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How Quickly Will the Latest Arms Race Accelerate?

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the speed-of-an-uttered-uh-oh dept.

The Military 197

First time accepted submitter tranquilidad writes "Russia was concerned enough about the U.S. development of a Prompt Global Strike (PGS) capability in 2010 that they included restrictions in the New Start treaty (previously discussed on Slashdot). It now appears that China has entered the game with their 'Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle.' While some in the Russian press may question whether fears of the PGS are 'rational' it appears that the race is on to develop the fastest weapons delivery system. The hypersonic arms race is focused on 'precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses' with delivery systems traveling between Mach 5 and Mach 10 after being launched from 'near space.'"

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Pointless (4, Insightful)

Akratist (1080775) | about 7 months ago | (#45952881)

Or, every nation building new nuclear weapons could maybe scrap the idea and work on space exploration, fusion power, renewable food production, anagathics, or a hundred other good ideas that might actually be of some use instead of a one-time "End it all in case of national butthurt" button.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45952989)

It's OK; the Cold War is over.

Reality interferes... (5, Insightful)

intnsred (199771) | about 7 months ago | (#45954077)

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The reality is that the US and west never stopped waging the Cold War. We broke the understanding with Russia and pushed NATO eastward, even incorporating parts of the former USSR into NATO.

Then we tore up the ABM treaty and put anti-missile bases in Eastern Europe claiming we were doing that because of Iran. The Russians didn't find that laughable claim one bit funny and understood that the west was seeking to negate their nuclear deterrence.

NATO has been used offensively both inside and outside of Europe and shows that it has nothing to do with "defense".

We portrayed a rag-tag group of Muslim fundamentalists as some sort of existential threat to the US and west, but now the US gov't has made a "pivot" and is portraying China as militarily aggressive because they are squabbling over some worthless islets with their neighbors. It's clear that China is the focus of a new Cold War.

It's clear the US is in search of a "new enemy" because that's what keeps Americans distracted from how much we waste on our military and our continuing economic decline.

"Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy." -- Ambassador to the USSR and US State Dept. strategist George F. Kennan.

Re:Reality interferes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954283)

Wut? China can easily stop exporting and take over all factories in the Chinese-American ventures. In fact, if you do business in China, they own 51% of anything on their soil (and they includes government representatives, not just a Chinese company.)

Nukes made all-out war obsolete. Economies have made conventional war obsolete. Where you see the "fighting" is security breaches and complete victories like a complete destruction of the US's solar industry (US firms got hacked, six months later, panels cheaper than the rare earths started winding up on the export ships.)

The whining about the US and a Chinese cold war is just filler on a slow news day and great for the anti-US whiners to have a bone to gnaw on.

Lets be real, folks. The US and China are so interdependent that severing trade ties would seriously damage both countries' economies in an extreme way.

Re:Reality interferes... (3, Interesting)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 7 months ago | (#45955043)

True about NATO expanding after the fall of the Soviet Union. However it is also true that every nation which entered NATO practically begged for it. They had their taste of Warsaw Pact life and wanted their best chance of avoiding a repeat. So what do you do when newly freed people ask to join your alliance -- tell them they are shit out of luck and first targets in Putin's next attempt to rebuild the USSR? The answer is probably, 'yes' from a cold, self interested view of the original NATO members, but it doesn't seem quite right.

Re:Reality interferes... (1)

intnsred (199771) | about 7 months ago | (#45955505)

However it is also true that every nation which entered NATO practically begged for it.

I think it's important to remember some of the skulduggery that we did in Europe -- for decades. Remember, we essentially bought elections in France and Italy in the late 40s to prevent communists from being elected into power; we beamed divisive ethnic propaganda into Yugoslavia for decades. Hell, even as late as the 1980s we had our CIA work with European rightists to conduct flat-out terrorist actions against our own NATO allies in a strategy of tension [wikipedia.org] designed to push western European gov'ts to the political right.

Given the fact that many of the new leaders of the former Warsaw Pact we funded and backed for years and years, and in such an atmosphere of such skulduggery, it's not surprising that they'd want to snuggle up to the west if only to increase the odds that they would not continue to remain a target.

After all, it's not like the vast majority of the common people of those countries had a lot of say in the economic shock therapy that was inflicted on their nations, nor in whether they should become a member of NATO or not.

Re:Reality interferes... (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about 7 months ago | (#45955413)


When the Soviet Union sank, the US military-industrial establishment declined in size significantly. The Russian one of course collapsed but is coming back, of course to a lower level than before.

"Then we tore up the ABM treaty and put anti-missile bases in Eastern Europe claiming we were doing that because of Iran. The Russians didn't find that laughable claim one bit funny and understood that the west was seeking to negate their nuclear deterrence."

