U.S. bombers to Australia: New deployment, old issue

There was a better answer than this.

In 2016, I wrote about the recent purchase by a China-based company of a 99-year lease on parts of the port of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.  The company, Landbridge, would execute the terms of the lease, which included port operations and a commercial fuel depot at a location close to where the U.S. Marines are deployed to Darwin, through an Australian subsidiary set up for the purpose.

Landbridge has connections to the Communist Party through its interactions with government officials in its homebase of Rizhao, a port city in Shandong Province.  The company’s owner, Ye Cheng, has also referred to Landbridge’s port lease in Darwin as Landbridge’s participation in Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative – certainly not evidence of detachment by the company from the Party.  One Belt, One Road is a government project, not the vision of Chinese “private” industry (to the extent there ever was such a thing, or still could be a year on from the Xi regime’s comprehensive 2021 business crackdown).

When the Landbridge deal was being negotiated, Continue reading “U.S. bombers to Australia: New deployment, old issue”

Advertisement

TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The big news from the last 48 hours is that the Biden White House actually did know in advance of the Mar-a-Lago raid, and in fact had been involved in the issue of the documents held at Mar-a-Lago since at least April of 2022 (and probably earlier).  So the original claim that the Biden White House didn’t know about it was false.

That point has been gone over vigorously since it came out Monday night.  But the latest information on the Mar-a-Lago/classified information dust-up also confirms my previous discussion of the classification issue (and here).

In addition to that discussion, I offer as preparation an excellent 7-odd minutes with Megyn Kelly and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, which packages a pretty comprehensive overview of the things that matter. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues”

TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Until the Supreme Court ruled Friday morning on Dobbs v. Jackson, this edition of Ready Room was going to lead with the “Russia-NATO escalation” segment.  But such a momentous ruling, which basically overturned Roe v. Wade, obviously merits comment, however brief.

The Dobbs ruling is good law, unlike Roe (and some other landmark rulings including Obergefell, the same-sex marriage case).  It’s good law because it recognizes that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t confer a “right” to abortion on which states cannot impose limits.

It’s good law because it doesn’t overturn any state laws, like those of New York and California, that are as consistent with the Constitution as any state law that puts limits on the conditions in which abortion is permissible.  Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback”

TOC Ready Room 6 May 2022: Intel superheroes of America

What’s wrong and right in the world.

Unfortunately, U.S. officials handed NBC a disclosure on Thursday that the U.S. had assisted Ukraine in targeting the Russian cruiser Moskva, which was sunk by a Ukrainian anti-ship missile attack on 14 April.

Touting such activities in the media is foolish and unnecessary.  Providing assistance in locating and identifying Russian weapon systems that are then immediately targeted can be read as becoming a belligerent in the war.

Crowing over it, in the manner we saw Thursday, also looks like taking credit for superficial politics’ sake, and that always comes off as weak and undisciplined.

It’s one thing to announce without caveat that you attacked something, take full responsibility, and issue an unmistakable warning through your tone and your terse explanation of why.

But that’s not what U.S. officials did. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 6 May 2022: Intel superheroes of America”

TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)

What’s wrong and right, afloat.

Modern naval problems, it turns out, look pretty much like naval problems from any time.  The parameters are resources, logistics, geography, and technology.

This will be a tweet-enriched lightning round.  The big punch comes at the end.  It’s a doozy (and yes, I know:  if I were tediously pedantic I’d spell it Duesy.  Life is short).

A number of negative things are happening in a concentrated burst.  One is that the Navy brass – “Big Navy” – has just proposed to whack out a big chunk of the fleet for the foreseeable future.  With a target over the last half-decade of 355 ships, the Navy would decline from its current 296 ships to 280 in Fiscal Year 2027 (FY27).  In the best case among three options proposed by the Navy, the fleet would recover to 299 by FY32, 10 years from now. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)”