The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Russian Reaction BlogTeasers
China's Budding Nuclear Coup?

Here:

“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” Xi said, according to an official translation.

There’s just a few problems:

(1) In a world without MAD, China will eventually become an unrivalled military hegemon, by dint of its unrivalled industrial capacity.

(2) Of more immediate pertinence, does this include the couple thousand plus nuclear warheads that China might have tucked away in its 2,500km network of underground tunnels?

karber-chinese-nukes This was the theory proposed by Phillip Karber and his students in a 2011 study [big pdf], which analyzed Chinese fissile materials production and concluded that its nuclear arsenal was an order of magnitude bigger than claimed – perhaps 3,000 warheads.

There’s been a lot of criticism of Karber’s methodology, but its worth pointing out that around the same time, the former head of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, Viktor Yesin, came out with very similar figures. In a 2012 article for a Moscow military think-tank (pp. 25), Yesin posited China could have some 1,600-1,800 warheads.

This would be a pretty clever strategy on the part of the Chinese – quietly build up nuclear parity with the US and Russia, then strike up a progressive pose to build up stress cred with American leftists and “civilized” Yuropeans who will push for disarmament with gusto now that the Oval Office will be occupied by someone whom they view as a crazed General Ripper character.

This seems to be a concrete strategy the Chinese have adopted. They are now also talking a lot more about their love for renewable energy, their respect for small nation sovereignty, and about how Trump is a big fat ignorant idiot in general, all topics bound to resound well with the besuited latte-sipping IYI class of D.C., New York, and Brussels.

Most conveniently, the Americans might even take Russia along for the ride. Not only has nuclear disarmament traditionally focused around the Russia-US relationship, but Trump has also gone back on his old promise to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal, and is now linking the removal of Russia sanctions to nuclear downsizing.

A US with fewer or no nukes sees only a modest hit to its relative global power, at least in the medium-term, before the arrival of Chinese primacy.

But a Russia with far fewer or no nukes becomes a sidenote to world politics, and the Chinese threat to its Far East – currently entirely fictive – becomes quite germane.

I am by no means a Sinophobe, and as a country that practices realism, it is perfectly understandable for China to be doing what it is.

But it also has to be acknowledged that a world in which the US and Russia disarm while China potentially retains a huge, hidden nuclear complex will be a more dangerous and undesirable one. Now that China is beginning to stake out an “activist” position on this issue, it would be well warranted – before the beginning of any further serious talk about nuclear disarmament – to devote much more serious publicity and research to clarify whether Karber’s and Esin’s theories on the true size of China’s nuclear arsenal are, in fact, correct.

If it emerges that they do in fact have merit, then all future nuclear discussions must become a trilateral affair.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Nuclear Weapons 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
[Filtered by Reply Thread]
  1. He can say that because he knows that no one takes nuclear disarmament seriously. I bet in the back, they mostly talked about nuclear affordability. Why would you need 1800 warheads? Are there that many cities in the world that are worth nuking? Is the US still a great country if you just nuke 20 top cities (using 2 to 3 nukes per city)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Nuclear warheads thmselves are pretty cheap. The vast bulk of the cost is actually in the supporting infrastructure (the Ground Environment, in the technical parlance), and you need that anyway to maintain your nuclear deterrent whatever its absolute size.

    One big danger for China (if it is honest about the size of its arsenal) is that it makes it vulnerable to an American first strike, especially considering its technological backwardness that it is only now closing. This is especially the case because China has publicly committed to no first use.

    Anyway, Trump has shown himself to be badly disposed to China, so it is understandable that China would move to undermine him. One pretty clever way of doing that is to play to the concerns of leftists and Yuropeans.
    , @Glossy
    Why would you need 1800 warheads?

    My ignorance of this issue is near-total, but I would imagine that superpowers want a lot of nukes stored in many different places because they expect many of them to be taken out by the enemy in the first hours of war. What would YOU bomb first? Their nuke installations, right?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are only available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also only be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/chinas-budding-nuclear-coup/#comment-1733179
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. @Neal
    He can say that because he knows that no one takes nuclear disarmament seriously. I bet in the back, they mostly talked about nuclear affordability. Why would you need 1800 warheads? Are there that many cities in the world that are worth nuking? Is the US still a great country if you just nuke 20 top cities (using 2 to 3 nukes per city)?

    Nuclear warheads thmselves are pretty cheap. The vast bulk of the cost is actually in the supporting infrastructure (the Ground Environment, in the technical parlance), and you need that anyway to maintain your nuclear deterrent whatever its absolute size.

    One big danger for China (if it is honest about the size of its arsenal) is that it makes it vulnerable to an American first strike, especially considering its technological backwardness that it is only now closing. This is especially the case because China has publicly committed to no first use.

    Anyway, Trump has shown himself to be badly disposed to China, so it is understandable that China would move to undermine him. One pretty clever way of doing that is to play to the concerns of leftists and Yuropeans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Neal
    When was the last major leftist-inspired demonstration demanding nuclear disarmament? I don't remember. Do people still care about this non-issue?

    Also, why would China be afraid of a nuclear first strike? Was it afraid back when it didn't have nuclear weapon and was fighting in the Korean War?

    I guess I don't understand what would happen after a first strike. What do people imagine the world to be like after a first strike on China? Do you need a second strike because I assume the remaining Chinese won't be sitting there quietly and maybe ramping up their nuclear weapon production for retaliation? And what happen after that? What does the ending scenario look like? How likely is this?

    This emphasis on the size of the arsenal is ridiculous. All you really need is a credible deterrent. Are you much more afraid of the US if we announced today that we have 2 million nukes instead of 20k nukes? Or are you just going to laugh at the size of the stupidity and the financial irresponsibility that will eventually lead to economic collapse.

    Nuclear weapons is like insurance, you buy it but you hope you don't have to use it. If you buy too much, it's just a waste.

    As for Trump, let's remember back to GW Bush first term in office and the spy plane incident over Hainan island with China. That's a hint of what to come.
  3. @Neal
    He can say that because he knows that no one takes nuclear disarmament seriously. I bet in the back, they mostly talked about nuclear affordability. Why would you need 1800 warheads? Are there that many cities in the world that are worth nuking? Is the US still a great country if you just nuke 20 top cities (using 2 to 3 nukes per city)?

    Why would you need 1800 warheads?

    My ignorance of this issue is near-total, but I would imagine that superpowers want a lot of nukes stored in many different places because they expect many of them to be taken out by the enemy in the first hours of war. What would YOU bomb first? Their nuke installations, right?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, pretty much. That's called a counterforce strategy.

    Dispersal is one solution, another is expanding the range of platforms into the so-called nuclear triad, and just having many of them is the simplest one (though there's a limit to that since it leads to a neverending race).
    , @Neal
    Ok, so what's next after that? Is the war over after you destroyed their nukes?
    Do you followed up by nuking their industries too because you know they can still produce more right?
    I meant the Japanese destroyed the Pacific fleet in a first strike and WWII is over right there. Sure, nukes change the equation a bit but if they still exist then the war must go on and on and on.

    There's just no good outcome to a first strike because it will not end it. That's why the US didn't do this even when we have a huge nuclear advantage in the early years.

    After the first strike, then what... ???
  4. @Glossy
    Why would you need 1800 warheads?

    My ignorance of this issue is near-total, but I would imagine that superpowers want a lot of nukes stored in many different places because they expect many of them to be taken out by the enemy in the first hours of war. What would YOU bomb first? Their nuke installations, right?

    Yes, pretty much. That’s called a counterforce strategy.

    Dispersal is one solution, another is expanding the range of platforms into the so-called nuclear triad, and just having many of them is the simplest one (though there’s a limit to that since it leads to a neverending race).

    Read More
  5. Is nuclear disarmament really that big of an issue nowadays? The wider public in the US and Western Europe doesn’t really seem that interested in it anymore (compared to as recently as the 1980s), other issues like global warming or mass immigration seem much more prominent.
    And anybody who’s thought about it must recognize that there’s no chance for the foreseeable future that the great powers will give up their nuclear weapons…which probably wouldn’t be desirable anyway. The real issue regarding nukes in my opinion is proliferation (e.g. I don’t want to see Turkey or Saudi Arabia get them).

    Read More
  6. Number 2 is a good example of seeing only “quantity” and the inability to see “quality”.

    Since China has the numbers, it must become the most powerful. But “quality” factors like motivation of soldiers, ability to organize, social and political structures that increase or decrease efficiency, personal qualities of average Chinese that make them better or worse soldiers, etc, etc – the list goes on and on.

    All quite unquantifiable, so don’t exist.

    It’s a very peculiar mindset and I am struck with its strangeness every time I meet it, and I find you to be a particularly intelligent exponent of it, so I enjoy reading you, Anatoly.

    Anyways that’s all I have to say – not much – so carry on.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    All quite unquantifiable, so don’t exist.
     
