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This Is How Big China's Internet Is

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The number of Internet users in China has grown to 668 million, according to a report released last week by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a state agency that administers China’s domain name registry and conducts research on the Chinese Internet. Below are the main points from the agency’s annual Internet development report. Full text of the report can be found here.

- The total number of Internet users in China grew to 668 million, a 5.6 percent increase over last year. That’s an Internet penetration rate of 48.8 percent. In the United States, by comparison, 85 percent of people access the Internet, although the penetration rate seems to be hovering around that point.

- Mobile Internet users grew to 594 million, 88.9 percent of all Internet users. Compare that to the United States, where only about 67 percent of Internet users access the Internet through their mobile phone.

- The share of Internet users residing in rural areas grew slightly relative to urban Internet users. Rural residents now account for 27.9 percent of all of China’s Internet users.

- As in the rest of the world, young people account for a majority of Internet users. People between ten and thirty years of age make up 55.2 percent of the online population in China.

- Users of online payment platforms like Alipay, the Chinese equivalent of Paypal or Venmo, continued to grow. Among Chinese Internet users, 53.7 percent use an online payment platform, while 46.5 percent of mobile phone users use a mobile payment service.

- 374 million people engaged in online shopping in China last year, 12 percent more than last year.

- The percentage of Internet users speculating in stocks online dropped by 0.3 percent since the beginning of the year, perhaps in response to increased volatility in Chinese stock markets over the last two months.

- The number of users of Weibo, Chinese microblogging services that are similar to Twitter, declined by 35 percent year-on-year, providing confirmation for the argument that Weibo is dying as users migrate to WeChat, a mobile messaging service with a more discrete blogging feature.

- The average amount of time Chinese Internet users spend online each week decreased for the first time ever, dropping to 25.6 hours from a high of 26.1 hours the last time CNNIC surveyed users, in December 2014.

Chinese Internet regulators have gotten a lot of bad press in recent weeks, as it came out that new national security and cybersecurity laws included measures that would make it easier for the government to monitor citizen activity online. For example, the government appears to be doubling down on a requirement that Chinese citizens use their real name and state-issued ID number when opening online accounts and demanding that Chinese companies use technology that is domestically-sourced and “controllable.”

However, despite these limitations, the state of China’s Internet isn’t all bad, as Internet service provision continues to increase. Internet penetration in China has increased by about four percent annually since 2010. While this year’s increase of 2.8 percent represents a gradual leveling-off of growth rates, Internet usage in China remains significantly lower than in developed countries, so there’s still room for growth. Given a recent commitment by the central government to increase investment in infrastructure development, particularly in rural areas, we could even expect a higher year-on-year increase next year.

This piece first appeared on CFR’s blog Net Politics here

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Get Ready: Could China and Taiwan Be Headed towards a Crisis in 2016?

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With the high likelihood that Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will regain the presidency in the January 2016 elections, many analysts have predicted a return of tensions in the Taiwan Strait after eight years of relative stability under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Whether a DPP victory in those elections would indeed mark a return to hostilities will be largely contingent on how Beijing reacts to this likely development.

From the outset it's important that we clarify what the DPP under its Chairperson and presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, is not. Unlike her predecessor Chen Shui-bian, who served two terms from 2000-2008, Tsai has taken a more subdued approach to cross-strait relations. She has chosen instead to focus on domestic matters and to consolidate the nation. When pressed to explain her cross-strait policies, Tsai has adopted a more centrist position than her predecessor by vowing to maintain the 'status quo' under the current constitutional framework of the Republic of China (ROC) and to seek continuity in the relationship with Beijing. 

In other words, despite the alarmism in some circles, Tsai will not suddenly declare de jure independence for Taiwan, an act that Beijing has made clear would provide 'justification' for the use of force.

Moreover, by avoiding the issue of the 'independence clause' in the party charter and instead using the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, which states that the ROC/Taiwan is already an independent state as her basis for Taiwan's relations with China, Tsai was signaling that she did not intend to make cross-strait relations a major factor in her campaign.

Tsai's China policy therefore looks rather similar to that of the KMT's Ma, who throughout his presidency made the 'status quo' a principal pillar of his own China policy. Tsai and Ma nevertheless differ in one key aspect, and that is the controversial '1992 consensus,' of which its 'one China' clause is unacceptable to her DPP constituents. Still, Tsai has promised the continuation of constructive relations with China – in other words, she is giving precedence to substance over technicalities such as the 'platform' on which cross-strait dialogue will occur.

Despite the criticism heard in the more conservative wing of her party, who accused her of engineering the 'KMT-ization' of the DPP, Tsai is currently at the apex of her power, with opinion polls showing a comfortable lead against the KMT candidate or any combination of opponents. 

If the KMT was to have any chance of defeating Tsai, it would have to field a formidable candidate, someone who has the ability to harness the forces of a society that is increasingly assured of, and vocal about, its Taiwanese identity, as the Sunflower Movement made perfectly clear in March and April 2014. 

Instead, the KMT picked (and on July 19 confirmed) Hung Hsiu-chu, the deputy legislative speaker whose China policy, as it is understood, seems to go against all the trend lines in society. Hung's views on China and Taiwan are such that a number of KMT legislators – from both the 'mainlander' and 'Taiwanese' factions – threatened to quit the party, while others openly criticized it and as a result were expelled.

Seeing a crisis in the making, party elders of the KMT did their best to convince Hung to tone down her rhetoric, an intervention which became necessary after she stated her espousal of a 'one China, same interpretation' (一中同表) policy that not only contradicted the official KMT position of 'one country, different interpretations' (一國兩憲), but seemed to echo Beijing's position on the matter. Her announcement that, if elected, she would sign a 'peace agreement' with China and possibly end arms procurement from the U.S. alarmed many people within the KMT, not to mention within the rest of Taiwan, while her flip-flopping on whether the ROC existed – Hung initially said that recognizing the ROC would create 'two Chinas,' which was 'unacceptable' – raised eyebrows in many circles. After being pressured by party members, Hung eventually reverted to the KMT's favored 'one China, two interpretations' and 1992-consensus formulas, while proposing a 'one consensus, three connotations' (一個共識,三個內涵) platform and assuring us that she would press Beijing to recognize the legitimacy of the ROC Government. 

