Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 61 to 83 of 83

Thread: Great Power contentions

  1. #61

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    Interesting conversation in the tweets. Australian Foreign Minister (fm. Defence Minister) thinks it will take "far longer" than a decade to achieve the intended capability of 8 to 12 operable subs.

    Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr is quite pessimistic.

    We will get the new subs in 2040 suggests Hugh White. Might get up to 12 in 2050s. In the 2030s we may have none functioning. Gain UK but lose France, the bigger European power in the Pacific. Indonesian military now views us as potential threat.

    US will see our subs as joint asset making automatic our recruitment for war against China and the Australian continent a nuclear target. Whew! Imagine the mess we’d be in without the steady strategic vision of Dutton Morrison and ASPI.
    Elsewhere I've heard that even Australia's current fleet of 6 Collins diesels has trouble maintaining crew levels.


    So everyone seems to roughly agree on the lead time. Talk about a Chekhov's Gun. I wonder if the real point wrt China is part posturing and part securing more Pacific bases (possible in the short-medium term with Australian ports). Also, just selling lots of bombs to Australia (part of the AUKUS deal) - have to find a new military-industrial outlet now that Afghanistan is dry!



    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    The logic of an aggressive posture is that by being willing to risk war and the economic fallout in the near future, that risk is actually higher for China as they depend on sealanes for most of their trade, part of why they're investing in the new belt/road initative. A war would be economically costly to the whole world but would absolutely ruin China if it happened in present day.
    [...]
    Just remember that the US position and that of its allies in the region is reactionary to China's new aggressive posture. They seek to change the status quo, forcibly if needed and are actively contending with the US at all levels short of conflict at the moment. Combine this with the ultra-nationalism and you get an opponent that won't negotiate on this issue leaving them with only one recourse if they want to force the issue.
    I'm going to embed some interesting visual aids and charts from recent Congressional testimony, but first:

    If Chinese leadership, for whatever reason, is inexorably on a legitimately-psychotic path of Anschluss at any cost - and there's no pressure particularly forcing military expansion here as a conflict resolution strategy , since as you say their opposition's posture is basically reactive, unlike the case with Germany's or Russia's strategic environments in the 1930s - then the probability of escalation to world war, even nuclear war, skyrockets. And if that's the case then it's simply irresponsible to contest China on this (for argument's sake) ultimate national interest. How could Taiwan be worth it? Bad enough for Taiwan to exist as a free wasteland in a hostilities scenario, let alone the whole region or the whole planet.

    In the very easy deterrence scenario, as before, just forward deploy a couple carrier fleets off the east coast of Formosa, offer recognition, park like we parked on Fulda and call it a century. If it's maximally difficult to deter China from invading and bearing heartstopping losses, the price is too high for the coalition and for the world, we could conceivably lose outright; we will need to stand down and pull the defensive perimeter back from Taiwan, maybe even from Vietnam, out to where the Chinese really would be unable to crack open Allied defenses or sustain domestic cohesion if they wanted to. (In this extreme version of events I assume Putin's heir will be begging for permission to join NATO at long last if they aren't an outright Chinese client by then.)


    Some images I promised:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    If, for example, we take this shipbuilding campaign as an attempt to keep the US out of the first island chain, then there should be ample scope for negotiations and deterrence. Maybe something like the Washington Naval Treaty would be available to reassure the CCP and lower the stakes a little (or else we recognize Taiwan and form a defense pact, how's that for hardball?). But if China is committed to overturning the status quo, overwhelming American naval strength in the region toward territorial expansion and hegemony, then we seriously have to reconsider our commitment and ability to keep pace, as well as acknowledge that this kind of mutual arms race is extremely likely to culminate in war, minimally only one of the worst since WW2. In other words, we won't be spending toward "deterrence," we'll be spending toward putting it to use. And I don't really think that's a road we should be heading down. More bluntly, if Chinese policies are interpreted as Hitleresque rearmament, then Taiwan is in the position of Czechoslovakia and we would be in an even worse spot to try to guarantee its security, let alone, in the event, actually attempt to back up the guarantee with action. It's almost the worst of all worlds. Someone who believes in inevitable bloodletting against a muscular China MUST cut Taiwan loose, as soon as possible and with full recognizance between partners and allies. But that's a hard bet to make, eh?

    Maybe this last one offers the most food for thought...




    Mutual defense is only valuable if the members are capable and willing to defend each other.
    Within limits. Do we declare war on Russia if it is involved in overthrowing a NATO government? Sure, not like we've even had a shortage of casi belli on that account since 2016. That doesn't entail that NATO is honorbound to throw away its strength in a relentless push toward Moscow. First we ensure that Poland and Romania are secure, then we consider our options wrt Ukraine, then we reduce Kaliningrad, and if the war is still ongoing after a year or more we gradually push into the Baltics until a diplomatic resolution can be found. The linchpin is the mutualized assurances (between allies) and the mutualized costs (between antagonists), not the accumulation itself of overwhelming material advantage (arms race). Obviously European militaries should be minimally functional in their own limits, a notional strength is hardly worth having if it can't be operationalized in practice, but I disagree that there is a justification for significant expansion across many countries.

    I don't know what to predict for Turkey's part, but I doubt it's going to be invading Greece anytime while NATO or the EU exist. What's happening with the new canal?

    No one wanted the Azeri-Armenian war to spread, since it was such a limited irredentist grudge match between minor countries, without many excesses. To emphasize what I said in a previous comment, it surely does introduce a new era of limited interstate conflict between small states or even regional powers (Crimea/LDPR was the prologue). Morocco-Algeria and Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia are plausible cases. I'm not sure if the Ethiopian Civil War counts as an instance of this paradigm.

    As for Putin being able to afford an arms race, I don't think he can.
    He can "afford" one compared to the EU, being a dictator of a relatively-militarized state and all. While it's true that Russia's military expansion has been constrained by sanctions, it's still managed a steady modernization post-2014. If we're following the same sort of logic for why China would sacrifice anything and everything over Taiwan.

    But we just get back into the real reasons why Russia wouldn't really start shit, right? Their economy doesn't have the stamina for a total mobilization, and at any rate Putin and his power base would be wrecked by public unrest and internal rivals. There's simply nothing in it to Putinists' advantage to escalate except in the scenario where Europe and the US capitulate on the spot and promise to never bother Russia about anything ever again, slinking off with their hats behind their tails (unreasonably optimistic). And unlike China, the Russian elite seem perfectly happy to focus their attention on exploiting their feudal subjects for personal profit at home. Russia is the paper Ritsar here, the one great power it really is easy to deter (from strictly military aggression I should say). We probably don't need to speak much more of Russia on this topic, other than to remind ourselves that the US nevertheless is doctrinally-bound to maintain a strategic reserve against hypothetical Russian (or other) opportunism in any confrontation with China.

    The core causes of piracy exist but short of nation building Somalia, Yemen and plenty of other countries the easier and more cost effective solution is sealane protection.
    I've learned that of late almost all piratical activity - in the realm of over 90% - has been confined to the Guinea Gulf states, including Nigeria, none of whom are close to failed state status currently (and so can't be approached in the manner of counter-Somalian piracy). The issue appears to be a dire lack of economic and social opportunity coupled with systematic corporate environmental and labor exploitation in the area. Just like the US Navy doesn't have much to offer to OAS citizens, European frigates don't have much to offer West Africans. I'm not saying there's no need for a short-term security response to defend sea lanes there, but we know what to do to address the problem. Concentrating more economic resources toward shooting at impoverished Africans is purely wasteful and immoral. It's pretty much the Euro analogue of Build the Wall (and get the Americans to pay for it).

    Strategic lift capability and reach is extremely useful by air and sea and has uses for humanitarian aid as well moving troops ,there's a lot more to defense spending than tanks and troops though those are necessary too. Building NATO logistical and cyber-warfare capabilities that were independent of the US would be hugely useful and have uses beyond conventional warfare too.
    Why would EU citizens believe it's useful for them, or for anyone, to have Europe invest in force projection 10000 miles away? Leave alone that there is no unity on a European foreign policy or consolidated military, but not even the populaces of the UK and France - with extant colonial interests in the Indian Ocean - would hardly see the value in the proposition, one which inherently prescribes deployment of force against sovereign states with unfavorable trade or related policies (where have we heard that one before?).

    The arctic is melting and Canada, Norway and Denmark/Greenland aren't exactly poised to stop Russian resource exploration when that eventually happens.
    Why the heck does Norway need firepower and the will to use it (presumably) against Russian resource exploration? Jesus. I would need a whole lot of convincing for why this is a legitimate postural debate. It feels too much like the proverbial hammer and nail. If it creates dangerous expectations for the US to insist on being able to reach anywhere, Europe of all things doesn't need to approximate such ambitions.

    The Bush 'axis of evil' and policy of regime change in Iraq is what really pushed China into firm opposition.
    The Axis of Evil famously counted China client North Korea as a member, which tangentially killed any possibility of sustaining the Agreed Framework on NK nuclearization.

    The Suez Crisis essentially ending France/UK great power status and leading to France's divorce from NATO and the expedited policies of France and the UK to decolonize changed the makeup of the world leading to huge social, economic, and political upheavals in all former colonies over the next 30 years. So yeah, your later examples are far closer to the mark though you took them to a another extreme degree.
    That's a little unfair in comparison, since the Suez Crisis didn't really change much in geopolitics. France and UK were already consigned to the path if decolonization, and could not plausibly continue to project power as they had in the past; the likes of Suez, and Indochina and Israel before it, just proved it without a doubt for those slow on the uptake. The before-after was a difference in self-image rather than in real capabilities or international relations.

    France's separation from NATO was politically inconvenient but I don't know that it reduced the US alliance's - of which France remained a member in practice, they weren't laying down the carpet for Soviet troops - preparedness to fend off any Communist invasion. The Iraq War was more of a strain on Europe's usability for US interests (as neocons saw them), and the War on Terror was clearly a proximate cause of instability throughout the Middle East, even if one thinks of it as an enduringly-unstable region, instability that did directly affect the relations of all the great powers among each other and with the world. I can't deprecate all that for the Suez flash in the pan.

    Maybe a better comparison for 'true' turning points would be the Cuban Missile Crisis, since that one 'little' incident officially inaugurated the era of Mutually Assured Destruction. In the 1950s, the Soviets still had too few atomic weapons, and moreover no or almost no ICBMs, with which to existentially threaten the US heartland. (Notably for the wider topic of deterrence, MAD was most successful when both the US and USSR acknowledged its potency and agreed to restrict their own deployments and warhead stockpiles. But all those Cold War concords are extinct or about to go extinct...)

