Sunday, August 14, 2011

Voices on Grand Strategy, or Lack There of.

This past week saw China send it's first aircraft carrier out for sea trials. The reaction ranged from outright calls to a return to a Cold War footing to this inquiry from our State Department, which prompted this comment from CDR Salamander.
This is not helpful.
The PRC is a sovereign nation with legitimate maritime security requirements that are easily understood by anyone with an even rudimentary understanding of where maritime strategy and commerce come together.
The fact that the DOS would ask this in public does too things; it insults the Chinese through its patronizing tone and it makes our nation look like it is led by arrogant imperialists at best, simpletons at worst.
The good CDR goes on to suggest how the Chinese should respond.
"Here are our plans for our follow-on carrier development. Also, the Chinese people would like to know what plans the United States government has to bring its credit rating to back AAA. Our people worry about their investments. Until the Americans do that and assure worries in the investments by the Chinese people in the sovereign debt of the American government, we do not see the reason for their continued spending on such an unnecessarily large and offensively-minded military.
We have had concerns about the American ability to service their debt for some time and we've been quite open with them with regard to the lack of transparency from the Americans regarding their capabilities to ensure their own economic stability."
CDR Salamander is not one to trifle with defense issues, as having spent considerable time serving his country and continues to write astute and biting comments about the eroding state of our naval centric defense posture.

Read more:
State Dept. Makes Us All Look Stooopid

The bigger problem that looms before us, is when issuing a bumbling statement, the Dept of State, which speaks for our current leadership; reveals a dangerous lack of a grand strategy for managing the rise of a great power. Bryan McGrath offered up this next post on Information Dissemination where he argues that being prepared for war is the best way to avoid one.
I submit that while we are sometimes surprised by events (or appear to be), we have also been astoundingly and dramatically right in our prediction of the future on occasion. Put another way, if we are so bad at predicting the future, the entire concept of deterrence—conventional and otherwise—must be questioned. Because deterrence has at its heart—the animating impetus of an event or events yet to come which one does not desire to see. And I for one am not ready to make that leap. My case will be supported with only one vignette, but it is an important one. And then, it leads to a recommendation or two.

We must as a nation, face the possibility that the United States will someday fight a war with China. We must recognize that the way of human existence seems to presuppose conflict between a rising power and the status quo power where interests intersect. We must recognize that this conflict would be ruinous to China, to our nation, and potentially to much of the world. We must recognize that the central tenet of our national security strategy must be to ensure that such a war never happens. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case.
McGrath lays out a strategy that in an effort to discuss all possibilities, deserves a careful read.
On Predicting the Future

More on Chinese naval intentions can be found at.
Andrew Erickson

To put this all in prospective, here is a list of the current aircraft carriers in service in the world. China's would be joining India, South Korea and Thailand, other Asian nations who feel compelled to have an aircraft carrier.
World's Aircraft Carriers

Joining the discussion about the critical importance of having a "Grand Strategy" is Great Satan's Girlfriend Courtney Messerschmidt who posted this epistle in a style described as Dixie fried Esperanto by Carl Prine.of Line of Departure which hosted  this post. Here is a teaser to encourage you to check it out as well as the links to support her astute argument.

Uniquely powerful — the only one of her kind!
Hegemonic unipolarity and the “Off Shore Balancing” act are facing off at the highest (almost) levels of Great Satan’s Academic and Actualizing apex.
As best understood, the Offshore Balancing fans are frightened that gap shrinking, global orderliness and reinforcing desired myriad nation state behavior will become more dangerous, more difficult and more expensive. Control of and over the internat’l system should shrivel as Great Satan radically redefined her interests to maintaining home turf integrity and maybe might sorta try to prevent a massive near field competitor from commanding enough resources to threaten North America.
Off Shore Balancing by def means Great Satan would ease up on military commitments to NATO, Nippon, SoKo and Taiwan in general — though there are good cases to be made that Offshore Balancing would look a lot like hyperpuissance’s overbearing preponderance in PACRIM.
Read the whole post:
Courtney's Complaint
Crossroads of Global Economy

Closing out the post today, comes this from Thomas PM Barnett who serves up this evidence that the "Grand Strategy" that has guided the United States for the past half century and in complete hindsight, going back to Theodore Roosevelt, has led to a world order  that has seen the rise of a truly global middle-class. His comments are brief enough to post in full, but to get the full vision click on the link to view his parting comments and the link to the article and graphs.
It is THE amazing achievement of US grand strategy that we've created the conditions by which the chart of the direct left unfolds. If ANYBODY tells you that globalization is bad or unfair or says similar things about US "empire" since WWII, then simply show them the slide on the left, because it knocks those lies right out of the ballpark.
Or to be more succinct: the US-created and -enabled globalization process never replicated the dynamics of colonialism - i.e., kept the poor down. It did the exact opposite. The rest is just whiny bullshit propagated by little minds who refuse to accept it. We built a world order that enabled the rise of a global middle class, which means near-universal democracy is in the works (there will remain bedroom communities for the nonviolent rejectionists - we'll just ask them to put orange reflector signs on their buggies). 
Read more:
Chart of the day: Filling in the gaps on emerging economies = economic dynamic of century

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