Vietnam Vs. China

Actually, life is again interfering with blogging, sadly. But while I don’t have time to give my spin on this, it is an interesting post at The Diplomat.


The who, what, where, when and how of China’s HD-981 oil rig foray into Vietnamese waters have been addressed comprehensively, both by commentators here at The Diplomat and elsewhere. The enduring question, as with many of China’s provocative actions in the Asia-Pacific, remains why? The opacity of China’s internal decision-making processes makes it rather difficult to conclusively answer that question, but a good amount of evidence suggests that the oil rig crisis with Vietnam was manufactured to test the mettle of ASEAN states and the United States. It gives Beijing an opportunity to gauge the international response to China asserting its maritime territorial claims.

Emphasis mine. And it certainly rings true to me. And we can certainly expect to see more of this type of provocative behavior in the future.

As an added bonus, there’s another post on ensuring ones wargames aren’t merely exercises in building self esteem.

One of the prime reasons the US Navy fared so badly in the sea battles around Guadalcanal in August of 1942 is that the US Navy had practiced fighting in a very particular manner, one which the Japanese Navy declined to participate in. Instead, the US Navy’s cruiser/destroyer forces found themselves engaged in repeated night torpedo battles, which the Japanese had designed their entire fleet and doctrine for.

Having admitted that exercises must be realistic, we disagree with Holmes’ argument that Japan must make this exercise harder than a real operation. There does come a time in a training cycle when you should rig the game against the Blue Force. But it’s not at the very beginning of the cycle. It’s the graduation exercise. Right now, Japan’s efforts in training are simply to learn what the challenges are in expeditionary warfare, not to implement lessons not even learned yet.

Crawl, walk, and only then, run.

4 thoughts on “Vietnam Vs. China”

  1. “The enduring question….”

    It’s really not much of a question to anyone with even a little knowledge of history, particularly the history of Communism. Push until you meet resistance. Wait. Push until you meet resistance. Repeat as necessary until you win.

    Today it’s one oil rig. Tomorrow maybe the rest of the Paracels. Then the Spratlys. That pretty well sews up the South China Sea as de facto Chinese territorial waters. Then maybe Taiwan or disputed Japanese territory, depending on how froggy China feels and the correlation of forces. The process is predictable, the details may vary.

    Unlike the Diplomat I think this is more than just a test. It is a direct challenge. It sets a precedent. Will anyone support Vietnam? How far will they go? If this rig is allowed to operate there will be more just as soon as China can place them. I am betting that China will not back down from this without a violent confrontation, maybe even with US forces.

  2. I doubt seriously if the PRC has much reason to further test the US. As I mentioned many times before, it is the Mandarin translation of Hitler’s “My enemies are worms…”

    Except China can list Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, DPRK, Pakistan, Syria, a refrain in Benghazi, the Senkaku ADIZ, Ukraine, etc.

    1. Yes, they have nothing to fear from us under the Obama administration, which is set to auto-roll over when tested.

    2. As Mao used to say, the US is a paper tiger.

      The testing has been done. We have failed, the ASEAN nations are irrelevant.

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