Projecting Power: American Style

Carrier Strike Group, the very name is an expression of American power. They are free range expressions of America wherever they go. More powerful in and of themselves than any other nations’ navy, and more powerful than most countries. No wonder America’s friends love them, and America’s enemies loathe them, but rarely can do anything about them. Tom Rogan talked about this in the Washington Examiner a while back.

Why are American aircraft carriers so useful to policymakers?

Because a Carrier Strike Groups offers two opportunities: diplomatic messaging and military destruction.

In diplomatic terms, the arrival of a CSG offshore signals either commitment or threat.

Foreign governments recognize the high logistical, economic, and human costs of a CSG visit to their waters. Correspondingly, when a CSG turns up, an allied nation is able to see and feel that America values them. But a CSG also reminds allies that their relationship with America is valuable. After all, when an aircraft carrier arrives with its complement of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, American power is hard to ignore.

The U.S. Navy recognizes and doubles down on this perception, throwing parties for local leaders while at port. The simple point is that the pure size and technical capability of American aircraft carriers speaks to power. If Hollywood sends the message that America is cool, CSGs send the message that America is better as a friend than as an enemy.

On that point, a CSG’s threat messaging power is also obvious. For a start, the aircraft that make up each CSG’s Carrier Air Wings (the aircraft squadrons on a carrier) are very potent. Embarked on each CSG are at least 40 F-18 E/F fighter-bombers, an electronic warfare squadron of EA-18 Growlers (F-18 variants tasked to disrupt enemy communications, tracking, and targeting), an AWACS radar squadron of 4 or 5 Hawkeyes, and passenger transport planes. Oh, and each CSG also has around 20 helicopters tasked with anti-submarine warfare, combat search and rescue, and logistics.

To be clear, those aircraft offer a power projection capability unmatched by any other Navy.

But that’s just the start. Because the other ships in a CSG also have their own power. A CSG’s destroyer squadron and guided missile cruisers can shoot down enemy missiles (including ballistic missiles) and jets, destroy enemy ships and hit targets on land. And lurking below the surface is at least one (normally two) attack submarines.

Collectively, these capabilities enable a CSG to operate in a simultaneous defensive and offensive posture.

What they do is power projection and deterrence. They are the final visible arbiter of what the United States will allow you to get away with. We’ve talked about this before, of course. American power, like British before it, nearly always acts to ensure free trade, under rules but essentially allowed. I talked about it here. There I said this:

And here, again from Wikipedia, is why it’s important:

From an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.

The strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as IndiaChinaJapan and South Korea. Over 50,000 (94,000?)vessels pass through the strait per year, carrying about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods including oil, Chinese manufactures, and Indonesian coffee.

About a quarter of all oil carried by sea passes through the strait, mainly from Persian Gulf suppliers to Asian markets such as China, Japan, and South Korea. In 2006, an estimated 15 million barrels per day (2,400,000 m3/d) were transported through the strait.

That’s a lot of oil, and a lot of it goes to our friends in the region, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

You’ve noticed that there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver there, that’s a problem for us. The carriers while immensely powerful (equal to most country’s air forces) need room to maneuver, when you’re sailing into the wind at 30 knots you can cover a lot of water. but it’s doable. They are also quite vulnerable if an enemy can get close, that’s what the rest of the battle group is about. This, incidentally, has been true of capital ships forever, battleships had vulnerabilities too, chiefly to aircraft and submarines.

Anyway, the Obama administration made a lot of noise a while back about a ‘Pivot to Asia” or something like that. That could make sense since they seem to be running away from our commitments in the Middle East. But that leaves the question, With what?

(I’m guessing most of you have read that article, it’s one of the top five posts here, all time. The answer to with what is Carrier Strike Group(s).

Three of these Groups are now either in the Indian Ocean or the Western Pacific. Why? The short answer is North Korea. The Nimitz (and its group) is transiting from the Indian Ocean and is expected to end up in the Western Pacific as well.

