By Arnold Lewis and Michael Durao
June 22nd, 2011
NATO operations in Libya over the past few months have exposed glaring flaws in the alliance’s readiness and ability to wage war, a fact recognized not only by American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, but even by its own members in recent weeks.  Admiral Mark Stanhope of the Royal Navy has warned that due to defense budget cuts and ongoing participation in the war in Afghanistan, Britain may not be able to maintain its commitment to NATO in Libya.  According to Admiral Pierre-Francois Forissier, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will be taken out of service for the entirety of 2012 if it continues its operations off the coast of Libya through the end of 2011.  The Norwegians, initially among the strongest proponents of military intervention in Libya, have determined that they cannot sustain air operations beyond August 1st; their small contingent of deployed F-16s cannot keep up with the high logistical demands of continued operations.  In addition, stockpiles of munitions have been running low for many European nations enforcing the no-fly zone and supporting the advance of the National Liberation Army.  However, these are only symptoms of a larger, institutional problem plaguing the European defense sector and militaries.

By Michael Durao
June 18th, 2011

While the PRC has kept its pawns Qaddafi and al-Assad in power in Africa and the Middle East, the success of its continued imperial endeavors have thankfully been slightly muted by ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors.  Once again, tensions over the Spratly Islands and South China Sea have flared up, in this instance following PLAN warships engaging Vietnamese fishing vessels near the archipelago.  Claimed by the PRC, ROC, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia, both China and Taiwan have the most dubious claims to the islands, based entirely on insignificant historical exploration of the islands backed up by falsified archaeological findings.  These islands are rather far from the Chinese mainland, though, and neither the region’s relatively insignificant oil reserves nor any need for fishing rights seem to warrant the PRC’s obsession with asserting dominance over it, despite their being among the government’s publicly-stated rationales for claiming them.