Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med

Elephants dance.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has moved to clamp down on Ukraine in advance of the laughably rigged “referendum” scheduled for 16 March, when Crimeans will vote on which way to secede from Ukraine: either as an “independent” state or through annexation by Russia.  Crimeans who want to remain part of Ukraine are out of luck.

The battle for Crimea may be preordained; the battle for Ukraine underway.  There are also indications of a larger battle shaping up in the region, as the aircraft carriers of Russia and the United States perform an elaborate minuet in the Eastern Mediterranean.  If you weren’t convinced that the Russian move on Ukraine would rapidly destabilize the region, consider what has been going on in the last week west of Cyprus. Continue reading “Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med”

Back to the future: The post-Pax foreign policy debate

Interesting times.

Back map 1914It is no accident that the arc of the 20th century has in some ways circled back to where it started, one hundred years on from the prelude to the “Great War” of 1914-18.  Whether humans imagine themselves to be acting on ideology or “realism,” we continue to do pretty much the same things.  Between politics, geography, and time, we humans are very predictable.

But Americans need not despair.  Our Founders built America Continue reading “Back to the future: The post-Pax foreign policy debate”

U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis

Great big ships.

Reader “Your Opinion Please” posed questions to me on carrier movements at this earlier post, and I am copying the response here (see below) to provide a general update.

There is no change in the U.S. military posture in the Mediterranean or Black Sea.  That’s the basic point to take away.  The activities we’re seeing are routine and predictable.  Because of the geography of the Ukraine problem, no NATO naval power can realistically be brought to bear on it, and any signals sent with naval power will be political, collateral, and temporary.

As mentioned in the previous post, the carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) and her strike group are in the Mediterranean, Continue reading “U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis”

IDF intercepts deadly Iranian arms shipment in Red Sea

Arms and the age.

On 5 March, Israeli forces stopped and boarded a freighter in the Red Sea, KLOS-C, which was carrying a cargo of battlefield rockets from Iran to Port Sudan.  The crew of the ship doesn’t appear to have known what was loaded in Iran; more on that later.  Sudan has of course served for years as a waypoint for Iranian arms deliveries to Gaza.  (See The Tower on this as well.)

According to the IDF, Israeli intelligence actually observed the rockets in question being transferred from Syria to Iran several months ago.  The rockets are versions of the Syrian-made M-302, the rocket used in a 302mm multiple-rocket launch system (MLRS).   The Assad regime has supplied Continue reading “IDF intercepts deadly Iranian arms shipment in Red Sea”

Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part

The missiles of 2014?

Alternate title: Sink the Kharg!

Intellectual honesty required putting the recent threats issued by Iran in a realistic perspective.  While we should take Iran’s geopolitical posture seriously, it does our own deliberations a disservice to accept absurdities from Iran rather than calling them out.  Someone’s bound to notice eventually, so it’s best to sort the nonsense out up front.

That said, we should be concerned about what Iran has been doing in the last 48-72 hours.  This is not because Iran can make good on threats like those depicted in the truly moronic Lenziran video (see link above); it’s because the Iranian regime has escalated its verbal attacks dramatically.  These aren’t random bursts of rhetoric.  They appear to have a specific purpose. Continue reading “Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part”