How it gets there is also significant. It will no doubt sail through the Strait of Malacca and between the Philippine Islands and China. This is the very area where China is sowing artificial island and making absurd claims of sovereignty. And so this move is a message not only to North Korea, but to Xi’s China as well. You would be wise to see our point, or we just might emphasize it in ways you won’t like.

In North Korea’s case, we just might emphasize our displeasure in ways that leaves the country a smoking ruin.

In other news, the United States Air Force has announced that the Eighth Air Force, based at Barksdale AFB, LA, is once again preparing its facilities, crews, and equipment for 24 hour ground alert. A practice that was pretty much discontinued in 1991, but is now once again necessary. Frances Fukuyama has not (as far as I know) commented.

 

 

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The Week in Picture: The Bombing Starts in 5 Minutes Edition

Hah, Saturday snuck up on me, but I saw it coming. So a bit has gone on this week, as usual, summed up well in pictures. Here’s some of them.

 

Aws usual, most from PowerLine. Have a better week

 

Of Nukes and Men

The Fat Man then, and now…?

So, this is a bit worrying. Yesterday was the 72d anniversary of the attack on Nagasaki, and it appears some Asians have a short memory.

In any case, the Norks have threatened to send a few missiles off towards Guam. If they do they will learn a new skill: Dying. Guam is a US Territory, home to Anderson Air Force Base. This too is America, in fact, this is just as serious as an attack on say Ellsworth AFB, in South Dakota, for the same reason – this is a bomber base, amongst many other things, and America’s nuclear triad must be defended at all costs. And Navy Base, Guam is nothing to sneeze at, either. These are important installations. And if I read Trump correctly, it will be. Welcome back to October 1962, only this time induced by an actually weak American president, who gave aid and comfort to America’s enemies. No, I am not speaking of Trump. The situation is a direct legacy of Barack Obama, and his feckless and pusillanimous pursuit of anything that degraded the history of America.

Welcome back to October 1962, only this time induced by an actually weak American president, who gave aid and comfort to America’s enemies. No, I am not speaking of Trump. The situation is a direct legacy of Barack Obama, and his feckless and pusillanimous pursuit of anything that degraded the history of America.

Part of that, we learned yesterday was that North Korea has nuclear devices small enough to install on a missile, or at least we believe so. The bad part is that we knew that back in 2013, but the story was suppressed. From Fox News:

Tuesday’s bombshell Washington Post story that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has determined North Korea is capable of constructing miniaturized nuclear weapons that could be used as warheads for missiles – possibly ICBMs – left out a crucial fact: DIA actually concluded this in 2013.  The Post also failed to mention that the Obama administration tried to downplay and discredit this report at the time.

During an April 11, 2013, House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., inadvertently revealed several unclassified sentences from a DIA report that said DIA had determined with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.

The Director of National Intelligence and Obama officials subsequently tried to dismiss Lamborn’s disclosure by claiming the DIA assessment was an outlier that did not reflect the views of the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Obama officials tried to downplay the DIA assessment to prevent it from being used to force the president to employ a more assertive North Korea policy.

Isn’t that freakin’ special? But then I can’t say it’s unexpected. If Obama was good at anything, it was covering up things that redounded to his discredit, and heaven knows he got plenty of practice.

So there we are, actually the same as any other day ending a y, America will be defended against all enemies, it just seems as if perhaps one fool in charge hasn’t gotten the word, Obama is gone forever, and Hillary will never be president. Kim Jong-il’s time has come and gone, although his hour of self-appointed doom may be coming close. Many, including Bill Richardson, say he is a weak man, afraid of his own shadow. Well, that seems likely, actually, but if anything that makes him even more dangerous, because he is unpredictable.

That doesn’t mean that the only option is to burn it down from orbit with nuclear fire, actually, that’s overkill. There is nothing here that conventional aerial bombs, missiles, and such can’t deal with. And my guess is that America’s best defense assets are in Guam, Japan, and the ROK. They are at risk, of course, but there is risk and then there is risk, and part of life is to choose amongst them. For me, the calculus works out that it is time for ‘the Fat Man’ (pun intended) to retire or be fired. or should that be fried?. All my life, these fools have been oppressing their own people and threatening everyone else in the neighbourhood. Enough is enough, fix it, deal with the damage and move on.

