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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 15 2015, @01:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place dept.

Reuters reports that the United States has asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use its former US base at Cam Ranh Bay to refuel nuclear-capable bombers which are engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region. General Vincent Brooks, commander of the U.S. Army in the Pacific, says the Russian bombers have conducted "provocative" flights, including around the U.S. Pacific Ocean territory of Guam which is home to a major American air base. Brooks said the planes that circled Guam were refuelled by Russian tankers flying from the strategic bay, which was transformed by the Americans during the Vietnam War into a massive air and naval base. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the airport at Cam Ranh Bay was first used for staging Il-78 tankers for aerial refueling of Tu-95MS bombers in January 2014. Asked about the Russian flights in the region, the State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington respected Hanoi's right to enter agreements with other countries but added that "we have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region."

Cam Ranh Bay is considered the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia. North Vietnamese forces captured Cam Ranh Bay and all of its remaining facilities in 1975. Vietnam’s dependence on Russia as the main source of military platforms, equipment, and armaments has now put Hanoi in a difficult spot. Russia has pressed for special access to Cam Ranh Bay ever since it began delivering enhanced Kilo-class submarines to Vietnam. "Hanoi is invariably cautious and risk averse in its relations with the major powers," says Carl Thayer. "The current issue of Russian tankers staging out of Cam Ranh pits Russia and China on one side and the United States on the other. There is no easy solution for Vietnam."

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by SlimmPickens on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:04AM

    by SlimmPickens (1056) on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:04AM (#157948)

    Russia don't seem to care about the sanctions, they just keep poking the bear. The one thing I'm sure of is that Putin has a master plan, but what is it?

    A while ago we had that discussion about the CIA analyst that said that US financial collapse is imminent. The vast majority here called it bunk, but in that video he said that both Russia and China own a lot a US bonds and a lot of gold. He was saying that if they start to sell the bonds the value of gold would go up and they would potentially make a profit. I don't understand such things, I talked to some market guys about it and both of them said gold has no intrinsic value, and that even if it did work they would be left with no customers. But on the other hand, WTF is russia doing if it's prepared to destroy its economy over this?

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:20AM (#157950)

      blind idiot.

    • (Score: 3, Disagree) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:26AM

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:26AM (#157951) Homepage Journal

      He was once a KGB agent in East Germany. The Communists were far more afraid of the West than we were of them, and for good reason. As a result, they did not have the means to provide for the retirement of their intelligence agents. Putin fully expected to survive his "Golden Years" by driving a Moscow taxicab!

      He is profoundly insecure, and very very concerned about his legacy.

      --
      Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by tftp on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:46AM

      by tftp (806) on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:46AM (#157956) Homepage

      A while ago we had that discussion about the CIA analyst that said that US financial collapse is imminent. The vast majority here called it bunk, but in that video he said that both Russia and China own a lot a US bonds and a lot of gold.

      I personally think that the collapse is possible, but far from being imminent. Russia has not that much invested in US paper; China has some, but they are selling the debt off for several years now, buying with it everything that is not nailed down. Physical gold does not represent a significant portion of accumulated wealth.

      He was saying that if they start to sell the bonds the value of gold would go up and they would potentially make a profit.

      The value of bonds will fall. An ounce of gold buys you a good business suit today, just as it did 100 years ago and probably will do 100 years down the road (unless the robot tailor asks for joules instead.)

      I talked to some market guys about it and both of them said gold has no intrinsic value, and that even if it did work they would be left with no customers

      The USA represents only 20% of consumers of Chinese industrial output. If those 20% cannot pay for goods in acceptable currency, why to send them these goods at all? Do you think a top notch restaurant is worried that a large number of homeless people, potential customers, are willing to pay for dinner only with empty aluminum cans? Do you think the restaurant will start accepting cans only to have the pleasure of serving those customers?

      But on the other hand, WTF is russia doing if it's prepared to destroy its economy over this?

      Actually, not much. The USA and EU barged into a process of decay of a previously independent country (Ukraine) and decided to be the judge of what happens in its regions. The destruction of economy was started by sanctions for something that the USA did themselves many times in the history. For example:

      On July 25, 1898, during the Spanish–American War, the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico with a landing at Guánica. As an outcome of the war, Spain ceded Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines and Guam, then under Spanish sovereignty, to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris.

      As a more recent example, see how Kosovo was detached from Serbia. As the fear of civil war was growing in Ukraine (and the war did occur, after all) Crimeans were not all that enthusiastic about becoming cannon fodder for the new, unelected government in Kiev. They took their ball and went home. That was easy to do, as Crimea belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great [wikipedia.org]. Today the area is populated by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars, not by Ukrainians. Crimea was transferred to Ukraine [wikipedia.org] by one of Soviet rulers, one Nikita Khruschev, in 1954, and legality of that transfer was often questioned.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2015, @04:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2015, @04:27AM (#157958)

      Your earnestness is admirable.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 15 2015, @04:58AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 15 2015, @04:58AM (#157963) Journal

      The one thing I'm sure of is that Putin has a master plan, but what is it?

