MH370: Naval Nationalism on display in search efforts

by Chris Zappone

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 risks turning into a national “test of manhood” by the various forces involved, according to retired RAF Vice Marshal Michael Harwood quoted by Reuters.

China’s “ability to deploy forces deep into the southern hemisphere is particularly striking,” the report says.

China sent five ships to the new search area in the Indian Ocean on Friday, displaying military capabilities it lacked just “a handful of years ago.”

This should be seen alongside the desire by China to own aircraft carriers – even if they don’t exactly fit into its alleged carrier-killer strategy.

One of the more interesting lines in the Reuters piece is this, however: “Already, several governments have been openly competing in announcing findings and satellite images.”

This gets right at this notion of a Cold War-technical competition.  A nation’s narrative is about its ability to succeed in a dealing with an issue whose parameters are unknown, to step into a situation and create the reality through technology and determination.