Archive for September, 2010

Woken Up by a Stirring Dragon
The stability of the next decade may depend on Chinese leaders focusing on avoiding a scenario where China is left with just two choices: retreat, which would unleash nationalist fury inside the country, or chance an outright clash.

China releases three Japanese citizens
China on Thursday released three of the four Japanese citizens who had been detained since last week, accused of illegally videotaping a military site. The three were released, according to China’s Xinhua news agency, after admitting their violation and showing “regret for their mistake.”

Taiwanese cool to China’s overtures
When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered to remove missiles pointed at Taiwan without mentioning the one-China principle, suspicions grew of a masterplan to gradually lull the island’s military, business leaders and then the population into passivity. People on the island are not that easily fooled.

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Perils of clashes with China over currency and rare-earth exports
Using trade as a tool for market advantage or as a substitute for war has its limits. China went too far in cutting exports of rare-earth minerals to Japan. Will the US go too far in punishing China on currency manipulation?

China wobbles in diplomatic test
Like in a failed stress test, China has cracked and extended its agony by introducing a request for reparations over the capture of a fishing vessel that rammed a Japanese patrol boat in disputed waters. Beijing is unlikely to be happy about how it handled the incident, but a fix will require deep soul-searching about its diplomatic strategies and tactics.

Why China Won’t Engage
Washington is abuzz with flummery purporting to explain why the Chinese are so damned obdurate as of late. For a representative, if credulous, account of this palaver, see Josh Rogin’s story, Has China Realized It Overplayed Its Foreign Policy Hand? Americans, it seems, are bewildered by China’s “increasingly aggressive and arrogant foreign policy.” The possibility that something else might be going on — you know, the sort of thing that might interest a competent policymaker — is left for others to ponder. Others, like Gregory Kulacki, who writes on the UCS blog All Things Nuclear, that his most recent trip to China’ reveals the importance of Beijing’s domestic dramas in shaping China’s recent foreign policy.

China, Russia Agree to Strengthen Strategic Partnership
The leaders of China and Russia have signed a statement to deepen their strategic partnership and cooperation. President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev inspected an honor guard at a welcoming ceremony Monday at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Following a closed-door meeting, the two leaders signed a statement calling for comprehensively deepening what was described as “the strategic partnership of cooperation.”

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The IDF is facing a manning problem. According to Ha’aretz, the Israeli Defense Forces’ sub fleet is working to expand the submariner pipeline, growing from three sub teams to a total of ten. Are women going to be a part of this new cadre?

Look, finding enough guys capable of completing the grueling training cycle is hard enough, but, as the IDF sub fleet grows to five hulls, trebling the IDF sub force is pretty much impossible without a new source of recruits. Which gets us to the image at the right, taken from the Ha’aretz story. The sailor training in the background (working in the IDF’s sweet new “land-sub” training facility) is either sporting some unusually long-hair or…the sailor is a woman.

Could the traditionally-all male IDF Sub force be integrating? Read more at NEXTNAVY.COM

Reconstruction Chief Quits, Putting ‘Civilian Surge’ in Doubt
Most observers of Afghanistan say the war doesn’t have a prayer if the U.S. can’t send a cadre of civilian experts — diplomats, engineers, farmers — to rebuild Afghanistan. But on Friday, the diplomat in charge of building that force quietly resigned.

The Next Nuclear Arms Race
If recent events are any indication, the world’s most vigorous nuclear competition may erupt between Asia’s two giants: India and China.

India seeks eased U.S. controls on sales of its defense technologies
India’s defense minister says U.S. export controls that restrict the sale of defense technologies to blacklisted Indian entities are a “matter of concern” and should be lifted soon. Ahead of his meetings in Washington this week, Arackaparambil Kurian Antony said he wants an “early solution” to the restrictions.

China-Japan row threatens five-year warming trend between old foes
The speed with which the fishing boat dispute turned ugly suggests how little has been achieved in China-Japan reconciliation over the past five years, say analysts.

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This release from the Department of Defense today:

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Navy Lt. Francis B. McIntyre of Mitchell, S.D., will be buried on Sept. 29, and Aviation Radioman Second Class William L. Russell of Cherokee, Okla., will be buried on Oct. 1. Both men will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Nov. 10, 1943, the two men took off on a bombing and strafing mission in their SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber from Munda Field, New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands. Witnesses last saw the aircraft flying at low altitude through a large explosion on an enemy airfield on Buka Island, Papua New Guinea. None reported seeing the crash of the aircraft itself.

The American Graves Registration Service searched numerous South Pacific Islands in 1949 in an effort to gather data about aircraft crashes or missing Americans. The team was unable to find any useful information, and failed to recover any American remains in the area. A board of review declared both men unrecoverable.