In truth that position is actually laughable. The anti-missile bases and technology are quantitatively and qualitatively utterly inadequate to make a flyspeck of a difference. Russia knows this.

Consider that after the breakup of the USSR, Russia has engineered and deployed substantial new nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The US has not. The nuclear weapons production & engineering ceased completely. No missiles have been designed and built, and the USA dismantled the only contemporary 80's ones (Pershing & MX).

Is it the US who is really the only problem here? What does Russia do with fundamentalist terrorists/separatists differently than USA?

Re:Reality interferes... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#45955861)

Now now, those islets are hardly worthless - so long as we control them China is nicely bottled up and we don't have to deal with them as equals in the global theatre of war - if they can't get their weapons away from their borders without us seeing and intervening before they get anywhere threatening then the weapons aren't actually worth much. Give China an unrestricted sea border and in a few decades if their military begins to compete with our own they will be every bit as dangerous as we are. They're already claiming a impressive fleet of nuclear submarines, but currently if we were willing to force the issue we could blockade their fleet and unless they were willing to lob the first nukes they would all be exposed within a couple years.

Re:Pointless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45952997)

America, the most powerful military force in the world, runs on butthurt. Without butthurt how would we play the victim of worldwide terrorism instead of...

the financier.

Re:Pointless (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953443)

We have three countries running on that. Don't forget that China wants its empire back and some revenge at Europe due to the Opium Wars and some avenging for Japan's occupation. Russia wants the USSR back where it had most of the world in an iron grip.

Of course, China is smart... once they get into space, they can just shoot metal rods from orbit... which land with so much kinetic energy that a nuke isn't necessary to level a city.

Re:Pointless (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 7 months ago | (#45953669)

The financier of terrorism is Saudi Arabia. Unless you want to define terrorism as "that which opposes me" in which case your definition has as much meaning as "labor which opposes me is communism".

Re:Pointless (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | about 7 months ago | (#45954519)

Well, I do define terrorism as 'that which opposes me'. But I could not make any sense of the rest of your post.

Do you think the fear of being bombed at 2am is not a terror?

Wtf does this have to do with communism?

Re:Pointless (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#45955587)

Wtf does this have to do with communism?

Nothing, but he's replying to a parent that said the USA was the financier of terrorism.

The USA is not, Saudi Arabia is.

Re:Pointless (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#45955927)

Take your pick of definitions for terrorism. Unless it includes "people belonging to a religion I don't like" You'll find no shortage of examples funded by pretty much every major government in the world. And considering the number of extremist dictators the US has put and kept in power in order to maintain our interests in key regions, a whole lot of the terrorists resources are going to have ultimately originated with us.

Re:Pointless (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#45953181)

But these are intercontinental missiles.
Much of the R&D of these new designs can be used by the space agencies.
a Mach 10 missile that can launch from the US and hit any where in the world in minutes... Could mean a faster way to launch rockets into space and achieve faster space speeds, meaning you could take a year off from the trip to Mars.

R&D is a good thing, even if its intentions are not noble, but we expand our knowledge, and hopefully the good uses will outweigh the bad uses in time.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953421)

And money you give to the rich trickles down to the poor. Are you stupid or ignorant?

Re:Pointless (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#45953381)

Or, every nation building new nuclear weapons could maybe scrap the idea and work on space exploration, fusion power, renewable food production, anagathics, or a hundred other good ideas that might actually be of some use instead of a one-time "End it all in case of national butthurt" button.

Probably 97% of humans agree with you. The problem we all face is the persistent 3% that does not.

Re:Pointless (3, Interesting)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 7 months ago | (#45954097)

Yes, 97% of readers (including me) agree but when actually in the decision making seat it's different. What I mean is that defending what we already have is more important than advancement. We always work hard to protect what we have. A good example of this is insurance. We buy insurance on the most ridiculous things because we fear losing in the end. The reality is that statistically you probably would come out a winner if you didn't buy insurance or extended warranties. It's just what we do.

My 2 cents.

Re:Pointless (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45954725)

No. 97% of the humans you talk to on a regular basis agree with the parent post. Millions and millions of people who vote do not. The members of Congress who oppose funds for space exploration and fusion power get reelected by those people.

Re:Pointless (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 7 months ago | (#45953405)

Try telling that to the Chinese. You know, the nation that has endured 150 years of butthurt. And now, it's YOUR turn.

