Can this virus be used as plausible deniability in case the government get into hot water after it decides to bump off some more US citizens without benefit of trial?"
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Indeed, the perfect demographic for marketers - Have lots of money, not as much taste and will willingly accept whatever is shoveled to them. Whats not to like about that demographic?
I agree with what you said above, but would like to add an caveat. Taking an economic hit for fucking with the US would not necessarily be a deterrent for China. If dumping US securities causes them a trillion dollar worth of loss, China might consider it preferable and cheaper than an actual shooting war. Specially so as it might result in a chastised US and not an gutted one, which really is in Chinese interest.
And China can as well squeeze the US by refusing to buy any more of their securities - hard for the US to go to war or default for that one.
The ideal outcome from a Chinese perspective is a "managed decline" of the US, one that quietly fizzles out like the British Empire than pops like the FSU. Less economic impact and hardship all around, while China smoothly moves into the drivers seat.
The real danger in this situation is of US lashing out in a bid to retain its waning power. US might well get into the situation that Imperial Japan found itself in 1941, with a narrow window of opportunity for military action as a hail-Mary pass at retain global dominance. If they don't act before China gets too far ahead then they might just have to sit and take it.
PLA Song: We Can Rule You Wholesale
Let others boast of martial dash
For we have boldly fought with cash
We own all your helmets, we own all your shoes
We own all your generals - touch us and you'll lose.
We can rule you wholesale
Touch us and you'll pay.
Lyrics by the vampire Count Henrik Shline von Ãoeberwald (born 1703, died 1782, also died 1784, 1788, 1791, 1802, 1804, 1807, 1808, 1821, 1830, 1861, finally staked 1872)
In general one would expect the utility to be more efficient, yes. But it is not obvious that a captive power plant with *free* fuel (methane) would not be cheaper than the local utility. They probably had to run the numbers to confirm that it was so.
I am unsure how increased registration scrutiny will help anything.
Liberia (or any other registrar) is not really in any position to check what the ships are doing at any given voyage. All they can do is periodically check that the ship is seaworthy and give it a certificate to that effect. What can Liberia do about a ship registered in Liberia, owned by British company that has leased it to a Japanese firm for carrying raw material from India to its factory in China. Plus add in shell companies, intermediatories etc the picture gets quite complicated. At how many points are you going to check?
Hitting out at the registrar country nets you nothing. Its like arguing that since a california plate car ran you over, you gotta sue the Californian DMV.
Increasing the scrutiny of Liberian flagged vessels does nothing but hassel the Liberians and their, but there is nothing to deter the actual perpetrator.
Naah, they were just doing a through flight safety inspection - down to the last screw and bolt.
And who is to say Belenko didn't smuggle in prohibited agricultural produce in this aircarft? He didn't - and we know it for sure cause the customs people went over every inch of that aircraft. With a microscope.
Why isn't a simple radar return good enough? Time of flight of the Klub at extreme range is less than 14 minutes, the carrier can move at best about 10 km in that period. That area can easily be searched by the missiles own radar.
The mine that hit the Samuel Roberts wasn't designed to sink 400,000 ton super tankers, for the simple reason that when it was designed (in 1908) no such ships existed.
The US carriers are extremely well protected - but no one really knows how they would fair against modern antiship missiles. While the carrier may be able to shrug off a piddling little klub or two without significantly impacting flight operations it is unlikely that it can survive a hit by a shipwreak or a 650mm torpedo and live to tell the tale.
I suspect the lay public has a someone inflated opinion of the US military because it has not had to face a halfway decent opponent in a very long time.
I wish you humans would leave me alone.