Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hegemonic Warfare Watch: ADIZziness, while in Taiwan... *Sigh*

Well, well. The depressing global situation, which pits hegemonic powers against each other, when they need to be attacking global warming and the global economic downturn, just got a little more depressing this week with the US claim that a Chinese ship had attempted to ram a US ship (or create a collision -- take your pick) shadowing the task force around the Chinese carrier Liaoning (WashTimes, Reuters, WantChinaTimes). Such ramming actions are normal for the Chinese, as we have seen over the years, and the incident has the ring of truth.

Meanwhile, back in ADIZ land, the commentary on China's new ADIZ is like a signal of how provocative and threatening it is. James Holmes points out what so many of us have been saying, that China's policies are calculated.
Moltke the Elder maintained that the strongest form of warfare is strategic offense combined with tactical defense. In practice that means wresting something from an outmatched or unready opponent and daring that opponent to take it back. Since defense is stronger than offense according to Clausewitz, seizing a disputed object preemptively confers advantages. It compels the opponent to undertake a costly offensive; he might find himself cast as the aggressor, with all the political baggage that entails. In short, an enterprising power can obtain what business folk call a “first-mover advantage” (hat tip: Toshi Yoshihara), preempting competitors in a contested theater or other dispute.
The Diplomat also hosted a very nice piece on rationalist explanations for a war between Japan and China. The South Koreans responded to China's move by extending their ADIZ a week ago, a nice tit for tat move. The US has assured Japan it will not recognize Beijing's demands in the ADIZ.

Zach Keck argued in The Diplomat that the ADIZ threatens Taiwan more than Japan. The ADIZ itself has exactly zero effect on reinforcements to Taiwan from Japan by either the Japanese or the US, it is just dotted lines on a map and has no physical existence. If China attacks Taiwan it will have to interdict that area whether or not there is an ADIZ; if China attacks Japan it will have to interdict that area as well whether or not there is an ADIZ. More importantly, The Diplomat hosted a fine piece that explained China's need for the Su-35: its superior range. Range is a key strategic factor in a fighter aircraft, the famed Japanese ace Saburo Sakai once remarked that if German fighters had possessed better range the Germans would have won the Battle of Britain. Increased range is useful tactically since it enables longer periods in combat over the target area, but strategically, if your aircraft outrange the enemies, you can send planes over areas where he cannot. And that is a priceless advantage.

Keck's argument also depended on his claim that the Senkakus are part of Taiwan. How much longer do we have to see this silliness? They were never part of Taiwan.

At Bloggingheads Toshi Yoshihara discusses the ADIZ (video).

Meanwhile back in Taiwan President Ma met with AIT Chair Burghardt over the ADIZ. The Ma government's weak response -- the ADIZ is "unhelpful" was criticized at home and likely, in Washington, hence the appearance of Burghardt in Taipei. The director of AIT in Taipei issued a statement...
AIT Director Christopher J. Marut today commented on Taiwan’s response to China’s announcement of an air defense identification zone. Director Marut said, “The United States appreciates Taiwan’s constructive response to Beijing’s November 23 announcement of an East China Sea ADIZ. The U.S.-Taiwan unofficial relationship is in great shape. We are working well together.”
Just take all those sentences and convert them to negatives, and I suspect you'll get his actual meaning. Well, we all on the pro-Taiwan side warned them what Ma would mean. The US government supported Ma twice. Now they are getting what they deserve. Unfortunately it is we in Taiwan who are going to pay the price for the Administration's short-sightedness and venality. At least the government has acquired much needed Apache helicopters.
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Michael Turton said...
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opit said...

"the US claim that a Chinese ship had attempted to ram a US ship shadowing the task force around the Chinese carrier Liaoning"

Your comment strikes me as naive at best. I can recall too many tales from the US/USSR 'cold war' of 'Crazy Ivan' and of close maneuvers that resulted in actual contact. In any case, when daring a picket guard one should not expect flowers. The position of the US ship snooping defenses should tell one all he needs to know about the true status of the 'aggrieved innocent.'

Michael Turton said...

As I said, I believe the US claim, it's a pretty typical Chinese tactic. One has to be aware that the US also lies like crazy. Sorting out who is lying is a full time job...

opit said...

:) Good luck with that. But in this case I merely suggest a picket that didn't 'charge' would be derelict in its job of screening intruders from an opportunity to cause mischief, just like any bodyguard. That has to do with Rules of Engagement, something with which the US has great fondness.

Mike Fagan said...

Range will not be the main reason the Chinese want the Su35 since their J-11 and J-15 already have a similar range and speed to the Su35. It's more likely they are after the Su35's radar and avionics.