According to the news report, during the early morning of June 17, U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a container ship flagged in the Philippines inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, resulting in severe damage to the warship and the casualties of many officers. This information became the “appetizer” for the weekend’s news menu, with much discussion among regular Chinese internet users, where the majority viewed this excitedly and without fear. A “well-known military expert” even applauded the event and mentioned that he had said a decade or so ago that his ship would be forced to collide directly and forcefully head-on against a ship that was so well built, and the stronger of the two would win.
Time is needed for a detailed investigation into why the U.S. ship was hit. Even if there is an internal finding, the outside world might not necessarily learn the real answer. Regardless of why the incident occurred, the USS Fitzgerald was an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer belonging to the U.S. 7th Fleet known for its combat power and had shown off its immense capacity many times in China’s coastal waters. It is natural that this sort of behavior of ruling by force would cause resentment among the Chinese people. It is understandable that many people feel that such bad luck is “deserved” and is “karma.” However, if a somewhat influential military expert is only applauding and rejoicing over the collision, or even hoping for a copy-and-paste of this kind of encounter in the future, the professionalism of this “expert” is questionable.
First, although the root cause has not yet been disclosed, the incident was most likely an accident. After all, the countries are currently at peace rather than in a state of war, and the waters in which the incident took place were not disputed waters, while the “perpetrator” was an ally’s commercial ship and not an enemy warship. Even if you overlook the aforementioned facts, merely comparing the combat value of the destroyer and the commercial ship would simply be farfetched. One accident cannot alter the fact that the U.S. possesses the most powerful navy in the world.
Second, the root cause should be analyzed carefully, regardless of whether our opponents are the disputing parties or bystanders, in order to learn from them, so that the probability that such an event reoccurs will be lower rather than higher compared to the past. Using a commercial ship as a magic weapon to defend territorial waters and to safeguard maritime rights seems a bit preposterous.
Again, our military and navy need to tackle and study this case in order to prevent any reoccurrence involving U.S. warships. After all, our official boats have previously had accidents in our waters. In particular, however, although this event was a noncombat activity, it could have been an asymmetrical warfare tactic. It cannot be ruled out that, against a significantly stronger opponent, a hit-and-run strategy was used to pick a quarrel in this case. This is something we cannot ignore.
Lastly, a war is not only a competition of bravery and determination but also a contest involving the integrated use of hard power and soft power. It is soul-stirring, whether one experienced the pride of sinking Yoshino 100 years ago or the feat of the Hainan Island Incident more than 10 years ago. Heroes dedicating to protect their country against enemies is worthy of praise, while warriors sacrificing their lives makes us sigh with regret. We have never feared sacrifice, but more so we hope for the soldiers to return triumphant.
We completely believe that the individual experts’ wayward narrative will not fool the People’s Liberation Army, but we also hope that the experts will not deceive the rest of the nation, because by exhibiting a lack of professional scientific attitude, they will only end up fooling themselves. We especially hope that the experts will not fool the public. After all, a rational and objective voice should prevail in public opinion.
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