Go ahead and ask your friendly neighborhood Chinese exchange student about whose nation should be humiliated in the next 20 years. You'll probably get an answer you won't like Then ask your friendly local left-wing university student about whose nation should be humiliated in the next 20 years. You'll get the same answer, but you'll like it. What's wrong with this picture?

answer -- not the USA (4, Insightful)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 7 months ago | (#45954871)

"Go ahead and ask your friendly neighborhood Chinese exchange student about whose nation should be humiliated in the next 20 years" -- if by that you mean, which nation do the Chinese still resent the most, which nation has killed the most Chinese people ever, and which nation the Chinese government is most using as a bogeyman to whip up nationalistic fervor? -- that would be Japan. By the way, if the US ever pulls out of the western Pacific or looks like it is going to, Japan will field nuclear weapons within in six months, followed almost simultaneously by S. Korea, and maybe Taiwan.

Re:Pointless (1)

MugenEJ8 (1788490) | about 7 months ago | (#45955261)

I wish I could mod you to the moon...

Bye bye, aircraft carriers (1)

mangu (126918) | about 7 months ago | (#45953599)

work on space exploration, fusion power, renewable food production,

You know what's even worse than working on developing weapon systems? Working on 90 years old weapon systems.

Aircraft carriers were state of the art during WWII, today they are as obsolete as the USS Arizona was in 1941.

What's the point is spending hundreds of billions of dollars in building sitting ducks that can be taken out by a single hypersonic missile?

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#45953803)

The Gerald R Ford construction cost was 12.8 billion.

While it would be a sitting duck in nuclear war between superpowers it wouldn't matter, because everything else would die too.

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (1)

gtall (79522) | about 7 months ago | (#45954013)

Hmmm....when did the Taliban or Saddam take out any U.S. aircraft carriers? Someone is not forwarding me the memos and I'm getting fairly pissed about it.

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954577)

Brilliant military straw man analysis, it almost makes sense!

While it is difficult to defend against "a single hypersonic missile", it's not impossible Carriers have Combat Air Patrols made up of planes designed to detect and shoot down missiles, in fact that was the primary mission of the F-14. Nowadays the primary defense is on the Aegis system of the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer; every carrier is protected by 4 of these, each carries hundreds of missiles, and each one is capable of independently targeting and tracking several hundred targets and coordinating the weapon systems of every single ship in the fleet.

Why do we go to this expense? Because a carrier can destroy anything and everything within 400 miles of itself. A single carrier air-wing is as big as the entire air forces of some countries. Even when not directing force at a target, the mere presence of an aircraft carrier near a country's borders forces it to recalculate it's ambitions towards it's neighbors, which is highly useful diplomatically when countries like Iran are trying to dominate the Middle East or China trying to dominate South East Asia, both of which are happening right now.

In addition, a carrier is an extremely effective tool outside of it's air-wing. It serves as a mobile staging platform for troops conducting strike missions against terrorist organizations for example. They're also highly effective in humanitarian missions; during the 2004 Tsunami many areas were totally devastated. The USS Abraham Lincoln was dispatched to Sumatra to assist. The Lincoln can produced 90,000 gallons of fresh water per day, has a highly organized and skilled search and rescue group supported with the best equipment in the world, able to deliver humanitarian supplies and rescue people, has a marine detachment able to provide security, has sensor aircraft able to scope out areas in need and direct resources to the best locations, and has a medical facility that is as well equipped as the best hospitals on land.

But hey, what good is it when one hypersonic missile can just take it out, right?

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about 7 months ago | (#45955639)

The biggest danger to carriers---any surface vessel in fact---is attack submarines.

In nearly all 'unrestricted' exercises among allies (meaning the submarine's capabilities and tactics were not nerfed a priori) the submarines almost always get many hits with almost no sub losses or detection.

They don't talk about this in public much, but it's true. Modern torpedoes have excellent guidance and are very hard to detect. They can be launched dozens of kilometers away, and the submarine has half an hour to an hour to keep on moving. Ever go on the ocean and look out in all directions for 30 miles? And try to find something very quiet underwater?

A single hit sinks a destroyer in 20 seconds. They're designed to detonate under the keel area for maximum damage---where the nuclear reactors are in a carrier. Carrier and submarine nuclear reactors run on nearly weapons-grade uranium. It's a very large amount compared to weapons as well, of course since it runs for many years. Just some anomalous water getting in there, say from having thousand pound explosives, changes neutron reflection geometry and you could get a criticality accident/detonation as well.

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45954801)

Aircraft carriers can project power and control airspace. Hypersonic missiles can't.

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45955423)

Hmm... same arguments were made in the 80s when someone figured out a carrier battle group carried at most 200-300 SM missiles. The soviets could at that time put enough Tu-26's carrying AS-11s to overwhelm the defenses of a cbg simply by saturation. CIWS not going to do much to a large supersonic missile...

