Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Film: "The Rise of the Soviet Navy" (1969) and other stuff

In the current national security environment, where there are so many players who seem to be taking advantage of perceived weakness or indifference on the U.S. part, there is value in looking back - because "everything old is new again:"

Oh, yes, there is the military rise of China, covered by Stratfor here:
When evaluating a force, you have to measure it against what mission it is trying to accomplish and against what adversarial force it may face, as well as its ability to effectively coordinate and support its assets. The Chinese military is now expanding from a very low capacity, from a military designed largely for internal security, and one characterized by the predominance of the ground forces over the air and naval forces. Further, the Chinese military should not be looked at as trying to match the U.S. military in global capabilities. For China, its primary interest is its own region, where there are numerous security issues at play, even excluding the United States.

Distance provides the Chinese with some strength over the United States in the West Pacific, but that same geography also places China's resources in a very active region with diffuse potential threats. This leaves the Chinese having to focus on three levels of potential security concerns: small weaker states; Japan and Russia (its two potential peer competitors); and the distant but regionally present United States, which remains the only global power. In designing its grand strategy, doctrine and force structure, China has to balance how it would ideally handle any combination of the three.
But, hey, the Admiral Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command also has his eye on the North Koreans:
North Korea and its unpredictable leader are U.S. Pacific Command’s biggest worries, Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. told the Military Reporters and Editors Association here yesterday.

Harris, who has commanded U.S. Pacific Command since May, gave reporters and editors an update on the progress of the military rebalance to the Pacific.

Harris stopped in Washington on his way to the Australia-United States Ministerial in Boston.

“The greatest threat that I face on a day-to-day basis is the threat from North Korea, because you have an unpredictable leaders who is in complete command of his country and his military,” Harris said.

KimJong Un is “on a quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them intercontinentally,” he said, adding that Un “poses a very real threat to the 28,000 Americans in South Korea, the nation of South Korea, Japan and on and on.”

“At some point in the future, as he develops his capability, North Korea will present a very real threat to Hawaii and the rest of the United States,” Harris continued. “Now, I have to be ready from a position of strength to deal with North Korea and we are ready to deal … any time that Kim Jong Un decides to act.”
Of course, there was stuff on China (oddly enough, Russia never seems to come up as a Pacific power):
Harris reiterated that U.S. involvement in the region is not aimed at containing China. The rebalance is about U.S. recognition of the increased importance of the region to Main Street U.S.A. Simply put, security in the region has means prosperity, he said.

“It’s in the best interests of the United States that we continue to embrace and enhance our relationships with everyone in the region including China,” Harris said. “While I’ve been known to be critical of China’s provocative military activities these past two years … I will also acknowledge when China has been helpful, such as China’s counterpiracy efforts off the Horn of Africa and the search for the Malaysian airliner off the coast of Australia.”

The admiral will meet with Chinese military leaders next month and he will “maximize” these areas of cooperation and agreement, while trying to work through areas where the United States and China disagree, he said.

Harris is prepared to continue the conversation with Chinese leaders. “Obviously one of the topics of on-going discussions is my continuing concern with what I call China’s ‘sand castles in the sea’ in disputed waters of the South China Sea,” he said. “Militarization by any claimant in the area makes it harder to resolve disagreements diplomatically.”

Harris will not discuss future operations in his area of responsibility, but he referred reporters to his testimony before the Senate earlier this year. “To reaffirm our ironclad commitment to international law, I think we must exercise freedom of navigation operations throughout the region and throughout the globe,” he said.

He also said he told a regional chiefs of defense meeting -- which included China -- at his headquarters in Hawaii two weeks ago that the United States “will continue to fly and sail and operate anywhere -- anywhere that international law allows.”
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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