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US laugh : See What Happens When China Strikes a Navy Aircraft Carrier

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Eagle Rising
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Published on 15 May 2019 / In Other

US laugh : See What Happens When China Strikes a Navy Aircraft Carrier

Damaging or sinking a carrier could result in a much stronger U.S. commitment to the conflict, as well as a U.S. decision to escalate either vertically (by using additional weapon systems) or horizontally (by widening the geographic scope of the fight). Sinking a carrier would be a great way to turn a limited war into a major war, and there are very few countries that would seriously contemplate major war against the United States.

Since the 1950s, the supercarrier has been the most visible representation of U.S. military power and maritime hegemony. Although supercarriers have participated in nearly every military conflict since the commissioning of USS Forrestal in 1955, no carrier has come under determined attack from a capable opponent. In part, this is because supercarriers are very difficult to attack, but the symbolic grandeur of the massive ships also plays a role; no one wants to know what the United States might do if one of its carriers came under attack.

What would happen if a foe attacked a United States Navy (USN) aircraft carrier during a conflict? How would the United States react, and how would it respond?

Circumstances obviously matter for an attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier. An out-of-the-blue attack from a conventionally armed state actor would enjoy the highest levels of success, but would also have an impact on elite and public opinion in the United States that might drive calls for dire retribution. An attack as part of a crisis would seem less extraordinarily hostile, but would nevertheless incur demands for a severe response.

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