Pomfret's China

« Previous Post | Next Post »

China's Military Game Changer?

Check out the cover of this month's US Naval Institute's Proceedings. It depicts a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in flames, smoke billowing from the deck. The headline asks a simple question: Chinese Carrier Killer?

Proceedings Magazine
This month's Proceedings magazine cover.

For me, the piece serves as a sobering reminder that despite all this talk of a G2, despite all these signs that Taiwan and China are moving ineluctably closer together, China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights.

"On the Verge of a Game-Changer" is how the piece begins. It focuses on China's efforts of using land-based missiles to hit sea targets -- in other words, U.S. carrier strike groups. Such a weapon, it reports, would probably be based on a variant of China's 1,500 km-plus range DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile. For guidance it'd be supported by China's "growing family of terrestrial and space-based sensors," the piece says.

Now, nobody in the public sphere really knows how advanced China's anti-ship ballistic missile program is. But as the piece points out, "the mere perception that China might have an antiship ballistic missile capability could be a game-changer, with profound consequences for deterrence, military operations, and the balance of power in the Western Pacific."

According to the piece, written by Andrew Erickson, a professor at the Naval War College, and David Yang, a Rand Corp. researcher, China's interest in such a weapon can be traced to the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis. That was when the United States dispatched two strike groups toward Taiwan to counter Chinese missile tests in the area. (China was trying to cow Taiwan's population from voting for President Lee Teng-hui. Taiwan's voters weren't cowed.)

In 2003, the Second Artillery Corps (which controls China's missiles and nuclear bombs) released a feasibility study for the missile. Other official Chinese outlets have been publishing numerous pieces on the topic as well, including a blogpost by a Chinese military writer who claimed that by 2010, the PLA would have a brigade of antiship ballistic missiles.

The missiles are of concern to American strategists because, as the piece says, they would "impose significant restrictions on U.S. naval operations during a Taiwan crisis." In other words, they might be able to blow a carrier out of the water.

How could this affect U.S. standing in the Pacific? The writers answer it this way: "Striking a surface vessel or mockup with an ASBM in peacetime, if not met with a proper U.S. response, could undermine Washington's standing by making it appear that ways of war had undergone radical change, to the detriment of U.S. power projection and influence."

In the event of war, they continue, "the consequences could be catastrophic."

Email the Author | Email This Post | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook

Comments (148)

robin1231hotmailcom Author Profile Page:

related issue: chinese rule vs u s american democracy both in redevopment process, the later actions are essential for we the people of both nations. pl see web pages with search words viz kamal karna roy " et al

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Thank you for your posts, yuan_zcen

I wish to sincerely thank John Pomfret as well for providing here the opportunity for us to have access to, and to reflect on yuan-zcen's remarks and point of view.

At a time when we shall no doubt have more than our fair share of criticism of Tienanmen from a Western perspective, I believe more opportunities ought to be provided to consider what "the other side" really has to say. It is not enough to talk and bash amongst ourselves.

Thank again, yuan_zcen

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

How can a book reverse 20 years miracle?

A few days ago, the book ‘Zhao Ziyang secret memoirs’ was published in English and Chinese, encouraged the enthusiasm of western media. It obviously tends to credit the ‘democracy movement’ in 1989 and deny the Chinese way of reform and open.

However, facts speak louder than words. The fact that China has been developing excellently set their rumor in vain, though western media advocated the book.

After the Tiananmen event, China didn’t degenerate to the age of pro-reform as predicted by those so-called democratic heralds. On the contrary, China concentrates all power and spirit on economic construction in the 20-year stable period, and manages to make a miracle of continuous fast growth. China also makes lots of progress in political reform.

At this time, if we reverse the evaluation of the ‘democratic movement’, it will make disunities among people’s thinking and confrontations among social groups. Then how could China rise in such a situation?

No peace, no stability; No stability, no development; No solidarity, no power.

So, we hope those active media who advocate the book and the event can review history from an objective perspective, report the event with impartiality. Such a book cannot reverse the event, and cannot reverse China’s development.

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

Student peer in Tiananmen event: history will prove the party was right

I am a contemporary with student died in Tiananmen event in 1989, and I witnessed all through the event. Of course it’s not humane to shoot student, but is it heroic to kill PLA soldier? Soldiers are also born and raised by parents!

Students then didn’t know when it’s best to stop. They were used by Chai Ling, Wang Dan and other so-called leaders, but none of these leaders sacrificed as Tan Sitong and Liang Qichao, so well as the professor Fang Lizhi who runaway into embassy of USA. Recently, they even muddle among with those forces of Tibet independence, Taiwan independence and East Turkistan. We cannot imagine, how China would have degenerated and split if these ‘leaders’ had prevailed! But history cannot be assumed.

I lament the students laid down on the square, and I’m ashamed for those so-called leaders and professors! They should have died instead! They were the slaughters whose hands are dropping blood of students. They are the sinners of history!

History will prove everything eventually. Right and wrong of 6-4, at least result in a conclusion now: the handling of CCP was correct.

Anything must go through a process of chaos, and advanced to the right way by correct mistakes. CCP is no exception. It’s forgettable to make mistakes in the phase of time changing. Corruption is not exclusive in China. Every country, every political party in the world is the same, trying to rooting out corruption. Democracy also has its flaw and cannot be built in one move. It need a long term of development in China.

So, I personally think the Tiananmen movement, in the sake of anti-corruption and democracy, was a mistake itself.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Citizenofthepost-Americanworld,

Have you read the photo carefully, I like the cover art really:)

Not only the carrier been bombed, also there is ship at far site been bombed too.

If I doctor the picture, I put one more missile right in the sky, and print the mark on the body says: Made In China

ha ha

Why not just print the Made In China mark on the body of the carrier too, that would so funny ha ha

ha ha, John, the proceedings editors are killing with their creativeness, ha ha

and I can't believe the way you write this post so serious and technically convincing, I am laughing in tears and my stomach hurts ha ha ha

it is like political Candy Camera or Saturday Night Live, ha ha ha

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Just to keep you busy, General Yuefei, while no one is ordering a dish, that is, a few lines from "The Weasel Pays Respects to the Hen – No Good Intended", from the Oriental Daily, Hong Kong, reproduced on watchingamerica.com. I recommend it warmly, as it may make you feel inspired some more, when it comes to dramatic speech.

"For more than 100 years, China has never been so flattered by a Western power (i.e. the U.S.). No wonder our Chinese comrades are feeling a bit light-headed. Nevertheless, don’t forget the Chinese saying, “The weasel pays respects to the hen – no good intended”. If Beijing takes the flattery literally and thinks herself the world’s savior, that will be a joke, indeed."

Thanks for what you wrote on peace and civilization vs "warilization". I thoroughly enjoyed and share your indignation.

Regards, General sir...


generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Dear Citizenofthepost-Americanworld,

Thank you!

I am on this blog to develop new ways for dramatic speech, I feel like English must be improved from truthful exchange of idea that would really trigger authentic emotion.

I am the only busboy in my restaurant, I am so busy, so I am not sure I could answer all their post.

But I like John's blog madly, I mean literally madly. Like Furies in triangle love.

That's reason I try to type some while no one ordering dish.

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

Chai Ling is to blame for the intensification of Tiananmen event

President of student union of the University of Hong Kong Chen Yi’e condemned Chai Ling as ‘runaway leader’, which triggered an outcry in Hong Kong recently. As another leader of the event, Wang Dan stood up to defend Chai Ling by writing several public letters to Hong Kong students, confirming that Chai Ling indeed was among the last group who retreated out of Tiananmen Square.

However, this kind of defense takes up the minor issue to evade the major one. Obviously, to ‘runaway’ or not is not the fundamental question. Chai Ling’s misdoing is that she promoted to awaken the public by bleeding truth, and furthermore, she intentionally stimulated conflict between students and government, in order to make conditions for the bleeding event (proved by the interview video documentary).

Out of this attitude, Chai Ling said: ‘Let’s go. Let them bleed’; Out of this attitude, she insist the students not to retreat when Beijing Public League persuaded them to leave before May 30th; Out of this attitude, she called for Beijing citizens through broadcast to stop troops at Muxudi where later became a battlefield, several tanks were flamed and soldiers were burned to death.

The result of such confrontation against troops must be bleeding conflict, no matter in which country it happens. Chai Ling knew the result better than anybody. Many reasons resulted in the conflict, among which the personal intention of so-called leaders is a big cause. Not to mention the possibility of existence of anti-China forces’ encouragement, without the incitement of these ambitious ‘leaders’, the conflict could have never happened.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

generalyuefei asks: "Can any of WP writers write like these?"

I don't believe so, General...

However, Fareed Zakaria has just posted "Boom Amid the Gloom", on PostGlobal. That modest beginning may be of interest to you. It is very much, shall we say... un-Pomfret.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

This post is one of good examples how a few American politicians playing both nations, and people of the world thru their glamor image, their exploding pictures, how they sit on the mount top provoke two tigers to battle for their show and benefit.

Surely, most Americans are believing and working and sacrificing for the best, but who benefits, look at the world, people still dying, kids are still starving, and nations still fighting, and look at how these a few politicians had once promised you, American Dream, now how many achieved that, now most Americans are bearing heavy debts, fearing for disease that no good health care would cover, your children that not been educated by to brainwashed with vained promise and proud to be shipped off to world's corner to die, leaving their love and family to get welfare that can't cover food and rent.

Who Are The Benefit of ALL These?

Look at the Capitol Hill, look at those who sit among them, their elegant suite cost your monthly salary and they are glaring in their new cloth shining with diamonds as holiest purest symbolic cover of world, oh God bless the America, and they are the angels that guarding the world, and pointing your enemies that you shall believe to fight to the death, but in the end, a few, only them sit on that glory of Hollywood light, and toast red wine and obtain their benefit and reward of Capitalism that you supported with all your faith and love one life.

But Do You Have Any?

No. Only Debt! As your President said: " We borrow from Chinese, but all spend at Middle East, for oil? for Greed? for American Dream?

Nay. None you have, None you have.

But Who Got The Benefit?
Not the world! Not Chinese! Not people in Mid East! Not you! Not Most Americans! We are all Broke!

Who Took from us? Who took the whole world?

The A Few Who Do Business on the Capital Hill!

Wake Up From Your Day Dream!

Dear John,

Can you be truthful like me?! Can any of WP writers write like these?

JosephTan Author Profile Page:










7) etc etc



Chaotician Author Profile Page:

It would be nice department:
• Only America can dispatch killer drones with missiles into other countries and kill suspected militants, their families, and any innocent bystanders!
• Only America can have killer Satellite capability
• No one is allowed to attack America naval fleets as they are sitting ducks useful only for launching our killer drones and Admiral careers.. and of course reelection of Congressman!
• Only America has the inalienable right to tell everyone else in the world how their government should work and who should be elected.
• If you are America’s “friend”, then you are allowed to kill, main, suppress, torture your internal “enemies”; attack neighbors for imagined fears, and ignore International treaties and such!
• Only America and its friends are allowed to have nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and threaten other nations with “improved” devices to prevent unwanted behaviors!

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

(After One Week)

(Oval Office, on Mr. Obama’s desk, two Proceedings Magazine laying there)

Mr; Obama sitting in deep thought. And Hilary sitting against him.

