Thursday, July 14, 2022

Kanton, Now More Than Ever

In an age of long range sensors and precision guided weapons, do we have the option to, with the exception of the most important, "bypass and haulass" through the Pacific's constellation of small islands between Hawaii and the Western Pacific and Australia like our ancestors did? 

Generations of American planners have just assumed that the Pacific WWII granted the USA was a birthright. We fought wars and guaranteed peace with certain assumptions that, in real time, are fading away in the presence of a rising power who is serious, focused, and knows what it wants.

It wants the Pacific and it seems we are helping them take it without a shot being fired;

Kiribati President Taneti Maamau's "surprise" announcement to abandon its membership from the region's premier policy and political body at the 51st Forum Leaders' meeting this week has heightened concerns the Micronesian nation is moving closer to China.

"I know they are cooking something with China," Tong, who led the atoll islands from 2003 to 2016, said.

"I think it would have started with the reopening of the Phoenix Island Protected Area."

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is the largest designated marine protected area in the world, spanning almost 400,000 sq km in the South Pacific Ocean, midway between Australia and Hawaii.

Sources have told RNZ Pacific that a possible deal may include exclusive access to Chinese vessels to the Protected Area.

Tong believed the move by the Maamau government suggested that it hoped to "gain from being isolated from the region" by striking a deal directly with China.

"It's totally unexpected. I did not think it was in our nature, in our character, to do something quite so radical like that," he said.

The Kiribati Government is under financial pressure due to the economic impacts of Covid-19 and the current drought.

They will take in peace with greed and corruption what in war they will use for obstruction and denial. They know that we cannot respond quickly at the far reaches of the western Pacific if we have to "clean up" the central Pacific first.

Remember what we discussed 14-months ago?

Here's the terminal end of the great circle route from San Diego to Australia.

Where does that great circle routs go by Kanton?

Yep. 28 nautical miles. 28.

You cannot classify geography or math. That is why the Chinese are interested in it. I can't blame them. If I were Chinese, I'd do the same exact thing. 

They know the USA can't rush to the aid of anyone from Taiwan to the South China Sea if they have to clean up what used to be their backyard first.

Time and distraction. Defense in depth. None of this can be classified. They are open to all.

The fun follow on question: what would they do with it?

We warned you.

h/t Zach.

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