The Chinese antiship ballistic-missile (ASBM) has garnered immense attention from the media and military thinkers in recent months. Most of this punditry has varied only in the level of sheer terror at the thought of these “carrier killers”. In this month’s Proceedings, fellow USNI contributor Craig Hooper and myself argue for a different perspective:
By focusing on the distant question of supercarrier vulnerability, naval analysts forfeited an ideal opportunity to frame the ASBM threat as a shared regional hazard. In Cold War Europe, farsighted strategists wasted no time in portraying Russia’s medium-range RT-21M Pioneer/SS-20 Saber missile as a European-wide threat. But today, despite the domestic uproar over this Asian “game changer,” the U.S. Navy and State Department might do well to exploit the ASBM threat in a similar fashion.
The best counter to China’s ASBM is diplomacy, not fear mongering.