How greedy are these lobbyists?!

We are fighting wars outside, and now we have to fight with all these inside.

Dont give them any. We must put our money on the health care and education. You have to make them understand we don’t have no money for them this year.

But how we going to tell those Republicans, their pockets are deep in this.

Well, you won the presidency, don’t ask me. You go there nail these magazines on their face. Don’t let play us like we are idiots!

Obama called his operator:
Call those CEOs, set next week schedule for coffee….

It is not battle of China and US, it is battle of US corps against US government, against their own people, they suppose to get a big share from the Tax.

Fictional Writing.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

(In the building of Proceedings, meeting room)

Editor: (picked a phone dialed #)

Some Joe: (in his house basement office, that Proceedings cutting cost, so most writers work in their house)
Hello! This is Joe.

We need to do a China Weapon Upgrade news this week.

I don’t have anything on that, and I am still working on June 4th.

No. John. Top says do China Naval Weapon Upgrade this week, before Fiday.

But I don’t have any material on that.

Talk on our new girl, she can work on Photoshop amazingly, I can’t believe these young people can do every picture with magic.

Yeah, we are getting old. Ha ha.

Okay, buddy. I am gonna call John Pomfret to fan it up on his blog, just like usual. (Phone Dropped)

Joe: (picked a phone, dialed #)
Hey Lucy, I need you make 3 pictures that shows our Aircraft Carrier been bomb by a missile for my Friday article, Thank! I treat you coffee next time. Bye!

On the John Pomfret’s Blog on May 28, 2009 an article was posted:
China's Military Game Changer?

Check out the cover of this month's US Naval Institute's Proceedings. It depicts a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in flames, smoke billowing from the deck. The headline asks a simple question: Chinese Carrier Killer?

For me, the piece serves as a sobering reminder that despite all this talk of a G2, despite all these signs that Taiwan and China are moving ineluctably closer together, China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights.
"On the Verge of a Game-Changer" is how the piece begins. It focuses on China's efforts of using land-based missiles to hit sea targets -- in other words, U.S. carrier strike groups. Such a weapon, it reports, would probably be based on a variant of China's 1,500 km-plus range DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile. For guidance it'd be supported by China's "growing family of terrestrial and space-based sensors," the piece says…. Bla bla bla


(After One Week)

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

One Act Play of China Game Changer?
This fiction play is inspired by John’s Article

(in the Weapon factory meeting room, all US major factory CEO and presidents sitting)

One Weapon Corp Lobby Controller:
Next month the senate will work on the budge of weapon spending? Anyone has better ideal we can improve our income for this year?

Last couple years we lost on Taiwn’s deal, looks like Taiwan would never buy from us in future again, China is holding hand with them. 60Billion Chen Shui Bian had promised, now all in water.

We need another plan, we have to make up the lost deal and we can be like Ford and AIG.

We can use NK, thank God they are doing the NK now.

But it still does not add up the number. Next year we move out from Iraq, and Saudi won’t buy stuff. We have to come up new things.

I just got a news that China did improved their new subs.

(the whole room are laughing)
But can we make a story of it?

We have to, do you think US would let us sit here and starve?
(the whole room are laughing)

call our people at Washington Post, let them do some work.

Coe2: (pick up a direct line and dial a preset button)

(Washington Post some office, a private phone ringing)

one editor: (picked up phone)
hey, joe, you son of gun, I guess you are about to call me now.

Yeah, buddy. You still own on the spring break, remember? Ha ha.

So what’s up? Who’s gonna be this time? China? Russia, Iran, NK?

China, again.

But we lost the war on John’s post, have read some smart as-holes of Chin national wrote? Beat our stuff totally. And Taiwan’s thing don’t any more.

But I just got a news that China just refurbished their new ships.

I don’t think it would work. Do you have any specific news on it.

No. but we don’t have any time, so lets do this. Make it work. Just do a story on it.

Ok, let me see what we can.

(phone dropped)

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Ideally, I like to see the military planning of all nations to eventually prevent all wars. This will force all nations and groups into peace.

This is what I like to see:

- Anyone starts a war or fights a war will suffer maximum loss. For some, the worst suffering is loss of human life; for others, it's loss of political power, or religious freedom.

- Only those who stay away from war will survive. You fight, you lose.

That's will be a wonderful world.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

We Chinese want to be a leader of civilization, not warilization like USA.

US wants to make weapon and sell weapon,
but China wants to make toys, cheap toys and sell.

Why US always make China a push-over?
We just want to sell cheap stuff, is that a crime?!

So now Taiwan don't buy your military corp junks, and now your weapon corp trying to sell to your senate huh?

No wonder KimII is rumored with nuke, may be he worked for US weapon corps, in the end all the Tax money goes into these pockets of US weapon corp and some senators.

oops, Mr. Obama's got another tough issue now, he forced to spend more tax money on weapon junks than to build schools and hospitals.

So I guess Americans would never solve the education and health care issues, because all their Tax money are going to the war criminal and weapon factory's pocket!

Good Job! Mr. Pomfret!

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

John and his followers,

Why all of people worked so hard for world peace, but you guys just want to break it? Why?

American already fought so many wars last century, so many soldiers died, so many; why some Americans always selling the war? Why?

If you guys don't care about Chinese, or Koreans, or Middle East people, that we are just like pigs and should always killing each other, Fine! At least care about your own people! Please!

Why can you guys work for peace, instead of war?

I see the New Yorkers running behind the collapsing towers I wailed for them; I see Iraqis dying of turmoil I cried for them; and I see US young soldiers shipped off to war, I cried for their lovers and families, their mom and dad.

Why people can march toward peace, but you just don't believe it?

Isn't it everything accomplished thru faith?
And faith is done thru the work of love?

But why you have faith with your plot of war, but not the plan of friendship? Aren't we all the same?! Aren't all the people the same?!

People don't need war, and world need you work for peace, not war. Please!

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Now the whole world know why Americans are constantly been hated by everyone, Europeans, Africans, Asians...

Just read the comments on this blog, you know these type a few Americans that are so aggressive to push the whole world on the edge of madness, I often wonder why those terrorists wanted to die to kill Americans after 911? And I see generally most Americans are nice and easy-going people, but this site I found those bad seeds who provoke other people on the verge of madness.

These bad Americans picking war for US, for American people.

Can you imagine that someone push the ordinary people into madness? they are willing to give up their love, family, life, their everything but to revenge?

That means both sides must sit down to find out what really causes this?

I don't believe people are born with evil in their heart? Yes they sin, but not to do evil.
But what changed their mind? Then please read all these comments.

We people can live a peaceful life, make our world harmony, but no, these a few Americans they are just set fires everywhere and drive all other people into madness.

No wonder God has forsaken US.

I think Americans must review themselves for what they have done wrong.

iewgnem Author Profile Page:

//Well, Pomfret has to write something to keep his job, this is what happens when you are under pressure to write when you have nothing to write about. I do recall a humours Taipei Times article 5 or 6 years ago that claims China have deployed Laser Canons, yes, you got that right, Laser Cannons, near Taiwan, so I guess compared to that, Pomfret dosn't seem as desperate yet (besides, fear mongering from miltary publications isn't new)

The cloest China and the US could get to a military confrontation these days is some Chinese fishermen mooning US spy ships, what really does the talking these days is cash. The US navy need to get supplied and feed, just like all other navies, and that money comes out of federal budget, the same budget that depend on Chinese financing, in other words, a chunck of the US Navy's funding are funded by China to begin with, you don't go to war with the guys making your bullets, no matter how many more guns you have.

Sure, if total war breaks out the US could always restart its industral base, but the only thing that will cause the US to enter total war with any country would be nothing short of WW3, something I highly doubt would break out between US and China, and anything short of that would see the US navy being more and more dependant on the very people its suppose to fight.

After 50 years of Cold War analysis, the Soviet Navy now sit rusting in junk years without ever being defeated. This is the 21st century, not the 19th, China adopted the principle of Comphrehensive National Strength, it seems you yanks are still stuck in the WW2 era.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To all the China-haters I present a hair oil for you, called:

髮 可 油
Fa Ke You

And to all the Christian Extremists, God's Law is for your own pants, Whatever other people do or believe is none of your F business. God don't need you to do His Work, if you guys think you have rights to express your feeling to others, keep it to yourself, God don't need you, People don't need you, America don't need you, and the world don't need you. Go To Hell:)

levsedov Author Profile Page:

Pomfret: "Such a weapon, it reports, would probably be based on a variant of China's 1,500 km-plus range DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile."

The DF-21, or even the DF-25, would vibrate apart above mach 5. It would be no match for the American copy of the Russian Federation's SS-29 now being deployed with imperialist carrier groups. The drone sensor units now operating 4 kilometers above the carrier groups can launch the mach-9 interceptors (X-54A?) within one minute of the DF-21's launch.
With the X-54A arrays in combination with Japan's development of their own mass-launch SS-29 variants and the ABM cruise devices tested by Taiwan (a Bhramos copy?), The DF-21, at a cost of 682 million Yuan each (3 billion Rubles, 100 million dollars), the only effect they would have if launched would be to make the South China Sea a radioactive waste land at a cost of several trillion dollars. Obviously the same effect would occur if the DF-21s were launched against the Ural Mountains as the Federation's SS-29 screen would be used.

While this article is based on speculations of world conflict between revolutionary forces and various capitalist oligarchies, it would be difficult to believe that the perpetrators of such war were human.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

"Striking a surface vessel or mockup with an ASBM in peacetime"? Something I don't understand here. Why would a country strike another country's fleet in peace time? Is it similar to "start a nuclear attack in peace time"?

If we find a similar article from a Chinese writer, writing from Chinese perspective, can we classify that writer as ultra Chinese nationalist, or the Angry Youth(愤青)?

Has John Pomfret fallen into the category of an Angry Youth(愤青)?

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

This is to address the concerns expressed by some of the posters.

"BEIJING – US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday reassured the Chinese government that China's huge holdings of dollar assets are safe and reaffirmed his faith in a strong US currency...

A major goal of Geithner's maiden visit to China as US Treasury chief is to allay concerns that Washington's bulging budget deficit and ultra-loose monetary policy will fan inflation, undermining both the dollar and US bonds.


"Chinese assets are very safe," Geithner said in response to a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied Chinese as a student in the 1980s."

Well, that at least is good to know! We need such good news, on GM remembrance day.

hangkok_2000 Author Profile Page:

water57 says:

"now, i believe there are so many evil minded people in usa. my personal experience is the plain chinese be always kind towards foreigner, especially the american. i just can't uderstand why you will behave so evil towards china?"

Yes, precisely.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Cestlavie1 : Here is another bad mouthing corpse from the Cold War era dugged up by Pomfrets' article.

dahuanzhou Author Profile Page:

What are we talking about ? It seems to me we are discussing on a science fiction. The discussion “who destroyed US aircraft carrier” make no sense since it is just an hypothesis. But the writer wants the readers to believe that” the Chinese carrier killer “ made it. Maybe his logic is that “ we soon believe what we desire”. Such kind interference is absurd. Technically, China is not the only country who has such kind ability. Besides, China has no intention to wage a war against USA, There is no territory problem between China and USA, and Taiwan problem can be solved peacefully. So the front page of “US Naval Institute’ Proceedings” is nothing but soap opera in order to attract the readers attention and to press the congress for more military budgets.

