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Zeihan: China and Huawei
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georgia_tech_swagger Offline
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Zeihan: China and Huawei
06-04-2019 11:11 PM
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wild bill Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
I love this guy
07-08-2019 06:30 PM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
This is a topic that the US should think more about.

The US has always stood for free markets. But how far should free markets go?

Foreign companies are currently prohibited from owning airports, airlines, broadcast TV stations, and nuclear power plants. By varying degrees, we also restrict ownership of defense contractors, ports, mineral rights, hydroelectric plants, and inheritance of real estate to countries that are allied with us or have reciprocal laws.

Here's a long summary of US restrictions on foreign investment if you're interested: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/451...Investment

To my knowledge we don't restrict ownership of most utilities, such as power transmission lines, water supply, or telecommunications. And I'm pretty sure there's no restrictions about using foreign components when building a utility. I think we only have restrictions like that in the defense industry.

By blocking Huawei, we're effectively saying that our entire telecommunications infrastructure is more crucial to national defense than electricity, water, or transportation, and we should impose a similar vetting process as we use to build the F-35 or a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. And we're threatening to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who don't fall in line, just like we're threatening Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missiles.

This is new territory, because telecommunications infrastructure fundamentally different from military hardware like an F-35. We're only making a few thousand F-35s, but telecommunications infrastructure is everywhere and it's connected to nearly everything. Imposing F-35-like restrictions on telecommunications infrastructure is a much bigger deal than imposing those restrictions on a few thousand parts that come into one assembly plant.
07-10-2019 10:03 AM
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JRsec Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-10-2019 10:03 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  This is a topic that the US should think more about.

The US has always stood for free markets. But how far should free markets go?

Foreign companies are currently prohibited from owning airports, airlines, broadcast TV stations, and nuclear power plants. By varying degrees, we also restrict ownership of defense contractors, ports, mineral rights, hydroelectric plants, and inheritance of real estate to countries that are allied with us or have reciprocal laws.

Here's a long summary of US restrictions on foreign investment if you're interested: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/451...Investment

To my knowledge we don't restrict ownership of most utilities, such as power transmission lines, water supply, or telecommunications. And I'm pretty sure there's no restrictions about using foreign components when building a utility. I think we only have restrictions like that in the defense industry.

By blocking Huawei, we're effectively saying that our entire telecommunications infrastructure is more crucial to national defense than electricity, water, or transportation, and we should impose a similar vetting process as we use to build the F-35 or a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. And we're threatening to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who don't fall in line, just like we're threatening Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missiles.

This is new territory, because telecommunications infrastructure fundamentally different from military hardware like an F-35. We're only making a few thousand F-35s, but telecommunications infrastructure is everywhere and it's connected to nearly everything. Imposing F-35-like restrictions on telecommunications infrastructure is a much bigger deal than imposing those restrictions on a few thousand parts that come into one assembly plant.

A couple of points.

We should restrict foreign companies from owning water rights here too but we don't.

The internet is the most useful tool for espionage ever! Without hesitation I approve of what we are attempting to do by neutering the Chinese People's most destructive tool yet conceived.

Finally, China has nothing we need that we can't manage more effectively and with greater inroads into Asia with India. We have a pro American leader in India right now, they are more likely to enter into faithful bi-lateral agreements, and they are much more likely to play the America card well than the we are to play the China card well.
07-11-2019 04:00 PM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-11-2019 04:00 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(07-10-2019 10:03 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  This is a topic that the US should think more about.

The US has always stood for free markets. But how far should free markets go?

Foreign companies are currently prohibited from owning airports, airlines, broadcast TV stations, and nuclear power plants. By varying degrees, we also restrict ownership of defense contractors, ports, mineral rights, hydroelectric plants, and inheritance of real estate to countries that are allied with us or have reciprocal laws.

Here's a long summary of US restrictions on foreign investment if you're interested: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/451...Investment

To my knowledge we don't restrict ownership of most utilities, such as power transmission lines, water supply, or telecommunications. And I'm pretty sure there's no restrictions about using foreign components when building a utility. I think we only have restrictions like that in the defense industry.

By blocking Huawei, we're effectively saying that our entire telecommunications infrastructure is more crucial to national defense than electricity, water, or transportation, and we should impose a similar vetting process as we use to build the F-35 or a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. And we're threatening to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who don't fall in line, just like we're threatening Turkey for buying Russian anti-aircraft missiles.

This is new territory, because telecommunications infrastructure fundamentally different from military hardware like an F-35. We're only making a few thousand F-35s, but telecommunications infrastructure is everywhere and it's connected to nearly everything. Imposing F-35-like restrictions on telecommunications infrastructure is a much bigger deal than imposing those restrictions on a few thousand parts that come into one assembly plant.

A couple of points.

We should restrict foreign companies from owning water rights here too but we don't.

The internet is the most useful tool for espionage ever! Without hesitation I approve of what we are attempting to do by neutering the Chinese People's most destructive tool yet conceived.

Finally, China has nothing we need that we can't manage more effectively and with greater inroads into Asia with India. We have a pro American leader in India right now, they are more likely to enter into faithful bi-lateral agreements, and they are much more likely to play the America card well than the we are to play the China card well.

I totally agree about India.

Unless one of us screws it up, India will be our most important ally for the 2nd half of the 21st century. They're huge, they're a democracy, they're politically stable, and they're right on the doorstep of the world's biggest threats (squeezed between the Middle East and China). And they already speak English, too.
07-15-2019 04:53 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
China cannot survive without Mideast oil. And until somebody figures out how to build a pipeline across the Himalayas, that oil has to come by sea, through the Straits of Hormuz, around all of India, through the Straits of Malacca or some other passage through Indonesia. That means that any one of the three "I"s--Iran, India, or Indonesia, could put China out of business. And right now, there's not much China could do about it.
07-15-2019 06:43 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-15-2019 06:43 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  China cannot survive without Mideast oil. And until somebody figures out how to build a pipeline across the Himalayas, that oil has to come by sea, through the Straits of Hormuz, around all of India, through the Straits of Malacca or some other passage through Indonesia. That means that any one of the three "I"s--Iran, India, or Indonesia, could put China out of business. And right now, there's not much China could do about it.

Well China's got 3 completed air bases in the South China Sea, and they're working on at least 4 more. And they just foreclosed on a port in Sri Lanka last year. Supposedly China won't be allowed to use it for military purposes, but we'll see how long that provision lasts the next time Sri Lanka falls behind on its debt payments.
07-16-2019 03:24 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-16-2019 03:24 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(07-15-2019 06:43 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  China cannot survive without Mideast oil. And until somebody figures out how to build a pipeline across the Himalayas, that oil has to come by sea, through the Straits of Hormuz, around all of India, through the Straits of Malacca or some other passage through Indonesia. That means that any one of the three "I"s--Iran, India, or Indonesia, could put China out of business. And right now, there's not much China could do about it.
Well China's got 3 completed air bases in the South China Sea, and they're working on at least 4 more. And they just foreclosed on a port in Sri Lanka last year. Supposedly China won't be allowed to use it for military purposes, but we'll see how long that provision lasts the next time Sri Lanka falls behind on its debt payments.

China will control the South China Sea. I find it amazing how much discussion there is in current professional military publications about taking the attack to them in the South China Sea and ultimately onshore in China. I think that whole concept is simply unrealistic. The homecourt advantage will be too great. But I do think we can prevent China from breaking out past the First Island Chain. And that should be good enough.

China is busily acquiring footprints around the Indian Ocean, including Africa. While we have our heads buried in the Middle East, China is buying its way to considerable geopolitical influence in Africa, now spreading to South America. And they are doing it economically, without one Chinese soldier losing life or limb. I don't think that what they have so far would be sufficient to keep their supply lines open if India decided to cut them off, and I think they are a long way from getting there. But we are still foolishly letting them get the upper hand in way, way too many places.
07-16-2019 03:51 PM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-16-2019 03:51 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(07-16-2019 03:24 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(07-15-2019 06:43 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  China cannot survive without Mideast oil. And until somebody figures out how to build a pipeline across the Himalayas, that oil has to come by sea, through the Straits of Hormuz, around all of India, through the Straits of Malacca or some other passage through Indonesia. That means that any one of the three "I"s--Iran, India, or Indonesia, could put China out of business. And right now, there's not much China could do about it.
Well China's got 3 completed air bases in the South China Sea, and they're working on at least 4 more. And they just foreclosed on a port in Sri Lanka last year. Supposedly China won't be allowed to use it for military purposes, but we'll see how long that provision lasts the next time Sri Lanka falls behind on its debt payments.

China will control the South China Sea. I find it amazing how much discussion there is in current professional military publications about taking the attack to them in the South China Sea and ultimately onshore in China. I think that whole concept is simply unrealistic. The homecourt advantage will be too great. But I do think we can prevent China from breaking out past the First Island Chain. And that should be good enough.

China is busily acquiring footprints around the Indian Ocean, including Africa. While we have our heads buried in the Middle East, China is buying its way to considerable geopolitical influence in Africa, now spreading to South America. And they are doing it economically, without one Chinese soldier losing life or limb. I don't think that what they have so far would be sufficient to keep their supply lines open if India decided to cut them off, and I think they are a long way from getting there. But we are still foolishly letting them get the upper hand in way, way too many places.

I agree that the South China Sea is probably lost.

But by contesting the South China Sea, we are letting the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia know that we have their backs when they stand up to China. If we don't contest the South China Sea, those countries will fold to future Chinese demands.


A lesson learned from the Cold War: we will succeed in regions where we have stable Democratic allies. We succeeded in containing communism in Central Europe, Scandinavia, and Turkey. We failed in China, Southeast Asia, Iran, and Central Africa because our local allies were not stable Democracies with legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

Having Democratic allies nearby helps: we also succeeded in helping non-Communist military dictatorships in Greece and South Korea because of nearby allies (Italy, Turkey, and Japan, which had transitioned to Democracy amazingly rapidly after WW2). But Democratic allies nearby are not enough: Central America was continuously beset by problems and we lost Cuba.



This is why India is so crucial. It's a stable democracy, but it's not yet a solid ally.

And Taiwan is crucial. We can't let China scare us into abandoning a stable Democracy in the first island chain.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philipines are democracies, but they're beset by racial fissures. And Singapore is sort of a democracy, in the same way Mexico was before 2000 (the same party has ruled since the 1950s). Anyways, Singapore is too small and the Philippines too poor to stand up to China on their own. All four of those countries should lean towards us much like Austria and Sweden did in the Cold War, but only if we back them up. And it's too expensive and unrealistic for us to back them up without help from the local stable Democracies.
07-17-2019 07:21 AM
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JRsec Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(07-17-2019 07:21 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(07-16-2019 03:51 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(07-16-2019 03:24 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(07-15-2019 06:43 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  China cannot survive without Mideast oil. And until somebody figures out how to build a pipeline across the Himalayas, that oil has to come by sea, through the Straits of Hormuz, around all of India, through the Straits of Malacca or some other passage through Indonesia. That means that any one of the three "I"s--Iran, India, or Indonesia, could put China out of business. And right now, there's not much China could do about it.
Well China's got 3 completed air bases in the South China Sea, and they're working on at least 4 more. And they just foreclosed on a port in Sri Lanka last year. Supposedly China won't be allowed to use it for military purposes, but we'll see how long that provision lasts the next time Sri Lanka falls behind on its debt payments.

China will control the South China Sea. I find it amazing how much discussion there is in current professional military publications about taking the attack to them in the South China Sea and ultimately onshore in China. I think that whole concept is simply unrealistic. The homecourt advantage will be too great. But I do think we can prevent China from breaking out past the First Island Chain. And that should be good enough.

China is busily acquiring footprints around the Indian Ocean, including Africa. While we have our heads buried in the Middle East, China is buying its way to considerable geopolitical influence in Africa, now spreading to South America. And they are doing it economically, without one Chinese soldier losing life or limb. I don't think that what they have so far would be sufficient to keep their supply lines open if India decided to cut them off, and I think they are a long way from getting there. But we are still foolishly letting them get the upper hand in way, way too many places.

I agree that the South China Sea is probably lost.

But by contesting the South China Sea, we are letting the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia know that we have their backs when they stand up to China. If we don't contest the South China Sea, those countries will fold to future Chinese demands.


A lesson learned from the Cold War: we will succeed in regions where we have stable Democratic allies. We succeeded in containing communism in Central Europe, Scandinavia, and Turkey. We failed in China, Southeast Asia, Iran, and Central Africa because our local allies were not stable Democracies with legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

Having Democratic allies nearby helps: we also succeeded in helping non-Communist military dictatorships in Greece and South Korea because of nearby allies (Italy, Turkey, and Japan, which had transitioned to Democracy amazingly rapidly after WW2). But Democratic allies nearby are not enough: Central America was continuously beset by problems and we lost Cuba.



This is why India is so crucial. It's a stable democracy, but it's not yet a solid ally.

And Taiwan is crucial. We can't let China scare us into abandoning a stable Democracy in the first island chain.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philipines are democracies, but they're beset by racial fissures. And Singapore is sort of a democracy, in the same way Mexico was before 2000 (the same party has ruled since the 1950s). Anyways, Singapore is too small and the Philippines too poor to stand up to China on their own. All four of those countries should lean towards us much like Austria and Sweden did in the Cold War, but only if we back them up. And it's too expensive and unrealistic for us to back them up without help from the local stable Democracies.

Once China has assimilated Hong Kong, and consolidated control in the South China Sea, Taiwan will be their next objective. Then they will pressure Japan. With Japan politically stalemated they can move on the Kuril Islands which means tweaking Russia and posing a threat to Alaska and Western Canada, which will draw more attention and allocation of forces to that theater.

China is not looking at making the mistake the Japanese made by going after control of the Island nations of the South Pacific because there is nothing there that they have to have to sustain themselves. They are trying to erect a new great wall to their East which is our West. Eventually they intend to move to their West and into the Middle East and Africa where the minerals and resources they covet exist. They will do that with trade, weapons to supply those countries, and trade. If they ever get desperate to come after the U.S. it will be for water.
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2019 01:29 PM by JRsec.)
07-17-2019 01:26 PM
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Post: #11
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
If they're able to. I doubt if China has staying power. There's a lot of articles out there discussing how China is getting old before it gets rich.

China started encouraging 1 child per family in 1978, and made it progressively more difficult throughout the 80s for most people to have multiple kids.

This had great benefits at first. The need for school funding plummeted. The number of women in the workforce skyrocketed. But the working age population peaked in 2011 and has declined 2.8% since from 2011-2018. Unlike Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and before them, China has not gotten rich enough to be able to take care of its old people as the worker-to-retiree ratio drops.

[Image: 4201_VoA3_Fig1-1.png]

Japan's working age population as a % of total population peaked at 69% in the mid-1990s. Their economy has stunk since then.

China is even worse shape than Japan for two reasons. First, China has argued for years that their entire fascist political system is justified by the economic growth it has brought.

Second, China's drop is coming faster and harder than Japan's. China's peak came in 2015 at 73%, much higher than Japan. But it was instituted by law, so it was a sharp break. And they didn't ease the restrictions until 2013, so 2 full generations have grown up without siblings. It's now ingrained in the culture - US helicopter parents got nothing on the time being put into each child by an average Chinese mom.
07-22-2019 08:59 AM
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Post: #12
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
Eunice Yoon @onlyyoontv
University of North Texas has terminated its exchange program consisting of 15 visiting researchers from #China who were working at the university on Chinese government funding, @caixin cites local media. Says termination appears to be first of its kind.
09-01-2020 09:16 AM
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Post: #13
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
China's economy doesn't work without massive oil imports from the Mideast. And that supply chain is very tenuous and threatened by Iran, India, and/or Indonesia. One of those has potential stability issues, one of those hates China, and one of those has potential stability issues and hates China. We need to shift our focus from unwindable wars (at least the way we are fighting them) in the Mideast and more toward the South China Sea. Obama's Pacific pivot was a great idea, except nothing pivoted.

As far as their man-made "islands" in the SCS, those don't protect their oil supply, except perhaps after it gets to the SCS, and the real challenges are before it gets there. What they do is intimidate their neighbors. Right now they are focusing on Vietnam and Philippines. And, of course, the threat to Taiwan is always in the picture. They are rapidly building an amphibious force. Right now they have 2 LHAs, 8 LPDs, 32 LSTs, and 31 LSMs. If we assume 2,000 troops per LHA, 1,000 per LPD, 400 per LST, and 250 per LSM, that gives them a phib lift capability of 30-35,000 troops. That's not enough to put much of a dent in Taiwan, so they would have to rely on expensive commandeering of merchant ships or extensive use of airborne. Given Taiwan's air defense capabilities, I would guess that they could do massive damage to any large airborne effort. That amphibious force is probably enough to cause some significant consternation in either Vietnam or the Philippines. And, of course, they could attack Vietnam overland. My bottom line is that I don't think China is at this point building a military to engage in kinetic peer war with the USA, but merely to intimidate and bully its neighbors around the SCS and first island chain. That fits the island-building, that fits the fleet and military they are building, and that simply fits everything they are doing.

In case there were a war, then if it works the way it is supposed to work, China's highly touted A2/AD systems probably rule out sending combatant ships close to the Chinese mainland. Strategically, I would think we would want to keep carriers outside the first island chain in a conflict, and use carrier air to provide a cover over other units operating closer in. The logical choice for any attack efforts would be submarine-launched cruise missiles. Then, if and when we had succeeded in destroying or disrupting a sufficient portion of their A2/AD umbrella, bring carriers and other ships in closer to attack directly. But I don't think we want to, or need to, get into a kinetic peer war with China. And I'm pretty sure they don't want one with us.

I think we should treat this as Cold War II, and reprise the strategy we used to win Cold War I. Truman bribed up an alliance to contain Soviet expansion, and 40 years later Regan found ways to put pressure on their economy and crater their system. We already have relationships with the Quad--India, Australia, Japan, and USA--and we can and should strengthen those. We should want to bring Vietnam, Thailand, and the rest of the first island chain--Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Taiwan--firmly onboard. We have two carrots to offer. One, we are in a mod to be moving a lot of manufacturing out of China. Bringing home the medical and essential stuff, and splitting the rest among those countries, would be a huge economic boost to each of them. Two, it's kind of like the kid who used to beat you up and steal your lunch money on your way to school every day, until one day your big brother showed up and taught him a lesson. I think we can be that big brother (without the Orwellian overtones) to the nations around the first island chain--including Taiwan. But to do that, we need to have a credible force in the area at all times.

We have kind of been sitting back and letting China have its way in the SCS. China pretty much had a cow when we put two carriers into the SCS at the same time a few weeks back. We need to keep a carrier battle group (CVBG) and an amphibious ready group (ARG) with embarked Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) in or near the SCS on an ongoing basis, and make sure China and our allies understand that will be SOP going forward. And for those who haven't followed some of my other posts, my idea of a CVBG is two carriers, and in wartime combining two CVBGs to form a carrier task force (CTF). And my idea of an MEU is about 50% larger than the current concept, including an infantry battalion, a tank company, an artillery battery or two, an amphibious armor company (with improved AAVs, including amphibious tanks), and an air detachment with troop transport helos and a close air support (CAS) element including AV-8s/F-35s, and Cobras. I'd have those unts main port calls in Subic, Sepanggar, Jakarta, Singapore, Cam Ranh, and, yes, Kaoshiung, on a regular basis. And I'd tell China to get used to it, that's the way it's going to be, and it is specifically our policy not to oppose allowing any of the first island chain--including Taiwan--to fall under Chinese hegemony.
(This post was last modified: 09-01-2020 11:58 AM by Owl 69/70/75.)
09-01-2020 11:56 AM
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Post: #14
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-01-2020 11:56 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  China's economy doesn't work without massive oil imports from the Mideast. And that supply chain is very tenuous and threatened by Iran, India, and/or Indonesia. One of those has potential stability issues, one of those hates China, and one of those has potential stability issues and hates China. We need to shift our focus from unwindable wars (at least the way we are fighting them) in the Mideast and more toward the South China Sea. Obama's Pacific pivot was a great idea, except nothing pivoted.

