China’s Navy Too Small, Changing (or revitalisation?) of the Red Guard in China, General Rumours that could be very healthy for Maoist principles – reposted by TE Yu – 23rd March 2012
Navy Expected to Recommend a Force of About 300 Ships – 3/16/2012
A “force structure” review that is about to be completed is likely to recommend that the Navy needs around 300 ships to meet its future demands.
The study is not yet finished, but could be presented to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as early as next week, said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert.
A 300-ship Navy is slightly larger than the current fleet of 285, but it is smaller than previous recommendations. Navy leaders since 2006 have said the fleet should grow to 313 ships.
During a breakfast with reporters March 16, Greenert said the review is not “budget driven” but is based on what the Navy projects it will need to carry out global responsibilities by 2020.
After Mabus gives the study the green light, it will be sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for approval, and then presented to congressional committees before it is publicly released, Greenert said.
The 300-ship recommendation is likely to spur criticism from Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, who have chided Navy leaders for under-funding shipbuilding accounts at a time when naval forces are in high demand, and a potential crisis is brewing in the Persian Gulf.
From the current fleet of 285 ships, 100 are deployed, said Greenert.
He pushed back on the criticism that the Navy is not budgeting enough money as it seeks to expand its presence in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and increase support of Southern Command’s antidrug campaign. “I am comfortable that we can resource the strategy properly,” Greenert said.
The 300-ship Navy, however, would not materialize until after 2020. The current budget forecasts a 285-ship force at least through 2017.
The Navy will be able to do its job with fewer ships, officials said, by “forward stationing” vessels in Europe, Singapore, Bahrain, the Diego Garcia territory and Japan; and by relying on civilian crews from the Military Sealift Command.
Despite budget cuts, the Navy will keep all 11 aircraft carriers and their 10 air wings, each of which is equipped with about 60 aircraft.
Navy Undersecretary Robert Work in recent public appearances has defended the idea that a larger force is not necessarily the way to fulfill future missions. A smaller but high-tech fleet of modern ships, aircraft and drones is more valuable than a larger force that might be less capable, Work has argued. “Is it going to be 313 ships or 310? I don’t care,” Work said in January. … “Everything interconnects. You can’t just count ships.”
Viewed from a population based angle, USA supposedly needs 300 ships to protect 300 million citizens, so China which has 1.3 billion citizens will need 1200 ships to be equitable . . . Viewed from a coastal length paradigm – USA has 19,000+ km and needs 300 ships, so China which has 14500 (or 20000 depending on the source) km will need 300+ ships as well . . . Russia also needs to defend it’s coast, so having 110,310 miles, Russia will need 1500 ships . . .
Zero sum games won’t work in conventional warfare paradigms without allies, but nuke wars are a total fail. Try Brazil’s coast and not even look so far east, Brazil 7491 so will need 85+ ships . . . tech paradigms could render US fleets 2-5 times more dangerous and thus numerous, so should ‘lower tech’ (perhaps not so low but there is no way to compare unless both nations declare weapons and craft technology) nations like China demand greater numbers of craft to compensate for low technology as well?
China’s Coup Jitters : Chinese citizens understand their government is not as stable as it claims.
Rumors of a coup in Beijing ricocheted around the Chinese Internet on Tuesday and even caused the cost of credit default swaps on Chinese debt to rise slightly. That’s remarkable considering there wasn’t one iota of evidence that shots were fired at the Diaoyutai State Guest House or tanks were taking to the streets, as viral microblog posts had it.
But then consider that a month ago, Wang Lijun, an official of vice ministerial rank, sought asylum in the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. Last week, his boss Bo Xilai, the popular party secretary of Chongqing, was dismissed from his post six months before a national leadership transition. In these strange days, it’s easy to see why Chinese citizens may believe reports of a coup.
China is supposed to have “institutionalized” its leadership transitions so that such an upheaval could never happen. The outgoing Politburo Standing Committee hands over power to the anointed party general secretary and premier and picks the rest of the new Politburo. The Standing Committee also selects the two slightly younger men who will take over the top jobs 10 years down the road.
But is this arrangement really so stable? Power is now shared on an alternating basis by the Shanghai or “princeling” faction (former Party Secretary Jiang Zemin and the presumptive next one, Xi Jinping) and the Communist Youth League faction (current Party Secretary Hu Jintao). This sets up a dynamic of the current ruling faction sharing power with its presumptive successors in the other faction, a delicate balance to maintain over time.
And because paramount leader Deng Xiaoping picked Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, this year will mark the first transition not determined by the revolutionary generation. In 2002, Jiang Zemin tried to prolong his hold on power and pack the new Politburo with his proteges. No doubt Hu Jintao is trying to do the same.
One of the photos is being circulating with the coup rumors in viral microblog posts.
The party has been able to keep internal strife under control by avoiding ideological struggle over the last 20 years. The factions have competed for important posts and the spoils of power, but they ruled by consensus. The public was simply told to believe in the myth of a monolithic party and ignore the men squabbling behind the curtain.
