By Tom Bannister
With news that a navy jet has just been landed successfully for the first time on China’s new aircraft carrier, China’s naval rise has once again been brought to the fore. What does a growing Chinese naval capacity mean for the future?
A strategic analysis group, Wikistrat, which describes itself as ‘the world’s first massively multiplayer online consultancy”, recently ran a crowd-sourced simulation called “When China’s Carrier Enters the Persian Gulf”. For the simulation four possible ‘pathways’ were mapped based on different projections of geopolitical developments. Some of the conclusions drawn include:
“It is quite possible that, when the day finally arrives and China’s carrier enters the Persian Gulf, it will matter far more to India than to America.
Plenty of experts within the U.S. national security community see good reason to encourage China and the PLAN toward blue-water capabilities, believing that path will exhaust Chinese military spending and push the Chinese people to question devoting so many resources to distant responsibilities. Imperial overstretch works the same everywhere.
The most clever Chinese policy option would be to multilateralize any naval extension it makes in the direction of the Persian Gulf. China’s growing dependence on the region is matched by that of East Asia as a whole.”
According to the consultancy group, this scenario could feasibly play out between 2025-2030. The full report is available here.