A U.S. Navy glider similar to one seized by Chinese forces. US Navy Photo
The US Naval Institute News Service is reporting,
“A U.S. Navy unmanned buoyancy glider was taken by Chinese forces in international waters earlier this week, two defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Friday.
“The glider was operating with U.S. Military Sealift Command ship USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-62) about 50 miles off of Subic Bay in the Philippines when a People’s Liberation Army Navy ship took the glider both defense officials said.”
Perhaps this will prompt some rethink on the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vehicle, or ACTUV. Maybe a self destruct option is in order.
Most of the media seems to be assuming this is a response by China to Trump’s conversation with the Taiwanese president, but as usual they’re missing the point. This is just part of China’s South China Sea Grand Strategy, which has four stages. Unfortunately, we’re at stage three. When we get to stage four we (the developed, Westernised world) will collectively wish we’d acted sooner, but by then it will be far too late.
Stage one: foster continuous low-level tension, occasionally escalating into open conflict between civilians and para-militaries, in order to de-stabilise the region and thus create political and economic uncertainty, an environment which China can manipulate to it’s advantage in support of the following stages.
Stage two: with stage one ongoing, build seven military bases across the continental shelf, fortifying the region.
Stage three: with stage two complete and stage one ongoing, take steps to prevent or otherwise interfere with the collection of oceanographic data by foreign powers, a policy that apparently includes daylight robbery.
Stage four: with stage two complete and stages one and three ongoing, deploy China’s submarine nuclear deterrent through the now sanitised South China Sea and into the deep, open waters of the Indian and North Pacific oceans, where they will be almost impossible to detect and track.
Because that’s entirely what this whole mess is all about. And like we’re doing with Aleppo, we’re all just sitting back and watching it happen.
Whenever we leave a power vacuum, there is always an adversary eager to step in and fill it.
The current, soon-to-be ex-President either didn’t understand that or didn’t care. I’m not sure the incoming President understands the finesse and intricacies of this and other aspects of international relations, but I know his prospective SecDef, Natl. Security Advisor, and Homeland Security Secretary know these things quite well. Hopefully he listens.
The Chinese response to US protest, such as it is. http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/12/17/china_remains_defiant_over_capture_of_underwater_drone_110510.html
Reportedly the UUV has been returned to a USN destroyer. http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/12/20/china_returns_us_underwater_drone_110528.html
An analysis here: http://www.eaglespeak.us/2017/01/china-lies-again-and-new-drone-war.html