Russia defines Arctic intentions with supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles

Peace in our time.

St. Nicholas presides over the Russian military base at Nargurskoye, on Alexandra Island, Franz Josef Land, which is undergoing a major expansion by Russia.
St. Nicholas presides over the Russian military base at Nargurskoye, on Alexandra Island, Franz Josef Land, which is undergoing a major expansion by Russia.

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”

Chinese warship arrives off Syria

Your father’s international order, nowhere in sight.

 

Chinese frigate Yancheng, thrilling the ladies in Cyprus. (Reuters photo.)
Chinese frigate Yancheng, thrilling the ladies in Cyprus. (Reuters photo.)

How many warships does it take to remove chemical weapons from Syria?  One more this week than it took last week, apparently.  If you’re a big, important country with a big, important navy, you want to be involved in the good-citizenship exercise in Syria.

A 31 December deadline for getting some of the chemical stockpile to waiting ships in Latakia was missed, as readers will remember.  But it looks like Continue reading “Chinese warship arrives off Syria”