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How Big Is The Threat of China's Navy?
How Big Is The Threat of China's Navy
by James Holmes, The National Interest
China doesn’t need to command sea or sky, either partially or wholly, to prevail in a trial of arms—let alone to deter in peacetime. It only needs to convince Washington, DC the price of, say, defending the Senkaku Islands is too steep considering the meager value Americans attach to the archipelago.
Here's What You Need to Remember: Military folk must beware of hubris, the worst of all strategic habits. As ancient Greeks warned, hubris begets nemesis, meaning divine retribution. It’s insidious—especially for a force like the U.S. Navy.
Admirals say the darnedest things. Over at the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine a few years back, retired U.S. Pacific Command Intelligence Chief Capt. Jim Fanell takes PACOM kahunas, past and present, to task for disparaging China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Respect for prospective foes, proclaims Captain Fanell, constitutes the most prudent attitude.
Such counsel is evergreen.
Military folk must beware of hubris, the worst of all strategic habits. As ancient Greeks warned, hubris begets nemesis, meaning divine retribution. It’s insidious—especially for a force like the U.S. Navy. After all, it’s been twenty-six years since the Cold War. Few sailors or naval aviators now in uniform have known anything except American maritime supremacy. Such a historical interlude can give rise to triumphalism that taints assessments of rising challengers.
Last month, for instance, erstwhile PACOM commander Adm. Dennis Blair told a naval conference that China’s military has failed to amass “maritime and air superiority” and thus cannot degrade American deterrence or treaty commitments in the Far East. Around the same time, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, current PACOM supremo, Adm. Harry Harris, likened comparing PLAN and U.S. Navy submarines to “comparing a Model T with a Corvette.”