Dangerous changes in U.S. aircraft-carrier strategy

“Antiship ballistic missiles have roughly twice the range of carrier jets… it is clear carriers now operate at great risk in China’s Near Seas.”

The above quote is taken from an extensive analysis appearing in “The National Interest” on March 26, 2014 headed “Are Aircraft Carriers the New West Berlin?”  which refers to the Chinese strategy of designing and producing large numbers of “ship-killer” ballistic missiles.

Should China move against Taiwan, for the U.S. to use aircraft carriers and other naval assets in response would be quite simply foolhardy, at least until such time as the U.S. develops effective advanced measures to counteract the threat of such missiles.

However, it is being suggested that the U.S. should use capital assets despite the risk, on the asumption that China would never dare destroy a carrier because of the massive military response that would be mounted by the U.S., and the near-likelihood of things getting out of control very quickly.

As article writer Jake A. Douglas notes, “Specifically, our bargaining chip against Beijing is to make things uncomfortably apocalyptic.”

The comparison between carriers and West Berlin is that while both are/were relatively weak, they are highly visible symbols of American resolve and determination.

But in my opinion, tempting fate is a dangerous game.  If the U.S. can project sufficient conventional strength to prevent Chinese aggression, then the  negative possibilities of miscalculation are greatly reduced, and the likelihood of having to resort to nuclear weapons is largely removed.

With a weak, ineffective President in the White House, the Chinese may well feel it worthwhile to throw the dice, and as Douglas points out, “With power shifting west to east, China’s confidence to call what it might reasonably expect to be America’s bluff is bound to increase.”

I don’t like this at all.  As America’s power comparative to China continues to decline, the risk of war, quite possibly nuclear war, becomes ever more likely.

And the window of opportunity for the U.S. to reverse this situation is rapidly closing.

Jeff Goodall.

Read “Are Aircraft Carriers the New West Berlin?” here.

Related:

“Hypersonic arms race: China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses” (Jan. 2014) here.

“China’s space programme a severe threat to Western security” (Jan. 2013) here.

“Rare Earths: Internal and external policy implementation” (August 2012) here.

“Chinese ‘student spies’ infest U.S. universities” (April 2012) here.

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