Tuesday, March 11, 2014



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 The Second Thomas Reef as it is known in the Philippines is called the Ren'ai Reef. The reef which is sometimes exposed above mean low water is only about 80 nautical miles west of Palawan Islands, one of the main islands of the Philippine Republic 120 miles within the Philippine's Exclusive Economic Zone relative to China which has no undisputed territory within about 750 miles or more of the reef. But the Dragon has been trying to take it for a long time now. In 1999 the Philippines deliberately grounded an old former U.S. transport on the reef, hoisted the Philippine flag and manned the permanently grounded vessel with Philippine Marines. A couple of years ago China began encircling the reef with Coast Guard like armed craft and inviting in Chinese commercial fishermen, and blocking Philippine fishermen and most attempts to resupply the marines on the ship named by the Philippines the SANTA MARIA. That's right the Philippine flag still flies on the Santa Maria and a handful of Philippines Marines live on the Santa Maria.

 Living conditions for the Marines are squalid. The Hull is rusting out from under them and food is scarce. But the marines fly their flag high and drill with their weapons every day. They have a solar panel powered radio and stay in contact with the Philippine Navy those not on radio watch after daily readiness drills fish and tend tarpoline and bucket rain water catch systems. Thanks to a rainy tropical climate the Marines have been able to stay self sufficient in fresh water. They are losing weight on the fish diet but once in while a Philippine small craft manages to slip through the screen of the Chinese Coast Guard and get a few supplies on board the Santa Maria. With the hull rusting the Marines have needed construction materials to build walkways and shore up failing decks and bulkheads. On March 10, 2014 a Philippine resupply craft with the construction materials, no doubt much needed food supplements , and other needed its, as well as a fresh supply of Philippine flags was caught and turned away by the Dragon's patrol. In a public display of incredible convoluted logic China accused the Philippines of "aggression" against China's "Sovereign territory".

The Second Thomas Shoal, a strategic gateway to Reed Bank, believed to be rich in oil and natural gas, is one of several possible flash points in the South China Sea that could force the United States to intervene in defense of its Southeast Asian allies. Despite China's outrageous claims they have not fired upon or attempted to board the Santa Maria. First the Dragon understands full well that in terms of international law they don't have a leg to stand on. Second even if China had an arguable claim the Santa MAria may be a wrecked hulk but she is still a commissioned ship of the Philippine Navy with a mission, guarding the Second Thomas Shoal. The Santa Maria still is under the Philippine flag and she is stilled manned by skinny but armed Philippines marines, who like true marines of any flag, are ready to fight to the death of the last man left standing in defense of their flag.  China could easily overwhelm and wipe out the Marines but if did so they commit an unmistakable act of war against the Philippines and they engage the United States in the defense of the Philippines. How much longer the Dragon can go before it makes a fatal mistake is anybody's guess. If the Dragon's behavior continues the cross the boundaries of common sense, decency, and international law it is only a matter of time before someone will have to shoot them.

File:Alfred Thayer Mahan.jpeg Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan

 The leaders of China have lied to the people about the offshore claims and the nation's capability to withstand a serious international reaction to an actual act of war. As we have explained in previous posts the day China crosses that line is the first day of the end of the Communist party in China as China's economy crashes. The Chinese are apparently good students of Alfred Thayer Mahan  but for some reason never studied Mr. Lincoln's navy and the Anaconda strategy used against the American South .
Only a navy that was invented by an army could take as a mission the capture of the center of a barrel. The Defense of the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia against the People's Liberation Army's Navy will be exactly like shooting fish in a barrel as we have previously explained.  



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