Monday, November 12, 2018

I Remain Grateful for Just Moments of Clarity

This article discusses the Japanese worry about China and focuses on Japan's sizable navy maritime self defense force:

With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan’s navy — the Maritime Self-Defense Force — is the second largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world. It is also highly advanced technologically and is growing all the time. The two 27,000 ton Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, the largest in the fleet, with flat flight decks and islands on the starboard side of the vessels, are small compared to the United States Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers (approximately 100,000 tons) or Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers (65,000 tons). But if equipped with the new short-take-off-and-vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighter they will still pack a powerful punch. And Japan is considering adding more of these aircraft carriers to its fleet and advanced U.S.-style Aegis class destroyers, capable of shooting down medium-range ballistic missiles.

The author discusses efforts by Abe to get the Japanese people to alter the provision in the constitution that prohibits Japan from having offensive weapons.

While I think the distinction between "offensive" and "defensive" weapons is pure fiction, I think even a failed amendment effort would have value by implicitly conceding that what Japan has done up to now is perfectly in accordance with the existing constitution. Given the false distinction that only seems to prevent Japan from building the logistics base to support forces far from Japan, I don't think their constitution would stop Japan from reacting to China's growing threat. Especially if the Japanese can plug into the American logistics system.

The article was fine until the end:

Japan is heavily dependent on sea transport, especially for fuel oil and natural gas, that comes from the Middle East via the Strait of Malacca and the Formosa Strait. With the U.S. under President Donald Trump adopting an increasing isolationist tone, Japan, like Australia and other nations in the region, will have to put more assets into their own defence.

Dude. Ditch the derangement syndrome. America is not becoming more isolationist.

Has nobody noticed the increasing American freedom of navigation exercises around China to dispute their territorial claims (and note too, that under Obama the Navy conducted phony freedom of navigation exercises against China)?

Seriously, did this not happen?

China bluntly told the United States to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, during talks Friday that set the stage for a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month.

The U.S. pushed back, insisting it will continue to "fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows."

And what about the American exercises with Japan and others in the region?

American also increased substantially the defense budget and is making serious efforts to restore readiness harmed by years under the budget freeze that prevented the military from redirecting money to readiness. Ring a bell?

Trump is certainly urging allies to spend more on their own defense, and doing it in a less-than-diplomatic manner. But no alliance is under threat. Just where is the evidence of isolationism and what in the heck is the "tone" the author says telegraphs it?

Also, to say as the author does that China dominates the East China Sea and South China Sea "the way that the United States dominates the Caribbean" is just idiotic. America does not claim the Caribbean Sea!

The author was on solid ground and then he went and ruined the ride. Skip the last two paragraphs and this is a fine article.