    It's not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century because quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about "moral fiber" and the "spirit of the offensive."
  7. Good to hear that the Chinese threat to Russia’s Far East, with old Russian places such as Haishenwai, is “currently entirely fictive.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Today, considering China's strategic posture and more importantly, the banal fact of thousands of Russian nukes, it absolutely yes.

    If Russia throws out all or most of its nukes, then yes, that absolutely will change.

    What is so surprising or hard to understand about that?
  8. @AaronB
    Number 2 is a good example of seeing only "quantity" and the inability to see "quality".

    Since China has the numbers, it must become the most powerful. But "quality" factors like motivation of soldiers, ability to organize, social and political structures that increase or decrease efficiency, personal qualities of average Chinese that make them better or worse soldiers, etc, etc - the list goes on and on.

    All quite unquantifiable, so don't exist.

    It's a very peculiar mindset and I am struck with its strangeness every time I meet it, and I find you to be a particularly intelligent exponent of it, so I enjoy reading you, Anatoly.

    Anyways that's all I have to say - not much - so carry on.

    All quite unquantifiable, so don’t exist.

    It’s not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century because quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about “moral fiber” and the “spirit of the offensive.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @AaronB
    Quantification surely has its place, Anatoly, and has a certain limited usefulness in contrived war games, I'm sure.

    General Staffs are no more immune to prevailing orthodoxies than the next guy - probably more prone to them.

    Or what it was that made the German Wermacth such a formidable fighting machine? What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?

    Since it can't be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army. The American army, as you'd expect, believed in training and organization that relied heavily on the kinds of quantification and scientific organization so characteristic of American culture to this day. By contrast, the German army opted for a deliberately de-centralized structure that sought to harness intangible human qualities like personal initiative, ingenuity, improvisation, courage, and sense of honor. Something you'd hardly expect, given the Germans reputation for strict discipline and scientific organization. You'd think the chaotic and democratic Americans would run their army more along those lines. But no.

    The vast difference in military effectiveness, of course, are a matter of history. Or a matter of "blowhard rhetoric", depending on your perspective, I suppose.
    , @Twinkie

    It’s not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century
     
    You are incorrect. Germany, Japan, the U.S. and Great Britain all made extensive use of wargaming prior to, and during, WWII.

    quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about “moral fiber” and the “spirit of the offensive.”
     
    In the first place, your argument presents a false choice. Quantification and "the spirit of the offense" do not encompass the entirety of the phenomena and the range of ideation about warfighting.

    Second, morale (and its brother, courage), which you seem to disparage, is a real and highly influential phenomenon (as is leadership), but one that is difficult to measure and is moreover very contextual. It doesn't conform itself well to being a coefficient in a generalized equation. And this goes back to the very beginnings of war (in pre-modern wars, the great bulk of casualties occurred once one side's morale broke and it began to flee, not during the actual combat in which the number of casualties was frequently very small).

    That's why war is both a scientific activity AND an art - because ultimately it involves human beings, not computers, with all the attendant individual (command) and mass psychological dimensions.

    Indeed, and to be blunt, your assessment is that of a person whose only wars have been waged through video games (in which only numbers and "the correlations of forces" matter) and not that of a person who has experienced the fear, the fatigue, and the blood of actual combat.

    It's hard to quantify this, but it matters: https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/pitts/profile/index.html

    Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Forward Observer in 2d Platoon, Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler vicinity of Wanat Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. Early that morning, while Sergeant Pitts was providing perimeter security at Observation Post Topside, a well-organized Anti-Afghan Force consisting of over 200 members initiated a close proximity sustained and complex assault using accurate and intense rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire on Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. An immediate wave of rocket-propelled grenade rounds engulfed the Observation Post wounding Sergeant Pitts and inflicting heavy casualties. Sergeant Pitts had been knocked to the ground and was bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds to his arm and legs, but with incredible toughness and resolve, he subsequently took control of the observation post and returned fire on the enemy. As the enemy drew nearer, Sergeant Pitts threw grenades, holding them after the pin was pulled and the safety lever was released to allow a nearly immediate detonation on the hostile forces. Unable to stand on his own and near death because of the severity of his wounds and blood loss, Sergeant Pitts continued to lay suppressive fire until a two-man reinforcement team arrived. Sergeant Pitts quickly assisted them by giving up his main weapon and gathering ammunition all while continually lobbing fragmentary grenades until these were expended. At this point, Sergeant Pitts crawled to the northern position radio and described the situation to the command post as the enemy continued to try and isolate the Observation Post from the main Patrol Base. With the enemy close enough for him to hear their voices and with total disregard for his own life, Sergeant Pitts whispered in radio situation reports and conveyed information that the Command Post used to provide indirect fire support. Sergeant Pitts' courage, steadfast commitment to the defense of his unit and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from overrunning the observation post and capturing fallen American soldiers, and ultimately prevented the enemy from gaining fortified positions on higher ground from which to attack Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts' extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.
     
    And in his own words: https://youtu.be/WLdyta7p_Wo?t=2m35s
  9. @Eagle Eye
    Good to hear that the Chinese threat to Russia's Far East, with old Russian places such as Haishenwai, is "currently entirely fictive."

    Today, considering China’s strategic posture and more importantly, the banal fact of thousands of Russian nukes, it absolutely yes.

    If Russia throws out all or most of its nukes, then yes, that absolutely will change.

    What is so surprising or hard to understand about that?

    Read More
  10. @Anatoly Karlin

    All quite unquantifiable, so don’t exist.
     
    It's not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century because quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about "moral fiber" and the "spirit of the offensive."

    Quantification surely has its place, Anatoly, and has a certain limited usefulness in contrived war games, I’m sure.

    General Staffs are no more immune to prevailing orthodoxies than the next guy – probably more prone to them.

    Or what it was that made the German Wermacth such a formidable fighting machine? What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army. The American army, as you’d expect, believed in training and organization that relied heavily on the kinds of quantification and scientific organization so characteristic of American culture to this day. By contrast, the German army opted for a deliberately de-centralized structure that sought to harness intangible human qualities like personal initiative, ingenuity, improvisation, courage, and sense of honor. Something you’d hardly expect, given the Germans reputation for strict discipline and scientific organization. You’d think the chaotic and democratic Americans would run their army more along those lines. But no.

    The vast difference in military effectiveness, of course, are a matter of history. Or a matter of “blowhard rhetoric”, depending on your perspective, I suppose.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?
     
    No, not 3x. Around 20-25%, in both of the world wars.

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.
     
    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army.
     
    You do realize that it was the Prussian General Staff that introduced war games as we know them in the first place?
    , @SmoothieX12

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.
     
    It is quantifiable, for example, as mathematical expectation.
  11. @AaronB
    Quantification surely has its place, Anatoly, and has a certain limited usefulness in contrived war games, I'm sure.

    General Staffs are no more immune to prevailing orthodoxies than the next guy - probably more prone to them.

    Or what it was that made the German Wermacth such a formidable fighting machine? What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?

    Since it can't be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army. The American army, as you'd expect, believed in training and organization that relied heavily on the kinds of quantification and scientific organization so characteristic of American culture to this day. By contrast, the German army opted for a deliberately de-centralized structure that sought to harness intangible human qualities like personal initiative, ingenuity, improvisation, courage, and sense of honor. Something you'd hardly expect, given the Germans reputation for strict discipline and scientific organization. You'd think the chaotic and democratic Americans would run their army more along those lines. But no.

    The vast difference in military effectiveness, of course, are a matter of history. Or a matter of "blowhard rhetoric", depending on your perspective, I suppose.

    What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?

    No, not 3x. Around 20-25%, in both of the world wars.

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army.

    You do realize that it was the Prussian General Staff that introduced war games as we know them in the first place?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AaronB
    I was making an ironic point. Since the "why" cannot be quantified, wouldn't it be more in keeping with the best modern scientific methods to pretend its not true? Isn't that how science works these days?

    I'm not contesting the usefulness of war games - they can tell us something about those factors that can be quantified, and that's useful to know as part of the larger picture - and that the Prussian high command was the first to use them as one element among many is hardly inconsistent with the German military's decision to favor intangible human factors when organizing their military.

    In the end, we have two opposing theories tested on the field of battle - the one factoring in intangibles of human psychology and avoiding a strict, top-down, "scientific" organization, and the other doing the opposite. The results speak for themselves.

    The "why" isn't, in the end, so mysterious, unless we are wearing ideological blinders.

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, "scientific" lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms. But by WWII the Germans had learned and adapted, and perhaps in keeping with the element of the irrational and the emotional in Nazi ideology, incorporated "irrational" elements in the way their troops were trained and organized.

    Despite their reputation for emotionless scientific discipline, the other side of the German character has a strong element of the irrational and the emotional, at least compared with the dry Anglo-Saxons.
    , @Twinkie

    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.
     
    Only the most generalized quantification based on one set of historical contingencies was achieved*, which is essentially meaningless beyond saying "they were better soliders."

    Understanding the particulars of why's, especially the art side of the phenomenon, is more important in the practical sense because it allows one to achieve a semblance of replication.

