12 Nov, 2019
The National Interest magazine claimed that a potential sale of US nuclear subs to allies may become a “nightmare” for Russia and China. Military analysts told RT there could be a fallout but a grim prospect is an exaggeration.
The executive editor of the Washington-based outlet, Harry J. Kazianis, recently published an article revealing what would become “China and Russia’s worst nightmare.” In the piece, he floated the idea of selling or leasing 10 or 12 Virginia-Class attack subs to Australia and other allies into the minds of the decision makers in the Pentagon.
Kazianis wrote that such a move will allow Washington to reduce the impact of “China’s massive naval build-up,” while also rendering Beijing’s anti-access/area-denial networks in the Pacific obsolete.
Curiously enough, Russia only appeared in the headline as an attention grabber and was never mentioned in the article again. It’s also worth noting that none of the US military representatives have so far publicly mentioned selling the high-tech weapon to a foreign nation.
Russian military analysts had a bone to pick with such a possibility as well. If the scenario described in the National Interest is ever realized, it will, of course, significantly change the balance of power in favor of the West in the Asia-Pacific, “but to say that this would be some kind of disaster for China is a great exaggeration,” Mikhail Khodarenok, retired air defense forces colonel and RT’s military analyst, said.
The Chinese Navy is being built-up at such an impressive Bolshevik-style pace that it’ll become the strongest sea power not only in the Pacific, but in the whole world in the foreseeable future. You won’t scare the Chinese with 10 or 12 boats – it will only set them in a competitive mode.
Beijing would have to revise its shipbuilding programs and speed up the work at the shipyards to meet the new challenge, but the country has “everything to achieve this,” he assured.
The Americans parting with a whole dozen of its newest nuclear-powered subs is also questionable as “it’ll seriously weaken the US Navy. In fact, this means cutting their [Virginia-class fleet] by one-third,” Khodarenok pointed out.
If Australia somehow gets the subs it won’t be a big thing for Russia due to purely geographical reasons, Vladimir Batyuk, senior research fellow with the Institute of USA and Canada, said. The distance separating the two countries is 10,000km, after all.
“I haven’t heard about any of Australia’s plans to carry out naval operations near Russian waters. It could become a problem for China, but not Russia.”
Besides Australia, Batyuk said he couldn’t think of any other countries, located near Russian borders, that could purchase or even rent the American boats.
“Closest US allies from NATO don’t spend much on defense; and it had already sparked some discord within the block. Those meeting the 2-percent GDP target [set by Donald Trump] are Poland and Estonia. It is unlikely that they could find enough money to get a nuclear-powered submarine,” he argued.