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Hypes regarding military buildup among major powers and the underlying challengesHYPES REGARDING MILITARY BUILDUP AMONG MAJOR POWERS AND THE UNDERLYING CHALLENGES
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Hypes regarding military buildup among major powers and the underlying challengesHYPES REGARDING MILITARY BUILDUP AMONG MAJOR POWERS AND THE UNDERLYING CHALLENGES

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  • 1. 1 HHYYPPEESS RREEGGAARRDDIINNGG MMIILLIITTAARRYY BBUUIILLDDUUPP AAMMOONNGG MMAAJJOORR PPOOWWEERRSS AANNDD TTHHEE UUNNDDEERRLLYYIINNGG CCHHAALLLLEENNGGEESS Keshav Prasad Bhattarai Power in international politics means set of state capacities that is mainly contributed by different factors from geography to natural resources to the quality of its human demography and industrial capacity. Nevertheless, state capacities are most commonly manifested by the level of military that a country has attained. Inevitably, that kind of military power if is not backed up by a sound economy, internal strengths of a country and technological advancements, the state capacity projected by its military power carries less meaning. Undoubtedly, United States since the end of Second World War has become a prominent military power and since the collapse of Soviet Union an unchallenging one- a kind of hyper power. However, at a time where only change counts- the world has witnessed a major shift in balance of power following to War in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both wars have not only soaked the confidence of American people and its leadership, the economic cost United States paid in these two wars was enormous. The irony was that the United States fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; but China became the ultimate winner. When America was engaged in war, China became world‟s second largest economy. When the dragon country was pouring more and more money in its defense budget, Uncle Sam was making huge cuts in its defense spending. Similar was the case with political influence worldwide and United States has to accept the humiliating term as a “declining power”. On the other hand, the newfound wealth generated by the immensely accelerated power of globalization has brought a major shift in global power paradigm and emerging economies like China and India. They have also become a rule setter in a new international system after the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Amid this, Thomas Gibbons- Neff in an article published in early last month in The Washington Free Beacon has quoted the Former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy - Seth Cropsey, and reported that American sea power and global projection was in trouble. Cropsey further stressed the threat of the recently tested DF-21D - a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile designed to destroy large surface ships from some 2,000 kilometers away. The DF-21D, is considered as a dangerous and powerful weapon. Experts say that it is at the heart of the anti- access/access denial (A2/AD) strategy of the China‟s army - aimed at denying an enemy surface fleet command of the high seas. This can be conveniently fired from a mobile truck-mounted launcher into the atmosphere, with assistance from over-the-horizon radar, satellite tracking, and possibly unmanned aerial vehicles. It can deliver its multiple warheads to its target at a speed greater than sound. Giving reference to an expert - Michaela Dodge, Gibbons-Neff has admitted that under the current sequestration cuts, the U.S. Navy will be reduced from approximately 285 ships to 195 in the next thirty years.
  • 2. 2 In August 26, Bill Gertz in The Washington Free Beacon published another news story that described about the recent launching of three small satellites into the orbit by the Chinese military - as part of Beijing‟s covert anti-satellite warfare program. Gertz giving reference to U.S. official has mentioned that the three satellites, launched by a Long March-4C launcher, were conducting unusual maneuvers in space that was indicative of the Chinese preparation to conduct space warfare against satellites. The three are working in tandem and one of the satellites was equipped with an extension arm capable of attacking orbiting satellites – as a part of a Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon or „Star Wars‟ program, that poses greater threats to U.S. satellites. An anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon can attack and destroy any satellites in the space or collect intelligence information and can be based in air, land, or sea. First on January 11, 2007, China had destroyed one of its aging satellites orbiting 865 kilometers above the Earth by a ballistic missile launched from China‟s Xichang Space Center. IINNDDIIAA FFRROOMM AA CCRRIIPPPPLLIINNGG AASSIIAANN PPOOWWEERR TTOO AA WWOORRLLDD PPOOWWEERR The social, economic, political, territorial, and strategic cost India paid for its independence was perhaps unparallel in world history. But, even after its independence, India repeatedly