Hung had nevertheless revealed her ideological foundations and it was difficult to imagine that the apparent softening of her stance wasn't anything more than a tactic to reassure the public ahead of the election.

Although Hung is perfectly entitled to her views in democratic Taiwan, they are nevertheless a problematic position to adopt prior to January. The fact that her beliefs seem to be diametrically opposed to the consensus that has been built across Taiwan, and that they dovetail so perfectly with the position of the authoritarian regime on the other side of the Strait, is probably enough to ensure defeat for the KMT, which currently finds itself in a state of crisis. 

This piece first appeared in the Lowy Interpreter here

Image: Wikicommons/Creative Commons 2.0. 

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Explained: A World Where the U.S. Marines Never Picked the F-35

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The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is definitely putting a brave, can-do face on its first unit—Squadron 121—of Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), aiming shortly for a formal declaration of “initial operating capability.” But Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, recently penned a dimmer account for procurement chief Frank Kendall. In recent tests on the helicopter carrier Wasp, he wrote, "aircraft reliability was poor enough that it was difficult for the Marines to keep more than two or three of the six embarked jets in a flyable status on any given day.” The Marines have spent billions on the F-35B and the F-35C. Had they not, they might have spent many fewer on the F-18F, and so far, without a noticeable difference.

Just recently, I covered the question of what the U.S. Navy might have done without a JSF program. In 1992, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney cancelled the Navy’s A-12 carrier-based stealth bomber program, leaving the service without a replacement for its A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair II jets. Needing an under-the-radar solution, the service took up McDonnell-Douglas’s idea for a thorough redesign of the F-18C/D Hornet. The result was the F-18E/F Super Hornet, which has sustained carrier air wings in the absence of those long-delayed F-35Cs. The USMC, however, preferred to wait, and never bought into the evolutionary option. So today, the Corps is planning that F-35Bs will replace its long-serving AV-8B Harrier II+s on Wasp and America-class helicopter carriers, and that F-35Cs will replace its aging first- and second-generation F-18A++, -C, and -D Hornets on Nimitz and Ford-class super-carriers.

Fairly, those aircraft may be old, but they’re still capable, at least for now. The latest Harriers today carry the APG-65 active electronically-scanning array (AESA) radar and the long-range, radar-seeking AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. So those six-plane detachments on the smaller flattops, originally meant just for ground attack, can attack enemy flyers too. Before the Harriers, though, the Marines had no jets of any type on assault ships, and no jets capable of operating ashore from austere facilities. In the 1960s and 1970s, the USMC flew F-4 Phantom IIs, and in the Vietnam War almost solely as bombers. The Phantoms flew a tour from the old carrier America, but mostly from the big airfields at Da Nang, Chu Lai, and Nam Phong.

As a marine officer friend of mine once said, if the Marines like something, they call it amphibious, but if they really like it, they call it expeditionary. The Phantom II wasn’t either. The impetus to adopting the Harrier back in the late 1970s was to return to the Corps the rough-field, fixed-wing attack capability that had been lost with the transition to jets. Starting in the 1990s, the F-35B promised to extend that with stealth and supersonic speed. There is also the USMC’s long-running Guadalcanal narrative, in which the Navy once again pulls back the carriers, leaving the Leathernecks exposed on the beach, with just the few F-35Bs of the New Henderson Field to defend them. How well the carefully maintained surfaces of a stealthy aircraft would hold up on those rough fields, however, remains an outstanding question.

But something else has been lost in that second transition. The ongoing complaints about the difficulties of the F-35A and -C as dogfighters were summoned up by the need to make an F-35B. The fat fuselage and the forwarding-looking canopy are artifacts of the placement of the lift-fan directly behind the cockpit. If all-aspect missiles continue to dominate air combat, as John Stillion has shown that they have for decades, then this will not be a problem. Whether advances in electronic warfare could someday challenge that style of war-fighting is yet another outstanding question.

So what would have the Marine Corps done without the promise of that stealthy jump-jet? Today, the early model F-18s and the AV-8Bs would still be aging out, just like the US Air Force's A-10Cs, but without a short take-off, vertical-landing (STOVL) replacement. The questions of these replacements are similar, with yet more similar answers: each service intends to replace its (primarily) ground-attack airplane with versions of the F-35. That accomplishes the existing mission for a whole lot more money, as the F-35’s procurement and operating costs will be much higher. The advantage is that the mission should become much easier with the F-35’s networked communications and its APG-81 AESA radar, which tracks not just aircraft, but moving ground targets.

Of course, there’s another plane in the naval inventory with a ground scanning AESA: the F-18E/F with its APG-79. That radar has had a long history of development problems, but as with the JSF, enough money can solve most. The difference is that this is not a whole stealth fighter, but just a radar. Flying the same aircraft with the same radars off the same carriers as the Navy, just as the Corps does today with those F-18Ds, would be rather economical. For that matter, the Marines are even today planning to split their JSF purchases between STOVL Bs and conventionally-landing Cs, the latter operating alongside Navy squadrons on the same decks.

So as a friend at Naval Air Systems Command once told me, HQMC has always had a Plan B behind the F-35B—it just rhymes with “Super Hornet”. In a world without a JSF program, the USMC would likely by now have begun buying F-18Fs to replace its F-18Ds, and perhaps doubled-down on the two-seaters across the fleet. While Goose and Slider would be disappointed to know that the navigator is no longer in style in a fighter, he’s still a valuable observer for close air support. And as the adage goes, it’s understandable that America’s navy needs its own air force, but America’s navy’s army might not need every aspect of an air force.

What that plan wouldn’t have done is keep jet fighters on helicopter carriers, as the F-35B will do. This would have complicated amphibious raids far from friendly bases, to which the Marines need to bring their own over-the-beach air cover. But around the periphery of the Mediterranean, or near the Persian Gulf, the problem is manageable with land-based fighters. And anywhere in the world, no American theater commander would order a full-fledged amphibious assault without massive air cover from the Navy and the USAF.

