Tag Archives: war

Laser Warfare & China

Laser Warfare won the March news stories championship which means it is now time to return to writing. I thought it’d be a little extra fun to make the first post-playoff post about the champion. Based off the post’s title, I imagine you assume that I will be writing about some crazy new Chinese technology that will affect laser warfare, but you’re wrong. By the way, my Dad taught me, only asses assume! I will actually be writing about how the US should employ laser warfare in the Pacific Ocean to reduce both the current and future threat China and the Chinese Navy pose for US interests in the Pacific rim.

As far back as June 2005 (ancient times, I know), Robert Kaplan has been writing about the threat China poses for US interests in Asia and the Pacific Rim. He suggests and I concur that a country of over 1 billion people will be a greater threat to US economic, energy and defense security than the Middle East or the Soviet Union ever was. He more recently reiterated this point in an essay entitled “The Geography of Chinese Power” that appeared in Foreign Affairs. The most interesting section is when he describes China’s new-found love of Naval power. Although the Chinese Navy cannot compare in strength and prestige to the US’s, Chinese ships continuously act like the school yard bully. They harass American vessels and trying to demonstrate their strength, yet it is always just a show and as Kaplan suggests, a show of immaturity. Proven Naval powers do not feel the need to posture themselves in the open ocean and harass others, but the immature Chinese Navy acts as though this is the only means of exemplifying power. As China continues to solidify the western border by building oil and gas pipelines with the “Stan” countries, China can focus her expansion on expanding her sphere of influence over Southeast Asia and what have been deemed the first island chain. The first island chain is a block of Western Allies such as Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines that is currently preventing Chinese expansion. Military experts suggest that if China did not feel so boxed in on the seaside front, they would not act as aggressively toward US naval ships. As China continues to expand militarily, the cost to the US to maintain strong military allegiances and counter forces in the first chain of islands will become tremendous. Therefore, the US command centers should be re-focused upon the second chain of islands. Turns out most of this second chain is already US property – Guam, Marshall Islands, Caroline, Northern Mariana, Solomon Islands – and of course non-US property such as Australia. Retired Marine colonel Pat Garrett suggests that Chinese aggression should not be met with military response, but rather a repositioning of bases. Keeping troops and bases in the second island chain would be less provocative. Of course this does not mean that the US should diminish naval activities, in fact naval activities should be increased in the Indian Ocean. This allows the Chinese to exercise power in her region of the world, but provides a barrier and overseer in the form of US naval commands and fleets in the Indian Ocean and the second island chain.

One aspect of the new strategy that is not addressed by Kaplan or Garrett is the strategic use of laser weapons. As the technology develops, it will be increasingly easy to mount laser weapons in Taiwan and the Philippines and in South Korea and Japan. These weapons would serve as a deterrent to the Chinese and also provide a capable and strong defense system without having to continuously spend resources on manning and supplying American bases and forces half way around the world.

Laser weapons and warfare may be the ideal deterrent for Chinese military and naval expansion. I used to think, if it ever came to a physical war with China, how does one beat a 1 billion person army? Tragically the only answer I could come up with was using a nuclear or atomic weapon, but now thanks the laser warfare, if it ever comes down to it, we don’t have to kill million of innocents, destroy the country and pollute the world just to eliminate an economic enemy.


Iraq’s Constitution

You’ll never guess what I discovered while reading the Iraqi Constitution. Go ahead give it a shot…

So I don’t give it away by writing the answer right below the question, I’m going to scramble the letters for you…
E, L, T, H, H, A E,A,C,R

Still don’t know? Well here it is (backwards :)) erac htlaeh.

That’s right, Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution states “Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.”

