Dealing With China’s Aircraft Carrier

How Obama is dealing with it:

As China’s first aircraft carrier takes to the open seas today for its inaugural sea trials, the U.S. government directed a pointed question at the Chinese military: Why would you need a warship like that?

“We would welcome any kind of explanation that China would like to give for needing this kind of equipment,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters today. “We have had concerns for some time and we’ve been quite open with them with regard to the lack of transparency from China regarding its power projection and its lack of access and denial of capabilities.”…

Why would they want a carrier?  Uh, here’s a clue, guys – to challenge us.  You know, the only nation with a genuine navy and a substantial carrier force.

Now, there are two actual ways we can deal with this – grimly announce that we will always maintain at least three aircraft carriers for each Chinese carrier, or we can “Copenhagen” it.

Asserting that we’ll always build sufficient to be overwhelmingly powerful is essentially what Britain did in the early 20th century when challenged in battleships by Imperial Germany – after a certain point, asserting to Germany that Britain would lay two keels to one in order to maintain an overwhelmingly superior force no matter what the Germans built.  This is a fine response, but it does tend to a long-term increasing of tensions…in other words, it is an arms race.

The other way – “Copenhagen” – involves sinking the Chinese carrier.  The reason for describing it as “Copenhagen” is because in 1801 the British attacked and destroyed the Danish fleet in Copenhagen because of a concern that it might cooperate with the French against Britain.  This does have its attendant risk of full scale war, but it also is a complete solution to the problem…even if there is a war, one side then lacks a fleet to prosecute the war, so the conflict becomes rather one-sided.

I’d prefer we just sent a submarine over to Chinese waters and sank the blasted Chinese carrier.  They have no business having such weapons – the seas belong to us, won at great cost in blood and treasure and as we keep them freely open for navigation, no one has any need to challenge the United States in this area.  Unless, of course, they are envisioning a life-and-death struggle with us.  China is either just idiotically flexing muscle, or is seeking to be an existential challenge to the United States.  In neither case is it worth our while to just sit tight and let China build up a fleet.

But, you say, wouldn’t China go to war with us if we did that?  I doubt it.  Remember, the rulers of China are corrupt despots sitting atop an increasingly restive Chinese population.  Their economy is teetering on the edge of disaster and only massive exports to the United States keeps them afloat.  They don’t, at this time, have the capability of projecting power against the United States, nor our main Pacific bases.  War with us at this juncture would be entirely too costly – and so they won’t do it.  They’d complain and threaten and bluster…but at the end of the day they’d just have to take it.  And learn a valuable lesson – don’t bother putting money in to a fleet because when you put it to sea, we’re just going to sink it.

At any event, we do need a President who won’t have his staff merely ask stupid questions – anything is better than idiocy in policy.