    When you deal with human beings under enormous stress, science is useful, but accumulated wisdom is often even more useful.

    *The "over" effectiveness of the German soldier varied greatly from battle to battle. For example, in meeting engagements and other mobile battles in World War II, their effectiveness was frequently far in excess of 25% compared to their more initiative-constrained opponents. In set-piece battles that multiple dropped significantly. And of course the determination of the opponent mattered a great deal too.

    As a mental exercise, compare the comparative efficacy Erwin Rommel's actions in WW I Italy (where he won the Pour le Merite), much of which is documented in his own "Infanterie Greift An, that of his actions in the initial capture of Benghazi in the early part of the Western Desert Campaign, and finally that of Alam Halfa before the Second Alamein. The latter two campaigns are well documented in F. W. von Mellenthin's "Panzer Battles."
  12. @Anatoly Karlin

    What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?
     
    No, not 3x. Around 20-25%, in both of the world wars.

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.
     
    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army.
     
    You do realize that it was the Prussian General Staff that introduced war games as we know them in the first place?

    I was making an ironic point. Since the “why” cannot be quantified, wouldn’t it be more in keeping with the best modern scientific methods to pretend its not true? Isn’t that how science works these days?

    I’m not contesting the usefulness of war games – they can tell us something about those factors that can be quantified, and that’s useful to know as part of the larger picture – and that the Prussian high command was the first to use them as one element among many is hardly inconsistent with the German military’s decision to favor intangible human factors when organizing their military.

    In the end, we have two opposing theories tested on the field of battle – the one factoring in intangibles of human psychology and avoiding a strict, top-down, “scientific” organization, and the other doing the opposite. The results speak for themselves.

    The “why” isn’t, in the end, so mysterious, unless we are wearing ideological blinders.

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, “scientific” lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms. But by WWII the Germans had learned and adapted, and perhaps in keeping with the element of the irrational and the emotional in Nazi ideology, incorporated “irrational” elements in the way their troops were trained and organized.

    Despite their reputation for emotionless scientific discipline, the other side of the German character has a strong element of the irrational and the emotional, at least compared with the dry Anglo-Saxons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinPNW
    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to "train" the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.

    In fact, the Prussian losses to Napoleon stimulated "educational reforms" to train the lower class that would be the cannon fodder to obey orders without thinking or questioning, but the upper classes that would become the officers in creativity and improvisation.

    When the US started getting a lot of non Anglo/Protestant immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian Catholics) the American elite adopted the Prussian system of education for lower classes to "socialize" these new immigrants to obey the orders of the existing WASP establishment in business, government, and military as explained in the works of John Taylor Gatto, New York City and State Teacher of the Year who after receiving these awards quit teaching in disgust due to the corruption of American public education by these Prussian methods.

    The failure of the American education system to also import the "education in creativity and improvisation" for the upper, "leader" classes is one thing that led the American Army to fall behind the Germans in effectiveness in the World Wars.

    , @Twinkie

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, “scientific” lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms.
     
    You got that backward. In the first place, the Prussians, though defeated, did relatively well against Napoleon compared to his other enemies at the time. Second, it was precisely the experience of bitter defeat against Napoleon that led Gneisenau and Scharnhorst to reform the Prussian military training and war planning along a more strategic and "scientific" lines (as opposed to more "vocational"-oriented training).
  13. In a world without MAD, China will eventually become an unrivalled military hegemon, by dint of its unrivalled industrial capacity.

    Your basic point is right, but China isn’t going to be an “unrivalled military hegemon.” It’s had a spectacular 35-year run, but Chinese GDP growth is now rapidly converging with the world average, and will likely fall to 4% or less by 2025. I predict China will peak at no more than 20-22% of world GDP (PPP): Up from 17% today, and about the same as the USA’s share at its 1999 peak, but still significantly lagging the developed world in GDP per capita and military technology. China will be a superpower- arguably it already is- but will not become a hyperpower like the USA briefly was in the 1990s.

    This would be a pretty clever strategy on the part of the Chinese – quietly build up nuclear parity with the US and Russia

    To achieve that, China would also need to build hundreds of missiles (at least 600 with China’s present MIRV capabilities) to deliver those hypothetical 1800 warheads, which would be very difficult to do without detection.

    I wonder how likely it is that in the event China seriously threatened to achieve parity in both warheads and delivery systems, Russia would launch a pre-emptive counterforce strike.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    but still significantly lagging the developed world in GDP per capita

    Why shouldn't the mainland approach Taiwan's and Hong Kong's per capita numbers? Yes, I know that some upscale people fled the mainland for Taiwan under Chang Kai Sheck, but Taiwan also has its aboriginals, which would push it in the opposite direction.

    Why shouldn't a 100+ IQ people converge with the developed world?
  14. This is all very speculative. I can buy that Beijing is understating the number of its warheads, but 1,800 hidden underground? There aren’t enough launch sites in China to make use of even half that number in an emergency. That report has been roundly criticized for good reason. Fissile material alone is not indicative of actual weapons.

    Nor do I see the US/Russia ever reducing their stockpile to under 1,000 warheads, regardless of what hippies do.

    Read More
  15. @Jon0815

    In a world without MAD, China will eventually become an unrivalled military hegemon, by dint of its unrivalled industrial capacity.
     
    Your basic point is right, but China isn't going to be an "unrivalled military hegemon." It's had a spectacular 35-year run, but Chinese GDP growth is now rapidly converging with the world average, and will likely fall to 4% or less by 2025. I predict China will peak at no more than 20-22% of world GDP (PPP): Up from 17% today, and about the same as the USA's share at its 1999 peak, but still significantly lagging the developed world in GDP per capita and military technology. China will be a superpower- arguably it already is- but will not become a hyperpower like the USA briefly was in the 1990s.

    This would be a pretty clever strategy on the part of the Chinese – quietly build up nuclear parity with the US and Russia
     
    To achieve that, China would also need to build hundreds of missiles (at least 600 with China's present MIRV capabilities) to deliver those hypothetical 1800 warheads, which would be very difficult to do without detection.

    I wonder how likely it is that in the event China seriously threatened to achieve parity in both warheads and delivery systems, Russia would launch a pre-emptive counterforce strike.

    but still significantly lagging the developed world in GDP per capita

    Why shouldn’t the mainland approach Taiwan’s and Hong Kong’s per capita numbers? Yes, I know that some upscale people fled the mainland for Taiwan under Chang Kai Sheck, but Taiwan also has its aboriginals, which would push it in the opposite direction.

    Why shouldn’t a 100+ IQ people converge with the developed world?

    Read More
  16. @Anatoly Karlin
    Nuclear warheads thmselves are pretty cheap. The vast bulk of the cost is actually in the supporting infrastructure (the Ground Environment, in the technical parlance), and you need that anyway to maintain your nuclear deterrent whatever its absolute size.

    One big danger for China (if it is honest about the size of its arsenal) is that it makes it vulnerable to an American first strike, especially considering its technological backwardness that it is only now closing. This is especially the case because China has publicly committed to no first use.

    Anyway, Trump has shown himself to be badly disposed to China, so it is understandable that China would move to undermine him. One pretty clever way of doing that is to play to the concerns of leftists and Yuropeans.

    When was the last major leftist-inspired demonstration demanding nuclear disarmament? I don’t remember. Do people still care about this non-issue?

    Also, why would China be afraid of a nuclear first strike? Was it afraid back when it didn’t have nuclear weapon and was fighting in the Korean War?

    I guess I don’t understand what would happen after a first strike. What do people imagine the world to be like after a first strike on China? Do you need a second strike because I assume the remaining Chinese won’t be sitting there quietly and maybe ramping up their nuclear weapon production for retaliation? And what happen after that? What does the ending scenario look like? How likely is this?

    This emphasis on the size of the arsenal is ridiculous. All you really need is a credible deterrent. Are you much more afraid of the US if we announced today that we have 2 million nukes instead of 20k nukes? Or are you just going to laugh at the size of the stupidity and the financial irresponsibility that will eventually lead to economic collapse.

    Nuclear weapons is like insurance, you buy it but you hope you don’t have to use it. If you buy too much, it’s just a waste.

    As for Trump, let’s remember back to GW Bush first term in office and the spy plane incident over Hainan island with China. That’s a hint of what to come.

    Read More
  17. @Glossy
    Why would you need 1800 warheads?

    My ignorance of this issue is near-total, but I would imagine that superpowers want a lot of nukes stored in many different places because they expect many of them to be taken out by the enemy in the first hours of war. What would YOU bomb first? Their nuke installations, right?

    Ok, so what’s next after that? Is the war over after you destroyed their nukes?
    Do you followed up by nuking their industries too because you know they can still produce more right?
    I meant the Japanese destroyed the Pacific fleet in a first strike and WWII is over right there. Sure, nukes change the equation a bit but if they still exist then the war must go on and on and on.

    There’s just no good outcome to a first strike because it will not end it. That’s why the US didn’t do this even when we have a huge nuclear advantage in the early years.

    After the first strike, then what… ???