In 2007, a Papuan national found a World War II crash site near the Buka airport, which was reported to U.S. officials. In May 2008, specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), working with the country’s national museum, investigated the crash site but were unable to excavate it because of inclement weather. Local officials turned over human remains, McIntyre’s identification tag and other military-related items which had been recovered earlier. After examining the remains in 2008 and 2009, JPAC determined that no excavation would be required since the two sets of remains were nearly complete.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons for both men and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA which matched a sample from Russell’s relatives and DNA extracted from a hat belonging to McIntyre.

Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

– S. Sassoon

France on high alert as officials warn of possible terrorist attacks
When an unclaimed package was spotted in a busy Paris subway station Monday, police immediately diverted trains, ordered thousands of frustrated travelers into the street and dispatched a bomb squad to test for explosives.

Coast Guard boarding team engage in firefight
A boarding team from the medium endurance cutter Escanaba got in a shootout with suspected drug smugglers while attempting to board a vessel in international waters near the coast of Nicaragua Sept. 14, the service said in a statement.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
A fierce battle is being waged behind the scenes for control of North Korea as Kim Jong-il prepares to anoint his successor, it has emerged. Factional in-fighting has broken out between Chang Song-taek, the rogue state’s second-in-command, and a group of senior reform-minded officials, according to a source who has recently met people at the highest levels of the North Korean government. The battle between the two sides comes as Kim Jong-il, the 68-year-old “Dear Leader”, is in frail health and no concrete succession plan has yet to emerge.

Risk Of Trade War Rises As Key US Committee Backs Tariffs On China
The risk of a trade war between the US and China has increased after a key Congressional committee backed a bill to allow US companies to seek tariffs on Chinese imports. The adoption of the measure by the Ways and Means Committee on Friday means it will now be voted on by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. “China’s exchange-rate policy has a major impact on American businesses, and Americans jobs, which is what this is all about,” said Sander Levin, a Democrat from Michigan and chairman of the committee.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
The greatest geopolitical development that has occurred largely beneath the radar of our Middle East-focused media over the past decade has been the rise of Chinese sea power. This is evinced by President Obama’s meeting Friday about the South China Sea, where China has conducted live-fire drills and made territorial claims against various Southeast Asian countries, and the dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China in the East China Sea, the site of a recent collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coast guard ships.

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Admiral James G. Stavridis currently serves as Commander, U.S. European Command, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. A 1976 Naval Academy graduate and surface warfare officer, ADM Stavridis skippered a destroyer, the U.S.S. Barry, and commanded Destroyer Squadron 21. From 2006 to 2009, he commanded U.S. Southern Command.

Career Questions:

Out of each USNA class, only a small number graduates achieve flag rank. What did you do differently to command two geographic unified commands?

Simply persistence. Although I spent my first five years thinking quite seriously about getting out of the navy to go to law school, I always looked honestly at all my options both in and out of uniform. In the end, what kept me in was the great people I was able to work with every day, both USNA graduates and other colleagues. So much else is luck and timing.

Do you have any advice to current midshipmen or junior officers?

Read lots of novels. Every time you imagine another life, you expand your own. And learn another language—to learn another person’s language is to learn their life.

How did your experience at the Naval Academy help you throughout your career? Was there anything the Academy did not prepare you for?

Overall, my time at Annapolis gave me a cadre of close friends, a sense of humor, a grounding in French and Spanish, and a lifetime of memories. Nothing can really prepare a person for life after college, but the academy came close.

Any memorable or notable stories from your time at the Academy? 

I was a proud editor of the Log Magazine and Salty Sam, class of 1976. The editor of the west point equivalent, the pointer, was recently retired general and close friend Stan McChrystal. We remain good friends today—it is a perfect reminder of how the relationships forged at the academy transcend career and time.

How do your graduate degree in international relations and your PhD in law and diplomacy help you in your current command?

 International affairs is the novel that never ends. Every single day we all get to read the next chapter on the front pages of the newspaper (downloaded to our iPads). To be involved in that daily, from serving in the crew of a ballistic missile destroyer to being a combatant commander or the leader of NATO operations globally is fascinating and an honor.

On your facebook page, you have a varsity letterman jacket with three gold stars. What sport did you play at the Academy and do you believe that athletics helps develop military officers?

I played varsity squash and tennis. Our squash team finished in the top five nationally each year. The travel and interaction was invaluable and the chance to play both sports all over the world in the years since has been wonderful.

Policy Questions:

EUCOM was originally created in 1952 to streamline America’s defense of Soviet aggression. What would you consider EUCOM’s current purpose?

Supporting our NATO allies as we work together in Afghanistan, Russia, the Balkans, piracy, narcotics, and defense reform. The vast majority of our allies come from EUCOM and NATO, and together we are far stronger than any of us along. We are also working hard on interagency and private-public partnerships.

How is EUCOM adapting to China’s rise in military power?

