Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Friday, August 30, 2013

Opinion - Syria: A No Win Situation for the United States?

[UPDATED 8/31/2013]

Tomahawk launch from Arleigh Burke class destroyer

Its been widely reported the Obama Administration is considering "punitive strikes" against the Assad Government in response to the August 21st chemical weapon attack near Damascus. The proposed strike against Syria would target the delivery systems of chemical weapons rather than the storehouses of chemical agents themselves in addition to destroying critical command and control nodes for the Syrian military. The expressed intent of these strikes by the Administration is to punish Assad for the use of chemical weapons not an attempt at regime change or direct intervention in support of the Syrian rebels. The issue is not whether or not the United States has the military capabilities necessary to conduct an operation of this nature. Even with the effects of the Sequester and no support from NATO allies, US armed forces have more than enough assets in the region to conduct a unilateral cruise missile strike. Although the exact number of Tomahawks each Arleigh Burke class destroyer carries is classified, it is estimated each destroyer typically carries 45 missiles (Defense News, 2013). A total of five US destroyers are in the region: the USS Stout is en route to join the four already stationed destroyers near Syria. The following chart from Global Security shows US assets in the region:

The real issue is, to what extent, if at all, does a punitive strike against Assad advance US interests?

Historically speaking, "punitive strikes" have not benefited the United States. The Clinton Administration conducted at least two punitive strikes both of which occurred in 1998: Operation Desert Fox against Iraq and Operation Infinite Reach against Al Qaeda targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. Both of these operations were largely ineffective and were a precursor to major military operations involving US ground troops followed shortly thereafter partially as a result of the failure of these punitive strikes.

"...the Clinton administration launched four days of cruise missile and bombing strikes against Iraq. Saddam Hussein's regime had failed to comply with United Nations resolutions and weapons inspectors for a year. The goal was to 'degrade' Baghdad's ability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and to destabilize Hussein's hold on power. The impact was negligible. Hussein held on for five more years, until the George W. Bush administration launched a ground invasion that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and nearly 4,500 American lives over the next eight years." - Robin Wright, 2013

Operation Infinite Reach which was launched in response to the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Al Qaeda training camps, facilities, and Osama Bin Laden were targeted by US Tomahawk cruise missiles. The operation was largely a failure as both Bin Laden managed to escape (possibly due to Pakistani intelligence tipping him off) and Al Qaeda continued to remain a credible threat to the United States. These previous examples of punitive strikes are relevant for the possible mission in Syria as they provide a realistic perspective of what to expect.

The notion that the United States can conduct a short, highly successful militarily campaign with little resources over a period of days and proceed to easily exit shortly thereafter has little historical precedent. The United States has a habit of entering conflicts incrementally with the end result negatively affecting the national interests of the country. Fareed Zakaria summarizes the historical trend first observed by scholar Samuel Huntington in regards to incremental US involvement:

"In the mid-1980s, the scholar Samuel Huntington pondered why the United States, the world’s dominant power — which had won two world wars, deterred the Soviet Union and maintained global peace — was so bad at smaller military intervention. Since World War II, he noted, the United States had engaged militarily in a series of conflicts around the world, and in almost every case the outcome had been inconclusive, muddled or worse.

Huntington concluded that we rarely entered conflicts actually trying to win. Instead, he reasoned, U.S. military intervention has usually been sparked by a crisis, which put pressure on Washington to do something. But Americans rarely saw the problem as one that justified getting fully committed. So, we would join the fight in incremental ways and hope that this would change the outcome. It rarely does. (More recent conflicts where we have succeeded — the 1990 Persian Gulf War, Grenada and Panama — were all ones where we did fight to win, used massive force and achieved a quick, early knockout.)" - Fareed Zakaria, 2013

Already the United States has started the process of incremental involvement within Syria as a result of increased aid given to rebel forces. A punitive strike would further commit the United States in the Syrian conflict even if the intent is not to directly aid the rebels by striking Assad. Direct support of Syrian rebels is not necessarily in the best interests of the US. In a letter to Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y,  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, concluded that even if the rebels prevailed, they would not support US interests in the region and should consequently not receive major US support.

