A MACE is a blunt weapon of medieval times that was used to strike down a more powerful enemy with a single blow. “Assassin’s mace,” or shashoujian, is the term used in China to describe a weapon that they have developed and designed to strike at United States aircraft carrier battle groups.
China started thinking of developing this special weapon way back in 1996. This was the time when the issue of independence was gaining ground among Taiwan’s electorate during the local elections of that year. China tried to send a warning to Taiwan by firing missile tests near one of Taiwan’s islands. The US responded by sending two of its aircraft carrier battle groups (one of which ironically is named USS Independence). This forced China to back off. This incident was followed years later (2004) with a US naval exercise code-named Operation Summer Pulse where the US massed a total of seven aircraft carrier battle groups in the vicinity of Taiwan, sending a very clear message to China that if it ever attempts to invade Taiwan, it will have to deal with this kind of force–-the biggest naval armada the world had ever seen!
This wanton show of force intended to intimidate China could have prompted the latter to hasten the development of a ballistic missile that could hit a moving target at sea, such as an aircraft carrier. Initial reports of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) started appearing in 2010, in the form of DF21C. The DF21Cs gradually evolved into the more advanced DF21D medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a range of 1,500 kilometers, and the DF26C intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a range of 4,000 kilometers.
Variants of the missiles were also tested successfully as direct-ascent anti-satellite missile. And since such missiles were designed to hit moving targets, they can surely hit stationary targets as well, like air and naval bases, logistics hubs, communication nodes, command and control, and forces in being of the US and its allies from Korea all the way to Guam. This means that the US’s vaunted air superiority in this part of the world will be at risk to these missiles, as those air bases are out in the open; except one underground hangar in Taiwan and another in South Korea. Within 15 minutes of a major conflict with China, these targets may all be gone. What good are advanced stealth bombers and fighter aircraft if they no longer have functioning air bases? Loss of air superiority can mean loss of air cover and air support; loss of air cover can mean loss of the war itself.
China’s Assassin’s Mace is designed to be launched in barrages or volleys so that aircraft carrier battle groups and air bases targeted for attacks will have no chance for defense. This will ensure that “one blow” can knock down the superior foe, whether the US uses seven or even all of its existing aircraft carrier battle group in the South China Sea.
This development by China of the so-called “Assassin’s Mace” is a virtual Great Wall of China for the modern era. It is coupled by an equally modern air defense system (HQ-9, HQ-19, S-300, S-400); underwater submarine monitors and UUV robots; and some 5,000 kilometers of underground tunnels and 41 underground air bases; plus extensive subway systems in every major Chinese city that serves or doubles as civil defense in times of emergency.
This is China’s modern great wall that is not known to the general public. The Chinese nation really implemented Mao’s call: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony.” And Deng’s exhortations as well: “… secure our position … hide our capacities and bide our time …”
The “Assassin’s Mace” is a real game changer in the balance of forces between China and the US and its allies. Coupled with China’s geographic proximity making the “Assassin’s Mace” effective in the entire region, there is no way the US can hope to win a conventional war with China. The US advantages of stealth aircraft, aircraft carrier battle groups, satellites, military bases encircling China, and bigger military budgets are all negated by asymmetry: the “Assassin’s Mace” which trumps them all.
Herein lies the danger of a nuclear war. There is a good chance that neocon strategic planners in Washington realize by now that there is no way they can win a conventional war with China, or even Russia and Iran; and the only way for the US to win is a nuclear first strike against this triumvirate.
This is what the citizens of this world should prevent at all costs. The people of the United States, in particular, should wake up now and prevent the handful of neocons and the banking cabal behind them that are bringing the world to the brink of extinction.
A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1967 and an MPA 1990 from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Brig. Gen. Victor N. Corpus, (AFP, retired) spent five years with the New People’s Army (1971-1976); was detained for 10 years under martial law, and sentenced to death by musketry; but later became Chief, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.