    You've said enough that we should try and act on behalf of what's best for the Afghan people. I still think in the long run that would have been supporting the flawed state that was GIROA.
    If the GIROA were a viable government, we could certainly have supported it. But it just wasn't. Maybe some other version of it could have been, but it's been amply demonstrated by now that it was never our serious aim or interest to invent such an entity. For the remainder of 2021 all we can do is wait and watch and schedule opportunities for dialogue.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 09-20-2021 at 07:39.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  2. #62
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,483

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    High Plains Drifter

  3. #63
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,747

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    The view of my personal Go-To on geopolitics on the wider implications of AUKUS, i.e. not just french submarines:

    https://lindleyfrench.blogspot.com/2021/09/aukus.html
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

    Members thankful for this post (2):



  4. #64
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    So everyone seems to roughly agree on the lead time. Talk about a Chekhov's Gun. I wonder if the real point wrt China is part posturing and part securing more Pacific bases (possible in the short-medium term with Australian ports). Also, just selling lots of bombs to Australia (part of the AUKUS deal) - have to find a new military-industrial outlet now that Afghanistan is dry!
    It's a medium to long term investment in Australian capabilities; yeah it's not available in the worst case scenario of a war in the 5-10 years but assuming diplomacy can avert conflict that doesn't mean that China isn't a long term threat to Australia. Better to start building capability now rather than waiting for a war to actually start. Also, who knows, perhaps Australia will end up leasing a UK or US nuclear boat once they have port facilities in place that would build the expertise needed for once they have their own boats.

    Seeing as the US has already been the largest supplier of weapons and platforms to Australia this isn't a new outlet. As you notice, will take a long time to build capability, first though it means investment and upgrading of infrastructure especially ports so there will be construction, education and so on which will yield benefits in the long term.

    I'm going to embed some interesting visual aids and charts from recent Congressional testimony, but first:

    If Chinese leadership, for whatever reason, is inexorably on a legitimately-psychotic path of Anschluss at any cost - and there's no pressure particularly forcing military expansion here as a conflict resolution strategy , since as you say their opposition's posture is basically reactive, unlike the case with Germany's or Russia's strategic environments in the 1930s - then the probability of escalation to world war, even nuclear war, skyrockets. And if that's the case then it's simply irresponsible to contest China on this (for argument's sake) ultimate national interest. How could Taiwan be worth it? Bad enough for Taiwan to exist as a free wasteland in a hostilities scenario, let alone the whole region or the whole planet.

    In the very easy deterrence scenario, as before, just forward deploy a couple carrier fleets off the east coast of Formosa, offer recognition, park like we parked on Fulda and call it a century. If it's maximally difficult to deter China from invading and bearing heartstopping losses, the price is too high for the coalition and for the world, we could conceivably lose outright; we will need to stand down and pull the defensive perimeter back from Taiwan, maybe even from Vietnam, out to where the Chinese really would be unable to crack open Allied defenses or sustain domestic cohesion if they wanted to. (In this extreme version of events I assume Putin's heir will be begging for permission to join NATO at long last if they aren't an outright Chinese client by then.)
    Those are interesting visuals, hull count isn't exactly tonnage though they are adding tonnage at a rate we can't match.

    The probability of escalation to nuclear war is extremely worrisome, that's why the US has been trying to get more direct communications at lower levels of government with the Chinese. No one wants a war but escalations can happen very quickly and get very deadly.
    How could Taiwan be worth it? Well it is vital in controlling the sea lanes for our two major allies in the region, South Korea and Japan. Taiwan is also crucial in manufacturing of microchips, something the global economy is short of and seeing the PRC gain more control of those industries is not in the interest of the US or EU.

    In the deterrence scenario, that's why I've advocated in the past for putting actual US troops on the ground. It the PRC choosing to take Taiwan by force means that US casualties and therefore involvement is a foregone conclusion that changes the calculation immensely. US politicians really aren't brave enough to do so though.
    The 'first island chain' is the best line of defense though, with Taiwan as a lynchpin in the absence of US bases in the Philippines anymore. If China takes Taiwan and we choose to actually fight them over their next conquest whatever that is the US and its allies will be in a far worse strategic situation from which to do so. There's a reason Japan took Taiwan from China in the 1890s, it is an absolutely strategic location.

    But we just get back into the real reasons why Russia wouldn't really start shit, right? Their economy doesn't have the stamina for a total mobilization, and at any rate Putin and his power base would be wrecked by public unrest and internal rivals. There's simply nothing in it to Putinists' advantage to escalate except in the scenario where Europe and the US capitulate on the spot and promise to never bother Russia about anything ever again, slinking off with their hats behind their tails (unreasonably optimistic). And unlike China, the Russian elite seem perfectly happy to focus their attention on exploiting their feudal subjects for personal profit at home. Russia is the paper Ritsar here, the one great power it really is easy to deter (from strictly military aggression I should say). We probably don't need to speak much more of Russia on this topic, other than to remind ourselves that the US nevertheless is doctrinally-bound to maintain a strategic reserve against hypothetical Russian (or other) opportunism in any confrontation with China.
    I whole-heartedly agree. Russia is a short to mid term containment priority. Dissuading any further opportunism by Putin is the only really necessary thing as in the term Russian and Europe need to work together for economic and security reasons.
    The US will of course need a reserve in Europe but that's the problem with the overall weak standing of NATO in Europe, there's no one there to really take up the mantle in the absence of the US meaning we need to split our resources between Europe and China. China is the immediate and bigger threat, our resources should be focused there. Especially as the two threats involve totally different mixes of what type of war. Confronting China relies much more on Air and Sea power with a capability to retake any islands that China invades. Deterring Russia requires heavy ground units as well as significant airpower as that's what Russia itself values in power projection.

    Maybe something like the Washington Naval Treaty would be available to reassure the CCP and lower the stakes a little (or else we recognize Taiwan and form a defense pact,
    The US has been trying to get China on board with arms controls treaties with not much luck. It would be immensely in our interest if arms controls weren't just US-Russia.

    I don't know what to predict for Turkey's part, but I doubt it's going to be invading Greece anytime while NATO or the EU exist. What's happening with the new canal?

    No one wanted the Azeri-Armenian war to spread, since it was such a limited irredentist grudge match between minor countries, without many excesses. To emphasize what I said in a previous comment, it surely does introduce a new era of limited interstate conflict between small states or even regional powers (Crimea/LDPR was the prologue). Morocco-Algeria and Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia are plausible cases. I'm not sure if the Ethiopian Civil War counts as an instance of this paradigm.
    Perhaps, they are NATO's wildcard. Doing resource exploration in Cypriot waters under the Turkish navy's cover is a good way to lead to conflict.
    The new era of limited interstate conflict is what makes it so difficult. It takes a lot of effort to contain a war to just one region. Azeri-Armenia caught Russia off guard and they were left unable to support their Armenian allies without getting Turkey involved leaving them to negotiate a peace that gave territory to Azerbaijan after Armenia's sound defeat.

    Within limits. Do we declare war on Russia if it is involved in overthrowing a NATO government? Sure, not like we've even had a shortage of casi belli on that account since 2016. That doesn't entail that NATO is honorbound to throw away its strength in a relentless push toward Moscow. First we ensure that Poland and Romania are secure, then we consider our options wrt Ukraine, then we reduce Kaliningrad, and if the war is still ongoing after a year or more we gradually push into the Baltics until a diplomatic resolution can be found. The linchpin is the mutualized assurances (between allies) and the mutualized costs (between antagonists), not the accumulation itself of overwhelming material advantage (arms race). Obviously European militaries should be minimally functional in their own limits, a notional strength is hardly worth having if it can't be operationalized in practice, but I disagree that there is a justification for significant expansion across many countries.
    The US and NATO have in general been very good at trying to keep whatever wars they're in contained to the region in conflict. The Korean war was not expanded to mainland China and it took firing Macarthur to ensure that the limit remained. The Vietnam war never involved invading North Vietnam because that'd be a sure way to get China involved outright. The war in Iraq never expanded into Iran despite their manufacturing and supplying EFPs to the shia militias and the Afghan war never expanded to Pakistan despite it allowing the Taliban to regroup after 2002.
    Marching on Moscow or conducting strikes against CCP leadership in Beijing are sure ways to start a nuclear war. All sides have too much to lose in escalation. Seeing as stopping a war from escalating is extremely difficult deterring a war from starting is absolutely vital.

    Why would EU citizens believe it's useful for them, or for anyone, to have Europe invest in force projection 10000 miles away? Leave alone that there is no unity on a European foreign policy or consolidated military, but not even the populaces of the UK and France - with extant colonial interests in the Indian Ocean - would hardly see the value in the proposition, one which inherently prescribes deployment of force against sovereign states with unfavorable trade or related policies (where have we heard that one before?).
    The EU has several overseas military missions with thousands of troops supporting them, improving logistical capability to support those and other hotspots they intervene with is useful. The lack of a united EU foreign policy is exactly what makes it so impotent, does Poland want to support French interests in West Africa? Does Spain want to defend Romanian interests in Eastern Europe? Does Greece want to get involved in Danish issues in the Arctic?
    As for EU citizens believing it useful? Well, that's were a lack of vision for the future is a problem. What do Europeans want their role in the world to be in a fifty years or a century? Do they want to just be an economic zone with limited influence beyond their borders? Can that ensure they can maintain their current standard of living and social values?

    Why the heck does Norway need firepower and the will to use it (presumably) against Russian resource exploration? Jesus. I would need a whole lot of convincing for why this is a legitimate postural debate. It feels too much like the proverbial hammer and nail. If it creates dangerous expectations for the US to insist on being able to reach anywhere, Europe of all things doesn't need to approximate such ambitions.
    Firepower? Artic coast guard and air patrolling doesn't need to shoot at oil exploration, just shoo way exploration ships when they are in Norwiegen or Danish economic areas. Seeing as for Norway at least oil/natural gas are a large part of the economy and the majority of their exports it is in their interest that the Russia's don't build oil/gas rigs in what don't belong to them, otherwise you end up with a situation like the South China Seas island buildng as no one will risk a war just to eject a small outpost or oilrig.
    Norwegian Officials: Russian Arctic Expansion Making Security Landscape ‘Difficult’
    https://news.usni.org/2021/03/22/nor...cape-difficult

    The Axis of Evil famously counted China client North Korea as a member, which tangentially killed any possibility of sustaining the Agreed Framework on NK nuclearization.
    Yeah, that's why I mentioned it. The policy of regime change was a direct threat to Chinese interests.

    That's a little unfair in comparison, since the Suez Crisis didn't really change much in geopolitics. France and UK were already consigned to the path if decolonization, and could not plausibly continue to project power as they had in the past; the likes of Suez, and Indochina and Israel before it, just proved it without a doubt for those slow on the uptake. The before-after was a difference in self-image rather than in real capabilities or international relations.

    France's separation from NATO was politically inconvenient but I don't know that it reduced the US alliance's - of which France remained a member in practice, they weren't laying down the carpet for Soviet troops - preparedness to fend off any Communist invasion. The Iraq War was more of a strain on Europe's usability for US interests (as neocons saw them), and the War on Terror was clearly a proximate cause of instability throughout the Middle East, even if one thinks of it as an enduringly-unstable region, instability that did directly affect the relations of all the great powers among each other and with the world. I can't deprecate all that for the Suez flash in the pan.
    Neither power were consigned to the path of decolonization, hell France was still in the middle of its war to keep Algeria French when it intervened in the Suez. Following Suez the UK's 1957 white paper led to a very real decline in capability which was then followed by their withdrawal from East of the Suez in the 1960s. The US essentially telling it's to biggest allies that it did not have their back on interests that didn't align perfectly with the US changed the entire dynamic of France and the UK in regards to all of their colonies and former colonies in every part of the world.
    Yes, France was an associate but the the betrayal at Suez and the departure of France from NATO spurred their development of an independent nuclear capability as relying on the US was deemed insufficient.