Re:Bye bye, aircraft carriers (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#45955867)

What's the point is spending hundreds of billions of dollars in building sitting ducks that can be taken out by a single hypersonic missile?

Because the people you target with carriers don't have hypersonic missiles. The people with hypersonic missiles get threatened with MAD.

Re:Pointless (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#45953615)

It would be nice if we could figure out a way for everyone to just get along. Unfortunately we live in the real world. China's butt is still hurting from what happened during WWII [wikipedia.org] . Would you leave your country open to something like that happening again?

Re:Pointless (2)

gtall (79522) | about 7 months ago | (#45954089)

Correction, the Chinese Communist Party, after sitting out WWII and letting Chiang Kai-Shek and his army do the fighting, is using WWII for nationalist fervor because the Party has no good reason to exist and the Party members know it....unless you count living like a leach on the Chinese people and funneling profits for state-owned companies into their pockets and accepting any and all graft in support of their continual protection rackets.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954857)

unless you count living like a leach on the Chinese people and funneling profits for state-owned companies into their pockets and accepting any and all graft in support of their continual protection rackets.

That's what you will always get with Communism, Marxism, and/or Anarchy. But that's another topic.

Re:Pointless (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 7 months ago | (#45953651)

Or, every nation building new nuclear weapons could maybe scrap the idea and work on space exploration, fusion power, renewable food production, anagathics, or a hundred other good ideas that might actually be of some use instead of a one-time "End it all in case of national butthurt" button.

Great idea, then my country with our nuclear weapons can come it and steal your advancements.

Re:Pointless (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 7 months ago | (#45953711)

Of course your conveniently forgetting the largest period of relative peace the world has ever known came about because of nuclear weapons hanging over peoples heads. I'm fairly certain the cost of another world war would pretty quickly outweigh the costs of nuclear arms.

Let's not forget that tens of millions were killed in world wars before nuclear weapons were around and countless millions that have been slaughtered with conventional arms. I know it kills your hyperbole, but reality is like that.

1945-1950 is the longest period of peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45955673)

1945-1950 is the longest period of peace?

I suppose it depends your definition of peace... Who cares about Korea or Vietnam, It's been all peace since the bomb dropped on Nagasaki...

Yeah sorry... to say that the second half of the 20th century was in relative peace is arrogance. yeah there weren't warring states as often, and Europe has experienced the greatest peace,( no major conflicts directly in Europe is what i'm refering to) since then, but the war in Europe wasn't ended with a bomb, It was ended when Russia stormed Berlin.

who's talking about hyperbole?

Re:Pointless (3, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 7 months ago | (#45954589)

Forget it.

Boys like to compete with each other by comparing dick sizes. This is just the grown up version of it. Big boys playing with their big dicks of mass destruction.

Re:Pointless (2)

s122604 (1018036) | about 7 months ago | (#45954897)

Peaceful science is for fagz

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45955365)

I really wish they did, not just because of the It Is The Right Thing To Do, but just imagine SPACE battles man, that shit would be AWESOME.
Finally they could actually have a war for resources in space instead of possibly blowing the damn planet to bits. I'd be fine with them doing that.
We could have a "No conflict within Xkm of Earth" law that would come with a very strongly written letter from the UN if broken.

Ok, ok, you are right (1)

sseymour1978 (939809) | about 7 months ago | (#45955947)

{evil power begin}

We will do just that!
... When we own the World completely.

{evil power end}

We could really use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45952895)

...some alien antagonists to direct our incessant fears towards. That, or maybe a zombie apocalypse?

We're all fucked anyway because nukes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45952945)

We'll just have less warning this time.

Re:We're all fucked anyway because nukes (4, Funny)

tippe (1136385) | about 7 months ago | (#45953879)

Actually, for most individual peons like you or me, I don't think that's technically correct. For us, the only warning we're likely to get is the flash of light that burns out our retinas moments before the fireball burns us to ash. The time between the "warning" and our actual annihilation probably isn't affected all that much by these faster payload delivery systems.

Personally, I'm going to save my complaints for the day when they announce that they are working on warheads that explode more quickly, as that's something that could affect me personally. The loss of a few ms of reaction time might make the difference between being able to say "Oh shit..." vs only being able to say "Oh sh...". I find that in times of distress, being able to successfully complete a curse can make a big difference in one's well-being and piece of mind...

hah! nice try! here i come! (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 7 months ago | (#45952951)

- mother nature

When will it come to a screeching halt? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 months ago | (#45952963)

Someone once said that World War Four would be fought with spears and stones or some such.