So after saving those billions that went into their share of JSF development, could the Marines instead have launched the own analog to the Super Hornet? Could they have paid Boeing to design a Harrier III? Certainly, though working from the preceding design, it wouldn’t have been stealthy, fast, or long-ranged. At least one of those is probably crucial in any future fight in the Western Pacific. Could the Marines have gotten that small-ball plan past a defense secretary? That’s much less likely. Advocates of dedicated close air support aircraft have been having a hard time just defending the exiting fleet of A-10Cs. A wholly new Harrier would offer less armor, less payload, and less range. And in Poland last week, the A-10Cs of the 354th proved “they can land anywhere”. Maybe not quite, but that points to the problem. For the United States, the marginal value of the Harrier may always have been something we now call exquisite. And so perhaps, is the F-35B.

James Hasík is a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, where this piece first appeared

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Coming Soon to the South China Sea: Chinese Fighters and Lethal Missiles?

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It's increasingly clear that China intends to use its artificial islands in the South China Sea for military purposes.

Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, delivered this assessment on a panel that I was privileged to be part of at the Aspen Security Forum last week. Harris described the newly-created islands as potential “forward operating posts” for the Chinese military. Beijing hasn't denied that it will use the outposts for military functions, but it has emphasized plans to provide public goods such as maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation and meteorological observation. 

What are the potential military uses of China's artificial islands and do they pose a threat?

First, the outposts in the Spratly Island chain will undoubtedly be equipped with radars and electronic listening equipment that will enhance China's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and maritime domain awareness capabilities. The newly built 10,000-foot runway on Fiery Cross Reef will accommodate virtually every aircraft in China's inventory, and hangers are being built that appear designed to host tactical fighter aircraft. As Admiral Harris stated, “A 10,000-foot runway is large enough to take a B-52, almost large enough for the Space Shuttle, and 3,000 feet longer than you need to take off a 747.”

China will be able to operate surveillance aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, unmanned aircraft, transport planes, tanker aircraft and fighters. Depending on what platforms and systems are deployed on these outposts, China could have the ability to monitor most, if not all, of the South China Sea on a 24/7 basis.

These enhanced capabilities will provide China with advantages over its weaker neighbors and pose challenges to U.S. military activities in the region.

China may declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over part or all of the area within its nine-dashed line claim. To enforce such a zone would require several airstrips in various locations in the South China Sea. China has been expanding its runway on Woody Island in the Paracel group from approximately 7500 feet to almost 10,000 feet. Recent satellite imagery indicates that China may be preparing to build yet another airstrip on Subi Reef in the Spratly chain. In November 2013, China unilaterally set up an ADIZ in disputed waters in the East China Sea. At the time, a PLA major general confided to me that the Chinese military has long had plans to establish an ADIZ in all of China's near seas, including the East China Sea, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea.

China will likely use the Spratly outposts to extend its anti-access/area denial envelope farther southward and eastward into the Philippines Sea and the Sulu Sea. Runways will enable the People's Liberation Army, Navy and Air Force to extend the operational ranges of aircraft based on the mainland and Hainan Island to encompass the entire South China Sea and beyond. Chinese capability to observe and respond to U.S. military operations in the region will be significantly increased. Chinese aircraft will be positioned to intercept U.S. and other foreign aircraft far from the Chinese coastline. The time required for Chinese aircraft and ships to reach the Malacca Straits, in the event of a blockade of this major trade artery, will be significantly reduced.

According to Admiral Harris, the U.S. has not yet seen China place anti-ship cruise missiles or supporting gear on the islands, but such capabilities could be deployed in the near future along with surface-to-air missiles. In addition, the harbor at Fiery Cross Reef is better suited to submarine basing than the shallow waters at Hainan Island where the PLAN's fleet is currently based. Within a few kilometers from shore, the waters quickly drop to a depth of 2000 meters.

If a military conflict were to break out, the land features as well as the ships and aircraft operating from them would be vulnerable to attack, but in peacetime and in a crisis, they will provide China with the capability to hold U.S. forces at risk at a farther distance than it can at present. This could have implications for a U.S. effort to come to Taiwan's defense. A U.S. carrier battle group sailing from the Arabian Gulf or Indian Ocean that was coming to Taiwan's aid would have to pass through the South China Sea. In addition, in wartime, the need to attack these sites and the aircraft and ships deploying from them would divert U.S. assets from performing other missions.

In the event that China decides to dislodge other claimants from their outposts, the PLA will have greater capability to do so. Helicopters, amphibious landing craft and mobile artillery batteries could be used to conduct assaults on nearby land features. Alternatively, China could opt to put pressure on rival claimants to abandon some of their outposts. For example, it could attempt to disrupt resupply operations to isolated features that lack self-defense capability, such as Second Thomas Shoal, where a contingent of Filipino marines is stationed on a decaying World War II military ship. In early 2014, Chinese coast guard ships twice tried to block civilian Filipino vessels from resupplying the marines deployed on the Shoal. 

Policy Recommendations

Calls for China to halt its artificial island building in the Spratlys have not been heeded. Completing the island projects as quickly as possible is apparently a high priority for Beijing, given the frenetic pace of dredging in the past year and half. However, there is still a possibility to put a cap on militarization of the islands by China and the other claimants. The deployment of offensive power projection capabilities by any claimant would be dangerous and destabilizing. The U.S. should help to facilitate an agreement that restricts deployments by all claimants to strictly defensive capabilities on all outposts in the South China Sea.

The growing uncertainty created by China's artificial island building and the purposes for which the new features will be used should motivate ASEAN, or at least a sub-group of ASEAN members with deep interests in maritime security, to draw up a draft of a Code of Conduct (CoC) that contains risk-reduction measures and a dispute resolution mechanism. China is evidently unwilling to make progress with ASEAN on a CoC in a reasonable time frame and it's time for others to push this forward. If China and ASEAN are unprepared to finalize and sign a CoC, then a coalition of the willing should proceed on its own and try to bring the others along later.

