interested in war than in pestilence. There is no situation that we would be interested in creating that would make them be willing to give up their wealth (mostly in dollars) in favor of the somewhat unlikely event of seriously damaging the US.

One thing that has sunk in with them in the last 25 years is basic economics, particularly the concept of price.

They may have a few of their military who are interested in throwing their weight around for the sake of pride or face, but the egg aint coming.

I'm curious about the PLN hierarchy's internal reaction to the HK visit incident. I expect that there was some career counseling that took place because of the capability comparisons discussed here. These people aren't a bunch of warlords. They're pros. Pros don't suicide.

1/28/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"it does bring to mind some Tom Clancyish images."

Funny you should say that. I'm just now re-reading "Debt of Honor" (after which I suppose I'll be sucked into "Executive Decision", since that's the kind of reader I am). Substitute the Chinese for the Japanese, change a few details and update some of the early-90s tech, and the story could be hauntingly real.

I also re-read "SSN" recently. I suspect that would also be a possible situation in the years to come, with most of the same details in place. Though I doubt a single sub is going to take down most of their fleet singlehandedly, of course. Heh.

1/28/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger submandave said...

rwe: The topic at hand are the converted Fleet Ballistic Missile subs (SSBN) that are now designated SSGN. They have SOF capabilities along with their TLAM load. The SSBNs are still doing what they've always done, stay out, stay hidden and stay ready to smack back if needed. This, larryd, is precisely why PRC is very unlikely to escalate any convetional TLAM employment with a strategic stike against US targets.

1/28/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger submandave said...

Oops, I meant desert rat, not larryd. Sorry for the bad rap, larry.

1/28/2008 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Sort of like the point I raised in an earlier thread about the vulnerability of Diego Garcia (and our many assets there) as a strategic linchpin...

I wonder if a surprise attack on an overseas base *not* on US soil (as Pearl Harbor *was*) would give the anti-war left enough cover to make a weak US prez respond only symbolically, by painting US counterattacks on Chinese installations (almost by nature on Chinese soil) as disproportionate reponse, dangerous escalation.

Even if it wouldn't actually work, might the Chinese make the mistake in thinking it would? That's the kind of miscalculation that worries me.

FWIW a Chinese naval base in Pakistan would only raise the relevance of Diego Garcia, particularly if they wanted to (needed to) play tit-for-tat or "chicken" with oil supply lines.

P.S. Surely Pakistan's Islamists would take a dim view of getting into bed into with the 3rd string Satan? Or would "enemy of my enemy" trump that for now?

1/28/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

BTW, how many of the SSGN conversions are actually complete?

1/28/2008 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is unlikely to happen, on either side, subman.

It is unlikely the Chinese attack ANY US asset. But not as unlikely that some activity occurs over Taipai.

If there were any aggression, which would be unlikely, it'd be conventional. What the US would do, dependent upon the President at the time.

But the idea that the US would tempt escalation over an internal Chinese problem, even less than unlikely.

We do have a one China policy.
As Mr Bush made clear in 2005
US President George W. Bush said on Nov.8 that the United States will adhere to its one-China policy and does not support "Taiwan independence."

"Our policy has been consistent from day one, which is one China, three commmuniques and that we do not support independence (of Taiwan)," Bush told Xinhua in a round-table interview with Asian reporters at the White House before his trip to Asia.


All a matter of spin and propaganda. If Mr Bush sees Taiwan as part of China, so will Mr Obama or Billary.

As for "Rambo" and the US eager to be unleashed, "Meet the Spartans" beat it, head to head, at the box office. The market being more exemplary of the current US populous than the projections of some movie goers.

1/28/2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the Tiananmen Square incident did not invalidate Chinas' MFN status, the Chinese taking a rouge province to task will not be allowed to escalate into a war with the US. Not by US, anyway.

It could become a cause to question Chinas' MFN designation, but then again, maybe not.

1/28/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Aristides, read Walter Russell Meade's The Jacksonian Tradition.

The Jacksonians are still in the majority, overall, and an attack on US soil, or a major attack on US personnel or military, will get them riled up, again.

When the Jacksonians want to go to war, the US goes to war. The politician who doesn't understand that had better have safe seat in moonbat territory, otherwise they'll be swept from office.

And Jacksonians have this honor code, while Tiananmen Square was clearly an internal incident, Taiwan is an ally we have promised to defend, regardless of what politicians say about "one China".

