Continuing our discussion of the rise of China and its strategic implications, Navy Commander James Kraska, currently at the Naval War College, has a new piece in The Diplomat: “China Set for Naval Hegemony.” Readers might already be familiar with Kraska, author of a recent article in Orbis, “How the U.S. Lost the Naval War of 2015” (.pdf).
In this new piece, Kraska points to recent aggressive Chinese activities in the South China Sea, seizing Vietnamese fishing boats and crewmen, steaming a flotilla near Okinawa and an April 13 incident where a Chinese destroyer slewed its anti-aircraft guns to aim at a Japanese MSDF P-3C patrol plane. “China has made uncanny progress on its dogged trek to transition from an obsolete 1950s-style coastal defense force to a balanced blue water fleet.”
Kraska, along with many others, worries about waning U.S. naval power in the face of declining defense budgets and a China that clumsily careens around Pottery Barn (I didn’t think the “China shop” metaphor worked here) like a “gangly teenager” suddenly experiencing a growth spurt.
“This suggests two outcomes. The first is that China will indeed achieve its goal of becoming the Asian hegemonic power, dominant not only on land, but in the Western Pacific. The second possibility is that other nations—foremost among them Japan and India—but also including virtually every other nation in the region from Russia to Vietnam, will begin to think more overtly about collective measures and how they can balance the growing power of Beijing.”
— Greg Grant