Tuesday 23 February 2016

The need for an ally

I'm not feeling really well today.

Don't feel like writing even nonsense.

Instead I'm just going to cut and paste an opinion piece from Reuters.

After reading it, you all should decide whether Malaysia need to ally itself with other countries to protect its sovereignty.

I think we should.

I wish we could be China's ally, but by the way things are, I'm afraid it's not likely going to be so.

STRAIT OF MALACCA (Jan. 26, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) leads the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekir (FF 26) during a passing exercise. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 are underway on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

What makes just 16 missiles such a deadly threat in the South China Sea

By James Holmes

In a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.
For a 19th-century Prussian take on the situation, think about Carl von Clausewitz’s definition of war. War, opines the West’s master of strategy, is essentially fighting, while fighting in turn is “a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter.” That is, it’s a test of wills settled through deploying manpower and hardware for battlefield encounters. Whoever prevails by force of arms wins — and breaks the enemy’s resolve to continue the fight in the process. Battlefield victory begets strategic and political success.
A war of words, on the other hand, might be described as a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of perceived physical force. To prevail in a peacetime showdown, convince the opponent and influential outsiders that you would have won in actual combat. Do that — make believers out of important audiences — and you may reap the rewards of victory without enduring the hazards, costs, and sheer caprice of combat. You may win without fighting — as sane leaders everywhere want to.
The missile deployment represents Beijing’s way of trying to make Asian and Western competitors believers in the PLA’s unbeatable martial prowess. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported spotting two batteries of eight HQ-9 missiles apiece, along with the associated search and fire-control radars. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed the report while condemning China’s “militarization” of South China Sea waters and skies — something China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed not to do. Harris’ words corroborate the reporting out of Taipei convincingly.
But what does it all mean? Start with the obvious: this is a weapons system that packs a wallop. The Woody Island deployment spells danger for hostile air forces that venture within a sizable bubble above and around Woody Island. The HQ-9’s maximum range of 200 km, or about 124 miles, traces the outer reaches of that bubble, which encloses some 48,300 square miles of sea area — about the same land area as my former home state of Mississippi — centered on the island. That empowers HQ-9s to bring down aircraft anywhere over the Paracels group — including over Triton Island, where USS Curtis Wilbur staged a “freedom-of-navigation” cruise last month. These lethal “birds” could make short work of the helicopters operated by surface ships like Curtis Wilbur.
That should give American skippers pause before defying Chinese challenges to freedom of the seas — one of which is the freedom to operate aircraft outside coastal states’ territorial seas, namely anywhere more than 12 nautical miles offshore. The HQ-9 is a Franken missile. A close cousin to Russia’s S-300 — a missile that keeps American and allied aviators awake nights — it allegedly incorporates technology from U.S. Army Patriot SAMs as well. China reportedly obtained a Patriot from Israel following the first Gulf War, studied it, and used its findings to improve the HQ-9 during the research and development phase. China is the Borg of military affairs: it strives constantly to add foreigners’ technological distinctiveness to its own, making PLA weaponry more lethal than it otherwise might be.
But it would be a mistake to interpret Woody Island’s HQ-9s as a standalone weapons system. Sure, 16 missiles constitutes a potent deterrent to Southeast Asian air forces, which field small numbers of tactical aircraft — many of which are technologically backward. The Vietnam People’s Air Force, to name one such force, boasts an impressive-looking force of 217 Russian-built MiG and Sukhoi fighter aircraft. Of those, however, fully 144 are MiG-21s — Soviet planes that first took to the skies in 1955. These antique warbirds would make easy pickings for HQ-9s. Or, Chinese air defenses could take down a sizable fraction of Vietnam’s more modern, 73-plane inventory should Hanoi hurl them into the fray. The prospect of losing one-fifth of Vietnam’s air force in an afternoon could certainly deter.
It doesn’t stop there, however. PLA commanders’ goal is to erect an increasingly dense thicket of defenses against ships, aircraft, and missiles spanning areas China considers its own. Anti-ship missiles stationed along the mainland’s shorelines can already strike throughout the South China Sea. Land-based, missile-armed aircraft are part of the mix, as are missile-armed surface craft and submarines. So is China’s nascent force of aircraft carriers.h Missile batteries deployed to all Chinese-held islands — naturally occurring, like Woody Island, or manufactured, like Mischief Reef — would integrate with such weaponry, creating overlapping fields of fire. In other words, ships or planes entering China’s no-go zone would face multiple threats along multiple axes. Commanders would think twice before hazarding precious assets and crews in Southeast Asia — and might abjure the attempt altogether.
If so, Beijing will have upheld its territorial claims without fighting. By making believers out of prospective foes, it will have vindicated its indisputable sovereignty in the South China Sea. Sovereignty, at its most basic, means physical control of territory and airspace within certain lines inscribed on the map. Physical supremacy in the South China Sea would let Beijing dictate the rules whereby ships and aircraft pass through regional waters and skies. It would also let Beijing reserve the right to close Southeast Asian sea routes to foreign shipping should it see the need — making one of the world’s great nautical thoroughfares a no-go zone.
So enough with the tit-for-tat debate over who militarized what in Southeast Asia. Navies are the guardians of freedom of the sea. When someone lodges unlawful claims, navies flout those claims to keep them from calcifying into international practice and, perhaps, into customary international law. China, therefore, can always claim America was the first to militarize the South China Sea controversy — a controversy that China itself created by challenging freedom of the seas. If Beijing won this point, it’s a trivial one. It’s doubtful anyone will buy the narrative that a hegemonic United States is bullying poor little China.
And on and on the Clausewitzian dialogue by displays of force will go. To reply to China’s HQ-9 challenge, the United States and its Asian allies must demonstrate that they can exercise maritime freedoms despite the worst the PLA can throw at them. They should also ponder how to prove that they could take down Chinese missile sites should the worst come. If they do that, they may make believers of the Chinese and other observers—and bolster their likelihood of deterring future Chinese misconduct.