Sage188 Author Profile Page:

All these many posts on the subject is futile, resistance is futile. This is China's 21st Century and China's Milleniumm, again:


With a quarter million readers, the above thread tells you the truth, not hype or ALL CAPS ranting by some posters here.

hangkok_2000 Author Profile Page:

cestlavie1 thinks like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

water57 Author Profile Page:

now, i believe there are so many evil minded people in usa. my personal experience is the plain chinese be always kind towards foreigner, especially the american. i just can't uderstand why you will behave so evil towards china?

bob59 Author Profile Page:

The ASBM threat can be countered with ship-board and air-borne solid state lasers. It's almost time to start fielding them. Further, it's unlikely China's ASBM's will sink Taiwan, Guam, Japan, Australia or other nearby allied countries. So, having the capability doesn't equate to using it without severe military and economic consequences. China is a nation of great potential, that can be sunk by a relatively few greedy and influential ideologues. It's happened before.

cestlavie1 Author Profile Page:





The China's gains are the bloody costs of all world nations and world citizens at all times!

tzukung1 Author Profile Page:

Jiaming: "As I stated before, China has not been ruled by a military leader who seized power from a civilian government for over a thousand years. If you can show me a single example of any Chinese military leaders seizing power from the civilian government he is supposed to be loyal to, then you would have been correct."

On that particular point, you may be correct. I was under the impression that all three were part of the Chinese government during the war with Japan, but the Quin government may have pretty will disappeared some years earlier, leaving them as opposing military leaders in a political vacuum. Chiang Kaishek ordered the Quin emperor to refrain from engaging in political activity or even leaving the Imperial City without permission and escort. In most countries such acts would have been an overthrow of the existing government.

In any case, the real problem might be that a large segment of the PLA leadership has had life-time training in purely military political academies and could easily qualify as a major political entity within the Beijing government. Under such circumstances, overthrowing the government becomes a moot question; a military 'gang' could act irresponsibly within the government and cause a major war for reasons of 'imperial glory'. The same, of course, could apply to any nation where the 'gang' cannot be monitored or held accountable. Many such militarized gangs around the world do not represent the interests of the governed people within a state and that is as true of the CCP/PLA as any other. That condition of power has also existed for thousands of years, but wasn't especially dangerous until this last century.

Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page:

Pomfret's simplistic columns are often quite disappointing from a person who worked in China for awhile and should have a more balanced perspective. Get a grip neo-cons, the cold war has been over for more than twenty years.

AnonymousEric Author Profile Page:

Thanks for the posting. I regularly read Proceedings and thought the cover was a little over the top, but the article wasn't.

Frank57 made me laugh. So...

Any first year cadet knows the difference between a ballistic missile and a cruise missile. Frank ought to learn them as well.

The phrase "tactical ICBM" is something of a misnomer. You might as well refer to a pictureless television.

MAD is a theory typically concerned with the the deterrence of nuclear attack against one's home territory, not with conventional attack against one's forces at sea.

Tridents are not about to go toe-to-toe with the PLAN and try to sink Chinese vessels. Tridents are SLBMs, carried by Ohio class SSBNs, and would not likely be purposely risked in an anti-ship role. That's what attack submarines are for.

The USAF can do amazing things, but doesn't have reliable access to bases that would enable it to sweep the PLAN from the China Sea.

This was about the only intelligent comment Frank made: "Beyond all that absurd hypothesizing, why would China wanna blow up their bank and their major market place?" Good question. Of course, it presumes people are motivated primarily by crass material interests. Maybe, maybe not. I suspect there's quite a bit more to China and the Chinese than financial greed, but I don't live in Beijing.

Frank57 Author Profile Page:

The entire premise of this article is absolute rubbish.

Pomfret -- I live in Beijing too. I also have a cushy expat job, just like you.

I work for my salary, just like you.

Unlike you, in my job it is important to level with people and not sensationalize, gossip, fear-monger, and pontificate for 'special interest groups' such as the US military industrial complex.

The strawman within your blathering, misinformed diatribe assumes that the USA (or any military-capable Western power) has no means to defend itself in such a scenario -- and would be forced to 'sit back and cry', as it watched it's fleet destroyed by the "Yellow Peril" with science fiction weaponry.

Any first-year Naval cadet knows that guided missiles (Exocet, Cruise-like systems) have long been a threat to carriers and carrier groups, and that is why such threats are not only offset by sophisticated shipboard ABM counter measures, but also with MAD capabilities.

At the very first strike against a US aircraft carrier (or any ship for that matter) using such sci-fi weaponry, we would see the immediate use of tactical ICBMs and well as nuclear-armed cruise missiles against which the Chinese would be defenseless (as would we). MAD -- Mutually Assured Destruction.

Any sort of attack on a US vessel in such a manner would be more the subject of moviedom than reality.

All this paranoia about a 'weak US military' lately is no doubt a product of our poor performance on land in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if it ever came to a concerted strike on US sovereignty, there is little doubt we would win hands down, since the tactics would be entirely different -- we would not be tied down trying to protect innocent villagers.

While the Chinese (or whomever) managed to get one or two of such missiles through our counter-measures to hit one of our carriers (and I emphasize "if"), where do you think our Tridents would be? Or our airforce?

One-on-one, China would lose their entire fleet within the week.

Beyond all that absurd hypothesizing, why would China wanna blow up their bank and their major market place?

Get a real job son.

taskforceken Author Profile Page:

Let's not ignore the obvious here: the eye-catching cover art and sensational story is meant to sell magazines.

A burning carrier is the military equivalent of a half-naked woman on the cover of a supermarket tabloid.

It's sad that USNI Proceedings has sunk to this level in order to sell their once-respectable digest.

tmkelley Author Profile Page:

After reading Spidermean2, mchaun, onlyliveonce, cestlavie1, and a few others, I think I've got to go away from this one. Whoever you are, you people are really, really, frightening.

cestlavie1 Author Profile Page:

Therefore, China and its comminists are too harmful and dangerous to all world nations and their citizens! in all continents of this planet earth!


cestlavie1 Author Profile Page:

China is an unique as the most dangerous nation in the world!
All world citizens all accumulated too much infornmation and observations to see how dangerous and harmful China is!

No enough words and times can be used to describe the harms and dangers and destructions of this China which has made to the world nations and people!

xxxxPandaAtWar Author Profile Page:

@ marknesop

You said that ballistic missiles are unguided, thus it is impossibple for China to hit the carrier. I think you are mistaken here.

DF-21 is not ICBM. We are talking about MRBM here. It is entirely possible, tehnologywise, to have terminal radar guidance for MRBM (e.g. Peshing II had it long time ago). It can be done most likely with GLONASS/GPS system using a radar seeker.

If China claims to make DF-21 a carrer killer, which has niehter equivalent yet in the West, not effective countermeasures for both THAADS and AEGIS, it means 3 things:

1. Given GPS is turned off for China in events of war, DF-21 carrier killer is most likely based on China's own COMPASS guidence system, which well on its way to be accomplished.

2. Given its tiny conventioanl payload of about 600kg, DF-21 is designed to have "soft kill" on flattops for sure. This also highlights the self-coinfidence of desingers on the accuracy of the reentry vehical.

3. The interesting part: how can it guarantee to kill a carrier. DF-21 covers 2000km with 12 min. by design. A land-based launch of DF-21 in event of Taiwan will only take 3 min. to reach the carrier which is logical about 400-500km distance for effective aircraft missions. DF-21 is at speed of > mach 10, where the flattop could go within 3 mintures? Any airborn countermeasure operated by an aircraft is just like trying to catch a fly in a livingroom - no guarantee and nearly impossible in speed in comparison to a DF-21 reentry vehical.

Most importantly, a saturated attack would most likely be employed with multiple DF-21, launched from both land-base and Submarine-base, at the same time with different angles. In this way, if PLA manages to succssfully enhance the accuracy of DF-21, which I trust they have precisely done so, I am sorry to say that a US carrier at 400-500km away is a sitting duck!


TTT-01 Author Profile Page:

China is too harmful and dangerous to all mankind!

k6raman Author Profile Page:

The only way to contain a communist China from becoming an aggressor is by supporting another country in the region to counter balance China, militarily and economically. The only country capable of both is India. By strategically supporting India (not necessarily in a 'Nuclear' way)we can send the right signals to China that the world is not going to be a bystander for Chinese aggression. The way China is supporting dictators in Africa to plunder the resources is shameful, to say the least.

mykulw Author Profile Page:

Why is it the right wing needs bogey men?

The American China policy is working perfectly. China not only is becoming more open and more capitalistic, they are doing it in new ways that may provide a lesson to us in balancing the rapacious nature of capitalism with the needs of a people.

Sure China has many problems - what country doesn't?

But as in all things, it is the right of people everywhere to choose their own government, and the Chinese people overwhelmingly support theirs.

Furthermore as a long standing nuclear power, it would be complete idiocy not to update their armory.

jiaming Author Profile Page:


We are not talking about revolution. The PLA is the army of the People's Republic of China. The question was whether the PLA will someday seize power from the civilian government, not a revolution fighting against the PLA.

What we are talking about here is military leaders of the already established government seizing power from a civilian leadership. In other words, a coup d'état. Chiang Kaishek, Mao Tzedong and Zhou En Lai were all REBEL leaders against the Qing Imperial government. They were never in the Qing government's military, let alone being military leaders.

As I stated before, China has not been ruled by a military leader who seized power from a civilian government for over a thousand years. If you can show me a single example of any Chinese military leaders seizing power from the civilian government he is supposed to be loyal to, then you would have been correct.

pgr88 Author Profile Page:

Want to have China control their puppet in North Korea?
- let Taiwan go nuclear
- let Taiwanese citizens purchase guns

China will then NEVER again control Taiwan.

tzukung1 Author Profile Page:

jiaming : "From that time on, China has been always been ruled by civilian governments. No military leaders had successfully seized power and rule over China for over a thousand years. The strong oversight of the military is still very much alive in today's China."

Both Zhou En Lai of the CCP and Chiang Kai Shek of the Kuomindang were trained military officers (1940s) and members of the Tiandihui, an organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Qing. They were also dedidcated, along with the Tiandihui, to the advancement of the Chinese people into something other than remaining in the 17th century with Manchu and Quin.
The problem is that such groups as the Tiandihui continually form within the PLA and CCP. There is also a current suspicion that one such nationalist group might have been making biological experiments in China when the SAAR epidemic broke out there. It is these groups operating secretely within the legitimate 'government' that are a danger to all and don't care if there is a nuclear war between major powers. Cults such as the American 'neocons', the Russian SVR with its own biological facilities and the Yazdi organization within Iran's Quds military force are dangerous to humanity, not just to the object of their hate.

Doubter1 Author Profile Page:

spidermean2's chest beating ranting on this board sounds suspiciously like those of Hitler's. A thousand year empire, you say?