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The first strike should take out not only the enemy's nuclear capabilities, but also his industrial capacity, his major population centers, his conventional forces, and everything else that can be destroyed.

    It's obvious that for example if a country has ten cities over 500,000 people, then only ten (or maybe fifteen or twenty, in case one of those is huge megalopolis) warheads might suffice to destroy them, but then still half or more of the enemy population may survive to regroup, rearm and exact revenge, so it's probably better to destroy cities with a population of over 100,000 or even 50,000, and the destruction will still not be total.

    Let's also mention the missile defense systems, which mean that you have to launch more warheads on any given target lest they be taken out by a defense system.

    Another point - though it's not much discussed anywhere, I doubt I'm the first one to come up with it - is that you might want to preserve a fraction of your nuclear forces for fear of what a third party might do to you after such a devastating war. Imagine if Russia and the US destroyed each other, and then China just walked into Siberia. With the majority of Russia's population killed and its industrial capacity destroyed, it might be impossible for them to defend what's left.

    So in terms of national survival an enemy with 1000 warheads will be vastly more dangerous than an enemy with only 100, and it's vastly better to have 1000 warheads than only 100.

  18. Sounds somewhat fishy.

    One would think that there would be other indicators of a 2700-nuke stash than an extrapolation on an Excel sheet.

    Like, large maintenance crews driving around, more Pu accidents, someone dumping a photo stash from time to time, and a huge hangar of launching gear to deliver the goods.

    Anyway, even if the nuclear standoff retardation doesn’t end completely, heads have to be bashed or MIC members have to be removed from their positions to make this shit safe, because currently a single fart (or an asteroid strike) could kill us all, and apparently it’s getting worse.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/world-war-three-by-mistake

    While this is going on, Obama and Clintonia went for the 1 trillion USD “nuke renewal” program that doesn’t even solve any real problem whatsoever, because hey “Russians are coming”.

    https://theintercept.com/2016/02/23/obamas-new-rationale-for-1-trillion-nuclear-program-augurs-a-new-arms-race-with-russia/

    Has Hanford even been cleaned up or can we look forward to nuclear salmon in Washington soon? I think DOE is still trying to find loose change behind a sofa to finance that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato
    Yeah, I grew up with "War Games" and "The Day After" (still a good movie), and also Chernobyl (BAN RBMKs, go CANDU!) this stuff makes me nervous.

  19. @El Dato
    Sounds somewhat fishy.

    One would think that there would be other indicators of a 2700-nuke stash than an extrapolation on an Excel sheet.

    Like, large maintenance crews driving around, more Pu accidents, someone dumping a photo stash from time to time, and a huge hangar of launching gear to deliver the goods.

    Anyway, even if the nuclear standoff retardation doesn't end completely, heads have to be bashed or MIC members have to be removed from their positions to make this shit safe, because currently a single fart (or an asteroid strike) could kill us all, and apparently it's getting worse.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/world-war-three-by-mistake

    While this is going on, Obama and Clintonia went for the 1 trillion USD "nuke renewal" program that doesn't even solve any real problem whatsoever, because hey "Russians are coming".

    https://theintercept.com/2016/02/23/obamas-new-rationale-for-1-trillion-nuclear-program-augurs-a-new-arms-race-with-russia/

    Has Hanford even been cleaned up or can we look forward to nuclear salmon in Washington soon? I think DOE is still trying to find loose change behind a sofa to finance that.

    Yeah, I grew up with “War Games” and “The Day After” (still a good movie), and also Chernobyl (BAN RBMKs, go CANDU!) this stuff makes me nervous.

    Read More
  20. China’s growth rates are not “rapidly converging with the world average”. They’re growing over 2x the world average (faster than India!). The convergence to western living standards is still very much on track.

    There’s indeed no reason to believe that China is somehow unable to reach Taiwanese or South Korean per capita levels. Certainly something like 4-5% growth rate by the mid or late 2020s is quite likely, but at that point they will already be quite rich even by per capita (high-income country, way above world averages) and that growth rate would still quite a bit higher than world average (3-3.5%?).

    And the “Chinese weapons technology is still behind western powers” meme is becoming more and more outdated. J-20 is operational, FFS. Type 055 destroyer will be ready in a few years. By 2025 they won’t be behind anyone overall, period. Like any country, they will be ahead in some categories/fields and slightly behind in others, but that doesn’t make a huge difference and they cancel each other out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SmoothieX12

    J-20 is operational, FFS
     
    No, it is not, not even close. Not even close to IOC. At this stage it is, realistically, nothing more than technology demonstrator, hence China's huge (in fact, monstrous) interest in Su-35. By buying Su-35 China tries to buy the engine and radar. In 2017 observe PAK-FA which is a genuine IOC and starts a low production run.
    , @Jon0815

    China’s growth rates are not “rapidly converging with the world average”. They’re growing over 2x the world average (faster than India!). The convergence to western living standards is still very much on track.
     
    I bothered to do the math...

    Using UN population projections, and assuming a US growth rate of 2%:

    If China can sustain a 5% GDP growth rate from 2015-2029, and 4% from 2030 onward, then it will reach US per capita level (PPP) by 2055.

    However, if China averages 4% from 2015-2029, and 3% from 2030 onward, then it won't reach US per capita level (PPP) until about 2085.

    By that time China's population will have fallen from 1.4 billion to 1.0 billion, so it would only have about 2.3 times the USA's population and total GDP (PPP).

  21. (1) In a world without MAD, China will eventually become an unrivalled military hegemon, by dint of its unrivalled industrial capacity.

    Debatable, especially with the weapons on new physical principles in development already. Just sheer industrial capacity does not translate directly into cutting edge and completely new capability weapons. Just to demonstrate: while China’s GDP is larger (in real, manufacturing terms) than US’, let alone Russia’s, China’s even most advanced weapon systems are lacking and lagging, sometimes generations, behind what Russia or USA (if to deduct F-35 and LCS, wink-wink) do in weapons design. Chinese subs, even the latest ones, frankly, are not good. China still can not (and will not for quite some time) develop a decent (forget outstanding) jet engine. There are a lot of issues with Chinese military, however strong in many, especially mobilization, fields which can not and will not be addressed by sheer industrial capacity anytime soon. For observers of Chinese Air Force (PLAAF??) it is absolutely clear. Russian Military Doctrine and statements by Shoigu re: conventional deterrent this Monday are not an empty bluster. We are on the verge of a technological leap (radiophotonics anyone?) in warfare, when conventional weapons will be able to solve strategic tasks. Russia’s nuclear weapons are not going anywhere without giving considerations to PRC’s nuclear deterrent. Assessing what is already known about conventional capabilities of Sarmat, it kinda gives one a sense of security.

    Read More
  22. There’s indeed no reason to believe that China is somehow unable to reach Taiwanese or South Korean per capita levels.

    Sure, I don’t see why that isn’t possible eventually (although I don’t think it’s inevitable either), but I meant China will still be lagging the developed world when it reaches its peak share of world GDP (PPP), which I’m predicting will be no more than 20-22%. Based on current trends, China’s share will reach 22% around 2030-2035, by which time China’s GDP growth will probably have fallen to about the global average, and hence its share will no longer be increasing much if at all.

    And even if/when China does catch up to the West in per capita GDP, I still doubt that without MAD it would be an “unrivaled military hegemon” as AK put it, unless NATO has ceased to exist.

    Certainly something like 4-5% growth rate by the mid or late 2020s is quite likely

    I expect China’s growth rate will be less than 4% by then. A Harvard study forecast average growth of 4.5% for 2016-2025, which would suggest less than 4% in the later years. The OECD is a little more optimistic, projecting average growth of 5% for 2016-2025, with growth falling below 5% in 2021, and not falling below 4% until 2026.

    Or, the Harvard study may be too optimistic: The Economist magazine’s “Economist Intelligence Unit” forecasts an imminent hard landing, with Chinese growth falling from 6.2% in 2017 to 4.2% in 2018 (I think they’re probably wrong, but we’ll see soon enough).

    And the “Chinese weapons technology is still behind western powers” meme is becoming more and more outdated.

    To cite an example particularly relevant to this thread, the Chinese still can’t miniaturize their nuclear warheads to fit more than three per MIRV missile, whereas both American and Russian MIRVs were capable of carrying up to 10 warheads in the 1980s.

    Read More
  23. @Neal
    Ok, so what's next after that? Is the war over after you destroyed their nukes?
    Do you followed up by nuking their industries too because you know they can still produce more right?
    I meant the Japanese destroyed the Pacific fleet in a first strike and WWII is over right there. Sure, nukes change the equation a bit but if they still exist then the war must go on and on and on.

    There's just no good outcome to a first strike because it will not end it. That's why the US didn't do this even when we have a huge nuclear advantage in the early years.

    After the first strike, then what... ???

    The first strike should take out not only the enemy’s nuclear capabilities, but also his industrial capacity, his major population centers, his conventional forces, and everything else that can be destroyed.

