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Old 10-15-2011   #61
Dayuhan
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And some feel that US is a dithering nation with no short term, medium term or long term policy to remain relevant and be the Number Uno!
Yes, some feel that way. Ask JMA, he'll tell you all about it.

The US has always dithered; it's the nature of the system. That dithering is somewhat reduced when the nation perceives an existential threat, but it's always there. It might be seen as odd that the US has achieved substantial stature despite that, and that nations with a far greater capacity for decisive action and long term planning have fallen by the wayside. The answer is simply that the same system that produces that frustration tendency to dither also provides a very substantial resilience. They go together.

As far as being "Numero Uno" goes, there are two questions there. One is whether it is in the US interest to try to be "Numero Uno", given the enormous costs involved in trying to meddle in everybody else's business and maintaining a military force capable of meddling in everybody else's business.

The other question is whether engagements such as the one in Afghanistan actually build American influence and strengthen America's position. I would suggest that they do not. If preserving great power status is the issue, it's worth noting that great powers have often fallen because they overextended themselves and devoted excessive resources to unnecessary efforts where benefit failed to justify cost. What great power has ever fallen because it failed to impose itself in the irrelevant backwaters of the world?

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[B]But what surprises me is the contention that policies of the Govt, Congressional Hearings, commentaries, news reports are to be taken as bogus, fantasies, and fables and hence cannot be relied upon.
Not all of them are, but most are. Everything has to be read with skepticism, and every contention reviewed to see if it actually makes sense. If you look at the root of the various claims about strategic and economic reasons for the US to be in Afghanistan, they just don't make sense. They don't hold up to scrutiny. Sure, there are lots and lots of people with vested interests in claiming that they do make sense... but they still don't.

And then comes the hedging when it becomes sticky!

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If that is so, what can be relied upon so that we have a bottom line for discussion.
That which stands up to skeptical scrutiny. That which makes sense.

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Meanderings of the self acclaimed KNOWALLS?
Nobody knows it all, but some of us try to know BS when we see it. Given the amount of it around, if you don't know it when you see it you're likely to drown in it.
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Old 10-15-2011   #62
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Nobody knows it all, but some of us try to know BS when we see it. Given the amount of it around, if you don't know it when you see it you're likely to drown in it.
Indeed, lots of BS one sees!
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Old 01-19-2013   #63
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Default Let the Chinese takeover Gwadar Port

Thanks to a "lurker" for this pointer an article by a Pakistani on a Chinese website that advocates Gwadar port become a Chinese responsibility:
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Pakistan is under pressure to take the port back from SPA (Singapore Ports Authority) owing to the fact that it has not fulfilled its commitments, despite all the concessions made to it. The Singaporean company has failed to make the requisite investments ($550m) in proportion as required and 3 years have already gone by.

(later)...There is a growing consensus in Pakistan that China should be given the operational charge of Gwadar Port. This stance has taken on added momentum against the backdrop of emerging strategic concerns, including an increasing US interest in this Port. There seems to be growing evidence that the American interests would be served by blocking the development of Gwadar, especially as an energy hub and corridor to Central Asia and China.

Unlike earlier times, when China kept in the background to allay US suspicions about its strategic intent in Gwadar, this time round China has tacitly agreed to accept charge of the facility offered by Pakistan.
Link:http://www.youlinmagazine.com/articl...=#.UPr1AKF-xEA

Given the geographical position of Gwadar, still developing transport links to the hinterland, I am surprised anyone wnats to invest there. Perhaps the SPA realised that?
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Old 01-21-2013   #64
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Thanks to a "lurker" for this pointer an article by a Pakistani on a Chinese website that advocates Gwadar port become a Chinese responsibility:

Link:http://www.youlinmagazine.com/articl...=#.UPr1AKF-xEA

Given the geographical position of Gwadar, still developing transport links to the hinterland, I am surprised anyone wnats to invest there. Perhaps the SPA realised that?
Pakistan's oil, gas and most natural resources are in Balochistan and Gwadar is Balochistan's port.