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Onlyliveonce: Pomfret's article had digged up a corpse from the Cold War era.

elfraed Author Profile Page:

Intelligence estimates were way out of whack during the Cold War, and even as late as the Iraq War they were none too good, but we are to believe them infallible now?

dahuanzhou Author Profile Page:

China has become one of the most important player in maintaining peace and stability in the world.That is the reality everyone can see if he is free from prejudice .China has too much reason for war, but it still seeks to have peaceful solution with great patient, China is stil not a rich country, its average GDP per person is still very low , so why there is still a lot of people hate China become rich. Actually, China has used a lot of money to purchase USA state bonds not for war affairs .Now the financial crises is not yet over, What China is doing is just like an old Chinese saying" people in the same boat help each other".If someone is not satisfied with China, then , oK ,please give us your evidence and reasons for it.If that is not enough, Ok, are you dreaming to have another 8-county ally to invade China?

dajewell Author Profile Page:

China is owed an extraordinary amount of money by the U.S. Government whose bonds it has purchased. I believe the amount is in the trillions of $. What does China, or anyone else for that matter, think would happen to those obligations should the two countries find themselves at war with each other? The U.S., of course, would immediately cancel all debts owed to China. Not a good position for a creditor nation to be in. Particularly if it loses the war or at least fails to win decisively.
David A. Jewell, Philadelphia.

Martial Author Profile Page:

An article from the current issue of PROCEEDINGS:


What good is a navy for?

georgehan Author Profile Page:

i'm sure this is nothing new here. Our military leaders are not sleeping at the wheel. How can anyone ignore China? However, no matter how advanced or sophisticated Chinese military can become, still, their culture and their way of life will limit their abilities. Just because you're aquiring technology and know-how does not entitle a nation to become a leader. Size does matter and the Chinese will play a bigger role in the future, economic or military or financial, but, they're far from being a leader. At least not in the next 100 years. How do you change a culture and you have open society is a lot harder than building weapons and stealing techonology.

jiaming Author Profile Page:

Florentino666 wrote:
The real danger, is that with a very powerful and modern military, design to paralyze US operations in the West Pacific, the PLA generals decide that the Communist Party existence is no longer in the benefit of China's rightful place in history as they may foresee it. When the PLA overthrows the government, I suggest we bring the "DRAFT" out the closet very quickly. We are going to needed for a few years.

Let us hope China's civilian leadership keep a handle on their new "beast" just as we have in the last 233 years.


You obviously have no knowledge of Chinese history. Before 960 AD, China experienced had a long period of history where military leaders overthrew the civilian (impirial) government. Between the Jin and the end of the Tang Dynasty, some 600 years, many military strong men seized control of the country from time to time, causing great chaos. However, since the Song Dynasty which started in 960 AD, China learned how damaging military rule is to the country. A concensus among the Chinese people took root that China will not be ruled by military leaders ever again. Oversight of military leaders was greatly strengthened. Generals of distant regions were often restationed at different places so that they couldn't establish deep loyalty from their troops. That tradition survived several dyansties. From that time on, China has been always been ruled by civilian governments. No military leaders had successfully seized power and rule over China for over a thousand years. The strong oversight of the military is still very much alive in today's China.

brucerealtor@gmail.com Author Profile Page:



Florentino666 Author Profile Page:

The real danger with China is not the path their civilian leadership is undertaking. They are trying out soft power while simultaneously upgrading their military for an unclear future with the US presence off their coast.

The real danger, is that with a very powerful and modern military, design to paralyze US operations in the West Pacific, the PLA generals decide that the Communist Party existence is no longer in the benefit of China's rightful place in history as they may foresee it. When the PLA overthrows the government, I suggest we bring the "DRAFT" out the closet very quickly. We are going to needed for a few years.

Let us hope China's civilian leadership keep a handle on their new "beast" just as we have in the last 233 years.

mchaun Author Profile Page:

" ripvanwinkleincollege

The days of the US Navy having as many carrier task forces as it now has are numbered by the billions of debt we owe to China, soon to be trillions. The only catastrophic scenario would be if we still have a carrier group in the western Pacific 10 years from now. Note to Japan: If I were a young person living in Japan, I'd be learning how to speak and read Chinese really, really well.

May 30, 2009 9:01 PM"

Not to worry, Krauthamer (who first discovered that North Korea had Thousands of Nuclear weapons way back in 1993) wants to give the Japanese a Nuclear arsenal.

Monte Haun mchaun@hotmail.com

ripvanwinkleincollege Author Profile Page:

The days of the US Navy having as many carrier task forces as it now has are numbered by the billions of debt we owe to China, soon to be trillions. The only catastrophic scenario would be if we still have a carrier group in the western Pacific 10 years from now. Note to Japan: If I were a young person living in Japan, I'd be learning how to speak and read Chinese really, really well.

jamesmmoylan Author Profile Page:

PS Spidey - i just took some time out to burn a bible just for you.

alance Author Profile Page:

Imagine if we expand the list of world policemen to three to work together in a co-ordinated fashion to bring peace to all.

For decades I have believed there should be an alliance between China, Turkey and America. Our capital cities are all very close to latitude 40 - the latitude of empires and civilizations.

China's rebirth was just a matter of time. They had to shake off the stench of colonialism from Britain and Japan. The Boxer Rebellion led to victory in 1949 with the help from evil Chiang Kai-shek and foreign intervention from Japan and Time/Life, Generalissimo McArthur and McCarthyism.

Mao was a closet admirer of America and even practiced speaking English. There was a powerful segment in China like Lin Biao - who wanted to join with Vietnam against America. Mao and Zhou En-lai had to start the Cultural Revolution to prevent war with America. Lin Biao and his son plotted to kill Mao and almost succeeded - however they were killed trying to escape. This had just happened before Nixon went to China.

Turkey once ruled the entire Mediterranean region including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Turkey had a military coup before WWI and the "Young Turks" went with Germany. Turkey controlled most of the Muslim world. This all ended when Germany and Turkey lost the war.

Then Britain took all of the MidEast oil for themselves and Churchill goaded Greece into attacking Turkey in Asia Minor, The gazi or great Ataturk whipped the Greeks in two big battles and established Turkey as a secular independent nation with the region's best military next to Israel.

China and Turkey are both the best candidates to help guarantee peace in the world with the help of the United States. China can bring peace to all of Asia.

Turkey can rule supreme in the Arab world and America and China will handle everything else.

coiaorguk Author Profile Page:

We must learn the lesson from the Falklands war which relied heavily on 'assault groups' but was at the mercy of the Exocet missile which devastated Captain Salts' 'HMS Sheffield' and killed my best friend. RIP 'Eggy' PBAH

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page:

The USA has spent trillions of dollars to build and maintain carrier battle groups and keep troops stationed in the Far East. So much so, that the USA's deficit continues to explode out-of-control. Half the USA's federal expenditures are for her military. The USA spends more money on the military then all the other countries of the world, combined. And for what? We cannot take care of our own people at home. Millions of Americans cannot even afford basic medical care. And, the military herself is often seen as the only employer that can pay a decent wage for thousands of kids, who join up, as they come out of high school. Does this make any sense? As for China, she is now a stronger nation, in many respects then the USA. Why? Bush couldn't criticize China hardly at all, over the Tibet issue, because China simply pointed out how she (China) owns $2 trillion in America's debt. And, what if China stopped purchasing that debt or used those dollars to manipulate the markets? She could destroy the American economy in just a few days. In that respect, having all these aircraft carriers and battle groups, is mostly worthless. And, to do it at the expense of our own American Citizens at home, is down right criminal.

RichardKefalos Author Profile Page:

Blankinships wrote "I would be much more concerned about quiet submarines using cavitating torpedos, as these can travel at speeds of tens of knots."

Surely you meant *hundreds* of knots, no? The Shkval, the first supercavitating torpedo, was clocked at 200 knots and the new models run even faster. That's what makes this type of torpedo so formidale as it is essentially an undersea rocket that flies inside an air bubble.

marknesop Author Profile Page:

Ballistic missiles are unguided - the coordinates of the NON-MOVING target are entered into the rocket's computer, and off it goes on the ballistic flight path (like throwing a rock) that gives it its name. You cannot fire a ballistic missile against a moving target like an aircraft carrier.

The monsters on the bow of the KIROV class and the KIEV baby carriers were SS-N-12's, and they were guided missiles. They had an impressive range, but they had initial guidance information fed to them pre-launch and were capable of midcourse guidance via satellite DL. They were not ballistic missiles. The SS-N-15 and its successors were ballistic, but they are antisubmarine weapons that only need to land in the approximate location of the submarine: after water impact, it's a torpedo or can be a nuke depth-bomb.

KEVROBB is correct in his suggestion that a landbased anti-ship missile of whatever type is defensive in nature, in the context that if you remain clear you have nothing to worry about. The exception is if it is used to control an international waterway such as the Straits of Hormuz.

Current shipboard missile defense technology is more than capable of taking out inbound long-range missiles regardless of type. A carrier can soak up several missile hits and still survive anyway. As others have correctly suggested, Commanding Officers fear torpedoes more than missiles. In any case, America has little to fear militarily from China unless it wishes to stick its neck out over Taiwan. That would be a mistake, as the current Taiwanese leader and a majority of his countrymen are cautiously in favour of rapprochement with China.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

May I take this opportunity to thank all the contributors to this conversation? I have thoroughly enjoyed reading a relatively large number of comments under the above article. Hence the following questions:

1. What if we were to choose to view China as an ally for an hour... or two (just for fun!)?

2. Would it change anything to how we view the above Pomfret article?

3. Are there any good reasons why we would not want to view China as an ally, these days? If so, what are they?

Just for "fun"...

Thanks again.

Maersk Author Profile Page:

The fact that John Pomfret, the goon of Washingtonpost makes a living on bad mouthing China, I know that China must be doing very well.

blankinships Author Profile Page:

I would second what jimeglrd8 has said. We'll never fight the Chinese because they are a friendly power.

blankinships Author Profile Page:

I'm not so inclined to agree with the article myself, having read it. The Soviet navy had both Kirov-class cruisers and submarines that could launch anti-ship ballistic missiles back in the 1980s, which likely figured into a requirement on the development of Standard Missile 3/ Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile (SM3/LEAP) and probably Standard Missile Block 4A, which uses both radar and infrared seekers. The Standard missiles are launched from the Aegis cruisers flanking the carriers.

The Chinese DF-21E is the anti-ship derivative of what is their equivalent to the Pershing II. Because of the re-entry heating problems of putting seekers on ballistic missiles and because the Beidou satellite navigation system is not yet operational, the DF-21E will most likely employ only inertial guidance with possible ground updates when fielded later this year. But the Chinese communications and tracking technology infrastructure is nowhere near ours in capability and would probably be one of the first things taken out in a shooting war, as what was done to Iraq in the early air campaign phase of Desert Storm.

