the US can not afford to start another war, it does not have the forces or the finance
so… clearly it is time to contemplate stupidest possible scenarios…
A lot of interesting little things have happened in the world.
Russia is moving fleet units to Venezuela, Syria and Somalia. Venezuela also gets some visiting Bear Recon/Bomber planes, with Cuban layovers.
The ships in Venezuela and Syria seem to partly there to rub some noses and distract, and partly as “don’t you dare bomb here” – much like US sixth fleet ships rushing to Georgian ports last month. The Somalian deployment is presumably in reaction to pirates capturing a ship load of T-72 tanks and ammo, that seem not to have an actual customer anywhere…
Israel has a new government, and may be feeling less like lashing out, but maybe more like taking rational long term measures. The US has apparently shipped some x-band radar to Israel and given them access to early warning satellites.
In the mean time, reading between the lines, the Russians have finished the Bushehr reactor in south Iran.
Except for some “technical details” (like hitting the on-button) which will preclude it turning on until beginning of Feb 2009.
Interesting date. Something else happen around then?
Right now there is a new moon coming up, end of Ramadan in fact on monday.
Next new moon is then late Oct, about a week before US elections.
Oh, and the US is about to deploy an army combat brigade (1st of the 3rd) – to the continental USA!
Glenn Greenwald discusses the legal implications.
Nice to know there is a brigade to spare – well, there isn’t, this counts as a R&R rotation for the brigade.
But effective Oct 1st a infantry brigade is on call for rapid deployment inside the US, in case of disaster.
So… where are the ships? Continuing my general sense that if the US were to decide to launch a “Global Strike” sort of thing, ie an sustained air-only attack on, for example, Iran – then they will want the Navy to play, and this requires moving carriers and subs into place, and those are big. One way to mask any movements is by rotation – carriers overlapping when one arrives to replace another – and deployment for exercises. This is assuming that the US would want at least three, and preferably five, main fleet carriers in the area for an attack.
There was an interesting discussion on such things at Information Dissemination this summer.
So… the US has a fixed number of carriers:
Kitty Hawk – just retired
Nimitz – just back from deployment
Eisenhower – came out of dock this summer, exercising in Atlantic
Vinson – in dock
Roosevelt – left for Middle East this month, transiting Atlantic/Mediterranean
Lincoln – just left Middle East for US
Washington – finally forward deploying to Japan, replacing Kitty Hawk – after a fire in transit and stop for repairs and new captain
Stennis – exercising in Pacific for early ’09 deployment
Truman – in dock
Reagan – in Middle East, after covering Japan when Kitty Hawk left and Washington failed to arrive, due to head home soon
Bush – not ready for prime time
Ford – was just ordered!
So, Reagan is on deck, Lincoln is in transit back to US, Roosevelt in transit to Middle East; Washington is going to have to stay around the China Sea and Eisenhower is probably not quite ready – Stennis could surge if needed, the deployment exercise will have her at sea for two months solid!
The Lincoln is loitering with the 7th fleet, hanging out in micronesia this week. Still a long way from home – only weird thing about that is that the navy status page shows her already back home with the 3rd fleet.
Any other peculiarities in deployment, we ask?
Well, Pearl Harbour is sortieing some missile destroyers, going west, but the number of submarines reported at sea is normal. Don’t see any unusual logistic moves or air force rotations, but then I’m not really looking. Got some friends heading out soon though.
So… definitely nothing happening this new moon.
Conceivable to overlap 3-4 carriers in late oct, but to launch anything that close to the election seems inconceivable.
Seriously, could anyone be stupid enough to start a war less than a week before a Presidential election?
It would totally scramble the political scene, and cause major turmoil among voters.
Could swing an election depending on the provocation, could go either way.
(Talking of which, if al Qaeda has any operational capability inside the US, they ought to use it this month, given the political and economic turmoil – likely they have no remaining capability; they could still try to stir something up in the Middle East if they have anything left).
A very, very cynical political operative, desperate to avoid an undersirable election outcome, might decide that kicking over the table and launching fighters is worth the risk – taking a 50:50 gamble over a certain loss.
If they considered policy subordinate to political considerations, and the national interest subordinate to party interest.
Fortunately no such people could conceivable get high enough in the US political scene to do any such stupid thing; and if they did, the other two branches of government would, by design, counter such ploys.