    Maybe a better comparison for 'true' turning points would be the Cuban Missile Crisis, since that one 'little' incident officially inaugurated the era of Mutually Assured Destruction. In the 1950s, the Soviets still had too few atomic weapons, and moreover no or almost no ICBMs, with which to existentially threaten the US heartland. (Notably for the wider topic of deterrence, MAD was most successful when both the US and USSR acknowledged its potency and agreed to restrict their own deployments and warhead stockpiles. But all those Cold War concords are extinct or about to go extinct...)
    It was certainly a turning point too, it was the first time that US citizens felt that the threat of MAD meant them too, not just their allies in Europe or Asia. Especially scary when you consider how close the Cuban crisis came to nuclear war when the soviet submarine B-59 had 2 out of 3 of its key officers voting to launch nuclear torpedoes against the US Navy.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  5. #65

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    Seeing as the US has already been the largest supplier of weapons and platforms to Australia this isn't a new outlet.
    The relationship is preexisting, but the announced sales are new. But hey, this AUKUS just guaranteed tens of thousands of Americans in or adjacent to the arms industry a lifetime career. O.0

    Those are interesting visuals, hull count isn't exactly tonnage though they are adding tonnage at a rate we can't match.
    What do you make of the constant (technically slightly lower) military spending relative to GDP over time? Methodology on assessing true Chinese military (or other) spending is a challenge I have no insight on, but my gut feeling is that unless we see that figure rise suddenly - especially relative to declining overall growth rates for the economy - our leadership won't need to give serious consideration to our extreme hypothetical here.

    Taiwan is also crucial in manufacturing of microchips, something the global economy is short of and seeing the PRC gain more control of those industries is not in the interest of the US or EU.
    Of course China's exports and imports and financial access would instantly be slashed on the outbreak of war, and I wonder if there's a detailed analysis of how much of a contingency they need to even take the hit for a few months... but we're imagining none of this matters to a bloodthirsty CCP.

    Microchip factories are not super-difficult to build out elsewhere with political support, such as Vietnam or Bangladesh (who would want the opportunity independent of the Taiwan impasse mind you). More inconvenient, shall we say, for the global economy would be the complete stoppage of trade in the Strait, much permanently foreclosed by the presumable embargo on China, and the ultimate destruction of complex infrastructure throughout Taiwan... just unthinkable global aftershocks and realignment.

    What can we expect in a scenario where the Chicoms take their hundred-year revenge irrespective of any cost to themselves or others, and we thoroughly contest. Several million (mostly Taiwanese) would die over several years of grueling attrition, a century of development and investment on the island would be wiped out, and the US would see a substantial portion of all its operational assets on the floor of the ocean. And this is just in the case where we "win," which is to say preempt Chinese local air/naval supremacy or the formation of an undislodgeable beachhead, the capture of tens of thousands of American soldiers defending the island, or a nuclear exchange.

    If one assumes this grade of confrontation is inevitable, then they're either confident we'll only "get our hair mussed" in the blithe style parodied by Stanley Kubrick, or we have to make a calculated retreat sooner rather than later to prevent more embarrassing setbacks in the future when our bluffs get called. The first option assumes we, and the Taiwanese, can and should absorb more damage than the PLA, and the second seeks to preserve American credibility more broadly in order that the Pacific alliance system survive and China more effectively be deterred from pursuing harder targets such as South Korea.

    None of these sound appealing, but the latter is clearly superior from both the human and the strategic standpoint. The longer we entertain the delusion that Taiwan can be defended or that it would be worth it to try, the worse it will be for our international standing and alliance structure in the future, the more it will play into China's (shockingly ruthless) hands. What such morbid musings really demonstrate is why we must start from the position that, until proven otherwise, Beijing is not gripped by one of those historical episodes of collective psychosis, and pursue diplomacy and reciprocal concessions/deescalation.

    The 'first island chain' is the best line of defense though, with Taiwan as a lynchpin in the absence of US bases in the Philippines anymore.
    If China rapin' errybody out there and America is all-in as well, I hope you'll allow the warplan political accedance of some bases in the Philippines.

    I don't know, if China had to fight through the Korean peninsula or land on the Japanese islands amid full, preordained, and ongoing American presence, holding Taiwan would offer very little advantage, while not affecting our own logistics (even in the case where Taiwan might have been used as basing). It would simply be impossible for China to exert air and sea supremacy against the Japanese islands, even with an attempt at Okinawa and the southern island chain. And while South Korea is less geographically secure it has a very large allied military, existing US infrastructure, and is right next to Japan. Granted that China would never invade Korea without a North Korean human shield for a vanguard, but the conditions for a conventional defensive ground war so overwhelmingly favor American doctrine and capabilities that from a cold-blooded perspective it's almost a set match an American general would like to hold.

    The SE Asian states, specifically the archipelago states, are vulnerable to territorial losses given the presence of the Chinese reef island system, but by the same token their distance from China makes it difficult for China to secure its gains against counterattack and prevent catastrophic attrition of naval assets; given moderate will to resist among the local population, the likes of the Philippines should be resilient enough against invasion to make the prospect a bloody boondoggle for the PLA. (Scary thought: It's easy to imagine someone deciding that we can nuke Woody Island because China wouldn't retaliate over NBC deployment against as pure a military target as there can be). Vietnam is probably a tricky proposition though, that's all I can say.

    There is, on the other hand, one convoluted ethical case to be made about putting our eggs in the Taiwanese basket (all still in the context of the most extreme scenario remember). Namely, since Taiwan is the smallest and most isolated of plausible targets of Chinese incursion, it is better, e.g. to sacrifice 25 million Taiwanese and a <$1 trillion economy than 50 million South Koreans (plus North Koreans) and a $2 trillion economy; better for Taiwan to be ruined than the Korean peninsula again, or Vietnam again; better Taipei than Seoul or Tokyo again (not really the latter, just including it for rhetorical effect).

    I'm not sure how much stock I put in that, especially given that in any plausible world a Chinese attack on Taiwan is orders of magnitude higher a priority for the CCP than one on a traditional American partner, but within a certain set of apocalyptic premises it's a defensible argument.

    The US has been trying to get China on board with arms controls treaties with not much luck. It would be immensely in our interest if arms controls weren't just US-Russia.
    What do you know about this? A comprehensive deal on nuclear proliferation (would have to include Russia at least on this aspect), a freeze on military spending, a cap on naval construction, limits on Chinese island reclamation and US missile defenses in South Korea, for some examples - all of the above would be a generous arrangement for China, AFAICT, and a stable framework for future conflict resolution.

    Azeri-Armenia caught Russia off guard and they were left unable to support their Armenian allies without getting Turkey involved leaving them to negotiate a peace that gave territory to Azerbaijan after Armenia's sound defeat.
    I'm not aware that Russia is decisively closer to Armenia than to Azerbaijan. Wouldn't they prefer not to burn bridges with either? I do assume that Azerbaijan would have occupied all of NK without Russian mediation.

    The good news is that that Azerbaijan basically got what it wanted in regaining lost territories, AFAIK, and Armenia is too weak to retaliate in the future, so in a sense that conflict may be 'settled.' I could easily be wrong though: persistent Armenian revanchism; persistent Azeri revanchism for taking the whole apple; the geopolitics of the Azeri exclave. The implications for Turkish foreign affairs are more worrisome though as they continue to throw around their weight to their south and east.

    The US and NATO have in general been very good at trying to keep whatever wars they're in contained to the region in conflict. The Korean war was not expanded to mainland China and it took firing Macarthur to ensure that the limit remained. The Vietnam war never involved invading North Vietnam because that'd be a sure way to get China involved outright. The war in Iraq never expanded into Iran despite their manufacturing and supplying EFPs to the shia militias and the Afghan war never expanded to Pakistan despite it allowing the Taliban to regroup after 2002.
    Fair enough. Ultimately what I'm trying to impress on the thread is that Euro allies should not pursue the excess capability to - with US assistance - decisively break through the Russian front. I feel compelled to discourage the proposition because this feels like an undertone whenever the issue of Europe "carrying its own weight" in military terms gets raised. (Of course, we have had Orgahs literally arguing for just this sort of campaign in the past.)

    As for EU citizens believing it useful? Well, that's were a lack of vision for the future is a problem. What do Europeans want their role in the world to be in a fifty years or a century? Do they want to just be an economic zone with limited influence beyond their borders? Can that ensure they can maintain their current standard of living and social values?
    As implied by the previous, civilian-based strand of this conversation, rich countries must increasingly integrate their economic and foreign policy, to preserve themselves from internal threats, to limit the nefarious influence of non-state economic actors, and to accelerate the development of the Global South, the latter being of special important because we don't want hundreds of millions of climate refugees, starving and thirsty people in an overheated world with no prospects, as a matter of mere ethics, and as a matter of enlightened self-interest. For America and Europe, a wealthy, secure, and resilient Africa and South Asia would be one of the greatest triumphs of all time. All of this entails ever-closer cooperation between European states and organizations, and the USA, to start. There's no isolationism to be found here. More directly, my opinion is:

    1. Militarization and force projection is not to Europe's comparative advantage going forward.
    2. Someone needs to make clear to the UK and (especially) France that their colonial management is no one else's problem as such.
    3. Stop prioritizing military (non-)solutions in the first place!!! How often has this worked out for humanity?

    Seeing as for Norway at least oil/natural gas are a large part of the economy and the majority of their exports
    Thanks for reminding me that they, uh, need to do something about that.
    @ReluctantSamurai

    Neither power were consigned to the path of decolonization, hell France was still in the middle of its war to keep Algeria French when it intervened in the Suez. Following Suez the UK's 1957 white paper led to a very real decline in capability which was then followed by their withdrawal from East of the Suez in the 1960s. The US essentially telling it's to biggest allies that it did not have their back on interests that didn't align perfectly with the US changed the entire dynamic of France and the UK in regards to all of their colonies and former colonies in every part of the world.
    Yes, France was an associate but the the betrayal at Suez and the departure of France from NATO spurred their development of an independent nuclear capability as relying on the US was deemed insufficient.
    French military operations/armed resistance in Algeria hadn't really begun yet at this time, it was still terrorism and protest. The UK was decolonizing, this was more or less stipulated in the transatlantic alliance during the war, and was made assured by the independence of India. The only question then was the timetable.

    What was the lesson of the Suez Crisis? That the UK and France can still push Egypt around, yes, but the USA and USSR can push around the UK and France in turn. But such an arrangement of facts was not imposed in the course of the Suez Crisis - it had been true for a long time already! Meanwhile, the WoT directly, immediately and enduringly, transformed the world stage in unpredictable ways. The world of 1958 did not look very different on account of the Suez Crisis, whereas the world of 2003 was epochally distinct in a way that was widely recognized and came as a direct cause (with knockons) from 9/11 and the invasions. Don't know what more I can say.

    At the risk of offending the Gallic race, French WMDs have not proved a world-shaking development. At any rate, connecting it to the Suez Crisis is not right. De Gaulle promoted French nuclear research from the end of WW2, and the French civilian government had already secretly authorized the development of a weapon in December 1954. (Intriguingly, one of the reasons the French government reacted so harshly to the Algerian independence movement later is that it threatened French planned reliance on the Algerian desert as a testing environment ROFL here's your brain... here's your brain on imperialism.)

