Samstag, Dezember 11, 2004

Adding Two and Two...

So, here's an attempt to put something together.

Professor Bainbridge makes the point that the US may at this point need to reorganize its military to adjust to changing world circumstances, largely an expansion of the army back out to 18 divisions. Chrenkoff makes a similiar point, but with a slight difference: he looks at what is happening in East Asia with Japan's military stance.

Is this the shape of things? Chrenkoff makes it clear that Japan now apparently sees a confrontation with Russia as a lesser threat than a confrontation with China. The Europeans appear to be quite willing to play the evil capitalist role and drop any sort of limitations of selling military equipment to the Chinese.

I fear that we are heading back into a state of affairs where "The Great Game" of geostrategical politics will be played. Or rather, is being played.

The Cold War led everyone to play the game of Go, where you tried to prevent your opponent from taking your pieces off the board by taking his pieces off the board (massive simplification of the game, of course). A lot of locally bad politics was justified by the overall scheme of things: hence the US supported dictatorships in order to prevent communist-subverted movements from taking country x into the Soviet sphere, and the Soviets were more than glad to enter into ultimately destructive relationships (Cuba, ME client states) in order to tie the West up in knots.

But now it seems that one of the former grand masters of colonialism, the French, are back to playing the Great Game. I think that they are trying to manipulate purpoted partners into situations not of their own choosing where they think they can control the game.

Hence the massive push to re-allow the sale of advanced weaponry to China, who desperately needs it in order to achieve any sort of parity with US power. China, of course, is following its own path where it will increasingly pay attention to maintaining access to raw materials and captive markets at any cost - Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, anyone? - while other countries will try and avoid having to make the decision to start spending money on the military, since they've avoided doing it until now.

We may well end up with a resurgent China that behaves like expansionist Japan, a Japan that will resemble the UK post-WW2 (successful but exhausted from empire with population problems) and a US that is distracted elsewhere.

Or have I been reading too much Clancy?

The Chinese are clearly after key technologies and already have some of them: take a look at this and scroll down to where you will find the following:

The Type 98 is powered by a liquid cooled, turbocharged 1,200 hp diesel derived from Germany WD396 diesel technology. At its current battle weight of 52 tons, this gives a power-to-weight ratio of about 23 hp/tonne.

If you go here, you will also find this:

The original proposal was to develop an MBT based on the hull design of the T-72, and fit it with Western 120 mm smoothbore gun and advanced fire control equipment. This plan was later temporally halted due to the boycotts by the Western countries after 1989.

But this, at the same place, is also chilling:

PROPULSION: At least four diesel powerpacks have been tested on the Type 90-II/Al Khalid MBT, including two supplied by the Perkins Engine Company and each comprising of a CV-12 Condor diesel of 1,200 hp (as fitted in the Challenger 1 and 2), coupled to a French SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission (as installed in the Leclerc).

The Pakistan-manufactured Al Khalid MBT is reported to be fitted with a Ukraine built 6TD diesel (as fitted in the T-80UD). Claimed to be the most compact MBT diesel engines in the world, the 6TD series are two-stroke, liquid cooled and supercharged with horizontal cylinders and opposed pistons. At its current battle weight of 46 tons, the engine gives the Al Khalid MBT a 26 hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio and a max speed of 72 km/h.

In other words, Perkins is involved as well. So the Chinese are recreating their former mass military into a more modern fighting force with the help of the Germans, the French, the Ukranians and even the US.

And don't pshaw these developments as being trivial: the Chinese haven't had decent tanks, let alone ones that can stand up to the M1 and its variants. Given these developments, they may well be on their way to developing them.

What was that about capitalists selling the rope used to hang them? I guess today Lenin would rephrase that to point out that capitalists would actually finance the rope as well, offer volume discounts and provide generous kickbacks while doing so.


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