Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brave new world, same as the meek old world

Two news stories posted without comment.

Amos Harel, "Most advanced, expensive fighter jet headed to Israel," Ha'aretz.

The largest defense deal in Israeli history, for the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft, is advancing, slowly but surely.

The rounds of talks among the defense establishment, the Pentagon and manufacturer Lockheed-Martin have significantly narrowed the gaps between the parties.

The United States is scheduled to respond next week to Israel's express request for 25 of the jets.

Jerusalem is to reach a final decision by early 2010, and there's a good chance a deal will be signed by the middle of the year.

Assuming Lockheed maintains its original production timetable the first fighters will be delivered in 2014.

Two years later, Israel will have its first operational squadron of F-35s, consisting of 25 fighter aircraft representing the cutting edge of U.S. technology (Israel's too, it is hoped), capable of any mission.

Farhan Bokhari, "Pakistan in Chinese fighter jet deal," Financial Times.

China has agreed to sell Pakistan at least 36 advanced fighter jets in a landmark deal worth as much as $1.4 billion, according to Pakistani and western officials.

Beijing will supply two squadrons of the J-10 fighter jet in a preliminary agreement that could lead to more sales to Pakistan in the future, said a Pakistani official.

The official said Pakistan might buy “larger numbers” of the multi-role aircraft in the future, but dismissed reports that Pakistan had inked a deal to buy as many as 150 of the fighter jets.

8 comments:

  1. Will these also be able to carry nuclear weapons?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Martin, the Chinese could modify them to carry nukes. I hope they don't, however.

    I could ask around about these J-10 fighters.

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/air-force-aviation/
    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/air-force-aviation/afghan-national-army-air-corps-8808-2/

    At $39 million a pop, why can't China give a squadron of these puppies to the ANAAC, and take a long term role in mentoring the ANAAC?

    Why is China getting away with doing jack for Afghanistan (except for some symbolic mine training for the ANSF, and some small road and development projects)? China is Afghanistan's largest trading and investment partner. The Taliban and AQ linked networks pose a great threat to China. An AQ video 3 months ago called for terrorism against China.

    China = free rider in chief.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anand -- I admire your persistence, but I've got to admit that I'm a bit bewildered by it. Of course it would be optimal if China (and many other states) would contribute in more substantial ways to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and if they would perceive it as serving their interests to do so. But they obviously do not! So what do you suggest the U.S. or NATO or the UN or the "Western world" or whoever else should do to compel Chinese participation?

    WHY in the world would the Chinese donate half a billion dollars worth of airplanes to a country that can't even fly them, just out of the goodness of their collective heart? Why would they mentor Afghan pilots? How can we say to them that it is in their interest to do so?

    "Why is China getting away with doing jack"?? What is anybody going to do about it?? Afghanistan is small potatoes when it comes to the U.S.-China relationship (or the U.S.-Russia relationship, for that matter).

    ReplyDelete
  4. I suggest that the international community, including Obama, publicly ask China to contribute. I suggest they travel around China and make the case directly to the Chinese public.

    Why should China do jack if they think others are willing to bleed and spend their treasure to advance Chinese interests?

    Part of what is going on might be that some old guards think that China should focus on cultivating its Pakistani ally, partly as a means to contain India and Russia.

    If this is the case, than China should substantially increase its support for Pakistan, conditioned on Pakistani reforms.

    For that matter, one reason India doesn't do more is because ISAF is willing to fight India's enemies for them. China is not alone in thinking this way.

    Gulliver, we Americans haven't asked China to step up. No one has. Why?

    Think about China's national interests. They are almost completely aligned with the interests of the US, with the exception of democracy.

    We also know that China responds to pressure. They changed their policy on Darfur and Sudan, despite the economic cost to China. China supported international pressure on Mugabe. A week ago, China gave Africa another $3 billion in low interest loans. They did this because of international pressure.

    If the Chinese are asked to contribute in Afghanistan, I think they will. Remember that China wants Afghanistan to develop their natural resources. China wants the Taliban defeated. China doesn't want Pakistan to implode from within. Loose Pakistani nukes are China's worst nightmare. In the 1990s, China complained to the US about Osama Bin Laden and America ignored him. China is very concerned about terrorism against China and the Uighar challenge they confront.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "WHY in the world would the Chinese donate half a billion dollars worth of airplanes to a country that can't even fly them, just out of the goodness of their collective heart?"