    The biggest practical effect of the Suez Crisis was internal to capitalist Europe, in that it helped focus some European elites on a "European concept" of the need for closer economic and security integration between states. In fact most capitalist European governments had backed the Anglo-French play in Egypt as a matter of solidarity to the dream of a Eurafrique co-prosperity sphere. Of course, many of these ideas, such as a high-level European nuclear deterrent, a parliament of parliaments, and a Third World Europe, remained theoretical and proved as such in the diplomacy immediately following the Crisis. At the beginning of 1956, capitalist Europe was a protectorate in an American international security architecture, and it remained one at the end of 1956. So the Suez Crisis was of questionable intrinsic causality, as opposed to optics and elite self-image, to subsequent world affairs. But naturally I think the American system was overdetermined - almost no one in Europe before or after 1956 could put up on the promise of rapid European political and foreign policy integration, so it was never going to arise in the Cold War context. If you think these debates could have produced wildly divergent results for Europe's internal trajectory, then the Suez Crisis could be deemed more influential.

    the soviet submarine B-59 had 2 out of 3 of its key officers voting to launch nuclear torpedoes against the US Navy.
    History is luck, the rest is prejudice.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 09-21-2021 at 06:17.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  6. #66
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    What do you make of the constant (technically slightly lower) military spending relative to GDP over time? Methodology on assessing true Chinese military (or other) spending is a challenge I have no insight on, but my gut feeling is that unless we see that figure rise suddenly - especially relative to declining overall growth rates for the economy - our leadership won't need to give serious consideration to our extreme hypothetical here.
    It's actually estimated that their budget is much higher than they officially say.
    Understanding China’s 2021 Defense Budget
    https://www.csis.org/analysis/unders...defense-budget
    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that Chinese defense-related expenditure actually reached $240 billion in 2019—nearly 40 percent higher than the official budget ($183.5 billion). Similarly, the International Institute for Strategic Studies put the 2019 figure at $234 billion. The U.S. Department of Defense has stated that China’s actual spending could be higher than $200 billion.
    None of these sound appealing, but the latter is clearly superior from both the human and the strategic standpoint. The longer we entertain the delusion that Taiwan can be defended or that it would be worth it to try, the worse it will be for our international standing and alliance structure in the future, the more it will play into China's (shockingly ruthless) hands. What such morbid musings really demonstrate is why we must start from the position that, until proven otherwise, Beijing is not gripped by one of those historical episodes of collective psychosis, and pursue diplomacy and reciprocal concessions/deescalation.
    It isn't a delusion to think it can be defended, it would just be very costly.
    For a better idea of the costs involved read this RAND report, it's a bit dated but it has an analysis for 2015 and 2025 and looks at short or long duration wars as well as the impact of limited or expanded/severe wars.
    War with China
    Thinking Through the Unthinkable

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Unless both U.S. and Chinese political leaders decline to authorize their militaries to carry out their counterforce strategies, the ability of either state to control the ensuing conflict would be greatly impaired. Both would suffer large military losses from the outset and throughout a severe conflict: In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces com-mitted. This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves: By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities. A severe and lengthy conflict would leave both with substantially reduced total military capacity and thus vulnerable to other threats. China’s A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war. However, provided the United States is nonetheless willing to fight, China cannot expect to win militarily. Thus, the two could face the prospect of an extremely costly military standoff. This outcome implies that a conflict could be decided by domestic political, international, and, especially, economic factors, all of which would favor the United States in a long, severe war:
    •Although a war would harm both economies, damage to China’s would be far worse (perhaps 25–35 percent of GDP after one year). Because much of the Western Pacific would become a war zone, China’s trade with the region and the rest of the world would decline substantially. China’s loss of seaborne energy sup-plies would be especially damaging. Although consumption is a smaller share of the Chinese economy than the U.S. economy, it is expected to grow, leaving the Chinese economy vulnerable to further contraction in the event of war. •Politically, a long conflict, especially if militarily severe and eco-nomically punishing, could expose China to internal division—taxing and testing the state.
    •The entry of Japan and, to a lesser extent, other U.S. partners in the region could have a considerable influence on military opera-tions. The responses of Russia, India, and NATO are less important. However, NATO efforts to preserve security in other regions (at least Europe, if not also the Middle East) would permit greater, or less risky, commitment of U.S. forces to war with China. Such a combination of international responses could increase Chinese losses in a long, severe conflict, despite improved A2AD.
    In a nutshell, despite military trends that favor it, China could not win, and might lose, a severe war with the United States in 2025, especially if prolonged. Moreover, the economic costs and political dangers of such a war could imperil China’s stability, end its development, and undermine the legitimacy of the state. Yet in the event of war, the military capabilities, motivations, and plans of both sides make a severe, prolonged, and exceedingly costly conflict a distinct possibility. Of the many reasons the United States should not want such a war, the most important are the immense military losses and economic costs to itself and the implications, for the country, the region, and the world, of devastating harm to China. Such prospects underscore the importance of both the United States and China contemplating how to control and restrict fighting should a crisis turn violent, which shines the spotlight on principles and procedures for political control and communication.


    I'm not aware that Russia is decisively closer to Armenia than to Azerbaijan. Wouldn't they prefer not to burn bridges with either? I do assume that Azerbaijan would have occupied all of NK without Russian mediation.
    Azerbaijan is considered a 'strategic partner' of Turkey and the US. It's still associated with Russia but not closely.

    What was the lesson of the Suez Crisis? That the UK and France can still push Egypt around, yes, but the USA and USSR can push around the UK and France in turn. But such an arrangement of facts was not imposed in the course of the Suez Crisis - it had been true for a long time already! Meanwhile, the WoT directly, immediately and enduringly, transformed the world stage in unpredictable ways. The world of 1958 did not look very different on account of the Suez Crisis, whereas the world of 2003 was epochally distinct in a way that was widely recognized and came as a direct cause (with knockons) from 9/11 and the invasions. Don't know what more I can say.
    Considering that it was Western Europe that for the previous two-three hundred years called the shots around the world the Suez Crisis was the underlined bold text that told the whole world that the world order had changed away from Western Europe and was not moving back.
    Fair point on the other comments though of course I'd disagree on the importance of some of the points.

    Philippines supports Australia nuclear sub pact to counter China
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...na-2021-09-21/
    MANILA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The Philippines is backing a new defence partnership between the United States, Britain and Australia, hoping it can maintain the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, a view that contrasts sharply with some of its neighbours.

    Known as AUKUS, the alliance will see Australia get technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines as part of the agreement intended to respond to growing Chinese power.

    "The enhancement of a near-abroad ally's ability to project power should restore and keep the balance rather than destabilise it," Philippines foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin, said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Locsin's remarks, dated Sept. 19, differ to the stance of Indonesia and Malaysia, which sounded the alarm about the nuclear power submarines amid a burgeoning superpower rivalry in Southeast Asia.

    Locsin said that without an actual presence of nuclear weapons, the AUKUS move would not violate a 1995 treaty to keep nuclear arms out of Southeast Asia.

    The South China Sea continues to be a source of tension, with the United States - a defence treaty partner of the Philippines - and Western allies regularly conducting "freedom of navigation" operations that China has reacted angrily to.

    China sees those as outside interference in waters it claims as its own, in conflict with other coastal states, like the Philippines and Vietnam, which have accused China of harassing fishermen and energy activities.

    A brief period of rapprochement is all but over this year, with the Philippines furious about the "threatening" presence of hundreds of Chinese "maritime militia" vessels inside its exclusive economic zone.

    "Proximity breeds brevity in response time; thereby enhancing an ASEAN near friend and ally's military capacity to respond to a threat to the region or challenge the status quo," Locsin added, without specifying the threat.

    "This requires enhancing Australia's ability, added to that of its main military ally, to achieve that calibration."

    Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty
    Last edited by spmetla; 09-21-2021 at 23:36.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  7. #67

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    The exact level of Chinese spending wasn't the point of interest, it was the level of spending - and spending growth - relative to GDP. If China's spending only grows in pace with its GDP, it may send a different signal than spending/GDP rising to 5% suddenly, for example.

    A note on Azerbaijan and Armenia, I had thought both had left the CSTO, but Armenia is still a member. According to these sources,

    Russia has long been Azerbaijan’s main arms supplier. Between 2013 and 2017, its share was 65 percent of Azerbaijan’s total foreign weapons imports (Sipri.org, March 2018). Although Russia is the main arms seller to Azerbaijan, it also provides military equipment to Armenia.
    but this article from a year ago

    For its part, Azerbaijan has other options, as Russia accounts for only 22 percent of its military purchases, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Azerbaijan also buys weapons from Israel and Turkey, for example.
    Maybe they are drifting apart.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  8. #68
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,747

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Two recommended articles from my Go-To in pacific naval geopolitics - @alessionaval - Alessio Patalano:

    https://thebulletin.org/2021/09/the-...n-upside-down/

    https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/ho...-2021-edition/

    Not read them myself yet, but i will.
    Last edited by Furunculus; 09-22-2021 at 11:53.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  9. #69
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Both are good reads, thanks for posting. Makes me wonder about the possibility of Australia leasing UK or US SSNs and then doing actual repairs and services in Pearl Harbor or Guam if they want the capability sooner while revamping of shipyards in Australia and building of actual boats.

    Good article from The Diplomat on AUKUS and general US-China considerations:
    https://thediplomat.com/2021/09/what...asia-strategy/
    What AUKUS and Afghanistan Tell Us About the US Asia Strategy
    Put together, these two seemingly unrelated developments signal a new U.S. strategy in the competition with China.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    By Arash Reisinezhad
    September 21, 2021
    The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan made headlines around the world. Few could have predicted that the predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group would resuscitate their power in summer 2021, after waging a 20-year insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

    In the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of 2001, the Taliban began challenging NATO and taking back vast territories in the southwest of Afghanistan after heavy regrouping in Pakistan. The signing of a withdrawal agreement with the U.S. in Doha emboldened the Taliban to press their advantage and end the 20-year-old war. Backed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Taliban notched swift successes as the U.S. withdrew its remaining troops from Afghanistan. By August 2021, the Taliban had conquered all of Afghanistan’s major cities and ultimately Kabul. By September, they controlled the entire country after taking the mountainous Panjshir Valley, where the National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Masoud, had vowed to continue fighting the Taliban.

    Less than a month later after the fall of Kabul, U.S. President Joe Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a trilateral security partnership, called AUKUS, to counter China. The AUKUS pact will enable Australia to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, which are supposed to be built in Adelaide, making Canberra the seventh country in the world to have submarines propelled by nuclear reactors. The core goal of this trilateral pact is to contain the threat emanating from China’s increased leverage in the Indo-Pacific and its worldwide ambitions. Not surprisingly, the formation of AUKUS spilled over into intensified Indo-Pacific tensions, especially over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the East Indian Ocean.

    At the first glance, it seems that the developments in Afghanistan and Australia are unrelated events. One centered in the Hindukush Mountains; the other echoed 9,500 kilometers away, in the middle of the Indo-Pacific waters. Nevertheless, within a broader context, these two events are interconnected at the heart of the China-U.S. competition, forming the bookends of a new strategy I dub “leave the Belt, press the Road.” By this, I mean that the U.S. will increasingly target China’s Maritime Silk Road, while largely abandoning the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt. Succinctly put, the major front of the Sino-American infrastructure war is the Indo-Pacific rim, while the heart of Eurasia will be left to the destabilizing forces of the region.