  1. Can I respectfully phrase it this way? Between a Zionist and a Confucian I'd choose the latter. Between a Democrat and a Maoist I'd choose the former.

  2. Annie,

    Our govt needs to take a very hard line on this - and isn't. China is wandering into our waters at will off Sabah - as close as 100 miles sometimes - and we just stay quiet.


    Is it because the Bugis lanun sold off our land to Chinese interests to get rid of his 1MBD mistake?

    Tell him to naik kapal pinisi Bugis and chase them off.

    In 3 years China will simply overrun all other claims and be the "de facto" owner of the South China Sea.

    What's the "warrior" doing about it?

    1. LOCAL version ANTI-STAM

      Don,t wolly blor, vely soong their wiill be nieu Super Helor coming to town in lte folm of Comandler LiGE A/L LKS.

      Lumors haes it his pauwer wass as bilg as evelest mountain and his martial art skills is as guud as Shaolin Master.

      Witl lhat megar powerr and skills, he was able to produce high pressured air a the surface of his palms.

      More lan that aar, when that highly pressured air turns into jet of air and dilected at a surface to air missile, that missile will fall freely from the sky!!!

      So let lus look forward to see LiGE in 2nd part of a trilogy of Ola Bola in nearby cinema very very soon.

  3. Anywhere the Yanks kacau spells doom. Mampus for all of us, you just wait and see. Those western arms manufacturers and dealers need new clients now that the Mid East is imploding and bombing themselves back into the Stone Age.


  4. The need for an ally .

    Sendili punya negala ,sendili mau pandei jaga maa aa ,pandei punya olang cekap ,'buat baik berpada=pada ,buat jahat jangan sekali.

    Dalam ini dunia tatak olang mau tolong dengan jujur maa aa ,mesti atak hat punya ,selupa itu pandei olang cekap ,'telunjuk lurus kelingking berkait ' lagi manya bahaya maa aa ,itu macam .

    Wa tak tau lea ,kalau ini hali pegi main golf lekat Hawai ,lusa pegi main lekat Bejing ,itu macam atak baik atau tatak baik .

  5. Are you suggesting that Malaysia become an ally of Uncle Sam, dear Annie?

    If that's the case, then I disagree.

    I think Reuters is being bias. News that came from the West, should be digest with a large bowl of salt.

    If we care to google 'List of countries with overseas military bases', the US, UK and France are the only countries in the world that have many overseas military outpost. Some of them, thousand of miles away from home, which have been known to be used for nuclear-testing in the past. The manner they got the lands was mischievous and by strong-arm tactics.

    While Russia is scaling-down its overseas outpost, after the cold-war, the American have increased theirs. All the outpost that the Russian now have are to its borders and that too was due to invitation from neighbors. Syria was the furthers that invite Russian assistance.

    Yes, China invaded and annexed Paracel Island from Vietnam just after the US' exited the Vietnam war in the 70s and built a military outpost there. The only other overseas military base that China had was in Djibouti, just signed in Nov. 2015 to support its anti-piracy operations since 2008 around the Somalian waters.

    We too occupied Layang-Layang in the Spratlys, which is 300km from Labuan and the PLA had never show its hostility at our PASKAL troops, stationed there since 1981. And that was 2 months after Dr.M became PM.

    All the SEA nations that China had a grudge with over the Spartlys are staunch-allies of the US, all with one or more US military/naval base on its mainland. In that matters, Japan and South Korea too. And the American is militarily supporting Taiwan, a renegade territory which China refused to recognized.

    Therefore it in Malaysian best interest that we remained neutral. If and when there is an ultimatum, 'either you are with us or against us', then we might as well be China's ally.

    The US was founded by Europeans' migrants on the lives of millions of Red-Indians. They even decimated the Bisons into extinction, just to starve the natives off their ancestral land.

    Everywhere in the world where the US had a hand, chaos, civil strife, war and death ensured.
    In South China Seas, the US provoked China by sending warships within 12 miles of the contested island, claiming it as 'freedom of navigation'. They flew four F-22 Raptors as a show of force over the Korean Peninsular after the North fired test-missile.
    They funded and instigated the opposition to go against the government of Arab-Spring-countries on the pretense of Democracy, yet turning a blind eye the atrocities in Saudi Arabia, its most loyal ally. They have been known to fund the opposition in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan too. The latest was Ukraine which primarily resulted in the downing of MH17. The lost of MH370, might also be due the conflict in Ukraine. (At that time, there was street-violence in Kiev and many died. Worldwide media-coverage and attention immediately switched away from Ukraine once MH370 was lost).