Sinking the US navy 2

Iran is intent on gaining control of the vital shipping lanes that run through the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz and beyond. To achieve this, it will need to drive out the American fleets. It has been rehearsing the conflict.

In Phases Two and Three of Iran’s biggest sea exercise ever (May 6-7) …  its Navy and Revolutionary Guards acted out a scenario for driving US naval forces out of the Persian Gulf after defeating them – as well as responding to potential retaliatory American WMD strikes. …

The eight-day war game, dubbed “The Last Prophet” or “Judgment Day,” spans a 250,000-kilometer area from the strategic Hormuz Strait to the Gulf of Aden, with the accent for the first time on the Indian Ocean.

Iran has mobilized the best part of its naval, air, commando and elite forces for a drill whose codenames signal its goals: Simulating Iran’s perception of its final battle with America and its ending with US forces beaten and put to flight from the regions covered by the exercise. Thereupon, a victorious Islamic Republic of Iran is seen as assuming the role of regional superpower.

Iranian officials told observers from neighboring countries that Persian Gulf security can be achieved without a “foreign military presence” in the strategic waters. The Iranian Navy, they said, had demonstrated its fitness for sole responsibility over the security of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s crude is channeled to market.

The war game’s spokesman, Rear Admiral Qasem Rostamabadi, disclosed: “Passing ships were successfully checked by destroyers, frigates, special operations teams and naval commandos in line with the goal of establishing security and peace in transit routes bound for the Hormuz Strait and the Persian Gulf.”

This disclosure meant Iran had already begun grabbing control of the oil routes from the American and emirates’ fleets.

The Iranian naval officer went on to describe the second phase of the exercise as “involving the detection and subsequent destruction of marine and submarine targets as well as conducting rescue drills for chemical, biological and nuclear strikes.” …

Iran’s entire fighter-bomber fleet flew the full extent of its flight range as far as the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean, appearing for the first time over the Somali coast. Iran thus flexed its aerial muscles in pursuit of a far-reaching ambition to displace American naval strength – not only in a broad perimeter around its shores but as far afield as the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea approaches.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., Robert Gates, who is almost as silly and useless a Secretary of Defense as Janet Napolitano is a Secretary of Homeland Security, has a plan to reduce American naval power. The  enemy at sea that he (laughingly) recognizes are merely “teen-age pirates” – by which he presumably means Somalian terrorists harassing ships off the Horn of Africa.

Investor’s Business Daily, more concerned with the growing Iranian and Chinese naval power and reach, reports and comments:

Our defense secretary proposes doing what no other foreign adversary has done: sink the U.S. Navy. We don’t need those billion-dollar destroyers, he says. …

We find the recent remarks of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo … disturbing. He seems to think naval supremacy is a luxury we can’t afford and that, like every other aspect of our military, an already shrunken U.S. Navy needs to downsize.

“As we learned last year, you don’t necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades),” Gates quipped.

We are not laughing.

Pubescent pirates aren’t the only threat we face. Last month, a Chinese naval task force from the East Sea Fleet — including the imposing Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers, frigates and submarines — passed through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, a move that sent shock waves through Japan.

The exercise took place just days after warships from the North Sea Fleet returned from what China’s army-navy called “confrontation exercises” in the South China Sea.

Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked. The answer is yes. Our national interests are global, in every ocean. Some will be in port, and others will be meeting commitments from the Persian Gulf to the Taiwan Strait.

It’s well to consider the “new challenges,” as Gates put it, in the form of anti-ship missiles in the hands of the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah or the threat posed by Iran’s arsenal of missiles, mines and speed boats near the Strait of Hormuz. But new challenges don’t make the old ones go away. We must be prepared to meet them all.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether this nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 billion to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers,” Gates said.

The question is whether we can afford not to. Defense, unlike health care, is a constitutional imperative. …

China rising 1

Lending weight to the depressing forecasts examined in our post Is America in decline? (March 1, 2010), here is news of China’s ambition and intention to become militarily mightier than America:

As America unilaterally disarms, a Chinese officer in a new book touts a new reality — that China is prepared to rule the roost, and the U.S. better keep off the grass.

On April 5, 2009, in Prague, President Obama gave a speech in which he pledged America would work toward a “world without nuclear weapons.” Almost a year later, it seems we are moving toward a world without American nuclear weapons.

“To put an end to Cold War thinking,” the president said, “we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same.” The others, such as China, seem to have other plans.

“China’s big goal in the 21st century is to become world number one, the top power,” People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Col. Liu Migfu writes in a newly published book, “The China Dream.” This dream could rapidly become America’s nightmare.

These are heady days for China, flush with American cash and holding large chunks of our debt.

China today has nearly $2.4 trillion in foreign exchange holdings, with roughly $1.6 trillion of that in dollar-based assets. It’s the No. 1 holder of U.S. debt in the world.

The Chinese military, infuriated by America’s sale of $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan, recently wanted to dump some of China’s vast holdings of U.S. Treasury and corporate bonds on the market, hoping to punish us economically. China has too much at stake to do it, perhaps, but the threat is real. And in an actual crisis over Taiwan, who knows?

It would be easy to dismiss all of this as bluster, but we’d do so at our peril. China’s economic advancement and military buildup are real, as is the threat in both areas. The leadership in Beijing does not let its military speak so publicly and bluntly unless it wants to send a message that is clear and unmistakable.

Col. Liu argues that China should use its growing revenues to become the world’s biggest military power, to the point where the U.S. “would not dare and would not be able to intervene in military conflict in the Taiwan Strait.”

That possibility is increasingly real. As Defense Secretary Roberts Gates said in a recent speech to the Air Force Association: “Investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare (by China), anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, and ballistic missiles could threaten America’s primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific — in particular our forward air bases and carrier strike groups.”

Of specific concern is a new Chinese missile, the land-based DF-21. It’s the world’s first ballistic missile capable of hitting a moving target at sea and is designed to attack and sink U.S. carrier battle groups. The conventionally armed missile has maneuverable warheads and a range in excess of 1,000 miles.

Against this backdrop we see the U.S. almost unilaterally disarming. The administration ended financing for a new nuclear warhead to replace our aging inventory …

The new strategy will also seek to abandon Bush administration plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons known as bunker busters to penetrate hardened underground targets like the nuclear facilities in North Korea and Iran.

We have abandoned long-range, ground-based missile defense in Europe and cut planned deployment in Alaska and California. We have stopped production of the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor and have no plans for a follow-on strategic bomber or to replace our aging strategic missiles in their silos.

“I’m very pessimistic about the future,” writes another PLA officer, Col. Dai Xu, in another recently published book. “I believe that China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years.”