    It’s obvious that for example if a country has ten cities over 500,000 people, then only ten (or maybe fifteen or twenty, in case one of those is huge megalopolis) warheads might suffice to destroy them, but then still half or more of the enemy population may survive to regroup, rearm and exact revenge, so it’s probably better to destroy cities with a population of over 100,000 or even 50,000, and the destruction will still not be total.

    Let’s also mention the missile defense systems, which mean that you have to launch more warheads on any given target lest they be taken out by a defense system.

    Another point – though it’s not much discussed anywhere, I doubt I’m the first one to come up with it – is that you might want to preserve a fraction of your nuclear forces for fear of what a third party might do to you after such a devastating war. Imagine if Russia and the US destroyed each other, and then China just walked into Siberia. With the majority of Russia’s population killed and its industrial capacity destroyed, it might be impossible for them to defend what’s left.

    So in terms of national survival an enemy with 1000 warheads will be vastly more dangerous than an enemy with only 100, and it’s vastly better to have 1000 warheads than only 100.

    Read More
  24. Hello AK,

    The Chinese government has been talking about creating a non-nuclear world for decades, almost as early as 1964. Xi Jinping is just repeating the same claim like usual.
    Btw, My estimation of Xi’s IQ is 98-107, far lower than what one may infer from the media (both west and east ) coverage and what it “requires” for leading a nation with 1.4 billion people. You really don’t get much from Xi’s talk. Sometimes he even made mistakes reading his secretary’s script LOL.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    My estimate of the length of your erect penis is 10 cm. I have just as good evidence for it as you do for your estimate of Xi's "IQ", and my assertion is much more easily falsifiable than yours.
  25. @Kimppis
    China's growth rates are not "rapidly converging with the world average". They're growing over 2x the world average (faster than India!). The convergence to western living standards is still very much on track.

    There's indeed no reason to believe that China is somehow unable to reach Taiwanese or South Korean per capita levels. Certainly something like 4-5% growth rate by the mid or late 2020s is quite likely, but at that point they will already be quite rich even by per capita (high-income country, way above world averages) and that growth rate would still quite a bit higher than world average (3-3.5%?).

    And the "Chinese weapons technology is still behind western powers" meme is becoming more and more outdated. J-20 is operational, FFS. Type 055 destroyer will be ready in a few years. By 2025 they won't be behind anyone overall, period. Like any country, they will be ahead in some categories/fields and slightly behind in others, but that doesn't make a huge difference and they cancel each other out.

    J-20 is operational, FFS

    No, it is not, not even close. Not even close to IOC. At this stage it is, realistically, nothing more than technology demonstrator, hence China’s huge (in fact, monstrous) interest in Su-35. By buying Su-35 China tries to buy the engine and radar. In 2017 observe PAK-FA which is a genuine IOC and starts a low production run.

    Read More
  26. Call me a white supremacist, but I simply don’t buy the idea of an Asian country as the world’s hegemon. :)

    China in particular has been around for 3000 years – they could never dominate their neighbours, let alone the rest of the world. Expecting that China would suddenly start acting like Russia or the US ignores HBD imo.

    To be sure, Chinese can build a lot tanks. But are they going to send their tanks to Kazakhstan to “promote democracy”/”protect compatriots” there? Ridiculous! This is not who they are.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    There's an indirect way that we do intervene though, especially in South Asia. Basically, as there are more and more Chinese ethnic who live there, we tend to become a sizeable controller of wealth. This usually causes the host countries to attack us for our outsized influence versus percentage of population.

    Now, usually, China just lets this happen. At most, China might try to rescue the population by helping the migrants back into China.

    There's another solution, though, one which is being talked more in China: the Russian solution. Defend the rights of emigrate Chinese in other countries, intervene for their sake and send in the marines, in American parlance.

    Won't take a lot to see where that can lead to.
  27. Why shouldn’t a 100+ IQ people converge with the developed world?

    No shit. They should get to Taiwan level development at least.

    Read More
  28. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Saying that China has been around for 3,000 years is sort of like saying that the European Union has been around for 3,000 years.

    Read More
  29. @qwqw
    Hello AK,

    The Chinese government has been talking about creating a non-nuclear world for decades, almost as early as 1964. Xi Jinping is just repeating the same claim like usual.
    Btw, My estimation of Xi's IQ is 98-107, far lower than what one may infer from the media (both west and east ) coverage and what it "requires" for leading a nation with 1.4 billion people. You really don't get much from Xi's talk. Sometimes he even made mistakes reading his secretary's script LOL.

    My estimate of the length of your erect penis is 10 cm. I have just as good evidence for it as you do for your estimate of Xi’s “IQ”, and my assertion is much more easily falsifiable than yours.

    Read More
    • Replies: @qwqw
    LOL, are you not confident with your penis, kid?

    Apparently you know very little about Chinese bureaucracy, I know several of Xi's former colleagues (during his Fujian period) and some of his family members (not very close ones, yet they do meet some times) before he was appointed the vice president. None of them gave credit for his intelligence and he was often described as "not smart" and "awkward", especially in comparison with other princelings such as Bo Xilai. His scandals and stupidities were widely spread in Fujian officialdom.

    You can call it "wisdom" or "big intelligence from Taoism" when a Chinese politician deliberately pretends to be incompetent and low-IQ in order to avoid potential hazards in the fierce Chinese bureaucratic competition, while secretly plotting behind the curtains--and Xi did this for his WHOLE LIFE. Why wouldn't general Mao xinyu be even more successful in this case? LOL.

    Btw, it's pretty easy to estimate Xi's IQ even from public sources, just use a fraction of your brain! The "Chinese Dream" is the most stupid political slogan ( with no content at all, for a country/party embraced realism) in recent decades and he is really fond of showing his "profound knowledge" in public speech by listing lots of scholars and books (which in fact is a list of "books I hope I have read", as Hu Deping once introduced Xi to others, "he didn't read much")--What a trauma recovery process. Moreover, even with the help of perhaps the most skilled secretaries in China, he made errors reading elementary level of idioms (it wasn't a pronunciation error, apparently he didn't know the idiom) in APEC--hopefully foreign leaders can't understand, uh?

  30. @Anatoly Karlin

    All quite unquantifiable, so don’t exist.
     
    It's not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century because quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about "moral fiber" and the "spirit of the offensive."

    It’s not like serious General Staffs have been playing war games since the 19th century

    You are incorrect. Germany, Japan, the U.S. and Great Britain all made extensive use of wargaming prior to, and during, WWII.

    quantification is, astonishingly enough, an activity more conductive to attaining victory than blowhard rhetoric about “moral fiber” and the “spirit of the offensive.”

    In the first place, your argument presents a false choice. Quantification and “the spirit of the offense” do not encompass the entirety of the phenomena and the range of ideation about warfighting.

    Second, morale (and its brother, courage), which you seem to disparage, is a real and highly influential phenomenon (as is leadership), but one that is difficult to measure and is moreover very contextual. It doesn’t conform itself well to being a coefficient in a generalized equation. And this goes back to the very beginnings of war (in pre-modern wars, the great bulk of casualties occurred once one side’s morale broke and it began to flee, not during the actual combat in which the number of casualties was frequently very small).

    That’s why war is both a scientific activity AND an art – because ultimately it involves human beings, not computers, with all the attendant individual (command) and mass psychological dimensions.

    Indeed, and to be blunt, your assessment is that of a person whose only wars have been waged through video games (in which only numbers and “the correlations of forces” matter) and not that of a person who has experienced the fear, the fatigue, and the blood of actual combat.

    It’s hard to quantify this, but it matters: https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/pitts/profile/index.html

    Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Forward Observer in 2d Platoon, Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler vicinity of Wanat Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. Early that morning, while Sergeant Pitts was providing perimeter security at Observation Post Topside, a well-organized Anti-Afghan Force consisting of over 200 members initiated a close proximity sustained and complex assault using accurate and intense rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire on Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. An immediate wave of rocket-propelled grenade rounds engulfed the Observation Post wounding Sergeant Pitts and inflicting heavy casualties. Sergeant Pitts had been knocked to the ground and was bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds to his arm and legs, but with incredible toughness and resolve, he subsequently took control of the observation post and returned fire on the enemy. As the enemy drew nearer, Sergeant Pitts threw grenades, holding them after the pin was pulled and the safety lever was released to allow a nearly immediate detonation on the hostile forces. Unable to stand on his own and near death because of the severity of his wounds and blood loss, Sergeant Pitts continued to lay suppressive fire until a two-man reinforcement team arrived. Sergeant Pitts quickly assisted them by giving up his main weapon and gathering ammunition all while continually lobbing fragmentary grenades until these were expended. At this point, Sergeant Pitts crawled to the northern position radio and described the situation to the command post as the enemy continued to try and isolate the Observation Post from the main Patrol Base. With the enemy close enough for him to hear their voices and with total disregard for his own life, Sergeant Pitts whispered in radio situation reports and conveyed information that the Command Post used to provide indirect fire support. Sergeant Pitts’ courage, steadfast commitment to the defense of his unit and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from overrunning the observation post and capturing fallen American soldiers, and ultimately prevented the enemy from gaining fortified positions on higher ground from which to attack Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts’ extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.