) Coal

2) Chromate

3) Barytes

4) Sulphur

5) Marble

6) Iron Ore

7) Quartzite

8)Limestone

Revenue of mineral is $1.5 billion per annum; we know that more than 50 metallic and non-metallic minerals have been discovered in Balochistan. Metallic ores are chromites, copper, gold, silver, iron ore, lead and zinc, while the non-metallic include barite, marble, granite, gypsum, limestone, coal, dolomite, calcite, silica sand.


Revenue of gas is $42 billion per year; According to the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) there are reserves of 19 trillion cubic feet of gas and 6 trillion barrels of oil.

http://bolanvoice.wordpress.com/2012...esources-land/
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Old 01-21-2013   #65
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Default The juice is worth the squeeze

A great game begins as China takes control of Gwadar port, by Syed Fazl-e-Haider. The National (UAE), Oct 7, 2012.
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Gwadar port, through the proposed energy and trade corridors, gives western China access to the sea. Crude oil imports from Iran, the Arab Gulf states and Africa could be transported overland to north-west China through the port.

China considers Gwadar very important for its oil trade, as the present choke point is the Strait of Hormuz, which is becoming congested. In particular, a strategic pipeline from Gwadar to China's borders enables Beijing to import oil from Saudi Arabia. In 2006, King Abdullah reportedly asked Islamabad to help Saudi Arabia to extend oil exports to China.

China is the world's second largest importer of oil, with 80 per cent of imports going through the unsafe Strait of Malacca. A railroad and oil pipeline linking Gwadar with Kashi in western China provides Beijing with the shortest possible route to the oil-rich Middle East, avoiding the Strait of Malacca and the dangerous maritime routes through the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. Chinese engineers have already completed a feasibility study for a railroad and oil pipeline, which would enable Gwadar to handle most of the oil tankers headed to China.
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Old 01-21-2013   #66
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I wouldn't call it insignificant, but there is a tendency in many quarters to overrate the significance of these developments, as in the hyperventilating about "great games" and the occasionally seen references to strategic game-changers. An example would be the cited items...

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China considers Gwadar very important for its oil trade, as the present choke point is the Strait of Hormuz, which is becoming congested.
Gwadar doesn't circumvent the Strait of Hormuz. Gwadar is still outside the strait, the oil is still inside. A Gwadar-China pipeline could allow China to import oil from Iran without passing through the Strait if an additional pipeline from Iran's oil fields to Gwadar. The degree of protection from a potential closure of the strait is limited. By far the most likely scenario for closure of the strait is a conflict involving Iran, in which event pipelines leaving Iran would almost certainly be targeted.

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In particular, a strategic pipeline from Gwadar to China's borders enables Beijing to import oil from Saudi Arabia. In 2006, King Abdullah reportedly asked Islamabad to help Saudi Arabia to extend oil exports to China.
Beijing already imports oil from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is Beijing's leading supplier of oil. Oil moving from Saudi Arabia to China via Gwadar would still transit the Strait of Hormuz.
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China is the world's second largest importer of oil, with 80 per cent of imports going through the unsafe Strait of Malacca. A railroad and oil pipeline linking Gwadar with Kashi in western China provides Beijing with the shortest possible route to the oil-rich Middle East, avoiding the Strait of Malacca and the dangerous maritime routes through the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.
A pipeline would circumvent the Straits of Malacca, but the strategic significance of this, especially in the event of a conflict with the US, is questionable. If conflict reached a point severe enough that the US was closing the Straits of Malacca to China-bound shipping, the US could just as easily (probably more easily) close a Gwadar-China pipeline through air attack, sabotage, or simply by preventing oil from reaching Gwadar. There would be some degree of protection from purely regional conflict involving the Straits of Malacca, but not much change in the ability of the US (or India) to control the flow of oil from the Middle East to China.

