Why War In The Pacific Is Extremely Likely

(Recap of 8/17/2021 live broadcast on halturnerradioshow.com)

"The fall of Kabul Sunday will prove to be the "Pearl Harbor Moment" for our generation.  It has been less than 48 hours and the geopolitical changes around the world are happening so rapidly--soon every American will recognize their lifetime divided into "before" and "after" the fall of Kabul on Sunday last."

Monday evening Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted a short list of US military personnel stationed in foreign countries "today". The list included 30,000 US troops in Taiwan (the last US soldier "officially" left Taiwan in 1979).  China responded within the hour that the senator's tweet was purposed to elicit a response, that it were unlikely true, and if it were true the answer from China would be immediate war to drive those troops off the island.  Curiousities of the situation include that Senator Cornyn is on the Senate Intelligence Committee and extremely well-informed on defense issues.  I added that the senator is known to be a Bushite and RINO-ish but always an advocate for expenditure toward a strong US military.  I added that Trump considered the senator a close ally on security issues and may well be in contact with him to test the waters on key strategic issues.  It took long hours until Cornyn deleted the tweet, again without retraction or the "immediate explanation" that China demanded.

China deployed aircraft and warships within four hours of the tweet (nighttime in China) for snap live-fire drills SW and NW of Taiwan; the US and allies deployed military assets as well, putting to sea all three Seawolf-class nuclear-powered attack submarines from their Pacific port in Bremerton, Washington.  These three submarines would only deploy simultaneously in an emergency as part of a "surge" to counter an imminent threat.  They did deploy together just two weeks ago and the media was abuzz as to what the emergency could have been.  The USS Jimmy Carter recently was upgraded with an extra 100-foot hull section enabling special operations or other mission modules to be inserted as needed.  Minelaying is one of the mission capabilities of this module, an effort that may be vital to defense of the Taiwan Strait in an invasion.  These ships may well be able to transit the Pacific submerged in only four days (the actual top speed of such vessels being a highly classified military secret).  They also carry MK41 vertical-launch missile cells capable of firing the Tomahawk missile, among others.  All nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles were quietly "retired from service" and some or all may have been dismantled during the Obama years, but Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M Shanahan announced in 2018 that this nuclear capability violated no treaty and "would return to the fleet." The warheads and delivery systems may have been upgraded, but the old nuclear Tomahawk carried a W80 warhead with variable yield from 5-150 kilotons, giving a wide range of proportionate responses that could be launched from attack submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.  When the USS Laboon of this class sailed into the Black Sea two months ago, the Russians specifically named that this ship carried up to 56 nuclear-capable Tomahawks and this capability would force them to consider the threat posed by this vessel as a nuclear one.  Two more ships of this class, appeared in the port of Yokosuka, Japan yesterday to join the US 7th Fleet (meaning that they had sailed across the broad Pacific Ocean to enter the theatre), and were shown in a photo double-berthed.  Yokosuka harbor looks to be absolutely packed in various photos, with visitors plus Japanese destroyers and frigates moored three and four abreast. 

I commented to Hal that a number of observers believe that Biden has only limited control of the US military, evidenced by the fact that three key Trump-supporting leaders retain their commands:  General George Flynn (the brother of former national security advisor Michael Flynn) is the head of the US Army-Pacific, Admiral Craig Faller is the head of SOUTHCOM, and his cousin (misstated as "brother" in the live radio broadcast) Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessey is the head of NORTHCOM (O'Shaughnessey famously "went to the mattresses", retreating in April 2020 deep into the Cheyenne Mountain underground military complex during the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns.  The General may still be in a continuity-of-government bunker as he has been very quiet and the military has at various levels always considered Covid-19 to be a WMD enemy attack.) Further, as previously reported on this blog, numerous allied nations have been furiously drilling in the Indo-Pacific, bringing vast amounts of modern weapons and warfighters to the theatre despite China`s boisterous counter-threats.  Hal added that there is a near-constant stream of US military cargo planes heading into Australia, observation of this hidden by the severe Australian lockdowns preventing movement of civilians. 

Great Britain`s Royal Navy is doubling down in the Indo-Pacific, sending two River-class ships (HMS Tamar and HMS Spey) to the theatre despite a rather critical shortage of surface vessels.  Russia mocked this class of ships when the HMS Trent entered the Black Sea in May, stating that she was not a threat, but a "tickle", armed only with machine guns and no missiles.  Plans are underway, however, to arm these small but very modern ships with proven missile systems as has been done by both the USA with the larger (3,000-ton) LCS and the smaller (1,000-ton) patrol/missile boats of the Taiwanese navy.  The anti-ship missile option most suited to this class "that China should fear" is the Naval Strike Missile NSM, or NMESIS in the land-launched area-denial version used by the US Marines.  Days ago during the LSE 21 exercises, the Marines launched this missile successfully on August 15th, destroying a target more than 100 miles out to sea.  Britain also posted video of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier replenishing underway and for the first time loading live munitions while at sea.  She, along with the rest of the CSG21 Strike Group, is refueling and rearming after the exercises.  Britain dispensed years ago with the freefall bomb and land-launched ballistic missile legs of her nuclear deterrent triad, leaving only her ballistic missile submarines.  The F-35B aircraft flown from the HMS Queen Elizabeth are nuclear-capable, however, and the US Marines on that ship may have brought some very special cargo (nuclear bombs and/or nuclear air-launched cruise missiles) aboard in the 14,540kg cache of munitions delivered.  The window of opportunity to confront China may be quickly closing, as "Chinese students rush to return to America", those students being the best and brightest persons of military age, numbering in the hundred-thousands, many from hardcore communist universities that President Trump had blacklisted because of the obvious security threat of those "students" in America. 

Sometimes when action is about to break out, there are not-so-subtle hints, like the names of the ships on this surprise visit to Yokosuka harbor (both nuclear-capable Arleigh Burke-class destroyers).  One is the USS Howard, named for Medal of Honor recipient SSGT Jimmy Howard.  This tough Marine from Burlington, Iowa fought in both Korea and Vietnam, in 1966 leading a horrible defensive action against over 500 fresh and highly trained communist NVA.  My friend Ray Hildreth was there with Howard in that place with no name, fired the first shot, then fought nonstop until the break of day.  Every single member of their 18-man patrol was either killed or wounded.  This became known as the battle of Hill 488, and US Marine pilots strafed the skirts of that hill with cannon fire, dropping bombs and napalm danger-close all that night until hardly a blade of grass remained.  This feat may need to be repeated for the people of Taiwan, and the whole world, to breathe free any longer.  As for the USS Higgins--the ship's motto is this: 

"First to Fight".

Photo: Yokosuka Harbor