    The establishment of AUKUS reaffirms the fact that the cornerstone of Washington’s China containment strategy is pitched in the Indo-Pacific zone. Therefore, U.S. attention to the geographical locations at the heart of Eurasia will be degraded – but this is part of the plan. The U.S. lack of will or capability to keep up its presence in Eurasia may intentionally disrupt the stability of the Belt by generating a threatening power vacuum. The U.S. swift withdrawal from Afghanistan and the following empowerment of Taliban have the potential to destabilize Chinese land-based projects in Central Asia, Pakistan, and even Xinjiang. Although the chaotic drawdown of the war in Afghanistan has taken a toll on Biden’s standing back home, the geopolitical vacuum in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal could be utilized to counterbalance Moscow, Beijing, and even Tehran, who will now have to contend with the empowerment of Islamic extremists in Central and West Asia.
    Despite the seemingly sudden developments of the last two months, this trend in the global competition is not new. After almost a ten-year hiatus, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the Quad, was formally resumed in August 2017 to contain Beijing’s maritime power projection in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Initially founded in 2007, the Quad consists of Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S., heralding the possible formation of an Asian NATO to counter the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). There were even rumblings about a “Quad Plus” when South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam joined the meetings in March 2020. The Malabar exercises hosted annually by India are a major manifestation of its military component.

    In a 2021 joint statement on “The Spirit of the Quad,” the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States highlighted “a shared vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP),” and a “rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas” to counter China’s maritime threat. This progress was concomitant with the EU’s increasingly strategic attention toward the Indo-Pacific zone as France, Germany, and the U.K. accelerated their cooperation with the Quad Plus dialogue. Within this context, the AUKUS pact would supplement the Quad in counterbalancing China’s increasing influence in the Indo-Pacific.
    Although AUKUS and the Quad both show muscle and military technology firepower, they lack a foundational proportionality. The Belt and Road Initiative is Beijing’s major geoeconomic strategy for challenging the U.S. hegemony around the globe, while the Quad and AUKUS are geostrategic and military tools in countering China in the Indo-Pacific zone. Phrased differently, there is a strategic gap between the threatening force and the deterring counterforce. It was this proportionality gap that pushed the Biden administration to launch a specific geoeconomic counterforce against the Belt and Road: Build Back Better World, or B3W, announced in June at the G-7 summit in Cornwall, U.K.

    Led by the U.S., B3W aims at countering Chinese global leverage through massive investment in the infrastructural development of the developing countries by 2035. The plan is supposed to provide around $40 trillion, mainly from the private sector, to low- and middle- income countries, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa and Asia. Guided by the standards and principles of the Blue Dot Network (BDN), the B3W projects vow to focus on several domains, particularly climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality. The global scope of the B3W would equip its G-7 partners with different geographic orientations to target specific low- and middle-income countries across the world. While the U.S. focuses on the Indo-Pacific, Japan and the EU will concentrate on Southeast Asia and the Balkans, respectively, all with the aim of countering Chinese global influence.

    The upcoming competition between B3W, now backed by the Quad and AUKUS, and the Chinese BRI is a prelude to the China-U.S. infrastructure war. The B3W is not just a U.S. financial response to China’s economic ambitions; rather it is a strategic effort to transform the rising geopolitical arrangement of Greater Eurasia and its coastal waters by establishing a new model of development. In other words, the United States is unleashing a geoeconomic counterforce against China’s BRI to achieve its grand geopolitical goals by mobilizing its private companies and those of its allies in massive infrastructure investment to control the BRI corridors. The new infrastructure war will determine the trajectory and path of the geopolitical battle between China and the U.S. for world domination in the 21st century.

    On the other side of the global power equation, China has successfully controlled Central Asian markets while pursuing its “positive balance” doctrine among all parties in West Asia, wherein expanding cooperation with Beijing may be the only point all the regional powers can agree on. China’s dramatic economic growth and internal stability have enticed non-democratic political systems in the region. Beijing has established close economic relations with the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, Israel, Iran, and Turkey at the same time. However, Beijing’s successful policy in cementing its connection with West Asia through Central Asia may be disrupted by threats emanating from Afghanistan. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will destabilize the land-based Belt while heavy pressure by the Quad and now AUKUS will counter the maritime Road.

    The world is on the verge of China-U.S. international competition. Regional developments, like AUKUS, and domestic transformations, like the Taliban takeover of Kabul, will both be crucial elements in the grand chessboard between the U.S. and China. Now that the dust has settled in Kabul, one could see how the Taliban’s rising power is concomitant with the trilateral AUKUS pact. Both are milestones for a new phase in the Sino-American competition: leave the Belt, press the Road.

    Some key highlights:
    Although AUKUS and the Quad both show muscle and military technology firepower, they lack a foundational proportionality. The Belt and Road Initiative is Beijing’s major geoeconomic strategy for challenging the U.S. hegemony around the globe, while the Quad and AUKUS are geostrategic and military tools in countering China in the Indo-Pacific zone. Phrased differently, there is a strategic gap between the threatening force and the deterring counterforce. It was this proportionality gap that pushed the Biden administration to launch a specific geoeconomic counterforce against the Belt and Road: Build Back Better World, or B3W, announced in June at the G-7 summit in Cornwall, U.K.
    The global scope of the B3W would equip its G-7 partners with different geographic orientations to target specific low- and middle-income countries across the world. While the U.S. focuses on the Indo-Pacific, Japan and the EU will concentrate on Southeast Asia and the Balkans, respectively, all with the aim of countering Chinese global influence.
    Glad this article ties in how AUKUS and the Quad are more the military hard power end of the efforts while the B3W (new acronymn for me) sorta replaces what the TTP was supposed to be but with a scope beyond the Pacific. Certainly failed to read much into B3W myself so glad to see the other aspects of DIME are used. I'm all for a good deterrence but would much prefer the other methods being the primary means of influencing around the world.

    The world is on the verge of China-U.S. international competition. Regional developments, like AUKUS, and domestic transformations, like the Taliban takeover of Kabul, will both be crucial elements in the grand chessboard between the U.S. and China.
    The Great Game again though this article doesn't really address Russian efforts to maintain its influence in Central Asia even with its inability to invest in infrastructure, at least in comparison to China and the US. China and Russia are too often grouped together, yes, they oppose the US but are very much merely partners of convienence for now.
    This article by the same addresses that a bit more:
    Russia’s Strategy in Central Asia: Inviting India to Balance China
    https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/russ...balance-china/

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

    Member thankful for this post:



  10. #70

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    "Nato is such a ridiculous misnomer."

    Union for the Mediterranean: Hold my beer.




    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    ^^ Still funny. Unfortunately, obliquely true.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 09-25-2021 at 05:04.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  11. #71

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Fascinating thread on Xi Jinping that, if accurate, would make much of the speculation here so far obsolete. To the extent these are Xi's guiding lights, he has quite a point about American failure but it's not yet clear that China can offer a credible alternative, one that doesn't fall into a totalitarian spiral.

    Also, Germany is probably going to be led by a center-left coalition post-Merkel. A structural model for the US if it aims to survive as a polity, though case solutions will always be bespoke to a degree.

    The broad sentiment within China is that the United States is captured by entrenched interests and cannot restructure its system to escape these traps. 1/

    Many believe AUKUS is a concrete example of this state capture. Many in China believe the US can only pursue strategic interests that serve entrenched interests such as the military-industrial complex and foreign policy establishment. 2/

    Modern party leaders are actively seeking to avoid the fate of the USSR. However, many outside observers assume PRC leaders view political liberalization as the primary cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union. 3/

    Throughout the preceding decades, Deng Xiaoping and many other leaders did not necessarily oppose democracy and liberalization in the abstract. 4/

    What Deng opposed was the idea that political reform could come before economic reform. For Deng, economic reform had to start first and privately expressed his belief that Gorbachev was “an idiot” for failing to recognize this. 5/

    For modern PRC leaders, the biggest takeaway from the collapse of the USSR was its failure to shed the excess baggage of entrenched state and industrial interests. Moreover, Xi believes a lack of strong leadership meant the USSR would inevitably collapse under its own weight. 6/

    When Xi came to power in 2012/2013, he initiated his “anti-corruption drive” to resolve three primary constraints:

    - Reduce corruption
    - Soften the power-base of entrenched interests
    - Uproot the most acute sources of factionalism
    7/

    In hindsight, the past eight years of Xi’s reign as a continuous effort to mitigate the long-term impact of state capture and factionalism. The fact that we’re eight years in and these problems still exist likely means these are permanent features of the system. 8/

    Some argue Xi’s consolidation of state and personal authority marks are a reversion to Maoism. Many of the outwards signs (cult of personality, etc.) are there. However, Xi’s restructuring of the previous political structure is straight out of Deng Xiaoping’s playbook. 9/

    "Deng well understood that to gain control over the levers of power, it would be easier to start with a fresh organizational structure than to send one or two leading officials to an old organization that did not match his policies."
    In China's current system, norms governing power transitions are either weak or non-existent. It's not enough to simply install new leaders on top of existing organizational structures. The structures themselves must be gutted time and again. 10/

    Xi needed to quickly undertake more drastic reforms due to Hu/Wen’s lack of decisive reforms during their administration. 11/

    From Xi’s view, Hu/Wen’s inaction wasn’t preserving a system that “worked.” It was a failure to restructure a broken system that would eventually detonate. 12/

    Common Prosperity is more than an economic restructuring or wealth redistribution. On a deeper level, Common Prosperity is a restructuring of the state’s relationship with the individual. It’s a redefining of ethical and moral boundaries in Chinese society. 13/

    Common Prosperity is not Maoism, but it entails a similar kind of near-spiritual faith in the state’s ability to redefine what it believes should matter in Chinese society and culture. 14/

    We’re seeing a clear departure from the highly technocratic and materialist ethos that defined decades of Chinese social/political life. 15/

    Although Xi is far more powerful than the leadership generations immediately preceding him, he’s still not a dictator and must contend with powerful internal bureaucratic constraints. 16/

    Major initiatives such as anti-corruption drives and wealth rebalancing still require popular/internal support. Xi can’t succeed by swimming upstream. 17/

    Concerning US-China relations, China is drawing lessons from the post-2008 US in the same way it draws lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union. 18/

    Many in China believe the US is deeply constrained (even incapacitated) by a combination of its private sector, entrenched state interests, and populist ultra-nationalism. 19/

    Xi frequently points to China’s “institutional/governance advantages” in the context of international affairs. Reflecting a belief among China’s political establishment that the Chinese system is superior to others, including the United States. 20/

    China’s perception of its own “institutional advantages” reflects more than just a belief in the superiority of the institutions and the governance models themselves. 21/

    "Institutional advantage" reflects a belief that the Chinese system can self-correct internally and adapt to externalities in ways the US simply cannot. 22/

    China believes either sides’ ability to shed the weight of entrenched interests and conduct deep self-correction in real-time is what will define US-China relations in the 21st century. 23/
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  12. #72
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Also, Germany is probably going to be led by a center-left coalition post-Merkel. A structural model for the US if it aims to survive as a polity, though case solutions will always be bespoke to a degree.
    Watching the elections there is quite interesting. As I've made known, I'm a huge advocate for truly multiparty systems like Germany as it forces compromise. You get less of the winner take all "elections have consequences" attitude. Allowing the true extremists to just vote for their fringe people is much better than their trying to take over the major party and redefine who's "no true scotsman." Glad that the Greens will have to force some concessions from SPD or CDU; I wouldn't want the Greens running the show but think it's absolutely vital the the environment and climate change remain front and center for parts of the government's elected officals.

