On the theme of ‘what was the Chinese leader really up to during his visit to Moscow?’… First up here is a visual taster from the latest Warships IFR – Odin’s suggestion that weapons technology (especially for submarines) lies at the root of what China (plus North Korea and Iran) want out of their supposed bromance with Russia.

The cutting-edge Russian Navy guided-missile submarine RFS Severodvinsk, which is almost on a par with the best NATO submarines. Photo: Michael Nitz/Naval Press Service.

Warships IFR April 2023 p5

Warships IFR April 2023 p16

If there is one thing the Russians can do well when it comes to killing machines, it’s submarines (and their associated tech) almost on a par with those of NATO/the West. They are affordable for totalitarian despots with plenty of money and more of a care for massive armed forces than, say, creating a fair and just society or providing generous social welfare.

You might ask isn’t that the same as those in the West?’ No, it isn’t. Our social and economic troubles may be enduring and formidable, but they are not comparable at all to life in a gangster state with nukes (Russia) or a brutal, control-freak dictatorship where everything of worth is owned and/or controlled by the Communist Party (China).

Seafarers UK

China has also built the world’s largest navy in a very short time. It has created new missiles to destroy America’s fleet (or anyone else’s) if it dares sail international waters close to Chinese shores (and Beijing illegally claims much of the South China Sea).

A major reason Beijing is so angry about the AUKUS defence pact providing Australia with nuclear-powered submarines is that it won’t be able to easily bully Australians into giving better terms for natural resources that China needs so badly for its industry.

One of its principal levers of global influence is its ability to provide cheap goods to the rest of the world (including weaponry). It cannot do that if place like Australia do not provide the raw materials it wants, when it needs them.

Meanwhile, Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatens its neighbours with nuclear attack using whatever pretext it fancies. There is no Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) like the one that prevented WW3 in the old Cold War, only Vlad the Invader’s terms, though that hasn’t worked as well as he hoped in Ukraine.

But, for all its losses on land Russia has more – and in some cases newer and better – submarines than European NATO put together, with the definite aim of inflicting massive economic harm (by cutting seabed internet cables and energy pipelines) if it so wishes.

It fields ever more capable nuclear and conventional weaponry aboard many of its submarines and surface warships. That gives it devastating deep strike capability against European ports and cities (although it remains afraid militarily of the USA). Those weapons can even be launched from within the bastion of home waters off Arctic Russia.

SeaSunday2023

Even if it loses in Ukraine, Russia can send out a submarine, like a latter-day demented Captain Nemo in his Nautilus, to threaten attack, with long-range deep strike weapons. It will try its best to coerce (and even strike) from the sea for years to come. And to illustrate that point here also is a visual taster of a commentary by James Bosbotinis also in the April edition Warships IFR.

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