The US and like-minded countries should conduct freedom of navigation patrols around China's artificial islands that were originally submerged reefs. UNCLOS provides that artificial islands do not qualify as 'islands' under the Convention because they are not naturally formed areas of land surrounded by and above water at high tide. Therefore, artificial islands are not entitled to any maritime zones. Since 1979, the U.S. has carried out the freedom of navigation program to protect maritime rights throughout the world. Conducting such patrols in the Spratlys would signal to China and the region that disputes must be managed peacefully and in accordance with international law.

This piece first appeared in the Lowy Interpreter here

Image: Wikicommons. 

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China, India and Water Across the Himalayas

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While everyone’s anxiously watching and analyzing the events unraveling in the South China Sea, there’s another resource conflict involving China that also deserves attention. In the Himalayas, China and India are competing for valuable hydropower and water resources on the Yarlung Tsangpo–Brahmaputra River. The dispute offers some important lessons for regional cooperation (on more than just water), and highlights what’s at stake if China and India mismanage their resource conflict.

The Yarlung Tsangpo–Brahmaputra River is a 2,880km transboundary river that originates in Tibet, China as the Yarlung Tsangpo, before flowing through northeast India as the Brahmaputra River and Bangladesh as the Jamuna River.

The resource conflict began on June 11, 2000, after a natural dam-burst in Tibet caused a flash flood that resulted in 30 deaths and serious damage to infrastructure in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Some Indian government officials believed the flood was intentionally caused by China, even suggesting China would weaponize or interrupt water supply to leverage over India. The issue dominated reporting on China, but later subsided after satellite imagery confirmed the natural dam. Later in 2002, China and India signed their first Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of hydrological information during the monsoon months, previously discontinued after their 1962 border war.

The issue gained serious traction in 2008, when the Chinese government announced plans to begin construction of the Zangmu hydroelectricity dam. Located on the middle reaches of the Yarlung–Tsangpo River, the dam was perceived by many Indian observers as the beginning of a major river diversion project that would dry up the Brahmaputra River. Speculation and suspicion were further stoked by Chinese refusal to divulge information deemed “internal matters” and conflicting information released by government officials. Indian fears drove some commentators­—led by Brahma Chellaney—to warn of a coming water war over the river; suggesting a river diversion would be tantamount to a declaration of war. The contentious issue soon sparked concern in the Indian Parliament, and became a priority in high-level bilateral exchanges with China. In its exchanges, India sought reassurances and pushed for more extensive water data sharing practices (negotiating an extra 15 days of data).

The crux of the resource competition thus relates to mass dam building and diversion plans. With the Yarlung Tsangpo representing 79 gigawatts of hydropower potential (more than enough to power NSW, ACT and South Australia combined), China is planning the construction of 20 hydroelectricity dams along the river. In addition to these dams, China is also considering a potential Grand Western Water diversion plan (redirecting water to the dry north). India fears upstream China will ‘turn off the tap’ that makes up 30% of its water resource. However, despite calls for greater transparency and consultation, India is also racing to construct hydropower dams on the Brahmaputra River. While India’s dam building drive is primarily motivated by a desire to take advantage of the river’s hydropower potential, the dams also help to consolidate India’s territorial claim on the contested border state of Arunachal Pradesh (known as ‘South Tibet’ in China).

Despite Indian alarm, there’s little reason to fear a water war. Numerous facts indicate Chinese activities won’t impact river flow. For example, Chinese dams have been confirmed as run-of-the-river—they don’t store water). China has also dismissed plans of river diversion due to high economic costs and environmental risks. On top of this, Chinese leaders have reiterated that they don’t want to antagonize their closest neighbors. Perhaps the most convincing rebuke of the water war myth is the scientific evidence that shows China has limited control of India’s water. Contrary to popular belief in India, up to 70% of the Brahmaputra’s water resource comes from rainfall collected in India.

Although a water war is unlikely, Sino-Indian water security issue warrants further consideration for three key reasons. First, the dispute highlights that phantom problems risk the escalation of conflict causing unnecessary distractions. Second, the dispute has wider implications for regional resource management and security. And third, shared resources like water present less politically-loaded opportunities for greater cooperation.

First, much of India’s alarm was unwarranted. The information vacuum created by the Chinese Government’s refusal to divulge details of ‘internal matters‘ combined with inconsistent messaging gave rise to worst-case scenario speculation and fear in India. The dispute revealed the importance of transparency for guiding an informed conversation, not defined by historical biases. The incident showed that transparency can save time that would be otherwise wasted on reassurance and crisis management. China and India could devote efforts to developing goodwill and relations needed to establish joint scientific research projects in the Himalayan region, and more extensive water-data and information sharing norms.

Second, how India and China manage their domestic water and energy shortages has wider implications for the economic, environmental and social stability of the world’s two most populous countries. The dispute will test the strength and maturity of China and India, by requiring them to look past their strained history and the nationalist sentiments associated with it. Their response will set a precedent for cooperation in other areas of the Sino-Indian relationship, as well as transboundary resource management more broadly.

Finally, while a lot of mistrust exists between China and India—not least from its 1962 border war and its unresolved border dispute—cooperation in water data-sharing, dam building planning and joint scientific research projects offer less politically charged opportunities where deeper people-to-people relationships can be created. Such initiatives would not only improve the two countries’ perceptions of each other, but also help to develop a common language and understanding of the regional resource and environmental challenges.

India and China’s contested land border and the associated political sensitivities remain a serious barrier to bilateral cooperation on regional issues. However in the area of transboundary water data sharing, China is showing an increasing willingness to seriously consider and reassure the concerns of downstream countries. While this is promising, uncertainty about China’s commitment to regional cooperation persists, particularly because China’s willingness to talk about transboundary water issues remains subject to the political climate and is often used as a political tool for negotiation.

The water dispute combines domestic issues of resource scarcity and economic security with complex international relations challenges of transboundary resource management and bilateral Sino–Indian relations. How these issues intersect will be important for the region and its future. The water dispute comes at an interesting time where China and India’s relationship is developing within a shifting regional power dynamic. It’s certainly worth watching.

This piece first appeared in ASPI’s The Strategist here

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Get Ready: China Could Build New Artificial Islands Near India

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There are growing fears, particularly in India, that China may soon launch an island reclamation project in the Indian Ocean.

