Tumultus Post-Americanus

Interesting times.

You’d think they could wait until America has decided if we really intend to be post-American.  I mean, what’s President Obama going to do about Iran and Syria – get Qatar to bomb them?  Does that really require a regional-war-scale response from Russia?  And what about the South China Sea?  It’s not like our new Marine contingent in Australia can do anything about China’s strong-arming of the other nations there.  Nor does there seem to be much likelihood that we will react to Russia’s chest-thumping in the disputed Kuril Islands north of Japan.  And when I say “react,” I mean “react at all.”  For all the president’s new focus on the Pacific, we don’t seem to have any positions we intend to actually enunciate there, much less defend.

The Tumultus Post-Americanus is now well underway.  The US and NATO, and our Pacific allies Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, Continue reading “Tumultus Post-Americanus”

The New Great Game: 17 Months On

Antipiracy multilateralism and SSGN Jump-Outs in 2010.

One of the first posts I made at this blog last year was “Not Your Father’s Cold War,” in which I criticized the US administration’s antipiracy approach of encouraging lots of navies to join the multilateral gaggle of forces laboring off Somalia.  My justification for viewing this with grave concern is outlined in the strategic background portion of that older post.  What I want to do today is update the situation for readers.  It has changed since February 2009, and significantly.

The biggest change is in China’s posture in the antipiracy force, something that has gotten almost no attention outside of defense wonk forums.  But there are developments worth mentioning with the EU’s approach (in Operation Atalanta, the name of its antipiracy campaign); with the command arrangements of the US-sponsored coalition task force (CTF 151); and with the local arrangements of nations like Japan and Iran.  As I predicted last year, using naval force in the antipiracy mission functions as a wedge for the aspirations of various nations to project power around the Middle East’s “great crossroads.”  Establishing a naval presence in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden creates an opportunity for power plays beyond the immediate piracy problem, something that has been easily foreseeable from the outset.  And the foreseeable is happening, “as we speak.” Continue reading “The New Great Game: 17 Months On”