As far as their man-made "islands" in the SCS, those don't protect their oil supply, except perhaps after it gets to the SCS, and the real challenges are before it gets there. What they do is intimidate their neighbors. Right now they are focusing on Vietnam and Philippines. And, of course, the threat to Taiwan is always in the picture. They are rapidly building an amphibious force. Right now they have 2 LHAs, 8 LPDs, 32 LSTs, and 31 LSMs. If we assume 2,000 troops per LHA, 1,000 per LPD, 400 per LST, and 250 per LSM, that gives them a phib lift capability of 30-35,000 troops. That's not enough to put much of a dent in Taiwan, so they would have to rely on expensive commandeering of merchant ships or extensive use of airborne. Given Taiwan's air defense capabilities, I would guess that they could do massive damage to any large airborne effort. That amphibious force is probably enough to cause some significant consternation in either Vietnam or the Philippines. And, of course, they could attack Vietnam overland. My bottom line is that I don't think China is at this point building a military to engage in kinetic peer war with the USA, but merely to intimidate and bully its neighbors around the SCS and first island chain. That fits the island-building, that fits the fleet and military they are building, and that simply fits everything they are doing.

In case there were a war, then if it works the way it is supposed to work, China's highly touted A2/AD systems probably rule out sending combatant ships close to the Chinese mainland. Strategically, I would think we would want to keep carriers outside the first island chain in a conflict, and use carrier air to provide a cover over other units operating closer in. The logical choice for any attack efforts would be submarine-launched cruise missiles. Then, if and when we had succeeded in destroying or disrupting a sufficient portion of their A2/AD umbrella, bring carriers and other ships in closer to attack directly. But I don't think we want to, or need to, get into a kinetic peer war with China. And I'm pretty sure they don't want one with us.

I think we should treat this as Cold War II, and reprise the strategy we used to win Cold War I. Truman bribed up an alliance to contain Soviet expansion, and 40 years later Regan found ways to put pressure on their economy and crater their system. We already have relationships with the Quad--India, Australia, Japan, and USA--and we can and should strengthen those. We should want to bring Vietnam, Thailand, and the rest of the first island chain--Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Taiwan--firmly onboard. We have two carrots to offer. One, we are in a mod to be moving a lot of manufacturing out of China. Bringing home the medical and essential stuff, and splitting the rest among those countries, would be a huge economic boost to each of them. Two, it's kind of like the kid who used to beat you up and steal your lunch money on your way to school every day, until one day your big brother showed up and taught him a lesson. I think we can be that big brother (without the Orwellian overtones) to the nations around the first island chain--including Taiwan. But to do that, we need to have a credible force in the area at all times.

We have kind of been sitting back and letting China have its way in the SCS. China pretty much had a cow when we put two carriers into the SCS at the same time a few weeks back. We need to keep a carrier battle group (CVBG) and an amphibious ready group (ARG) with embarked Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) in or near the SCS on an ongoing basis, and make sure China and our allies understand that will be SOP going forward. And for those who haven't followed some of my other posts, my idea of a CVBG is two carriers, and in wartime combining two CVBGs to form a carrier task force (CTF). And my idea of an MEU is about 50% larger than the current concept, including an infantry battalion, a tank company, an artillery battery or two, an amphibious armor company (with improved AAVs, including amphibious tanks), and an air detachment with troop transport helos and a close air support (CAS) element including AV-8s/F-35s, and Cobras. I'd have those unts main port calls in Subic, Sepanggar, Jakarta, Singapore, Cam Ranh, and, yes, Kaoshiung, on a regular basis. And I'd tell China to get used to it, that's the way it's going to be, and it is specifically our policy not to oppose allowing any of the first island chain--including Taiwan--to fall under Chinese hegemony.

A few problems:

First, those countries are culturally just as alien to each other as Italy is to Egypt. They don't have the long historical and religious ties that bound together Western Europe. They also don't have long historical and cultural ties to the USA (other than Australia and a couple generations as allies with Japan).

Second, many of those countries hate each other as much as they hate China. Unlike in 1950, they haven't had any recent experience of the horrors of war to unite them against the big baddy. They also haven't seen their Big Bad Neighbor gobble up and suppress their former allies (like Poland and Czechoslovakia).

Third, Taiwan is a real sticking point. They still claim all of mainland China and the whole South China Sea. We can't support them too strongly as long as they maintain that charade. I guess we could bribe Taiwan to drop that claim, but actively supporting Taiwan is would still be viewed by China as declaring war on China.