Re:When will it come to a screeching halt? (4, Insightful)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 7 months ago | (#45953183)

It was Einstein...

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Re:When will it come to a screeching halt? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 months ago | (#45953249)

"I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!" -Albert Einstein

Re:When will it come to a screeching halt? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#45954451)

WWIII was fought with proxies. The Soviet Union lost.

WWIV appears to be being fought with printing presses and currency pegs, so far.

GWB rejected; Obama approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45952973)

Change we can believe in!

Re:GWB rejected; Obama approved (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45954855)

All of this stuff is budgeted by Congress.

Focused on rapid delivery (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 7 months ago | (#45952979)

Rapid delivery of lots of money into giant contracting company's pockets.

Re:Focused on rapid delivery (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 7 months ago | (#45953685)

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

You need some way of draining excess capital and manpower if you want to stay on top of your population.

Military industrial complex (3, Interesting)

pablo_max (626328) | about 7 months ago | (#45953715)

In the USA that would, without question be true.
Remember, President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned the U.S. about the "military–industrial complex" in his farewell address. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex [wikipedia.org]
And, just as he foretold, it has come to pass.
The internal economic situation in China however, is different. I do much work in China and have a lot of close friends there. Several are actually pretty high up in the PRC Army. There is certainly corruption, but it is a different kind. This is more of the bribes kind which is common in the east.
As I heard from my friends, regarding new weapons, someone will think of something that they want and say to such and such department...build this thing now and do not fail to build it.
There is a strange mix of capitalistic and communistic economic policies at play and so it is hard to gauge cost overruns like in the west. In any case, weapons development is not about filling the pockets of your brother in-law but about fulfilling the request from the military. Now, if you are in charge of the project, that is not to say your brother in-law does not now have a good chance to fill his pockets.

He also said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954909)

We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.

Since both our last six federal deficits and the last several years of Fed money printing both separately exceed our military spending, I conclude that our mortgaging of our grandchildren is the more imminent problem.

Re:Focused on rapid delivery (1)

gtall (79522) | about 7 months ago | (#45954135)

Not really, nukes are cheap, and an armada of these weapons would be cheap as well. The expensive part of the U.S. military is the personnel. Large companies cannot exist on DoD dime, they are too big. The smaller ones won't be developing these kinds of weapons. The U.S. military structure passed you by about 30 years ago.

Faster than a retired cop pulling a gun at a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953037)

Sadly.

What the fuck is wrong with people? (2)

fredrated (639554) | about 7 months ago | (#45953049)

Collective insanity? Is there no defense for that?

Re:What the fuck is wrong with people? (3, Insightful)

nani popoki (594111) | about 7 months ago | (#45953145)

Insanity -> mad -> M.A.D. -> mutually assured destruction. There's definitely a connection here.

It's not like this should be news to anybody. Humans have been throwing rocks at each other for thousands of generations. We've just gotten better at it lately.

OH IS THAT WHERE THEY GOT THAT ACRONYM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953693)

Look at you! Mommy's smart little boy! You deserve sixteen gold stars for that one and seventeen silver checkmarks!!! Nineteen Chinese smiley faces and twenty four +'s after your A+!

Re:What the fuck is wrong with people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954347)

What if it is not mutually assured destruction?

What if Russian language and culture will survive a nuclear holocaust that destroys technological civilization? Think, people, think.

MAD is a cute acronym but what if was invented by the KGB to subvert capitalist America?

The Race Is Over - We Won (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953063)

China as a military threat is so far behind us, it's really not worth discussing. They are just trying to show off for their nationalist population.

The fact is even if they did catch up, we would still wipe the floor with them and any other potential threat. We own the world, there is no country on Earth that can stop us.

Two kinds of loser talk (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 months ago | (#45953485)

Back in the 90s a business student told me we needed free trade with China because they would become more powerful than us. That's one kind of loser talk.

The other kind of loser talk is from the parent. It's hubris.

Overestimating an opponent (note, not an enemy, an opponent) and underestimating are both bad IMHO.

If I had to lose sleep over one thing about our military, it'd be aircraft carriers in a naval battle with China. Giant siting ducks. They've been the backbone of the navy for decades now. Just think about that. That's an awful long time for opponents to think about strategies against it.

We shouldn't be beating our chest and bragging. We should be figuring out what to do if carriers become sitting ducks under some new weapons system. WW2 proved the carrier. WW3 might disprove it.

We should also take a page from their book--the Art of War, and try to prevent opponents from becoming enemies. We've been doing a pretty sucky job of that lately.

