I can’t help but wonder if China is waking up to some new realities. Frankly, some harsh realities.
Poised in their own minds to dominate Asia, if not the world, for the next fifty to 100 years, China has found that the world gets to have a say in whether such a thing actually comes about. And if recent moves are any indication, then I feel quite confident that the world isn’t signing up for Chinese domination.
In the past few weeks, major moves have been made in what almost seems a new alignment. Except, it’s not a new alignment. It’s just absolutely aimed at countering China now.
It started, of course, at the beginning of the month, when Japan agreed to help defend Taiwan if China ever attacked. And from there, it’s almost like the floodgates opened.
The UK announced that it will permanently station two patrol vessels in the region, even docking them in Asia, making it their perpetual home. They also released plans to deploy a Littoral Response Group in the coming years, centering on amphibious ships. That latter part means ground troops. British ground troops stationed near China. Permanently.
Which means China will need to defend the airstrips it’s throwing up on islands with such glee.
America made several weighty moves as well. First, we sent dozens of F-22 fighter jets to the Pacific.
“We have never had this many Raptors deployed together in the Pacific Air Forces area of operations,” Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander, told CNN.
From the article:
The F-22s are fifth-generation combat jets, the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, incorporating stealth technologies and connecting on-board sensor systems with off-board information systems to give their pilots a detailed view of the battle space. US F-35s are another example.
Normal F-22 deployments consist of six to 12 aircraft, said Carl Schuster, a Hawaii-based defense analyst and a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center
“The Pacific Air Force is demonstrating that it can deploy as many or more fifth-generation aircraft into the theater on short notice than (China) currently has in its entire inventory,” he said.
The Chinese air force has about 20 to 24 operational fifth-generation fighters, Schuster said.
Because of their ability to evade radar detection, F-22s would be expected to be among the first weapons used in any conflict, tasked with taking out an adversary’s air defenses among other missions.
To me, this is literally the United States saying, “We can match your airpower on your own side of the hemisphere.”
Finally, the U.S. is conducting a massive fleet exercise with Australia, Japan, and South Korea. (Images below.)
These nations combined, including countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines (none of whom are friends of China), present a formidable obstacle to China when teamed together.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed.
China still has a strong economic reach, as shown in the chart below. It’s startling how strong that reach is, actually. Take a look at their trade strength.
But America has increasingly been pointing out China’s human rights abuses and countries seem a little less eager to trust the huge dragon in the East.
This spotlight on China will only grow, it seems. And they will either rein in their abuses and aggressiveness, or face a more determined set of world actors.
Not that I think war is likely. In many ways, neither America nor China can go to war against each other. We’re too interlocked in trade, finance, and other matters. A regional conflict could happen, but local jockeying and shoving seem the more likely course.
And a determined, manifestly strong alliance among smaller countries in the region will help convince China that its military aims in Taiwan and elsewhere are foolhardy at best.
What do you think? Am I right or wrong? Let me know in the comments below,
I wanted to highlight one other quick thing, which absolutely blew my mind and made me feel more optimistic about our world.
In the Middle East, there are drones now making rain. As The Washington Post reports:
United Arab Emirates meteorological officials released a video this week of cars driving through a downpour in Ras al Khaimah in the northern part of the country. The storm was the result of one of the UAE’s newest efforts to increase rainfall in a desert nation that gets about four inches a year on average.
Scientists created rainstorms by launching drones, which then zapped clouds with electricity, the Independent reports. Jolting droplets in the clouds can cause them to clump together, researchers found. The larger raindrops that result then fall to the ground, instead of evaporating midair — which is often the fate of smaller droplets in the UAE, where temperatures are hot and the clouds are high.
You can read more about it at the link above. Or just research it some on Google.
But how cool is that?!
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Stan R. Mitchell
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