Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Chinese Burn

We may try to fight jihadis in Somalia more than we have. That will help keep regional allies in the fight, I should hope. Let's hope our new Chinese neighbors, in their first overseas base, don't try to throw obstacles in our path.

East African states, especially Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, and Uganda, have helped under the African Union banner to keep Somalia from being a jihadi caliphate even though their presence has not helped Somalians build a state capable of resisting jihadis.

These regional states get tired of their efforts, and periodically back off to lessen the burden. So helping more could keep them on the firing line, I should think. We may do that:

The Pentagon wants to expand the military's ability to battle al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia, potentially putting U.S. forces closer to the fight against a stubborn extremist group that has plotted attacks against America, senior U.S. officials said.

Assisting the Somalis, perhaps by going on missions, plus direct special forces and strike missions are possible, with naval and air forces in the region plus forces on the ground in Djibouti.

The Chinese will be able to observe our actions more intimately, soon:

China is constructing its first overseas military base [in Djibouti] — just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign installations.

With increasing tensions over China’s island-building efforts in the South China Sea, American strategists worry that a naval port so close to Camp Lemonnier could provide a front-row seat to the staging ground for American counterterror operations in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

I'm not real comfortable with the Chinese being able to watch over us so continuously. Who knows what they might learn from us or who they'll tip off just to take a shot at us.

China could see this first base as an opportunity to score points:

“The facility in Djibouti is a very interesting lens through which to view China’s growing capabilities and ambitions,” said Andrew S. Erickson, an expert at China’s maritime transformation at the Naval War College and the editor of the book “Chinese Naval Shipbuilding.”

“Not only will it give them a huge shot in the arm in terms of naval logistics, but it will also strengthen China’s image at home and abroad.”

AFRICOM should create a power projection platform that can avoid prying eyes by equipping a Modularized Auxiliary Cruiser for drones, land attack missiles, and special forces capable of moving around and avoiding wandering Chinese observers on land.

She'll burn us bad. She'll flaunt her flame. She'll make us remember, remember her name.

Unless we take precautions, of course.

As a side note, contrary to the Times article I don't believe we aim our nuclear weapons at anybody in particular these days, so saying America and China point nukes at each other over-states the relationship tension by implying a similarity to US-USSR nuclear tensions in the Cold War.