December 19, 2007

The Chinese have a PLAN -- Do We?

Bully! The Wall Street Journal today had a nice opinion piece written by Bret Stephens about "The Great White Fleet" sent around the world by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1907-09. It was Teddy's way of demonstrating to the world that the United States had arrived as a naval power.

Stephens' article is another alarm bell of the wakeup call that doesn't seem to have stirred anyone. He writes, "...a supremely powerful Navy is not a luxury the U.S. can safely dispense with. In September, ships of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) made their first-ever port calls in Germany, France, Britain and Italy, and Chinese admirals are frequent guests on American warships.

He further quotes a senior Navy official as saying "The Chinese Great White Fleet is not too far off on the horizon." In fact, the UK Daily Mail last month reported that U.S. military leaders were "dumbstruck" by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk.

Coupled with unfolding nautical developments in the Middle East, where Russia will soon establish an 11-ship presence in the Mediterranen, led by the carrier Kuznetsov, it appears we have tangible evidence of Sino-Soviet inclinations for bolstering their naval power. If the Iranians then begin operating submarines from a base in Syria, which reportedly has the Israelis on edge, we may begin waking up to the possible radical change in military strength in both the Pacific and Atlantic. Take a look at this UK web site named Chinese Defence Today that outlines growth of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

I'd like to think that the U.S. Department of Defense and our crack intelligence program (gulp) are on top of things. Lack of media coverage about these unfolding events means that most Americans are probably watching their favorite reality program. We may truly be "asleep at the switch."

1 comment:

Roger said...

Teddy had a plan...but "W" is about as far from Teddy as another president can get...