That was my usual response before I retired. I was fortunate during my last working years to be able to work from home. I told people my morning commute was thirty steps downstairs to my home office. After I retired, I continued most of those habits…writing this blog being one.
Last Friday, I wrote a post about the apparent downward spiral to war in Eastern Europe. It is arguable whether the Ukraine is European. My definition is that all of the territory west of the Ural and the ‘stans, are European, if only by religion and heritage. The major religions are the Catholic varieties—Roman, Greek and Russ ion Orthodox. Those areas mark the furthest extent of the Turkish/Islamic advance of the 16th and 17th Century.
But Eastern Europe is not the only area where war warnings exist. WesPac is a potential point of conflict as well. Finally, someone in the Pentagon and Washington is looking westward instead of eastward.
Amid Chinese Aggression, Obama Affirms U.S. Defense of Japan’s Senkaku Islands
Bruce Klingner, April 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm
During his trip to Japan, President Obama publicly affirmed long-standing U.S. policy that the bilateral security treaty applies to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China claims sovereignty over the islands and, in recent years, has tried to intimidate Japan—much as Beijing has bullied the Philippines in pursuit of its extralegal territorial claims in the South China Sea.
President Obama’s statement was a welcome and proper confirmation of U.S. support for a critical Pacific ally.
During a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama declared, “let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 [of the bilateral security treaty] covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.”
While this was the first time Obama publicly affirmed the parameters of the U.S. defense commitment to Japan, it is consistent with the long-standing policies of his predecessors. As Obama pointed out, “this isn’t a ‘red line’ that I’m drawing; it is the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance…There’s no shift in position. There’s no “red line” that’s been drawn. We’re simply applying the treaty.”
In 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty “would require any attack on Japan, or the administrative territories under Japanese control, to be seen as an attack on the United States.”
During a 2010 flare-up of tensions between China and Japan over the Senkakus, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “we have made it very clear that the [Senkaku] islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan
The Obama administration’s public reassurance to Japan is meant to deter China from behaving aggressively. In recent years, Beijing has used military and economic threats, bombastic language, and enforcement through military bullying to extend its extra-legal claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas.
In November 2013, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, including the Senkaku Islands. Beijing threatened to use its military to enforce the ADIZ. Washington condemned this declaration as a provocative act that exacerbated tensions in the region and increased the risks of a military clash.
Beijing is also attempting to divert attention from its own actions by mischaracterizing Japan as a threat to regional security. China’s bellicose actions have fueled regional concern and triggered a greater Japanese willingness confront Chinese expansionism and strengthen its military. This willingness to defend its territory has been mischaracterized as a resurgence of Japan’s 1930s imperial militarism.
One of Japan’s problems isn’t with Chinese aggression. Their problem is toothless assurances from the United States when a significant portion of the US Naval Fleet…is along dockside, awaiting repairs, upgrades, or lacking the funding to return to the fleet.
According to sources, there are 430 ships believed to be in active service. That includes ships under construction and in reserve. The majority of these ships were built in the late 20th Century, some dating as far back as the 1960s. The Fleet is aging.
During the Bush years, we had twelve carriers afloat, each carrier being the center of a battlegroup. That number has been reduced to ten. The photo to the left, taken over the Christmas and New Years holidays in 2012. Reduced those battlegroups on the high seas, from ten to five for a short period.
With those ship’s crews on leave for the holidays, how quickly could they have responded if the Chinese chose to ignore the treaty between Japan and the US? My guess would be a month to retrieve the crews, top off consumables and sail to the trouble area.
Does Obama’s, Kerry’s and Hillery’s statements affirming that US/Japanese alliance hold water? I don’t know. The question really is, does the Chinese believe it does.
Clive Bundy is in the news again. He stepped in it, big time. He had an interview with a reporter from the New York Times. The NYT did it’s usual hatchet-job, taking Bundy’s words out of context, changing the order, doing their usual job putting Bundy in the worse light possible. The MSM took it an ran with it.
In the end, Bundy did say those things. However his statements does not change the facts about the BLM’s aggression and overt attempts of land grabbing.
In response to the NYT interview, this column appeared in The American Thinker.
Why It’s Okay to Hate Cliven Bundy