'"Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides...It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not." - Martin Dempsey, 2013

Toppling the Assad Government by directly supporting the rebels is not in the interest of the United States if it means a radical Islamist government replaces the Assad Government. Moderate elements within the of the Free Syrian Army do not represent the entirety of rebel forces fighting in Syria. Within the last two years, the number of  foreign fighters under the command of radical Islamist groups has noticeably surged. Although Jabhat al-Nusra, an official affiliate of Al Qaeda operating within Syria, is often named by media reports, several radical Islamic groups exist within Syria: the Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Ahrar Al-Sham, Abdullah Azzam brigades, Fatah al-Islam and Jordanian Salafi-jihadists (O’Bagy, 2012). This is not to say radical Islamists makeup the majority of rebel groups in Syria, but their influence has increased considerably over time and their effectiveness in combat relative to other rebel units is also noteworthy.

Source: Jihad in Syria, Elizabeth O’Bagy, 2012

By launching cruise missiles at key command and control sites, the United States would be "unintentionally" aiding rebel forces including Islamist extremists. At the moment, many analysts give the edge on the ground to Assad. Since the reinforcement of 15,000 Hezbollah troops from Lebanon, regime forces have gained momentum and have started to retake lost territory. Recently, regime forces have seized the strategically important city of Qusayr which effectively provides Assad's forces greater access to the Iran backed Hezbollah forces (Malas, Dagher, Barnes, 2013). Depending upon the intensity of the strike, Assad will be weakened and loose momentum but its highly improbable that a cruise missile strike alone would be enough to dislodge Assad even with a follow-up of coordinated rebel attacks. It is probable that the effect of the strike will lengthen then conflict, not shorten it. So what does Obama hope to accomplish with a punitive strike?

Source: Wall Street Journal

 The only individual that has explained a viable and coherent interpretation of US strategy in regards to Syria, that I have come across, is Daniel Drezner from Foreign Policy:

"the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible.  This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished.... at an appalling toll in lives lost. This policy doesn't require any course correction... so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. The moment that U.S. armed forces would be required to sustain the balance, the costs of this policy go up dramatically, far outweighing the benefits.  So I suspect the Obama administration will continue to pursue all measures short of committing U.S. forces in any way in order to sustain the rebels." -Daniel W. Drezner

Although morally deplorable, Drezner's interpretation of US policy, if in fact it is the position of the Obama Administration, does advance US interests in a number of important ways:

  • Iran continues to commit resources in Syria and grows weaker the longer the conflict persists 
  • The more foreign Islamist fighters the Syrian conflict draws, less new foreign fighters participate in insurgency operations within US allied nations e.g. Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. (overflow to Iraq is a potential issue however)
  • Hezbollah is predominantly concerned with Syrian conflict rather than conducting new operations against Israel 
  • A weaker Syrian Government would prove advantageous in a conflict between Israel and Iran or the United States and Iran as Syria is the only true regional ally of Iran 

The caveat of Drezner's interpretation of US policy is cost. A cruise missile strike is unlikely to put the lives of US military personnel at risk but the financial costs of such an operation are considerable. In conclusion, the United States should only conduct a cruise missile strike in Syria if cost is kept much lower than the ~$600 million dollars spent on Operation Odyssey Dawn. The strikes will aid US interest's from Drezner's perspective as it will likely prolong the conflict (weakening Iran) but its not entirely clear Obama is trying to weaken Iran by aiding the rebels. The harsh reality is, the sectarian conflict in Syria is likely to continue for a decade. The Alawite sect minority that controls the Syrian regime (Assad and most high ranking Syrian Government officials are Alawite) is the last of three minority ruled dictatorships in the Middle East. The civil war within Lebanon lasted 15 years and the civil war in Iraq lasted ten years and the violence still continues even after the US withdraw. Once again, Fareed Zakaria does an excellent job explaining the current situation in Syria and why the violence will continue for the foreseeable future:

After this cruise missile strike, the United States MUST NOT commit further resources to Syria aside from limited aid to rebels; the benefits of major US involvement simply does not outweigh the potential costs. It would have been preferable to not enter Syria in the first place but the ultimatum issue by the President puts American credibility on the line which affects America's entire sphere of foreign policy relations e.g. China. Many argue the cost of being perceived as flimsy and not following through with issued ultimatums is of little consequence. Global perceptions, especially among the adversaries and competitors of the United States matters a great deal. For example, when Reagan was first elected into office, the Soviet Union did perceive him to be a great threat. In 1981 he fired 11,000 air traffic controllers who were on strike after threatening to fire them if they did not return to work. Regan's decision to fire air traffic controllers and follow through with his ultimatum had a surprisingly large effect on Soviet relations:

"The Soviet Union was watching. They saw how the American president dealt with a national security issue, saw that his rhetorical toughness could be matched by tough action. They absorbed this, and thought about it. That's why George Shultz, Reagan's last and most effective secretary of state, said that the PATCO decision was the most important foreign policy decision Ronald Reagan ever made.” - Cody Carlson, 2012

The Soviet Union subsequently took Reagan more seriously on national security matters thereafter. The fact is, credibility of the presidency and the country itself is now on the line and US credibility has effects on every other aspect of US foreign policy. Most significantly, China is watching. How will US ultimatum's and warnings given to China in the future be perceived if we don't follow through with our statements?

