Monday, November 24, 2008

Possible Joint Russian - US Expeditionary ?

Russia, the US and several other nations have been patrolling the Indian Ocean for several weeks now. They are hunting a common enemy; Pirates. Currently these navies are acting independently, and with distinctly different rules of engagement. 

Two weeks ago Russia and India announced joint naval drills will be conducted in January of the new year. Named INDRA, this will be the fourth such exercise.

--Update 2 Dec '08; "...the task force will comprise the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class missile destroyer, a tugboat, and two tankers...more"

 Prior exercises were conducted without incident, but that may change as a result of recent hostilities involving the Indian Navy. Russia has also engaged the Pirates along side the British Navy.

This trend in cooperative effort may continue to develop into a multi-national task force with a central command and control element. As it stands, nearly every navy in the world is out there in a small body of water, armed to the teeth. For safety's sake, and to avoid the calamity of 'friendly fire' accidents it would behoove all involved to at least talk about cooperation. 

The first hurdle to over-come will be the diverse Rules of Engagement. The US is engaged in a war with two theaters with a political transition in progress at home. President Obama will certainly have to address the issue of Pirates, and how to engage them soon.

Central to any strategy to combat the Pirates from Somalia is the use of ground forces ( marines ). Pundits and Military Experts tend to agree that Russia is more likely to put boots on the ground than the other nations with these capabilities. And this is the second hurdle; Will Americans accept US Marines fighting beside Russian troops?

Given the radical shift in American politics towards the left ( If not openly socialist, President-elect Obama is far to the left of the incumbent President Bush ), the probability of acceptance is better now than ever before. 

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