Re:Two kinds of loser talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954477)

backbone of the navy

Carriers might be the backbone of the navy, but the backbone of the Western world are the SLBMs in the launch tubes of our nuclear submarines. We need to develop hypersonic SLBMs, because "they" most certainly will.

Re:The Race Is Over - We Won (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45953589)

They are not that far behind if you focus on their military objectives of excluding the American navy which currently provides the security umbrella for South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, etc.

I am not the only person who sees parallels between China / America and Germany / Britton during the dreadnought arms race that preceded WWI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-German_naval_arms_race [wikipedia.org]

'we won' isn't hubris (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 7 months ago | (#45953869)

Parent has it. China is obviously very important, but fearing the 'rise' of China as some global dragon is insane and stupid.

We have plenty of reasons to 'fear' what's happening in China. China is a beast of pollution and bad "face"...the people of China are as good as any people anywhere, but their government has ruined at least an entire generation with the one child policy & done irrevocable damage to their environment.

It's kind of crass for an American to say "we won" but its true. This is the internet after all, crass is to be expected. It doesn't invalidate the entire point of the post.

We need to foster Democracy in China & stop using predatory capitalism as a long-term tool of diplomacy.

We need to stop this bullshit of looking for the 'next' superpower for us to irrationally fear. We won that whole thing. Now we have new problems that require a new paradigm.

We obviously should still have the best military in the world. TFA is fear mongering and China propaganda. Remember the same people who control China's wealth are in partnership with the people who profit from military spending.

Re:'we won' isn't hubris (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45954391)

How can we have won it all if we are facing a new problem with a whole new paradigm? How can we foster democracy in China? And what is predatory capitalism and how are we doing it? Is it anything worse then what China is doing in Africa today?

China is coming into its own and they want a military that corresponds to being an international heavyweight. However, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I personally think China today has a prickly pride and is acting like a bully.

Or to put it a different way, is the glass half empty or half full? Personally I see great opportunity in the future for both sides and I hope that it occurs. I know that there are things we can do to bring disaster – such as fear mongering from either side. However, I fear appeasement will also bring disaster.

What I want to say is that the world is going to face a tricky path with China over the next 20 to 50 years.

(And a bit off topic, but I think you are wrong about China’s one child policy. There are aspects of the execution which I really dislike but the policy has produced a demographic dividend that China has used well.)

Re:The Race Is Over - We Won (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953763)

False. China has a generation better submarine fleet, better infantry (gear, troop count, morale -- they don't have any Snowdens betraying their secrets), better planes, and better nukes (remember, Russia's rocket research is still going while NASA got hit by funding cuts.) The only reason US aircraft carriers don't wind up random floatsam is because no sub captain has been given the order. Even US destroyers are unable to handle a modern Chinese sub should trouble arise, and the ship would be sunk in seconds.

Re:The Race Is Over - We Won (2)

daniel.garcia.romero (2755603) | about 7 months ago | (#45953771)

China as a military threat is so far behind us, it's really not worth discussing. They are just trying to show off for their nationalist population.

The fact is even if they did catch up, we would still wipe the floor with them and any other potential threat. We own the world, there is no country on Earth that can stop us.

Unless you shoot yourself in the foot, like most past Empires...

When Vermont Attacks (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#45953065)

Who here believes that Vermont would maintain a huge hypersonic nuclear missile delivery system?

The danger to human society is these huge nation-states. The only rational thing to do is to reduce the size of these states to the point where they don't pose such risks. Yeah, that's a hard planet-wide challenge, and we have a few of them to contend with, but articles like these show that there's still far too much effort going into the wrong projects.

It might take more courage to make these required changes than currently exists within humanity.

Re:When Vermont Attacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953285)

Do you think Vermont could go to the moon or build the LHC?

For every terrible action a large nation could do that small ones can't, there are strides of progress that large nations can make that small ones can't. Likewise, for every stride of progress that can be accomplished by many small nations working together, a terrible action can likewise be taken by a group of small nations.

Furthermore, talking about "courage" in such a fashion is absurdly emotional language. Does the world have enough courage to buy me a private fleet of BMWs? Does humanity have enough courage to eradicate those damn $COLOR_OR_CREEDs?

Re:When Vermont Attacks (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#45953653)

Do you think Vermont could go to the moon or build the LHC?

For every terrible action a large nation could do that small ones can't, there are strides of progress that large nations can make that small ones can't.

No, and that's OK, because we don't always need nation states to do great things.

Since the Vermonters won't be sending their wealth in to the military industrial complex to build ever-faster planet-destroying weapons, they'll have more of that wealth to invest in ways they see fit. Some of them will choose to fund planetary-scale space exploration ventures (and possibly at a greater rate than currently exists). Even if they just invest in SpaceX, the ROI is greater than NASA.

