The Best Defence is a Good Offence (China in the Americas)

Discussion in 'Strategic Defense' started by Lethe, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Lethe
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    Lethe Junior Member

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    At this point it should be obvious that China and the United States are engaged in a strategic competition for hegemony within the Asia-Pacific region, concentrated on the South China Sea.

    Less obvious is that the reason the United States is able to devote so many resources to managing affairs in the Asia-Pacific, in Europe, and in the Middle East is because it faces no serious challenges within its original claimed sphere of hegemony: the Western hemisphere.

    If the United States persists in attempting to undermine China's position in the Asia-Pacific, there is no reason China should be obliged to respect America's position in the Western hemisphere. To that end, China should be alert to cost-effective opportunities to create challenges for the United States throughout the Americas -- challenges that would draw American resources away from the Asia-Pacific.

    In terms of geostrategic potential to create difficulties for the United States, Mexico is the prime candidate for cultivation. China should be alert to opportunities to increase Mexican nationalism and concomitant military power. More broadly China should be alert to opportunities within the Americas to undermine the position of the United States economically, diplomatically, and militarily.

    If there is evidence that the United States is attempting to disturb China's internal equilibrium, China should also feel no compunction about quietly (and probably anonymously) backing movements such as Texan and Californian secession movements, movements for Native American or African-American rights, or any other movement that promises to undermine the internal cohesion of the United States.

    Looking further abroad, China should consider encouraging the United States' tendency to get bogged down in other areas of the globe, particularly in Europe and the Middle East, possibly in Africa also, at least where such would align with broader Chinese interests. Most immediately, China should attempt to undermine any potential American-Russian détente. The objective of all of the above measures is to draw American resources away from the region most strategically essential to China: the Asia-Pacific.
     
    #1 Lethe, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  2. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    I think you have it backwards. The reason the US does not need to worry about its backyard is because it is too powerful for anyone to challenge. The US gained global influence by first assuring its supremacy on the North American continent.

    Conversely, the reason the US is able to influence China's domestic dissenters to the degree that it has, is because China is still in the process of developing its economic and political infrastructure. China's political infrastructure is only 65 years old. America's political infrastructure is 240 years old. Politically, China is a teenager while America is middle-aged.

    It makes no sense for China to play the subversion game with the US. That would be to pit its weakness against the opponent's strength. China's strength right now is its dynamic economy, and that is what China is using to gain advantage.
     
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  3. Lethe
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    Lethe Junior Member

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    The United States is not "too powerful for anyone to challenge it" within the western hemisphere. You will note that there is an island just off the US coast which has successfully defied the United States for decades now, in large part because other nations have not played along with American attempts to isolate it.

    What China needs in the Americas are more, and preferably larger Cubas (speaking of which, China should certainly be alert to opportunities to scuttle the new rapprochement between the US and Cuba, and to set itself up as Cuba's prime benefactor). In theory, Mexico could become a formidable problem for the United States.

    Certainly one should be realistic about the prospects for China to create problems for the United States within the western hemisphere: its resources are still more limited than those of the US, and it has a great deal to concern itself with elsewhere. Hence the suggestion that China should look for cost-effective ways to create problems for the US. If China can spend $1 to create $10 worth of problems for the US, that's a good deal.

    A recent article on China's relations with Argentina
     
    #3 Lethe, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  4. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    "Defy" does not mean the same thing as "challenge". Cuba may have successfully defied the US for decades, but it would be disingenious to say that Cuba challenged American dominance in any meaningful way.

    The USSR tried to use Cuba to challenge the US back in the 60's. We all know how that went.

    I also disagree that China spending $1 to create $10 worth of problems for the US is a good deal. In a global community, problems in one country never affect only that country. The West has followed this logic and gotten ISIS for their troubles. I do not believe China should be following this path.
     
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  5. Lethe
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    Lethe Junior Member

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    Donald Trump is doing his best to destroy relations with Mexico. Beijing should take advantage of the situation by becoming Mexico's new BFF. Most future projections have Mexico emerging as one of the largest economies in the world, the economic return on investment could be enormous -- not withstanding the unprecedented headache a more nationalist Mexico could create for the United States on its southern border, particularly in light of the large Mexican population within the United States.

    It went pretty well when you consider that it got the United States to remove its missiles based in Turkey. The lesson from the Cuban Missile Crisis is that if you want nations to stop messing around in your backyard, starting messing around in their backyard.
     
    #5 Lethe, Jan 26, 2017
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  6. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    While it's always wise to cultivate good relations with other nations, the problematic assumption here is that becoming chummy with Mexico will somehow advance China's goals and interests.

    What can Mexico do for China? How does a more nationalist Mexico benefit China at all? Why would the US revise its China-hostile policy on account of a nationalist Mexico? If the US is willing to sabre-rattle in SCS despite being still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, why would it change course just because Mexico became more nationalistic?
     
