China and some other countries now have supersonic anti-ship missiles that can be submarine launched hundreds of miles from the target. The missile will travel just above sea level at about 600 miles per hour and accelerate to three times the speed of sound for the last twenty miles.
Prez Obama has sent a US destroyer into the (by United Nations treaty) international waters now being seized by China. This is putting a chip on one’s shoulder and walking past a bully. Of course, it helps when the bearer of the chip is a bigger bully.
The missile is real enough and so is both China’s territorial grab and the U.S. response, no doubt at the behest of several neighboring countries now seeing themselves as China’s Ukraine. But all these and the real Ukraine too are symptoms, not a disease. The disease, unlike the symptoms, is not to be mentioned. Some may recall when STD’s were in that category.
The disease is an international plague and it is financial. The international financial system is breaking down and none is immune. All significant governments today, with world-wide electronic communication being available nearly everywhere, are forced to satisfy their citizens at least to some minimum point or risk their own control.
Russia and China are both in financial decline and citizens are hurting; more so in Russia under low oil prices. Both are nevertheless, ramping up military procurement, using aggressive nationalistic policies to keep citizens enthralled. That makes both dangerous to peace. Both feel secure in their resulting adventures as they see the finances of the United States increasingly limiting that one time super power’s choices.
The new weaponry limits U.S. choices even more. Naval carriers are fine fighting or just threatening penny-ante dictators or terrorists; they will not last many hours after a real war with a major power begins. Unfortunately, the Navy’s manned aircraft are much shorter ranged than are the larger missiles.
Folk such as Putin, Obama and the Chinese know that. We note that Putin met with Obama in New York just before sending his troops and planes to Syria. We suppose that China knew to expect Obama’s destroyer sailing past the Spratly Islands. We suppose that much of what we see is, as is so much that we see and hear in domestic politics, a show hiding the backroom reality from us.
But the international big time military shows do not always stay on script. And the longer the chain between the boss and his minions grows, the greater is that risk. And sometimes, a third party steps into the chain and diverts it.
As the various players’ finances continue to decline, we expect that their risk tolerances will rise as the threats to their power grows more severe amid their peoples’ increasing desperation. Some leaders will see a need to take greater chances. The next real, international war awaits the combustion point of those forces, we think.
It will, though we will not see it coming, be obvious in hindsight. That is often the case with us, apparently. Most seem not to realize yet that the international financial system is collapsing …
But where we live, our Fall weather has been delightful!