By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
The questions have flown across the Pacific for years: Was China working on its first aircraft carrier or weren't they? Was it a direct challenge to American naval superiority or wasn't it? Had it been launched or hadn't it?
Well, it turns out China bought three carriers from Russia a decade and a half ago with plans to retrofit them. There's the one that's being militarized, but what about the others?
Well, we don't have to worry about them so much. Take the former Russian carrier Kiev now parked outside Tianjin. Instead of being jam-packed with military hardware, the Kiev is now filled with soft ware. Very soft ware: Beds, pillows, comfy chair lounges and sofas. You see, it is now a hotel and it looks like the kind of place Elvis Presley might have called home, complete with round beds and mirrored ceilings.
There are five suites in all - all of them presidential suites according to the management. For entertainment, a restaurant serving mostly Russian dishes, naturally. And if you peek outside your window, you might see the reenactment of a naval battle. After all, the carrier is now the centerpiece of a military theme park extolling the powers of China's navy.
This is either decadent or just odd. Do cell phones actually work from below deck ? Or must one perhaps be forced to use prewired and retrofitted Sino-Russian monitored communication channels? Last time I was on the Big E cell phones weren't around (and even then, cameras were prohibited).
There is a tube that you can shout down. The person listens at the other end of the tube on the deck below. You can even drop candy down to give your friend a nice surprise.
Ok. I will say it...There is no way to have vacation-fun on a military ship like this.
The suite smells decadence! I would have nightmare spending a night inside.
Unfortunately, China is rapidly becoming the planet's worst nightmare...
《開羅宣言》等一系列宣言 文件明確規定 釣魚島 屬於中國
My theory is: Perhaps they just wanted to reverse engineer the boat, then sell it for very cheap to a known buyer.
There is a plan to tow the retrofitted aircraft carrier to Tibet as China’s “Noah Ark" as a tourist attraction.
anectodally, we can retrofit all machines of destruction like that and stop killing poeple all over the world. can US take the lead?
Oh look, something about China we don't have to cower in fear about.
Good thing your not living in the Philippines Zakaria, wait till that one working carrier starts sitting 200 miles of the shores of Mindanao and the planes start buzzing about. Id like to see you try and downplay that one and still have what little credibility outside of your own personal circles left. Or is your idea of a humorous tweet?
Wow! The Chinese government manages to spend money even more stupidly than the U.S. government. Now that is news.
Thet're making money off cheaply bought carriers! How is that stupid?
tthe Kiev was a mgood soviet ship, but the russians sold it off cause they were broke in the 90s. THe new chinese carrier really does suck , it carries few aircraft and it lost the weapons it had when it was in soviet service. THe chinese navy is still far behind the Russian navy and they have very poor power projection
That put a smile on my face. We don't need anymore weapons in the world.
The Americans have nothing to worry about re: Chinese carrier. Currently the US has one of the strongest navys.
But we should worry about those smaller coastal nations who have beef with China over their territorial waters in the South China Sea. These countries will feel the eye of big brother along their beachfronts. The new carrier will be a "scientific, research, training" platform parked in the South China Sea.
I imagine they will bye Experimenting on how to exert the most force on Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan etc.; Researching and plotting the sea under dispute; and Training for military exercises to "free" the inhabitants from overzealous neighbours when the time is right.
No one wants Iran to acquire nuclear weapons but the hypocrisy of Israel and the US is staggering-we have them but you cannot. A lot of Iranians no doubt see israel and the US as often out of control aggressors
The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
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Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
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