 Working with them in piracy off the horn of Africa and seeking zones of cooperation in other global security challenges, e.g. in Iran and Afghanistan, for example.

As Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, what are the difficulties in aligning the goals and needs of twenty-eight separate militaries?

The challenge is connecting all the different cultures, languages, and national approaches—but the only thing harder than tackling security challenge with allies is trying to solve them alone.

General Alexander, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, recently spoke to the Brigade of Midshipmen about cyber warfare. You successfully “hacked in” to General Alexander’s power-point presentation. Do you believe cyber warfare is the future of warfare, and how prepared is the United States and NATO to win a cyber war?

I do believe two important areas of future engagement for all of us are in cyber and alliance engagement. Keith is a good friend and a brilliant strategic thinker, and our nation is lucky to have him leading the new cyber command.

How has the recent entry of former Soviet states into NATO affected the dynamics of NATO?

 It is a very positive development, expanding the alliance from a dozen countries to 28 today—all dedicated to common defense, operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, and focused on defending freedom, democracy, and individual liberty.

How is EUCOM supporting the Global War on Terror as well as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom?

We send 30% of our 100,000 people forward to Iraq and Afghanistan at any given time, we help train the 40+ countries in our region that are part of the coalitions there, we work closely with the interagency partners from the drug enforcement agency to the agency for international development, and we sustain the diplomatic pressure in concert with state department.

On a more serious note, how badly will Navy beat Army this year?

Seriously, let me say that in 1976, my senior year, we beat them 51-0. This year, we’re going to beat them easily (again); but when the final whistle blows, there won’t be another group of people in the world with whom we are more proud to stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of this nation.

ADM Stavridis, Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these interview questions.


Why We Fight, Part 2

September 2010


Terrible, disturbing video of Afghanistan’s Sharia law.

A woman, tied to the ground and helpless, being stoned to death.

A month after a couple (above) accused of having an affair were also stoned to death.

Just in case there are questions, Ahmedinejad’s Iran has the following in the Islamic Penal Code of Iran:

Article 102:

The stoning of an adulterer or adulteress shall be carried out while each is
placed in a hole and covered with soil, he up to his waist and she up to a line above her breasts.

Whatever the political rhetoric, we ought daily to remember that our men and women fighting our Global War on Terror are battling an evil just as terrible and dark as our parents and grandparents did in the Second World War.

We should also remember that when American servicemen and women commit crimes on the battlefield, it is an incredibly rare aberration which carries with it trial and punishment under the law.

Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines put themselves at risk to keep from harming innocents. Our enemy preys on them. Women, seven-year-old boys.

General Mattis knew of what he spoke.


Forgot: H/T to Lex.

“While Looney’s death most directly and profoundly impacts his large and loving family, including all of his Navy lacrosse brothers, it is the Academy’s loss. It’s America’s loss,” said Navy lacrosse coach Richie Meade.


Superintendent’s statement on death of USNA graduate

Brigade, Faculty and Staff,

It is my sad duty to report to you that Lieutenant Brendan Looney,USN, 29, Class of 2004, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sept. 21, 2010 while assigned to a West Coast-based SEAL team.

A resident of Owings, Maryland, Brendan was a three-time letter winner in lacrosse, a history major, and a member of the 18th Company. He had two younger brothers who also graduated from USNA with the Classes of 2006 and 2007. Commissioned as an intelligence officer, he was laterredesignated as a SEAL.

LT Looney will be sorely missed by his colleagues and his many other friends from the Naval Academy. His willingness to serve our Nation during a time of conflict serves to remind us all of the Commitment we make to our country as Leaders in the Naval Service.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Looney family, and our broader Naval Academy family; I would ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers at this most difficult of times.

VADM Michael H. Miller



God Bless Brendan Looney

God Speed all of our future warriors at USNA.

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Japan to release Chinese boat captain
Japan on Friday announced the release of a Chinese fishing boat captain whose arrest 16 days ago sparked a furor between the Asian neighbors, bringing relations to their lowest point in years.

Dispute with Japan highlights China’s foreign-policy power struggle
The increasingly bitter dispute between China and Japan over a small group of islands in the Pacific is heightening concerns in capitals across the globe over who controls China’s foreign policy.

China’s Back-Door Yuan Strategy
It has been widely reported that China has dramatically reduced its purchases of US Treasuries over the past year. But it would be wrong to conclude that China has stopped intervening in currency markets or even that it is dumping the dollar.

North And South Korea On the Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns
North and South Korea are on the brink of war, a top Russian diplomat has warned, calling for both countries to exercise restraint and sit down for talks. In Moscow’s bleakest assessment of the situation on the Korean peninsula yet, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin said tensions between the two countries were running at their highest and most dangerous level in a decade. “Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict,” he told foreign policy experts at a round table on the subject in Moscow.

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