Even if they don't, it's folly to claim that we should endure extinction-level threats to get more rapid space exploration.

I personally love space exploration, but neither my preferences nor yours justifies putting the species at an existential risk.

Re:When Vermont Attacks (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 7 months ago | (#45955151)

There is incentive to for small countries to cooperate in peaceful endeavors. The LHC is built by a cooperation between countries. The space program is increasingly moving the same direction.

Re:When Vermont Attacks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954985)

If we have small nation-states, we would end up with a failure mode similar to the Middle Ages where for almost a millennia, most of the duchies and dukedoms were spending all their resources fighting against each other as opposed to doing anything else. It took the Black Plague destroying their serf population to make it impossible for nobles to continue that way,and viable nations join together that can do more than just tack peasants to the wheel or return fire when a neighbor decides they want access to a river.

Re:When Vermont Attacks (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 7 months ago | (#45955659)

The only rational thing to do is to reduce the size of these states to the point where they don't pose such risks.

Then we could have hundreds of little wars, like we had in the Middle Ages and Wars of Religion - think of the fun if Vermont and New Hampshire went to war, while California was busy conquering Oregon, And New York trying to annex Jersey.

Extend that all over the world, and we could have great fun adding to the history books...

Re:When Vermont Attacks (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#45955911)

Then we could have hundreds of little wars, like we had in the Middle Ages and Wars of Religion - think of the fun if Vermont and New Hampshire went to war, while California was busy conquering Oregon, And New York trying to annex Jersey.

Yes, just look at all the little wars going on all over Europe - why Switzerland is massing its forces on the border of Liechtenstein as we speak!

Seriously, though, the only reasons nations go to war are economic calamity or power-aspirations of the government. The more such governments drain their economies to build their arsenals, the more both odds increase. The reason Europe is at peace is prosperity and relatively unarmed governments.

The State is the cause [hawaii.edu] of strife on Earth, not the solution.

Arms Race? What a maroon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953127)

The US is so far ahead of the rest of the World in weapons deployed, developed, designed and built, that China and Russia could rush until doomsday and never catch up.

WWII is over. The Cold War is won. Disband NATO and bring the troops home from Japan and South Korea. America should stop playing World Police.

Re:Arms Race? What a maroon. (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 7 months ago | (#45953253)

America, with dozens of aircraft carriers and thousands of jet fighters and bombers, is extremely well prepared to fight WWII.

Just about seventy years too late.

All 3 welcome the race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953129)

Because races towards annihilation powers are good for frail economies built on overlapping debt schemes, somehow... right?

This generation is spoiled. (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | about 7 months ago | (#45953215)

Nobody remembers the cold war, except the old fogies. I'm an old fogie now, I guess.

Look kids - every day there are thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at cities in an uneasy truce to ensure that our governments maintain control. It's easy to pretend power doesn't matter, but let's be clear: Power is everything, and the power of the western world is enforced under threat of nuclear annihilation if we're messed with.

That's never going to change, and it's better to accept it and deal with it than pretend China and the USA and Russia will one day magically extinguish Prometheus' flames.

I hope they enjoyed the time not worrying about the bomb. As global energy resources (OIL) get tight, you'll see more of this type of thing starting up until the war is on again.

How'd that line go? Oh yeah. Judgement Day is inevitable.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953311)

Your age doesn't grant you a valid reason to condescend glibly about nuclear annihilation. Sorry, old fart/fogie.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953501)

No, but his age allows him to remember firsthand that which does.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953533)

We've gone from being the cold war "good guy" to being the "no declared war bad guy" worldwide as a result of petulant fact-challenged old fogies like yourself.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 7 months ago | (#45953835)

You're not the only one who remembers hiding under the desk in school... and yes there are warheads pointed at every major city. Still.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (2)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 7 months ago | (#45953865)

The annual number of people died from war nosedived directly as a result of MAD.

Nuclear weapons are what ended WWII.

Oil production hasn't even peaked yet. Why are you already talking about a decline?

Re:This generation is spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953939)

Are all those commies still hiding under your bed?

Re:This generation is spoiled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954147)

I remember the cold war and all the propaganda that went with it. I remember when we discovered the CIA was wrong and Russia never built all those weapons they tricked us into thinking existed. We build ours and wasted a fortune in money, but it worked out well for the defense industry. Now they rule this country and it seems impossible to cut them back to something rational.

However, as you pointed out, the cold war hasn't ended. We still are using MAD to maintain peace. The cold war isn't gone, it's just become the new normal.