I realize the United States lost too much blood and treasure in Iraq for little gain, the country needs to recover over the next decade and focus more on domestic development. Furthermore, the fight for democracy within Syria is ultimately the responsibility of the Syrian people, not the responsibility of the United States. However, as the President said, there is a cost to doing nothing. There are no "win win" options for the United States in regards to Syria, only realpolitik strategic calculations to determine how best to minimize loss.

  1. Obama’s Syria policy is full of contradictions, Fareed Zakaria, 2013.
  2. Chemical Arms Tactics Examined, Margaret Coker, 2013.
  3. Syria: One More Reason for a Return of Grand Strategy, Lazarus, 2013.
  4. British Prime Minister David Cameron loses parliamentary vote on Syria.
  5. Syrian Rebel Commanders Fear Aftermath of Airstrikes, Jay Solomon, 2013.
  6. US Military Has Myriad Ways to Strike Syria in Potential Operation, Michael Lipin, 2013.
  7. The risk of taking on Syria, Robin Wright, 2013.,0,7387106.story
  8. Jihad in Syria, Elizabeth O’Bagy, 2012. 
  9. Why Obama is arming Syria's rebels: it's the realism, stupid, Daniel W. Drezner, 2013.
  10. Dempsey: Syrian rebels won't back U.S. interests, Aamer Madhani, 2013.
  11. This week in history: Ronald Reagan fires 11,345 air traffic controllers, Cody Carlson, 2012. 


  1. I'm inclined to agree with Drezner. When I look at any scenario involving a potential strike on Syria, I use the eight questions of the Powell Doctrine. A strike is posturing, and will accomplish nothing, except the creation of further ill-will towards the United States, and our interests. Nothing good will come of this.

    As much as I detest what Assad has done, I do not see this as a fight the United States needs to join.

    1. Obama made a mistake by drawing a red line. Now he's face between committing military strikes with no real understanding of the consequences politically at home or abroad vs not acting with Iran and North Korea watching and learning how far they can go.

    2. One simply cannot make an ultimatum of this serious nature without, at the very least, conducting contingency planning in the event one must enforce the ultimatum. The US response was make-shrift and sloppy. It does not appear the Obama Administration seriously considered they would have to enforce the "red line". Its difficult for me to not use expletives to describe the lack of foresight on behalf of the Administration. I generally agree with Obama but he's dropped the ball with regards to Syria.

    3. @arcturus415: I read your "On The Topic Of Syria, We Should Look To The Past" article and I agree with much of what you had to say particularly with regards to an exit strategy. As said to stone30, if we do choose to launch missiles against Syria it has to be on our terms. Time is on our side and the US can wait to make a decision. Rushing into this could be catastrophic but a measured calculated strike with international approval I think is justified.

  2. Matt another good article, might want to have a look at this.
    Make some good points at the end
    worth a read
    worth another look
    things can heat up quick.

    1. Some pretty good points. From what I've read and given the extensive prior occurrences, the President does have the Constitutional authority to act in this manner. However, I would much rather have a vote by Congress but Tea Party Republicans would vote no just for the sake of weakening the President rather than voting for the good of the country in mind.

      No matter what the US does, we are going to suffer for it. I think the best course of action is not to rush into things; the fight must occur on terms favorable to the US. We have time on our side and the Syrian military can't hunker down forever given rebel activity. Get a sizable collation and twist some arms among NATO countries if need be (this is an opportunity to see who our true friends are and where US defense tax dollars should be spent e.g. possibly not NATO...), make the case to the American people and get a Senate vote (if supremely confident of victory). I'm not too worried about the Russians, Obama has been too accommodating to Russian interests and they are not foolish enough to attack US warships.