This technocratic pragmatism may now be breaking down. For instance, Bo Xilai appealed to leftists’ disgust with bourgeois individualism and public unhappiness with income inequality, a tactic that alarmed some leaders. Since his dismissal, leftist websites and commentators have also been silenced.
But there are plenty of other voices on the “right” advocating liberal political reform. Ten years ago, the prospect of achieving middle-class incomes made most intellectuals unwilling to rock the boat. Now they feel secure enough to demand more rights. The party sees this as evidence of Western infiltration, and it is tightening control over the media and launching new campaigns to promote the spirit of self-sacrifice.
This return of ideology could make it difficult for the party to apportion power neatly between the factions. This time, Bo Xilai was replaced by Zhang Dejiang, a more moderate member of the same faction. But if the factions come to stand for policy platforms, they will naturally start to play for keeps. Instead of rotating through positions as they currently do, politicians and their proteges will develop personal strongholds, especially in the military. From there it’s a short hop to a real coup attempt like the one Mao’s designated successor Lin Biao was supposedly plotting in 1971, before he died in a mysterious plane crash.
The Western commentariat likes to praise Chinese leaders as more intelligent and decisive than those chosen by democratic elections. Sometimes that may be true. But when was the last time rumors of a coup in Washington or London moved markets? The endless chanting of the “protect stability” mantra by Communist Party functionaries is a reminder that the regime is constantly on guard against attempts by its own members to usurp power.
When you get right down to it, what are China’s leadership transitions if not palace coups on a regular schedule? That’s not a stable institution. It’s an invitation, sooner or later, for tanks in the streets.
No plutocrats is a good policy. Uncontrolled Capitalism will destroy China the way USA has been destroyed. Service record and capability should be the only criteria for selection, not patronage or being a pkutocrat. If the Chinese wanted princelings, they should reinstate the imperial institution, but also keep plutocrat politicians out of the selection process. Seperation of powers in best preactices, should require that princes are not politicians as well as plutocrats not being either or both at the same time. If plutocrat prince politicians occur, we end up with another form of dictatorship worse than junta. The military should not stand for any such Western nonsense, though that violent era’s actions may not occur with polite retrenchments of ALL princes and handover to ‘organic’ Maoists instead. Who knows the ethical lessons behind such a bloodless coup could well assure China’s ascendency from here on. Whenever there are plutocrats leading any country, especially term limitless ones, or even worse nepotistic ones, the country is no longer viable for the people. If the army has not bee infiltrated by capitalism and still remembers Mao, they should know what to do.
Damaging coup rumours ricochet across China
Rumours are rife of the military seizing power, even if there is no evidence to support them. Have you heard? There’s been a coup in China! Tanks have been spotted on the streets of Beijing and other cities! Shots were fired near the Communist Party’s leadership compound!
OK, before you get too agitated, there is no coup. To be more exact, as far as we know there has been no attempted coup.
To be completely correct we should say we do not know what’s going on. The fact is there is no evidence of a coup. But it is a subject that has obsessed many in China this week.
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of reporting on China in the past few days. Coup rumours ricocheted back and forth, most over the internet, but some were picked up by western newspapers. China’s microblogs were awash with speculation. Hard facts were non-existent.
Purges and power-struggles
Photographs of tanks and armoured cars on city streets were flying around Twitter and elsewhere. On closer inspection though, some of the pictures seemed to be old ones from rehearsals for military parades, others did not even seem to be of Beijing, as they claimed, but different Chinese cities.
File photo of the People’s Liberation Army (February 2012) China does not look so stable when power struggles are fought in the dark
Many people seemed to believe something was happening, though. The thing that is fascinating is how much traction the talk gained, how far it spread, and what it suggests about China today.
What is most important is that these are not normal times in China. The political atmosphere is tense, full of talk about infighting, purges and power-struggles at the top as China’s Communist Party prepares for its once-in-a-decade leadership shuffle later this year.
The Communist Party likes to portray itself as unified, in control – a competent, managerial outfit guiding China towards renewed greatness. It had wanted to show it can handle a leadership change within its ranks smoothly, but now that looks to be far from the case.
The reality of the past few weeks has been that China has been gripped by some of the most extraordinary political events in years, and they indicate significant political tensions beneath the surface.
It began in early February with the flight of Wang Lijun, deputy mayor and police chief of Chongqing to the US consulate in Chengdu where he sought asylum.
He was refused and was taken away by Chinese state security. That was extraordinary in itself, but the talk was that he had evidence of high-level corruption.
In the absence of any information in China’s highly censored and controlled official media, people seize on rumours and speculation on the internet”
The fallout hit his boss, Bo Xilai, the populist Communist Party chief of Chongqing, member of the ruling Politburo and aspirant for one of the very top jobs in the leadership reshuffle later this year.
A brief official statement announced last week that Mr Bo has been removed from his post in Chongqing. He has now vanished from the scene.
His dismissal came after China’s Premier Wen Jiabao publicly reprimanded Mr Bo, warning “such historical tragedies as the Cultural Revolution may happen again”.
For one Chinese leader to criticise another so openly was highly unusual, but what really suggested significant tensions was that the premier chose to couple that with the references to the Cultural Revolution, a time of enormous suffering and turmoil in China.
