Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Pre commissioning Image of China's Only Air Craft Carrier (Photo USN) 

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies
Update 8/12/2015 Still doing similar exercises on an irregular reoccurring basis. 

The Dragon and The Bear (China and Russia) are performing joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean and other waters off Europe.  They cite seemingly logical , simple reasons for the exercises in the waters off Europe. But make no mistake there is saber rattling and swagger involved in their motivations as well. 

 Last week (May 11, 2015) Dragon and Bear ships , nine in all started 10 days of combined naval exercises far from their home waters and in the back yards of NATO / EU. The exercises translate loosely to "Joint Sea 2015". While both thug states maintain that the exercises aren't "aimed at any particular country", it is rather obvious that they are making a point to the Western Alliances. Their point is that their two growing navies are growing in the cooperation needed for joint operations, and that thy both have global reach. Particularly pointed are the official press releases that indicate that among the skills practiced were "Maritime replenishment", which we sometimes refer to as "underway replenishment".  This a crucial skill for a navy to have if it intends global operations. The Dragon and the Bear maintain that the aim of the exercise is to “further deepen friendly and practical interaction between the two countries,”. Actually the two have never liked each other and have bitter and continuing border issues. However they both dislike the United States more than they dislike each other. Now while the White House is clueless they are uniting to demonstrate that the U.S. is weak and ungoverned. The aim is to beat on the United States while it is down suffering from the worst federal government in history, in the hopes that we will never be able to muster up the status and trust to effectively police thug states again. 
Chinese Sailors (Photo USN) 

 Despite assurances from the Russian Defense ministry, European commentators find Europe's Middle sea a strange place for a Dragon / Bear romp. It is believed that Moscow and Beijing chose the venue expressly to be provocative. The Bear and the Dragon are playing to a chosen audience. Their message is simply that they outgun the European navies combined, and the United States is unlikely to come to their aid if push comes to shove, so play their way or stay in port.  The Dragon and the Bear are trying to demonstrate an end to the American era as the world's leading seapower. Yet the United States still has the technological edge, and about 8 more aircraft supercarriers than both the Bear and the Dragon have combined. They don't want to tweak our noses too hard lest we react by sending a carrier task group into the area belying their point and demonstrating superior fire power. So an effort is made to appear non threatening.

The Dragon's group consisting of the guided missile frigates LINYI and WEIFANG and the fleet oiler WEISHANHU are supposedly taking a break from counter piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, and the Bear's vessels are from a combination of their Black Sea Fleet and Atlantic Fleet. So none of the ships came a very long distance to attend the exercise and the whole thing is presented as an exercise of opportunity by vessels that were "just in the neighborhood". But that they have travel capability and staying power in the neighborhood is alarming in itself and meant to be so. These games of naval one upmanship are part and parcel of naval diplomacy designed to weaken an opponent's influence with their allies.  Sometimes such maneuver can backfire. When the Russians started demonstrating naval power in the 1980s the Reagan administration's response was the call and considerable progress towards the "600 ship navy". The U.S. Navy did in fact gain overwhelming dominance at sea. If we had an actual President in the white house or if adults ran Congress this latest demonstration by the Dragon and the Bear could backfire on them. But we expect them to keep up the game for at least 24 months. 

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