The Secret Of Systems Part 7.
It is October of 2006, and the aircraft carrier USS Kittyhawk is doing its bit in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan, near where it is based. For the Americans and their navy, it is important that their strength should be known to the world, they are, after all, the world’s policeman.
Which means they need some strength so that they can tell people off. Like the headmaster keeping order by giving out six of the best to those who break the rules. Six of the best, by the way, is an English term for caning the bare bottom of a miscreant. The USS Kittyhawk and its entourage of cruisers and destroyers are doing their job in this corner of the world.
Well, that’s how to keep order in a hierarchical society. Not that this is democratic, democracy isn’t something that’s viewed as of much use in an organization – the US Navy – which demands its officers and its ratings do as they are told. And no, they do not hold up the Hague convention when they’re told to do something that’s not very nice. Because such atrocities have been reported, even in the US media.
When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed.
At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world’s only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.
Well, that’s why the Kittyhawk was bobbing about in the East China Sea. Whilst the aircraft carrier itself is an amazingly powerful tool, it is relatively weakly defended. Okay, so it isn’t when you’ve got a dozen destroyers and other assorted equipment like its own submarine in a twenty mile radius as your defence. Well, this is a carrier group.
Only on this day, a Chinese submarine surfaced – rather cheekily, in the circumstances, don’t you think? It was duly noticed on the radars of the patrolling aircraft that keep a keen watch over the Kittyhawk. Naturally, the Americans told it to go away. They couldn’t shoot at it because the US and China weren’t at war, so telling it off is about all the US can do as the world’s policeman when it comes to protecting its policemen. Oh, I will have to explain here that the submarine had surfaced inside the perimeter of the carrier group. That is to say, between the destroyers and the carrier – the USS Kittyhawk that they were there to defend.
The submarine was within five miles of the carrier, easily close enough for a modern torpedo – or one of the nastier Russian missiles that it carries – to make contact with all this implies for the safety of the carrier and its crew.
The officials said Chinese submarines rarely have operated in deep water far from Chinese shores or shadowed U.S. vessels.
A Pacific Command spokesman declined to comment on the incident, saying details were classified. Pentagon spokesmen also declined to comment.
Now it has to be said that the USS Kittyhawk is an old vessel, and was completed in the early sixties. But systems need to be continually improved, and the Kittyhawk is no exception to this, being armed with the best the Americans can arm her with. As you can understand, if you are going to parade around the world as its policeman, you do need to be the best. And the US has the best, and is therefore, the most powerful.
Only as with all nervous types, nothing is being said. They don’t really know what to say. One can imagine them being outraged, and the captain of the Kittyhawk being a little upset.
The problem for the Americans is that they are the best, and know this. It is important to note that any system has been designed and thought through by humans, and are thereby fallible. The above is a case in point.
The System And The Comfort Zone.
It is also an expression of their comfort zone, and in that a comfort zone is where one is comfortable, any intrusion is going to be uncomfortable. Which means the Americans are not going to be admitting that other people are right any time soon: the reality of that might be too uncomfortable for the high-ups. And the higher up a person is, the tighter their hold on their comfort zone. It’s how the comfort zone works.
Just watch, if you don’t believe me. You’ll soon see that those of you who have a strong comfort zone are those who cannot or will not listen to you. Try it. You’ll find the sharper end of their tongue, but whilst they learn nothing – after all, learning implies listening – you might just. But then, you’re reading this blog and they’re not.
A carefully designed submarine from a cheap Chinese navy has been built in such a way that it cannot be detected by the best navy in the world. Well, for all the Pentagon refuse to say, that is the implication of the submarine being spotted by a routine reconnaissance mission. The aircraft had not been scrambled as a result of the anti-submarine destroyers having detected the sub, is it?
My point is that if you have a system, you do need to keep it well maintained. That, and if you are using a system, you must be aware that your competition will have one too – and will be more than ready and willing to undermine yours. All of which makes owning a system more a battle of wits than of defence. What was it Napoleon said? “The best form of defence is attack.”
If only the Americans could. Because by the looks of it, it isn’t going to do them much good in a war if a few stray Russian made torpedoes happen to meet a few stray carriers and puts the American’s first line of attack out of operation… before the Americans have even started.
Which doesn’t answer the question as to whether the Americans had detected the submarine. After all, we cannot know this as it is classified information. But a look at the psychology of the issue would tell you that if the Americans had, they would be trumpeting this information. Defensive people only trumpet when they can achieve, when they can’t, they tend to be somewhat quieter. The Pentagon is made of people, and as such, is just another depiction of some very ordinary psychology.
They’ve been given fair warning.
The Secret Of Systems, Links To Other Parts In This Series:
Part 1: How Can Lidl Be So Cheap?
Part 3: A Different View Of Karma. (Published Privately).
Part 4: The Value Of Money.
Part 6: Thomas Hardy And Friedrich Nietzsche. (Published Privately).
Part 7: That’s Not Fair Play!
Part 9: When The System Bites Back.
Part 10: I Admit It: I Made A Mistake.
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Please note that privately published posts are available to trusted friends without cost. PDFs are available on request; just leave a comment and ask.