It seemed to be a warning about the dangers posed by Mr Bo and his populist approach.
So the internet in China has been full of talk of power struggles. Chinese microblog users have posted what seem to be leaks of reports about corruption investigations into Mr Bo’s family.
News of Wang Lijun’s flight also leaked out through pictures, posted online, of Chinese police surrounding the US consulate. But there is much more going on here than just information leaking onto the web.
The rumours focus on two camps battling for positions. On the one side are President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and supporters who have risen mainly from the Communist Youth League.
On the other side are the Shanghai faction and the “princelings” including Xi Jinping, the man expected to be the next leader of the party, whose father was a hero of the Communist revolution.
The patron of the Shanghai faction is former President Jiang Zemin. The two factions are generally thought to rotate power between them, but that may be under strain.
Bo Xilai, is also a princeling, backed by “leftists” who liked his high-profile campaigns to help the poor and disadvantaged in Chongqing. Now rumours are rife that one of his main “leftist” patrons in the Politburo, the powerful head of internal security, Zhou Yongkang, is also under pressure and could be ousted.
Intellectual and opinionated
That is where the coup talk originated. Supposedly it may have been an attempt by Zhou Yongkang, who controls China’s huge internal security apparatus, to remove Mr Hu and Mr Wen from office.
Many in China are now so cynical about the level of censorship that they will not believe what comes from the party’s mouthpieces even if it is true”
Chinese microblog users are claiming Mr Zhou has been “defeated by Hu and Wen” and “Zhou Yongkang is under house arrest”.
The problem for China’s Communist Party is that it has no effective way of refuting such talk. There are no official spokesmen who will go on the record, no sources briefing the media on the background. Did it happen? Nobody knows. So the rumours swirl.
It is hardly surprising that there are splits and power struggles. They happen in every organisation, not just political parties. Those who reach the very top of the Communist Party of China can control vast resources, patronage, power and access to wealth. The idea that the party can be different and avoid such cliques and factional fights seems unrealistic.
But the Communist Party still attempts to control and divide up power in the same, secretive way it has for years. Meanwhile Chinese society has been changing fast around it. The party’s very success managing China’s economic growth means the country today is no longer the poor, agrarian society of Chairman Mao’s day.
China has been transformed. Hundreds of millions of its people are now urbanised, educated, literate, informed, intellectual and opinionated. Many are adept at using the internet to find and exchange information. They know there are power struggles and they are fascinated by what might be happening behind closed doors.
Everyone is waiting to see what the outcome of Bo Xilai’s fall and the power struggles will be. But in the absence of any information in China’s highly censored and controlled official media, people seize on rumours and speculation on the internet.
The official media, often waiting for political guidance, can be slow and unresponsive. Many in China are now so cynical about the level of censorship that they will not believe what comes from the party’s mouthpieces even if it is true. Instead they will give credence to half-truths or fabrications on the web. That is corrosive for the party’s authority.
For China’s Communist elite, obsessed by projecting an image of unity and stability, this is a serious problem. The party wants to manage the coming transfer of power smoothly. But keeping things secret and keeping people’s trust is not easy to achieve at the same time. And China doesn’t look quite so stable when power struggles are being fought in the dark and talk of a coup can spread so fast.
But China does look quite stable. Though ousting of plutocrats in politics and limitation of Capitalism in China should be no loss to the Chinese. Plutocrats holding politial power is a situation that is too dangerous, which leads to patronage and political inbreeding. Also why should a bureaucrat have any time to acquire such wealth if they are not busy serving the people? A coup if any should be quite bloodless, plutocrats being that wealthy will not be harmed by being ousted, they in fact could even support the change which they themselves failed to initiate and thank the army for reminding them of Mao’s anti-uncontrolled capitalism mindset. Wealth distribution is very important and the plutocrats should donate perhaps up to the limit of their wealth, donating to the rest of the country in a Socialist manner which is really quite poor.
China will be stable, because a handful of plutocrats will not sway entire armies brought up on Maoist ideology. There won’t be breaking of legs or what not by the Red Army this time, but a quiet and dignified return to what made China great. Maoism with limited Capitalism. A limit on extreme wealth as suggested above (USD$20 million retained by all plutocrats, with the rest of that wealth is redistributed for social, healthcare of to upgrade whatever needs upgrading, redistibute some land, money for more crop planting, canals for water etc.. day to day stuff, not sitting in some politician’s nor politician’s proxy’s bank, much less a politician’s crony’s bank, not held by the nepotistic politicians’ relatives, or worse in hidden in some tax haven . . . ). there must be rich people in China, but not SOOOO very rich while a billion or even more others barely scrape by . . . China has 1.3 billion people, time to redistribute the wealth (fiscal and political) you Chinese plutocrats! Sponsor an aircraft carrier each and defend those coasts!
Note : The Fatherland has launched an audit and crackdown on all rumour mongering sites to remove all offending posts and articles. As suspected, there were mere rumours. No coup occurred.
Authorities continue crackdown on rumours