Core point: America’s intent after the Chinese tests was to signal the strength of the US with just the right amount and type of potential strength.
Nuclear powers rarely go to war against each other, but that doesn’t mean they don’t threaten To do that.
Indeed, the military stance is an integral part of what Forrest Morgan, an analyst at RAND Corporation, calls “crisis stability.” In other words: “Build and align forces so that when confronted, a state can avoid a war without backing down.”
Heavy long-range bombers are some of the best forces for crisis stability, Morgan wrote in a 2013 study for the U.S. Air Force. Bombers are powerful, mobile and visible – perfect for signaling Strength and intent.
On the other hand, the cruise missiles fired by U.S. Navy submarines are less effective – even counterproductive – for crisis stability because they are invisible most of the time.
“SLCMs could contribute to instability,” wrote Morgan. “[T]The opponent’s fears could be exacerbated by the ability of SSGNs [cruise missile subs] to pose secretly nearby. “
But Morgan pointed to a case when the Navy OhioTop-class SSGNs have actually helped stabilize a 2010 crisis – an accomplishment that has largely been lost to history.
“In July 2010, three SSGNs appeared almost simultaneously in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean waters to allegedly signal the US displeasure with Chinese missile tests in the East China Sea.”
Large missile tests are potentially provocative and destabilizing. America’s intent after the Chinese tests was to signal the strength of the US with just the right amount and type of potential strength.
Submarines seemed just right, as if Washington would say to Beijing, “Sure, you could surprise us with your missiles. But we remember that we have a lot of our own missiles – and they’re not far from you. “
Greg Torode reported the incident for the South China tomorrow post:
Read the original article.