    Any aircraft donation would take many years to be realized. ANAAC pilots would be trained in the interim. Why do you think Afghan pilots can't fly them?

    China has mentored and trained the Pakistani Air Force and Pakistani Army on a massive scale for decades. China has quite a bit of expertise in this area.

    These two squadrons of J-10 fighter jets (36 in total) are de facto funded by Chinese foreign aid to Pakistan. China has given Pakistan over $10 billion in foreign aid.

    China should provide more support the the ANSF because the ANSF are fighting China's enemies, and because a plurality (maybe majority) of Afghanistan's natural resource exports are likely to be sold to China.

    China is desperate for copper and other natural resources that Afghanistan has an abundance of.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I suggest that the international community, including Obama, publicly ask China to contribute. I suggest they travel around China and make the case directly to the Chinese public.

    What capacity has the Chinese public demonstrated to impact the behavior of its government (even domestically, never mind abroad!)? And why would you imagine that the Chinese public would be amenable to such a suggestion?

    Why should China do jack if they think others are willing to bleed and spend their treasure to advance Chinese interests?

    The simple fact of the matter is that China did not see an intervention in Afghanistan as essential or even useful in the service of its national interests. It should be no surprise that they will now take advantage of the efforts of others to the extent possible. It should also be clear that the U.S./West has precisely zero leverage in this regard; what are we going to do, leave if the Chinese won't contribute? That doesn't jibe with all these suggestions that U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is vital to our security, etc etc.

    Gulliver, we Americans haven't asked China to step up. No one has. Why?

    A reasonable bet: because we know they'd say know, and we'd look stupid for asking.

    Think about China's national interests. They are almost completely aligned with the interests of the US, with the exception of democracy.

    I'm a total China dove, but this is a ludicrous assertion. The idea that a rising regional power and a global hegemon would have precisely the same interests just doesn't even meet the laugh test. There are a lot of areas where our interests align, and we should be doing what we can to expand those areas. But let's be serious here.

    If the Chinese are asked to contribute in Afghanistan, I think they will.

    Why? If this is the case, then why aren't they contributing without being asked?

    Any aircraft donation would take many years to be realized. ANAAC pilots would be trained in the interim. Why do you think Afghan pilots can't fly them?

    They cannot currently fly them because they are not trained. Training Afghan fighter pilots in the year 2009 is a waste of time and effort, if you ask me. Look at Iraq, a country with a history of defending its own airspace, and consider exactly how long it will be before the ANAAC is up to snuff. If the Chinese want to spend their time on that, then hey, great, but I think they'd be better off teaching them how to fly helicopters. Or collect taxes. Or, you know, something useful.

    China should provide more support the the ANSF because the ANSF are fighting China's enemies, and because a plurality (maybe majority) of Afghanistan's natural resource exports are likely to be sold to China.

    A) is hugely debatable (it's strange to suggest that they're China's enemies when they're not fighting China), and B) is sort of a non-sequitur. So what? China will buy resources from whoever gets them out; they don't give a damn if it's Karzai or Hekmatyar or Dostum or Omar, as far as I can tell.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A reasonable bet: because we know they'd say know, and we'd look stupid for asking.

    This, obviously, should read "because we know they'd say no."

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Afghans had a pretty good air force in the 1980s. A pretty good army too. The Soviets bothered to pay for and equip it; much the way the international community and ISAF have refused to do after 2001.

    Training ANAAC won't be hard. Afghanistan use to have about a thousand freshman in college in 2001, versus 45,000 freshman in college today. There are plenty of Afghan willing to serve in ANAAC and the ANA in return for an ROTC style 4 year scholarship.

    It would probably take 5 years to train ANAAC pilots and maintenance personnel. About how long it would take for Chinese to deliver fighter aircraft if they were ordered now.

    I would also emphasize that CSTC-A (including India) seemed to do a decent job rushing the training of ANAAC to fly the first 8 transportation fixed wing aircraft that India donated to it.

    A long term commitment to build the ANAAC would be seen as evidence that the international community doesn't intend to abandon the Afghans quickly, as many Afghans increasingly believe.

    China has given more money into Pakistan than any other country (except maybe North Vietnam many years ago.) Why? Because Afghanistan/Pakistan matter to China.

    China can't buy anything from Central Asia if it is all plunged into indefinite civil war . . . which would be a disaster for China. It would mean much higher prices for NG, oil, and other natural resources that China needs.

    Economically, in what way are Chinese interests different from America's? They are almost identical.

    ReplyDelete