I would be much more concerned about quiet submarines using cavitating torpedos, as these can travel at speeds of tens of knots.

zotz Author Profile Page:

The idea of going to war with China over Taiwan is comparable to the idea of going to war with Russia over Georgia. In other words it is crazy. We don't even recognize the nation status of Taiwan. Taiwan is has an undetermined quasi-nation status. To risk our naval forces to uphold this untenable status quo is VERY BAD LONG TERM STRATEGY!

blankinships Author Profile Page:

To lawstudent03: The Russian SS-N-22 was also a supersonic sea-skimming missile. The Carrier Strike Group will have among its ships a variety of surveillance radars, which will be able to track the cruise missile and a variety of ECM systems that can be employed against it even before it comes within range of the Phalanx guns. The Exocet that hit the Atlantic Conveyor during the Falklands War was diverted from its original target by ECM. The Atlantic Conveyor did not have any ECM systems installed because it was a civilian vessel. Because supersonic sea-skimmers are a well-understood threat, the current generation of anti-air missiles can likely intercept them.

If you want to really get into this stuff, I would recommend "Principles of Naval Weapons Systems" and "Naval Operations Analysis," both in print and have been used as textbooks at the US Naval Academy.

webguroo Author Profile Page:

This provoking article is just one more example of saber rattling for the ultimate purpose of getting money out of congress for new weapon systems. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, it has become harder for the military to get a lion's share of the federal tax base to feed the hungry military industrial complex.

Almost 20 years after the Soviet collapse our major military hardware is still aimed at the Soviets. Am I the only one that thinks we need to downsize the heavy hardware and buy weapons systems that meet our new needs in a rapidly evolving terrorist world? At least SECDEF does.

Last time I checked, we were not at war with China, they are not part of the Axis of Evil. Our two countries are pretty much economically joined at the hips and on very civil terms.

Whether China has ASBM's or not is pretty irrelevant. Our ships pull into countries that have various types of missiles all the time. This would just be one more. If we were ever to be at war with China (heaven forbid) our ships are not exactly defenseless and our officers are pretty adept at warfighting.

The authors Andrew S. Erickson and David D. Yang are both members of the military industrial complex and this article is disingenuous. As it turns out Dr. Erickson is about to co-publish a book on evolving maritime roles for Chinese aerospace power. Self serving perhaps?

WPguy Author Profile Page:

I think it is inevitable that China will continue to upgrade their capabilities to the point where Taiwan and the US may decide it is smarter to have Taiwan "join" China than to jeopardize trade with military operations. Of course, at some point, if China wanted to grab Taiwan by force, ultimaely they would be able to do so, but at a terrible econominc price. The idea of the game is to avoid the assault and gain the prize, by default. There is not much the US can do to stop this, nor is there any real strategic reason the US should be engaging China militarily-the US cannot win if it does so. Weaked as we are by expenditures in the Mideast, expenditures that China does not undertake, even without these costs the US could not hope to best China in it's own back yard. Of course, over time, China could change it's policy and leave Taiwan alone, but it is not likely that this will occur; the Chinese are rabidly patriotic and view Taiwan as part of China, much as the US would view Alaska, perhaps.

TalkingHead1 Author Profile Page:


When you come right down to it, China is no less entitled to its global ambitions, as the U.S. or Russia, to influence the world for its own self-interests. As it emerges economically and militarily, it will naturally assert itself more and more for these goals. And there's no logical or, even, moral justification for why the U.S. must be the sole superpower of the world until Earth disappears.

deacshades Author Profile Page:

I'm not sure how you could be more wrong on this many points. While your right that the article does have a fear component to it, it points out a potential counter to what the US has traditionally relied on militarily. That in-and-of itself is an indication that China views the US as a potential military adversary. If they didn't view the US as such, then they wouldn't develop it; they would make something else. Perhaps an anti-tank missle to counter Russia since they actually share a border. As for the claim that China is only interested in soft power, China would be silly to develop only soft-power since they can do both hard and soft power. And, I'm not sure how you can tell whether China or the US has more friends. International friendships tend to be fleeting because of the "what can you do for me" mentality. With the US, I've noticed that the US has a bunch of good friends and some friends that tend to change their opinion of us every 4 or 8 years for some reason.
When you claim Americans are more warlike, you are seriously oversimplifying. A person with a gun is a person with a gun regardless of nationality. Since you point to the last 60 years as some sort of evidence of this, why not actually consider the whole situation as opposed to only looking at the US? There was another large country around...I can't remember its name...oh yeah, the USSR. Most of US operations during this period were about the USSR, not about some sort of colonialism. I guess we could have let the USSR take over half the world instead of acting but I think you would have disliked the US for not acting if that had happened. Personally, I don't mind my government developing a "stealth" aircraft carrier and I'm pretty sure many people in China would share my opinion if China was trying to develop one.

kevrobb Author Profile Page:

By the way, looking at the banner ad along the top, I see this page - like so much of the Washington Post - is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, maker of hyper-expensive "stealth" warships.


kevrobb Author Profile Page:

By the way, looking at the cover of your Naval Beltway Bandit rag, I see another article is "What the new maritime Arctic really means."

What the new maritime Arctic really means to the USN is that the melting ice has opened up a whole new theatre in which the American Right can play out its global-domination fantasies - even as the American Right simultaneously denies that the ice is melting.

One result of this is that Canada has felt compelled to make exactly the same protests that the Chinese have been making about American warships in their Exclusive Economic Zone.

The US lack of respect for other countries' EEZs is particularly odd since the US claims the largest EEZ in the world - about half the Pacific - by drawing 200-mile circles around tiny dots of land in that ocean that it annexed down the years.

The Canadians have felt compelled to order new coastguard icebreakers and new warships to counter the pushy USN, which now wants to pry and poke around Canada's territorial waters as it does around China's.

That's right, even the Canadians feel the need to buy medicine to protect them from the disease of American militarist expansionism.

tmkelley Author Profile Page:

Thanks, KEVROBB, for that balanced, insightful, objective opinion. What is with you people who continue screaming that the US is the only force for evil on the planet?

I tend to agree with those who think this is a defensive move for one very big reason: The Chinese government has hundreds of billions of dollars invested in our own government because of its stability. Conflict between the US and China would blow that stability out of the water and significantly lower the value of the investments. I think the Chinese value stability above everything. They certainly would not actively hunt down US carriers as an offensive move. That would be total disaster for everyone.

mykulw Author Profile Page:

it is somewhat depressing (but not surprising)to see all of the racism and jingoism on this topic.

China has no need or desire to move outside of its traditional sphere and it has never done so in its millenia of history.

Furthermore, the problem is in the interstitial spaces between the two spheres of influence, not in the spheres themselves.

Taiwan, despite being our friend and ally is undoubtedly within the Chinese sphere, as we have always recognized Taiwan as Chinese.

However if you look to another nation predominately Chinese, in this case Singapore, you will see excellent relations and an absence of adventurism.

As another poster has mentioned, we are talking about the littorals of China, where we essentially have no business other than Taiwan and the shipping lanes of the South China Sea.

China has no intentions of patrolling the west coast of the U.S. and all of their naval buildup should be seen through the filter of protecting their own interests regionally.

On the flip-side, we as Americans regularly patrol Chinese coastal waters with nuclear armed vessels, any one of which could end life in China as they know it. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

I trust the Chinese national character, they are patient and in most cases reluctant to use force.

If Hong Kong is any example (and China is trying very hard to make it an example), Taiwan will b e an autonomous province of China - peacefully and in less than twenty years. And that is not a bad thing.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page:

I think it is quite possible that China actually wants the USA to maintain a military presence in the Far East, to include S. Korea and Japan. Oh sure, they (China) are going to get angry when the USA flies her spy planes near her borders, but, what China fears most is instability and a military build-up by her regional neighbors. A militarily "independent" and potentially aggressive Korea, and especially a re-armed Japan, could be a big threat to China. Better, to have the USA in the region, a country very economically dependent on you (China) anyway (since you have financed her debt). We just have to look at the history of the region. I think China would want to do almost anything to prevent a re-armed and nuclear Japan, let alone Taiwan with nukes. So, in the end, despite a few minor incidents and official bellyaching by both sides, China may very well be the first to have major heartburn if the USA were to really pull-back from Korea and Japan.

kevrobb Author Profile Page:

A land-based anti-ship missile is, by definition, an extremely defensive weapon. It's only useful against navies that insist on prowling off your coast.

And, by definition, the only navies vulnerable to such a missile are the ones who insist on sticking their noses into other people's business.

The US Navy, which since 1945 has assumed the Pacific is an American lake, has done more than any other to create the need for such a missile. The USN sends its spy ships to trawl environmentally-destructive active sonars through China's economic zone, in flagrant violation of the Law of the Sea.

A missile of this nature is one of those rare weapons that might actually make the world a better, safer place. Like an anti-stealth SAM would.
If only we had an anti-neoconservative missile that could target militarist-nationalist megalomaniacs like Pomfret.

And by the way, Pomfret, if China measured US naval or military aggressiveness by the same yardstick that you and your fellow Beltway sh1t-stirrers use for them, they'd be screaming blue bloody murder.

Imagine if a Chinese carrier group sidled up to San Diego. You'd be calling for a nuclear strike. Yet you think nothing of America doing the same to them. You're a hypocrite and a shill for the arms industry, Pomfret.

patmatthews Author Profile Page:

While everyone has traded with China over the last eight years, even holding an Olympics with the attitude China is not whom everyone says they are, forgetting the Tienanmen Square issue of human rights violations, as long as we can relocate Pfiser, Walmart, and other capitalist companies to a country with a cheap labor force, called a suppressed society. In doing so we; the US; transferred technology to China they previously did not possess in order to compete with the US on a world scale.

Now we are worried about what the Chinese government is gong to do with technology we transferred to them freely and without reservation.

Perhaps the US does not have to worry about China attacking the US as the Chinese need us to be good consumers; just like George W. Bush told us to go out and continue shopping in response to 9-1-1; and we are no threat to the Chinese way of life other than buying cheap American junk made in China.

Fear of a guided missile sinking our aircraft carriers from mainland China. We already are sunk as we can not afford the gas and oil to run our fleet without taking a loan from the Chinese government to wage war on the Chinese people. We can not just keep printing money and asking China to buy our bonds, so we can fight them.

Think about it for a minute. Would you finance your enemies war against you?


thomascanada Author Profile Page:

What in the wide world of sports are you imagining that China has any interest in blowing the lid off a flat-top?
With over a billion citizens on the mainland, I supppose that one might think of children playing in a bath tub sinking ships with baking powder submarines.
Yeah! hit an American Battleship and no consequences to the Chinese mainland?!
Like the environment, meathead think it is someone else that will suffer the consequences, not me. We all breathe the same air and food comes from the same earth, sun, rain. We can no longer afford to think of us and them. There is only the We twirling on this speck of blue floating in an infinite void of space and time.
Sooner or later, we will all evolve into one big us or we! One People, one source of energy to share and survive. No one will survive the Cold War Rhetoric for long, if people think we have actual options to destroy only a part of the whole.

jimeglrd8 Author Profile Page:

I am an American and have been coming to China to visit since 1988. I have lived the last four years in Beijing and have many friends in China and the US.
Articles like this one seek to make Americans fear China so that the huge US expenditures on the US military can have a purpose. The Peoples Liberation Army is huge but their is little indication that the Chinese view the US as a potential military adversary. The policy of the Chinese government has been to promote "soft power" all over the world and, as a result, they probably have more friends in the world than the US which continues to concentrate on developing military power. All in all the Chinese people are less warlike than Americans. Lets face it-Americans love war. As a child during the late 1940's my friends and I always played war games. I think this is probably also true of American children in the years since. American football, which I played in high school and college, and which I love, is a warlike game. The national sport of China, on the other hand, is ping pong.
No one would win a war between the US and China. Both countries would be destroyed. It is clear that the biggest threat to world peace is the US. Look at the record. In the last 60 years the US has sent its' troops all over the world and has invaded many countries. I guess the writer of this article wants the US to spend a couple of trillion dollars to develop a "stealth" carrier force. The US cannot afford to continue to spend trillions of dollars on the military.

mykulw Author Profile Page:

Thank you spidermean2 to add unintentional humor to a sober topic.

