America's ‘big stick’ arrives in the Philippines

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America's ‘big stick’ arrives in the Philippines

ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Published April 14, 2018 11:05pm 
USS.jpg

 

At over 20 stories tall and 332 meters in length, the USS Theodore Roosevelt cut an intimidating outline against the Manila Bay sunset.

From my seat at the bow of the civilian boat ferrying guests to the socials aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier, I could see an F/A-18 jets parked on the flight deck as well as a complement of helicopters and transport planes.

Our boat approached the carrier from the aft where the ship's name was boldy emblazoned in dark blue on the haze gray paint.

It was US President Theodore Roosevelt, a soldier famous for the charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, who coined the "speak softly, and carry a big stick"-style of foreign policy, which is also known as gunboat diplomacy.

And as sticks go, they don't come any bigger than the nuclear-powered  Roosevelt and its formidable support group of three destroyers and a cruiser.

If needed, the aircraft carrier can hold more than 70 aircraft, most of which would be F/A-18 jets capable of engaging air and ground targets with missiles, smart bombs, and cannon.

But US Ambassador Kim Sung, in his speech before members of the diplomatic corps, business leaders, military officers, and some government officials offered a contemporary twist on the famous line attributed to Roosevelt.

"I think there are times when we should speak loudly and clearly. And the presence of the Theodore Roosevelt here in Manila Bay sends a very clear message to everyone in the region, especially to our friends in the Philippines. Because our commitment to the US-Philippines alliance is unbreakable and will remain so indefinitely. "

Chinese jamming

The USS Roosevelt's recent freedom-of-navigation patrol in the disputed South China Sea took place a few days before China's naval drills in the same area.

Intelligence gathered by the US during the patrol suggested that the Chinese had placed communication jamming devices on some of the artificial islands they had built in the South China Sea.

A pilot of an electronic warfare aircraft which operated from the Roosevelt told GMA News that they ran into these jamming devices during the freedom-of-navigation patrol.

"The mere fact that some of your equipment is not working is already an indication that someone is trying to jam you. And so we have an answer to that," explained the naval officer.

In a brief interview with Ambassador Kim and Naval Strike Group Commander Rear Admiral Steve Koehler, journalists asked if the frequent US aircraft carrier patrols in the region meant the US was ready to defend the Philippines against Chinese aggression.

"I think, personally, the opportunity to have this carrier here, and the opportunity to be in all of this South China Sea Region is an indication that we’re here to support all of our friends and allies here in the region." Rear Admiral Koehler said.

The Duterte Administration had been criticized for not taking a stronger stance against Chinese aggression in the disputed region.

In his recent meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the BOAO Forum, President Rodrigo Duterte failed to bring up the issue of the territorial dispute.

Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes, a known critic of the administration said that the ties between the United States and the Philippines, which spanned several decades, was a  relationship that transcended the preferences of individual presidents.

"Definitely malaking tulong ito. Kasi dito napapakita na talagang, despite yung mga rheotoric ni Duterte, ay maigting pa Rin ang alyansa ng Pilipinas at Estados Unidos.,Particularly in relation to kanilang freedom of navigation patrol. Malaking bagay yan," said Trillanes. — DVM, GMA News

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Posted

Don't mess with Ted!

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Yeah, I've seen one of these Nimitz class carriers close up years ago.  Wow - what a sight.   I'd love to see the new Ford-class up close someday. Won't be long before we see several Ford-class carriers around; Ford, Kennedy, Enterprise.

 

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Posted (edited)

The Pacific is certainly experiencing increased navel presence in recent years.

 

Carrier groups, Amphibious groups and increased naval numbers across the entire area.

 

But those US carriers are truly impressive 'a big stick' they certainly are!

 

 

 

Edited by GeoffH
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Posted

I've had the privilege of touring a carrier in Pearl Harbor.  It's a floating city.

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I think the Big Stick works great against countries with a basic military presence but packing all your toys up on one ship doesn't cut much with most super powers. 

If I was the likes of China and this turned up on my doorstep threatening me the first thing I'd to is line up my conventional systems at it and have my nukes on standby. The first missile it fired would be classed as an act of war. At a rough guess the Big Stick may be able to stop 5% of incoming missiles before getting wiped out. It would then be up to the big boys to decide if they want to play the nuclear game. 

I'd hedge a bet, like North Korea no one would risk an attack as itt would only end one way with no winners. 

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11 minutes ago, Snowy79 said:

I think the Big Stick works great against countries with a basic military presence but packing all your toys up on one ship doesn't cut much with most super powers. 

If I was the likes of China and this turned up on my doorstep threatening me the first thing I'd to is line up my conventional systems at it and have my nukes on standby. The first missile it fired would be classed as an act of war. At a rough guess the Big Stick may be able to stop 5% of incoming missiles before getting wiped out. It would then be up to the big boys to decide if they want to play the nuclear game. 

I'd hedge a bet, like North Korea no one would risk an attack as itt would only end one way with no winners. 

I don't think "all your toys on one ship" exactly applies for one carrier.  There are a huge amount of assets protecting each carrier, including on the ship technology, underwater, on the water and in the air.  Sinking one would certainly be a big win for an enemy, but extremely hard.

The Roosevelt battle group:

roosevelt.jpg

Here is a link to a chart of USN ships:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a15297/us-navy-entire-fleet/

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31 minutes ago, Snowy79 said:

If I was the likes of China and this turned up on my doorstep threatening me the first thing I'd to is line up my conventional systems at it and have my nukes on standby. 

 

That's basically why china are building infrastructure on those south china sea islets, they're trying to create an area where they can deny (if they choose) passage of other ships during a military conflict.  And it costs less.

 

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20 hours ago, GeoffH said:

 

That's basically why china are building infrastructure on those south china sea islets, they're trying to create an area where they can deny (if they choose) passage of other ships during a military conflict.  And it costs less.

 

In some ways, the China buildup in south china sea is a paper tiger.  An emotional threat to leaders of small nations saying; "Join us and be spared"  BS.   USA has a few effective counter measures to either destroy them or simply bottle in China's naval forces in that area, etc.  China will not be able to expand beyond it. It's not just the USA; consider India's strong military, Japan's growing military, and of course theres France and Britian. Heck, even Vietnam is growing is military. I think NATO alone can contain Russia. So, China is surrounded. IMHO of course.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, CoffeeRulzMe said:

So, China is surrounded. IMHO of course

 

As long as nothing goes nuclear then I agree NATO have Russia contained and China also are constrained in where they can currently expand.  India and Japan (which you mentioned) but also South Korea, Australia, Singapore and others are all increasing their naval forces and the US are shifting forces towards the pacific. 

But China I suspect don't want to expand beyond the South Pacific sea area which they're attempting to claim, there are huge amounts of untapped resources there and it would be 'enough' to meet their needs (well the political ones at least).  China has never been expansionist in the same way that the Soviet Union was and they seem content to play a longer game.  And by moving slowly they avoid the flash trigger that would create a war situation.

 

YMMV of course .

Edited by GeoffH
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