The fears stem from a constitutional amendment passed by the small archipelagic nation of Maldives last week, which for the first time allows foreign ownership of Maldives territory. Specifically, the constitutional amendment allows foreigners who invest over $1 billion to own land, provided that at least 70 percent of the land is reclaimed from the sea.

Since July 2013, China has launched a massive reclamation project in the South China Sea that has created 2,000 acres of artificial landmass in five Spratly island outposts. Some 75 percent of this been dredged this year alone.

Unnamed Indian officials have told local media outlets that they are “concerned” that China now plans to do the same in some of the Maldives’ 1,200 islands, which are located strategically in the Indian Ocean.    

They are not alone; domestic opponents of the amendment have expressed similar concerns. For example, Eva Abdullah, one of just 14 parliamentarians to vote against the amendment, told The Diplomat “this will make the country a Chinese colony.”

She elaborated by saying, “what I fear is that we are paving the way for the establishment of Chinese bases in the Maldives and making the country a frontline state between India and China, thereby disturbing the current balance of power in the Indian Ocean. We cannot ignore the increasing rivalry between India and China.”

Maldivian and Chinese officials have sought to temper such fears, however. In a statement given to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Beijing “has always respected and supported the Maldives' efforts to maintain its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

The statement added that “what the relevant people said about China building bases in the Maldives is totally baseless.” China has claimed that it will never build oversea military bases.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has similarly dismissed fears that China will reclaim the islands and use them for military purposes. In a public address, Yameen said: “The Maldivian government has given assurances to the Indian government and our neighboring countries as well to keep the Indian Ocean a demilitarized zone.”   

Vice President Ahmed Adeeb echoed Yameen in an interview with The Hindu this week, saying: “Our sovereignty is not on offer… We don’t want to give any of our neighbors, including India..any cause for concern. We don’t want to be in a position when we become a threat to our neighbors.”

While the Indian government appears to have officially accepted Maldives’ assurances, others are more skeptical.

Anand Kumar, an analyst the New Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), noted “The constitution has been amended for the benefit of the Chinese. It is only China which has capacity to acquire 70 percent of the land.”

Others were alarmed at how fast the constitutional amendment was approved. Indian sources have noted to local media outlets that the legislative process in Maldives often takes weeks and months. By contrast, one Indian source tells the Indian Express that “the parliamentary panel reviewed and approved the Bill within just one hour… that raises alarm bells.”

Even before the new constitutional amendment was passed, India had been growing increasingly concerned with Maldives, a country that it considers to be in its sphere of influence. Earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled a planned trip to Maldives after prominent members of the opposition, including former president Mohamed Nasheed, were jailed by the Yameen administration.

Similarly, even before the new amendment was proposed, Indian officials were alarmed by Maldives’ growing ties with China since President Yameen assumed power in November 2013. China has been investing heavily in Maldives in recent years as part of its Maritime Silk Road initiative.

Notably, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a state visit to Maldives last year, where he promised further investment, including in the Male International Airport. Chinese tourism to Maldives has also grown steadily in recent years, providing a hefty economic sum for the small nation.

China has also been trying to make inroads with other coastal South Asian nations like Sri Lanka as part of what many fear is Beijing’s “String of Pearls” strategy for the Indian Ocean.

Zachary Keck is managing editor of The National Interest. You can find him on Twitter: @ZacharyKeck.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Pacific Fleet

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Mohammad Mossadegh: An American Parable

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Reviewing Oliver Stone’s controversial film JFK in 1991, the late critic Roger Ebert stated that Stone’s film “is not a documentary, not a historical study and not a courtroom presentation, but a movie that weaves a myth around the Kennedy assassination—a myth in which the slain leader was the victim of a monstrous conspiracy.” Ebert wrote that polls of the general public and even many of Stone’s detractors showed doubts around “the official establishment myth.” “Is it such a terrible thing Stone has done,” asked Ebert, “to weave a countermyth?”

Public knowledge, in this view, rarely approaches reality enough to be called “true” or “false.” Oversimplifications and pious frauds are inevitable. Facts are secondary to narratives. Ebert may have been on to something. Consider the case of the long, troubled history of relations between the United States and Iran. Ask a reasonably informed American—someone who watches the nightly news, say—about where things went wrong, and you’ll get one of two stories. The first, the more popular one, starts in late 1979. Radical students, chanting “Death to America!” storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran and take dozens of diplomats hostage in the name of a bearded, black-turbaned extremist named Khomeini. The hostages are eventually released, but Iran remains under the rule of a band of terror-sponsoring religious fanatics to this day. America, in this view, is an innocent victim of Iran’s irrational and baseless hatreds.

The second story—the countermyth—starts in 1953. Acting in the service of international oil interests, American agents overthrow the democratically elected, reform-minded Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, replacing him with Iran’s monarch—the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. This constitutes a radical turning point in Iranian history, as the Shah sets up a fascist dictatorship, fills his prisons with dissidents, and lives in outrageous opulence while his people starve. Having crushed democratic opposition, the Shah’s only remaining challengers are religious factions, led by the same Khomeini. Khomeini’s followers bring down the Shah and form the Islamic Republic—which America then relentlessly opposes for the following decades. America’s sin in 1953, in this view, is the root of all evils in Iran. Washington gets what it deserves, or at least what it should have expected; repentance is the only way out. Conciliatory policies toward today’s Iran must be our penance.

The countermyth has been gaining currency in certain relatively elite circles. Given the harsh remedies it prescribes, it should be no surprise that it has spun off counter-countermyths. A recent column by Josh Gelernter for National Review is an excellent example. Gelernter rightly demolishes much of the Mossadegh mythology. Mossadegh was not democratically elected, but a beneficiary of a suspended election; his reform policies were radical; his confrontation with Britain was a disaster, and the United Kingdom had a right to be outraged by his nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. (Gelernter could have gone further, too—for an alleged budding autocrat, Mossadegh was fatally ineffective at gathering the reins of the state to himself when the Shah fled; he also had a penchant for histrionics, often confining himself to bed or threatening to resign when things weren’t going his way.) Mossadegh was a flawed hero—as much a melodramatic populist as a bearer of democratic awakening.

