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Putting Cold War II on hold to make safe the Red Sea-Suez Canal Asia-Europe trade lane

As China's wealth depends on what it can sell to the West, it has the most to lose from any blockage of the Red Sea and Suez Canal trade lane to European markets. Thus, ways might be found to induce Beijing to apply its growing military might to confront Yemini forces threatening the trade lane.

At the same time one suspects the Deep State in the West to make use of the crippling missile attacks on its people to stem the rising populist tide. And war has been a traditional means of exacting obedience in the name of national security, even though it is hard to imagine Yemen and Iran posing such a threat to the Western world.

Yet there are already demands for War with Iran, which as an issue at least, is sorely needed to take attention away from a war against Russia, which is going badly.

The Russo-Ukrainian War started off well enough, given the clownishly inept Russian assault on Kiev. But Russia was on more solid ground having already seized the eastern Donbass and the Crimea to the south with massive local support.

Once that step was taken, Ukrainian mission to dislodge the invaders, made the Russians instant beneficiaries of the classic 3:1 attacker-defender kill ratio. This is the result of attackers having to attack over open ground suffering three times the casualties as defenders, who fire from sheltered positions. This advantage has resided with the Russians ever since.

Pivoting from one war to another is today accompanied by Deep State moves, such as the destruction of Dutch and French agriculture through regulation, the derailing of US Energy independence through fracking bans, the seizure of US farm land a worldwide campaign against fossil fuels, as well as the use of health and safety regulations to cancel long established civil rights.

Thus, one cannot be overly focused on one theatre of operations when they are so many. To use the World War II analogy, there's Rommel threatening Egypt, Guderian threatening Moscow, the Japanese taking over Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as the Philippines and Indonesia. There's a lot going on then as now.

Returning to our own nautical realm, we have three areas of war risk - the Red Sea, the Black Sea and the South China Sea. While there may be Black Sea attacks, and the Ukrainians have had success in sinking significant Russian tonnage, naval operations are unlikely to have much impact on the war itself, which at this stage, appears to have the Ukrainians able to repel the Russians from a takeover of the country, while at the same time, unable to dislodge the invaders from the Russian majority Donbass and Crimea provinces.

But far more important to everyone is the Red Sea which has since been effectively blockaded by Yemini forces remotely through missile and drone strikes, as well as a skillful marine airborne assault that seized a car carrier and hostages.

There was more force in the announcement of a US-led naval response than there was in the initial description of the force itself. It left many more Suez Canal dependent shippers scratching their heads, wondering what such a force proposed to do. It seemed to be a "coalition of the barely willing" and then only if it were not to be under US command but under NATO or EU instead. Ground forces included initially seemed to rise no higher than double digits.

The current naval response seems to amount to an entirely one-dimensional missile shield to catch incoming rockets. About which Washington, DC's Responsible Statecraft journal notes: "The costs of these measures are steadily increasing. The US and its allies cannot easily continue to expend large numbers of scarce multimillion-dollar missiles to take out drones that can cost as little as US$1,000."

What's more, such an Iron Dome-Patriot style missile umbrella do not catch every missile if many are fired at once. According to heavy weapons expert podcaster, Ryan McBeth, these electronic missile shields are good at protecting particular zones, but a number outside these security zones regularly get through.

Ships by their very nature are travelling zones. Even in convoy, an Agincourt-like shower of arrow-like missiles are likely to get through here and there. Insurers are not likely to lower skyrocketing war risk premiums unless it is far safer than that. And with more women aboard ships these days, at the behest of corporate HR-cum-diversity departments, there will be more to fuss about than inappropriate touching and misgendering.

Unless diplomatic pressure can be brought to bear on the Houthis, or make them satisfied with official recognition as the government of Yemen - after all they have held the capital for a decade - while the so-called "Government of Yemen" is hole up in the former British coastal colony of Aden as its "temporary capital".

Failing that, then the option is boots on the ground to the capital Sanaa (pop 3.2 million) 100 miles inland from the Houthi-controlled Port of Hodeida (pop 735,000), where the hijacked car carrier Galaxy Leader is docked.

Those who suggest having missiles strike launch sites do not appreciate that missiles are fired from truck beds that move away from launch site the moment they are fired.

One will also tempted to fire them from populated areas within Saana itself fouling a counter-battery response that would kill civilians who have become grist for the propaganda mill in the West. The temptation is to do what needs to be done with ground forces and missile strikes.

Drawbacks include the excellence of Houthi forces, who have been at the war a long time, and the inferior nature of our own forces. Even British forces are not what was sent to the Falklands 40 years ago. Even the Irish grinding wheel in Ulster that kept the British Army sharp has not been spinning for 20 years. One would not welcome a repeat of the Blackhawk Down drama of 1993 when Somali forces, known as Fuzzy-Wuzzies in Kipling's Day, who broke the supposedly unbreakable British square in 1885, might well do as well again. And that is precisely an outcome our diversity-inclusion ridden military one can expect today. Hence, one suggests the Chinese join the party to see if their much vaunted military is any good operationally.

These are soluble problems once the underlying malaise has been identified and diagnosed, but the cure, that is the destruction of the pernicious Deep State and its wokish influence will take time to erase.

One can invite China as well as member states of the exporting ASEAN bloc as they are more dependent on the Asia-Europe trade than anyone else on the free passage of goods through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. We might even let the China's massive People's Liberation Army do the heavy lifting in a ground war as the Americans did in the Korean War. Certainly it is an avenue to be explored. We all might learn something.

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Is the restoration of a save Red Sea-Suez trade route sufficient reason to put Cold War II on hold and invite China to the party?

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Mediterranean & Africa
Trade Specialists