Monday, March 09, 2009

China Testing the U.S.

China is again testing the U.S.

This current test comes at approximately the same time in the new presidency as the last test. This week China has been harassing a unarmed US Navy vessel, the USNS Impeccable. The Impeccable (what a name to live up to!) was mapping in international waters when Chinese ships surrounded and harassed a Navy mapping ship in international waters off China, at one point coming within 25 feet of the American boat and strewing debris in its path. The crewmen of the impeccable used fire hoses against that vessel as they are unarmed (where is the wisdom in an unarmed Navy vessel?)
Pentagon officials said the close encounter followed these other incidents last week:

_On Wednesday, a Chinese Bureau of Fisheries Patrol vessel used a high-intensity spotlight to illuminate the Victorious, an ocean surveillance ship, as it operated in the Yellow Sea, about 125 nautical miles from China's coast, the Pentagon said. The next day, a Chinese Y-12 maritime surveillance aircraft conducted 12 fly-bys of Victorious at an altitude of about 400 feet and a range of 500 yards.

_On Thursday, a Chinese frigate approached USNS Impeccable without warning and crossed its bow at a range of approximately 100 yards, the Pentagon said. This was followed less than two hours later by a Chinese Y-12 aircraft conducting 11 fly-bys of Impeccable at an altitude of 600 feet and a range from 100-300 feet.

_On Saturday, a Chinese intelligence collection ship challenged Impeccable over bridge-to-bridge radio, calling her operations illegal and directing Impeccable to leave the area or "suffer the consequences."
For those who don't remember the Chinese similarly tested George Bush in 2001 when their fighter jet, while harassing a US surveillance plane, collided with it forcing the surveillance plane to land in China. That happened in late March of 2001.

Now some will point to this and say that China is rising and possibly trying to provoke an incident with us. I am not too sure of that. I think what they are doing is testing the new regime's response. This will indicate to the Chinese just how belligerent they can be in the region. By choosing an American target they can get a feel for how we will respond to their overtures towards neighboring countries, whereas if they tried this with say a Taiwanese vessel our response would be layered and take more time.

Now China is in a relatively better position vs the US than they were 8 years ago. Our economy is on the verge of collapse (who ever could have thought THAT might happen. Well, besides the Austrians that is) and we now have a significant portion of our military tied up in two little hell holes half the world away. Further the American appetite for armed conflict is nearly full. An action in the south pacific would not be looked on favorably. It could well be said that we must pass this test. I don't know just what that response should be as I am not a military man, nor versed in diplomacy. But one thing I can be sure of, is that I don't trust Obama and Hillary Clinton to be up to the task. Hillary as president would have be slightly better than the poser Obama, and McCain (much as I dislike him) would not tolerate such behavior so his response would likely have been better than what we will ultimately do.

Final thought: Is this the beginning of the event prophesied by Joe Biden? Should we be holding classes on "Loin Girding?"