Gelernter also shows that the Shah was not a cartoon villain, particularly when compared to the Islamic Republic that followed. His prisons were far less deadly. His revenge on Mossadegh was minimal. He presided over large reforms of his own, and Iran’s economy grew like gangbusters during much of his rule. He had some diplomatic successes and was a fairly good friend to the United States, one whose strength enabled a Vietnam-singed nation to focus its energies more efficiently.

Yet Gelernter’s column, like its target, isn’t perfect. Most egregiously, he repeatedly refers to the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as “Reza Pahlavi.” Reza Pahlavi is, in fact, the Shah’s son, born seven years after Mossadegh was deposed. Yet the broader problem is not that Gelernter renders the facts incorrectly, but that he renders them selectively. Iran had legitimate grievances, for example, with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. As Christopher de Bellaigue wrote in his evenhanded 2012 biography of Mossadegh, Patriot of Persia, “Under the concession agreement, [Anglo-Iranian] was bound to provide housing, healthcare and other amenities for its Iranian workers, but in 1949 some five-sixths of them (more than 40,000 men) had no official housing of any sort, and many lived in hovels.” Anglo-Iranian “was training only about half the number of Iranians” that it had agreed to train, and its British employees arrogated to themselves the privileges of a colonial elite: “The Britons were ‘sahibs’ and their wives ‘memsahibs.’ Back in England they were nice middle-class people. Out here, under the blazing sun, they were kings.” All this led to widespread tension, to which AIOC’s usual response was to “redouble its propaganda efforts.” “The biggest obstacle to Anglo-Iranian’s success in its endeavours, and as a consequence the biggest factor in its unpopularity,” concludes de Bellaigue, “was Anglo-Iranian itself.”

Mossadegh, too, gets shorter shrift than he deserves. Despite his many flaws, he was the most vigorous heir to Iran’s constitutional tradition; the Majles he sought to empower was Iran’s best hope for the institutional continuity, independence, and participation that democracy requires. His own principles—chiefly his belief in the law and in independence from foreign powers—made him a check against the political culture of expediency in which arbitrary power thrives. He was also honest, refusing many of the luxuries and indulgences that accompanied political office—and expecting the same probity from those who drew from the public purse. Constitutional, non-extortionate politics requires armies of men like this, but Mossadegh often found himself alone in the corridors of power. Combine that with his strong personality and his significant popular support, and it is not hard to see how the flaws in Mossadegh’s politics—the demagoguery, the threats of resignation, the obsession with principles, and his final struggles with the Shah and rivals in the Majles—would result. It would be naive to say that Mossadegh would have brought Iran to functioning democracy had he not been overthrown. But the notion that he was taking Iran in a direction that was ultimately positive is not incredible.

Gelernter also goes too easy on the Shah. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi may not have been as brutal as Khomeini’s men, he may have declined to take vengeance on Mossadegh, and he may have presided over years of growth and reform. Had he kept his throne for another dozen years, Iran may have benefited from the great wave of peaceful democratization that swept over the world as Communism faded. But his loss of power was not “because the United States refused to defend progress from Islamism,” as Gelernter charges, but because of his own misrule. He’d blown the nation’s oil windfall on weapons systems that his military could not use and did not need—for example, what good would the advanced blue-water navy he was building in Iran’s south have done against a Soviet ground attack into Iran’s north? He also presided over the transformation of Iran into a one-party state. (That broke promises of political pluralism he’d made in a book written a decade earlier; his agents duly removed the book from libraries and stores.) He left Iran’s constitutional tradition in shambles, turning many relative liberals against him. And those grand reforms he presided over? They helped accelerate the social dislocation and religious dissent that ultimately led to the revolution. Ruhollah Khomeini himself rose to fame as an opponent of the reforms. (It’s disappointing that a writer for a conservative publication like National Review wouldn’t be attuned to the possibility that grand reforms backed by arbitrary power in the service of a progressive vision might produce some unintended consequences. It’s safe to say that had Vox been around in the early Sixties, they’d have been big fans of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.)

Yet the Shah’s greatest flaw was simple: he was willing to exercise power like a dictator, yet unwilling to defend his power like one. He provoked a revolution he lacked the guts to crush.

The Shah’s many errors bring us to the root problem in the American discussion of Mossadegh, whether myth or countermyth: there is no straight line from Mossadegh’s fall to the rise of the Islamic Republic. A quarter of a century stands between those two events, and that period saw earth-shaking changes in Iran’s economy and society that had no connection to Mossadegh’s rule. At the political level, the Shah changed tack many times, too. The current regime does not trace its roots to Mossadegh and downplays his legacy. His tomb remains where it was under the Shah, tucked behind the doors of his home outside Tehran. The coup of August 1953 tells us very little about Iran today or about how America should approach it.

When we talk about Mossadegh, we’re usually talking about ourselves. Mossadegh and the coup become a kind of parable. In the leftist telling, it’s a parable of American guilt and selfishness. In the noninterventionist telling, it’s about the unintended consequences of intervention. And in rightist tellings like Gelernter’s, it’s about American innocence, and about defending America’s legacy from leftist calumnies. Understanding Mossadegh is not the point for any of the mythmakers. Iran’s story becomes an American story.

There’s a deep irony here. Citizens of great powers may see the world through their own navels and seek to govern it through their own interests. Yet the rest of the world sees history from its own perspective, from its own interests. They do not write their own story in the third person. But that is precisely what empire asks them to do. And so there will always be people who want to write the story their own way, to make it something more than a parable for audiences in an alien land. One of those people was Mohammad Mossadegh.

John Allen Gay, an associate managing editor at The National Interest, is coauthor of War with Iran: Political, Military, and Economic Consequences (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013). He tweets at @JohnAllenGay.

TopicsHistory RegionsIran

Barack Obama's Big South China Sea Mistake

The Buzz

The fifth annual Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conference on the South China Sea, held in Washington DC last Wednesday, was a quality event, where knowledgeable experts rubbed shoulders with senior politicians and officials. Regrettably, there was not a glimmer of hope pointing to a breakthrough in the competing sovereignty claims marking the region, or the deeper strategic forces driving China and other parties.

