16 Comments
Jul 3, 2023·edited Jul 3, 2023Liked by Policy Tensor

Insightful article!

One could add that the war in Ukraine, and the policy options since the NATO Bucharest summit, have pushed Russia into China's orbit. Kissinger's policy in the 1970s was to keep them apart and closer to the US than to each other.

The end result is that China can now rely on Russia for improvements to its weapons, possibly up to ICBMs. Russia is in no position to deny its most important ally anything. This will help China close the gap in strategic weapons more quickly.

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Yes. IN particular, the Russians figured out how to quieten their boat with Akula class. They can teach it to the Chinese!

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Also a Kilo-class submarine which was able to surface, undetected, within 5 miles of the USS Kitty Hawk

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/news/a18094/a-chinese-submarine-stalked-an-american-aircraft-carrier/

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You are on the right track, but they are way way way out ahead of us. For the last 40 years we have been ruled by the most incompetent and greedy people that have ever existed.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/americas-monopoly-crisis-hits-the-military/

https://www.thebignewsletter.com/p/the-military-industrial-stock-buyback

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Jul 2, 2023·edited Jul 2, 2023

Been wondering what you were up to.

This is going to sound like crazy talk, but maybe the US should try acting less like an empire and more on soft power and leading by example, rather than Global Gorilla Bully Cop as the only possible response??

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In theory, yes that would be the smart thing to do. So, no, we won't do it. I'll bet my life we do the absolute stupidest thing possible because this is not a country capable of selecting leaders based on anything besides how much profit they can hand over to their donors and how badly they can screw over their voters.

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The information about China's military provided by our media is spotty and, generally, five years out of date.

China's navy is not only much bigger, newer and more modern than ours, it is also much more powerfully armed. Its missiles are far more numerous, diverse and advanced than ours. Its warplanes ditto. The PLAN has already whipped us once and is salivating at the possibility of repeating the beating. Its AAAM system is as good as Russia's S400 because Russia gave it S400 IP. Its morale is much higher than ours and its troops all have at least 3 years more math than ours..

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Jul 4, 2023·edited Jul 4, 2023

Casting production numbers are interesting, but I suspect the problems with artillery production have far more to do with basic chemical availability.

The EPA reports on the US explosives industry; in 1977, the EPA's report on the US explosives industry of 1971 showed that 198 bcm of natural gas was consumed along with prodigious other amounts of oil, coal, electricity to produce 76 thousand metric tons of explosives. To put the natural gas number in perspective: US natural gas consumption for all purposes was around 825 bcm in 2021.

I am 100% certain that the US explosives industry today is a tiny fraction of what it was in 1971; scaling up to 1971 levels much less WW1 levels (The Kaiser Germans fired 8 million shells just in the first day of the Battle of Verdun) is a multi-year effort which will also directly and materially reduce standards of living.

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Have you read Andre Martyanov. If you have, I would be interested on your take, by way of adding his views on the US military to your essay. https://open.substack.com/pub/heininger/p/losing-military-supremacy-andre-martyanov?r=16lm0&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Do you have a definition of Gilpin’s law of uneven growth? I have some idea of what it is, but a quick Google search doesn’t yield much.

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When you mention persuading China "to moderate their behaviour in domains where we find it unacceptable," what exactly are they doing we find so unacceptable?

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The problem with WW2 analogies is that neither the Soviets nor Germans had nukes in 1942-44. So industrial capacity was all that mattered. In an actual conflict between US and China, whoever has the most nukes is at an advantage and the US is far ahead of China. Though China is now racing to catch up.

If China catches up with the US on nukes then it will still nullify the argument that industrial prodction matters because both will get annihilated. In other words, total GDP at market rates is still the best measurement we have. Further, this ignores the fact that the US has a very large alliance system whereas China has basically only Russia, Cambodia and North Korea.

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Jul 4, 2023·edited Jul 4, 2023

Nice review.

I'd be a touch less optimistic regarding the US balance-of-power position, into the mid 2020's. PRC dwarfs US in industrial capacity pretty much across the board. Including electronics overall. Incuding leading-edge chips The top 3 players are all in East Asia, and China is as we speak becoming the sole nation with a full-stack production capacity here. Including software. Including all things mechanical. In the current year, PRC has finally mastered "good-enough-for-5th-generation" jet engines. Including superior organizational capacity, evidenced by pulling off "megaprojects" in a third of the time anywhere else in the world.

The ramp-up visible in, say, solar production (300 MW capacity addition per day), or automobiles (PRC just took first in exports and flying away from the pack at light speed). Was leading the pack in drones the whole time.

Submarines will be the area the US will lean on just to remain relevant. But the days of being able to intimidate mid-level powers with ties to the industrial unipole, are gone for good.

PS - Taiwan, within easy range of today's land-based commodity munitions (ie what used to be called SRBM rockets), is in no shape to resist anything (no land link to NATO. no land link to anyone. game over without seaports). Whether the US will succeed in turning them into another South Vietnam, as was successfully done with Ukraine, remains to be seen.

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You cannot say enough that our current policy is ridiculously dangerous. We need to take a breath and act like adults and really talk to China. And stop saying stupid shit for domestic political reasons. We can't get away w that anymore. We're no longer the hegemony, and we need to be smarter.

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"US warplanes cannot approach the territory protected by the air-defense forces of the other great powers. The US monopoly on global power projection does remain intact. No other power has the strategic airlift and sealift capabilities to project power everywhere on the globe. "t

This is a schizophrenic statement, one of very high cognitive dissonance. How can the US project power everywhere when their ships and planes would be blown to sky if crossing the space of Russia, China, Iran, for instance? India would not stay quiet either, if it perceives a threat.

And if it tries to send missiles on Russia, for instance, Washington DC stands no chance, especially given the lame air defenses the US has. The blowing of Patriot batteries in Kiev by the Ruskies is prima facie evidence.

The productive capacity of China on missiles for instance, would overwhelm the US and Japan. Thus, after a month of war, US will have no bullets, no fuelling abilities, and all that army will be just junk metal. Then what? Nukes? I am sure that the Chinese AD systems (beefed up by Russians) are much better than the American ones. It will be awsome to see the Americans with their pants down. Nothing hung-ing there.

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