Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To recap...

Because two-way struggles aren't confusing enough, Taiwanese Coast Guard vessels have joined the PLAN and JMSDF ships bluffing and posturing and gunboat diplomacy-ing around the disputed islands in the South China Sea, adding a potential Tuco to the already volatile mix of Blondie and Angel Eyes.

Ever one for stern admonishments, the current administration, having been delicately urged by Beijing to piss off and mind its own business, replied with impassioned urgings for everybody to play nice:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in turn urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to resolve disputes "without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force".
China responded by officially commissioning the ex-Varyag, now Liaoning into service.

Don't worry, though; chances of a shooting war that sucks us in are slight, or so I read.

37 comments:

Marcus said...

Oh, and the Koreans are more than eager to dogpile on with the Dokdo Island issue simmering, adding yet another layer of complexity to the problem. But I'm sure our "smart" diplomats will resolve this in short order.

Chris said...

"without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force".

What a world-class piece of hypocrisy! When was the last (first?) time that the US government tried to resolve an international dispute without resorting to those methods? (And please don't bring up Teddy Roosevelt and his peace-brokering of the Russo-Japanese War. The US had no skin in that game.)

ZerCool said...

I used to think Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, et al. were mil-fic... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's March 1889 all over again.
If it's a choice between the State Department or a cyclone settling this, I'm betting on the cyclone.
Roscoe

Odysseus said...

Also add in the treasury and Fed turning all those T-Bonds the Chinese are holding into fancy toilet paper.

JD Rush said...

It's all because of that video.

Wolverines!

Sebastian said...

I don't know what Barry expected was going to happen if we suddenly withdrew our protection from Japan. We've been all that's been keeping a lid on every country in east Asia that was ravaged by the Japanese from seeking some paybacks since the surrender.

Fortunately, for the Japanese, even though they wouldn't have a prayer against the Chinese in a land war, the JMSDF is actually one of the more capable world navies, and I'm fairly certain will turn any Chinese invasion fleet to minced meat.

Generally not a wise idea, if you're a land power, to pick a fight with a country that has a naval tradition, and is on, you know, a fucking island.

Of course the worst thing in all this is that the Japanese are now going to think about rearming and becoming a nuclear power. Last that that happened, it did not end well.

Way to go Barry!

Bubblehead Les. said...

Why do I think the various Asian Military Chiefs of Staffs are just waiting on the results of the November Election before they make a move?

Ian Argent said...

Hopefully there's no deli for a disappointed anarchist to hang out at after blowing his opportunity to make a first impression with an FN 1910.

Anonymous said...

China has a few thousand theater ballistic missiles, to include the Dong Feng 21D. I'll bet they like their chances in a shooting war with the Japanese. Particularly when they factor in the chances that Obama would honor a treaty of long standing with a fairly crucial ally of the United States, which coincidentally keeps the lid on Japanese revanchism. I forget who pointed this out and where, but the Japanese could go nuclear on their lunch hour.

Mike James

Brian said...

"China responded by officially commissioning the ex-Varyag, now Liaoning into service."

Now now, that is just a floating amusment park/research vessel. The Peoples Liberation Army Navy (maybe that flows better in Chinese)just want to conduct research on amusing people during live fire exercises. No worries folks.

Ian Argent said...

I wouldn't bet against the Japanese being "technically" non-nuclear, as in they have no assembled warheads and certainly no deployed delivery platforms, no sir.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I'm going to be very careful in my comment. The Pacific Fleet is in Shambles. The "Glory Days" of the Vietnam Era are gone. Way too many Ships and Assets are sitting in/near the Persian Gulf to do a "2 Front War." The Stennis Carrier Battle Group out of Bremerton got "Short Cycled," and is scrambling to be deployed ASAP. Someone a lot of us know is bouncing around the Pacific, doing his best to help resurrect a 30+ year old Weapon System, and he said last weekend to me that it won't be enough.

Bottom Line: If the Chicoms want to Run Over East Asia, they have a Clear Shot.

Geodkyt said...

Just like CVN Task Forces were technically not equipped with nuclear weapons while in Japanese waters, even when CVNs were under the SIOP.