Fourth, the real benefit of NATO for the USA was that those countries were highly educated, and would pull their weight if given enough time to rebuild their economy. However, most of those Asian countries would be perfectly happy to let the USA do their fighting for them.

Finally, we can't afford to dominate China in the 1st island chain AND keep fleets in the rest of the world. For decades we've been reducing the number of ships in favor of larger platforms. Committing 2 carrier groups and an MEU to the 1st island chain would be almost half(?) of our deployable assets at any one time. Navy procurement has been so messed up in the past few decades that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.


I agree that we would benefit from challenging China more. But the problem is very different than we faced with the Soviets.


On the one hand, it's easier than facing the Soviets. The Soviets were much closer to being our equals in 1950 than China is in 2020, both economically and militarily. The 2020 Chinese military is corrupt and woefully inexperienced - they haven't fought a single battle in 4 decades. The Soviets had legitimate allies in 1950 (such as Yugoslavia, China, and most of Eastern Europe) and had much of 3rd world opinion on their side. The 2020 Chinese are diplomatically isolated - their only military "ally" (North Korea) is more of a hindrance than a help, and their diplomatic "allies" are poor dictatorships that don't even pretend to agree on anything other than hating America. China is surrounded by failing nuclear-armed states (Pakistan, North Korea) and countries that have always hated them (India, Japan), whereas Russia in 1950 was allied with most of the countries on its borders.
09-02-2020 08:22 PM
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Post: #15
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-02-2020 08:22 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  A few problems:
First, those countries are culturally just as alien to each other as Italy is to Egypt. They don't have the long historical and religious ties that bound together Western Europe. They also don't have long historical and cultural ties to the USA (other than Australia and a couple generations as allies with Japan).

They all pretty much have a long-standing hatred of China. And sometimes a common enemy is all it takes. I kind of think of China as like the kid who used to beat you up on the way to school and steal your lunch money, until one day your big brother decided to show up and teach him how the cow ate the cabbage, and he didn't bother you any more. We have the opportunity to play big brother (without the Orwellian implications).

Quote:Second, many of those countries hate each other as much as they hate China. Unlike in 1950, they haven't had any recent experience of the horrors of war to unite them against the big baddy. They also haven't seen their Big Bad Neighbor gobble up and suppress their former allies (like Poland and Czechoslovakia).

The more China seeks to assert hegemony over the South China Sea, by building artificial islands and the like, the more these countries hate China. Right now they let it go because they really can't stop it. But put a major US presence in there and they have the leverage they need. It's not a slam dunk, but it's doable.

Quote:Third, Taiwan is a real sticking point. They still claim all of mainland China and the whole South China Sea. We can't support them too strongly as long as they maintain that charade. I guess we could bribe Taiwan to drop that claim, but actively supporting Taiwan is would still be viewed by China as declaring war on China.

We've got to make it worth it to Taiwan. Look, our Navy will protect you from China and we will move a bunch of manufacturing here from China should be enough of a bribe to get them to make some concessions. If not, then let them go and deal with their problems themselves. That hurts, because in many ways Taiwan is the key to the first island chain, but we just have to be pragmatic.

Quote:Fourth, the real benefit of NATO for the USA was that those countries were highly educated, and would pull their weight if given enough time to rebuild their economy. However, most of those Asian countries would be perfectly happy to let the USA do their fighting for them.

There was never much momentum in NATO for the European countries to pull their weight. Given that Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia pretty much control the Straits of Malacca, and 40-50% of China's oil has to come through there, they don't have to be giants to wield a considerable impact. Sweden and Denmark could mine the Skagerrak and Kattegat and bottle up the Soviet Baltic fleet, so they punched well above their weight in a Cold War scenario.

Quote:Finally, we can't afford to dominate China in the 1st island chain AND keep fleets in the rest of the world. For decades we've been reducing the number of ships in favor of larger platforms. Committing 2 carrier groups and an MEU to the 1st island chain would be almost half(?) of our deployable assets at any one time. Navy procurement has been so messed up in the past few decades that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.

My solution there, and I've posted it before, is to fix the problems with Navy procurement. They we're going, in a couple of generations we're going to be down to one carrier, one SSBN, and 2 destroyers to screen them. I've proposed a number of changes, starting with you can build a Nimitz ($9B) and a Kitty Hawk ($6B) for about the cost of one Ford ($14B), and the Ford's "benefits" (if everything works, which so far it doesn't) aren't sufficient to justify 1 carrier instead of 2, particularly considering that nuke versus conventional is about a push. We're also spending $3.8B apiece for LHA/LHD big-deck amphibs that are great for hauling Marines around from point A to point B, but once you get to point B there are no ship-to-shore connectors that can land a proper amphibious assault from 25-50 miles out, where doctrine requires the LHAs/LHDs to operate because of the risk imposed by putting all the eggs in one basket.

Quote:I agree that we would benefit from challenging China more. But the problem is very different than we faced with the Soviets.

