So I read that China’s naval force is becoming powerful.
Sometime between 2015 and 2020, China’s Navy crossed a critical threshold: it fielded more battle force ships than the U.S. Navy, making it the world’s largest navy numerically. Today, at around 360 hulls, it exceeds its American rival by more than sixty warships.
The article goes on to summarise the recent ship-building achievements by the China’s naval forces. It’s clear, the force-projecting machine is on the rise. This is especially worrying in the context of the regional waters around China, especially South China Sea disputes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_disputes_in_the_South_China_Sea).
This has implications in regard to the rise of hi-tech as a strategic asset: production of computer processors is becoming a strategic and vital military issue. C.f., e.g., the insightful article by Ben Thompson here: https://stratechery.com/2020/chips-and-geopolitics/. It boils down to this observation: chips are everywhere and especially so in advanced weapons. You can’t win a war without chips. Who owns chip production, owns a strategic resource and it provides them a freedom to operate in military theatre.
The most advanced chip production facilities are owned by TSMC and reside in Taiwan. The fact that EU and USA are becoming disadvantaged in chip production (it’s of course way more nuanced, but generally true) is a strategic military planning concern. China’s growing ability to project naval power and to capture Taiwan if it decides so are, in this sense, problematic.
There’s one more interesting observation:
More broadly still, it offers modern history’s sole example of a “land” power successfully becoming a “sea” power and sustaining that status over time.
Indeed, as well argued by e.g., G. Friedman in The Next 100 Years, China is a land power. It’s limited by it access to the Pacific Ocean by all the islands it needs to navigate to get to the Ocean. So regardless of their fleet size, their capability to project power beyond this region is limited as far as they do not control the whole archipelago between Japan and Indonesia. So far, they don’t. Their growing naval capability, however, potentially threatens that to change. That well explains the growing USA obsession with China and Taiwan issues: threaten the control of Pacific Ocean by USA and you get their attention.
This is one of the slowly moving games played out there, curious to see further developments in the coming decades.
Britain. France. Germany. Holland. Canada. All are sending warships to the South China Sea in growing “pushback” against Beijing.
Interesting developments in South China Sea: https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/british-and-canadian-warships-invade-south-china-sea-as-tensions-escalate-with-beijing/news-story/41cc91af2af8b5ec3126712d09fef454
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