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« From strength to strength | Main | Fuzzy math »

Oct 23, 2012


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You really thought that rehearsed zinger was a shining moment for the Prez?

David Wharton

Ha! Good one. How silly of Romney to have quoted the actual number of ships the Navy has (285), the number it says it needs to carry out its mission (313), and the number it will have after sequestration (low 200's). Counting ships is for kids playing battleship, not for commanders-in-chief! Because the President knows that, since we now have aircraft carriers and those "ships" that go under the water (which the Navy mistakenly calls "boats"), we're good. Carriers don't need other ships. Amphibious assault ships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, no longer needed. Because, um, horses and bayonets!

Worst person on the internet

The look on Romney's face in the first debate when Obama was speaking came across to me as polite confidence. In the 2nd debate, polite deference. In the 3rd, a word I have never used came to mind: wan. If nothing else, I'll bet these boys are tired.


I'd love to see links to the desperate pleas by our navy to increase ship numbers to 313. And it's not like they wouldn't ask for more than what they need in a budget negotiation... Our forces are so much stronger than any other country(s), it amazes me that we're having this conversation.


"the number it says it needs to carry out its mission"

It's mission being joining with the Air Force in fantasizing a Chinese Gotterdammerung to justify big-ticket hardware.

sean coon

from grant's ridiculously well written article:

" [...] The Army's identity crisis contrasts with the Air Force and the Navy, which have hitched their future to a very clear -- if misguided -- narrative known as Air-Sea Battle, introduced by the Pentagon in 2009. Operationally, Air-Sea Battle provides a means of coordination between the two forces as a way of ensuring military access to coastal waters (and, by implication, land territory) for the United States and its allies -- which is, to put it plainly, allowing it the ability to violate the territorial sovereignty of other countries more or less at will. While the Air-Sea Battle concept envisions conflict with China as its raison d'ĂȘtre (though its proponents also say that it could also be applied in the Arctic or for humanitarian disasters), the Army looks at the world more rationally and, frankly, with a bit more frugality. [...] "

"Our forces are so much stronger than any other country(s), it amazes me that we're having this conversation."

The Chinese aspire to be the dominant sea power nation in the Pacific, and are working on producing a fleet of carriers that will fulfill their strategic and tactical needs.

Does that ring any historical bells with you?

sean coon

i aspire to be a billionaire; it doesn't mean it's going to happen.

here's the reality of the chinese navy and our supremacy, bubba. i think we have some time to spend money elsewhere before whatever it is you think is going to happen is a blip on our radar.


This zinger by Mr. Obama is intriguing for two reasons: 1. He manages to miss Romney's point and defy/dismiss his own Secretary of Defense's concerns in one snarky comment and 2. it should prove once and for all that despite his cool cat exterior, President Obama is a thin-skinned jerk.


The Chinese have another surprise for surface fleet enthusiasts.


" i aspire to be a billionaire; it doesn't mean it's going to happen." Sean

Sounds like a Romney supporter without the work ethic.


When we have a military capability greater than the combined forces of every other country on the planet, advocating significant expansion tp meet imagined potential future threats requires special justification to convince me that it isn't driven by ideology and greed.

China has one used carrier that currently, if I remember, isn't ready to carry aircraft. We have 11 carriers in active service. There, as in other areas, a belief that our defense requires an immediate increase, in capital ships or other resources, only makes sense of someone also believes our military forces and personnel are orders of magnitude less capable than any potential adversary.

David Wharton

Mark Helprin in the WSJ today: "Not until recently would China have been so aggressive in the South China Sea, but it has a plan, which is to grow; we have a plan, which is to shrink; and you get what you pay for."

Ed Cone

And Mark Helprin in 2003, sounding certifiably insane: "The war in Iraq should have been an expedition originating in the secure base of Saudi Arabia...Had the Saudis not offered this to us, we might have taken it..." Not the guy I'm looking to for thought leadership on this kind of thing.

But to the larger point, China is a trading nation. Our plan should be to forestall military rivalry by building on our shared interests, not constantly buying into the worldview of rival empires and endless spending on preparations for war. Meanwhile, as noted upthread, we maintain an enormous advantage in strength at sea.

David Wharton

If we assume that trading nations have no interest in dominating their sphere of influence through military means, well, sure. Let's scale back and hope for the best. After all, it worked quite well for Wilson and Roosevelt.

Ed Cone

No such assumption is indicated. Neither, at this point, is furthering an arms race in which we've already lapped the field.


Whose sphere of influence is the South China Sea?

sean coon

from the linked article:

"[...] Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Japan is monitoring the ships' movement. Japan considers the area part of its contiguous waters, but it is not illegal for foreign vessels to transit them.

It is not unusual for the Chinese navy to transit waters around Okinawa en route to the Pacific, but they usually go through wider straits. The ships included frigates, a guided missile destroyer, a supply ship and two submarine rescue vessels.

Defense Ministry officials said the ships might have been trying to avoid an approaching typhoon. [...]


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