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Chinese engineers have already completed a feasibility study for a railroad and oil pipeline, which would enable Gwadar to handle most of the oil tankers headed to China.
This is simply wrong. Even a very large capacity pipeline would handle only a fraction of China's oil import needs. Some of the oil tankers headed to China, yes, but a long way from "most".
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Old 01-22-2013   #67
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It is sometimes alleged (and i have done it myself) that most of this "strategic" stuff must be cover for some person's shortcut to immediate monetary rewards, or some institution's ticket to greater relevance (and a larger share of the pie).
I dont just mean outside commentators.. I am guessing there are Chinese "think-tankers" who go around saying stuff about the urgent need to invest in Gwadar or to blow it up or whatever. Can we ascribe all of it to institutional interests (more money for the PLA or the think tank or Sinopec?)? or to personal interests (even something as small as annual paid visits to a conference in Hainan?)?
Or could it be that a lot of things really happen due to misunderstanding? they are in someone's interest eventually, or they hurt someone eventually, but mostly by accident. Neither gainer nor loser made the plans. Just took advantage of someone else's attempt at thinking strategically. Or suffered because of someone else's notion of strategic depth (see pakistani people for details).
Its not a rhetorical question. I am genuinely curious.
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Old 03-24-2013   #68
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Default A forthcoming ballet

An Australian review of an Indian analyst's book 'Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific' by C. Raja Mohan:http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?284514

A few passages:
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This book is as much about China’s historic turn to the sea and America’s challenge in mainta#ining stability as it is about the maritime challenge for a rising India. For it will be the complex ballet among the strategic and economic interests of these three powers that determines, above all else, if the so-called Asian Century will be domina#ted by coexistence and cooperation, or by competition and conflict.

(Later) More than anything else, it is China’s acute dependence on energy imp##orts across the Indian Ocean that means Beijing—like India—has no cho#ice but to accept that it is a quintessentially Indo-Pacific nation, not purely an Asian one.
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Old 03-25-2013   #69
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As charming as it is to be treated once again to an article tossing down the “Indo-Pacific” concept like a rattle from a think tank high-chair, the colicky deployment of fabulist buzzwords is neither a remedy for a dearth of grounded regional insight nor a substitute for adult diplomacy by any of the relevant stakeholders. Presumably this includes the Indo-Australian region. Other than that, it would seem that a positive economic climate would indeed suit all parties, including the gentlemen formerly known as the East India Company . Conversely, it could be ventured that the so-called "9 dotted line" is likewise an inappropriate and outdated bargaining position that is based on an outmoded (self)-perception that detracts from sensible negotiations.

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The normalization process is proceeding well. As I wrote earlier too, 2012 has been a truly transformative year and our policymakers have done exceedingly well. As recently as in 2006-2007, we were marvelling at the idea of a quadripartite alliance of Asian democracies under the US’s mentorship; as recently as in 2009, we were contemplating how to fasten the ‘global commons’. (Robert Kaplan wrote a full book on it.)

Indeed, both were geopolitical projects with a barely hidden ‘anti-China’ bias. We have come a long way from there, thanks largely to fortuitous circumstances. Yet, some of our pundits conceive the ‘Indo-Pacific’ as our country’s ’sphere of influence’. The doctrine of ‘Indo-Pacific’ — comprising the swathe of the globe stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to Vanuatu — is probably intended as a red herring to China. Shibboleths don’t dissipate easily. We hardly jettisoned one — ’string of pearls’ — with great hesitation. (by M K Bhadrakumar - Indian Punchline)
India-China shibboleths take time to dissipate - M K Bhadrakumar - Indian Punchline - 3.5.2013


Last edited by Backwards Observer; 03-25-2013 at 04:29 AM. Reason: conversely
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Old 03-25-2013   #70
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An Australian review of an Indian analyst's book 'Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific' by C. Raja Mohan:http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?284514

A few passages:
Good article, and especially liked this portion:

