Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Navy Interaction With Sri Lanka

I want to take any opportunity I can to point out positive events involving the Navy and one such event occurred recently off Sri Lanka when the carrier Stennis conducted resupply from Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo.

From a Navy article,

The cargo transfer conducted in January contributed approximately 25 million Sri Lankan rupees to the local economy, supporting local businesses.

“Sri Lanka’s leaders have outlined their vision for the country’s regional engagement that reflects its location at the nexus of the Indo-Pacific and seizes the opportunities that this unique position presents,” said U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz. “We are happy to support this vision through a range of mutually beneficial initiatives, such as contracting Sri Lankan services and goods to support U.S. military and commercial vessels that often transit the Indo-Pacific’s busy sea lanes.” (1)

Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of India makes it strategically important and, as we noted previously, China has established a major port in Sri Lanka (see, “China Seizes Sri LankaPort”).  Anything we can do to counter that is a welcome development even if we’re playing catch-up.  We need to do much more and not just militarily.  Solidifying relations with Sri Lanka should be a major geopolitical objective. 

Good job, Navy.  Keep it up.



  1. I know this is will sound harsh, but is this really what our capital ships are for? We could simply avoid WW3 by allowing China to take Taiwan. Why not? If we're not going to fight, or be good at fighting, we're better off ceding Asia to the Chinese.

    We've lost credibility for some sort of "anti-Chinese coalition", it's cheaper and safer to limit our military to homeland defense. The Swiss haven't been to war in 200 years. Smedley Butler had a point.

  2. "The Swiss haven't been to war in 200 years."

    This is an incredibly key point. Why haven't they been to war? It's very important that you understand why and your comment suggests that you don't.

    Switzerland has maintained neutrality not because neutrality is an actual "force" but because they had and have nothing that anyone cares enough about to take. There is no question that if Hitler had defeated the Allies he would have quickly seized Switzerland regardless of its self-proclaimed neutrality. There is also the question of the degree of assistance the Swiss rendered to the Nazis during WWII but that's another topic.

    Neutrality is the hope that the weak and cowardly nations cling to while depending on stronger countries to protect them.

    As far as ceding Asia to China, we're in the process of doing that!

  3. Smedley Butler's complaints mostly was with military budgetary corruption, not maintaining neutrality.

  4. Butler's central thesis was that every single war he'd been involved in (he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency) had been for corporate gain, rather than an actual threat to the U.S.

    1. I'm not familiar with Butler's work but does that make sense to you? Go through the list of somewhat recent wars and see if many/any were conducted for corporate gain.

      Korea - I see no corporate interest
      Vietnam - I see no corporate interest
      Grenada - Not really a war but I see no corporate interest
      Kosovo - I see no corporate interest
      Desert Storm - There were corporate oil interests but it has to be noted that oil is a US strategic interest regardless of whether corporations profit from it so this one depends on your perspective. It had both strategic interests and corporate.
      Modern Iraq - I see no compelling corporate interests. By this time, the US had become mostly self-sufficient in oil.
      Afghanistan - I see no corporate interests.

  5. CNO, you don't seriously believe (as your comment suggests) that China or Russia, or anyone else is going to invade the US to steal our stuff? Because if you realize the absurdity of that notion, I fail to see your point. As far as protecting our interests, we do more trade with China than anyone. Practically everything in our stores is "Made in China".

    Why should we fight our most favored trade partner, our supplier for all our stuff? It's simply easier to let THEM keep the sea lanes open.

    1. Switzerland had no resources that anyone particularly wanted. The US has immense resources that everyone would like. If we were to reduce our military to the level of a police force (or just abolish it because, hey, we're neutral!) then, yes, I think Russia or China would quickly show up on our doorstep and take over. More realistically, what would happen is that they would start making demands for oceanic shipping "fees", imposing lopsided trade agreements, annexing small countries across the Pacific and Asia, manipulating currency, etc. which would have the effect of making the US a tributary state since we'd be unable to offer any resistance.

      The implied threat of a Chinese nuclear weapon can achieve a LOT of "agreement" when we have no military to counter it.

      China isn't going to keep the sea lanes open. Given the opportunity, they'd regulate the sea lanes and impose fees, and dictate who gets to ship what and where.

      As far as "Made in China", that's a strategic vulnerability. We should be pulling all of our manufacturing out of China and back to the US (hey, that sounds like an instant jobs program!). We should be financially isolating China, not trading with them. To his credit, Trump is doing that, after a fashion (no, I'm not going to engage in a political discussion so don't bother).

  6. I see. You're conflating non-aggression with pacifism. They are not the same thing; you can walk softly AND carry a big stick. Just because you don't go around punching people, does not imply that you tolerate being punched. All I'm suggesting is that if you don't want to be punched, don't start any fist fights. Simple pragmatism.

    It's risk vs reward. The most likely scenario is that the war starts when China invades Taiwan. If the US tries to interfere, we'll promptly lose a carrier. At which point, a full scale war is unavoidable. Considering the size of our respective militaries, and respective economies, it's automatically a World War. I doubt Japan, Russia, or India could stay out of it, although I don't know which side any of them would take (who the like best is less important than who they fear most, and proximity is a major factor). Whoever gets India, their opponent will likely get Pakistan.

    And when the dust settles, we'll have spent umpteen trillion dollars (that we don't have) and Taiwan will still belong to China. It's not worth it. If you want a trade war, that't different. An embargo, tarriffs, etc. are all options that don't get anyone killed. If we can't beat them on cost, we can beat them on quality. And if we can't beat them on cost or quality, we DESERVE to lose market share. That's how capitalism works.

    1. IMO, Taiwan is lost, Taiwan just don't know it yet. I was too optimistic as I thought we still had a few years of advantages that have evaporated quicker than expected, plus, there's no public interest or appetite that I can see where USA would even try to stop China from taking Taiwan. The day China goes for it, it will probably not even that use much force, it will fall in their lap. USA won't even attempt to stop or risk losing a carrier, my 2 cents.

  7. Seriously?! Every single one of those wars were started by politicians who were paid for by defense companies who made hundreds of billions of dollars! And the generals who lost those wars retired to muti-million dollar "consultant" jobs for those same defense companies.

    What do think Ike was talking about when he warned us of the "military-industrial complex"? Tell me, cause I'd love to know-- how did ANY of those countries pose a threat to the citizens of the US?

    1. "started by politicians who were paid for by defense companies"

      Oh good grief. This is the worst kind of sophomoric, illogical, conspiracy thinking, totally unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

      You may agree or disagree with the rationale for entering the various wars (Vietnam - containing Communism, for example) but to suggest that a defense company is directing Presidents to start wars is ludicrous. I'm sure defense companies are quite satisfied to see us jump into another war but to suggest that they are directing Presidents to start wars is right up there with aliens and tin foil hats.

      This line of discussion is terminated.


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