If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
I’ll set aside for a moment that issue from the national perspective, and regard it from that of the State. As we know, the American state is engaged in both domestic warfare against its founding nation, as well as foreign interventions in opposition to competing peers. It is a perpetual motion whirligig of global conflict and traditionalist extirpation. It is the great shining colander on a hill. Ancient discrete tribes enter from the top, and brownish-yellow paste is pushed through the bottom. We are the proud American paste people. And we won’t cease until you’re a paste person too.
And so this entry will discuss a country that is going to require quite a bit of straining: China thinks it can defeat the American paste in battle.
The bad news first. The People’s Republic of China now believes it can successfully prevent the United States from intervening in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or some other military assault by Beijing.
Now the good news. China is wrong — and for one major reason. It apparently disregards the decisive power of America’s nuclear-powered submarines
Moreover, for economic and demographic reasons Beijing has a narrow historical window in which to use its military to alter the world’s power structure. If China doesn’t make a major military move in the next couple decades, it probably never will.
The U.S. Navy’s submarines — the unsung main defenders of the current world order — must hold the line against China for another 20 years. After that, America can declare a sort of quiet victory in the increasingly chilly Cold War with China.
…after two decades of sustained military modernization, the Chinese military has fundamentally changed its strategy in just the last year or so. According to Fuell, recent writings by PLA officers indicate “a growing confidence within the PLA that they can more-readily withstand U.S. involvement.”
Beijing believes it can attack Taiwan or another neighbor while also bloodlessly deterring U.S. intervention. It would do so by deploying such overwhelmingly strong military forces — ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers, jet fighters, and the like — that Washington dare not get involved.
The knock-on effects of deterring America could be world-changing. “Backing away from our commitments to protect Taiwan, Japan, or the Philippines would be tantamount to ceding East Asia to China’s domination,” Roger Cliff, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, said at the same U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on Jan. 30.
Worse, the world’s liberal economic order could suffer irreparable harm. [Ed: And what are the mere lives of millions against the world’s liberal economic order. I hope we needn’t ask.]
The United States has both a moral and a material interest in a world in which democratic nations can survive and thrive,” Cliff asserted.
Fortunately for that liberal order, America possesses by far the world’s most powerful submarine force [One may weep joyously for that fortune]— one poised to quickly sink any Chinese invasion fleet. In announcing its readiness to hold off the U.S. military, the PLA seems to have ignored Washington’s huge undersea advantage. [Obviously the doltish Chinese have simply disregarded this asset out of negligence.
The Navy has 74 submarines, 60 of which are attack or missile submarines optimized for finding and sinking other ships or blasting land targets. The balance is ballistic-missile boats that carry nuclear missiles and would not routinely participate in military campaigns short of an atomic World War III.
Thirty-three of the attack and missile boats belong to the Pacific Fleet, with major bases in Washington State, California, Hawaii, and Guam. Deploying for six months or so roughly every year and a half, America’s Pacific subs frequently stop over in Japan and South Korea and occasionally even venture under the Arctic ice.
According to Adm. Cecil Haney, the former commander of Pacific Fleet subs, on any given day 17 boats are underway and eight are “forward-deployed,” meaning they are on station in a potential combat zone. To the Pacific Fleet, that pretty much means waters near China.
America has several submarine types. The numerous Los Angeles-class attack boats are Cold War stalwarts that are steadily being replaced by newer Virginia-class boats with improved stealth and sensors. The secretive Seawolfs, numbering just three — all of them in the Pacific — are big, fast, and more heavily armed than other subs. The Ohio-class missile submarines are former ballistic missile boats each packing 154 cruise missile.
U.S. subs are, on average, bigger, faster, quieter, and more powerful than the rest of the world’s subs. And there are more of them. The U.K. is building just seven new Astute attack boats. Russia aims to maintain around 12 modern attack subs. China is struggling to deploy a handful of rudimentary nuclear boats.
“Although China might control the surface of the sea around Taiwan, its ability to find and sink U.S. submarines will be extremely limited for the foreseeable future,” Cliff testified. “Those submarines would likely be able to intercept and sink Chinese amphibious transports as they transited toward Taiwan.”
That reality should inform Washington’s own strategy. As the United States has already largely achieved the world order it struggled for over the last century, it need only preserve and defend this order. In other words, America has the strategic high ground against China, as the latter must attack and alter the world in order to get what it wants.
If American subs can hold the line for another 20 years, China might age right out of its current, aggressive posture without ever having attacked anyone. That’s because economic and demographic trends in China point towards a rapidly aging population, flattening economic growth, and fewer resources available for military modernization.
What Erickson described as China’s “pent-up national potential” could begin expiring as early as 2030, by which point “China will have world’s highest proportion of people over 65,” he predicted. “An aging society with rising expectations, burdened with rates of chronic diseases exacerbated by sedentary lifestyles, will probably divert spending from both military development and the economic growth that sustains it.”
Wisely, American political and military leaders have made the investments necessary to sustain U.S. undersea power for at least that long. After a worrying dip in submarine production, starting in 2012 the Pentagon asked for — and Congress funded — the acquisition of two Virginia-class submarines per year for around $2.5 billion apiece, a purchase rate adequate to maintain the world’s biggest nuclear submarine fleet indefinitely.
Well thank God for that. I’m heartened to learn that these upgraded Virginia class subs are capable of operating in 14 inches of water so that they may somewhat conspicuously picket the murky depths of the Rio Grande. Once submerged, they will be at liberty to loose batteries of multi-million dollar cruise missiles at Mexican coyotes on Seadoos. This is how we use technological advantage as a force multiplier to protect our nation.
Speaking of which, we may all be proud of the State’s commitment to protecting our fellow Asian-Americans in Taiwan from invasion by other Asian-Americans in China. And with Taipei a mere 7,389 miles from Topeka, it would be the height of folly to leave this Pacific section of the American border unguarded. It would not only expose the country to invasion, but also place the Taiwanese-Americans in grave jeopardy. Because without American protection and assistance, there will be no means to facilitate the transportation of millions of Africans and Amerindians into that island state. That is why our role is so critical. For if Taiwan comes to be filled with Chinese, then it can not be filled with Somalis and Guatemalans. And that would be an even greater tragedy.
Though what of the demographic issue described in the article? The thesis offered is that within 20 years China will not have sufficient youth to vigorously wage war. Apparently this is one neocon who grasps that demography is destiny. Though if the Chinese can’t muster enough manpower in the future, then the paste people will suffer an even more egregious deficit. China has approximately 125 million boys aged 0-14. This figure constituting one of comparatively frictionless racial and cultural homogeneity. By comparison America has 32 million boys in the same age cohort–only half white–all of whom subject to liberal public education: a primary purpose of which being to supplement what is already formidable native antipathy toward the founding stock. Future Chinese admirals will surely quail at the prospect of facing the Harvey Milk class attack submarines crewed by pregnant latinas and tattooed La Nuestra Familia.
So whose demographic trends pose a greater threat to that country’s military effectiveness, America’s or China’s? What will be the comparative numbers and quality of soldiers? What will be the average intelligence and esprit-de-corps of male Han units compared to transsexual paste? Is there a reason discernible by man that the PLAN doesn’t fear the conventional military potential of large populous countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, or Bangladesh?
Just who is patiently awaiting the collapse of whom?