Military Policy & Weapons/military

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Question
Will the west go to war against russia and china?

Now all the NSA spying is out in the open and edward snowden granted asylum in russia and with china i hear the US is currently shifting its military to asia and then the chinese have alot of disputes going on do you reckon this could turn into a fully fledged conflict?

Answer
Make no mistake, Edward Snowden seeking asylum in Russia has been nothing but a nightmare for that country. They wanted no part of this circus, and they were put in an impossible position. They really didn't want to grant him asylum, but were they to deny it to him, they knew it would be seen in the world as Russia bowing to the influence of American wishes. Snowden had no information that was of any real value to them, so they weren't benefiting from it.

China is, without question, going to be America's chief rival in the coming century, both politically and militarily. They have a booming economy, and are investing heavily in their civil and military infrastructure. Russia, who has long been China's primary weapons supplier, is continuing to sell their most advanced fighter aircraft to the Chinese, and have partnered with them to develop new aircraft designs as well, including one with some limited stealth capability. China has been working on a new anti-ship missile which they claim is invulnerable to American aircraft carrier defenses. Most Western sources feel that it is still in experimental stages, but if the Chinese can pose a serious threat to American carriers, they have the ability to position themselves as the dominant power in the region. The US global strategy is heavily dependent on the ability of our aircraft carriers to "project power" anywhere on the globe, and as such, those carriers are extremely well defended. In the Cold War, the Soviet Navy's entire reason for being was to go after the carriers, because the Russians knew how crucial they were.

I don't see a major US-China military conflict in the near future, but long term, it is clearly a possibility. High ranking members of the Chinese military have stated publicly that they view the United States as their most likely future adversary, and they train to face American forces in combat -- just as we focused on facing the Soviets when they were our most likely adversary. There are two scenarios that are the most likely sources of a future conflict with the Chinese. The first, and most obvious place, is Taiwan. The US is bound by treaty to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. We are also Taiwan's chief source of military support. Taiwan's army, navy, and air force mainly field American weapons and equipment. We will definitely come to Taiwan's aid if they are attacked. China, on the other hand, has stated on countless occasions that they see Taiwan as a part of China, and that reunification is not a question of if, but when.

The other potential location for a conflict is a remote chain of islands in the South China Sea called the Spratlys. Several nations, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and of course China, claim sovereignty over these islands, and arguments and squabbles have gone on about it for decades, if not longer. However, in recent years, huge deposits of oil have been located beneath the sea floor surrounding the islands. China is not yet the number one consumer of the world's oil -- that's still us -- but they are the fastest-rising consumer. And they need more, much more, to continue their nation's economic and military modernization. Chinese warships routinely patrol the Spratly Islands, and there have been isolated incidents where they have fired on other vessels in the area. Many feel that the Spratlys are the most likely potential flashpoint, with a scenario whereby China forcefully takes control of the islands, which leads to a shooting incident with an allied nation, which draws America in, etc.

So, to sum up, it's not likely in the near future. China, while steadily coming along, is not yet technologically up to par with the American military. Down the road, however...we will have to wait and see.

This is all opinion on my part, though it is a studied opinion. I hope I've been helpful.  

Military Policy & Weapons

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Chris McDowell

Expertise

I can answer questions related to any American military weapon system, particularly air-deployed, as well as systems fielded by foreign powers, both allied and hostile.

Experience

I have studied this subject extensively for more than 30 years, and have been published in literature of the field.

Publications
International Combat Aircraft Air Forces Monthly

Education/Credentials
University of Texas University of Texas at San Antonio

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