The Fujian Folly
June 4, 2012: China has built a new airbase on the coast of northeastern Fujian, which is opposite northern Taiwan. The new base was built on a long ridge and is guarded by S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. Su-30 and J-10 fighters have already been seen at the base. The new airbase is the closest one to the disputed (with Taiwan and Japan) Senkaku Islands near Okinawa. The new airbase enables Chinese fighters to be over those islands in less than 15 minutes.
These uninhabited islets are 167 kilometers northeast of Taiwan and 426 kilometers southeast of Japan's Okinawa and have a total area of 6.3 square kilometers. The Senkakus were discovered by Chinese fishermen in the 16th century and taken over by Japan in 1879. They are valuable now because of the 380 kilometer economic zone nations can claim in their coastal waters. This includes fishing and possible underwater oil and gas fields.
The new Fujian air base was apparently constructed, at considerable expense, in hilly terrain where you would not expect to see an airbase. Chinese engineers had to move a lot of earth around to flatten an area atop a ridge line. Unless the Senkakus turn out to be particularly valuable (due to as yet undiscovered oil or gas), the new Fujian airbase will become an expensive folly.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.