All of your bibles will not stop one missile.

You and your American Taliban of fundamentalist whackos need to stay in the temporal world to help undo the massive damage you have caused to American ideals and the American reputation.

The other side believes that God is on their side as well. AND, just as you believe there is no lord but Christ, they believe in Allah and his sanctified messenger Mohammad. You need to recognize that particular argument will never end until the after-life (if there is one).

In the meantime Spidermean2, why don't you keep to the message of the Christ, Jesus.

Faith, hope, charity, kindness, and humility are all excellent lessons to take from Christ (or Mohammad) instead of your cloying fatalistic smugness.

marknesop Author Profile Page:

lawstudent, you probably want to stick to law. You're talking apples and oranges; the missile you describe is an air-launched weapon, and the launch platform would be detected well outside launch range. Just because it has a 400-mile range shouldn't suggest they can fire it from that far away; no Chinese aircraft I know of can reliably see its target from 400 miles. It's not like carriers just bob around in the middle of the ocean unescorted, and it is the job of the escorts to not only conceal the location of the carrier within the force from long-range sensors, but to defend it. An aircraft carrier, not surprisingly, carries aircraft, which are handy for smacking airborne missile carriers well away from the force.

The speed is not particularly astonishing, either - Russia had air-launched cruise missiles capable of similar performance envelopes in the late 80's, although they were huge, and this one is likely a good bit smaller. American systems were quite capable of dealing with these threats, and are considerably better today. The Standard is, indeed, a wicked missile.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page:

Of course, thanks to China willing to buy close to $2 trillion in American debt, we (the USA), are actually able to have bought several billion dollar a piece aircraft carriers, and the like, in military hardware. Ironic, isn't it? But, leaving that aside, it's usually Pentagon hardliners and military contractors who want to jack up "the China threat." Never mind that China is decades behind America in military hardware and technology. But, even beyond that, last I knew America had between 2-3,000 or more nuclear warheads and ICBM's. Just how stupid do you think the Chinese are?

gillotte43 Author Profile Page:

The first fallacy is that there is no balance between Taiwan, China and US. And there doesnt have to be. Second fallacy. The US is not the protector of the world nor the guardian of East Asian countries against China. China has proven over the past three decades that it is more interested in providing jobs for its people than starting a war in the Pacific. But, old US habits and policies die hard. Those in the State Dept and Pentagon are still developing contingency plans for the day when China and US go to war. That is simply insanity run amok. Why not plan for more increased cooperation, trade and cultural exchanges to shed light on the differences between the way people look at the world and the similarities of being human beings together on this fragile planet?

And I agree with the comment that the US is the force that is intimidating to everyone else but itself in the Pacific. What in heavens name are US warships and aircraft doing flying and sailing so close to the coast of China? If China did that to the US coastline, there would be holy hell raised from everywhere including Congress, state legistlatures and business community.

The US under Obama has to grow up and face the fact that its time as the unipolar power in the world is over. India, Brazil and China rising will make sure of that and the US simply has to learn how to get along with these new powers.

Tony Gillotte
Vacaville, CA

LawStudent03 Author Profile Page:

Tempest 1,
Who says there needs to be a war going on? The Chinese could very easily sell one of these cruise missiles to whom ever they pleased. The American military presence throughout the world is maintained through our array of aircraft carriers. If the United States loses one of these floating military bases the image of the United States will be tarnished. When I say tarnished I mean the idea that the United States can be defeated. That is a PR nightmare in itself—when your dealing with military PR of course.

LawStudent03 Author Profile Page:

I am aware of a supersonic cruise missile which china developed two years ago (AVIC-1). Are you stating that an American ship can combat such speed? It would hit the ship before we knew who fired it! If you persist in your accusation that the United States Navy could combat this type of missile I would call your 'personal experience' into question.

I link to a site which talkes about such a missile: http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=4005

Tempest1 Author Profile Page:

Well it is war-what you never expect a carrier to be hit?

They never thought a battleship could be sunk by an airplane.

marknesop Author Profile Page:

You're right that modern frequency-agile radars and ESM systems are quite capable of detecting cruise missiles in reasonable time to allow engagement - the C-802 and its follow-ons are so far not particularly stealthy. However, it's worth noting that the C-802's tested PK (Probability of Kill) was in excess of 80%. It's hard to say how accurate those tests are, because they often assume a non-maneuvering target that takes no measures in its own defense, but I notice we are always pretty happy with such a high PK figure when the missiles are our own. Anyway, it's worth remembering that modern Chinese cruise missiles are sophisticated, made by technicians who know their business and are capable of being turned out in overwhelming numbers. Similarly, the best defenses are weakened if you're not alert to pending attack, as the Israelis were not in the example I cited earlier. When the attack comes from land, it's hard to stay on alert constantly (and wears you down) because it could come any time you're within range.

I was in Hong Kong just last year, and you'd never know it's not still an outpost of Empire. The Chinese left it pretty much alone; it has its own flag and municipal government, all the big head offices that were there before are still there, and it is bustling and prosperous. It has been designated a Special Economic Zone by China, and although the Chinese are the masters again, they're keeping their leadership low key and non-interference.

This seems to me to be a calculated example for Taiwan: come back into the fold, and little will change. You can keep your own military forces (this offer has already been extended), your own government (ditto) and your own flag. In short, there'll be few noticeable differences, except you'll come under the mantle of China, who will be your protector and business partner. Routine flights and surface traffic between Taiwan and mainland China resumed some time ago, and appear to be doing well. The line gets a little more blurry all the time. If China can keep its patience and not blow it with some clumsy aggressive move, they'll have Taiwan back within 10 years, maybe as little as 5, all without firing a shot. That's my bet. They just have to be patient.

And is there anyone on earth more patient than the Chinese?

daweeni Author Profile Page:

With the world barely keeping ahead of mass starvation, it is nice to be in a country that can easily feed its own people, and have some food left over to sell its friends. People ought to be nice to us.

ypcchiu Author Profile Page:

Last year there was a special issue of Economist magazine addressing China as a new colonialism with their economic influence spreading all of the world. With their large cash reserve on hand, it is natural that China will build a strong navy to protect their shipping. It is a fact that the current ruling party CCP whose ranking members or their descendant own most of the new wealth in China, established their new nation sixty years ago purely based on the success in military conquering of the mainland China as well as taking over the ownership of private land, houses and industries, similar to what Fidel Castro did five decades ago.

alance Author Profile Page:

According to the Chicago Trib:

China, though still well behind the United States in terms of the strength of its submarine fleet, has turned to an undersea vessel that American planners had considered largely obsolete - the diesel-electric attack submarine - to boost its arsenal.
And it is equipping its submarines with new technology from Germany and elsewhere to make the craft harder to detect and more lethal than ever before.

Experts predict that China's submarine fleet will substantially outnumber that of the United States within the next 15 years.

Maybe Chinese missiles can get through with a lucky shot, maybe not - but anti-ship missiles are not the only weapon in China's arsenal.

jfregus Author Profile Page:

Not too long ago, a Song class PLA(N) sub surfaced in the middle of a USN carrier task force operating close to Japan. Leaks from Naval officers "in the know" said the task force did not know that it was there. This story was carried I believe by either the Post or the NYTimes.

However, more important to me is whether two countries that have a symbiotic relationship would go to war knowing it would be mutually destructive. I do not think so.

blankinships Author Profile Page:

lawstudent03 is misinformed: "The problem with these types of missiles is that they are hard to catch on radar. Even if the United States has the hardware to combat these missiles, it’s a hope and a prayer."

The Aegis/Standard Missile system has been constantly improved to deal with such threats since the early 1990s. I speak from firsthand experience.

atompkins Author Profile Page:

China would not bite the hand that feeds them. Everything we buy in the US has some connection to China. China already owns us (our debt and much of our industry) so why would they want to jeopordize that? We have nothing to worry about until the Chinese people start realizing how unfair their Communist utopia really is.

LawStudent03 Author Profile Page:

That may be the most uninformed and ludicrous statement in any forum on this website. Please actually try to respond intelligibly next time.

expat2MEX Author Profile Page:

It's not hard to see all sides of this argument. The US is over there. The American government has always asserted its right to do so. The Chinese clearly disagree.

So where do we go from here? More military contracts? As someone who works in that world, I don't think so. The US has long since passed the point of being able to win a war against China. We would be destroyed.

But perhaps some feel we need to keep the public in the dark by pumping more money into more weapons and fear. It won't work.

Most soldiers are fascinated by the reality of war. But they don't necessarily think it is a good idea for humanity.

The pathetic American right wing civilian better pay attention to modern reality, or our days on this planet are numbered.

LawStudent03 Author Profile Page:

The problem with these types of missiles is that they are hard to catch on radar. Even if the United States has the hardware to combat these missiles, it’s a hope and a prayer.

The PLA is a nation within itself. It is large, cumbersome, and working in areas which are commonly reserved for financier, but I digress. The PLA, as stated earlier, is cumbersome. Let’s not kid ourselves its HUGE, which means that sometimes the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. And be honest with yourself the communist party is not fully in charge of the military. One of these missiles has the ability to end up in a military aircraft carrier if put in the hands of an over zealous general. Generals that immerged just two years ago were talking about "destroying the US presence in Asia."

As to China's power in general, it is not judicious to state that China is going to be the next world superpower. China is immerging as a powerful adversary to the United States, but it has more social problems than it can handle. Unemployment, social inequality, lack of a legal system, and millions of displaced farmers. Many of the rural farmers who sent their children to the cities to work depend on that money to support the rest of the family on the farm. Now these children cannot find jobs as a result of a global recession. China is immerging, but it is not overtaking the United States.

I suggest that many of you read Mingxin Pei's book "China's Trapped Transition."

I also wish to remind those of you, who believe in a China which will dominate the world, of the similar Japanese focused scare in the 1980's.

Arizona70 Author Profile Page:

The Navy in general, and carriers in particular, are an enormous waste of money vs. adversaries with technology. Relatively cheap missiles and torpedoes can easily eliminate a $5+ billion system. It's time to retire the admirals and their favorite toys.

spidermean2 Author Profile Page:

I think the U.S. military has sealed its fate. It has burned hundreds of Bibles (the word of God) and it's going to pay for it very dearly.

Almost half of its population are for gay marriages and also for pot legalization. It has become a different military and a different America.

It will be punished by its enemies and until a big population of America gets burned (like the mythical Phoenix) it will not regain it rule over the world.

It will be defeated in future wars. No bigger budget or high tech weaponry can save it from doom. That's the prophecy.