    And in his own words: https://youtu.be/WLdyta7p_Wo?t=2m35s

    Read More
  31. @AaronB
    I was making an ironic point. Since the "why" cannot be quantified, wouldn't it be more in keeping with the best modern scientific methods to pretend its not true? Isn't that how science works these days?

    I'm not contesting the usefulness of war games - they can tell us something about those factors that can be quantified, and that's useful to know as part of the larger picture - and that the Prussian high command was the first to use them as one element among many is hardly inconsistent with the German military's decision to favor intangible human factors when organizing their military.

    In the end, we have two opposing theories tested on the field of battle - the one factoring in intangibles of human psychology and avoiding a strict, top-down, "scientific" organization, and the other doing the opposite. The results speak for themselves.

    The "why" isn't, in the end, so mysterious, unless we are wearing ideological blinders.

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, "scientific" lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms. But by WWII the Germans had learned and adapted, and perhaps in keeping with the element of the irrational and the emotional in Nazi ideology, incorporated "irrational" elements in the way their troops were trained and organized.

    Despite their reputation for emotionless scientific discipline, the other side of the German character has a strong element of the irrational and the emotional, at least compared with the dry Anglo-Saxons.

    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to “train” the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.

    In fact, the Prussian losses to Napoleon stimulated “educational reforms” to train the lower class that would be the cannon fodder to obey orders without thinking or questioning, but the upper classes that would become the officers in creativity and improvisation.

    When the US started getting a lot of non Anglo/Protestant immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian Catholics) the American elite adopted the Prussian system of education for lower classes to “socialize” these new immigrants to obey the orders of the existing WASP establishment in business, government, and military as explained in the works of John Taylor Gatto, New York City and State Teacher of the Year who after receiving these awards quit teaching in disgust due to the corruption of American public education by these Prussian methods.

    The failure of the American education system to also import the “education in creativity and improvisation” for the upper, “leader” classes is one thing that led the American Army to fall behind the Germans in effectiveness in the World Wars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to “train” the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.
     
    It wasn't just the officer corps. NCOs were also expected to improvise. What you present is a false dichotomy, because strict discipline and mission-orientation/autonomy are not mutually exclusive.

    That's where the art of the thing lies.
    , @AaronB
    Thanks for expanding on the theme.

    So it seems NCOs and officers were trained - and selected, I've read that huge weight was placed on interviews that sought to assess personal qualities - with due attention being paid to non-quantifiable factors.

    Twinkie introduces the - correct, in my view - nuance that training for obedience and for improvisation are not mutually contradictory but a balance was sought which, in fact, makes the whole thing even more of an "art", as he says.

    And w'ere just focusing on things like out of the box thinking, but a sense of honor, duty, personal rectitude, psychological factors, also hugely important.
  32. @Anatoly Karlin

    What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?
     
    No, not 3x. Around 20-25%, in both of the world wars.

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.
     
    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army.
     
    You do realize that it was the Prussian General Staff that introduced war games as we know them in the first place?

    Actually it can and was quantified. The why is an open question.

    Only the most generalized quantification based on one set of historical contingencies was achieved*, which is essentially meaningless beyond saying “they were better soliders.”

    Understanding the particulars of why’s, especially the art side of the phenomenon, is more important in the practical sense because it allows one to achieve a semblance of replication.

    When you deal with human beings under enormous stress, science is useful, but accumulated wisdom is often even more useful.

    *The “over” effectiveness of the German soldier varied greatly from battle to battle. For example, in meeting engagements and other mobile battles in World War II, their effectiveness was frequently far in excess of 25% compared to their more initiative-constrained opponents. In set-piece battles that multiple dropped significantly. And of course the determination of the opponent mattered a great deal too.

    As a mental exercise, compare the comparative efficacy Erwin Rommel’s actions in WW I Italy (where he won the Pour le Merite), much of which is documented in his own “Infanterie Greift An, that of his actions in the initial capture of Benghazi in the early part of the Western Desert Campaign, and finally that of Alam Halfa before the Second Alamein. The latter two campaigns are well documented in F. W. von Mellenthin’s “Panzer Battles.”

    Read More
  33. @AaronB
    I was making an ironic point. Since the "why" cannot be quantified, wouldn't it be more in keeping with the best modern scientific methods to pretend its not true? Isn't that how science works these days?

    I'm not contesting the usefulness of war games - they can tell us something about those factors that can be quantified, and that's useful to know as part of the larger picture - and that the Prussian high command was the first to use them as one element among many is hardly inconsistent with the German military's decision to favor intangible human factors when organizing their military.

    In the end, we have two opposing theories tested on the field of battle - the one factoring in intangibles of human psychology and avoiding a strict, top-down, "scientific" organization, and the other doing the opposite. The results speak for themselves.

    The "why" isn't, in the end, so mysterious, unless we are wearing ideological blinders.

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, "scientific" lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms. But by WWII the Germans had learned and adapted, and perhaps in keeping with the element of the irrational and the emotional in Nazi ideology, incorporated "irrational" elements in the way their troops were trained and organized.

    Despite their reputation for emotionless scientific discipline, the other side of the German character has a strong element of the irrational and the emotional, at least compared with the dry Anglo-Saxons.

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, “scientific” lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms.

    You got that backward. In the first place, the Prussians, though defeated, did relatively well against Napoleon compared to his other enemies at the time. Second, it was precisely the experience of bitter defeat against Napoleon that led Gneisenau and Scharnhorst to reform the Prussian military training and war planning along a more strategic and “scientific” lines (as opposed to more “vocational”-oriented training).

    Read More
    • Replies: @AaronB
    So they shifted away from the "vocational" and became more serious. In some ways, this meant more "scientific", but in other ways, this meant paying attention to intangible factors that can't be assessed by science, as you yourself have shown.

    Rather than characterizing the shift as one toward science, although it was partly that, I'd say it was characterized by a decision to to take it "seriously", which apparently meant paying attention to the "artistic" aspect of war as well.

    You clearly know more about this than I do, and my reading about this subject is long ago, but I've read that the Prussian troops that faced Napoleon had grown overly rigid and disciplined.

    Your other comments on this thread make some excellent and perceptive points, and I strongly agree with them.
  34. @MarkinPNW
    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to "train" the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.

    In fact, the Prussian losses to Napoleon stimulated "educational reforms" to train the lower class that would be the cannon fodder to obey orders without thinking or questioning, but the upper classes that would become the officers in creativity and improvisation.

    When the US started getting a lot of non Anglo/Protestant immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian Catholics) the American elite adopted the Prussian system of education for lower classes to "socialize" these new immigrants to obey the orders of the existing WASP establishment in business, government, and military as explained in the works of John Taylor Gatto, New York City and State Teacher of the Year who after receiving these awards quit teaching in disgust due to the corruption of American public education by these Prussian methods.

    The failure of the American education system to also import the "education in creativity and improvisation" for the upper, "leader" classes is one thing that led the American Army to fall behind the Germans in effectiveness in the World Wars.

    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to “train” the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.

    It wasn’t just the officer corps. NCOs were also expected to improvise. What you present is a false dichotomy, because strict discipline and mission-orientation/autonomy are not mutually exclusive.

    That’s where the art of the thing lies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I read I got the impression that improvisational skills were even expected (or at least encouraged) in individual rank and file soldiers as well, with the obvious understanding that they didn't as frequently get into situations where they might need to improvise.
  35. @MarkinPNW
    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to "train" the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.

    In fact, the Prussian losses to Napoleon stimulated "educational reforms" to train the lower class that would be the cannon fodder to obey orders without thinking or questioning, but the upper classes that would become the officers in creativity and improvisation.

    When the US started getting a lot of non Anglo/Protestant immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian Catholics) the American elite adopted the Prussian system of education for lower classes to "socialize" these new immigrants to obey the orders of the existing WASP establishment in business, government, and military as explained in the works of John Taylor Gatto, New York City and State Teacher of the Year who after receiving these awards quit teaching in disgust due to the corruption of American public education by these Prussian methods.

    The failure of the American education system to also import the "education in creativity and improvisation" for the upper, "leader" classes is one thing that led the American Army to fall behind the Germans in effectiveness in the World Wars.

    Thanks for expanding on the theme.

    So it seems NCOs and officers were trained – and selected, I’ve read that huge weight was placed on interviews that sought to assess personal qualities – with due attention being paid to non-quantifiable factors.

    Twinkie introduces the – correct, in my view – nuance that training for obedience and for improvisation are not mutually contradictory but a balance was sought which, in fact, makes the whole thing even more of an “art”, as he says.

    And w’ere just focusing on things like out of the box thinking, but a sense of honor, duty, personal rectitude, psychological factors, also hugely important.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    So it seems NCOs and officers were trained – and selected, I’ve read that huge weight was placed on interviews that sought to assess personal qualities – with due attention being paid to non-quantifiable factors.
     
