U.S. Missiles Deployed Near China Send a Message

Discussion in 'China' started by youngindian, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

    May 6, 2009
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    Thursday, Jul. 08, 2010


    USS Ohio, a US guided missile submarine, moors at a harbor in the port city of Busan, some 450 kms southeast of Seoul, on February 21, 2008. Originally designed to carry 24 nuclear tipped trident missiles the USS Ohio is now armed with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    If China's satellites and spies were working properly, there was a flood of unsettling intelligence flowing into the Beijing headquarters of the Chinese Navy last week. A new class of U.S. super weapon had suddenly surfaced nearby. It was an Ohio-class submarine, which for decades carried only nuclear missiles targeted against the Soviet Union, and then Russia. But this one was different: for nearly three years, the U.S. Navy has been dispatching modified "boomers" to who knows where (they do travel underwater, after all). Four of the 18 ballistic-missile subs no longer carry nuclear-tipped Trident missiles. Instead, they now hold up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, capable of hitting anything within 1,000 miles with non-nuclear warheads.

    Their capability makes watching these particular submarines especially interesting. The 14 Trident-carrying subs are useful in the unlikely event of a nuclear Armageddon, and Russia remains their prime target. But the Tomahawk-outfitted quartet carries a weapon that the U.S. military has used repeatedly against targets in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Sudan.
    (See pictures of the U.S. military in the Pacific.)

    That's why alarm bells would have sounded in Beijing June 28 when the Tomahawk-laden 560-foot USS Ohio popped up in the Philippines' Subic Bay. More alarms likely were sounded when the USS Michigan arrived in Pusan, South Korea, the same day. And the klaxons would have maxed out as the USS Florida surfaced the same day at the joint U.S.-British naval base at Diego Garcia, a flyspeck of an island in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese military awoke to find as many as 462 additional Tomahawks deployed by the U.S. in its neighborhood. "There's been a decision to bolster our forces in the Pacific," says Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "There is no doubt that China will stand up and take notice."

    U.S. officials deny any message is being directed at Beijing, saying the Tomahawk triple-play was a coincidence. But they did make sure news of the new deployments appeared in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post — on July 4, no less. The Chinese took notice quietly. "At present, common aspirations of countries in the Asian and Pacific regions are seeking for peace, stability and regional security," Wang Baodong, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said Wednesday. "We hope the relevant U.S. military activities will serve for the regional peace, stability and security, and not the contrary."
    (See pictures of the most expensive military planes.)

    Last month, the Navy had announced that all four of the Tomahawk Tridents were operationally deployed away from their home ports for the first time. Each vessel packs "the firepower of multiple surface ships," says Capt. Tracy Howard, commander, Submarine Squadron 16 in Kings Bay, Ga., and can "respond to diverse threats on short notice."

    The move forms part of a policy by the U.S. government to shift firepower from the Atlantic to the Pacific theater, which Washington sees as the military focus of the 21st Century. Reduced tensions since the end of the Cold War has seen the U.S. scale back its deployment of nuclear weapons, allowing the Navy to reduce its Trident fleet from 18 to 14. (Why 14 subs, as well as bombers and land-based missiles carrying nuclear weapons, are still required to deal with the Russian threat is a topic for another day.)Sure, the Navy could have retired the four additional subs and saved the Pentagon some money, but that's not how bureaucracies operate. Instead, it spent about $4 billion replacing the Tridents with Tomahawks and making room for 60 special-ops troops to live aboard each sub and operate stealthily around the globe. "We're there for weeks, we have the situational awareness of being there, of being part of the environment," Navy Rear Adm. Mark Kenny explained after the first Tomahawk Trident set sail in 2008. "We can detect, classify and locate targets and, if need be, hit them from the same platform."

    The submarines aren't the only new potential issue of concern for the Chinese. Two major military exercises involving the U.S. and its allies in the region are now underway. More than three dozen naval ships and subs began participating in the "Rim of the Pacific" war games off Hawaii on Wednesday. Some 20,000 personnel from 14 nations are involved in the biennial exercise which includes missile exercises and the sinking of three abandoned vessels playing the role of enemy ships. Nations joining the U.S. in what is billed as the world's largest-ever naval war game are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Singapore and Thailand. Closer to China, CARAT 2010 — for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training — just got underway off Singapore. The operation involves 17,000 personnel and 73 ships from the U.S., Singapore, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.China is absent from both exercises, and that's no oversight. Many nations in the eastern Pacific, including Australia, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam, have been encouraging the U.S. to push back against what they see as China's increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea. And the U.S. military remains concerned over China's growing missile force — now more than 1,000 — near the Taiwan Strait. The Tomahawks' arrival "is part of a larger effort to bolster our capabilities in the region," Glaser says. "It sends a signal that nobody should rule out our determination to be the balancer in the region that many countries there want us to be." No doubt Beijing got the signal.

    SHASH2K2 and LETHALFORCE like this.
  3. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

    May 10, 2010
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    Bihar, BanGalore , India
    Finally Mr Obama woke up and started doing things that he should have done long back. USA should not be submissive to Chinese and should retaliate for every Chinese moves. Once they start doing TIT for TAT . chinese TAT will also reduce. Even India should follow same policy. You hit me I hit you harder.
    Oracle likes this.
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A teachable moment for Pyongyang and Beijing?