Of particular note at the conference was the speech from Daniel Russel, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and one of the Obama Administration’s most senior Asia hands. The speech is notable for what it doesn’t say and striking in casting U.S. policy in terms of what a Chinese analyst might call the “five nots.” To quote Mr. Russel:

“Now, the US is not a claimant…these maritime and territorial disputes are not intrinsically a US–China issue. The issue is between China and its neighbors…”

On the current Philippines-initiated case at the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague:

“The United States, of course, is not a party to this arbitration and does not take a position on the merits of the case.”

And finally on the Law of the Sea Convention:

“This is as good a time as any to acknowledge (as China has often pointed out) that the United States has not acceded to the Law of the Sea Convention…”

Mr. Russel did say that “problematic behavior in the South China Sea has emerged as a serious area of friction in the U.S.–China relationship.” He also stressed that:

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry have shown that they are not afraid to tackle the biggest challenges facing U.S. foreign policy and the world. And we’re energized, here in the fourth quarter of this administration to do much more…”

So, how will American high energy promote a solution in the South China Sea?

“So we are pushing the parties to revive the spirit of cooperation embodied in the 2002 Declaration of Conduct. … In the famous words of Rich Armitage’s Dictum Number 1, ‘when you find yourself in a hole – stop digging.’ That is the advice we are giving to all the claimants: lower the temperature and create breathing room by: stopping land reclamation on South China Sea features; stopping construction of new facilities; and stopping militarization of existing facilities.”

Russel also said that Secretary Kerry would be making this point to “Chinese leaders and to the other claimants” at forthcoming ASEAN meetings.

That was the limit of the Obama Administration’s leadership on display at the CSIS conference. Frankly, it fails to meet regional expectations of what needs to be done to respond to China’s increasingly assertive behavior. Mr. Russel’s comments come after China’s incredibly hasty reclamation of some 2,000 acres of land on disputed features in the area. That contrasts with a total of five acres of land reclaimed over the last few decades by all other claimants. China has also engaged in high-risk challenging of the ships and aircraft of other countries in the area, and hasn’t ruled out declaring an Air Defense Investigation Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, as it did over the East China Sea in November 2013.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that U.S. policy is lagging behind the reality of Chinese behavior and growing regional worries. Speakers at the conference struggled with the thought that China would prioritize control of rocks and shoals ahead of good relations with ASEAN and others. But, follow China’s actions rather than its laughable claims that the island construction is for counter-piracy efforts, HADR and environmental management. Beijing calculates that it can get away with its land grab because of ASEAN incapacity, allied timidity and U.S. inaction. Nothing in Mr. Russel’s speech suggests otherwise.

How will the situation play out over coming months? I suggest four phases. First we may see a lull in reclamation activities and a curbing of some of the more egregious Chinese on-water brinksmanship until after President Xi’s visit to Washington in September. That will buy a happy visit. After that, China will calculate the time it has until the U.S. Presidential election in November 2016 to go all out in strengthening its presence in the South China Sea. That might include a declaration of an ADIZ at a time when Obama will be fading from the stage and presidential candidates will be focused on engaging with middle America. A third phase will be in early 2017 when a new U.S. administration wakes to find multiple foreign and security policy headaches covered in the White House briefing book. Then, finally, China may be amenable to freezing activity, but only with all its gains intact.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are U.S. leaders like Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, and PACOM Commander, Admiral Harry B. Harris, who would prefer to take a more concerted approach to pushing back against Beijing’s maritime adventurism. But U.S. responses are likely to remain muted. Obama has bigger fish to fry and the South China Sea is firmly in Washington’s category of things not to do, as Mr. Russel’s speech makes so dismally clear.

This piece first appeared in ASPI's The Strategist here

TopicsSecurity RegionsAsia

The Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon in America's Arsenal

The Buzz

The United States maintains an extensive nuclear arsenal. According to the Federation of Atomic Scientists, in April of this year the United States maintained an arsenal of over 7,200 nuclear bombs. Of those, more than 2,000 were deployed (1,900 strategic nuclear weapons and 180 non-strategic weapons).

America also maintains a plethora of delivery options for its nuclear bombs. As part of its nuclear triad, it maintains some 94 nuclear-capable bombers (B-2s and B-52s), over 400 Minuteman III ICBMs and 12 Ohio-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines. The latter are equipped with modern Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which are drastic improvements over their land-based competitors.

Indeed, as Keir Lieber and Daryl Press have noted, “In 1985, a single U.S. ICBM warhead had less than a 60 percent chance of destroying a typical silo… Today, a multiple-warhead attack on a single silo using a Trident II missile would have a roughly 99 percent chance of destroying it.”

Yet the most dangerous nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal may be the new B61-12.

Much has been written about the B61-12, most of which has focused on its enormous cost. And for good reason—it is the most expensive nuclear bomb project ever.

In terms of sheer destructive capability, the B61-12 is nowhere near America’s most dangerous nuclear weapon. Indeed, the bomb has a maximum yield of just 50-kilotons, the equivalent of 50,000 tons of TNT. By contrast, the B83 nuclear bomb has a maximum yield of 1.2 megatons (1,200 kilotons).

What makes the B61-12 bomb the most dangerous nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal is its usability. This usability derives from a combination of its accuracy and low-yield.

In terms of the former, the B61-12 is America’s first nuclear-guided bomb, As Hans Kristensen of FAS notes, “We do not have a nuclear-guided bomb in our arsenal today…. It [the B61-12] is a new weapon.”

Indeed, according to Kristensen, existing U.S. nuclear bombs have circular error probabilities (CEP) of between 110-170 meters. The B61-12’s CEP is just 30 meters.

The B61-12 also has a low-yield. As noted above, the bomb has a maximum yield of 50 kilotons. However, this yield can be lowered as needed for any particular mission. In fact, the bomb’s explosive force can be reduced electronically through a dial-a-yield system.

This combination of accuracy and low-yield make the B61-12 the most usable nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal. That’s because accuracy is the most important determinate of a nuclear weapon’s lethality (Yield of warhead^2/3/ CEP^2).

As one scholar explains: “Making a weapon twice as accurate has the same effect on lethality as making the warhead eight times as powerful. Phrased another way, making the missile twice as precise would only require one-eighth the explosive power to maintain the same lethality.” Furthermore, radiological fallout operates according to Newton’s inverse square law.