    I've been rather ignorant of the leads for SPD and CDU though. Olaf Scholz seems an interesting person, wouldn't be too far from Merkel's leadership and policies but seems to just want to steer toward the same goal though with slightly different methods.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  13. #73
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,483

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    From Monty's post above:

    Common Prosperity is more than an economic restructuring or wealth redistribution. On a deeper level, Common Prosperity is a restructuring of the state’s relationship with the individual. It’s a redefining of ethical and moral boundaries in Chinese society.
    It will be interesting to see how China responds to the current major issues it is facing at the moment. First, the recent devastating floods. Then the looming collapse of EverGrande. And now this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...l-supply-fears

    Widening power shortages in China’s north-east have left homes without power and halted production at numerous factories, while some shops operated by candlelight as the economic toll of the squeeze mounted. Residents in the north-east, where autumn temperatures are falling, reported power cuts and appealed on social media for the government to restore supplies. Rationing has been implemented during peak hours since last week, while residents of cities including Changchun said cuts were occurring sooner and lasting for longer, state media reported. China’s power crunch, caused by tight coal supplies and toughening emissions standards, has hurt production in industries across several regions and poses a risk to already strained global supply chains.

    Manufacturers face existing shortages of processor chips, disruptions in shipping and other lingering effects of the global shutdown of travel and trade to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Liaoning province said power generation had declined significantly since July, and the supply gap widened to a “severe level” last week. It expanded power cuts from industrial firms to residential areas last week.
    The fallout of the power shortage has prompted some analysts to downgrade their 2021 economic growth outlook for China, and also warned of possible global supply shortages to textiles, toys and machine parts.
    High Plains Drifter

  14. #74

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    To segue from that news, here's an interesting thesis that holds forth as a sort of counterpoint to the Twitter thread. IMO it's premature for current events, though the general theory has some promise and might become more applicable down the line.

    The idea of a Thucydides Trap, popularized by Harvard political scientist Graham Allison, holds that the danger of war will skyrocket as a surging China overtakes a sagging America. Even Chinese President Xi Jinping has endorsed the concept arguing Washington must make room for Beijing. As tensions between the United States and China escalate, the belief that the fundamental cause of friction is a looming “power transition”—the replacement of one hegemon by another—has become canonical.

    The only problem with this familiar formula is that it’s wrong.

    The Thucydides Trap doesn’t really explain what caused the Peloponnesian War. It doesn’t capture the dynamics that have often driven revisionist powers—whether that is Germany in 1914 or Japan in 1941—to start some of history’s most devastating conflicts. And it doesn’t explain why war is a very real possibility in U.S.-China relations today because it fundamentally misdiagnoses where China now finds itself on its arc of development—the point at which its relative power is peaking and will soon start to fade.

    There’s indeed a deadly trap that could ensnare the United States and China. But it’s not the product of a power transition the Thucydidean cliché says it is. It’s best thought of instead as a “peaking power trap.” And if history is any guide, it’s China’s—not the United States’—impending decline that could cause it to snap shut.

    There is an entire swath of literature, known as “power transition theory,” which holds that great-power war typically occurs at the intersection of one hegemon’s rise and another’s decline. This is the body of work underpinning the Thucydides Trap, and there is, admittedly, an elemental truth to the idea. The rise of new powers is invariably destabilizing. In the runup to the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century B.C., Athens would not have seemed so menacing to Sparta had it not built a vast empire and become a naval superpower. Washington and Beijing would not be locked in rivalry if China was still poor and weak. Rising powers do expand their influence in ways that threaten reigning powers.

    But the calculus that produces war—particularly the calculus that pushes revisionist powers, countries seeking to shake up the existing system, to lash out violently—is more complex. A country whose relative wealth and power are growing will surely become more assertive and ambitious. All things equal, it will seek greater global influence and prestige. But if its position is steadily improving, it should postpone a deadly showdown with the reigning hegemon until it has become even stronger. Such a country should follow the dictum former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping laid down for a rising China after the Cold War: It should hide its capabilities and bide its time.

    Now imagine a different scenario. A dissatisfied state has been building its power and expanding its geopolitical horizons. But then the country peaks, perhaps because its economy slows, perhaps because its own assertiveness provokes a coalition of determined rivals, or perhaps because both of these things happen at once. The future starts to look quite forbidding; a sense of imminent danger starts to replace a feeling of limitless possibility. In these circumstances, a revisionist power may act boldly, even aggressively, to grab what it can before it is too late. The most dangerous trajectory in world politics is a long rise followed by the prospect of a sharp decline.

    As we show in our forthcoming book, Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, this scenario is more common than you might think. Historian Donald Kagan showed, for instance, that Athens started acting more belligerently in the years before the Peloponnesian War because it feared adverse shifts in the balance of naval power—in other words, because it was on the verge of losing influence vis-à-vis Sparta. We see the same thing in more recent cases as well.

    Great powers that had been growing dramatically faster than the world average and then suffered a severe, prolonged slowdown usually don’t fade away quietly. Rather, they become brash and aggressive.

    Slowing growth makes it harder for leaders to keep the public happy. Economic underperformance weakens the country against its rivals. Fearing upheaval, leaders crack down on dissent. They maneuver desperately to keep geopolitical enemies at bay. Expansion seems like a solution—a way of grabbing economic resources and markets, making nationalism a crutch for a wounded regime, and beating back foreign threats.

    Many countries have followed this path. When the United States’ long post-Civil War economic surge ended, Washington violently suppressed strikes and unrest at home, built a powerful blue-water Navy, and engaged in a fit of belligerence and imperial expansion during the 1890s.
    Here's where the elaboration of the theory begins to look over-fitted and less credible. The depression of the 1890s was over by the time of the exertions abroad, throughout the decade the US had remained the largest economy in the world, and at any rate prior to the era of central banking, recessions and depressions were actually as common as not (that is, veritably 50% of the 19th century saw the United States in economic contraction). This comparison also completely ignores the geopolitics involved, external context, as well as internal politics, and trivializes the thesis of "peaking" power by linking it to low or negative domestic growth per se. I don't think we would gain anything useful, for example, by framing American expansion against Mexico and the indigenous territories (or the formation of the British Raj!) in terms of American (or British) decline! Which is where such logic literally flows, yet I doubt the authors would follow it that way as a generalization.

    Germany’s rivalry with Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is often considered an analogue to U.S.-China competition: In both cases, an autocratic challenger threatened a liberal hegemon. But the more sobering parallel is this: War came when a cornered Germany grasped it would not zip past its rivals without a fight.
    Again, this sort of theory cannot hold by overemphasizing single-actor teleology as if there wasn't a whole system supporting conditions for war among multiple-multiple parties. A proposition that 'World War 1 occurred because a peaking Germany sought a new power balance" would be so incomplete as to be wrong.

    But during the prelude to war, the kaiser and his aides didn’t feel confident. Germany’s brash behavior caused its encirclement by hostile powers. London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, Russia, formed a “Triple Entente” to block German expansion. By 1914, time was running short. Germany was losing ground economically to a fast-growing Russia; London and France were pursuing economic containment by blocking its access to oil and iron ore. Berlin’s key ally, Austria-Hungary, was being torn apart by ethnic tensions. At home, Germany’s autocratic political system was in trouble.

    Most ominous, the military balance was shifting. France was enlarging its army; Russia was adding 470,000 men to its military and slashing the time it needed to mobilize for war. Britain announced it would build two battleships for every one built by Berlin. Germany was, for the moment, Europe’s foremost military power. But by 1916 and 1917, it would be hopelessly overmatched. The result was a now-or-never mentality: Germany should “defeat the enemy while we still stand a chance of victory,” declared Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke, even if that meant “provoking a war in the near future.”
    Now the theory returns to a semblance of sense, in noting that power struggles often give rise to competing coalitions, and that strategic containment/encirclement between or against coalitions, their loci, can fatally inflame tensions by raising the stakes while introducing opportunity pressures on action (these should be given more attention as such). Such a pattern is relevant to many historical cases. But on the other hand, to the case of China and the US, it is fairly likely in the medium term that China will only become stronger - not weaker - in the Pacific relative to the American coalition so long as it "bides its time"... If this estimation is mistaken or not accepted by Chinese planners, then an invasion attempt would really have to take place within 5 or so years to optimize its prospects, so we'll see what the case is.

    This is the real trap the United States should worry about regarding China today—the trap in which an aspiring superpower peaks and then refuses to bear the painful consequences of descent.
    Towards a general analysis of the contemporary I find scant evidence that China will be peaking in its influence or economic clout anytime this decade. If anything, we should be scrutinizing American foreign policy according to these theorized declinist proclivities, depending on the development of our domestic governance. The proffered theory could more easily produce a scenario of China building out overwhelming military advantage in the West Pacific that subsequently fails as a deterrent against an ultranationalist-led US, as it engages in rapid rearmament and brunksmanship aimed at reasserting lost primacy...

    China is also approaching a demographic precipice: From 2020 to 2050, it will lose an astounding 200 million working-age adults—a population the size of Nigeria—and gain 200 million senior citizens. The fiscal and economic consequences will be devastating: Current projections suggest China’s medical and social security spending will have to triple as a share of GDP, from 10 percent to 30 percent, by 2050 just to prevent millions of seniors from dying of impoverishment and neglect.
    Tangentially, I want to contend that demographic dividends and their inversions have become overrated for developed economies (among which we can count China for our purposes, to some extent). Throughout the industrial and post-industrial eras the elderly have been an economic encumbrance (no offense, readers) for the following reasons, primarily: low health, low education, and inability to sustain manual labor. By the mid-century this picture will have changed completely.

    In 2050 today's Millennials, Chinese and American alike, will be tomorrow's Boomers, in terms of age range, demographic proportion, and arguably wealth and status (with the necessary caveat that Chinese Boomers are not comparable in wealth to American Boomers in the first place). They will also be qualitatively healthier and better-educated than any preceding generation in world history.

    Simply put, Millennials will never match the decrepit image we have of Silents and the Greatest Generation - the main stock of the truly elderly throughout the 21st century so far. Despite the prevalence of so-called "diseases of affluence," they will be far better able than preceding cohorts, or coeval ones in poor countries, to manage independently far into their lifespans. The experience we all have of the elderly as a population is inextricable from the industrial context of those lives, people who by and large have seen their bodies wrecked by hard work, stress and interpersonal violence, inadequate nutrition, and the residuals of an age before the suppression of infectious and parasitic diseases; the Digital generations really have been raised in comparative freedom of such factors (note how this makes inequality across the life-course a more salient differentiator than ever, within groups - but that's a whole other subject). Their upbringing and extensive education will also permit them to continue to engage in the sorts of work that are relevant to the era - we don't lack for bodies to dig ditches - as well as prevent them from completely falling out of touch with contemporary culture the way anyone above 60 or 70 traditionally has.

    It is simply a myth that advanced economies will soon suffer from a need/deficit for infinite young bodies flowing into the care economy (which is not to say that it isn't socially important or won't expand) and an elderly-fueled deficit in (non-care) consumption activity and tax revenue.