  3. The Only true Allies of the USA are Britain,Australia,Canada. Germany and France depends on the wind. But that is it. Military budgets have been Cut, and Japan and NK, will on get involved if it involves China or Nk. As for Nato, nothing will come of it. Russia and China will veto it, no matter what.

    The out-come for the USA will be in it's best interest? the answer is No.

    It will end badly for the USA and just intrench the country. One of the comments that stick's with me was from a reporter. "No matter how you see things or look at the numbers in Iraq, more ppl have died and have gone missing in the 5 yrs of USA occupation than under the entire Saddam Hussein rule which went for 30 yrs" looking at Iraq today, daily bombings, where 50 ppl get killed is a normal day in Iraq, most of the country split into intrench faction. You would think that they USA would have learned something, but No.

    bbc did a 3 part doc, the numbers they Quote are low, but worth down loading from BBC. There are also heaps of articles just google "booming in Iraq".

    As you have stated and many others, the time to hit Syria was when the chemical missiles were lunched. Not now.

    Russia, are not foolish to do anything, but what they will do is learn from any attacks, Cruse missile information, satellite networks, Submarine lunches and so on. Absorber as much information as they can, and use it to develop new programs for their S400/500 system.

    Syria can make Iraq look tame if the resign fall's, Removing Assad is the Key, but letting the country fall to pieces, would be even worse. Better the Devil you know then another Iraq.

    IMO, USA has more to lose lunching a strike now than if it did it 2 weeks ago. Obama Red line was a political mistake, once he announced it, he should have gone to congress and gotten approval to attack on his order. What ever missile he lunches will be low target, most of the high value assets would be Underground by now.

    At the end of the day there are no winners here only losers.

    Nice Chatting matt. So China and the Su35 odd's of them Buying it at the g20 meting later this months?

    1. I agree with you that there is certainly more to be lost than gained in Syria if this goes wrong. But, I agree with Obama's decision to have Congress debate the issue. Chairman of the house intelligence committee Mike Rogers makes a pretty convincing case in the video below (3rd video).

      I would have preferred to stay out of Syria had it not been for the "red line" ultimatum. The cost of doing nothing will have consequences not only in regards to Syria but also with China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Especially in the case of China, the PRC leadership needs to understand we mean business when we say we will not tolerate more cyber attacks launched from their country. Resolve from the presidency in one decision has historically affected others in major ways. For example, Reagan wasn't taken seriously by the Soviet's (they thought he was a bunch of hot gas with no bite) until after he fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers who were on strike in 1981.

      "The Soviet Union was watching. They saw how the American president dealt with a national security issue, saw that his rhetorical toughness could be matched by tough action. They absorbed this, and thought about it. That's why George Shultz, Reagan's last and most effective secretary of state, said that the PATCO decision was the most important foreign policy decision Ronald Reagan ever made.” -

      With regards to G20, I don't believe the respective heads of state discuss the sale of particular systems at least that is what defense news said when Xi Xin Ping met Putin earlier this year. Weapon deals often take years to finalize so it could go either way. In any case, US Pacific allies need to build up their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Australia really needs to figure out what submarines its going to buy. For those who don't have the funds to operate submarines, they need P-8's or maybe even lease old P-3's if that's even possible. Even without the Lada buys, the research I've done for the China's Submarines article indicates their submarine force is rapidly improving in capabilities. Always good to chat with you stone30 :)

    2. Matt disagree with you on this comment.

      "Especially in the case of China, the PRC leadership needs to understand we mean business when we say we will not tolerate more cyber attacks launched from their country."

      Few points why

      The Number 1 hacker in the world is the USA. The USA have been Hacking china and even US closes Allies, before china even new what hacking was.

      When Google was kick out of china, the US congress kick up a fuss saying that,
      "It's restricting it's ppl right's to freedom"
      "it's Suppressing ppl right to Free speech" and so on.
      What we now know was the real reason was that the USA was collecting Vast majority of china data "Spying on everyday chines ppl" form Google and when china wanted to know why such large amounts of data was leaving their country is ending up in the USA data servers.

      The USA painted china as monster at the time, when the real reason was the USA was Spying, thank you NSA leak for confirming for what most ppl outside the USA already knew. But was never reported in the USA media. (I seen both reports on the Issue, both form the USA and International, and there was a huge difference in reporting back then)

      China will protect the Chines ppl first and foremost, in it's own way. You might not agree with it and I don't agree with it. BUT, what a professor stated in a speech about china.
      "Their are 1.4 billion chines ppl in china, the government is in fear of them" If the chines ppl wanted to over throw there government they would. The USA fail's to understand that.

