Xi’s the one?
Today, China announced that Xi Jinping has been named the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, an important sign that he’s successfully navigated this gauntlet and is destined to take over in Beijing once Hu Jintao retires in 2012.

New Taliban Terror Threat Concerns U.S. Security, Law Enforcement Officials
Senior U.S. intelligence, security and law enforcement officials are concerned over recent intelligence and “chatter” that strongly suugests the Pakistani Taliban may have already snuck another terrorist into the U.S. to launch an attack, according to Fox News Channel’s National Security Correspondent Catherine Herridge in her terrorism report yesterday.

CNN says Pakistan protecting Osama bin Laden
CNN cites an unnamed NATO official who charges that members of Pakistan’s intelligence service are giving shelter to Osama bin Laden in the country’s northwest.

Saudi intelligence warns of terror threat against France
Saudi intelligence services have warned of a new terror threat from al Qaeda against Europe, particularly in France, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Sunday.

Moscow Searches for Strategic Depth in the “Reset”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s edict on September 23, formalizing sanctions against Iran following the UN Security Council resolution passed on June 9, has rekindled domestic interest in the “reset” policy in US-Russian bilateral relations.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage.

Posted by Chris van Avery in Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, Maritime Security

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  • Paul

    Course another bit of disturbing news today is that the British military is being cut down to next to nothing. “immediate” scrapping of the Ark Royal, retirement of all Harriers, cutting down the surface fleet from 23 to 19??

    So, no power projection for Nelson’s fleet. Any takers on perhaps Falkland Islands 2.0? No decks, no air cover and with Argentina getting antsy over the drilling, I don’t give it long until the blue-white blue with sunny face is heading eastward again but this time there won’t be that capability to cover the invasion. Rest assured that Argentina has learned from their mistakes from the last time.

    Cameron is no Thatcher. She had more cojones than he’ll ever have.

  • Chuck Hill

    Yes, for sure the Harriers will be gone long before the Queen Elizabeth and F35C arrives. A window of opportunity.

  • Paul

    Probably the Argies will wait until the Ark Royal is definitely at the breakers before making their move and with Mr. Chavez lending his support, it could get bloody. Any takers on either a summer or a winter campaign? My guess is next Argentinian summer, )the winter of 2011-2012 for us) as the first possible chance for a move.

    Would we ever take a chance and lease a carrier/fighters to the Brits? Not a CVN but one of the CV’s languishing around the nation? Say, the JFK or the Kitty Hawk? Toss in three squadrons of F/A-18’s and a couple of Hawkeyes on a lend lease concept so the bean counters don’t get whiny over there until the new decks and F-35’s come on line?

  • Derrick

    I’m not sure I understand. I thought the British possessed 2 carriers, so they still have 1 available for use?

    Why would Argentina attempt to invade the Falklands again?

  • Derrick

    Also, is it likely for Osama Bin Laden to be hidden in Pakistan in comfortable living conditions? Wouldn’t hiding him in a house make it too easy for the CIA to assassinate him with a few grenades?

  • Matt Yankee

    Not if the ISI tells him to relocate just before we get there. Those mountains provide excellent cover and you add in the tribal culture and ISI protecting him and it makes it much worse.

    The Brits still have HMS Ocean which they didn’t in the last go. Also they may be sharing militaries with the French in which case they would have a better carrier to work with in the Charles de Gaulle (R91) a larger, nuclear powered ship with catapults.

    At least they didn’t cancel the the Queen Elizabeths.

  • Chuck Hill

    Re the Falklands. The real significance is that the Harriers are going away before the new carrier and F35s come on line so if they had to retake the islands, they will have no fixed wing aircraft for air to air. Currently the Falklands’ air defense is four Eurofighter Typhoons. Individually superior fighters, but the “too few.” The Argentines may see this as a window of opportunity. If that happens, will the rest of the EU come to their aid? A real test of European unity.

  • Derrick

    Thank you. Now I understand.