    Yes. But keep in mind that there was an additional factor that aided this effort prior to World War II, which resulted in the German juior officer corps and NCOs being even more effective. The terms of the Versailles Treaty limited the size of the officer corps, which meant that the Truppenamt ("Troop Office" or the secret General Staff) encouraged the small number of officers (already very able due to the highly competitive selection for the small number of slots) to be able to do jobs of their seniors in the event of a rapid expansion at a later time (as did occur). It also meant that NCO's - whose numbers were not nearly as restricted - were trained to take over as junior officers in the event the treaty was jettisoned. The following link provides a decent, if short, summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truppenamt
  36. @Twinkie

    Interestingly, one of the reasons the Germans did so poorly against Napoleon is precisely because their army was organized on rigid, top-down, “scientific” lines at that time, after the successes of Frederick the Great led to an ossification of German arms.
     
    You got that backward. In the first place, the Prussians, though defeated, did relatively well against Napoleon compared to his other enemies at the time. Second, it was precisely the experience of bitter defeat against Napoleon that led Gneisenau and Scharnhorst to reform the Prussian military training and war planning along a more strategic and "scientific" lines (as opposed to more "vocational"-oriented training).

    So they shifted away from the “vocational” and became more serious. In some ways, this meant more “scientific”, but in other ways, this meant paying attention to intangible factors that can’t be assessed by science, as you yourself have shown.

    Rather than characterizing the shift as one toward science, although it was partly that, I’d say it was characterized by a decision to to take it “seriously”, which apparently meant paying attention to the “artistic” aspect of war as well.

    You clearly know more about this than I do, and my reading about this subject is long ago, but I’ve read that the Prussian troops that faced Napoleon had grown overly rigid and disciplined.

    Your other comments on this thread make some excellent and perceptive points, and I strongly agree with them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    So they shifted away from the “vocational” and became more serious.
     
    Prussians were pretty serious about warfare before Napoleon. The word you are searching for is "systematic." Prior to Napoleon the Prussian approach to war was, to summarize crudely, "the side that shoots better wins." After Napoleon's onslaught, especially his extremely skillful use of massed artillery fire on top of the enormous advantages brought to the table by the French levee en masse, the Prussians realized that they needed to approach warfare in a more systematic and scientific way, especially as related to training, (mass) mobilization, and logistics as well as a more operational approach to battle.

    And, yes, this scientific approach was not at all incompatible with intangible factors such as morale and initiative.
  37. @Twinkie

    The German/Prussian method was to train the conscript/enlisted soldiers in strict discipline to obey orders, but to “train” the officer corps in initiative, out-of-the box thinking, improvisation, etc.
     
    It wasn't just the officer corps. NCOs were also expected to improvise. What you present is a false dichotomy, because strict discipline and mission-orientation/autonomy are not mutually exclusive.

    That's where the art of the thing lies.

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read I got the impression that improvisational skills were even expected (or at least encouraged) in individual rank and file soldiers as well, with the obvious understanding that they didn’t as frequently get into situations where they might need to improvise.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read I got the impression that improvisational skills were even expected (or at least encouraged) in individual rank and file soldiers as well, with the obvious understanding that they didn’t as frequently get into situations where they might need to improvise.
     
    We Americans tend be zealous converts to the German way of war, so there has been something of a fetish toward Auftragstaktik, i.e. mission-oriented tactics, for some decades now. To be sure it's an excellent theoretical framework for a highly educated/trained military.

    But I remember an interview of, I think it was Fritz Bayerlein (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Bayerlein), in which the American military officer interviewing him tried, somewhat desperately, to get him to extol mission-orientation then being pushed by TRADOC. Bayerlein, however, obtusely did not take the bait from his host, and cut through the BS and replied to the effect of: "If your subordinate is a smart fellow, you give him the goals and let him decide the best ways to achieve them. But if he is not smart, you have to give him very detailed orders."
  38. @AaronB
    Quantification surely has its place, Anatoly, and has a certain limited usefulness in contrived war games, I'm sure.

    General Staffs are no more immune to prevailing orthodoxies than the next guy - probably more prone to them.

    Or what it was that made the German Wermacth such a formidable fighting machine? What made the German soldier roughly three times more effective than the English soldier, much less the American?

    Since it can't be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    Interestingly, the German army provides a useful testing ground for the validity of intangible factors, when contrasted with the American army. The American army, as you'd expect, believed in training and organization that relied heavily on the kinds of quantification and scientific organization so characteristic of American culture to this day. By contrast, the German army opted for a deliberately de-centralized structure that sought to harness intangible human qualities like personal initiative, ingenuity, improvisation, courage, and sense of honor. Something you'd hardly expect, given the Germans reputation for strict discipline and scientific organization. You'd think the chaotic and democratic Americans would run their army more along those lines. But no.

    The vast difference in military effectiveness, of course, are a matter of history. Or a matter of "blowhard rhetoric", depending on your perspective, I suppose.

    Since it can’t be quantified, its probably an illusion.

    It is quantifiable, for example, as mathematical expectation.

    Read More
  39. @5371
    My estimate of the length of your erect penis is 10 cm. I have just as good evidence for it as you do for your estimate of Xi's "IQ", and my assertion is much more easily falsifiable than yours.

    LOL, are you not confident with your penis, kid?

    Apparently you know very little about Chinese bureaucracy, I know several of Xi’s former colleagues (during his Fujian period) and some of his family members (not very close ones, yet they do meet some times) before he was appointed the vice president. None of them gave credit for his intelligence and he was often described as “not smart” and “awkward”, especially in comparison with other princelings such as Bo Xilai. His scandals and stupidities were widely spread in Fujian officialdom.

    You can call it “wisdom” or “big intelligence from Taoism” when a Chinese politician deliberately pretends to be incompetent and low-IQ in order to avoid potential hazards in the fierce Chinese bureaucratic competition, while secretly plotting behind the curtains–and Xi did this for his WHOLE LIFE. Why wouldn’t general Mao xinyu be even more successful in this case? LOL.

    Btw, it’s pretty easy to estimate Xi’s IQ even from public sources, just use a fraction of your brain! The “Chinese Dream” is the most stupid political slogan ( with no content at all, for a country/party embraced realism) in recent decades and he is really fond of showing his “profound knowledge” in public speech by listing lots of scholars and books (which in fact is a list of “books I hope I have read”, as Hu Deping once introduced Xi to others, “he didn’t read much”)–What a trauma recovery process. Moreover, even with the help of perhaps the most skilled secretaries in China, he made errors reading elementary level of idioms (it wasn’t a pronunciation error, apparently he didn’t know the idiom) in APEC–hopefully foreign leaders can’t understand, uh?

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    Pseudonymous internet user claims privileged knowledge while showing himself incapable of elementary reasoning, film at eleven.
  40. @qwqw
    LOL, are you not confident with your penis, kid?

    Apparently you know very little about Chinese bureaucracy, I know several of Xi's former colleagues (during his Fujian period) and some of his family members (not very close ones, yet they do meet some times) before he was appointed the vice president. None of them gave credit for his intelligence and he was often described as "not smart" and "awkward", especially in comparison with other princelings such as Bo Xilai. His scandals and stupidities were widely spread in Fujian officialdom.

    You can call it "wisdom" or "big intelligence from Taoism" when a Chinese politician deliberately pretends to be incompetent and low-IQ in order to avoid potential hazards in the fierce Chinese bureaucratic competition, while secretly plotting behind the curtains--and Xi did this for his WHOLE LIFE. Why wouldn't general Mao xinyu be even more successful in this case? LOL.

    Btw, it's pretty easy to estimate Xi's IQ even from public sources, just use a fraction of your brain! The "Chinese Dream" is the most stupid political slogan ( with no content at all, for a country/party embraced realism) in recent decades and he is really fond of showing his "profound knowledge" in public speech by listing lots of scholars and books (which in fact is a list of "books I hope I have read", as Hu Deping once introduced Xi to others, "he didn't read much")--What a trauma recovery process. Moreover, even with the help of perhaps the most skilled secretaries in China, he made errors reading elementary level of idioms (it wasn't a pronunciation error, apparently he didn't know the idiom) in APEC--hopefully foreign leaders can't understand, uh?

    Pseudonymous internet user claims privileged knowledge while showing himself incapable of elementary reasoning, film at eleven.

    Read More
    • Replies: @qwqw
    Does it hurt to say something "unfavorable" about your beloved president? Do you even have any evidence debunking his median IQ? YOU ARE BLIND.
  41. Nixon awakened sleeping China and tried to start the western integration to counterbalance USSR. He and USA got more than they imagined, with China stealing jobs, plans, blueprints, anything in data to help grow fast to feed their millions. Now China is a threat to USA and Russia and will surpass Russia with Silk Road connections. How will Russia make way for Chinese progress to go around it to Europe?
    USA method is to have China take on much debt and cause social problems from crash or slowdown after rapid growth. Will provinces rise up or rebel against induced poverty? More militarism should be expected from China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SmoothieX12

    He and USA got more than they imagined, with China stealing jobs, plans, blueprints, anything in data to help grow fast to feed their millions. Now China is a threat to USA
     
    Yet, in US "opening China" is presented as a huge foreign policy success of Nixon and Kissinger, while in reality its one of largest strategic blunders in history--to grow own "worst enemy". Well, Brzezinski, as an example, still thinks that laying down the foundation for Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan was worth it. Go figure.