As Mike James pointed out, Japan could go nuclear over lunch. "Look, we just happened to drop a box of enriched fuel core samples, some exotic high energy physics experiments in explosive deformation, a dash of tritium for glow in the dark indicator supplies, some computer chips and GPS receivers, and a supersonic airframe, and a bunch of stealthy cruise missiles with fusion warheads rolled out."

Question -- would they paint a hachimaki headband on the nose of the cruise missiles, or go with a more modern design, like the Transformers logo?

Geodkyt said...

Oh, and don't think the Japanese wouldn't do rolling mushroom barrages on the Asian mainland, regardless of what prevailing winds might do to nominal allies, or even the Home Islands. Not if it meansthe difference stopping a Chinese invasion and being conquered.

They'll just issue out more face masks, set up street corner decon showers, and carry the frack on. They're Japanese -- don't get misled by JapPop cultural fads; these are still the same people who defended Okinawa.

Erin Palette said...

@Geodkyt: I'm betting on a Hello Kitty brand nuke, myself.

Will said...

Thanks Erin,
my screen was a little overdue for a cleaning anyway...

Drang said...

Note that the ROKs and the norks have begun their biennial shooting at each other over fishing grounds again, too.

Anonymous said...

Not. A. Problem.

Have the Prez do another Letterman segment; and then have him give another speech in Ohio.

That'll settle it, fer shure.


Boat Guy said...

Les,
I'm a little disappointed in you - yeah the CVBG's are mere shadows of their former selves, but the sewer-pipe Navy could give a good accounting...
General Belgrano anyone?

Lewis said...

Hey, on the bright side, maybe we can find out if Brecher is right about aircraft carriers in the age of the pop-up missile.

http://exiledonline.com/the-war-nerd-this-is-how-the-carriers-will-die/all/1/

Geodkyt said...

Erin, I love you. Like I love 1911's and Tam's snark. {grin}

"HK {Hello Kitty}. Because We Hate You and Think You Suck."

Anonymous said...

Climb Mount Niitaka!

Gerry

Geodkyt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geodkyt said...

Lewis --

Let's just say that article is factually incorrect. The evidence has been publically discussed in open source news releases by the US Navy. But yes, there are ways to engage IRBMs. . . and the article he is using as primary source material coincidentally came out just in time to be used as a stick to beat back cuts to the Navy ABM programs.

Carriers have their vulnerabilities. . . but they also bring capabilities to the table that cannot be easily matched. A bigger problem than IRBM attacks on CVBGs (or the Gator Freighter groups) is if you let them get hemmed in littoral waters and swarmed by cheap-ass speedboats, or waves of ASCMs (which can be fired from cargo truck-based launchers).

Another problem (which exacerbates the lack of swarm defense) is the paucity of surface combatants (ESPECIALLY heavy gun cruisers, of which we have ZERO). A bigger escort group, especially one with some serious volume and throw weight of non-spoofable gunfire to spew love and kisses with, would help. A lot.

Precision IRBM attacks are hard, and compared to a CVN cutting snaky grooves in Poseidon, a point target like a Presidential Command Bunker is a HUGE target, despite the fact that a CVN is 4.5 acres of surface area.

Nor are the popup terminal maneuvers of ASCMs like Harpoon anything like a true ballistic threat -- for one, MAJOR speed differences, another is the plasma sheath messing with initial radar returns (it quickly drops said sheath as speed drops, but then it's seconds out), even if you have flipped your speed gate to accommodate reentering inbounds versus airbreathing targets.

Hell, a lot of threat ASCMs have terminal maneuvers nothing at all like a Harpoon's popup -- precisely because that type of popup profile is practically purpose built to be easy meat for Phalanx. It's one of the only things Phalanx IS good at. {grin}

BGMiller said...

Soooooo......
How hard/expensive/long would it take to turn Iowa, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Missouri back from museums into haze grey bad dreams?

Just a thought.

BGM

Anonymous said...

One of China's maritime strategies involves using non-PLAN naval vessels to act in disputed waters against its adversaries.

One good turn deserves another, it appears.

Professor James Moriarty said...

Geodkyt,

I didn't understand f@&$-all of that be it sure sounded frakkin' awesome.

