- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
It would seem like an easy question to answer, right? Hiding an aircraft carrier isn’t like slipping a knife into your pocket. But China watchers aren’t sure what’s going on in Beijing. In January 2006, Taiwan claimed to have evidence that mainland China was planning to build an entire carrier group, a charge Beijing immediately derided. The Chinese explained that they were merely converting a retired Ukrainian carrier, the Varyag, into a floating museum. But new questions are coming out. Joseph E. Lin writes in the Jamestown Foundation’s most recent China Brief:
At the recent Fifth Session of the 10th National People’s Congress held in Beijing, an admiral from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) delegation claimed, off-the-record, that China has already begun the research and development (R&D) of an indigenously built aircraft carrier and could complete its construction by 2010.
Other admirals denied the claim or refused to comment. Lin points to some signs that may indicate that China is, in fact, building an aircraft carrier. And now, a Korean newspaper is claiming to have the goods:
China has been pushing ahead with construction of a mega-sized nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be completed in 2020, according to a Chinese Communist Party’s dossier.
A source close to Chinese military affairs said on March 27 that China has been promoting the construction of a 93,000-ton atomic-powered carrier under a plan titled the “085 Project.” The nation also has a plan to build a 48,000-ton non-nuclear-powered carrier under the so-called “089 Project,” added the source.
According to the article, China’s new nuclear-powered carrier group would be able to reach Guam, home to a major U.S. naval base. Against the backdrop of the United States pushing for greater transparency from the inscrutable Chinese military, it’s clear that somebody here is taking matters into his or her own hands. But who, and what’s the motive? One potential clue in the Korean article:
The non-nuclear-powered carrier is reported to be a revised version of Ukraine’s Varyag, which China purchased in 1998.