The Texas Imperialist
Friday, April 29, 2005
  I agree that Hero was ChiCom propaganda- and with the rest of this article. War with China in 20 years or less- that's my prediction. Sleep well. 
  Yet another interesting article in TCS, this time about video games. My friends know that I am quite the connoisseur of video games, and, given half a chance, will launch into a detailed exposition of their value as compared to, say, movies. That's not to say I don't like movies; just that video games, as active entertainment, are far, far better.

Really, they have a much greater potential for cultural influence, as well. Consider: if movies can cause cultural change by sending "messages", how much more so in an entertainment genre that the user is directly participating in? It's one thing to see, for example, Tom Cruise in a movie and feel the subtle pressure to conform to his behavior; it's quite another when, in a game, you actually initiate the behavior.

That's one reason I didn't really like the GTA series (don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing censorship or anything; I just didn't like it). When I play a video game, I like to be the good guy. GTA makes you the bad guy. Now, I kinda doubt it will have broad-ranging effects and so on, but it certainly is one more factor pushing for, shall we say, improper behavior. 
Thursday, April 28, 2005
  Excellent Article...

...From TechCentralStation. Here ya go. It's about nuclear power- which is STILL the wave of the future. The environmentalists scotched it a few years ago, but the fact of the matter is that we'll almost certainly need to use it for awhile before alternative resources can be found. Nuclear energy is cheap, efficient, environmentally friendly- note in the article the quote about how, if the US had now the nuclear plants that we going to be built before Three-Mile Island, we would be within the Kyoto Protocol's limits.

Environmentalists missed a trick with their opposition to nuclear power; especially now, with pebble bed reactors that theoretically can't meltdown, this is the technology that could be most effective at reducing CO2 emissions. And yet WE'RE NOT DOING IT!

I'm convinced, however, that this situation won't last forever. Remember, you heard it here first...er, after TCS. And a lot of other people. But after them, you heard it first here. 
Thursday, April 21, 2005
  Ah, France
From Instapundit:

"Meanwhile, France is supporting preemptive war -- so long as it's by a major customer!

During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.

At the outset of a three-day visit to China, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he supported Beijing's "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, and vowed to keep pushing for an end to an EU arms embargo that could open the door for Paris to sell weapons to the Asian giant.

Raffarin also signed or finalized major business deals with Beijing valued at around $3.2 billion (2.4 billion euros).

You know, we should have just bribed Chirac et al. It's clearly the way these things are done. Bloggledygook has more on the big picture."

 
  Intelligence and China

If what Tom Clancy says is true (and it always is, right? I'm kidding, of course) then our Human Intelligence resources (i.e. spies) in China are limited. It seems to stand to reason- can't be too easy to infiltrate such a country...although perhaps there are some high-ranking Chinese passing information. I don't know, but the recent performance of the CIA doesn't inspire me.

So, could our intelligence gathering detect an imminent attack against Taiwan? There are a few factors we need to consider.

First, most of our intel likely comes from SigInt- Signals Intelligence; that just means eavesdropping on the bad guys in various ways. It can mean wire-tapping, picking up radio waves, even detecting radar and mapping anti-air positions. The plane that was the center of the big imbroglio a few years ago was a SigInt aircraft.

Now the basic limitations of SigInt are twofold: first, most of the traffic is encoded. That means that we might be able to read it, we might not. Second, not all communications must travel over non-secure means. For example, a cable must actually physically be tapped into, which generally requires human intelligence resources, who also have access and the capability, and we're willing to risk. In practice, it isn't feasible for ALL communication to go over "completely" secure channels, such as couriers or land-lines; however, a critical order such as "Invade Taiwan" could.

But what about the build-up? Our satellites could rather quickly spot a Chinese build-up of ships and troops that intend to invade Taiwan; however, there are ways to hide this. One is to camouflage the build-up; gradually move troops into big cities (Shanghai, for example) and spread them apart so they aren't detected. Move ships at night or under cloud cover, one by one, and hide them when in port. Cities are big, and a sizable group of transports and troops could be hidden in them.

That's one way. Another is the classic "military exercise". Have your troops practice landings and such near Taiwan- and then have them suddenly attack. However, this suffers from the fact that the United States isn't particularly stupid, and keeps a close eye on all such activity.

Finally, there's something most people don't consider, I think. China could go for broke; instead of attacking Taiwan and acting reactively if the US decides to intervene, they could simply start by attacking the US carrier group in the area (don't ask me which one it is, but I for damn sure know there is one). The Chinese have what is in effect an enormous, unsinkable aircraft carrier- they call it the mainland. From it, they could launch waves of fighters, bombers, and, most deadly, missiles (mostly French missiles, damn the frogs anyway). If the carrier group is close enough, and not incredibly lucky, the majority of it could be sunk in a few hours. Well before America could get another carrier group in position to assist, Taiwan could be invaded. However, this would pre-suppose that China is willing to pull a Pearl Harbor, which would undoubtedly make the Americans very, very mad. That's generally not a good idea.

However, there is a certain fact that Americans may not realize; we can't defend Taiwan. Oh, sure, we could sink a few transports, and so on, but the fact that we need a really expensive carrier to project power over there, and the Chinese just need to sit there, we have an incredible disadvantage. Our submarines would be virtually unstoppable, but what could they accomplish? Would they be able to sink all the invasion fleet, or even a significant amount? Of course not. Could we get a large enough force over there to help defend against landings? Almost certainly not. Would we be willing to take the casualties a fight against China would entail? I doubt it.

So the Taiwan invasion is basically a given. It's going to happen, and we're not going to be able to stop it. The only question is whether we'll fight after the Chinese capture the island. If that happens, the odds look a bit more even- though asymetrical; I'll discuss it later, but think Athens and Sparta in the Peloponnesian Wars. 
  So China signs a treaty with India, and I seem to remember a post a while ago on Instapundit speculating on an OOTB (Out Of The Blue) attack on Taiwan.

I'm not an expert on China, but from what I understand, they're pretty intent on taking Taiwan. After all, they've got Tibet, they just got Hong Kong...I'm just saying.

A lot of people don't realize that China is an expansionist empire, not a Big Happy Country With Very Peaceful People. They missed their chance to get on the world stage back when imperialism was "in" (having been carved up by the imperialists) and so want to get some of their own.

I have a hypothesis that, after a large, powerful country goes through an industrial revolution, they go into an expansionist, imperialist phase. Look at Germany, France, England and so on, which did it at about the same time; then Russia (the Soviet Union) when it took over Eastern Europe; Japan in WWII, and now China. I'm not sure it holds water- it's a bit speculative right now. Still, it's worth considering.

Especially as my guess is that we'll be at war with China in, say, fifteen years. Much less if we decide to fight over Taiwan- I suspect that attack will come either before or soon after the 2008 Olympics (I lean toward after).

The treaty with India? Think Soviet-German Nonagression Pact- one power covering her flank by signing with a formerly hostile other power. Historical parallelism is a tricky thing, and usually a bad idea, but might be applicable in this case. We'll see. 
  Hi, kids! Remember me? I'm the guy who used to blog here. While I switched for a while to livejournal, I realized that's only useful for friends and family, not really for me. So I'll continue to blog about personal stuff there, and talk about 'portant stuff here.

("Important" being relative; i.e. whatever I feel like talking about.)

If anyone is paying attention, I'll get started today with a few posts. But gotta go to class now. 
Philosophical, political, and random thoughts on issues and events

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