Peace in our time: Militaries, state visits flood the Great Crossroads

When there is no peace.

The Pax Americana now being defunct, regional initiatives are coming alive in and around the Red Sea and Levant.  I refer to the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa as the “Great Crossroads,” where sooner or later everyone will make a transit or have an interest.  No one’s national security is untouched by what’s going on there.  America’s trade and alliances depend heavily on whether the maritime precincts of the Great Crossroads are a quiescent “free space,” through which everyone can pass without let or hindrance by a regional power – or if they become a space over which a regional power holds a veto.  Every new development there has implications for US security.

Egypt-Turkey exercise

And the new developments just keep on coming.  Between 7 and 14 October, Continue reading “Peace in our time: Militaries, state visits flood the Great Crossroads”


Egypt trash talks US; US shows weak on Iran

Interesting times.

This is not your father’s Egypt, under the evolving rule of Mohammed Morsi.  This is a Sinai-militarizing, Jerusalem-coveting, trash-talking Egypt.  (Wait – maybe that is your father’s Egypt.)  And Egyptian officials have quickly turned their trash-talking skills on their one-time partner, the United States.

Sadly, the statements of Suez Canal Authority chairman Mohab Mamish sounded just credible enough to get legs in the US media.  According to Mamish, when Iranian frigate Alvand approached the Suez Canal in February 2012, headed for Syria, Continue reading “Egypt trash talks US; US shows weak on Iran”

Not much there there: A small, defensive military “build-up”

Not happening.

Is the Obama administration building up for a major war against Iran?  No.

The administration appears to be doing what it thinks will avert one.  Military force is playing a quiet and relatively minor role.  There has been more “messaging” about force in the last few weeks than actual force activity.  The administration is also trying to discourage Israel from mounting an independent strike on Iran, by frequently advertising US concerns about that possibility.  Presumably the White House knows that this particular messaging campaign serves to keep Iran alerted.  Ultimately, there is more talk than anything else.  Military preparations, such as they are, are defensive in nature.  That includes the acceleration of missile-defense sales to the Persian Gulf nations.

Consider last week’s disclosures Continue reading “Not much there there: A small, defensive military “build-up””