Skip to comments.If it Comes to War, Can the US Compete With China?
Posted on 06/16/2014 9:09:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
China is building an island. It may be the kind of thing you do when youre a rapidly growing economy, but in this case its also the thing you do when you want to make a territorial claim on parts of the Pacific Ocean your neighbours also claim. In this case, China is building an island complete with airstrip in waters claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.
Its just the latest chapter in the Big Book of China Being Dickish, and in case youve just jumped into this book, the Council on Foreign Relations has a handy map for all of the competing territorial claims China is making in the Pacific against basically every nearby country with sandy beaches.
It may not sound like it, but it actually is a coincidence that the major Pacific powers just wrapped up one of the major annual conferences on security matters in the region, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accused China of aggregating one fait accompli after another. American commentary, like that of Ely Ratner in the Wall Street Journal, suggests America take a more confrontational stance with China in places where the rising power is throwing its weight around.
In short, there remain a number of ways that things could go badly in the Pacific. The biggest thing we have going for us, for now, is that most everyone whos actually in charge agrees it would be insane to start shooting over rocks that barely rise higher than the waves on a good day. But governments dont last forever, and patience is not a long-term plan.
So what would a supremely bad set of days look like? I think Robert Farley has a thorough rundown of the interests of China and the US in a possible shooting war: the US would be trying to make things as painful as possible for China to remove any offensive capability and possibly destabilize the Chinese government, while the Chinese would try to disrupt the US-led alliance system in the Pacific.
One of Farleys points that people should probably dwell on is how, even if things go well for the US, any lucky shots the Chinese manage to get in will be enormously more costly for the US than for China. While Chinese factories and shipyards could replace Chinese losses in short order,
The United States may have a harder time replacing losses, and not only because US warships and aircraft cost more than their Chinese counterparts. The production lines for the F-15 and F-16 are near the end, and the US no longer produces F-22. Moreover, US shipbuilding has declined to the point that replacing significant war losses could take a very long time.
If, for example, the Chinese manage to sink a US aircraft carrier with one of its ballistic missiles, as a steady stream of alarmist articles has spent a decade warning against, that carrier is unlikely to be replaced very quickly, if at all. This puts the US at a structural disadvantage in any conflict with China: whatever harm China causes the US is likely to be long-term or even permanent, while any harm the US causes China is likely to be temporary.
To spell out the increasing time costs of large weapon systems a bit more explicitly: the USS Enterprise that retired in 2012 began construction in 1958 and was in service by early 1962. The next Enterprise is currently expected to begin construction in 2018 but not enter service until 2027. And that assumes the Navy figures out the bugs that are plaguing the newest model carrier.
Its all very daunting, but it begs the question of US industrial capacity. That is, it assumes the level (or more accurately, the efficiency) of military spending weve seen to date is the best the US can do, and that the US couldnt, in a crisis, get much better at building things that go boom or are meant to make other people go boom.
But just as the next major-power war is going to look like nothing weve ever seen before, so will the home front. That weve gotten used, in the last decade, to fighting wars while arguing about whether everyone or just the very rich should get tax cuts says nothing about the merits of marginal tax rates, but quite a bit about how seriously weve taken our wars.
A war with China (or any other major power) wont allow us the luxury to choose whether to take it seriously or not, and the kinds of costs it will impose on us wont allow us the luxury of simply going away and calling it victory, like were doing in Afghanistan. This, in case its not obvious, is why war with China should be avoided.
The other scenario, then, is that the military-industrial complex is as fat and lazy as we assume it is, but that it would quickly get into a fighting trim if a crisis called for it. In one sense, this is good news for the US: losses in a fight with China could be replaced and the Pacific status quo could be maintained. The bad news is that this realistically just means we need to discuss the possibility of a first and second shooting war between the two giants of the global economy.
Since one war would be a disaster and a second one would be at least as bad, we return to square one: hoping the people who realize how crazy it all is continue to keep a lid on things, until Chinas rise can be accommodated without violently disrupting the status quo. Seventy years after D-Day and a century after the start of World War I, we should be sobered by the fact that we dont have a great history of this.
The Chicoms are loving the Obama presidency. They’ve hacked all our computers, stole all our patents, now time to attack Japan!
Sssshhhh. Don’t wake up the ‘bring jobs back’ broken record parrot.
Given the quality of our current political leadership, I doubt we could win a shootout with Canada.
No kidding. A lot of half-assed weapons systems were deployed at the beginning of WWII because they were needed and there was no time to test them properly beforehand. Any conflict with China would involve weapons under development being deployed willy-nilly. While glitches will be inevitable, development would be sped up because users would learn about their capabilities and limitations under live fire from intelligent adversaries instead of having to gin up artificial test scenarios that attempt to guess what an adversary would and could do with his suite of weaponry.
More important than weapons in war is the will on the part of the leaders and the people to fight and win.
We’re about to lose Iraq and Afghanistan, as we did Vietnam, not because the enemy has more or better weapons, but because they have a stronger will to fight and win and have a cause in which they fervently believe in.
We have about 20 aircraft carriers. They might have one.
It would be tough. /s
General Bergdahl will save us!
Sure, or used to, before Øbama and the purges.
But even if PRESIDENT Regan were running the show, it would not be easy.
China has some, what, 1.5 Billion people? Something tells me that losing a hundered (or two) million or so to war, would not concern them in the least.
‘Quantity has a quality all it’s own.’ - Uncle Joe Stalin.
Nobody in government would use the means necessary ( and China is a compact country compared to the former, and current, USSR) to counter such an attack, even if same were used against us.
This one thing I think it's unfair to blame on Obama. They robbed us blind during the Clinton years, and the Bush years helped them too. (Not to mention the first Bush's years) If Obama is helping them, he';s just following a well-established tradition.
Even this sober article doesn’t acknowledge that China plans to destroy our homeland with nuclear hellfire. They plan to win, not sit around for years while we rebuild a navy.
The difference is, they are much more capable now, so the theft is too huge for even the media to cover up.
Well, send some Dem Congressmen and tip that thing over!
A shoot out with Canada? With these ass hats, we could not win a shoot out at a hockey game.
It will be an epic bitch slap, hands down and we’re the one delivering it.
Bring it you kommie midgets. ...
Easier yet - send the EPA and issue a cease work order as there has been no decade long study and formulation of an environmental impact statement. They stop everything here - why not in China ?
Active Duty ping.
Do you mean Cringing?
S/he’s right. The interest we pay the Chinese pays for their military.
I’ll wake him/her up.
EVERYONE loses in Afghanistan. We were doing great. We kicked out Al Queda. We then decided to stay. They never like that.
So, we are just another on a long list of empires that have died in the Mountains..
In space, we win.
In the air we win big.
On the Sea, we win huge.
Let’s stay off their land.
I say we are winning pretty well when the nukes go off.
WE CAN NOT DEFEAT RADICAL ISLAM--A mere mosquito compared to a Chinese DRAGON. Hell, we can not defeat MEXICO.
One would think that he would get tired of saying the same thing over and over, but obviously not.
The US had problems pushing back China in the Korean War when it brutally poor. Short of nuclear weapons, forget about now.
One hand tied behind our back in that war and later wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) were worse.
(just reading this, but thanks)
Another failed history lesson for current leadership. The United States won WWII largely because of its’ industrial capacity. Thanks to our outsourcing, we no longer have this advantage. Any future war would rely on pinpoint strikes of missiles and nuclear weapons. I doubt that current leadership has the resolve to use such weapons and strongly suspect that our military systems have been compromised by hacking and illegal sales of technology. Disarm the American citizen and we’re ripe for a takeover.