failed to realize its tremendous potential for its misguided policies especially - strategic and economic. One example is enough to specify it - while we all know that profit is a reward for entrepreneurship, hard work and technological advancements, Jawaharlal Nehru- the first Prime Minister of India - who ruled his country for more than 16 years, considered profit a dirty thing. JRD Tata – one of the great pioneers of modern Indian industry, once reported that when he went to see Nehru and talked about the necessity of the public sector making profit, Nehru told him that he hates profit. When Tata insisted his plea, Nehru furiously yelled at him - never talk about the word profit - a dirty word. For decades, under the Nehruvian economic policy, a great country like India was mocked everywhere in the world and its huge possibilities were locked under the garb of so-called socialist ideals. Because of this, India was left to gasp along with the weight of its huge geography, population, pervasive poverty, mass illiteracy, and the economic woes created by its shortsighted policy goals of its political leadership. Poor health of its economy was responsible for the challenges it was facing in its national integration in past and is the same at present for a continental country like India with so many cultural differences. All these when coupled with hostile neighbors like Pakistan and China -- followed by unfriendly western powers led by United States, India had turned out to become an impossible country. Only after a humiliating defeat at the hands of Chinese, Indian policy makers began to think in a strategic way. Indira Gandhi the daughter of Nehru himself - played the subtle defense and military diplomacy so well that despite continued American and Chinese threat to use force against India, she succeeded in dismembering Pakistan and helped to create a new country – Bangladesh. She built a new history of South Asia and challenged the limitations of its geography. Largely, she succeeded in getting compensation for the humiliating defeat that India suffered at the hands of Chinese. China could not move to the expectations of Pakistan- its closest ally in South Asia was perhaps the greatest shock Pakistan received in its national history. Neither the Nixon administration could intervene even though
  • 3. 3 its Seventh fleet was ordered to move into the Bay of Bengal to deliver psychological or possibly even a military threat to India. Iskander Rehman has quoted Napoleon who once said that - the policy of a nation could be read in its geography and India read its geography very well. It played a subtle diplomatic and military role with the creation of Bangladesh and geo-politics received a new definition in Asia with a new strategic treaty with Soviet Union during the creation of Bangladesh. With Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister, India began to gain its strategic height and defense capabilities. P.V. Narsimha Rao gave India a new destination with liberal economic policies and Atal Bihari Vajpayee ensured the rise of India as a great power. Later with Manmohan Singh when Indo- American civil Nuclear Agreement was signed in 2008, India was admitted as a proud member of major world powers. Recently India launched its first indigenously built aircraft carrier that helped India join the elite club of nations after Britain, France, Russia, and the United States. This has triggered much hype in international media and euphoric mood in India that as reflected by Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony who according to Beijing Review hailed the launch as a “crowning glory”. Beijing Review commenting that, "Cooperation and competition between China and India are in a dynamic balance”, further quoted Antony who said - "India needs a strong navy to defend itself and will press ahead with developing its maritime capabilities”. The 37,500-ton warship that will be fitted with advanced weaponries and that can carry some 30 aircraft will cost India some US $5 billion. The warship will become operational in 2018 joining the other one - The Vikramaditya that will be handed over to India by Russia within this year, replacing the aging INS Viraat aircraft carrier that is in service for long. Defense analysts have unanimously admitted that with Vikrant kind of achievement- India has beaten its Asian rival China – that has brought into service its first Aircraft carrier - The Liaoning, only in last September. That was a former Soviet carrier retrofitted in China. AA NNEEWW SSTTRRAATTEEGGIICC MMOODDEELL BBEETTWWEEEENN CCHHIINNAA’’SS NNEEIIGGHHBBOORRHHOOOODD AANNDD UUSS Just two days earlier of the new aircraft launch, India announced the activation of its first indigenous nuclear- powered submarine 'INS Arihant' for sea trials. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described this “a giant stride in the progress of our indigenous technological capabilities”. In another major strategic show, the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed its C-130J Super Hercules transport plane at the world's highest and recently activated Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It was close to the location where both India and China were engaged in a stiff a stand-off in last April. The airstrip was resurrected, reactivated, and was made operational when a twin-engine aircraft from Chandigarh landed there in 2008 after a gap of 43 years. It was used in the 1965 war with Pakistan. Commenting on the new development of Indian naval power – experts in official Chinese media claimed that the INS Vikrant and INS Arihant were significant in enabling India to project its power across the oceans from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. However, the Global Times - the mouthpiece of Chinese Communist party commented that it would boost India's defense capability and military power, but have little influence on the military situation in Asia. India has become the world‟s largest arms buyer country. Next to India is South Korea. Looking into the volatility of the region South Korea has launched a newest and powerful 1800-ton submarine. The new
  • 4. 4 submarine - the Kim Jwa-jin named after its famous general. President Park Geun-hye inaugurated launching ceremony of the diesel-powered submarine - weaponized with a range of ship-to-land missiles and torpedoes. The vessel can remain underwater and is capable of taking a round trip from Seoul to Hawaii without refueling. On the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, last month, Japan unveiled its biggest warship since World War II. Although Japanese officials prefer to claim it as a helicopter carrier, according to the details presented by Global Times, Izumo that is bigger than the carriers made by Britain, Italy, and Spain could potentially be launched to carry fighter jets like F-35 and other fixed wing aircrafts. Chinese defense ministry reflected its deep concerns over “Japan's constant expansion of its military equipment” and appealed Japan‟s Asian neighbors and the international community needs to be highly vigilant about the new trend.The ministry also warned Japan to learn from the history, adhere to its policy of self- defense, and “abide by its promise to take the road of peaceful development." About one month later of the launching of Izumo, Japanese Defense Minister has called for an increase in military spending to cope with the threats posed by China‟s rising military power and North Korea‟s long-range missiles. After these developments in its neighborhood, South China Morning Post has recently reported that the Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently paid his first visit to the country‟s sole aircraft carrier. The South China Morning Post giving references to analyst reported that it was meant to send strong messages to its regional rivals from India to Japan following to renewed US focus on the region and strengthened naval capabilities of China‟s other neighbors like Philippines and Vietnam. Except North Korea, almost all countries in the East and South East Asia want United States make a strong presence in the region to contain the immense rise of China. Countries like Japan, South Korea Taiwan, Philippines, and a bit farther Australia are its close strategic partners. Vietnam -an emerging economic and military power informally and Indonesia the largest country in South East Asia and an emerging economic power, has formally expressed their desire to enter into a strategic partnership with the United States. After the Indo- U.S. Civil Nuclear deal – a privileged status offered to none other than India - it has become an informal American strategic partner in Asia and Pacific. Obviously, India and United States have developed extensive economic relations with China; both have considered China as their strategic rival and have never failed to reflect their keen desire in containing China‟s ever-growing military rise. TTHHEE NNEEVVEERR EENNDDIINNGG GGAAMMEE OOFF AADDVVAANNCCEEDD WWEEAAPPOONN AACCQQUUIISSIITTIIOONN BBUUTT .. .. .. On September 03, 2013, The Diplomat has published a highly serious article written by Amitai Etzioni on America‟s - Air Sea Battle (ASB) plan to respond China‟s military challenge. According to Etzioni China, over the past two decades has been developing anti ship missiles with anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities that could undermine the international right of free passage in China‟s surrounding waters in the case of a conflict over Taiwan or contested islands in the South and East China Seas. This would prevent the U.S. to carry out its commitments to its friends or allies in the region. The ASB concept as envisaged is developed in the theory that - first the U.S. attacks China‟s reconnaissance and command-and-control networks to degrade the PLA‟s ability to target U.S. and allied forces. Next, the military takes the fight to the Chinese mainland, striking long-range anti-ship missile launchers where they are located. It would be matched by attacking China's air defense systems, command control centers, and other anti-access weapons. Indubitably, it will turn out to be a “total war with China” that may ultimately lead to a nuclear war.