    More militarism should be expected from China.
     
    Possible. We'll see. We'll also see if the US has enough in geopolitical "currency" to "buy" Russia as an ally "against" China. I doubt it but , yet again, we'll see. Russians do not trust "West" in general and US in particular and rightly so.
  42. @5371
    Pseudonymous internet user claims privileged knowledge while showing himself incapable of elementary reasoning, film at eleven.

    Does it hurt to say something “unfavorable” about your beloved president? Do you even have any evidence debunking his median IQ? YOU ARE BLIND.

    Read More
  43. @De Gaulle2
    Nixon awakened sleeping China and tried to start the western integration to counterbalance USSR. He and USA got more than they imagined, with China stealing jobs, plans, blueprints, anything in data to help grow fast to feed their millions. Now China is a threat to USA and Russia and will surpass Russia with Silk Road connections. How will Russia make way for Chinese progress to go around it to Europe?
    USA method is to have China take on much debt and cause social problems from crash or slowdown after rapid growth. Will provinces rise up or rebel against induced poverty? More militarism should be expected from China.

    He and USA got more than they imagined, with China stealing jobs, plans, blueprints, anything in data to help grow fast to feed their millions. Now China is a threat to USA

    Yet, in US “opening China” is presented as a huge foreign policy success of Nixon and Kissinger, while in reality its one of largest strategic blunders in history–to grow own “worst enemy”. Well, Brzezinski, as an example, still thinks that laying down the foundation for Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan was worth it. Go figure.

    More militarism should be expected from China.

    Possible. We’ll see. We’ll also see if the US has enough in geopolitical “currency” to “buy” Russia as an ally “against” China. I doubt it but , yet again, we’ll see. Russians do not trust “West” in general and US in particular and rightly so.

    Read More
  44. @AaronB
    So they shifted away from the "vocational" and became more serious. In some ways, this meant more "scientific", but in other ways, this meant paying attention to intangible factors that can't be assessed by science, as you yourself have shown.

    Rather than characterizing the shift as one toward science, although it was partly that, I'd say it was characterized by a decision to to take it "seriously", which apparently meant paying attention to the "artistic" aspect of war as well.

    You clearly know more about this than I do, and my reading about this subject is long ago, but I've read that the Prussian troops that faced Napoleon had grown overly rigid and disciplined.

    Your other comments on this thread make some excellent and perceptive points, and I strongly agree with them.

    So they shifted away from the “vocational” and became more serious.

    Prussians were pretty serious about warfare before Napoleon. The word you are searching for is “systematic.” Prior to Napoleon the Prussian approach to war was, to summarize crudely, “the side that shoots better wins.” After Napoleon’s onslaught, especially his extremely skillful use of massed artillery fire on top of the enormous advantages brought to the table by the French levee en masse, the Prussians realized that they needed to approach warfare in a more systematic and scientific way, especially as related to training, (mass) mobilization, and logistics as well as a more operational approach to battle.

    And, yes, this scientific approach was not at all incompatible with intangible factors such as morale and initiative.

    Read More
  45. @reiner Tor
    Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I read I got the impression that improvisational skills were even expected (or at least encouraged) in individual rank and file soldiers as well, with the obvious understanding that they didn't as frequently get into situations where they might need to improvise.

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read I got the impression that improvisational skills were even expected (or at least encouraged) in individual rank and file soldiers as well, with the obvious understanding that they didn’t as frequently get into situations where they might need to improvise.

    We Americans tend be zealous converts to the German way of war, so there has been something of a fetish toward Auftragstaktik, i.e. mission-oriented tactics, for some decades now. To be sure it’s an excellent theoretical framework for a highly educated/trained military.

    But I remember an interview of, I think it was Fritz Bayerlein (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Bayerlein), in which the American military officer interviewing him tried, somewhat desperately, to get him to extol mission-orientation then being pushed by TRADOC. Bayerlein, however, obtusely did not take the bait from his host, and cut through the BS and replied to the effect of: “If your subordinate is a smart fellow, you give him the goals and let him decide the best ways to achieve them. But if he is not smart, you have to give him very detailed orders.”

    Read More
  46. @AaronB
    Thanks for expanding on the theme.

    So it seems NCOs and officers were trained - and selected, I've read that huge weight was placed on interviews that sought to assess personal qualities - with due attention being paid to non-quantifiable factors.

    Twinkie introduces the - correct, in my view - nuance that training for obedience and for improvisation are not mutually contradictory but a balance was sought which, in fact, makes the whole thing even more of an "art", as he says.

    And w'ere just focusing on things like out of the box thinking, but a sense of honor, duty, personal rectitude, psychological factors, also hugely important.

    So it seems NCOs and officers were trained – and selected, I’ve read that huge weight was placed on interviews that sought to assess personal qualities – with due attention being paid to non-quantifiable factors.

    Yes. But keep in mind that there was an additional factor that aided this effort prior to World War II, which resulted in the German juior officer corps and NCOs being even more effective. The terms of the Versailles Treaty limited the size of the officer corps, which meant that the Truppenamt (“Troop Office” or the secret General Staff) encouraged the small number of officers (already very able due to the highly competitive selection for the small number of slots) to be able to do jobs of their seniors in the event of a rapid expansion at a later time (as did occur). It also meant that NCO’s – whose numbers were not nearly as restricted – were trained to take over as junior officers in the event the treaty was jettisoned. The following link provides a decent, if short, summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truppenamt

    Read More
  47. @Felix Keverich
    Call me a white supremacist, but I simply don't buy the idea of an Asian country as the world's hegemon. :)

    China in particular has been around for 3000 years - they could never dominate their neighbours, let alone the rest of the world. Expecting that China would suddenly start acting like Russia or the US ignores HBD imo.

    To be sure, Chinese can build a lot tanks. But are they going to send their tanks to Kazakhstan to "promote democracy"/"protect compatriots" there? Ridiculous! This is not who they are.

    There’s an indirect way that we do intervene though, especially in South Asia. Basically, as there are more and more Chinese ethnic who live there, we tend to become a sizeable controller of wealth. This usually causes the host countries to attack us for our outsized influence versus percentage of population.

    Now, usually, China just lets this happen. At most, China might try to rescue the population by helping the migrants back into China.

    There’s another solution, though, one which is being talked more in China: the Russian solution. Defend the rights of emigrate Chinese in other countries, intervene for their sake and send in the marines, in American parlance.

    Won’t take a lot to see where that can lead to.

    Read More
  48. @Daniel Chieh
    There's an indirect way that we do intervene though, especially in South Asia. Basically, as there are more and more Chinese ethnic who live there, we tend to become a sizeable controller of wealth. This usually causes the host countries to attack us for our outsized influence versus percentage of population.

    Now, usually, China just lets this happen. At most, China might try to rescue the population by helping the migrants back into China.

    There's another solution, though, one which is being talked more in China: the Russian solution. Defend the rights of emigrate Chinese in other countries, intervene for their sake and send in the marines, in American parlance.

    Won't take a lot to see where that can lead to.

    You mean SE Asia?

    Read More
  49. @Kimppis
    China's growth rates are not "rapidly converging with the world average". They're growing over 2x the world average (faster than India!). The convergence to western living standards is still very much on track.

    There's indeed no reason to believe that China is somehow unable to reach Taiwanese or South Korean per capita levels. Certainly something like 4-5% growth rate by the mid or late 2020s is quite likely, but at that point they will already be quite rich even by per capita (high-income country, way above world averages) and that growth rate would still quite a bit higher than world average (3-3.5%?).

    And the "Chinese weapons technology is still behind western powers" meme is becoming more and more outdated. J-20 is operational, FFS. Type 055 destroyer will be ready in a few years. By 2025 they won't be behind anyone overall, period. Like any country, they will be ahead in some categories/fields and slightly behind in others, but that doesn't make a huge difference and they cancel each other out.

    China’s growth rates are not “rapidly converging with the world average”. They’re growing over 2x the world average (faster than India!). The convergence to western living standards is still very much on track.

    I bothered to do the math…

    Using UN population projections, and assuming a US growth rate of 2%:

    If China can sustain a 5% GDP growth rate from 2015-2029, and 4% from 2030 onward, then it will reach US per capita level (PPP) by 2055.

    However, if China averages 4% from 2015-2029, and 3% from 2030 onward, then it won’t reach US per capita level (PPP) until about 2085.

    By that time China’s population will have fallen from 1.4 billion to 1.0 billion, so it would only have about 2.3 times the USA’s population and total GDP (PPP).

    Read More

Comments are closed.