Archive for the ‘dominance’ Category

Fading American Economic and Military Dominance; Even More Global Danger – Experts

November 19, 2008

The top U.S. intelligence panel this week is expected to issue a snapshot of the world in 2025, in a report that predicts fading American economic and military dominance and warns of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times

The predictions come from the National Intellignce Council (NIC), part of Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell’s office.

The NIC report, a draft copy of which is titled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” is slated for release as early as Thursday.

The report also predicts “a unified Korea” is likely by then, and that China  will be the world’s second-largest economy and a major military power.

“The United States will remain the single most powerful country, although less dominant,” according to a “working draft” of the document obtained by The Washington Times. “Shrinking economic and military capabilities may force the U.S. into a difficult set of tradeoffs between domestic and foreign-policy priorities.”

A senior intelligence official said some details have changed in the final report, but “the thrust is the same.”

The draft says:

“The next 20 years of transition toward a new international system are fraught with risks, such as a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and possible interstate conflicts over resources.”

“We see a unified Korea as likely by 2025 and assess the peninsula will probably be denuclearized, either via ongoing diplomacy or as a necessary condition for international acceptance of and cooperation with a needy new Korea.”

Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and chairman of the NIC, said Tuesday that the report “should not be viewed as a prediction.” Even “projection” is not entirely correct, he said, though he used that word several times during a luncheon at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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Could China’s Envey of U.S. Aircraft Carriers Now Be a Construction Project?

November 17, 2008

A senior Chinese defence official has told a British newspaper that any great power would want an aircraft carrier.


Major General Qian Lihua, director of the ministry’s Foreign Affairs Office, said that if China had a carrier, it would not be used for “global reach”.

His comments came amid speculation that China is building its first aircraft carrier, which he did not confirm.

China’s growing naval strength is of interest in Taiwan and the South China Sea where China claims territory.

“The navy of any great power… has the dream to have one or more aircraft carriers,” Maj Gen Qian said in the interview with the Financial Times newspaper.

“The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier.

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Above: USS George Washington

By Mure Dickie and Martin Dickson in Beijing
Financial Times

Published: November 16 2008

The world should not be surprised if China builds an aircraft carrier but Beijing would use such a vessel only for offshore defence, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence has told the Financial Times.

The comments from Major General Qian Lihua, director of the ministry’s Foreign Affairs Office, come amid heated speculation within China and abroad that the increasingly potent naval arm of the People’s Liberation Army has decided to develop and deploy its first aircraft carrier. Traditionally, a carrier would accompany and protect a battle group of smaller ships.

The Pentagon said this year that China was actively engaged in aircraft carrier research and would be able to start building one by the end of this decade, while Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last month that the PLA was training 50 students to become naval pilots capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft from such a ship.

Maj Gen Qian declined to comment directly on whether China had decided to build a carrier, but in the defence ministry’s most forthright statement yet on the issue he made clear that China had every right to do so.

“The navy of any great power . . . has the dream to have one or more aircraft carriers,” he said in the interview, which aides said was the first arranged by the defence ministry on its own premises. “The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier.”

Though he did not mention the US by name, Maj Gen Qian pointedly contrasted the function of a possible Chinese vessel with the way the US Navy uses its 11 carriers. “Navies of great powers with more than 10 aircraft carrier battle groups with strategic military objectives have a different purpose from countries with only one or two carriers used for offshore defence,” he said. “Even if one day we have an aircraft carrier, unlike another country, we will not use it to pursue global deployment or global reach.”

That pledge is unlikely to reassure those in the region concerned about the PLA navy’s emergence as a blue-water force. An effective Chinese carrier could have serious implications for any conflict involving Taiwan by strengthening the mainland’s ability to counter the island’s air force and control its sea-lanes.

Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and threatens military action against the island if it tries to further formalise its current de facto independence. Taiwanese separatism was the “biggest threat” China currently faced, Maj Gen Qian said.

Admiral Timothy Keating, head of US Pacific Command, said in Beijing last year that Chinese development of a carrier should not be the cause of any unnecessary tension, and that the US would even be willing to lend a helping hand.