Friday, October 04, 2013

Too Little and Too Late

China is still nosing around the Senkaku Islands which they claim are their territory. Japan is making an error thinking that they can beat China to the islands in a crisis.

China continues to probe Japan's resolve around the Senkaku Islands:

The Chinese vessels entered Japan-controlled waters of the Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu by China) on Tuesday, the coast guard said.

And Japan is still not in any mood to give in, as they stated a week ago to a global audience:

A territorial dispute over remote islands fueled an angry exchange between China and Japan at last year's U.N. General Assembly and sent relations to a new low. Whether the dispute plays out again at the world body this year will be a sign of how high the tensions remain.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the General Assembly on Thursday that his nation's interests are firmly connected to the stability of open seas, and "changes to the maritime order through use of force or coercion cannot be condoned under any circumstances."

China was not amused:

China wasn't persuaded by that explanation. It launched a stinging verbal attack on the floor of the General Assembly, accusing Japan of stealing the islands and "grossly violating" what it said had been part of China's territory since ancient times.

Japan's plan to hold their islands rests on developing capabilities to get to the unoccupied islands before China can:

Anxious to defend the Senkaku Islands from possible surprise Chinese attack, Japan is planning to buy 20 American MV-22 “Osprey” tilt rotor transports. These would be able to quickly move reinforcements to the Senkakus if the Chinese decided to land troops there and declare such an occupation as proof of Chinese ownership. ...

The U.S. recently moved 23 of its MV-22s to an American base on Okinawa. Both the U.S. and Japan are aware of the fact that the new Chinese Zubr air cushion craft could get troops to the Senkakus in 5 hours. From Okinawa MV-22s could reach the Senkakus within an hour. China has been getting more aggressive about its claims on the Senkakus, sending more warships and aircraft near the islands, which Japan considers a provocation and possible prelude to a Chinese attempt to establish small bases on the larger islets.

We couldn't get troops from Western Europe to Benghazi in that time frame on September 11, 2012. Yet we assume we can react quickly enough over the Senkakus? But only if China attacks as we anticipate?

Right now, American and Japan would have to jointly decide to move that fast. But even when Japan gets Ospreys, would they really be able to decide to fight China in the time it would take to beat China to the islands?

And if China moves their forces faster in a manner we don't plan for--or during weather conditions that ground Ospreys but don't keep China from moving--as China has dealt with the Philippines in the past over South China Seas disputed territory--will Japan really decide to counter-attack Chinese-held islands?

It is insane to plan a defense of your territory based on the notion that you won't hold your ground at the start but will attempt to race into the battle zone just ahead of your enemy--and if you can't, forcing your own side to escalate a crisis by using enough force to overcome what the enemy is now holding.

If it is too provocative to deploy garrisons on the Senkakus, why can't Japan send in the robots to defend the islands?

Remote weapon stations with gatling guns, anti-ship missiles, and air defense missiles would be able to shoot at landing attempts and Chinese aircraft in the region. UAVs would provide a mobile force to scout and shoot. They would be the reserve force to reinforce posts under attack.

With those defenses, having a quick reaction force to support the defenses makes far more sense and increases the risk to China of failing in the initial seizure rather than risking China waltzing in and setting up shop to dare Japan to do something about it.

UPDATE: Welcome MADSS. It's a remotely controlled armed vehicle rather than a true autonomous robot. But that's really what I'm talking about.