Re:This generation is spoiled. (1)

toshikodo (2976757) | about 7 months ago | (#45955389)

Absolutely agree. What scares me aren't WMDs, no, its bankers & bugs. Both have the ability to destroy our nice cosy world, and unlike the nukes, there's nobody in control.

Why? Natural resources. (3, Insightful)

Frans Faase (648933) | about 7 months ago | (#45953229)

Why this arms race? There can only be one reason: access to natural resources. Some natural resources (such as cheap fossile fuels) are on the decline, and China wants to keeps ite growing population happy, otherwise those in power might lose their position. The other superpowers also want to keep their positions. Cheap natural resources (ranging from water to fossile fuels to rare earth metals) are an essential fact for a healthy economy.

Re:Why? Natural resources. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954209)

No. It's to maintain the status quo. So those in power stay in power, those Nation-States that exist can remain. Natural resources are a small part of it.

The US and the USSR each had more than adequate natural resources to maintain their existence, but there was one hell of an arms race. If you look at the history of what is now Russia, and what was the Soviet Union, you can see why they had developed a certain skepticism about the goodwill and long term thinking the west had with regards to it's existence. There was talk amongst certain military minds at the closing stages of WWII that the west should push on and try to eliminate the Soviet Union - realistic or not (not!) it illustrates that it was not paranoia on the Soviets part - there were elements of the power structure of the west that wished to bring about their downfall. Now, it's easy as an American to believe that our intents were all peaceful and cooperative - but that's not entirely true.

So you have to parties, one who believes the other wants it dead, and the other who would be okay with their destruction. Now, let's say you're the first party. And then you figure out that the other guy has a serious weapon, like, ohh... the A-Bomb, or the H Bomb or the ICBM, and you don't. You don't know how many they have. What do you do? You get strapped yourself. Get some A-Bombs, some H-bombs and load them up on some ICBMS and some bombers, and heck, some submarines if you can.

It's not about getting natural resources, it's about survival, about not letting your people go through another war where you lose 30 million of them and put the rest in terrible hardship for years, just to continue to exist, it's about not letting your people be taken over or annihilated. Or, if you're going to be annihilated, making the cost so dear to your opponent that you hope they won't try. Healthy economy? That's a luxury. Arms races are about existence.

Re:Why? Natural resources. (1)

Eddy_D (557002) | about 7 months ago | (#45954483)

Yes with one exception.. Finite natural resources that are easy to access. It's all about blood for oil these days...

Re:Why? Natural resources. (1)

lamer01 (1097759) | about 7 months ago | (#45955035)

If the amount of money being spent on the military annually was redirected to energy research we'd probably have no need to chase energy around the planet anymore.

Those of us planning to live on Mars (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45953283)

Well, we could care less, though I'm certain the fireworks will be brief and somewhat spectacular, when they do happen.

Obb. Einstein quote (1)

houghi (78078) | about 7 months ago | (#45953489)

'I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.'
                                                                                                ---Albert Einstein

Yay, another Cold War! (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 7 months ago | (#45953571)

Yay, another Cold War! Now we can rebuild our economy!

missed chances (3, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 7 months ago | (#45953649)

Poor 3dfx, "hypersonic GLIDE vehicle" would have been a much better name than Voodoo 3.

frist 4Sot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45953725)

Taiwan (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#45954237)

The 3rd Straight of Taiwan crisis put a giant butthurt on China.

I would say a LARGE part of their military build has to do with preventing any such humiliation like that from happening again.

Think of what people in the US would be doing if something like that happened off the shores of North America.

Only Russia can win WWIII (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45954301)

This is an arms race that only Russia can win. Only Russia has a vast empty territory with a significant population still living a subsistence lifestyle. Assuming that WWIII destroys technological civilization, the American countryside will be helpless without gasoline, pesticides, fertilizers and other modern tools. Americans will all starve to death. But in Russia, a large population will live on, and maintain the Russian language and culture. They will eventually recover, build a new empire, and take over the world. The only way to prevent such a takeover is to prevent WWIII so that America and Europe continue to exist as separate cultural spheres.

Can Amazon use this? (1)

lamer01 (1097759) | about 7 months ago | (#45955087)

I can have my packages withing one hour of ordering?

This is a very bad idea (2)

paiute (550198) | about 7 months ago | (#45955325)

What is the time now that a nation has to decide if incoming ICBMs are real or a computer or sensor glitch? Because you have to launch before the other guy's warheads go off among your silos or make an EMP over your head - use them or lose them.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/near-launching-of-russian-nukes [history.com]

Now what if everyone has the new fast weapons which cut your decision time from minutes to seconds?
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