Geography and the coming Sino-American war at sea

A member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force takes part in an amphibious drill on May 13 during joint military exercises on Guam involving Japan, the U.S., France and Britain that were intended to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid concerns China may restrict access to the South China Sea. | AP

 

Geography is determinate in military plans, a fact that planners understand at all levels, from tactical to strategic. While tailored combat elements may traverse difficult environments on land and at sea, heavily laden logistics craft that follow and enable them can rarely do the same. This is what pushes armies and fleets toward certain immutable routes, resulting in battles occurring at the same locations, over and over, throughout recorded history. Much as the ridge at Megiddo, better known as “Armageddon,” played witness to strife no less than 13 times since the 15th century B.C. because it stood astride the route from Mesopotamia to Egypt, key maritime straits such as the waters of the South China Sea and the Sunda and Malaccan Straits will provide the backdrop for future naval battles. Geography and geopolitics are intermeshed and unavoidable. Unfortunately for China, they sit upon the wrong side of the former and are rather poor at the latter. Western advantages in both must not be squandered. Continue reading

As U.S. balks at rebuilding infrastructure, China advances ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ strategy to dominate Eurasia, Africa

 

On May 14-15, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Beijing meeting attracted 29 heads of state (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and representatives of 130 other countries (including the U.S.), plus the leaders of 70 international organizations, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the keynote address heralding the “One Belt, One Road” initiative (BRI) as a top priority. And well it should be, given that its goal is nothing less than to establish Chinese preeminence (even hegemony) over Eurasia and Africa. Continue reading

Not Only Against Russia

BERLIN (Own report) – Bundeswehr circles are calling for German military activities to be extended in the Indian Ocean. According to an analysis by three political scientists at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, the ocean linking Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia is the most important sea for global trade. It will replace the Atlantic, to become the most important “Ocean of the 21st Century.” Germany, therefore, must become more active – militarily as well, beginning, for example, with joint maneuvers with the bordering countries. Until now, Germany only has a permanent presence in Djibouti, in the western Indian Ocean, which is seen as insufficient. This plea for opening a parallel theater of conflict alongside the power struggle with Russia, dovetails with existing German activities, for example, the reinforced arms buildup of the East and Southeast Asian rivals of the People’s Republic of China. As has now been confirmed in the new Arms Exports Report, published in the middle of this week, Germany’s arms export policies have already begun to focus on East and Southeast Asia. Four countries from these regions are among the top ten customers of German military hardware, but only two NATO member countries.

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China flexes muscle in Indian Ocean, Navy concerned

NEW DELHI: Increasing presence of the Chinese maritime forces in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and disciplinary issues in the force are expected to be discussed by the top Navy brass in their commanders’ conference starting on Tuesday.

The Navy has been concerned over the increasing presence of Chinese navy’s submarines and other warships in the IOR. In a recent report submitted to the defence ministry, the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters had informed the government quoting the data by American agencies that 22 encounters of Chinese submarines have taken place outside its territorial waters in the IOR.  Continue reading