      The message to china if Syria get's hit with cruse missile. Nothing at all. China will not worry at all.

      China Just want's one thing, Stability in the region, for Oil, Keep the channels open and that's it.

      other point
      "Australia really needs to figure out what submarines its going to buy."

      God I have written so much on this Issue about Australian Sub's.

      Short Version. Its a FK mess.

      Australia can not build Submarines. That's it, we only have one working and that one can not Dive properly and can not shoot a torpedo properly either.

      We can't keep the crews to man them because they are so bad.

      There are 5 being repaired and that will take at least 10 years, costing Billions.

      To much politics involved in them. We wont's buy them because the Navy want's them Built in Australia, so when the Admires retire or leave they go work for the contractors. We are learning of the USA.

      IMO, we should take the USA offer and buy their Submarines, buy 8 of them for about 2.4 billion each.

      The current plan to build 12 when we can't even get one working is just Nutt's, But that's politics for you. Oh, did i forget it will cost us $40+ Billion for the 12 lemons "Sub's" and take 25 years to build.

      Sorry wrote to much. :-)

    3. It is true that the PRC leadership is first and foremost concerned with staying in power mainly through continued economic growth, I would argue that the perception Chinese leaders have about Obama matters for future US-China interactions. And yes, the US is hypocritical depending upon how you define "hacking" e.g. probing, intellectual property theft, or covert cyber operations.

      Do you have a blog or did you write an article on Australia's submarine purchases? I'm quite interested in the topic. Building a good attack submarine is REALLY hard, the Brits had to ask for US assistance in building their Astute class. I'd say its on par with building a stealth fighter in terms of technological challenges. From the American perspective, I have no problem selling Virginia class submarines to Australia. However, the nuclear technology issue would make it difficult to go through the US Congress. If you can't get a Virginia class submarine, you guys aught to look into German diesel electric submarines such as the Dolphin (leverage Israeli buys for cost?) or Type 214 class. From what I've heard they are good boats, the Sōryū-class submarine is also pretty decent from what I hear. Just don't do what Canada did (buy hopelessly outdated hardware from the Brits in an attempt to save money and have to actually spend more money refurbishing them than the cost of buying new subs). Don't worry about it :)

  4. Ok, Matt, You ask for it, so don't Blame Me.

    Try to keep it short!

    I agree 100%, Australia should buy the Type 214/216 Dolphin, with out a question. Get the Built in German and that's the end of it. But the navy dose not want it. Australia have Built lemons. The sub's do not shoot, do not dive and are an absolute mess. We have wasted Billions.

    This Vid sums it up the best, without sending you to bunch of articles.

    At the moment Australia in 2013 we have no sub's.all are in dock waiting for Repair.

    Then We have the USA sub's that the USA we Sell to Australia!. We didn't Ask they offered. " Stating that they have concern of a capability to build submarines."

    Then Watch this, it worth the 39.29 min time. It sums it up best. Q&A, some good question come up.

    IMO, we only have 2 options, 1. Buy form the USA a fast tracking attack for about $2.4billion combat ready, do not try to Australians it. 2 Buy the German 216 that is being developed, but a USA Sonar system in and Fire controls all, in Germany and have them delivered Combat ready when arriving in Australia. Either of these 2 options will cost less than the $40billion+ (Some estimates out it as high as $60 billion and 2050 before we see one of them in the ocean)

    The USA will have no problem selling us Submarines, We have an Australian Pilot that Fly's the f22 for the USA. There are only 2 country that where invited to have pilot the F22 and that was Britain and Australia. (think Canada was not asked, don't know why) We also have had Australian Navy personal on the Virgina Class during exercises, but I don't know how common that is.

    So Anything Hugh White on the Issue is good. His done so good in depth articles on the issue, but it was for a news paper and i can't find them. (might not agree with all, but his the most reasonable and on the Ball out of the lot)

    Sōryū-class submarine
    Is a Great Sub, But Japan, has got conditional Issues. Also, the Australian Government want's to build them here, major sticking point Technology transfer.

    So to Sum it all Up (politically)

    Greens Party, Want No Nuclear Submarine No matter What, other wise they will have a Fit.

    Labor Party, Want to Build the Sub's here So to Keep the Unions Happy and that means Votes. (Labor gave us the Collin's Class Submarine which was a mess as you can see)

    Liberal Party. Don't want to Pis* Off the SA government, and Cause the Unions to start Industrial action and protest on the Street.