    None of the above even takes into account further transformations in existing technologies and industrial relations...

    My point here is just that while societies in East Asia and Europe will suffer some drag from the loss of demographic dividends and the coming explosion in over-65s, certainly relative to high(er)-immigration societies such as America, or rising African countries that come down the fertility curve, these trends have to be put in context of the times in which we find ourselves, not the former strictures of the 20th or 19th centuries. An inverted population pyramid is just not going to be fundamentally disadvantaging, because they're fairly straightforward to adapt to, given a certain hump (which I admit will be more arduous for China given its absolute rural population and current developmental stage than for, say, Germany). But then watch India, which is not more than a generation behind China (India has reportedly reached just above replacement rate), yet remains predominantly rural.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 09-29-2021 at 04:37.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  15. #75

    Default Re: Great Power contentions



    "Why the long face?"



    Entirely predictable.

    Cyber troop activity continues to increase around the world. This year, we found evidence of 81 countries using social media to spread computational propaganda and disinformation about politics. This has increased from last years’ report, in which we identified 70 countries with cyber troop activity


    We can reflect, as Angela Merkel prepares to retire, that she is arguably the greatest conservative who ever lived. And yet even so, as a conservative, she has left her country utterly bereft of initiative and long-term reform for its structural and EU/foreign policy dimensions. Even the brightest, noblest, and wisest conservatives can just about manage an extended caretaker government. Stable-state ordoconservatism is not fascism, but as a political and philosophical ecosystem it inherently lacks the substance to produce ideas or answers for any identifiable problem.

    And though the SPD will head the forming German government, under Merkel both the CDU and SPD have mutually assimilated toward the center to one of the greatest extents in the history of center-right/left competition. I expect paralysis and heightening of tension, as the reasons intensify for the post-Adenauer German center-right/left dropping from a combined 80-90% of the vote to under 50% in this election.

    Surprising example of Merkel's combination of wisdom and inaction:

    Merkel has a deep pessimism about the trajectory of Germany and Europe, as well as of the United States, in their competition with Beijing. Merkel has not spoken about this much in public. As her biographer Stefan Kornelius details in Angela Merkel: The Chancellor and Her World, Merkel fears that open-society systems “might not survive, that democracy and the market economy might ultimately prove to be too weak.”

    Sometimes the public gets a glimpse of Merkel’s gloom. After a meeting in Berlin during the eurozone crisis, then-Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov reported that Merkel had told him that “the Maya and many other civilizations have disappeared from the face of the earth.” She chose this dramatic example to emphasize her view of the fragility of Europe.
    While Merkel doesn’t fail to recognize China’s many domestic challenges, in her many trips to China she has come away deeply impressed with the speed and determination with which the country pursues its development goals. As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, Merkel feels that “everything needs to move much faster, in Europe and in Germany.”

    But in her view, internal blockades and a satisfaction with the status quo stop Germany and Europe from that. One of Merkel’s biggest failures is that after being elected chancellor she never fully shared her gloomy outlook with the German public, let alone tried to win political support for the unpopular measures that might change things for the better.


    From Merkel’s view Germany’s and Europe’s inevitable decline in competitiveness and power is made worse by the trajectory of the United States. Merkel has long been concerned about domestic dysfunction in the United States. It was the Trump years that fundamentally shook her belief in the reliability of the United States as a partner for Europe. Very plausibly, she does not see Donald Trump as an accident and thinks another U.S. president turning away from or turning the fire on Europe may be just around the corner. In 2017, she expressed this during a campaign speech in a beer tent in Bavaria: “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. … We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”
    How does one retire, go quietly into the night, without making an issue out of these priors? I agree fully with the insight paraphrased, but what for me conjures a metaphorical cocking shotgun and flaming sword raised high, for her only ever manifested as a pair of steepled hands.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  16. #76
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Merkel fears that open-society systems “might not survive, that democracy and the market economy might ultimately prove to be too weak.”

    Sometimes the public gets a glimpse of Merkel’s gloom. After a meeting in Berlin during the eurozone crisis, then-Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov reported that Merkel had told him that “the Maya and many other civilizations have disappeared from the face of the earth.” She chose this dramatic example to emphasize her view of the fragility of Europe. While Merkel doesn’t fail to recognize China’s many domestic challenges, in her many trips to China she has come away deeply impressed with the speed and determination with which the country pursues its development goals. As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, Merkel feels that “everything needs to move much faster, in Europe and in Germany.”

    But in her view, internal blockades and a satisfaction with the status quo stop Germany and Europe from that. One of Merkel’s biggest failures is that after being elected chancellor she never fully shared her gloomy outlook with the German public, let alone tried to win political support for the unpopular measures that might change things for the better.
    How does one retire, go quietly into the night, without making an issue out of these priors? I agree fully with the insight paraphrased, but what for me conjures a metaphorical cocking shotgun and flaming sword raised high, for her only ever manifested as a pair of steepled hands.
    I whole-heartedly agree with you and it is one of the reasons I lament the lack of a vision to work toward. The leaders of the democratic west fail time and time again to have something for us all to work toward in common. We can't just be partner societies that oppose things. Opposing totalitarianism under Fascism or Soviet-Maoist-Communism was worth while but with the collapse of fascism in Europe and the collapse of the Soviet-Union there's been the abysmal end of history attitude.

    We could start by defining what a free and open society is. What type of liberal-democracy can compete and survive in tomorrow's world. Surely we can promote and defend our interests without having to devolve into militarism and fascism again.
    People want good governance and tend to be fearful of change; both should be able to be addressed to some degree without compromising our principles.
    Immigration always worries conservatives and reactionaries, perhaps actual plans beyond the seesaw of amnesty/open borders or closed border/ race based criteria. This always has been and will be the biggest 'fear' that breeds racist nationalism; especially in European countries that have struggled for centuries to be totally free and dependent nation-states based on their common language/culture/ ethnicity (thinking a lot of Europe but especially former Warsaw pact countries).
    Moving faster in Europe to compete with China would work better if liberal democracies stopped selling out all their advantages in pursuit of the bottom line. The adage of 'capitalists will compete to sell the rope they are hanged with' bides true of our huge multi-nationals that look at short term gains and profits at the expense of long term competitive advantages.

    If the measures needed are unpopular but necessary then campaign for them. Climate change does need firm action, countries spending more on social measure than they can afford (Greece) need to change.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  17. #77
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,653

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    I whole-heartedly agree with you and it is one of the reasons I lament the lack of a vision to work toward. The leaders of the democratic west fail time and time again to have something for us all to work toward in common. We can't just be partner societies that oppose things. Opposing totalitarianism under Fascism or Soviet-Maoist-Communism was worth while but with the collapse of fascism in Europe and the collapse of the Soviet-Union there's been the abysmal end of history attitude.

    We could start by defining what a free and open society is. What type of liberal-democracy can compete and survive in tomorrow's world. Surely we can promote and defend our interests without having to devolve into militarism and fascism again.
    People want good governance and tend to be fearful of change; both should be able to be addressed to some degree without compromising our principles.
    Immigration always worries conservatives and reactionaries, perhaps actual plans beyond the seesaw of amnesty/open borders or closed border/ race based criteria. This always has been and will be the biggest 'fear' that breeds racist nationalism; especially in European countries that have struggled for centuries to be totally free and dependent nation-states based on their common language/culture/ ethnicity (thinking a lot of Europe but especially former Warsaw pact countries).
    Moving faster in Europe to compete with China would work better if liberal democracies stopped selling out all their advantages in pursuit of the bottom line. The adage of 'capitalists will compete to sell the rope they are hanged with' bides true of our huge multi-nationals that look at short term gains and profits at the expense of long term competitive advantages.

    If the measures needed are unpopular but necessary then campaign for them. Climate change does need firm action, countries spending more on social measure than they can afford (Greece) need to change.
    Fact checking might help. As it is, BSers opinions are held to be as worthwhile as those of industry experts, and each vote gained by lies is worth just as much as those following evidence. And lying is much quicker and easier to propagate than fact-checked truth.

    Member thankful for this post:



  18. #78
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,483

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Came across this interesting take on the recent AUKUS submarine deal:

    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-in...-nuke-sub-deal

    Thoughts?
    High Plains Drifter

  19. #79
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Well the article pretty much just seems to be of the opinion that if you need Allies to contest China then just don't bother and spend that money on climate change.

    By that same logic if you can't fix the global climate by yourself why bother?

    It's a silly argument. Australia building a capability that they can maintain into the future is useful. The capability is not available in the near-term but that's no reason not to start now.

    Defense spending just like climate change spending needs to be looking mid-long term to be effective and efficient.

    As I have written recently, Australia needs to take a different approach to the consideration of its security, one that meets the tensions that will result from the rebalance of power that is underway in the Indo-Pacific and that addresses climate change.
    Australia has for the past twenty years tried to accommodate Beijing and the US while positioning itself as sort of an even broker for both. Beijing's actions in the last decade have cause the Australians to change from accepting a peaceful rise of China to being willing to oppose a violent rise of China. China lashing out at Australia for daring to investigate the origins of COVID-19 are certainly indicators that while they US may throw its weight around a bit in the indo-pacific it's at least not to the level of expecting countries in the region to behave as client States.
    Just like Australia needs to address climate change through global engagement as well as domestic investment into less harmful energy it also needs to change its defense posture to be credible enough to be relevant alongside regional and historic allies.
    Last edited by spmetla; 10-05-2021 at 21:51.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  20. #80

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Twitter thread/blog post on the Chinese energy crisis. Striking tangential fact: European natural gas prices have more than quadrupled since Winter 2020.

    More than half of China's mainland provinces have been forced to limit electricity usage due to shortages. According to a recent Bloomberg article, the Chinese microblogging site Weibo is filled with stories of people sharing how their daily lives are being impacted by the crunch—no tap water, no cell service, no traffic lights, and even a shortage of candles.
    Electricity demand is up through the recovery, but hydro is running low (hot summer), there is a coal shortage (coal prices have tripled since 2019 or Winter 2020), coal imports are down (diplomatic rows with Australia and Mongolia, complete cessation of imports from the former), and because utility prices are fixed by the government, utilities prefer to tactically cut power rather than operate at a loss (this might sound familiar to some Americans).

    Although:

    Note: It is worth calling out that there is a difference between thermal coal (used for heating) and metallurgical coal (used for steel production and other industrial processes). Based on recent discussions, it is my understanding that Australian coal is predominantly metallurgical, meaning it would not have as direct an impact on the electricity market. Nevertheless, it is a supply dislocation worth calling out.
    Moreover, despite our skepticism here, Xi's climate targets apparently do influence the Chinese government, with energy-intensive businesses being burdened by new curbs and blackouts.

    The net impact: widespread energy shortages in China, sharp price increases, and continued production delays.

    For supply chains, this means continued woes.

    For consumers, this means rising prices.

    In our interconnected economy, nobody is insulated from this disruption.
    More on repercussions for Chinese production, and knock-ons to global pandemic recovery (even as China has fully vaccinated approximately all adults in the country).


    Meanwhile, here is an analysis of China's crackdown on its tech industry with the point that China isn't really cracking down on "tech," but on consumer-facing digital platforms and social media; AI and hardware and anything that is conducive to military or industrial advantage is subsidized. So Xi might be deprioritizing what he perceives as unproductive, 'spiritually decadent' enterprise or consumption that disrupts social control and distorts financial and employment/educational markets.