  • Paul

    The reason why the Falklands are an issue again is that there seems to be a lot of oil down that way and Argentina is looking for some cash to put in the bank. Our friend Hugo is also involved and according to Proceedings not only is he involved but also Brazil, which does have a carrier, the old Foch.

    So, the scenario could be a multi-pronged invasion of the islands but the Brits would have to sail the 8,000 miles past a potential belligerent with power projection capabilities and a small, but significant force of subs in the path. All without fixed wing air cover.

    When we think of naval conflict, we tend to think of “us vs._____” but there are other navies and other flashpoints in the world. My sense is that the Brits may soon be taught again the lessons of sea power and projection over vast distances without a reasonable way to counter.

  • Derrick

    If the Falklands have oil, then it’s almost guaranteed the US will get involved in any dispute in that region.

    I’m wondering if some US naval ships could be diverted from the atlantic/mediterranean to cover the Falklands…How much would that cost?

  • Chuck Hill

    Apparently the new British government thinks they have adequately provided for the defense of the Falklands with a few modern fighters and a company of infantry.

    Here is a discussion about how the Agentines might overcome these defenses.


  • Paul

    Mr. Hill

    Very frightening scenario there and probably right on the money. Derrick– I’m not sure if we maintain a presence in the South Atlantic for any period of time. It would probably take either an amphib group with Harriers and USMC or a full fledged carrier in the neighborhood to keep things a bit quieter.

    One thing to perhaps consider– use the Falklands as a training ground and rotate forces through there. Doesn’t have to be anything too significant– even a company or a squadron, but it their presence would force any potential Argentine attack to address potential war with the US.

  • Matt Yankee

    It seems backwards that we would protect the Senkaku Islands for Japan but not the Falklands for an ally that has devoted such resources over the years.

  • Byron

    Maybe because one has traditionally been part of the Japanese government/empire (before the war and stretching back into the centuries) and the other is is a colonial possession?

    Trust me, if it weren’t for the oil, the Argentines wouldn’t care who had that bunch of rocks out in the middle of the South Atlantic…

  • Chuck Hill

    The British claim to the Falklands goes back to a time before Argentina existed as a nation. Yes the Brits forced the Spanish settlers out, but how far back do you go to redress historic wrongs? Argentina’s claims are not much different than Mexico claiming they want the American South West back because the US unfairly stole them.

    The worst thing we could do is not be perfectly clear that we support the UK’s contention that there is nothing to discuss. The islands have been British for almost 200 years and based on the principle of self determination, the people of the Falklands want to stay British, end of story.

    Unfortunately Secretary Clinton recently seemed to indicate that was not the case. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8544634.stm

    Wars start when intentions are not clear. There have been stories that the Korean War started because the US published a map of their vital interest that excluded Korea. That Iraq invaded Kuwait after a conversation with an America Diplomat that seemed to indicate we would not object, and the first Falklands War was has been traced to a British diplomat who seemed to indicate that simple handing the Falklands over was not politically possible but if the Argentines held the Islands the reaction would not be strong.

    Most of Latin America sides with the Argentines. Let the Argentines take it to World Court, but we need to make it perfectly clear, that until there is a decision against the British, we will support them 100%.

  • Chuck Hill

    We should take the same stand with regard to the Japanese/Chinese dispute. The Chinese should take it to court, until then we support the status quo.

  • Matt Yankee

    Diego Garcia would be another one of those colonial possesions but we sure as heck would defend that. I don’t defend the colonial way it was taken but we shouldn’t give the South Americans any rationale for taking the place back…kind of like slave reparations…the past is the past. Old wounds should not be reopened is some ridiculous attempt to correct history by repeating it.

    I do not disagree with defending Japanese territory (it is law) especially against the Communist Chinese but I would like to see a stong US backing of the British to deter aggession in our own hemisphere. I think we could put the issue to rest and ensure stability…If something were to go down we would have to choose sides anyways and somebody isn’t going to be happy. Might as well back the strongest ally we have had in recent history.