Tuesday, November 19, 2013


AAB  SOURCES: Update 2.28/2016 Similar exercises were reported in 2015.
Updated 12/8/ 2014:  Similar exercises reported periodically since first reported. Amphibious type exercises reported in the East and South China Seas during 2013-14. Some permanent structures and garrisoning on larger islands disputed with Vietnam. China continues to show signs of "preparing the battle space for a series of amphibious island hopping campaigns to take her neighbors maritime territories. America's "Turn to the Pacific" appears to be at best a speed bump to the Dragon's plans. China making progress while U.S. naval assets tied down in Middle East. 

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File:USS Wahoo (SS-238) 4th patrol designated sector.svg

The Bohai Sea (also referred to as the Bohai Gulf or Bay) is a wide mouthed coastal, shallow sea on the northeastern coast of China. The water body is formed by the Liaodong Peninsula to the northeast and the Shandong Peninsula to the south. It has a mean depth of about 20 m  (65+ feet)and a maximum depth of about 70 m (229+ feet) near the northern coast of the Bohai Strait where it connects with the Yellow Sea .  The box indicates the designated operational area of the USS WAHOO (SS-238) for her 4th patrol. The box is imposed over an image created by  Cartographer Karl Mussler : KMussler   and licensed under the Wikipedia  Commons  Creative Commons attribution Share alike license.

China, "the Dragon" is conducting joint services (naval, army, and air force units) exercises in the region of Bohai Bay. Based on our sources the exercises are already under way and will continue until November 20, 2013. Chinese media sources have published images of soldiers disembarking with tanks from heavy duty handing ships. Bohai Bay is surrounded on three sides by Chinese territory so it it is a bit out of sight for typical surface or aerial observation. The Western general media has not paid much attention to the exercise but Chinese media sources indicate that the naval task force involved is large enough to possibly dispatch as many as 5,000 soldiers to targeted landing sites from the sea. The region is opposite South Korea and not that far from the islands that China disputes ownership over with Japan. This exercise is occurring at a time when China has been violating Japanese territorial waters in the vicinity of the disputed islands with their Coast Guard vessels  Chinese Coast Guard In Japan's Waters

 ANALYSIS: Whenever China and Japan are exercising their forces in preparation for a possible naval confrontation with each other both sides typically announce that the exercises are "not in consideration of any specific state". In both cases its pure bunk. China is the aggressor showing no respect for Japan's sovereignty and believes itself to be the economic and naval superior to Japan and thus entitled to whatever real estate of Japan's it wants. Of course the Dragon does realize that there is a quality gap between its own naval/coast guard forces and those of Japan despite the quantity gap. The Dragon also realizes that Japan and the United States have a defense treaty and the plan can't reasonably expect to defeat a combination of the U.S. Pacific fleet and the Japanese naval forces, and indeed Japan could be joined by others besides the United States.
So even though these exercises are clearly intended to enhance skills in an island hopping and taking campaign and they are occurring at a time when Chinese Coast Guard forces appear to be acting as point for a larger naval force and/ or provocateur, the Chinese are highly likely not to be poising to strike this year. It is more probable than not this is just an escalation in the long drawn out campaign of the Dragon to wear Japan down. 

 China's long term goal is to take all of the islands of the China Seas, to dominate Asia and drive the U.S. Navy back to Pearl Harbor. To accomplish that goal they need not defeat the U.S. Navy in battle, just convince Japan and the Philippines that either the United States won't come to their aid or if the U.S. engages the Chinese Navy in battle near their home turf the U.S. Navy and allied forces will prove ineffective. The greatest ally that China has in this campaign is the U.S. Congress. year after year the U.S. Congress continues to fail to agree on a budget, and the result has been sequestration with its automatic cuts. Under sequestration the annual budget cuts to reduce the deficit and achieve a balanced budget over time are apportioned 50% to the defense budget.  The defense budget makes up only 17% of the overall budget. More over the cuts are across the board, there is no attempt to preserve the naval service despite a constitutional requirement to do so, nor in deference to that fact that naval forces are the type we most need at the moment. So our navy continues to shrink even as other allied, especially English speaking national navies continue to shrink and China's naval forces continue to grow. China has a quality gap that makes them want to bide their time before attacking, but they have a massive quantity lead. As is so often noted in the pages of the U.S. Naval Institute's PROCEEDINGS, "quantity often has a quality all its own." ; this is as true in a war of nerves as in a shooting war. Another year or tow of United States unilateral disarmament and Japan and the Philippines could well loose faith in the military capabilities and willingness of the United States and decide to negotiate with China on the Dragon's terms. Those terms will no doubt include repudiation of their defense treaties with the United States. Since Japan and the Philippines would only enter into such negotiations after a perceived loss of confidence in the value of U.S. security assurances, they probably wouldn't hesitate to jettison a treaty they would at that time view as worthless.