    It’s become apparent in the last few months that the Chinese leadership has moved towards the view that hard tech is more valuable than products that take us more deeply into the digital world. Xi declared this year that while digitization is important, “we must recognize the fundamental importance of the real economy… and never deindustrialize.” This expression preceded the passage of securities and antitrust regulations, thus also pummeling finance, which along with tech make up the most glamorous sectors today.
    If you’re going to fight a cold war or a hot war against the U.S. or Japan or India or whoever, you need a bunch of military hardware. That means you need materials, engines, fuel, engineering and design, and so on. You also need chips to run that hardware, because military tech is increasingly software-driven. And of course you need firmware as well. You’ll also need surveillance capability, for keeping an eye on your opponents, for any attempts you make to destabilize them, and for maintaining social control in case they try to destabilize you.

    It’s easy for Americans to forget this now, but there was a time when “ability to win wars” was the driving goal of technological innovation. The NDRC and the OSRD were the driving force behind government sponsorship of research and technology in World War 2, and the NSF and DARPA grew out of this tradition. Defense spending has traditionally been a huge component of government research-spending in the U.S., and many of America’s most successful private-sector tech industries are in some way spinoffs of those defense-related efforts.

    After the Cold War, our priorities shifted from survival to enjoyment. Technologies like Facebook and Amazon.com, which are fundamentally about leisure and consumption, went from being fun and profitable spinoffs of defense efforts to the center of what Americans thought of as “tech”.

    But China never really shifted out of survival mode. Yes, China’s leaders embraced economic growth, but that growth has always been toward the telos of comprehensive national power. China’s young people may be increasingly ready to cash out and have some fun, but the leadership is just not there yet. They’ve got bigger fish to fry — they have to avenge the Century of Humiliation and claim China’s rightful place in the sun and blah blah.
    The Chinese government has called video games “spiritual opium”, sending video game stocks plunging. Chalk up another win for my theory.
    Well, yes but no.

    At any rate, this is a net negative for the cause of world peace, since a Brave New World where the proles are all electronic vampires intubated on Ethernet* or sensorily-ensconced in a radio cocoon is a world with less smalltime violence and interstate conflict, in principle. What do all the above phenomena smount to? Beyond my ken of course.


    *A turn of phrase I'm proud of but which suffers from increasing anachronism
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Member thankful for this post:



  21. #81
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    U.S. troops deployed to Taiwan to train local forces amid growing tensions with China, report says
    https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asi...s-3161550.html
    U.S. troops have been deployed to Taiwan for at least the last year to train local military forces to bolster the island's defenses amid increasing tensions with mainland China, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

    Some two dozen U.S. special operators and a small contingent of Marines are deployed in Taiwan, according to the newspaper, which cited unnamed U.S. officials. The special operators have worked with Taiwanese ground troops and the Marines have worked with maritime forces on small-boat operations, according to the Journal.

    The Pentagon neither confirmed nor denied the report. A spokesman said American support for Taiwan has remained consistent and is grounded in ensuring “peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific — including in the Taiwan Strait.”

    “I don’t have any comments on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would like to highlight that our support for and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Pentagon spokesman John Supple said in a statement Thursday after The Wall Street Journal report was published. “We urge Beijing to honor its commitment to the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences.”

    The news report comes as China has increased its pressure on Taiwan and also invested heavily in recent years to modernize its military. Taiwanese officials said this week that nearly 150 Chinese military planes, including fighter jets and bombers, passed through Taiwan’s air defense zone between Friday and Monday.

    “I would note, the [People’s Republic of China] has stepped up efforts to intimidate and pressure Taiwan and other allies and partners, including increasing military activities conducted in the vicinity of Taiwan, East China Sea, and South China Sea, which we believe are destabilizing and increase the risk of miscalculation,” Supple said.

    Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng on Wednesday warned reporters in Taipei that relations with China had reached a 40-year low and Beijing could be preparing to invade Taiwan by 2025.

    While Taiwan has its own democratic government, Beijing considers it a renegade province that must, and eventually, be unified politically with the mainland, perhaps by force.

    The deployment of American forces to Taiwan is on a rotational basis, meaning troops regularly cycle in and out of Taiwan to replace one another, The Wall Street Journal reported. While the U.S. presence is small, it is designed to boost Taiwanese confidence that it could fend off Chinese aggression, according to the newspaper.

    The White House declined comment on the report. It announced Wednesday that President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to hold a virtual summit to address issues between the two nations before the end of the year.

    Biden and Xi said earlier this year that they had agreed to abide by the “one China” policy forged in the 1970s, in which the United States officially recognizes China instead of Taiwan. That pact lets the U.S. unofficially support Taiwan, including with arms sales to defend itself.

    In May, Christopher Maier, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told senators during his confirmation hearing for that position that the United States should strongly consider deploying American troops to improve Taiwan’s defenses.

    Taiwanese media last year reported some American forces, including Green Berets and Navy SEALs, had participated in training events on Taiwan in recent years, but those deployments were never confirmed by the Pentagon, which has not acknowledged the presence of American troops on the island for 40 years as part of the “one China policy.”

    Some of the operations that American forces are conducting in Taiwan might be classified, but the Pentagon also did not seek to disclose their presence there because of political sensitivities with China, especially amid the growing tensions in the region and between Beijing and the United States, the U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.
    Presence of US Special Forces and some US Marines in a training role is definitely a big deal. Even these few personnel that might be in harms way would significantly change the calculus an overt PRC attack.

    The US used to do this and have forces regularly stationed there until the late 70s when the one-China policies really came in.

    Will certainly cause a reaction in China as if they weren't already aware they'll be irate and if they were aware than they'll need to do something to assuage domestic public opinion.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  22. #82
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    ANALYSIS-With an eye on China, Japan's ruling party makes unprecedented defense spending pledge
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgntp
    The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) included a goal of spending 2% of GDP - about $100 billion - or more on the military for the first time in its policy platform ahead of a national election this month.

    Experts don't expect new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to double spending anytime soon, given Japan's debt-saddled public finances and a pandemic-stricken economy. But it is a sign that the pacifist nation could over time abandon a commitment to keep military budgets within 1% of GDP - a number that for decades has eased concern at home and abroad about any revival of the militarism that led Japan into World War Two.

    "LDP conservative leaders want the party to give it up," said Yoichiro Sato, an international relations professor at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, referring to the de facto spending cap, which he called "sacrosanct for Japanese liberals."
    Japan’s Largest Warship Launches U.S. Marine F-35s; First Fighters to Fly from Japanese Ship Since WWII
    https://news.usni.org/2021/10/05/vid...hip-since-wwii
    Two Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters took off and landed on Japan’s largest warship, JS Izumo (DDH-183), on Oct.3, marking the first time that fixed-wing aircraft have operated off a Japanese warship since World War II.

    The two F-35Bs from the “Bats” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 flew from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to operate on Izumo to test modifications to the big deck warship so the short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) version of the F-35 can operate from the ship.
    Looks like Japan is ramping up their Defense spending in response to China's recent actions and increase in spending. The decision to modify their "Helicopter Destroyers" into "Multipurpose Ships" ie Light Aircraft Carriers is certainly significant as Japan has avoided 'offensive' military hardware since WWII.


    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ation-in-media
    China unveiled a proposal late Friday, reinforcing its plan to weaken private capital’s influence over a wide range of media activities.

    Private capital would be barred from news gathering and distribution operations, according to a public consultation paper posted on the website of National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner.

    Also off-limits would be private investments in the establishment and operation of news outlets, including news agencies, newspaper publishers and broadcasters. They will also not be permitted to reproduce news content generated by foreign media.

    The move is the latest salvo in China’s broad regulatory crackdown this year on companies in industries including ride-hailing, e-commerce and after-school tutoring. The MSCI China Index has sunk 16% this year on concerns about global inflation and interest rates, geopolitical tensions, how the new regulations would reshape businesses and where Beijing might strike next.

    The proposed bans are part of a broader document that also touches on entry barriers for various other industries including finance, Internet and agriculture. The seven-day public consultation is scheduled to end Oct. 14.

    While it wasn’t immediately clear whether the proposed restrictions unveiled Friday are fresh curbs or incremental rules designed to close loopholes that private investors had exploited, they do signal regulators’ intent to step up enforcement.

    Private capital would further be banned from live streaming events that may sway political and public opinion, according to the proposal. That includes those in the realms of politics, the economy, military and foreign policy, and important social, cultural, scientific and sports events.
    This would be a hell of a change in their already controlled media environment. Would be crazy to revert to only State approved media outlets and new sources. China is doing an incredible job of transforming themselves into everything considered oppressive and evil to the 'free world.'

    Not being able to reproduce news from foreign outlets will certainly limit any ability for the US to try and engage the Chinese population to sell our side of the story on anything. I imagine access to Voice of America in Mandarin will certainly be banned if it wasn't already.
    https://www.voachinese.com/

    Huawei Rejected by Three in Four Canadians on Eve of 5G Decision
    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/huawei-r...sion-1.1664829
    More than 75% of Canadians say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co. from taking part in the build-out of fifth-generation telecommunications networks, a new poll shows.

    Opposition to Huawei’s participation in 5G is up from 53% in 2019, according to the poll by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail released on Monday. Trudeau hasn’t ruled out including Huawei and is expected to make a decision soon.
    The choice by Canadian voters to reject Huawei in their communications systems is certainly an indicator of how China's reputation abroad and that of its companies has changed for the worse.
    Last edited by spmetla; 10-13-2021 at 20:50.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  23. #83
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,789

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    New Zealand could join AUKUS security pact to boost cyber technologies
    New Zealand has opened the door to joining the AUKUS defence pact with Australia, Britain and the United States while maintaining its ban on nuclear-powered submarines.

    The country’s top diplomat in Canberra said her nation could join the agreement to collaborate on the development of emerging cyber technologies including artificial intelligence quantum computing.
    New Zealand’s high commissioner to Australia, Dame Annette King, said AUKUS in no way changed the security and intelligence ties her country had with Australia, the US and Britain.

    While New Zealand would never be involved in the development of nuclear-powered submarines, Dame Annette said it welcomed the US and Britain’s increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

    “We have reiterated our collective objective to deliver peace and stability in our region and the preservation of an international rules-based system,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in a wide-ranging interview ahead of her country hosting the APEC summit’s leaders’ meeting next month.
    Britain’s departing Chief of the Defence Staff, Nicholas Carter, last week suggested the trilateral security pact could be expanded to include other allies such as Japan, New Zealand and Canada.

    Asked whether New Zealand would like to join AUKUS to collaborate on other technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, she said: “It’s been made clear to us that other countries are going to be welcome to be involved in other parts of the architecture”.

    “And cyber is one area that we’d certainly be interested in, but there’s no detail yet – so we will be looking for detail.”

    When the AUKUS agreement was announced last month, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that any nuclear-powered submarines Australia acquired under the initiative would not be allowed into her country’s territorial waters.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/fede...25-p592tr.html

    I'm actually quite surprised that NZ wants its hand in this too of course excluding any nuclear vessels in their ports. I'd have figured Canada more likely would join than NZ as New Zealand had worked hard to not be too aligned with the US.

    Of course these seems more limited to the cyber and intel side which already has a lot of cooperation under 5 Eyes. Either way, interesting development.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO