Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Ain't Skeered Of No ChiComs: One Versus Ten Is Rarely Reason To Be Scared

Our frenemies the Chinese have announced that their next step to world domination is complete and invite us to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational aircraft carrier!

I will wait a moment while you recover from the panic that has no doubt gripped you in an unbreakable hold. Take your time.

I think we are supposed to be super concerned that China has their very own aircraft carrier, complete with the "ski jump" at the end of the deck to help planes get airborne. It apparently can carry around 36 aircraft. On the other hand, the U.S. already has at least 10 aircraft carriers active according to the official Navy list and 2 more soon to be commissioned, the Gerald Ford (2017) and the John F. Kennedy (2020). According to Wikipedia the Ford will carry over 75 aircraft and the Kennedy over 80. In fact we have 3 or 4 times as many carriers as the Chinese do in long term inactive storage at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washington. Granted those are not in immediate combat shape, or I assume they are not, but the fact remains that we have so many aircraft carriers that we essentially mothball several of them because it is too much of a hassle to dismantle them. In total the U.S. Navy has over 323,000 active duty personnel, another 100,000 on "ready reserve", 273 "deployable battle force ships", of which less than a third are out to sea and over 3700 aircraft. In contrast China supposedly has over 490 ships but the list includes mostly a bunch of amphibious landing ships, missile boats, over 100 "submarine chasers".

As I pointed out in 2010, the military is the number one sacred cow of Republicans when it comes to government spending and is pretty high on the list for Democrats too when it impacts their own state or district. Back then I wrote:

We have 11 aircraft carriers that are far superior to anything else on the ocean and which allows the U.S. to project power anywhere in the world. The Russian Navy has all of 1 aircraft carrier and even back in the Soviet days never had more than 5-6. The Chinese don’t have a single carrier. India has 1. The British have 1 active aircraft carrier that is thirty years old and two new ones that are not going to be ready for a long time. The French have 1 carrier. The Germans have none. The Japanese have a couple of helicopter carriers which obviously are not a threat to one of our carriers, same with the Australians. So unless some country I am not thinking of has a carrier, we have 11 aircraft carriers and the rest of the world has 4 and half of those are run by our allies. I am going to go on a limb and say that none of the existing aircraft carriers in the world could take on one of ours. So we have an enormous advantage over the rest of the world in terms of numbers of ships (especially carriers which are the most important) and quality of ships.

I would have to amend that now to point out that the Chinese finally have an aircraft carrier and that the single Russian carrier is prone to breaking down and having half of the toilets on board freeze up.

The point is that when Donald Trump has part of his "First 100 Days" plan stuff like this (emphasis mine):

9. Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values.

It is clearly nonsense. Rebuild our military? Rebuild it to what? For what? The more reasonable step if we truly care about "national security" would be to reduce our deficit spending on the military, pull most of our foreign based troops home and stop interfering where we have no clue what we are doing and we aren't wanted anyway.

The Chinese with one aircraft carrier that is a joke and a couple of missile batteries on a couple of artificial islands are not a threat to the U.S. and not a threat anytime soon to U.S. dominance of the Pacific. If our allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia are concerned about Chinese military encroachment, maybe they can spend some of their money and build their own navy instead of letting America spend ourselves into bankruptcy to do so. The same goes for our NATO allies who are concerned about the Russian carrier Kuznetsov "Old Smokey" as I call it. Let them spend some of their money to defend their waters. We have enough problems and enough debt of our own already.

Let's hope the celebrity and snowflake generated hysteria abates a little bit once Trump takes office so the actual adults can pay attention to what Trump is actually doing and oppose it where necessary.
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