Who knows, might even be a salutary lesson for some Mullahs, who seem to have forgotten what Ronald Reagan taught them. I also note that an actual majority of Americans are supportive of military action. That doesn’t happen very often.

Election Economics 101; US and a little UK as well.

thobamaThe other day, Dan Hannan wrote on how much better Britain would be doing if it was not in the EU. Economically, yes, but in other ways as well, which are arguably more important. At least I think they are, although if I was trying to make a living in Britain, my priorities might be different, although given my outlook, I wouldn’t bet a lot on that. I’m one of those radical Americans that believe freedom is more important than nearly everything, and the EU is inimical to freedom.

Here’s some of Dan’s article:

1. Autonomous trade policy
Europe is the only continent in the world that is not experiencing economic growth, and Britain is the only EU state that sells more to non-members than to members. We are thus especially badly hit by the EU’s Common External Tariff, which sunders us from our commercial hinterland. Again and again, we have been unable to benefit from free trade because the common European position must take account of French film-makers, Italian textile companies, Austrian farmers and what have you. Norway and Switzerland, being in EFTA, recently signed free trade agreements with China. Britain can’t. Given that China grew by 7.7 per cent in 2013 while the EU shrank by 0.3 per cent, I’d say that’s a major disadvantage. Just look at this chart of where we’ll be in three years’ time.

 

Via Nine things David Cameron could bring back from Brussels to satisfy Eurosceptics – Telegraph Blogs.

OK, I hear you saying, so what, that’s Britain. Well yes, aside from the fact that I have a certain number of British readers, I want to point out the IMF number on where our economy ranks with the others as well. The other thing I want to note, as Dan did, and we’ll talk more about, the EU is dying, In a lot of cases, it almost looks like it is living off of Britain, and if Britain leaves, it’s going to be in real trouble.

Why? Well if I read right the other day, if you do your tax planning wrong in France these days, your tax bill can be about 105%, I can’t speak for anybody else but I wouldn’t work very hard to make a dollar if when I did I had to pay the government $1.05 for the privilege. That’s why so many people are leaving France.

But we aren’t doing all that well either, for all Obama’s bragging. We’re surely better than Europe but that saying almost nothing good. Here’s a bit of an article from Dan Mitchell yesterday.

[…]

Here are some blurbs from a Bloomberg report about the President’s remarks on that issue.

A month before congressional elections, President Barack Obama is making an appeal to American pride in promoting his economic policies, arguing that the U.S. is outpacing the recovery in other nations. …“The United States has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.” Obama said. …economies in Europe and Japan are sluggish. The recovery for the euro area – including France and Italy – stalled, with gross domestic product unchanged, from the first quarter to the second, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. Japan contracted by the most in more than five years, with GDP shrinking an annualized 7.1 percent, data from the government Cabinet Office in Tokyo show. …Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers…called Obama’s emphasis on the relative strength of the U.S. economy “useful context to compare to other countries that are facing similar challenges.”

I don’t know if the White House is correct on every specific claim, but it’s definitely true that the United States is out-pacing Europe.

Here are a couple of charts I found with a quick search. We’ll start with one comparing GDP performance. It’s not as up-to-date as the one I shared back in June, but it does a good job of showing how our cousins across the ocean are falling behind.

And here’s another chart I found showing how Europe also is lagging on employment.

And I can also say from personal experience, based on my trips to various conferences, that Europeans look at the American economy with envy. Heck, they even think 1 percent growth is a reason for celebration!

Which should give you an idea of how bad the outlook is in Europe.

After all, the United States is experiencing the weakest economic expansion since the Great Depression. Yet compared to European nations like France and Italy, we’re a powerhouse.

