1 January 2019   Leave a comment

The US Strategic Air Command sent out a New Year’s Tweet which it then deleted. Fortunately, nothing on the internet ever dies and WAFB in Louisiana posted a copy of the video. The tweet was unbelievably inappropriate and read, in part,

The tweet included a video of B-2 bombers dropping 30,000 “bunker buster” bombs on a test site. The Strategic Air Command subsequently apologized, but it is very difficult for me to understand why anyone would have though the first message was something that anyone wished to see on a day on which most hope for a better year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered a New Year’s address outlining his visions for the upcoming year. He was dressed in a business suit, not his usual garb, and delivered his address from what looked like a library or business office. He signaled a desire to meet with South Korean President Moon as well as US President Trump and the message emphasized his desire to better economic conditions in North Korea. But he also indicated that he believed that the current direction of the denuclearization negotiations is not productive. Reuters summarizes that part of the speech:

“Kim sees nuclear weapons as a valuable deterrent to a U.S. military strike. Unless that threat is eliminated, he won’t give them up. He also believes his weapons put him in a position of strength from which he can make demands and extract concessions.

“The North has been pretty clear about these points. But Kim spelled them out once again.

“His message to Trump: Start addressing his concerns about security and sanctions relief soon or he will have no choice but to try a different, less friendly approach. And he is warning that he will be able to make a case to China, Russia and possibly even Seoul that if things fall Washington will be the one to blame.”

There was no response by US President Trump and it is not clear what the next steps will be.

Chinese Rear Admiral Lou Yuan gave a speech in Shenzhen in which he outlined US weaknesses in the ongoing dispute over the East and South China Seas. According to the Australian News Service:

“His speech, delivered on December 20 to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting US carriers, despite them being at the centre of a ‘bubble’ of defensive escorts.

“’What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,’ Admiral Lou declared.

“He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.
‘We’ll see how frightened America is.’”

The US has heavily invested in aircraft carriers to maintain military superiority, but both China and Russia have been working hard to offset them by exploiting their weaknesses. The number of naval confrontations between the US and China in the South China Sea has been steadily rising, and there are increased tensions between the two states on the issue of Taiwan.

Posted January 1, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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