(FPIF) – The Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy is being touted as a sea change in U.S. foreign policy — a shift from the “war on terrorism” to “great power competition,” a line that would not be out of place in the years leading up to World War I.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the Iranian Navy, announced Monday that Tehran will construct three bases and two large naval zones in the country’s southeastern region along the Makran coast, near the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
Commander Sayyari noted that the naval initiatives were being undertaken to keep merchant vessels secure from pirate forces and to protect naval routes, especially after Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian cargo ship bound for Yemen in November 2008. He suggested that construction will also take place as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalate.
There were 23 encounters between Iranian and American vessels last year, with seven of Tehran’s fast attack watercraft approaching the USS Firebolt in September, nearly colliding with the coastal patrol ship.
As tensions mount in the South China Sea, the country’s state television has heralded the Liaoning aircraft carrier’s expanded lethality.
Last week, Chinese TV boasted about the “growing combat capabilities” of its Liaoning (CV-16) aircraft carrier, noting that the battle platform can carry up to 20 fighter jets, bolstering Beijing’s balance of naval and aviation power in the Pacific rim amid growing tensions.
Last Monday’s footage revealed the Liaoning carrying eight Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 fighters, along with a Z-18 and a Z-9 helicopter, the largest number of aircraft yet seen on the carrier, suggestive of plans by China to build up its aerial presence in the Pacific Ocean.
Brexit and its ramifications, Europe’s migrants’ problem, the creation of global free trade zone agreements, terrorism and the fight against the Islamic State group hit headlines to distract attention from the problem of arms and military activities’ control moving to the brink of collapse.
On June 28, the Russian Defense Ministry made a statement saying a US naval ship had passed too close to one of its vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.
It accused the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely of dangerous activities.
The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video to confirm the fact.
We live in a time where the fragile, finite nature of surrounding ecosystems has never been more apparent. That’s why environmentalists find the US Navy’s reputed disregard for marine life, in it’s endless rhyme of testing and training, beyond disturbing. Recently, a group found the Navy’s been given impunity to harm up to 12 million marine mammals, and asks military brass if it’s worth it.
West Coast Action Alliance, a multi-state, international citizen watchdog group, did a recent tally of the number of “takes” allowed to the US Navy. According to Truthout, a “take” is a form of harm to an animal ranging from harassment, to injury, to death. The data WCAA examined came directly from the Navy’s own Northwest Training & Testing EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), and authorizations to commit “takes”.
“The numbers are staggering”, proclaims Karen Sullivan, spokeswoman for WCAA and a former endangered species biologist. “When you realize the same individual animals can be harassed over and over”, she continues, “as they migrate to different areas, there is no mitigation that can make up for these losses except limiting the use of sonar and explosives where these animals are trying to live.”
As history shows, significant improvement of a country’s economic situation inevitably boosts its military ambitions. The world has been holding its breath for the last 30 years witnessing the rapid economic growth in China, waiting for the new developments. And China did not fail the expectations of the global community. Whereas before the mid-2000s the Chinese leadership was rejecting the very idea of expansion of its military presence abroad, now the situation has changed dramatically.
The global economic crisis of 2008 that shattered the faith in the sustainability of the US dollar and weakened the positions of the US opened up new opportunities for the Chinese yuan. Shortly thereafter, global mass media started talking about new Chinese military doctrine. Its new objectives included not only the reform of domestically stationed troops, but also the formation of an international contingent and establishment of Chinese military bases abroad.
A worrisome situation in the South China Sea, which has been deteriorating since 2009, revealed China’s indisputable dominance over its nearest neighbors in the region. It also became evident that the US could no longer order the now powerful China around and dictate how to deal with the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. At the beginning of 2016, the number of Chinese artificial islands with a 12-mile patrolled area exceeded the number of American destroyers present in the South China Sea. In addition, as recently as in February 2016, China installed air defense missile systems on Woody Island, one of the Paracel Islands contested by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. In May, Chinese military intercepted an American ship in the patrolled 12-mile area near one of the reefs of the Spratly Islands, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
The American aggression against China continued Tuesday May 10th with the invasion of Chinese waters just off the Spratly Islands by an American destroyer as China’s limited stock of patience continues to run out.
By sending their ships into Chinese territorial waters on the bizarre claim that they are exercising “their right of innocent passage” and that, the “United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” they are in fact claiming the right to go anywhere they want, anytime they want. They might as well claim the right to once again send gunboats up the Yangtze River bristling with guns and marines, for their passage through Chinese waters was not only illegal, because without permission; it was also certainly not “innocent” since the passage was meant to be a display of power and control, which is prohibited by the Law of the Sea Convention.
The American claim of following international law is absurd because international law requires that a naval vessel of one county wishing to enter the 12 nautical mile limit of another country must have the permission of the country whose waters they wish to cross. They have to ask permission and they have to fly that country’s flag when they make the passage. All foreign ships entering another nation’s waters fly their own flag and that of the host nation. The Americans refuse to ask permission and they certainly do not honour the custom of flying the Chinese flag. They might as well send their ambassador to a meeting with President Xi and, in front of everyone, spit in his face. For that is what they intend, to insult China, and to dare it.
A new class of naval vessels customised for emergency aid could hold vital lessons for the world, starting with Britain.
This deployment is not only Russia-centric; it is equally centred on China and it is perhaps for this reason that Russia’s decision to build a naval base in its far east comes as a direct force multiplier for China, which has, on its part, been looking to boost up its alliance with regional states as a mean to counter the U.S.’ geo-strategic moves.