Quote:
But these old-fashioned critiques miss the point that the Indo-Pacific idea derives overwhelmingly from economics, energy and seaborne globalisation. More than anything else, it is China’s acute dependence on energy imports across the Indian Ocean that means Beijing—like India—has no choice but to accept that it is a quintessentially Indo-Pacific nation, not purely an Asian one.
Of course this is true for many powers who want to maintain access to the world's largest markets. China and India are emerging sea powers that can help contribute to maritime security, or interact in a way that threatens maritime security and consequently global trade and regional security. Not surprising, we're at a time where Naval power is becoming increasingly relevant, and yet we have one of the smallest Navies we had in decades.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-25-2013 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Remove mystery # in citation
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Old 03-25-2013   #71
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Of course this is true for many powers who want to maintain access to the world's largest markets. China and India are emerging sea powers that can help contribute to maritime security, or interact in a way that threatens maritime security and consequently global trade and regional security. Not surprising, we're at a time where Naval power is becoming increasingly relevant, and yet we have one of the smallest Navies we had in decades.
It's also true that China and India desperately need access to the world's most prosperous markets. GDP per capita has a lot more to do with disposable income and actual purchasing power than raw GDP.

I do not think naval strength will be what keeps access to markets open: if you have to shoot your way into a market, there's a war going on, and that's generally not much good for trade.

The US Navy may be smaller than it has been in decades, but it is still very very large relative to those of peer competitors, and significantly enhanced by the presence of allies such as Japan. I do not buy the idea that emerging Asia demands a larger Navy. The reduced number of ships in the Navy is a necessary result of the enormously increased cost per ship, and trying to resurrect a Navy with the same number of ships featured in Navies past would simply be unaffordable at today's prices.
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Old 03-25-2013   #72
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PACOM needs to come to grips with their strategic bi-polar disorder. Are India and China rising maritime nations with a duty to build navies and contribute to their share of ensuring secure sea lane for free trade for all parties willing to work within the rule of law; or is their slightest move in that direction some sort of threat that demands we build a larger US Navy and A2AD systems to sustain a status quo of US dominance in the region?

We are so fearful to turn loose of a set of conditions that have grown obsolete and irrelevant that we cannot reach out to embrace a more sustainable future that we can see and articulate, but unwilling to accept.

Economics may make the decision for us. DoD and the Air and Naval services will simply be cut off from the funds they need to implement their fantasy and they will be forced finally to plan for reality. Change is hard, but change we must.
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Old 03-26-2013   #73
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PACOM needs to come to grips with their strategic bi-polar disorder. Are India and China rising maritime nations with a duty to build navies and contribute to their share of ensuring secure sea lane for free trade for all parties willing to work within the rule of law; or is their slightest move in that direction some sort of threat that demands we build a larger US Navy and A2AD systems to sustain a status quo of US dominance in the region?

We are so fearful to turn loose of a set of conditions that have grown obsolete and irrelevant that we cannot reach out to embrace a more sustainable future that we can see and articulate, but unwilling to accept.

Economics may make the decision for us. DoD and the Air and Naval services will simply be cut off from the funds they need to implement their fantasy and they will be forced finally to plan for reality. Change is hard, but change we must.
Bi-polar is difficult to treat, sometimes the treatment has proven more harmful than the disease

On a serious note much of what you have written rings true, but issue resides well above the level of PACOM.
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Old 03-26-2013   #74
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Bill,

I agree, but as you know, in good naval tradition, no one ever tells the Admrial when he has no clothes. Likewise, I don't see Admirals (or Generals) telling the President that we are long overdue for a new family of policies, relationships and strategy for the Asia-Pacific region.

When the military is handed an overly simplified bit of politicized policy guidance such as "pivot to the Pacific" their tendency is to convert that into programming validation to double down on old approaches and to finally get the clearance to buy all of the toys they have been denied during an irritating decade of fixation on non-state threats.

I think we need a much deeper analysis and comprehensive program of policy and strategy towward the Pacific. I think it is reasonable that the military should demand such top cover from civilian authorities. But I suspect the military is quite happy with simply getting a green light to push those long-delayed pet programs and to sustain the status quo.

It's not like China has built a "Great Red Fleet" and sent it on a world tour; or reached out and captured by force a string of strategic islands with deep water ports up and down our West Coast. China's activities in support of their rise to power are de minimis compared to our own. We need to make room for them at the table, or they will simply take room when the time is right. Just like we did.
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