Fred Reed – China Sea Blues: A Thing Not to Do

Fred Reed justifiably questions whether the U.S. Navy is really capable of taking on the Chinese.

It appears that Washington, ever a seething cauldron of bright ideas, is looking for a shooting war with China, or perhaps trying to make the Chinese kowtow and back down, the pretext being some rocks in the Pacific in which the United States cannot possibly have a vital national interest. Or, really, any interest. And if the Chinese do not back down? [. . .]

[. . .] The Navy has not been in a war for seventy years. It has sat off various shores and launched aircraft, but the fleet has not been engaged. Over decades of inaction, complacency sets in. Unfortunately, wars regularly turn out to be otherwise than expected. Further, the American military’s standard approach to a war is to underestimate the enemy (there is probably a manual on this).

Yet further, great emotional and financial capital resides in a carrier-battle group, one of the most impressive achievements of the human race. (I mean this: the technology, organization, and competence involved in, say, night flight ops are…”astonishing” is too feeble a word.)

This assures reluctance to question the fleet’s effectiveness in the face of changing conditions. Such as high-Mach, stealthed, maneuvering, sea-skimming cruise missiles. Or terminally guided anti-ship ballistic missiles. America is accustomed to fighting enemies who can’t fight back. This may not include the Chínese.

Read more at The Unz Review

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