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China wins: the US loses.
When I was in South East Asia during the Vietnam War, I noticed that people were happy to bathe in muddy, polluted rivers and even use the water for cooking, although thankfully everything was boiled. They lived short lives and eventually succumbed to various diseases but they knew nothing else.
The main stream of our media is a filthy river, full of creepy crawlies but most people know nothing better.
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Mind and body both eventually suffer. If you are what you eat., then nutrition for the mind is truth and lies and falsehoods are like bacteria and viruses and worms — that degrade intelligence and get you in the end. The weakest among us are most vulnerable.
Media misinformation has cost the lives of millions, not only abroad –perhaps as many as 30 million people in various wars — but in the US of A where faulty perception of the social and political system leads to failures in healthcare, education and overall social malaise.
Currently, the most prominent mental pollution delivered by the MSM is about China, as a result of years of American attempts to turn Taiwan into a Chinese Ukraine.
Let’s look at the facts in detail
“China has blockaded Taiwan.”
Despite what the MSM likes to imply, China has not attempted to blockade Taiwan. Rather, it has shown its ability to do so — its recent drills are a demonstration of authority.
“The seas around Taiwan are far too rough to maintain a blockade for long, especially given the vastly technologically inferior, relative to just about any developed country and inexperienced PLA navy.”
Ocean conditions are indeed changeable in the Western Pacific — but that did not stop the US from blockading Japanese occupied islands, including Taiwan during WWII.
The Chinese navy used to be “technologically inferior” but not anymore: it has surpassed the US in many important areas and has been gaining experience rapidly in the South China Sea.
The Chinese have done what the Russians did.
They have developed technologies that make up for their inferiority in the kind of naval warfare that the US naval technology envisions.
The US is like an MMA fighter, who knows only box but doesn’t know how to kick and has no ground game. Just as the Gracie’s revolutionized MMA with a form of jiu jitsu optimized for street fighting, the Chinese are breaking new ground in naval warfare.
The Chinese and the Russians don’t have the luxury of the world funding their development of ever more flashy offensive systems, thanks to being able to borrow money without ever paying it back. They put their money into what works for defense. Something like ten times bang for the buck.
The Russians are far ahead in this area with the Avanguard system delivered by the remarkable Sarmat ICBM — capable of 4000 km Mach 9 hits with 10 tonne warheads!
They also have other hypersonic weapons that can be launched from frigates and submarines. As defense the S500 and S550, provide protection against most aerial threats from the US including missiles. By the time the Americans have usable hypersonic missiles, they will be facing the S600.
American sanctions on both Russia and China have demonstrated for both countries the necessity of technological alliance. What the Russians have, the Chinese will have soon enough, developed to their own specifications to match their own needs.
The Chinese have also developed hypersonic weapons — specifically as carrier killers.
The recent YJ 21 as a range of perhaps1000 miles and can be launched from destroyers and frigates — and with a little development from submarines. In that area, the Chinese have a new class of ultra-quiet “stealth subs” –the Type-039C Yuan. However, it is still true that the Chinese have fewer nuclear subs but let us keep in mind that nuclear subs are noisy and easier to detect than advanced non-nuclear subs. Chinese nuclear subs are intended for long-range ocean travel, say, to some point off Washington DC where they can launch nuclear weapons.
Chinese advantages are:
a.) fast development thanks to a huge technological and industrial base
b.) innovative designs to match Chinese coastal scenarios and conditions in the deep waters of the South China Sea.
c.) collaboration with the Russians.
By contrast, the US emphasizes “added value” for its military products, which renders them
a.) too expensive to lose
b.) too complex to use
c.) unreliable due to complexity and multiple roles
d.) unsuitable for real-world scenarios.
Good examples are the F35 and LCS — and also the overhyped M770 Howitzer and HIMARS systems. The HIMARS system, for example, has been around for a while and has its flaws. Principally cost at over a million dollars a volley. In any case, it has made no difference to the war. If the Russians wanted something like it, they could just buy one of two North Korean systems that are superior.
These arguments are meaningless to those who drink the muddy waters of the media.
Turning to Taiwan….
“As for the Nimitz class carriers, well, yes, even though they’ve been substantially upgraded they are getting really a bit long in the tooth. That said, outside of the US Navy, there’s nothing really out there -the diesel-powered Chinese stuff doesn’t even come close- that can touch them. The USS Ronald Reagtan could, for example, very easily enforce a no-fly zone over Taiwan while staying comfortably out of range from anything the CCP would be capable of throwing at it, rendering these new hypersonic missiles essentially irrelevant. “
No, the US Ronald Reagan could not enforce a no-fly zone — and if it tried it would be sunk.