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  7. Brainsuker
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    Brainsuker New Member
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    To be honest, a rich Mexico won't disturb US at all. In contrary, it will make those illegal workers return to their country, thus ending the most problematic matter that now haunt the US people which give Donald Trump a reason to build the wall.
     
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  8. Equation
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    Equation Senior Member

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    That already had happened, it's called "Operation Iraqi Freedom and Winning Hearts and Minds." It later on created ISIS and crisis through out Europe and the Western world along with all that Middle Eastern refugee crisis as well. And than the media had the audacity by trying to shame China to get more involved in it's problem and mess. Do I even need to talk about all those US troops that came home alive and now suffering from depression, PTSD, suicide and a high divorce rates for both men and women service members? That is why the American people no longer has the stomach to get involved in another major conflict any where in the world much less with China no matter what the war hawks wants to think or says.
     
  9. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Senior Member

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    The latest score card from Rand a much improve China's offense and defense capability
    http://www.rand.org/paf/projects/us-china-scorecard.html


    An Interactive Look at the U.S.-China Military Scorecard


    [​IMG]
    Over the past two decades, China's People's Liberation Army has transformed itself from a large but antiquated force into a capable, modern military. Although China continues to lag the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its relative capabilities in many critical areas. To advance the public debate, RAND used open, unclassified sources to compile The U.S.-China Military Scorecard: Forces, Geography, and the Evolving Balance of Power. This comprehensive report examines U.S. and Chinese military capabilities in ten operational areas, and presents a "scorecard" for each.
    Rand score card_2.png
    Each scorecard assesses the relative advantage or disadvantage of U.S. and Chinese forces in diverse types of conflict, at varying distances from the Chinese mainland, at different points in time from 1996 to 2017. Advantage means that one side is able to achieve its primary objectives in an operationally relevant time period while the other side would have trouble in doing so. The chart below collects the scorecards for each evaluated operational area.

    To prevail in either of the scenarios below, China’s offensive goals would require it to hold advantages in nearly all operational categories simultaneously. U.S. defensive goals could be achieved by holding the advantage in only a few areas. Nevertheless, China’s improved performance could raise costs, lengthen the conflict, and increase risks to the United States.
    Closer to Mainland ChinaTaiwan Scenario Farther from Mainland ChinaSpratly Islands Scenario
    Operational Areas
    1996 2003 2010 2017 1996 2003 2010 2017
    1. Chinese air base attack
    Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Chinese advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Approximate Parity
    2. U.S. vs. Chinese air superiority Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage
    3. U.S. airspace penetration U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage
    4. U.S. air base attack Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage
    5. Chinese anti-surface warfare Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Chinese advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity
    6. U.S. anti-surface warfare Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage
    7. U.S. counterspace Chinese advantage Chinese advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Chinese advantage Chinese advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity
    8. Chinese counterspace Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity
    9. U.S. vs. China cyberwar Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage
    10. Nuclear stability(confidence in secure second-strike capability)
    Country 1996, 2003, and 2010 2017
    China
    Low confidence Medium confidence
    U.S. High confidence
    U.S. Capabilities Chinese Capabilities
    Major advantage Major disadvantage
    Advantage Disadvantage
    Approximate Parity Approximate Parity
    Disdvantage Advantage
    Major disadvantage Major advantage
    Back to Top
    1. Chinese air base attack
    Closer to Mainland ChinaTaiwan Scenario Farther from Mainland ChinaSpratly Islands Scenario
    1996
    2003 2010 2017 1996 2003 2010 2017
    Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Chinese advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Approximate Parity
    Given the importance of airpower in America's recent wars, it is not surprising that China has sought ways of neutralizing U.S. capabilities in this area. Of greatest significance, the PLA has developed ballistic and cruise missiles that threaten forward U.S. air bases. From a handful of conventionally armed ballistic missiles in 1996, China's inventory now numbers roughly 1,400 ballistic missiles and hundreds of cruise missiles. Although most are short-range systems, they include a growing number of intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can reach U.S. bases in Japan. Importantly, accuracy has also improved. Circular error probabilities have decreased from hundreds of meters in the 1990s to as little as five or ten meters today. Weapon ranges have increased from short (less than 1,000 km) to medium (1,000–3,000 km).

    RAND models of attacks by these ballistic missiles on Kadena Air Base, the closest U.S. air base to the Taiwan Strait, suggest that even a relatively small number of accurate missiles could shut the base to flight operations for critical days at the outset of hostilities, and focused, committed attacks might close a single base for weeks. U.S. countermeasures—such as improved defenses, hardened shelters for aircraft, faster runway repair methods, or the dispersion of aircraft—can potentially mitigate the threat. But barring a major U.S. defensive technological breakthrough, the growing number and variety of Chinese missiles will almost certainly challenge the U.S. ability to operate from forward bases. As a larger proportion of U.S. aircraft are forced to fly from bases that are either susceptible to attack or farther from the scene of conflict, basing issues will pose greater challenges for U.S. efforts to gain air superiority over the battlefield.
    Read the full report
    2. U.S. vs. Chinese air superiority
    Closer to Mainland ChinaTaiwan Scenario Farther from Mainland ChinaSpratly Islands Scenario
    1996
    2003 2010 2017 1996 2003 2010 2017
    Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage
    In virtually any East Asian scenario, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft would play a critical role in blunting Chinese attacks. Since 1996, the United States has improved existing aircraft and introduced so-called fifth-generation aircraft, including the F-22 and F-35. China, meanwhile, has replaced many of its obsolete second-generation aircraft, which made up an overwhelming proportion of its force in 1996, with modern fourth-generation designs. These fourth-generation aircraft now constitute roughly half of the PLA Air Force's fighter inventory. The net effect of these changes has been to narrow, but not close, the qualitative gap between the U.S. and Chinese air forces.
     