Repent or perish. There's no other solution but to go back to old America's values and all these future wars will be averted.

alance Author Profile Page:

Pomfret's China looks like a column written by Bill Gertz in the Worldnetdaily or the Washington Times. Why is WA-PO so anti-Chinese?

It must be because they like waving the tibetan flag with Richard Gere and Nancy Pelosi.

In the days of Kublai Khan, Tibet belonged to China. In the winter of 1935-1936, Mao and Zhou En-lai were on the historic Long March to escape the clutches of Chiang Kai-shek who was trying to exterminate them. The Tibetan along the way tried to kill and starve the Communists. Revenge is sweet.

john_jiang20 Author Profile Page:

This smells like the military version of the CDO, CLO and CDS that investment bankers used to peddled.

lionelroger Author Profile Page:

So what else is new? More scare articles to rattle China's cage and drum up more money for the Military Industrial complex. As if the 1 Trillion a year Defense takes from our Budget table weren't enough. America is broke alrady from the financing of endless Wars since 1950. Wars we never intend to win but rather to prolong. We are a modern-day Sparta; the only thing we make is Weapons and hamburgers. If China sinks one of our Carriers they won't be making things for anyone anymore-this outsourced manufacturing is the pillar of their economy. And it will be the end of the World as we know it, because the whole Western World will jump on them; they don't have that many friends to go on an attack mode in the World. Hitler and Stalin tried it and it didn't work. Besides, all they have to do to damage America is stop financing our debt, debt which we will never pay back. In case anyone wants to know, we are running our country with Chinese money.

lionelroger Author Profile Page:

So what else is new? More scare articles to rattle China's cage and drum up more money for the Military Industrial complex. As if the 1 Trillion a year Defense takes from our Budget table weren't enough. America is broke alrady from the financing of endless Wars since 1950. Wars we never intend to win but rather to prolong. We are a modern-day Sparta; the only thing we make is Weapons and hamburgers. If China sinks one of our Carriers they won't be making things for anyone anymore-this outsourced manufacturing is the pillar of their economy. And it will be the end of the World as we know it, because the whole Western World will jump on them; they don't have that many friends to go on an attack mode in the World. Hitler and Stalin tried it and it didn't work. Besides, all they have to do to damage America is stop financing our debt, debt which we will never pay back. In case anyone wants to know, we are running our country with Chinese money.

simplesimon33 Author Profile Page:

Slowly but surely China is advancing to checkmate US military power in entire world. The day is NOT far off when China will smoothly replace US as sole world power. Nixon-Kissinger’s use of old adage ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ has come back to haunt US. US is going to regret that fateful day in June, 1972 when that genius duo decided to embrace China’s Communist dragon to counter Russia’s Soviet bear. There were endless stream of China apologists in American diplomatic circles and academia who toasted that game-changing move by Nixon-Kissinger. Now out of sheer necessity, US has to mollycoddle China. Afterall China has US by its tail – US survives on cheap Chinese consumer products and huge Chinese investments in US treasuries. Treasury Secretary Geithner is heading to China to apologize for his misguided remark during his nomination hearings before US Congress about China manipulating its currency value.

These gate-keepers of American economy do not seem to have given any thought as to how long this can continue – China keeps earning more US dollars by continuing to keep exporting its cheap products without which inflation will zoom up in US and then China will keep investing those earned dollars in US treasuries to keep financing US borrowings thereby US digging ever deeper debt hole in China’s favor. A day of reckoning has to dawn at some point in time on Fed Chief and treasury Secretary. By then, it will be too late, ofcourse.

tzukung1 Author Profile Page:

The PLA operates over 100 large military academies in China, of which 12 are purely political teaching establishments. The PLA is a nation within China and is not necessarily answerable or accountable to the Communist Party, which is itself not accountable to the 'people'. Many papers written at the PLA strategic research institutues indicate that the PLA considers all air, land and sea surfaces within 2500 kilometers of the Zuquo (ancestral homeland) borders to be within PLA 'territory'. That would include Siberia (with 12 million Zuquo immigrants already), all of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Quam (USA), Philippines, Vietnam, Mayanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kazakstan. It is not a coincidence that this PLA 'territory' is roughly equivilent to China's largest imperial expansion.

Of course, defensive or imperilist zones of influence by the USA and Russia also were about 2500 kilometers from their borders. India now builds one on the sub-continent. Would humanity be better of without imperialist zones by anyone?

edbyronadams Author Profile Page:

Aircraft carriers are military dinosaurs.

rannrann Author Profile Page:

Big problem, "Now, nobody in the public sphere really knows how advanced China's anti-ship ballistic missile program is."

Any Nation concerned with national defense should make it there busness to know this.

Our national defense policy should be friends, second, possible, adversaires, first...

thmak Author Profile Page:

To OnlyLiveOnce: Pomfret's article had digged up a corpse of yester-year's bad-mouthing thugs and goons.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Pomfret: How come you are so ignorant to say "China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights". It is US who forces China to have US forces in their sight long before China has any real force to account for. China doesn't like to see US forces but US forcebly and immorally "expose" its forces before them to China's disgust. US sends threatening forces patrolling along their borders and colludes militarily with her neighboring countries to threaten China. It is all US own making. No other country in the world thinks that way except US. It can be said that US is obsessively paranoid and as Obama said "fear mongering".

hangkok_2000 Author Profile Page:

The DF-21 is not a game-changer. The Navy can assure that the THAADS and AEGIS are designed exactly to handle this kind of threat. The DF-21 cannot fly like a Sidewinder and even if it were to spew more than one warhead, the RAM will destroy them.

free9604 Author Profile Page:

I smell a major lobbying effort in the works by the Navy and its armaments contractors. Fortunately, Bob Gates is our SecDef. I've felt for some time that carriers, cruisers, and other surface ships are sitting ducks for Exocet-type and other anti-ship missiles that are in the arsenals of many countries, both friend and foe. During the Falklands War, an Argentine Exocet totally destroyed a British surface ship--and the missile didn't even detonate. And how many anti-ship missiles do figure can be built for the price of one aircraft carrier? Hmmm? Is it time for the carrier to go the way of the battle ship? Maybe it's time the Pentagon convened a conference of some 12-14 year-old guys to do some unconventional thinking and at the same time tell the usual armaments contractors' lobbyists to take a hike.

poppadata Author Profile Page:

I have only a tangential interest in this topic, stemming from the revelation in the S I X T I E S that Russia was guiding ship traffic using satellites.

Each ship was tracked and repositioned, esp. during arctic transit by tankers.

Well, DUH, if they can track their fleet from outer space; how hard is it to track a carrier strike force for targeting a small nuke tipped missile?

So I searched commentary and sure enough Russian military were using the same system to track U.S. Navy ships, and were rather satisfied they could, if necessary, easily destroy a carrier task force.

The missing element is that it is only recently that CHINA has had this satellite tracking capability, and the ability to transmit accurate targeting information to ballistic and ship based missile launchers.

In other words, the U.S. has been parading around a fleet of dinosaurs useful for intimidating 2nd tier players; but not the major league players like Russia and China.
p.s. Iran and North Korea probably now have a similar capability.

Again, I'm only an outside amateur at military strategy, so If I'm off base, please correct me civilly, if possible.

Doubter1 Author Profile Page:

Oversea Indians, like their compatriots in India, are obssessed with China ever since 1962 war. You can see them all over the Internet inserting themsleves into issues that are tangential at best. Their English langauge skills, a legacy of colonialism imposed by white people, helped them foster a false impression upon casual readers, that a lot of Americans express hostile views on China. Chinese people I talked to were genuinely surprised and bewildered by Indian obssession. They thought, Like Chinese, Indians should have set theit aim much higher, say the US.

Their democarcy, unlike West democracy, is total mess. At any given day, their are half dozen armed insurgencies in India ranging from Maoist to ethno-independence mobs. I vistied India recently and was horrified by its backwardness and primitiveness. Is this 62-year democracy all about?

Doubter1 Author Profile Page:

Someone mentioned "AEGIS and THAADS" and I would add "anti-ballistic missle systems. If these weapons are so fantastic as Pentagon and neocon "scholars" and "analysts" claimed. Why would anyone worry a Chinese anti-ship ballisitc missle?

I am totally confused!

Doubter1 Author Profile Page:

I am somewaht disappointed but not surprised at the John's "America exceptionalism." Yes. China is probably preparing a confrontation with US over Taiwan, "China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights." But their action is understandable and justified if we all agree that Taiwan is a part of China. Imagine if Hawaii natives apply Dalai Lama's arguments for "native only" self-determination and get defacto independence, and China signs a defence treaty with the Hawaii natives, what would Pentagon do? "America's military continues to have Chinese forces in their sights."

Are you still surprised, John? Even for a liberal world-traveler, it is hard to shed off the arrogance associated with a people who are so far lucky enough to avoid a lot of devanstation and calamity like peoples in Eurasia have accustomed to.

polaris11 Author Profile Page:

Two responses : AEGIS and THAADS

alance Author Profile Page:

China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights, just like we have had them in our sights since 1949.

As China gets richer and more powerful and slowly seeks parity with our military - we need to treat her with more respect.

During the so-called 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis Clinton sent two strike groups toward Taiwan to intimidate the Chinese.

Last week we the sent the worst Speaker of the House we've had in over 200 years and she acted like a Catholic School principal when she tried to crack their knuckles with a ruler over so-called human rights violations. Of course Pelosi has no clue about the concepts of respect and diplomacy. Somebody please take her passport away before she starts WWIII.

sing1 Author Profile Page:

After that article, lobbyists from defense industry will come to Washington for new weapon systems. It happens before and it never fails.

wikhiho Author Profile Page:

The president Obama is leading a disaster foreign policies, like:

Pakistan's nuclear weapon always exists, he doesn't involve that issue...

Another foreign problem is that cuts the goods and supplies to North Korea isn't a good way to solve such a trouble, because it tends to use the test nuclear weapons by North Korea government...

Also He does to try involve to China and Europe invade Afganistan, no way, they are not agree to his propose...

He should concern USA economy and to protect american people than interest to another International issue's......

wikhiho Author Profile Page:

The president Obama is leading a disaster foreign policies, like:

Pakistan's nuclear weapon always exists, he doesn't involve that issue...

Another foreign problem is that cuts the goods and supplies to North Korea isn't a good way to solve such a trouble, because it tends to use the test nuclear weapons by North Korea government...

Also He does to try involve to China and Europe invade Afganistan, no way, they are not agree to his propose...

He should concern USA economy and to protect american people than interest to another International issue's......

blasmaic Author Profile Page:

During 2004, the United States conducted the largest troop movement since World War Two. It rotated deployments in Iraq all at once. If China had sought to take Taiwan by force, it could have and would have done so then.

