Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Blue Water Dream

So China will launch their first carrier this year. I've noted that expectation. But this Taiwanese worry is off base:

An aircraft carrier group would potentially double the military threat posed to Taiwan by China by allowing the Chinese to approach from directions other than across the Strait, experts warn.

That's ridiculous. Sure, if China could put a fleet of a half dozen carriers east of Taiwan, that would be a real problem. But for now, unless China wants to use their first, Russian-built carrier as a speed bump deliberately sacrificed to slow down American intervention long enough to allow China to conquer Taiwan, the Chinese won't send their carrier east of Taiwan. It would not be a mortal threat to Taiwan as much as a decision by Peking to allow Shi Lang to lead a short but exciting life.

The Chinese carrier and its escorts east of Taiwan would be caught between the anvil of Taiwanese land-based aircraft and the hammer of American carriers, submarines, and surface ship anti-ship missiles in the Navy and land-based American aircraft sortied from Japan and Guam.

Our admirals have wet dreams about this possibility. I say that in a good way, mind you. They are trained for this eventuality with the tradition of the the Pacific campaign of 1942-1944 as their Golden Age of carrier warfare always in mind. They'd crush the Shi Lang and China's new DF-21s wouldn't save China's first carrier.

Taiwan has lots of defense problems in fighting off China. Shi Lang is not one of them. If China thinks the carrier is the key to capturing Taiwan in this matter, well, they're just having a blue water dream over that fantasy.

UPDATE: I almost titled this post "Between a ROC and a Hard Place," but I believe I used that already long ago.