 When that happens the United States Navy is effectively pushed back to Pearl Harbor with out China having to endure ruinous naval combat and the possibility of the United States cancelling its debts to China as a formal belligerent in an armed conflict. We rate the possibility of this scenario as high if there is one or possibly two more years of sequestration and shrinking U.S. naval budgets. With the Obama administration in office and the balance of power apparently unchanging in both Houses of Congress we think three more years of sequestration is a serious probability. If the democrats take the white house again after Obama we think China takes a clean sweep of the chess board in year five without firing a shot , if and only if they don't miscalculate and over play their hand and accidentally get a shooting war started prematurely.

 Let's look ahead to what happens if the highly probable situation of more sequestration and a Democratic win of the White House occurs after Obama. With the U.S. Navy pushed back to Pearl Harbor, China already has the contract for the operation of the Panama Canal and serious relations with Cuba and other unfriendly Latin American Nations. The China Seas  where the vast majority of our trade with the Pacific and Indian Ocean basins must pass will be a closed sea owned and controlled by China. We might still have as many as 7 or 8 super carrier task forces left at his point, but China won't need to match us in naval quality. They will have overwhelming numeric advantage and they already peacefully command the choke points to our trade. The dragon will dictate the economy of the United States to its advantage. We'll still fly our flag, the same idiots that we select will be running Washington as instructed by their Chinese campaign contributors. The facade of independence will be intact. The politically, and economically unaware (at least 41% of the electorate) will not understand why hard times just seem to keep getting harder and will vote for the party that promises the most hand outs. The remaining 51% will usually not vote as a block occasionally crossing party lines. Locally, Republicans will continue to win local and some state wide offices and occasional seats in Congress giving the impression that some semblance of  a two party system still exists. Minor political parties like the Libertarians, and various Green parties will take a few inconsequential offices lending the appearance that "democracy"still exists. America will be a puppet theater. Neither political party can save the nation, only the American electorate can but that electorate is asleep at the switch, disorganized, unaware, and highly unlikely to act.

 The alternative future depends on a mistake by China. If the dragon pushes too hard and the naval shooting starts anytime soon, the Chinese navy is doomed; if they think otherwise right now they are self delusional. Both sides will try to keep the exchange naval in character but at some point the U.S. will repudiate its debt to China, sinking that nations economy and freeing ours. If China then decides to escalate by say invading Pearl Harbor or going nuclear at this point they would be soundly trounced triggering regime change in China. The U.S. would emerge free of debt to China, despite some inevitable damage, in better physical shape than China and without regime change. We doubt the event would usher in another "American century", but China would be another 100 years recovering.

 So as we see it this is the bottom line. Either the United States starts a naval build up, and encourages our English speaking allies to do the same (Japan and the Philippines are already building up) , reduces trade and debt with China, contests China as a peer power in all of the places where the Dragon has displaced us like the Panama Canal, and generally indicates a willingness to engage with enthusiasm in another Cold War type commercial, political, and military competition; or we become a failed state and Chinese "soft power" vassal state. The only other possibility is a miscalculation that leads to a shooting war. If that is our future the sooner the better  because at the moment we would be the winner in such a contest but every year as the current misrule continues by the U.S. Government the probability of victory in a contest of arms shrinks. We are living the Chinese curse...."may you live in interesting times...."  


The Chosun Ilbo 

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