April 14 (EIRNS)—The U.S. military, despite the growing number of coronavirus infections in its own ranks—including the death of a sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt—and the urgency for international cooperation to fight the pandemic, insists on stoking tensions with shows of force in the Western Pacific and in the Southwest Asia.
The latest such demonstration of U.S. military might in the Pacific occurred yesterday on Guam with the staging of an “elephant walk,” that is, the mass lining up of aircraft on taxiways in preparation for a mass takeoff. The elephant walk on Guam involved five B-25 bombers, six KC-135 tankers, two Global Hawk drones (one of them the Navy Triton version) and a Navy MH-60S helicopter. Such exercises are ostensibly done in order to practice mass takeoffs, though depending on the particular exercise, aircraft may stay on the ground.
Yesterday’s event on Guam, however, was clearly intended to send a message to China, coming as it was only days after a PLA Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning, along with its escorting warships, sailed past Taiwan into the Philippine Sea (the area of the Pacific east of the archipelago), for a training exercise. The U.S. exercise on Guam followed on the heels of the transit of the Taiwan Strait by the guided missile destroyer USS Barry, and the flights of several reconnaissance aircraft snooping on the Chinese ships.
In the Middle East, the U.S. Air Force carried out a similar show of force with an F-35 stealth fighter in the skies over eastern Syria, images of which it posted on social media. U.S. Central Command advertised it as a show of unity in the face of the “extremist” groups ISIS. But since the “extremist” forces on the ground are unlikely to distinguish between stealth fighters and non-stealth fighters, the message of the operation was more likely aimed at the Russian military.