China has found the formula to success in this century: peace and prosperity for its citizens. Let's hope our leaders can learn this lesson before it's too late... for us.

rohitcuny Author Profile Page:

Encouraged by the idea that the US would protect them, Japan and Taiwan, technologically advanced nations, have both refrained from developing nuclear arsenals. Now the US, afraid of Chinese power, is saying, "We won't protect you, you are on your own." Fine, but then what happens to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty? Does it mean that nations who sign it and respect it are just suckers? The US cannot have it both ways. It cannot say, "We are the world's police - you do not need your own guns" and also say, "Sorry, we cannot protect you, because we are scared ourselves."

rohitcuny Author Profile Page:

George Bush followed a policy of strenghtening India. While many of his other policies have come to bad results, this one was an intelligent one. Why is Obama's administration ignoring the world's largest democracy, dedicated to both democracy and secular values, and a rising power which has just sent a probe to the moon? India can be the center of a new world view which respects the rights of neighbours and respects all religions. Don't let Chinese money, Chinese power, and cheap Chinese goods drive our foreign policy. China has more than a thousand missiles aimed at their own people in Taiwan. Is this humane? Is it wise? America should not leave half of the world to the tender mercies of the bosses in Beijing.

LeszX Author Profile Page:

U.S. policy regarding Taiwan is long overdue for a change. Taiwan has the right - as does any body of people - to remain separate from its mainland neighbor. But Taiwan has to take responsibility for its own independence - and for its relationship with mainland China. The U.S. should be willing to supply the Taiwanese with any military hardware they wish to buy, but we should make clear that we would not come to Taiwan's aid in the event of an armed conflict. If China's anti-ship missile helps the U.S. arrive at a more realistic policy regarding Taiwan, so much the better.

The politically-incorrect truth is that if Taiwan were to allow all of its citizens their own small arms, that would guarantee Taiwan's perpetual independence. Now, THAT would really be a game-changer.

jlemory47 Author Profile Page:

DESKBOYINMIAMI : You and people like you, make the cracks in a democracy painfully clear. Fortunately for the US, you are a minority

shane_beck Author Profile Page:

Doesn't change the main game. Taiwan is the unsinkable aircraft carrier. If the U.S can reinforce Taiwan quick enough, they will (probably)win. If China takes Taiwan quick enough, they win. Ability to kill Carrier group assets doesn't matter much unless you were planning an amphibious assault operation and wanted air cover.

alaskansheilah Author Profile Page:

We've got people going hungry, US citizens wanting jobs, those who work FULL TIME, some living in the streets too I might add, yet we give amnesty to illegal aliens, school, feed, and give "humanitarian aid" to them, take in the poor from other nations, fight the battles of other nations, feed other nations (by buying goods from other nations too boot. ENOUGH already! NOT another penny to outside the US interests. Place higher embargoes on ALL foreign goods. QUIT BUYING MADE IN CHINA altogether. Charity begins at home!

alaskansheilah Author Profile Page:

aYUP, UH HUH. This figures.



hangkok_2000 Author Profile Page:

The only way to solve this damned problem is to stay out of their territorial issue. Taiwan is theirs so America does not need to flex its hegemony muscle. It's that easy.

RichardKefalos Author Profile Page:

Yes, Blankinships, very interesting. The cavitating torpedo is a fascinating weapon. I wonder if the principle can be applied to entire submarines to create a cavitating submarine capable of running submerged at 300 mph?

RichardKefalos Author Profile Page:

As much as I hate it, the American Century seems to have come to an end. We can no longer enforce our foreign "interests" and perhaps it's time to become a normal country that takes care of its own people before acting as the world's policeman. A case in point is Korea. If the North attacks the South I suppose our government will defend the South, which means yet another war in a far-away place. A much saner thing would be to leave South Korea and let the Koreans fight it out. The we could deal with the winner, just like we now deal with Vietnam. We need to stop fighting these damned foreign wars and let the foreigners deal with it themselves. We are not responsible for the world.

blankinships Author Profile Page:

None of this is surprising. The Soviet Union had ballistic missile launchers installed on ships like the Kirov during the 1980s, along with bomber-launched supersonic antiship missiles like the AS-4 and AS-6. I had not seen any programs funded for the purpose of defending against such threats other than Standard Missile.

But Standard Missile may be sufficient to defend against ballistic missile threats and threats like supersonic high-diving missiles like the old AS-6s. The Aegis cruisers that field them are intended to protect the carriers. There are also the Phalanx guns mounted on aircraft carriers for shredding incoming cruise missiles.

The real threat is the cavitating torpedo, which may not have a viable countermeasure. China has been developing such weapons. But this is not necessarily new. Carriers are great for projecting power in brushfire wars, but against an advanced 'conventional' adversary they have been obsolete since the 1970s. Should a naval war have broken out with the Soviet Union, from talking with the ops analysis people I worked with back in the 1980s, there should be no doubt that little of our surface fleet and none of our would have survived. Stealth missile cruisers and smaller surface vessels, along with submarines, are the fitter species of platforms.

TalkingHead1 Author Profile Page:

Pomfret, the U.S. should first be really fearful of the monetary debt it owes to China. And the longer the U.S. is indebted, the bigger the debt will grow with the compound interest. Of course, the U.S. could repay China with the military hardwares worth the debt, which would really make your paranoia come true. Otherwise, it's time to break open the vaults at Fort Knox and ship the gold bars to China.

marknesop Author Profile Page:

The C-802 (Chinese, incidentally) missile that struck the Israeli Saar-5 patrol boat AHI HANIT (while she was shelling Beirut Airport in the most recent Israeli attempt at conquering Lebanon) was reportedly fired from a makeshift launcher and target acquisition achieved with an off-the-shelf Decca Bridgemaster. Anyone can buy this technology, it doesn't take that much know-how to make it work, and it isn't that difficult to strike a warship at sea with a landbased missile. Over-the-horizon stuff is a bit trickier, but current Chinese military technology is easily capable of it.

This is hardly news. If the USN could fire a TLAM Tomahawk cruise missile from sea and drive it through the selected window of a chosen building, why wouldn't it work in reverse? Warships at sea make active noise with their radars and communications that can be a beacon to a cruise missile. A ship that operates with no radars or communications is blind except for passive sensors, which are generally not accurate enough for counter-targeting.

fzdybel Author Profile Page:

"If the Chinese Carrier Killer is real. It explains why China still does not have an Aircraft Carrier-Because it's just a gigantic piece of scrap metal ... why build one ?. hahaha"

A carrier is part of a complex system called a carrier battle group. It involves other nuclear powered surface vessels, radar-directed anti-cruise missile measures, aircraft, and attack submarines. All of this has been barely enough to keep carriers alive as a military idea in the age of cruise-missiles. And the Chinese don't really have all this supporting collateral together. For them to build carriers is still quite premature, though they can certainly build carriers and stick aircraft on them.

Eventually somebody will come up with something that can't be handled easily, and carriers will go the way of the ship of the line and the dreadnought. For now, carriers will sprout a new generation of ABMs (a carrier can shoot down a satellite, why not a missile?) and the game will go on. Always assuming that the American taxpayer remains ready and able to foot the bill.

mbbsc Author Profile Page:

If the Chinese Carrier Killer is real. It explains why China still does not have an Aircraft Carrier-Because it's just a gigantic piece of scrap metal, the CCP must have known long before, why build one ?. hahaha

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:


"So next time you HEAR “We’re all in danger! The whole world is in danger!!”, just remember that the beast is hungry again… and it alone feels threatened.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Should the subliminal message be that there is in this case the threat of a Pearl Harbor all over again, those responsible for the “picture” ought to be congratulated.

Yet how uninformative is that statement: “China's military continues to have U.S. forces in their sights”! -- Of course, they do. That is only common sense, the moment one is Chinese. What in the world would you expect, being an American, unless you play dumb, or you have no clue how the Empire acts in that part of the world (well… all over the world, really) and what its arsenals are, i.e. what others call “U.S. power projection and influence in the Western Pacific”, in what others still designate more ironically as the existing “balance of power”?

Better get used to it fast: no matter what the U.S. does, it is to be expected China will do whatever needs be done to defend itself against any aggressor…. China will defend itself on land, at sea, in space, wherever. China will defend itself mightily and decisively. What we know of Chinese military power will always have little to do with its real military power; that also goes without saying.

That is the game the most powerful have imposed on the less powerful.

Everyone knows that part of that game is for the U.S. military-industrial complex, a monster suffering from bulimia nervosa, to launch a campaign of fear and/or terror, on a regular basis, under the pretence of having uncovered some mighty new threat, so as to “justify” being fed some more. The sad news is that this exercise in blackmail most of the time works: military budgets and expenditures do increase, substantially, and the monster looks happy… for a very brief moment. So next time you year “We’re all in danger! The whole world is in danger!!”, just remember that the beast is hungry again… and it alone feels threatened.

vwam Author Profile Page:

i met an ex airforce guy (chinese)who had made a career switch to being an english teacher. i asked him why and he said that teaching english could help prevent war. i'm sure there were other reasons, but that was the first thing that came out of his mouth. i just me him randomly on the street, he was one of those guys who come up with a big grin and say 'hi' that i usually brush off. i'm glad i didnt.

DeskboyinMiami Author Profile Page:

Thanks President Clinton, for selling the technology that enables the Chinese Commies to threaten us this way. The whole balance of power and world is shifting away from the US, thanks to you and the Democrats. No matter, the Chinese can't afford a war with us, who would buy their crap exports? Who would they have to undermine??
Besides Obama will gut this nation from within.

pug_ster Author Profile Page:

Oh gawd, more fear mongering. China has to deal with the US threat in Okinawa, South Korea and Ships in the South China sea for the past 60 years. Now Sinophobes like onlyliveonce hates the fact that their ships are in danger.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:


I like the picture on that Magazine cover, it is real? or doctored by photoshop?

Really impressively, and striking! Catch people's eye!

farklol Author Profile Page:


The ability to sink a carrier does not require some cutting edge hardware that only countries with hefty military budgets can afford. Any decently equipped conventional navy can sink a carrier. Some required reading. Even Iran with can sink our carriers with their zip boat swarming tactics.

Here's some required reading:


Basically the lesson of the article is that "Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack." (taken from a study conducted by the US Naval Institute)

That's right. None.

A carrier is just a billion dollar floating scrap.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Please John, I beg you to write somethings good about us.

As Chinese or Chinese government, we don't want a war, or hold gun to do things.

The material is even more fictional than a science fiction, or maybe hollywood get some writers to do a more believable job.

Can you live like 21 century person?

The whole world is spinning to Democracy, people want to live better, than fight in hell.

Even CCP can join in hands with KMT, as long as Taiwan don't hold independent flag, there is no war guaranteed, after 10 or 20 years, Mainland and Taiwan have no need to talk about Unification, cus we all culturally, linguistically, economically unified already by our ancestors for 2000 years, why we are that stupid to fight?

When Mainland's government gradually proceeds to democratic system, then Taiwan issue will be expired overnight! Like the Racism issue that often your support use on your blog as strategy of separating Chinese.

I wonder after 10 or 20 year Mainland become democracy state, what excuse US politician must use to plot Chinese fight Chinese?

Chinese government job is stable develop for economy, environment, and democracy.

If US wants to patrol around the whole world burning energy, fine.

We dont give a crap, I don't think other nations give crap, your show, if US like it, then do it.
Until one day, your politicians feel a little embarrassed that parading with guns like NK is no good for the world and state.

But remember a few years ago, your missile hit our embassy, and your airplane hit our jet, and 30 US air force landed on our soil, do a report on them.

How did our people and our nation and government treaded your people and soldiers?

That is the Chinese character, Your nasty politicians will never get it!

Links & Resources

Visit Pomfret's Website
PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.