Via Obama Is Right about the European Economy…

Meanwhile John Hinderaker over at Powerline Blog reminds us that the Democrats are running on the recovery. Personally I think they should be running away from such a botched recovery but, I suppose when you think all good things come from Europe. Here’s a bit of that

[…]

President Obama boasted in a speech yesterday that by any measure, the economy today is better than when he took office.

I should hope so! Obama took office shortly after the financial collapse of September 2008, in the depth of a recession. The stimulus, as you no doubt recall, was supposed to get the economy back on its feet. The problem we have today is not that we are in an even worse recession than in January 2009–God forbid–but that the current recovery is the worst one ever, by a wide margin. This graph, which I posted a few days ago, tells the story:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.48.00 PM

As for the September jobs report, was it anything to crow about? Pre-Obama, a 5.9% unemployment rate was considered unacceptably high. The average unemployment rate during the George W. Bush administration was 5.3%. Moreover, most people have figured out that the official unemployment rate has been dropping primarily because Americans are leaving the labor force. Is the latest report a sign of some real awakening of the jobs market, that will make voters more optimistic over the next 30 days?

I doubt it. The September report says that the number of those not in the labor force increased by another 315,000 last month. […]

Via WILL YESTERDAY’S JOBS REPORT BOOST DEMOCRATS?

The “dismal science” wasn’t nearly as dismal back when Reagan was President, was it?

All Gone

At 08:15:15L on 06 August 1945, the Enola Gay, dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima, and many things changed. Strangely, other than being the first use of an atomic weapon in war, there was actually little new about it. It wasn’t the deadliest raid of the war, that likely was the Tokyo fire raid, or perhaps the joint USAAF/RAF raids on Dresden, nor was it the first time an atomic weapon went off, that was Trinity, we spoke of that the other day. It was likely the most efficient, for whatever that is worth.

What Hiroshima did (along with Nagasaki, a few days later) was shock Japan, and perhaps give the Emperor the excuse he needed to end the war. Whatever the cause, the war did end, without the invasion of Japan that was reckoned would cost one million American casualties, at least.

But the reason I mention this today is that the crew of Enola Gay is all gone now. Theodore “Dutch” van Cleef, the crew’s Navigator, died the other day, and so BGEN Tibbetts’ crew have all passed now.

All gone: The crew of the Enola Gay is debriefed in Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands after returning from their mission over Hiroshima, Japan. At foreground left, seated at the corner of the table, is Capt. Theodore Van Kirk, navigaton. He died Monday at 93 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2710104/Last-crew-member-Enola-Gay-dies-Georgia.html#ixzz399MlAZCz Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

One of the things that I always recall about these men, who remained friends, and got together all their lives, was just how committed they were to doing it right. Tibbets reportedly, for the rest of his life, gave van Cleef grief because they dropped the bomb 15 seconds late. On a mission of thousands of miles over open, enemy held, ocean. That was how the war was won, discipline, duty, and attention to detail. We succeed in great measure according to how well we learn that lesson. We also need to learn, as they knew, that the crew is greater than the sum of its parts, as well. There are other lessons from them as well.

But for the moment let’s just remember, and commemorate the passing, of a man who helped to save millions of lives. Although I do note that he, like many others, wished we could put this particular genie, back into the bottle. I honor that as well.

Shutdown Theater Day 8

The Shutdown Theater of Fascism continues.

w6400

From Ace

“Gestapo” is their word, not mine.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site —barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

Continue reading Yellowstone Park Rangers Use “Gestapo” Tactics to Harrass Seniors on Tour Bus.

And this from the Washington Times, also via Ace

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Times, that read in part: “The President made it clear that there should be no disruption in pay and allowances for the men and women serving in uniform and their families. Contrary to this assertion … the Department of Defense, through careless legal interpretation, is now mistakenly denying payments of Death Gratuity and other benefits to the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice. Since DoD has determined that it cannot provide this benefit, I am at a loss about why DoD did not take a more active role in notifying Congress and insisting that changes in law occur immediately.”
Republicans in Congress announced they’re drafting legislation to immediately restore the payment to families and hope it could be put to a vote as early as Wednesday.

This is America?

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