Recent Pentagon simulations indicate that if push came to shove, the US AND the Japanese navies would tap out quickly.
“To get a sense of the scale of the losses, in our last game iteration, the United States lost over 900 fighter/attack aircraft in a four-week conflict. That’s about half the Navy and Air Force inventory.”
The Chinese missile force “is devastating while the inventory lasts” so US submarines and bombers with long-range missiles “are particularly important,” he said. “For the Taiwanese, anti-ship missiles are important, surface ships and aircraft less so.” Surface ships “have a hard time surviving as long as the Chinese have long-range missiles available,”
The loss of half the Navy and Air Force inventory would cost the US billions of dollars and the deaths of its people would bring down any government stupid enough to cause such a debacle.
It would also bring down the Japanese government.
But is this dire scenario really supported by facts?
The range of a US Nimitz class carrier’s onboard aircraft fully armed is about 600nm, allowing for about one minute of combat.
A no-fly zone would require time-over-target –obviously more than one minute — so the USS Ronald Reagan would have to be about 350 nm off the coast of Taiwan — preferably closer — which puts it in range of Chinese hypersonic weapons.
In the recent drill, missiles were launched right across the island from land bases, just to make this point, although we don’t know what kind of missiles these were.
In a conflict, of course, as mentioned, the YJ21 would have the range to hit well into the Japanese EZ as you can see in the map. To counter a US carrier off Taiwan, it might need a bit more range — but it could also be launched from aircraft and a variety of vessels on the eastern side of the island.
The Russians can launch their hypersonic weapons from submarines, so that capability will soon be available to the Chinese.
The MSM seems to think that the PLA is flying MIG 17s.
Fighter to fighter, new Chinese jets are more than a match for the Super Hornets of the US Navy which represent a previous generation of combat aircraft with some bells and whistles. It is true that the PLA lacks combat experience, air-to-air — but so do the Americans.
The vaunted F35 is not an air supremacy fighter, it is a bomb truck, whose “stealth” is now questionable due to advances in Chinese radars.
It is also unreliable and spends a lot of time being repaired. In the air, it kills a lot of pilots.
Take a close look at the Chinese J20 which has “stealth”, a range of about 2000 miles and a heavy weapon load of advanced missiles. Or even the much-upgraded Chinese version of the Russian Su30s the J10 — hasa range of about 1800 miles, considerably better than the Super Hornet’s weighed down with all the bells and whistles I mentioned. Those bells are like the Liberty Bell — huge, and heavy and damaged.
The US Ronald Reagan carries 90 aircraft. China’s two carriers carry just about 50 aircraft in total. But there would be no carrier vs carrier contest as in WWII since the Chinese have 700 fighter aircraft and 450 attack aircraft on the mainland.
The Chinese would first take out radar installations on Taiwan as the Russians did in the Ukraine. Then they would take out air defenses, allowing them to establish air superiority over the islands with safe inflight refueling options.
The Ronald Reagan would have to stand off at least 1000 km — not from the coast of Taiwan — but from wherever Chinese naval or bomber assets patrol.
Nuclear subs could sink Chinese surface assets but nuclear subs are noisier than advanced non-nuclear subs and vulnerable in littoral waters confining their use to deep water areas.
Since the Chinese have the world’s largest navy — American subs wouldn’t know which vessels were armed with hypersonic weapons and which weren’t, and in trying to sink their targets, the subs would reveal their positions and be sunk themselves. Each sub is, like a carrier, complex and hugely expensive — and not easily replaceable.
It takes 7 years to build a nuclear submarine — these days, probably 8 with materials shortages. It takes another year or two to make it operational. Each cost about 4 billion dollars.
A Ford class carrier costs upwards of 13 billion dollars.
But the MSM still insists:
“The Chinese military is laughably inferior, really in every single aspect save size. Moreover, they aren’t catching up, either, nope they’re always going to be a good few dozen steps behind given that their technology is imitation US stuff.”
This is 1980s thinking.
The Chinese don’t imitate. They re-engineer, which is different because they take an original concept and make it better — usually Russian stuff, which is a lot better than the US in terms of practicality. They don’t imitate American stuff — they look at it — define its flaws and go one better.
But the muddy stream of the media flows on … and on…. If you drink brown water, clear water looks and tastes strange.
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Julian Macfarlane is a Tokyo based journalist, writer, and analyst.
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