Different, yes. Some better, some worse.

Quote:On the one hand, it's easier than facing the Soviets. The Soviets were much closer to being our equals in 1950 than China is in 2020, both economically and militarily. The 2020 Chinese military is corrupt and woefully inexperienced - they haven't fought a single battle in 4 decades. The Soviets had legitimate allies in 1950 (such as Yugoslavia, China, and most of Eastern Europe) and had much of 3rd world opinion on their side. The 2020 Chinese are diplomatically isolated - their only military "ally" (North Korea) is more of a hindrance than a help, and their diplomatic "allies" are poor dictatorships that don't even pretend to agree on anything other than hating America. China is surrounded by failing nuclear-armed states (Pakistan, North Korea) and countries that have always hated them (India, Japan), whereas Russia in 1950 was allied with most of the countries on its borders.

China has a lot of problems. Their economic progress is amazing, but they definitely have feet of clay. They are a bunch of folks who don't like each other--the warlike north doesn't get along with the commercial Yangtze Valley, and neither get along with the Cantonese south, not to mention Tibet and the Uighurs in the west. So their plan is to export a lot of cheap consumer goods, and used the cash to fund enough make-work projects with little or no economic value (the empty cities, for example) to keep the people too busy to revolt. That's a very fragile paradigm, that could come apart on many levels, particularly considering that none of it works without an oil supply chain that they lack the ability to protect.
09-02-2020 08:50 PM
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Kaplony Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
Another problem: The USMC is divesting itself of it's tanks

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/flashpo...heres-why/
09-02-2020 10:29 PM
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Post: #17
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-02-2020 10:29 PM)Kaplony Wrote:  Another problem: The USMC is divesting itself of it's tanks
https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/flashpo...heres-why/

Tanks and artillery.

Here's the problem. Back in the 1970s, the Navy got fascinated with the large-deck amphibious LHAs and LHDs that could carry the Marines and equipment that used to go on several ships. Those of us in Gator Navy at the time thought it was stupid to put all the eggs in one basket.

Eventually the Navy figured out that having your whole amphibious assault wiped out by one lucky rocket or torpedo was too great a risk. So to minimize the risk from shore guns and missiles, they came up with this doctrine that instead of going in close to the beach, they would stay 25-50 miles offshore. The problem with that is that there are no effective ship-to-shore connectors to get tanks and artillery ashore from that far out--boats are too slow, helos and V-22s can't carry the weight, and LCACs (air cushion boats) are too unreliable.

So since the Marines can't get tanks and artillery ashore, they have decided to do without. They're now struggling to come up with a mission that works for that light a force. The Marines used to punch way above their weight, because they combined arms--infantry, armor, artillery, and air--at a relatively small unit size. They could bring a whole bunch of firepower to bear on an objective in a hurry, because of their mobility. Now they're not going to be a whole lot more than a bunch of Boy Scouts with BB guns, and they kind of have to find a mission or potentially be eliminated. When faced with becoming redundant in the 1960s and 1970s, the Royal Marines reinvented themselves as a special forces/commando outfit, and I've seen suggestions that the Marines merge with SOFCOM. As someone who hauled Marines around in the Gator Navy, it is really sad to see what is happening to the Corps.
(This post was last modified: 09-02-2020 11:28 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
09-02-2020 10:44 PM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-02-2020 08:50 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
Quote:Finally, we can't afford to dominate China in the 1st island chain AND keep fleets in the rest of the world. For decades we've been reducing the number of ships in favor of larger platforms. Committing 2 carrier groups and an MEU to the 1st island chain would be almost half(?) of our deployable assets at any one time. Navy procurement has been so messed up in the past few decades that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.

My solution there, and I've posted it before, is to fix the problems with Navy procurement.
They we're going, in a couple of generations we're going to be down to one carrier, one SSBN, and 2 destroyers to screen them. I've proposed a number of changes, starting with you can build a Nimitz ($9B) and a Kitty Hawk ($6B) for about the cost of one Ford ($14B), and the Ford's "benefits" (if everything works, which so far it doesn't) aren't sufficient to justify 1 carrier instead of 2, particularly considering that nuke versus conventional is about a push. We're also spending $3.8B apiece for LHA/LHD big-deck amphibs that are great for hauling Marines around from point A to point B, but once you get to point B there are no ship-to-shore connectors that can land a proper amphibious assault from 25-50 miles out, where doctrine requires the LHAs/LHDs to operate because of the risk imposed by putting all the eggs in one basket.


"Fix the problems with Navy procurement" sounds as hopeless to me as "switch to renewable energy" or "pass a bill to fix the immigration system" or "fix the problems with communism" (ok, not quite as hopeless as that last one).

It's a massive, complex problem. It's festered for decades despite many attempts at fixing it. Sure, fixing it will solve a lot of our other problems, but only if we're actually able to do it.