1/28/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kouba said...

The Quadrennial Defense Review had a perhaps not entirely subtle message to China that the US would stand by Japan.

1/28/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Why think inside a box? Perhaps China's PALN or a faction therein will launch a surprise attack -- against the US West Coast.

Arguments in favor of that:

1. It would eliminate most of the US Naval capacity in reserve in the Pacific, and allow follow-on attacks close in.

2. No one would expect it, so far East.

3. Causing civilian damages might induce the US to surrender quickly.

4. It would avoid Yamamoto's mistake.

5. China might even gain Hawaii and other US territory in such an attack, given a predicted US surrender. Allowing land and (women) for it's surplus male population who are a source of instability.

I would not rule out such an attack since China is factionalized, filled with people in leadership positions that do not know the US very well beyond what they see on CNN International, and has ambitious young men filled with an aggrieved sense of nationalism.

Any such an attack on the US West Coast would very likely sweep away Dems for generations and provoke Americans to a massive re-arming and a fairly massive conventional war under Jacksonian terms.

1/28/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

Whiskey:
It would be very difficult to limit such an attack to the SFO/Berkeley/ContraCosta area. We might lose some Americans

1/28/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

bugs,

"A significant percentage of our population will demand immediate capitulation to prevent further casualties"

At what point would they simply become targets for those who wish to survive?

1/28/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

True objections above are relevant. But Chinese factions might just stage such an attack, which would aim to be not throwing eggs against a rock but disabling the US permanently. By gaining such a huge advantage that the US cannot respond militarily without risking nuclear war, and annexing Hawaii and places perhaps on the West Coast to constrain the US.

A furthering of Yamamoto's plan by addressing it's weak points: eventually the US would respond with it's full industrial might. By closing off the West Coast to America, China prevents any re-armament or resumption of a Pacific War with full American industrial might.

I would not rate this as likely, but understanding the aggrieved, aggressive, and angry nationalism of the Chinese and the weak control over much of it's institutions by a thin elite and no real one monarch but a competing oligarchy, not impossible.

IF an attack came I would expect it in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Pearl Harbor first. Likely through Chinese submarines launching cruise missiles and perhaps surface ship bombardments. Followed by troop ships and massive attacks at weak points to hold a civilian population hostage and repeat the seizure of the Aleutian Islands on a more important target.

1/28/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Desert Rat: In fact they are now an commercial ally

Ummmm ... no. China may be an exporter of industrially produced commercial goods but they are most definitely NOT an American ally.

Allies do not routinely commit patent fraud, copyright violations and theft of intellectual property. Neither do they constantly send poisoned and tainted products or flawed sub-standard fasteners that cause structural collapses which kill people.

Allies trade on a level playing field and deliver worth equivalent to payment. China does nothing of the sort. I just wanted to clear that up.

1/28/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Pius Aeneas said...

Thinking outside the box has its limits. I think even the most nationalistic Chinese generals would consider a plan like that outlined by whisky_199 to be, if even possible for the PLAN, extremely foolhardy. An actual invasion of U.S. soil (continental soil, no less!) by the military forces of an identifiable nation state is one of the few scenarios left where just about every American would feel it legitimate to respond with nuclear weapons.

What scares me is the scenario that newscaper pointed out. We have military and government assets on foreign territory the world over, many of them already in war zones. I can see an attack on a remote base like Diego Garcia leading to an inherent escalation, but it would certainly be conventional at that stage. A coordinated attack on such targets in the Indian or Pacific Oceans, with only military casualties and far from the U.S. "homeland" might leave the Chinese wiggle room enough to achieve some modest objective by the time the shock dies down in the States.

Of course, as was also said, it depends on the leadership at the time.

1/28/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

An unconditional Most Favored Nation status country is a commercial ally, zenster.

Clinton administration officials worked to bring China into the newly created World Trade Organization and to put unconditional MFN treatment for China on a permanent basis.