In practical terms, all this means that the more accurate the bomb, the lower the yield that is needed to destroy any specific target. A lower-yield and more accurate bomb can therefore be used without having to fear the mass, indiscriminate killing of civilians through explosive force or radioactive fallout.

Lieber and Press have documented this nicely. Indeed, using a Pentagon computer model, they estimated that a U.S. counterforce strike against China’s ICBM silos using high-yield weapons detonated at ground blast would still kill anywhere between 3-4 million people. Using low-yield weapons and airbursts, this figure drops to as little as 700 fatalities!

This makes using nuclear weapons thinkable for the first time since the 1940s. The B61-12 only encourages this trend further.

Zachary Keck is managing editor of The National Interest. You can find him on Twitter: @ZacharyKeck.      

Image: Wikimedia/MSgt John Nimmo Sr.

TopicsSecurity RegionsAmericas

A Trillion-Dollar Question: What if the F-35 Fighter Never Existed?

The Buzz

This month, the U.S. Marine Corps declared that its first squadron of F-35Bs had reached “initial operating capability”. That’s 21 years after the program first began as the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program, 18 years after the first Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) design contracts were awarded, and yet 13 years after Lockheed Martin won the development contract for the F-35 Lightning II, way back in October 2001. It’s notable that a war started the month prior to that award. Perhaps it’s intriguing to ask what might have happened if that contract had never been signed—if, perhaps, the Pentagon had gone all-in supporting the fighting in Afghanistan (and later Iraq), and found some other solution for backfilling its aging fighter fleets.

Other defense ministries have pursued other ideas, but with comparable programmatics. The Typhoon was similarly in development for 20 years before its entry into service in 2003. Recently, the Business Standard of India reported that Eurofighter GmbH has managed to reduce the unit production cost of its jets by 20 percent over the past five years, even while reducing the production rate (HT: DID). That would constitute a considerable discount on the £87 million ($135 million) that the British National Audit Office recently estimated that the average aircraft has cost throughout the program.

Extrapolating a little from the Selected Acquisition Report of December 2014, the U.S. Defense Department alone has so far spent or appropriated just under $100 billion on its F-35s. Over half of that has been for development and construction; only about $45 billion has gone into low-rate initial production of the first 300 or so aircraft. The production cost of a Lightning is thus not wickedly worse than that of a Typhoon, though Dassault’s Rafale is probably a bit less. Boeing’s Super Hornets and Saab’s Gripens cost much less—perhaps only half as much, depending on the basis of the estimate.

What else might the Pentagon done with that $100 billion? (Apart, of course, from the Treasury not borrowing it in the first place!) Forgoing new development, the whole sum would have bought about 740 Typhoons, or 1300 Super Hornets—and those aircraft would be in service already. As the F-35 is only now just available, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would have gone no worse. The Navy would have no carrier deck shortfall. No one would be anguishing over the decaying state of the fighter force. Chinese Intelligence would have had no new stealth fighter plans to steal. So the dreaded Chengdu J-20, like the much-ballyhooed Sukhoi PAK-FA, would still be just a prototype. And this would all be well-and-good, for now.

For by the threat estimates on their briefing slides, a grim mood would have already set in amongst the air admirals and generals. Enemy aircraft aren’t the stressing threat yet; it’s enemy missiles. Those “fourth-generation” fighters (as Lockheed’s marketing literature calls them) are expected to suffer high loss rates against Almaz-Antei’s S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft batteries, now in service from Russia to China to Syria, and maybe soon in Iran. Squadrons of Super Hornets could attempt to fly through them, much like B-17s weathering flak over Schweinfurt. The other frightening missiles are China's legions of the anti-ship variety, on aircraft, ships, and trucks. China’s latest aircraft, too, aren’t to be trifled with. As I heard a retired air admiral put it recently, "with squadrons of J-20s coming eastbound, a supercarrier in the China Seas might need all 44 of those F-18s just to defend itself.” Either way, such a “grinding strategy of attrition,” as Max Boot pointed out back in 2003, no longer fits in what Russell Weigley once termed “the American War of War”.

Against this threat, but without the F-35C, the U.S. Navy might have gone long. (I’ll cover other buyers next week.) Speaking at the Citadel in 1999, Texas governor George Bush argued that “our relative peace”—seemingly now lost—was going to allow a fundamental restructuring of the U.S. armed forces, in which Pentagon buyers could “skip a generation of technology”. Just which generation remains a fair question. Citing that speech in 2001, Ivan Eland of the Cato Institute argued for skipping the F-18 and the presumably “fifth-generation” F-22 in favor of the newer F-35. In Naval Institute Proceedings that year, I argued for skipping the F-22 for the F-18 and the F-35. Without an F-35, the airplane Secretary Mabus calls “almost certainly… the last manned strike fighter,” the Navy might have gone straight for that “sixth-generation” of the unmanned. The Navy might have put mad money on really long-range drones, to restore the striking range that the fleet lost with the retirement of the A-6 Intruder in 1997.

There’s reason to think that this would have produced some impressive robotic aircraft. In 1994, when the JSF was getting underway as the JAST, General Atomics was under contract with DARPA to demonstrate the MQ-1 Predator. The next year, it was flying reconnaissance over Bosnia. In 1999, NATO lost thirty drones over Yugoslavia—a loss that would have been alarming had the aircraft been manned. In 2001, the Predators were firing missiles over Afghanistan. By 2007, turboprop MQ-9 Reapers were taking their place. The next year, the 138th Attack Squadron of the New York Air Guard became the first unit to trade in its fighters for drones. Sometime around then, Lockheed Martin brought out its RQ-170 Sentinel, the ‘Beast of Kandahar’, to scout over Pakistan for ObL. Sometime around then, Northrop Grumman worked up its presumably larger and longer-range RQ-180. In 2014, that company showed that its X-47Bs could take off from carriers, refuel in the air, and then land on those carriers.

Think about how much more could have been accomplished with just a part of that hundred billion dollars. In the meantime, the Marines have declared IOC with that JSF.

James Hasík is a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council where this piece first appeared