Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Interesting Times: Around The Horn

Keeping up on a couple of international relations-type stories the last couple of days, I made some observations. First (well, second, chronologically) the International Herald Tribune points out the obvious;
that China wants an aircraft carrier. That would be the big way for it to begin projecting its power farther and challenging American naval superiority. Of course, just because a country has the hardware doesn't mean they know how to use it proficiently, or that all carriers are created equal. Significant advantage of American carriers (don't worry, no secret here) is the angled flight deck and the steam catapults. No kidding, because planes have a longer runway and can achieve a faster take-off speed.

Anyway, as the article states, the Chinese have shown increased interest in carriers in particular over the last 20 years and power projection in general, at least to become more influential than the US in their own region. I think it will be a while before they build their own, but purchase and refurbishment is a definite possibility. Still, if they plan on taking Taiwan, they really ought to be working on their amphibious capability.

In the interest of increasing its influence in its own hemisphere, China has become friendly with Saudi Arabia. No surprise really, with relations cooling between Riyadh and Washington and China being a net importer of oil. China's increased influence in the Middle East could be a good thing, I think. It will shift some of the burden of dealing with the countries there (read Iran) to Beijing and help us build ties with China, I don't believe we need to be adversaries - heck it's hard . The Bush Administration just needs to make sure that is indeed the type of relationship that emerges.

Speaking of nations with ties to the Middle East, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been vocal and impotent as usual, we just need to make sure he stays that way. The US is blocking Spain's sale of military aircraft with US technology to Venezuela; an especially good idea since Chavez is working toward a huge and unnecessary military build-up... unless you plan to try to rattle your sabre and intimidate your neighbors. As I've said before, Venezuela is worth keeping an eye on. While Chavez keeps his people impoverished and dependent upon him (as socialist tyrants must) he has inspired nationalism in at least enough of them to maintain his power (as he is equally dependent upon them).

Interesting Times 1.5
Interesting Times

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Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin bloody well said...

I believe we can thank the British for the angled flight deck.

And to the best of my knowledge, this is the first attempt for China to acquire what most would consider the pivotal element for a true Blue Water navy.

China is, literally, making All The Right Moves with regard to expansion of its power on every front.

01 February, 2006 13:02  
Blogger Gayle bloody well said...

I do not feel informed enough regarding the subject of this post other than to say it has made me aware of the fact that I got some studying to do. Therefor, good job, RS! Thanks. :)

01 February, 2006 14:40  
Blogger Rebekah bloody well said...

Golly - China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela... these are dangerous times - all the more reason to hope Democrats do NOT win in '06 & '08.

01 February, 2006 17:11  
Blogger shoprat bloody well said...

China builds ICBMs with technology they got from America.

Their Shenzou spacecraft is an upgunned Russian Soyuz.

They have not yet built their own Carriers.

It seems like they are awfully dependent on others to achieve things.

01 February, 2006 20:15  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

I'm with you there, Shoprat, but I wouldn't put it past them.

Gayle, it pays for a guy in my line of work to watch these things! I think more Americans need to pay attention to relations between major/minor players, and thanks to the magical musical Internets, they can!

01 February, 2006 20:24  

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