I was downright flabbergasted by this discovery. The Iraqi Constitution is more progressive and liberal than ours???? The US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on ousting Saddam Hussein, fighting insurgents and bolstering the country to the brink of democracy and yet they’ve had guaranteed health care while we didn’t? I wonder what all the Conservatives who are against universal health care have to say about that? Their tax money has been spent on creating the foundations needed to provide health care to Iraqis, yet they are insanely against the provision of health care for their fellow countrymen. I’m happy that Iraqis have been able to enjoy the national provision of health care, albeit life has been pretty shitty otherwise, but I’m ecstatic that we Americans can finally enjoy the same human rights we have “bestowed” upon Iraq.

The Idiocy of Crowds

I’ve never been a fan of mass political rallies and protests. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when these gatherings are well-organized and effective. But the majority of those I come across, whether on the right or the left, appear disjointed, ill-informed, and counterproductive. Take for instance the two biggest rallies/protests that occurred in Washington D.C. this weekend.

First we had ANSWER’s (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) anti-war protests on Saturday, March 20, 2010 that provided us with such gems as this:

Ah yes. Obama that lying politician. I find it interesting that these protesters are holding up a sign about Afghanistan and calling the president a liar when at no point during his campaign did Obama indicate that he would begin an immediate withdraw of troops from that country. On the contrary, Obama repeatedly stated during his campaign that he would order a surge in the country along the lines of that which occurred in Iraq.

But idiotic mass movements never let facts get in their way, nor nuance, as you can see below:

Talk about hyperbole. I have no problem with a decently-informed anti-war movement that objects to U.S. occupation from a number of valid positions. But one invalid position that strikes me here is this simplistic chant that implies the United States is running around maliciously killing “kids” in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is just ridiculous. It seems like these protesters just want to rehash the Vietnam War protests for every new conflict that arises.

And is it just me or is that last clip more an anti-U.S. protest than an anti-war one (which I find interesting as many of the protesters in this clip appear to be middle class white kids). Or perhaps we’re dealing with people who are simply anti-state?


Well let’s move on to the next big protest that happened the very next day: the whacko conservatives rallying against Obama’s healthcare bill:

I seriously don’t know where to start here. Not only did many of these individuals seem to be drastically uneducated about the bill they were protesting against, but many also seemed to harbor ridiculous feelings of racism and xenophobia (for example, “Ameristan”). Almost all of those interviewed appeared to have no legitimate complaints of their own (take for instance their parroting of tort reform as a solution to healthcare reform) and seem only to repeat the talking points and political slogans of FOX News and Ron Paul.

Now I realize that it would be too demanding of a protest movement that the majority of its members be experts in the area they are protesting. But on the other hand I feel like these people sound have some semblance of nuance and background in what they’re talking about. How many of those anti-war protesters would you gather have a basic understanding of the geopolitics of Iraq or Afghanistan? How many of those anti-healthcare protesters do you think had any idea how the healthcare bill would work and/or had any inkling of the true meaning of what socialism, communism or fascism is? My feeling is that very few of these protesters had any conception of the basic facts and arguments surrounding the issues they were rallying for and/or against.

To me, these people are using these protests as an outlet to find meaning and take action in their lives. This often times leads them to view the issue in terms of black and white, good vs. evil, us against them. And this dualistic thinking can sometimes be a good thing–take for instance the civil rights movement, the progressive movement of the early 20th century or the Vietnam War protests. However, it is always a powerful thing. And when something this powerful is applied to situations and issues that require a higher deal of nuance and critical-thinking, the populace and the individual are hurt: the debate becomes disorganized, with areas of gray being ignored and opportunities for compromise shrinking.

So my basic plea here is: if you’re going to organize a protest, make sure it’s one that’s informed on the basic facts and arguments of the issue, steer clear of hyperbole as much as possible and try to remember that, in most cases, the people you’re protesting against probably aren’t evil spawns of Satan but individuals who simply disagree with you on a philosophical level or are just ill-informed on the subject. President Obama is not the Islamist second coming of Hitler, and the Iraq war (which I think, for the record, we should never have undertaken for a number of reasons) and the Afghanistan war are not imperial wars of subjugation.

Nuance people! Nuance!