Here and There

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Yesterday, the South China Morning Post reported that later this year China will start land reclamation on another disputed reef in the South China Sea. According to the report, China intends to establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal that would allow China to “further perfect” its air coverage across the South China Sea.

Scarborough Shoal, which the Chinese call Huangyan Island, is a reef that is mostly underwater at high tide, but surrounds an inner lagoon. The highest point is called South Rock, which stands almost six feet above sea level. Including the lagoon, the shoal covers 58 square miles of shoal and sea area.
The Philippines claims the shoal. It lies 143 miles west of Luzon and is located within the Philippines’ 200-nm exclusive economic zone. In 2012 China sent ships to the shoal and essentially jumped the Philippine claim, after a two-month standoff between Chinese naval ships and the Philippine Navy. China maintains patrol ships near the shoal to chase away Filipino fishing boats.
Scarborough Shoal is not part of the Spratly or Paracel island groups. Its location and potential size after reclamation operations make it an ideal site for establishing an air defense site or for building another air strip. An air surveillance and air defense site would fill a large gap in perimeter air defense coverage of the sea areas over which China claims sovereignty. An air base at this location would place Chinese aircraft in range of Manila without aerial refueling.

For reference, Scarborough Shoal is 376 nm from Woody Island, the main Chinese military base in the Paracels, and just over 500 nm from Fiery Cross Reef air strip in the Spratlys. The distance to Manila is 191 nm. 

Sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal is one of the issues in the Philippine case before the international tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As it concerns the Philippines, the leak to the Hong Kong media reinforces the longstanding message that China will ignore any finding by the tribunal.

By making the decision, Beijing puts the US on notice that China intends to halt unapproved overflights and freedom of navigation operations. Construction of an air defense installation or an airstrip on Scarborough Shoal would support the judgment that China intends to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over most of the South China Sea.

Either the Philippines and the nations opposing Chinese expansion and exploitation stop them now, or it will be too late. My guess is that nobody has the spine to stop the Chinese and they will continue to grab whatever they want.

Kenyan Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said on 24 April that Kenya will resume construction of a 700-kilometer (435-mile) security wall along its border with Somalia. Nkaissery said the wall will help keep out al-Shaba’ab elements attempting to infiltrate from Somalia and will bar unwanted persons from illegal entry.
Kenyan authorities announced in March 2015 that they intended to build a barrier with checkpoints and limited access along the entire border from Mandera, in the north, to Kiunga, in the south, based loosely on the Israeli barrier wall project. Construction began by November, but the project stalled for lack of funds and came under criticism as a waste of public funds. 
The terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013 and the al Shaba’ab attack at Garissa University in April 2015 exerted strong pressure on the government to improve security. Ethnic Somalis live on both sides of the border and move back and forth easily. The barrier will control population movements, which have served as cover for al Shaba’ab terrorists. 
I find it fascinating that Obama and the Pope have not called on the Kenyans to build bridges (for terrorists to cross) instead of a wall.


Trump scored a victory winning every county in each of five states voting in the Republican Primary yesterday.  The margin of success exceeded everyone’s expectations. The “never Trump” crowd remains in denial.

20 thoughts on “Here and There

  1. But walls are only bad when they're built by people who aren't of color. The Kenyans get a pass.

  2. I can think of a few cities in the US that could use a wall around them to keep people in, not out.

  3. The progressiveness of your statement sent me into a convulsion of rainbows and just for a moment, I saw a unicorn.

  4. Once the walls were up, we would call them "zoos" and that's not very progressive. The Pope wouldn't approve. But the crime rate would drop precipitously.

  5. Between Somalia and Kenya, the Kenyans are going to build a wall.

    And they are going to get Obama to pay for it.

    in the interest of national security.

    and peace

    and love

    and neat stuff like that.

  6. obama just has NO clue. None. Let us hope we'll last until someone else gets in the White House.

  7. Don't worry, bend over Obama will seal a deal that will make us all bend over for the worst of the worst.

  8. I'm actually looking forward to President Trump finding out about all those times China tried to provoke us, like launching an SLBM just off LA back in 2010 or so, and Barack sending the military spox and Discovery Channel rent-an-experts out to lie about it and cover it up. He might just have Barry tried for treason. If we're lucky, it will happen before he escapes to Indonesia or Cuba.

  9. The Scarborough Shoal situation is building to a confrontation with C7F. THAT is not going to be pretty…

  10. In your opinion, what would it take to stop the Chinese from taking Scarborough shoal?

  11. He believes that he was "THE ONE" to unify all races – the child of promise…Terrorist Bill Ayers wrote that in the book that Obama claims that he, himself, wrote.

  12. Obama has no credibility.

    Trump could threaten to default on the money that we owe them – but we would need to be ready for a general war with China. China's face is involved with this. And while Japan and Australia would help, as always, the US would shoulder it.

    I'm not confident that a Pres. Trump would do that. The question is whether the nations that it impacts most would be willing to do anything about it (doubtful). That being the case, is it worth an America vs China war? Maybe yes, maybe no. My default is to avoid war.

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