Wish I could talk like that.

Lewis said...

Geodykt:

Thankee for the word.

Will said...

@BGM:

Approx ten years ago the cost was about $55M/year per BB just to have it sitting at the dock ready to roll. Navy wanted to spend that elsewhere.

Requirements to get one as a museum ship is they must be kept in good shape, and no messing around with the powerplants and screws/shafts, or any other essential operating facilities, like galleys, etc.

A current problem is the guns are rated for about 1500 rounds from new, and all the replacement
barrels were recently put up for scrap bid. Most likely there are no longer any facilities able to make these. This number is around 12-15 magazines worth of shot. That's per 3-gun turret, as each one has a separate magazine that holds 300-some shells.

AFAIK, they never replenish those mags at sea, and they have never shot them dry in any one engagement (like Beirut in '83)

Those 4 BB's are rated as the overall best ever made, by any navy. They could have punched out the Yamato class no problem.

Brigid said...

It would have been more effective to just say "play nice, look what happened to Vince Foster".

Anti Money Laundering said...

Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.

Grayson said...

You know, the way I see it, my friend, there's two kind of nations in the world - those that do stupid things, and those that stay out of the way.

I reckon we should just stay out of the way, for now.

Incidently, which one is Blondie and which one is Angel Eyes?

Joe in PNG said...

Geokyt & Erin- Of course one or two of those missiles will be painted red with the Zeon logo on it.
Because the red ones are 3 times faster.

Geodkyt said...

The US Navy does have a set of plans for a BB replacement. She would be a CAN (nuke-powered gun cruiser) or BCN (nuke powered battlecruiser).

Basically, just what it sounds like -- a big-assed cruiser hull, covered in 8" or larger gun turrets, with lighter stuff and missiles for ATFP and AAW (self defense roles), and a VLS for cruise missiles. No armored belt -- primary role would be shore bombardment & flagship. (Not that abortion of the Arsenal Ship/LCS program. At work, we call LCS "Little Coffins for Sailors" foir a reason.)

They did the initial studies in the 70's, but shelved it after reactivation of the BBs was brought up. Should be looked at again, but we've let the fleet degrade so far I don't see it happening for a long time -- after all, dumb old guns just aren't sexy. But, it wouldn't be hard to reactivate the program and update the plans. . . (but I'm the guy who wanted to dust off the old Super Essex plans with an angle deck in lieu of LHA(R).)

Side tech note -- the advantage of nuclear propelled capitol ships isn't what most people think. They aren't really any faster in top end than a similar ship with a modern dirt-burning engine like gas turbine, and having 20 years of gas on board isn't a military advantage. . . so the cost impacts of big nuke power is easily demonized by Proxmirian budget hawks. The advantages are three-fold:

1. If you're in a hurry, you can go at flank all the way, without worrying about "best speed consistant with fuel to return to Norfolk". Means a pure nuke group can sprint faster than a group with conventional escorts that cannot go 30 knots across the ocean without running low of gas, thus they don't have to be as forward deployed (and you can frequently buy fewer of them, because they can be concentrated in fewer lumps). So, maybe we don't need a gun cruiser to accompany every single Amphib group -- if the 'Phibs that have spent the last four months in the Med will need to play To the Shores of Tripoli, we can have a nuke gun cruiser meet them in a week, no sweat. (Less, if we don'thave to send her all the way from Norfolk, Virginia.) You ain't hip-shooting an amphib assault overnight anyway.

2. You CAN carry beaucoup fuel or stores in place of the gas you don't need for your engines. Thus, you can refuel escorts & aircraft at a level similar to a tanker. Or you can carry more ordnance, Marines, or whatever. Reduces the need for more logistics support ships.

3. In case your boat just got turned into a remix of USS Franklin (off Okinawa, Wiki it {grin}), you can dump that fuel to reduce fire and explosion, WITHOUT crippling your ability to run away once propulsion is restored. This is a minor, but real, consideration.

Skip said...

Ma Ying-jeou prolly ain't sleeping real good lately.

Justthisguy said...

Dammit, Tam, I really should cut back on my alcohol consumption, but posts like this one make me want to be, even more than before, numb when they come for me.