    #9 Hendrik_2000, Feb 8, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  10. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Senior Member

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    (cont1)

    To evaluate the impact of this change on the two scenarios considered, we employed tactical and operational air combat models, using the appropriate basing, flight distances, and force structure data. The models evaluate the number of fighter aircraft that the United States would need to maintain in the Western Pacific to defeat a Chinese air campaign. The results suggest that U.S. requirements have increased by several hundred percent since 1996. In the 2017 Taiwan case, U.S. commanders would probably be unable to find the basing required for U.S. forces to prevail in a seven-day campaign. They could relax their time requirement and prevail in a more extended campaign, but this would entail leaving ground and naval forces vulnerable to Chinese air operations for a correspondingly longer period. The Spratly Islands scenario would be easier, requiring roughly half the forces of the Taiwan scenario.

    Read the research brief
    3. U.S. airspace penetration
    Closer to Mainland ChinaTaiwan Scenario Farther from Mainland ChinaSpratly Islands Scenario
    1996
    2003 2010 2017 1996 2003 2010 2017
    U.S. advantage Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage

    U.S. commanders are equally concerned by the development of Chinese air defenses, which would make it more difficult to operate in or near Chinese airspace in the event of a conflict. In 1996, the vast majority of China's 500+ long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems were Chinese duplicates of the obsolete Russian SA-2 missile (with a range of roughly 35 km). By 2010, China had deployed roughly 200 launchers for “double-digit SAMs.” The newer missiles have more sophisticated seekers and ranges of up to 200 km. Combined with more capable fighter aircraft and the addition of new airborne warning and control system–equipped aircraft, the Chinese integrated air defense system (IADS) has become a formidable obstacle. At the same time, however, U.S. air forces have made improvements to their penetration capabilities, with the addition of stealth aircraft and new SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) aircraft.

    We used a target coverage model to evaluate the ability of U.S. strike aircraft to penetrate Chinese defenses in the Taiwan and Spratly scenarios. The results show net gains for China, with its improved IADS reducing the ability of even the improved U.S. forces to penetrate Chinese airspace at moderate risk. Our airspace penetration model shows that although standoff attack capabilities, stealth, and SEAD mitigate the impact of Chinese defenses, the ability to penetrate and strike targets opposite Taiwan with minimal risk to the U.S. aircraft involved declines significantly between 1996 and 2017. However, the U.S. ability to penetrate to targets in the Spratly scenario remains far more robust. This is partly because the same number of critical but scarce U.S. assets (such as standoff weapons and stealth aircraft) can be allocated to attack a much smaller target set, but also because the relevant target set is, on balance, closer to the coast.
    Read the full report
    4. U.S. air base attack
    Closer to Mainland ChinaTaiwan Scenario Farther from Mainland ChinaSpratly Islands Scenario
    1996
    2003 2010 2017 1996 2003 2010 2017
    Approximate Parity Major U.S. advantage U.S. advantage U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage Major U.S. advantage

    While penetrating Chinese airspace has become more hazardous, especially in the high-threat environment opposite Taiwan, the development of new generations of precision weapons since 1996 gives the United States new options and greater punch. Virtually all of the iron bombs used by U.S. forces today are equipped with guidance packages, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition, which have turned them into all-weather, precision weapons. At longer ranges, U.S. forces can utilize an array of stand-off weapons, which are capable of hitting their targets from hundreds of kilometers away and can be deployed from a growing variety of platforms.

    This larger and more varied inventory of precision and standoff weapons enables U.S. air forces to attack more targets and cause more damage with each attack. To assess the net impact of improvements to both U.S. offensive and Chinese defensive capabilities, we modeled attacks on the 40 Chinese air bases within unrefueled fighter range of Taiwan, and, separately, on the smaller number from which Chinese aircraft could range the Spratly Islands. Runway attack models suggest that, in 1996, U.S. air attacks could close Chinese runways for an average of eight hours. This figure had increased to between two and three days by 2010, and it remained roughly similar through 2017. In all four snapshot years, U.S. air forces could effectively close all of China's air bases opposite the Spratly Islands for the first week of operations. While ground attack represents a rare bright spot for relative U.S. performance, it is important to note that the inventory of standoff weapons is finite, and performance in a longer conflict would depend on a wider range of factors.
     
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