      I don't think he has a master plan, even though every pundit thinks he wants to re-assemble the old soviet union.

      But I think he knows that ship has sailed, and I don't think that was his plan. After all the USSR was a bit of a mess, with a lot of effort going into controlling (rather brutally) a dozen different indigenous populations. Those states never mattered to the Russians, they were all just buffer states, held to keep everyone else away from mother Mother Russia while they raped them of raw materials.

      I don't think he really wants those stated back. He has seen the problems of tying to control the Chechens, and the russians got seriously bloodied in Afghanistan. (Who didn't). Putin would probably just a soon the Chinese waste their blood and treasure trying to control them.

      I think the situation has gotten away from him. He is now reacting. He's flying his obsolete bombers because that't what they did in the 70s. Buying time. Its all he knows. He doesn't actually have any plan right now other than saving face. He's looking for a way out. (And he may be looking over his shoulder as well.)

      He knows he can push Obama around, and he's probably going to keep on doing it till Obama folds. If the EU grows a backbone and backs Ukraine Putin folds. (not because he's afraid of the EU, its just that he knows that starts World War III.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tftp on Sunday March 15 2015, @05:26AM

        by tftp (806) on Sunday March 15 2015, @05:26AM (#157971) Homepage

        Those states never mattered to the Russians, they were all just buffer states, held to keep everyone else away from mother Mother Russia while they raped them of raw materials.

        You'd wish it was so; those states would be better off. However that's not exactly how it happened. The bulk of construction of USSR was done in 1920's, and it was done by believers in the World Revolution. On top of that they were drunk of their victory in the Civil War. The young USSR absorbed all the territories that it could reach, and the conquerors honestly believed that they are doing good. Those states were not acquired for their resources, as those were not yet discovered. Siberian oil was not available during the World War II, for example, because nobody knew that it is there; hence the fight for Caspian oil. USSR in its first years of existence had no electric power, no roads, no food - and it was mired in forced collectivization. The overarching theme of all that was to give the workers and the peasants something that they need (no, not freedom - they, in their naivete, wanted to give them political power.)

        I don't think he really wants those stated back.

        Generally that is true. It is much more practical to buy what you need. Union is possible only with Byelorussia. They are like Canadians to an US citizen. Everyone else does not match that closely by their set of values, let alone the language.

        I think the situation has gotten away from him. He is now reacting.

        This mess is certainly not of his making. He inherited some of the local disarray, as dissolution of USSR could not end well - and we haven't seen all the fallout yet.

        He doesn't actually have any plan right now other than saving face.

        The plan exists, but not for Putin as a person. (I don't think he cares about himself that much.) The plan for Russia is very simple. As the West made itself into a foe of Russia, Russia turns away from the West and starts building cooperation with Asia. If you recall, USSR was largely self-sufficient. Such a need may reoccur. However with China and India among neutral, if not friendly states this becomes infinitely easier.

        If the EU grows a backbone and backs Ukraine Putin folds.

        No, if EU pushes hard enough it will simply result in war, and volunteers from Crimea will be in the ranks. What is it that EU is going to push for? To force an Autonomous Republic of Crimea to discard their own referendum? What kind of democrat would even suggest that? And outside of that, what can EU demand from Russia? The civil war in Ukraine seems to be on hold.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by turgid on Sunday March 15 2015, @08:18PM

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 15 2015, @08:18PM (#158097) Journal

      WTF is russia doing if it's prepared to destroy its economy over this?

      Russia is being run by yet another megalomaniac dictator. What he does doesn't have to make sense. The fact that things are getting ever more preposterous indicates that the dictator's days are numbered.

      Putin is about to make the false move that will lead to his downfall.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:30AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday March 15 2015, @03:30AM (#157952) Homepage Journal

    Under Communism, the Soviets and China were "Fellow Travelers" - despite both being Communist, and so strictly speaking allied, they fought several border skirmishes.

    After Vietnam overran the South in 1975, China invaded from the North but were repelled.

    During the Vietnam War, the North was supplied and trained by the Soviets. There are some claims that Soviet fighter pilots were defending Hanoi.

    Today Vietnam and China have territorial disputes in the South China Sea, for the most part over oil drilling rights. At the same time, China wants to be a superpower, and as a result of Foxconn's valiant efforts, certainly does have the cash.

    To really Vietnam needs Russia to defend itself, not against the US but against China.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Sunday March 15 2015, @10:51PM

    by wantkitteh (3362) on Sunday March 15 2015, @10:51PM (#158134) Homepage Journal

    Stuck between the US and Russia again, the last thing to go through Vietnam's mind before it gets nuked off the face of the planet is "Oh no, not again!"

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by arslan on Monday March 16 2015, @01:53AM

    by arslan (3462) on Monday March 16 2015, @01:53AM (#158187)

    So the U.S. is claiming the Ruskies are being provocative in the Asia Pac region... what have the countries in the Asia Pac region actually got to say about this or is the U.S. being a busy body playing world cop again?

    Or is it just an excuse because they couldn't stand the fact the Ruskies were flying over some of their territory in Asia Pac and decided to include everyone else in their sour grape sucking?

    Seriously..