Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Air Sea Battle II

Oh, you didn't know?
Funnily enough, nary a mention of China's pro pro provocative (tive) Assassin's Mace when inappropriate (and questionably informed) cats engage in that olde school boring asseted hand wringing.
Ideas that Great Satan's Air/Sea Battle thingy is hot for war is like one of several mythological Myths about Air/Sea Battle 
Myth Number 2: Pursuing Air-Sea Battle makes war with China more likely.

The logic of this myth goes like this: “China is rising as a result of its economic might, and its military improvements are designed to increase its own security. Our investments in ASB provide a destabilizing influence, one that is more likely to bring on war with China. We should be finding ways to cooperate with China on regional security in a way that does not threaten it.”

There is an internal logic to this view, but it simply doesn’t account for one significant fact: China’s buildup began long before ASB was even a gleam in the Chief of Naval Operation’s eye, and one can only view that buildup as “increasing its (China’s) own security” if one concedes that reducing U.S. power and influence in the region is a worthy concession to Chinese security. China is not interested in sharing power in the Western Pacific; it is interested in asserting it.

The obvious implication of the view that ASB makes war more likely is that if we abandoned ASB, war with China would be less likely. This is contestable and quite possibly backwards. One of the reasons ASB was so important to pursue was the growing uneasiness of friends and allies in the region, uneasiness born of increasing Chinese capabilities and the aforementioned wobbliness coming out of the Pacific Command at the end of the last decade. Longtime allies began to seriously question our staying power in the face of the growing perception that the PLA could someday contest U.S. dominance in the region. Would not failure to pursue counter A2AD capabilities (and the concomitant erosion of allied confidence in our ability to provide security) embolden the PRC in its various regional aims? Would this not create a more unstable security situation by leaving the PRC more comfortable launching a war, confident that the U.S. would not be able to intervene? Or perhaps a “Findlandization” of the region is tolerable to the anti-ASB crowd, wherein nations pay fealty to a new hegemon and quietly bear what they must?

The danger of miscalculation is the bugbear of great power relations. A strategy of retreat or downsize only increases the odds of such miscalculation. A strategy that asserts our Pacific interests and provides the means to protect them is less likely to create miscalculation.

  Pic - "We have to decide whether we’re going to compete or not. If we’re not, then we have to be willing to accept the shift in the military balance."


Charlotte said...

This is fantastic!