Friday, July 15, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore
And so the Second Cold War begins...
From the Financial Times:
"China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday."

Well, that's cheery news. Oh, to clear up any confusion - basically, this guy is saying China will strike first with nukes if the US attempts to intervene and prevent an invasion of Taiwan.

Rick Fisher, a former senior US congressional official and an authority on the Chinese military, said the specific nature of the threat “is a new addition to China's public discourse”. China's official doctrine has called for no first use of nuclear weapons since its first atomic test in 1964. But Gen Zhu is not the first Chinese official to refer to the possibility of using such weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan.

Chas Freeman, a former US assistant secretary of defence, said in 1996 that a PLA official had told him China could respond in kind to a nuclear strike by the US in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. The official is believed to have been Xiong Guangkai, now the PLA's deputy chief of general staff.
Looks like the Navy has a threat to worry about, again. And in my admittedly amateur opinion, it needs to. With the threat of the Soviet Union and its massive fleet of submarines gone for almost fifteen years, the USN has been letting much of its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability wither, with most ASW responsibilities assigned to the sub fleet. The Navy's carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft, the S-3 Viking, is old, and there are no plans for its replacement. The Navy's land-based anti-sub aircraft design, the P-3 Orion, is fifty years old, and its replacement (a variant of a 737 airliner (!)) is only now entering final design stage, and will be built in fewer numbers than the P-3s. More importantly, the manpower pool of pilots and aircrew is dwindling, and there is no real impetus to change that.

Meanwhile, China has the fastest-growing sub fleet of any navy in the world.

Update: This is an interesting supposition - China's bellicose behavior is due to the fact its economy is about to tank. Take it with a grain of salt; but I'd be interested in your opinions.

Recommended Reading:

Victor Davis Hanson:
"Our Wars Over The War."

So too we are divided over two antithetical views of the evolving West — Europe at odds with America, red and blue states in intellectual and spiritual divergence, the tragic view resisting the creeping therapeutic mindset.

These interior splits largely explain why creepy killers from the Dark Ages, parasitic on the West from their weapons to communications, are still plaguing us four years after their initial surprise attack.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Thought of the Week:
"There is mercy which is weakness, and even treason against the common good."
George Eliot

Winston Churchill Quote of the Week:
The second week of July, 1940. The Battle of France was over. The Battle of Britain had begun.

"This has been a great week for the Royal Air Force, and for the Fighter Command. They have shot down more than five to one of the German aircraft which have tried to molest our convoys in the Channel, or have ventured to cross the British coast line. These are, of course, only the preliminary encounters to the great air battles which lie ahead...

"But all depends now upon the whole life-strength of the British race in every part of the world and of all our associated peoples and of all our well-wishers in every land, doing their utmost night and day, giving all, daring all, enduring all-to the utmost-to the end. This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors; but let all strive without failing in faith or in duty, and the dark curse of Hitler will be lifted from our age."

Prime Minister Churchill, July 14, 1940, BBC Broadcast, London

Have a good weekend, everybody.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

China is definitely a force to be reckoned with. They are in a position, with their newer quieter subs, to rule the seas. But I don't think they'll use it.

If they want a real cold war, it will just be a matter of time before they crumble economically like the USSR did...unless appeasing, cowardly democrats take control of the government (shudder).


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