Wednesday, July 15, 2020

And So It Starts.

As was expected, the US decided that she has resources to challenge China.  Including First island Chain, my oh my. 
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States on Monday rejected China's claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, drawing criticism from China which said the U.S. position raised tension in the region, highlighting an increasingly testy relationship. China has offered no coherent legal basis for its ambitions in the South China Sea and for years has been using intimidation against other Southeast Asian coastal states, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them," said Pompeo, a prominent China hawk within the Trump administration. The United States has long opposed China's expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, sending warships regularly through the strategic waterway to demonstrate freedom of navigation there. Monday's comments reflect a harsher tone. "The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire," Pompeo said.
Immediately, what strikes one is Pompeo's attempt to internationalize the conflict. I will omit now legal issues here, I am interested in the purely operational aspect of this whole South-China Sea thing. US has only one way of challenging China for real, if, God forbids, this will come to blows--these are Indian Ocean's SLOCs through which much of the resources from Africa and Middle East reach China by sea. I discussed it in length many times. First Island Chain, or near it, is a completely different game because China does have what it takes to "close" the area. As the article states:
"This is basically the first time we have called it illegitimate," Chris Johnson, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of Pompeo's statement. "It's fine to put out a statement, but what you going to do about it?"
Exactly, that is the whole point--sending two CBGs in the area is an old propaganda trick, considering the fact that apart from old inventory PLA Air Force has a rather impressive inventory of around 600 thoroughly modern and even very advanced combat aircraft with a 100 of them being fully Russian-built Su-30 and Su-35. Once one adds China's indigenous and Russian-built AD systems such as S-300 and S-400 one has to ask a question, do those two CBGs feel lucky? Once the factor of supersonic and hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles is taken in consideration, Pompeo's attempts to internationalize the conflict begin to make sense for the American side. 

The whole thing is not about "freedom of navigation" per se, it is about waking up to the reality that the US being squeezed out of Eurasia and that it realistically has no resources to do anything about it other than threaten, make grandiose statements and impose sanctions. Militarily the US has no chance against China unless it can "compartmentalize" possible clashes on the periphery of the area and declare possible tactical success a strategic victory for domestic consumption. Meanwhile the US slaps yet another round of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 (and Turkstream) and it is becoming rather stale by now:
These are desperate moves by the US, especially when one considers an impressive dynamics of pipe-lines' development between Russia and China, as NS 2 spokesperson noted:
Efforts to obstruct the project "reflect a clear disregard for the interests of European households and industries, who will pay billions more for gas if this pipeline is not built," said spokesperson Steffen Hartmann.
Can we please drop this BS, when was the last time the US "regarded" anything other than own, and even then doing it grossly incompetently,  interests. In the same time, I do not have any sympathy for Europe--you asked for it, you got it. The US will, effectively, subvert cowardly Europeans and this economically collapsing Atlantic "union" will eat itself alive, until it hits the state of a third world. As one Russian energy expert noted few days ago--Europe is not a priority anymore for Russian energy. Back to China, the only hope for the United States in a clash with China is the fact that US Navy, for all its major issues, still, for now, remains operationally in a different league with China and that may be the only factor which realistically plays for the United States under present circumstances. In the end, China's shipbuilding industry dwarfs that of the US and is extremely well financed. Russia will take care of China's energy and, who knows, even targeting data. 

In related news, Admiral Kasatonov got its acceptance papers signed today, the official commissioning to the fleet (raising of the flag) is planned for July 21 (in Russian). Admiral Golovko is next in line. Mind you--all these ships carry 3M22 Zircon. So, all in all, things progress in a very positive direction for the Russian Navy. Considering the state self-proclaimed hegemon is in nowadays--additional safety measures cannot come soon enough. 

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