The entire history of China's march to becoming a commercial ally of the US

From their first commercial agreement in 1979, the United States and the People's Republic of China conducted trade relations on the basis of unconditional MFN treatment. China was not a member of the GATT. MFN treatment for China was subject to annual renewal by the president, per the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and had to conform to various requirements stipulated by the 1974 Trade Act. Until the Chinese government cracked down on the student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, the renewal of MFN treatment for China was a pro forma affair. After the massacre, in which more than a thousand protestors and bystanders were killed by soldiers, members of the House and Senate sought to condition MFN status on China's performance on human rights. In 1990, the Bush administration gathered enough Republican support in the Senate to renew unconditional MFN treatment for China. But soon thereafter, members of Congress complicated the issue by demonstrating their willingness to condition MFN status for China not only on human rights but also on a range of strategic, political, and economic issues. To meet the concerns of Congress (and businesses interested in such matters as intellectual property rights and Chinese textile imports), both the Bush and Clinton administrations adopted a policy of "constructive engagement" They used diplomacy to address human rights and other issues. At the same time, they continued to renew MFN status for the purpose of expanding trade and developing investment opportunities for U.S. corporations.

The Clinton administration initially favored linking unconditional MFN treatment to China's human rights record, but President Clinton ultimately proved unwilling to sacrifice the China market. After a protracted battle with human rights groups and members of Congress, the administration succeeding in "de-coupling" human rights from its trade policy on China in 1994. Over the next five years, Clinton administration officials worked to bring China into the newly created World Trade Organization and to put unconditional MFN treatment for China on a permanent basis. This culminated in an agreement of 15 November 1999 to make China a full member of the WTO.

With the remarkable expansion of the U.S. economy during the late 1990s, demands by Congress and interest groups for retaliation became less strident. To be sure, trade disputes continued. However, outside of MFN status for China, trade retreated in importance relative to finance as the "high-visibility" foreign economic policy issue.

Justus D. Doenecke "Most-Favored-Nation Principle". Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy.

1/28/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Pius, the objection to the Diego Garcia strategy is that it leaves China vulnerable to a grinding war of Island hopping with a continental sea power just like 1941-45.

The idea of seizing the West Coast (or parts of it) to "lock out" US access to the Pacific backed by nuclear weapons should not be discounted.

Clever people can be tremendously stupid. Witness Hitler's declaration of war on the US on Dec 11, resolving FDR's dilemma.

1/28/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Whisky_199 comments show a lack of understanding of the limits of China's global reach vs the US. But he is right that the Chinese can be very parochial.

ALL the planes in the US inventory can now carry AMRAAM AND Cruise missiles - B2 to B52 to B1 bombers. All the heavy bombers have been certified to attack surface ships with JDAMs. In addition, the US has the F22 which is an F15 and an AWACS rolled into one airplane which can do Mach 2+ for a thousand miles. All of these planes can refuel using US, Japanese, Australian, or Korean assets based out of any US, Australian, Japanese or Korean ports.

The US could pull the Navy back and kick the crap out of the Chinese all day long.

China has no bombers that can attack US assets beyond 500 miles from the Coast.

Sure they have SOF assets they can put in place, but these will get rounded up very fast.

More significantly is that China is a net importer of food and raw materials. And its a net exporter whose majority of jobs rely on the export market.

Historically, China has not been effective at waging war. The major Western powers were effective at successfully invading China many times as were the Mongols before them.

Some would say that they did well in Korea, but in reality, they lost several million men there and barely held on. It was a limited war for us, but not for the PLA.

Had the US commenced bombing of China and siezed the Yalu bridges, the Chinese army would have collapsed.

The Chinese have a few nuclear missiles. They are liquid-fueled and can be launched from just two locations. If they target the West Coast, then they fall under the Alaskan ABM and 7th Fleet Aegis systems based in California and Seattle.

Culturally, the Chinese think they are superior to the West.

But, in reality, they have an inferior intellectual tradition. As an example, they have no concept in their philosophy of "proof by contradiction", something Western thought takes for granted. There are many, many other great weaknesses in their thought which are not obvious to them.

I do think they have the capacity to think they can win, but unless the West just gives in, China is doomed.

1/29/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Desert Rat: An unconditional Most Favored Nation status country is a commercial ally, zenster.

Sure thing, and Bush tells us Islam is The Religion of Peace. [spit] Do you believe him?

Just because someone says so does not necessarily make it true. It pays to remain focused on reality and not words.

Red River: More significantly is that China is a net importer of food and raw materials. And its a net exporter whose majority of jobs rely on the export market.

Word, RR. Quite soon the war against our enemies may well have to be fought with food. ALL of our foes: Russia, China and the entire NEMA (North Africa Middle East) region are dependent upon food imports and very vulnerable because of it.

1/29/2008 04:20:00 PM  

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