Monday, November 02, 2015

First China, Now Russia: US Navy Chief Debates European Escalation Amid "Fears For The Global System"

by Arthur Foxake

Is Russian Naval Blockade of Syrian coast aleady in place (Russia 'ships are white, US 'Naval Assets' are red) (Source)

A recent story in the ongoing saga of the drift towards global conflict (that we did not report at the time because it happened withle Ian was on holiday and managed to get the rest of us locked out of the account by hacking into it because he couldn't be arsed setting up his Google global ID. (It wasn't that, I don't like Google tracking me when I'm at home, spying on my vacations it totally off limits - Ian) America sailed warships close to China's reclaimed islands in the South Cina Sea, sparking a diplomatic incident.

To be fair to Washington, the Chinese have been regularly rattling The Pentagon's cage, while simultaneously the situation between the USA and Russia is worsening in the middle east. We have reported our fears that American foreign policy overreach has prompted the eastern alliance to decide it is time the USA was deposed as dominant world power.

In a shockingly quick confirmation of our gravest concerns, Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told The Financial Times that the navy was reassessing its position in the face of Russian activity, which stretches from the Black Sea and Mediterranean to the Pacific.

In the face of China's island-building in the South China Sea through which 30% of global trade passes, and Russia's naval activity in The Mediterranean (20% of global trade), Richardson warns, rather ominously, the "ambiguous motivations" of China and Russia has raised concern about the viability of a global system that claims to ensure freedom:

"It again perturbs that global system," he said, adding that "the current model... has been threatened?"

So what now? It is a good bet that despite Russia's denials, the Pentagon will use the alleged Russian ground campaign against ISIS in Syria, credible or not (Russia has support troops on the ground in Syria, as does the USA,) to get push through Congress an enabling act to send a "small at first, then bigger ground force of US troops" into Syria, you guessed it,"to fight ISIS", but in reality to do everything to prevent Russian troops from taking over key strategic positions.

What happens then? The Russian fleet has in 2014 stationed ships off Syria's main ports to convince washington that a groun invastion of syria was a bad idea, so that demonstrated a naval blockade of Syria eould be Putin's next tactical move, and with both US and Russian warplanes flting missions against ISIS and Al Nusra targets in Syria, and both superpowers now having, from their own POV, justification to put troops on the ground, what was until now a mere proxy war is about to become full blown land combat on Syrian soil, one which will soon involve both Russian and US ground, sea and airborne forces.

Should US battle cruisers, destroyers and/or aircraft then approach the Syrian coastline, pissing distance away from comparable Russian ships that could be the trigger for the next and final escalation.

And sure enough, as The FT reports, The US is debating whether to position more ships and naval assets in Europe as Russian warships and submarines operate at levels not seen in two decades, according to Admiral Richardson. The key to this now is not whether China offes support to its allies, Russia and Iran, but how much support they offer and what form that support will take.

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