    So at the end of the Day, they will just kick the can down the road and spend millions on doing studies.

    Hope that helps explain, how difficult it is Just to Get a decision made, and how hard it is to build a capable submarine. Even when you have had USA help. The Sonar and weapon system and engine where all made in the USA, and we still F*, it up!

    Indonesia are the smart ones, they Just Got SK, to build them Type 214 which are battle ready when delivered.

    1. Don't worry about the length I love reading about these kind of things. Wow, I was not aware to the extent of how dysfunctional the Collins class really was. Reminds me of the Canadian Victoria class submarine problems:

      Cowan makes a very convincing argument for the Virginia class its unfortunate the Government seems o be so entrenched with the buy Australian approach. In terms of capabilities, the Virigina really is the world's most capable attack submarine in many metrics with only the possible exception of the Seawolf class. The must buy domestic approach can work if its done right but you don't start by taking on the most difficult projects (baby steps first).

      What struck me during the Q&A was the one gentleman who said Australia must choose between the US and China. Is there really a serious debate in Australia about choosing between US and Chinese security ties? I'm well aware of the scope of trade between Australia and China but security interests don't seem to overlap a great deal between the two countries from what I've seen.

    2. "gentleman who said Australia must choose between the US and China"

      No debate at all, Australia and USA alliance will always be strong

      Australia will never have a military alliance with the China, any government stupid enough to even think that will be wiped out by the Australian ppl.

      We even allowed 2500 USA troops based here, and that's a big deal.

      The most Australia will do is have Joint Military Exercise with China and the USA, we are trying to get them to have open dialog with each other military.

      There was an exerciser between the 3 of us early this year, but can't find the photo's it somewhere in here. (it's funny the USA solider look awkward when taking the photo's with the chines soldiers.)

      Here are other one

      There are many more it the top link, just have to go through all the pages.

      If you have the time, worth a look around.

      The conversation that's occurring is about Obama "Pivot point to Asia" in other words lets contain china. Before this announcement there was no discussion about Usa and China main conflict.

      But boy did that "Pivot point to Asia" Start some serious discussions. Just some question.

      -How is the USA going to "contain and control 1.4 billion chines ppl.

      -How's the USA going to prevent the chines ppl from developing and expanding there wealth and growth. (yes, that includes military)

      -What happens if the USA elects another George W Bush or worse

      -What's the economical implication in the Region if USA decides to contain china

      -What effect will the entire region will suffer is the USA becomes an aggressor of if china becomes the aggressor towards Twain or Japan

      -"The USA has Lighten a Match in the Region, that has caused an Arms Race". Quote Indonesia Foreign Minster.

      -Pivot to Asia, has caused border issue to erupt within the region with smaller country. Quote Indonesia Foreign Minster.

      -Regional Players are using the Pivot to Asia (china) as a excuses to increase military spending and take a more "firm" stand against it's neighbors. (not including china)

      The relationship between the USA and Australia, is extremely strong. I can see if the USA was to send troops into Syria, Australia will send troop in as well and without a UN approval.

      The main point of our discussion is to figure out how and what capability the chines air-force has and it's air-defenses, which you do well Matt.

    3. Link for China Sub's, Take with a grain of Salt.

      Once you click on the site, the NSA, will be onto

      I would say only joking, but I don't really know.

    4. lol,<3 NSA :D. Yeah the number of high quality diesel electric submarines coming from China is certainly a concern, I've done some research into the Type 039A/B for the upcoming article on China's subs. I think the US is taking the right measures though. American P-8's are likely going to be based in Australia, DARPA is developing the ACTUV, and the US has by far the largest network of satellites to track submarines.

  5. IF you are going to do article on China Sub's, you might want to note of the new range of Russian Subs as well. The Borei class, Yasen-class submarine, and the Amur-class submarine. As china and Russia have close ties and shard cost and technology on the Amur-class.

    1. I have not forgotten my promise to do an article on China's subs, I'm going to release an update in the next few days that explains more. Basically, I just started a new semester at college and I'm pretty busy :/ But yes, I would agree with you that its certainly important to look into the Russian designs as well but from what I've seen, Russian firms and the Russian Government itself is still weary of intellectual property theft on behalf of the Chinese government.

  6. Yea, Matt take your time. No Rush :-)

  7. What do you think about Abbott and the liberal party victory?