  • 5. 5 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has just produced a report –named Silver Bullet: Asking the Right Questions About Conventional Prompt Global Strike. According to the report prepared by James M. Action, the U.S. military has been researching and testing the “Conventional Prompt Global Strike” (CPGS) system for a decade to respond Beijing‟s anti-access/area-denial activities to some regions. These weapons can strike distant targets in a short period – against anti satellite ASAT weapons system and anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities developed by China against United States in its bid to respond U.S. rebalance to Asia. Similarly, these non-nuclear weapons could be used to counter anti satellite weapons and other sophisticated defensive capabilities. It could deny new proliferators the ability to employ nuclear arsenal and kill high-value terrorists. Action has explained the international ramifications of CPGS including the escalation risks, the problem of target ambiguity and misinterpretation on the part of potential adversaries. They would make efforts to acquire similar systems, and may enhance deterrence against the aggression and against the United States and its allies as well. In Mahabharata – the famous Hindu classic there is a dialogue between Yaksha- the demigod and Yudhishthir- who later became the king of Hastinapur - the greatest empire of his time. The questions Yaksha asked to Yudhishthira are considered the most difficult and even today, when someone faces some most difficult question they say it as – “Yaksha Prashn” or . According to the story, if Yudhishthira could answer all the questions asked, he had chance to save the life of any one among the four of his brothers already been killed as they drank water from his well without answering his questions. Among many other difficult questions Yakshya asked Yudhishtara what is the most surprising thing in the world? The answer Yudhishtara gave was- I II It means everyday people see hundreds of people dying before their eyes, but they do never think and thus behave in a way that they will never die – and this according to him was the most surprising thing. And perhaps the most surprising thing in present day world is - why the countries are engaged in a never ending arms race - while they have seen and experienced that no weapon or weapon system can become and remain exclusive to them, give full protection to them or with least possibility that the time will come to use them in a war. The newly emerging global system characterized by the growing influence of China and India has yet to take shape, but it has already begun to demand a new world order. Evidently, if the major powers like United States, China and India fail to deliver such an order with a comprehensive defense diplomacy, more turmoil and tragedy will come to govern the newly emerging international system. NNOO PPLLAACCEE TTOO RRUULLEE BBUUTT MMOORREE TTHHAANN EENNOOUUGGHH SSPPAACCEE TTOO LLIIVVEE AANNDD PPRROOSSPPEERR India – even with so many internally turbulent times has become a major world power. Japan with the level of its economy, sense of nationalism and mastery over modern technology, can never give China any upper hand in its military capability to dominate it. Besides, the world has bitterly experienced that a small but viciously violent jihadist or rebel group of people can challenge the world‟s most powerful country and make it suffer with enormous economic woes and force it to make serious compromises in its defense acquisition and
  • 6. 6 spending. Whereas China or India, still a developing country, with so many internal problems from poverty, internal violence, climate change, regional developmental imbalances and water and food shortages, may succumb to any such pressures and the huge potential they are unleashing may easily change into national nightmares. The President of Council on Foreign Relations and an acclaimed analyst in international politics -Richard N. Haass has made an exceptional remark in his new book - Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order. The single language conclusion he made is that - the biggest threat to the United States comes not from abroad but from within. Haas argues that an avoidable economic crisis, crumbling infrastructures, poor quality of education, growing debt burden, and unrestricted spending on entitlements have dangerously compromised American national security than by a rising China, a nuclear North Korea, or terrorism. What Haass has said in case of United States applies more truly to countries like India or China. Every nation has some intrinsic strength and the political leadership of a country that is able to represent the strengths of the nations and its people including the best use of national resources for internal peace and prosperity, is the best security of a country. Besides, defense of a country depends upon the strength of its economy, billions of dollars poured on importing or developing advanced weapons at the cost of people‟s basic requirements, and their well-being, seriously compromises the health of its economy and national defense as well. This can never keep a country secured and prosperous. Ian Bremmer in his provocative book – Every Nation for Itself, explains leadership vacuum or shrinking power gap of major powers in a non-polar world. Bremmer names the present day world as a “G- Zero World” where many countries are strong enough to prevent the international community and take any actions to maintain some kind of global order. However, none of them has the economic, political, or military power to maintain the status quo in their favor. According to him, no one is there to drive the bus and take a lead to address the daunting global challenges from terrorism to climate change and from nuclear proliferation to stability of global economy and food and water security. Countries with their wealth and defense capabilities may wish to rule over the world, but among the community of nations, there are no spaces for them to rule- whereas they have no boundary to prosper and ensure a descent life for all, if they can develop viable strategic options to live and work together. Obviously, never the world was in need of greater cooperation among them than any time before. The lesson the 21st Century has taught us is simple but perhaps most difficult to learn and adopt It is indeed - their foreign policy begins at their home, but their peace and prosperity remains at the hands of people across their borders- among the powerful and among the weak. Failures to find a better modality to accommodate each other and find ways to live and prosper together with other countries can never ensure their national security despite their wealth, their military, and their advanced weaponries. kpbnepal@gmail.com Eurasia Review September 8, 2013 www.eurasiareview.com/author/keshav-prasad-bhattarai/

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