18 March 2010

Beware the Mighty Potemkin Forces!

Apparently both Russia and China have built powerful Potemkin forces, in order to counter the world hegemon.

Most of their ships are elderly, poorly designed and rarely used. Their nuclear subs are worse than the first generation of Russian nukes back in the 1960s. The most modern Chinese ships are Russian made, Cold War era models. Chinese ships don't go to sea much, not just because it's expensive, but because Chinese ships tend to get involved in nasty incidents. Like the submarine that killed its crew when the boat submerged (and the diesel engines did not shut down when the batteries kicked in, thus using up all the oxygen.) Breakdowns are more common, as well as a lot of accidents you don't hear about (weapons and equipment malfunctions that kill and maim.)

... China has a lot of domestic problems to worry about, which is apparently one reason the government isn't willing to give a lot of money to the military. In fact, the generals have been told to shrink their manpower strength, and gradually increase the quality of equipment and training. Over the next three years, China will shrink its armed forces by another few hundred thousand troops. The Chinese armed forces has already shrunk by 1.7 million troops in the last twenty years, and now consists of 2.3 million active duty personnel. Soon, there will be only 1.6 million troops (not much larger than the 1.4 million American force)...

...Given the sorry state of Chinese weapons and equipment, it will take them decades to even have a chance of "catching up with the United States". And that's apparently the Chinese plan. And it's a very traditional plan. The Chinese like to think long term. Works for them. Meanwhile, China does not want to make the U.S. Navy angry. China is now dependent on imports, especially oil and other raw materials. _StrategyPage

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, Russia has lost over 90 percent of its combat power. It was disarmament by starvation (massive cuts in the defense budget) and neglect (the military leadership tried to hold on to more equipment than they could afford to maintain or operate, making the situation worse.) Digging out of the hole is going to cost a few hundred billion dollars and over a decade of effort.

...the ground forces are a mess, with most of the weapons and equipment 20-30 years old and falling apart. Over a hundred thousand armored vehicles were junked, or "put into storage" (parked somewhere out-of-the-way, where they could rot quietly) since 1991. Only the best, least used and most recently built stuff has been kept. Even that gear is not much good, and replacements have to be bought in the next 5-10 years, or the army will be reduced to a bunch of guys with assault rifles, mortars and old trucks.

...Despite exports of nearly $9 billion worth of weapons a year, Russian weapons still have a well deserved reputation of not being as dependable, or effective, as their Western counterparts. As a result, even Russia is shopping for Western weapons and components for some of their own needs. _StrategyPage

The mighty Potemkin forces of China and Russia are a fearsome threat that confronts the US, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand -- the Anglosphere, the only source of organised and well-trained fighting forces of any size left in the western world.

It is clear that Russia's population is shrinking too quickly for Russia to be able to defend its vast territories very much longer. China's population is quite stable, and will be for decades longer. Time favours the Chinese Potemkin, should it go up against the Russian Potemkin for the ownership of Siberia.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

China's regular army is not the main defender of Chinese territory, the militia is. I have a PDF on my hard drive that claims that every man in China is required to be member of the national militia. If this PDF is true it begs the question as to why China had such a bad response to it the earthquake in western China that killed so many people.

In addition to the Anglosphere Germany has a creditable military as does Israel. Israel isn't a member of the Anglosphere, but it is a former British colony.

Japan also has a large military, and in the last decade launched its first helicopter carrier, probably in preparation for launching an aircraft carrier in the future.

Thursday, 18 March, 2010  
Blogger Sojka's Call said...

So, should the US cut its military spending to about 10% of what it does now so we don't go completely bankrupt?

Thursday, 18 March, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

The militaries of Germany, Israel, and Japan have some creditable units, but are insignificant sizewise.

SC: That is not how government budgeting works. Normally, US Democratic Party politicians would call for defense cuts, but in a one-party government where the DP controls all, they would rather have the military as a huge plaything and cash cow.

Remember: intellectuals are always against the established order until they become a part of it. Once a part of the order, intellectuals become its staunchest defenders.

Friday, 19 March, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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