And until we actually solve it, we're stuck with figuring out to do with what we have. This is a particularly long-term problem, because Naval procurement plans (bad or good) impact your fleet for 3 or 4 decades.
09-03-2020 09:53 AM
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Post: #19
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-02-2020 10:29 PM)Kaplony Wrote:  Another problem: The USMC is divesting itself of it's tanks

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/flashpo...heres-why/

Its good that they are being flexible.

The downside is that numbers of boots suddenly matter more than they used to.
09-03-2020 11:07 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #20
RE: Zeihan: China and Huawei
(09-03-2020 09:53 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  "Fix the problems with Navy procurement" sounds as hopeless to me as "switch to renewable energy" or "pass a bill to fix the immigration system" or "fix the problems with communism" (ok, not quite as hopeless as that last one).
It's a massive, complex problem. It's festered for decades despite many attempts at fixing it. Sure, fixing it will solve a lot of our other problems, but only if we're actually able to do it.
And until we actually solve it, we're stuck with figuring out to do with what we have. This is a particularly long-term problem, because Naval procurement plans (bad or good) impact your fleet for 3 or 4 decades.

Well, I've got some specifics that can be done fairly quickly:
1. Stop building the Ford class. Even if everything works, at $13B a pop (CBO number), it imposes a tremendous opportunity cost. You could build a Nimitz ($9B, based on $8.5B average cost of last 3 built) or RAND CVN-LX ($9.3B per RAND), and a RAND CV-LX ($4.3B, basically a "Lightning Carrier") or convert an LHA/LHD to full-time "Lightning Carrier' (probably $2B) or CSBA CVL (probably $3B) for the same or less. Or build a Nimitz and an updated Kitty Hawk (probably about $6B, based on smaller displacement, conventional rather than nuke power, and only two waist catapults, to free the bow for aircraft parking and/or a ski jump) for a bit more. Instead of 12 Fords, build 12 Nimitzes, 6 Kitty Hawks, and 6 CVLs, and operate them as 2-carrier CVBGs. Or for roughly the price of two Fords ($26B), build a Nimitz ($9B), a Kitty Hawk ($6B), and an escort squadron consisting of one cruiser ($4B), 2 AAW destroyers (Burkes, $2B each, $4B total), 3 GP frigates (like FFG(X), $1B each, $3B total) and 4 ASW destroyers (updated Knoxes/Perrys, IEP, $500MM each, $2B total) or $28B total.
2. In line with that, implement ADM Zumwalt's high/low mix procurement approach. Build some top-end ships (Nimitzes, cruisers, Burkes in the above) and fill out the numbers with cheaper (and generally more reliable) single-purpose ships (mini-Burke escorts, ASW frigates, CVLs, Kitty Hawks).
3. Build the surface Navy around 20 of those 10-ship escort squadrons. On the high end add a few of the 1980s battlecarrier proposals (basically an Iowa front end and a Russian Kiev back end, with about 250 VLS cells, including about 30 for something like the Russian Shipwreck and/or IRBM/SRBMs) and an ASW helicopter carrier like the Japanese Hyuga. Build surface action/hunter-killer (SAG/HUK) groups around the battlecarrier and the ASW carrier. They can do sea control in the open ocean, saving carriers from that duty, and can also come in to provide amphibious assault support--naval gunfire support (NGFS) from the battle carrier, and assault helos from the helo carrier.
4. What I would really revamp is the amphibious force, basically going form high to low. The LHAs/LHDs are great ocean liners to haul Marines around, but you can't land any tanks, artillery, or other heavy stuff from them. So convert them to "Lightning Carriers and build a real amphibious squadron--smaller LHA/LHD like the Spanish Juan Carlos, LPH like the French Mistral, LPD/LSD like the British Albion, LST with a real LST beaching bow, LPA/LKA that could be a converted merchant ship, and a NGFS frigate. That could haul 3200 marines and tanks, artillery, amphibious armor, 10 AV-8s/F-35s, 10 Apaches, and 20-30 assault helos--and could get them all ashore. In addition to converting the LHAs/LHDs to small carriers, convert the San Antonio LPDs to large anti-ballistic missile/ballistic missile defense (ABM/BMD) ships, per a proposal that as been put forward by HII.
5. I would also go high/low with submarines. Build 12 SSBNs to replace the existing 14 boomers. Build 50 Virginia VPM SSNs/SSGNs on the high end, and fill out the low end with 30 smaller SSNs like the French Barracudas and 30 AIP conventional submarines. The AIP subs would be used primarily in shallow water and littoral areas.
6. For the littoral areas, build 30 shallow-water ASW corvettes, 15 land attack corvettes, 15 missile patrol boats like the Swedish Visby, and 30 mine countermeasures (MCM) ships.

That fleet relies heavily on existing technology, so development time should be minimal, it addresses several areas where the Navy is currently deficient--NGFS, ASW, and MCM--and it would build a 600-ship fleet for less than the Navy is proposing to spend for a 355-ship fleet, because high/low reduces cost per ship from $2.8B to $1.4B.

Can it be sold to the Navy? If you had a President and a SecNav who demanded it, yes.
(This post was last modified: 09-03-2020 01:19 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
09-03-2020 12:25 PM
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