    Posted By Michael J. Green Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 10:46 AM Share

    After rumors that the Obama administration might back down in the face of Chinese pressure, the Pentagon confirmed on July 14 that the United States and the Republic of Korea would in fact go ahead with joint naval exercises off both coasts of the Korean peninsula in response to North Korea's March 26 sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan. Time will tell, but this could be the moment that Barack Obama finally found his inner realist when it comes to China strategy.

    From the beginning, the Obama administration has had a schizophrenic view of China's growing power and influence. On the one hand, realists in the administration continued the prevailing "Armitage-Nye" strategy (named after former Bush administration Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage and former Clinton Defense official Joe Nye) of engaging China while maintaining a favorable balance of power in the region through tighter relations with U.S. allies. Consistent with that strategy, Obama made a point of inviting Japanese Premier Taro Aso for the first bilateral summit in the Oval Office and Secretary of State Clinton made Japan her first overseas stop last March.

    At the same time, however, other senior members of the Obama administration argued that balance-of-power logic was inimical to the kind of accommodation the United States would have to make towards China in order to deal with new transnational challenges such as climate change. They argued in a formula that undermined the realists' approach that no major international challenge could be resolved without China's cooperation -- a message that was internalized in Beijing as meaning that China had earned a veto on all major international issues from the Obama administration. When Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao issued a joint statement last November in Beijing, the two leaders acknowledged each others' "core interests." Since then, the Chinese side has steadily expanded the list of Chinese "core interests" to include U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and suzerainty over the South China Sea while yielding virtually nothing in terms of military transparency, human rights or curbing North Korea's nuclear program.

    When a South Korean-led multinational investigation team (including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Sweden) confirmed that North Korea had torpedoed the Cheonan, Beijing showed its true colors. The Chinese Foreign Minister lectured his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the need to forget about the incident and return promptly to negotiations with the North Koreans in the Six Party Talks. Washington was told that Beijing had confirmed directly with high level sources in Pyongyang that the North Koreans were not involved -- even as the North promoted the regional commanders responsible and gave them huge medals from the Dear Leader. China continued protesting in the U.N. Security Council that there was not enough proof to implicate the North. Observers quipped that "PRC" stood for "please remain calm."

    Through all of this it became increasingly obvious to even the most hopeful China watchers in the administration that Beijing was enabling North Korea's belligerence and would only be moved by pressure. This was probably part of the motivation for Secretary of Defense Gates' unusually blunt criticism of Chinese security policy at the annual Shangri-La defense forum in Singapore on June 7. The president himself then put the squeeze on Hu at their bilateral meeting on the margins of the G-20 summit last month. Yet in spite of the tougher talk from Washington, the most the administration could get from Beijing was acquiescence in a barely tolerable presidential statement from the Security Council that took equal note of both the South Korean report pointing to Pyongyang's guilt and Pyongyang's completely implausible denial. China also succeeded in inserting language urging all sides to return quickly to dialogue. The North Korean propaganda organs and their supporters in the South chortled at Pyongyang's diplomatic victory over the United States, Japan, and Korea.

    At that point key people in the administration were clearly tempted to declare victory and announce the international community "united" against an "isolated" North Korea, rather than continue crowding out other agenda items with China. Word began leaking out that because of Chinese protests, the Pentagon might not be allowed to go ahead with joint exercises with the South Koreans, including some of the first U.S.-South Korea naval maneuvers in the contested Western coast of the Korean peninsula near where the Cheonan was attacked. It is not clear just how wobbly the administration really got, but the Pentagon's confirmation that the exercises will go ahead appears to close the case. Let's hope so.

    Beijing will not be happy; and that is part of the point. The Obama administration appears to have realized that no matter how skillfully we articulate to Chinese leaders their own national interest in curbing the dangerous behavior of regimes like North Korea and Iran, it is ultimately U.S. actions that get Chinese attention. Beijing does not want the North Korean regime to collapse and for several years now has been able to expand material support for Kim Jong-Il at no cost to China's relationship with the other parties in Northeast Asia. The U.S.-South Korea maneuvers and recent U.S.-Japan-South Korea defense summits are important signals that from now on there will be consequences for China from North Korean behavior. The allies have a legitimate need to re-establish deterrence vis-à-vis North Korea. If closer U.S.-Japan-South Korea defense cooperation complicates broader Chinese strategic planning in East Asia, then perhaps Beijing will start thinking differently about the costs of its stance towards Pyongyang.

    Administration officials will privately agree that they have sent an important signal to North Korea and Beijing, but quickly protest that their China strategy has been consistent from the beginning. But there is no need to be defensive. Every new president since Nixon has had to adjust his China policy within the first 18 months. Carter promised to refocus on human rights, but ultimately normalized relations with China. Reagan vowed to move closer to Taiwan again, but signed the third U.S.-China communiqué and sold military equipment to China in order to contain Soviet expansion. Clinton said he would not "coddle the butchers of Beijing" but negotiated China's entry into the W.T.O. Bush surrogates called China a "strategic competitor" but ended up building a stronger relationship with Beijing than any of his predecessors enjoyed. Obama and McCain avoided a histrionic debate about China during the 2008 campaign and Obama probably thought he had a free hand on China policy. But he has had to adjust just like every one of his predecessors did. The only difference is that in Obama's case, he is adjusting in the direction of being tougher towards China. Beijing gave him little choice.
  5. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Likes Received:
    agree but it would also be in our interest if chinese subs moor at a harbour in cuba and latin america to promote peace and security and not the contrary

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