Book Launch: Crashback, The Power Clash Between the U.S. and China in the Pacific
An unflinching and timely account of the simmering “warm war” between the Chinese and U.S. navies in the South China Sea, Crashback offers a unique, from-the-high-seas perspective on the spectacular and dangerous confrontations occurring between the world’s most heavily armed naval forces as they’re caught in an escalating struggle for territory and influence. As an expansionist China literally builds new islands in contested waters—once tiny shoals like Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef that are now big enough to house airfields and rocket launchers—the United States looks to reassure its Asian allies by sending its own warships through the new Chinese “great wall of sand.” But is the U.S. Navy up to the task? Informed by Fabey’s unprecedented access to both American and Chinese naval ships and personnel, Crashback argues China’s remarkable naval growth over the last two decades—a doubling that has made the maritime force the planet’s largest—couldn’t have come at a worse time for the United States’ own diminished fleet. Caught in paralyzing debates over strategy, faced with multiplying commitments around the globe, and furnished with fewer ships than ever before, the American Navy has also seen its effectiveness reduced by disagreements between two Beltway factions: “Panda Huggers,” who take the Chinese at their word, and “Dragon Slayers,” who never back down from a fight.
In sobering detail, Crashback recounts the increasingly tense and sometimes fatal interactions between the superpowers—ones in which lifesaving decisions have to be made at every turn, and where the consequences of a wrong step can be devastating. But it also illuminates the brave and calculating characters behind the stealth cruisers, ultra-modern F-35 fighters, and futuristic laser weapons who are contending for dominance, making this perhaps the most deeply accessed work of reporting on the conflict yet.
Michael Fabey has reported on military and naval affairs for most of his career, winning the prestigious Timothy White Award and earning a Pulitzer Prize nomination. In his work for National Geographic Traveler, the Economist Group, Defense News , Aviation Week, and Jane’s, he has collected more than two dozen reporting awards. No other journalist has had as much firsthand experience of America’s naval ships and aircraft and the officers who command them. A Philadelphia native, he currently resides in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Crashback: The Power Clash Between the US and China in the Pacific is his first book.
5:00-5:30 — Reception and Book Signing | 5:30-6:30 — Discussion