Media reported a U.S. Navy statement Thursday that USS Connecticut (SSN-22), a nuclear-powered attack submarine, had suffered an underwater collision on 2 October 2021 while operating in the South China Sea, and was headed to Guam for inspection. No sailors were killed in the collision; 11 were injured, but the Navy hasn’t indicated the injuries are life-threatening.
The statement, quoted at the U.S. Naval Institute website, is as follows:
“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,” Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”
The Ropucha-class tank landing ship Tsesar Kunikov (BDK-158) was heading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, conducting a southbound transit of the Turkish Straits. (As documented at the excellent Bosphorus Naval News blog, BDK-158 has been back and forth through the Turkish Straits several times over the last few months. The ship was most recently off Syria in November, and returned to the Black Sea on 25 November before Friday’s southbound transit.)
ISIS will get something of a vote in this conflict. But America won’t. The reason for these two realities is that Obama has limited the use of U.S. force – limited it to such an extent that ISIS is still a very viable entity. Obama’s “restraint” is also the reason Russia and Iran keep having ISIS as a handy, open-ended pretext for arranging to occupy Iraq and Syria. Which is what they’re actually doing.
If you’re not convinced we are now in a “post-American” (and hence post-NATO) world, consider these events of the last 72 hours.
After the Paris attacks on Friday, the G20 leaders gathering in Turkey knew that both Syria and ISIS would top their agenda in Antalya. On Sunday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron expressed the standard position of the Western allies, since late summer, that Russia should stop prosecuting what is essentially a unilateral war in Syria.
How odd that that position should seem antique a mere 48 hours later. In the wake of the most recent events, one now has the sense that Cameron was speaking in another world and time.
If it wasn’t clear before that Russia intends to be prepared to “fight the Arctic,” it should be now. A report from last week indicates that the Russians plan to put “Bastion” anti-ship missile systems at their Arctic bases in 2015, to go along with airfield improvements, aircraft deployments, and installation of mobile anti-air missile systems and early warning radars for a network of bases that extends from one end of Russia’s Arctic coast to the other, and well into the Arctic Ocean.
There is certainly a question as to what “threat” Russia imagines herself to be countering with the deployment of the cruise missile systems.
But that’s really asking the wrong question. Given the dearth of non-Russian surface ship traffic through the area in question (maps 1 and 2), and the certainty that other nations with Arctic claims have no motive to put ships in that area against Russia’s will, a more accurate interpretation of this move is that Russia seeks to hold a geomilitary veto over the sea-lanes, in a manner similar to the veto sought by China over the South China Sea.Continue reading “Russia defines Arctic intentions with supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles”