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Is the US Navy a Sitting Duck?
Indeed, the U.S. military is the most lopsided asymmetric combatant of them all, with its armadas of ships, planes, and weaponry. Few can match that arsenal. Weaker combatants Two, the Houthis or similar antagonists can compel navy ships to protect
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Detouring all the way around the Cape of Good Hope, at Africa’s southernmost tip, could become the cheaper option, notwithstanding all the fuel, wear and tear, and time such protracted voyages involve. In a sense, then, the Houthis could conscript insurance firm Lloyd’s of London as an ally — magnifying their influence while distorting patterns of trade and military operations. But the exchange of fire also helps us glimpse the future of sea combat. It confirms an adage from a good old book: There is nothing new under the sun. That’s something to bear in mind when you hear catchphrases about warfare — like “ hybrid warfare ,” “ asymmetric warfare ,” “ gray zone conflict ,” or “ little green men. ” These are jazzy new labels for bottles as old as armed strife itself. All warfare is asymmetric. Indeed, the U. S. military is the most lopsided asymmetric combatant of them all, with its armadas of ships, planes, and weaponry. Weaker combatants grasp that asymmetry — and refuse to fight America’s fight or submit meekly to its demands. That’s time-honored strategic logic. Combatants have different comparative strengths and frailties. They try to nullify their antagonists’ strengths while exploiting their weaknesses for strategic gain. You’d do the same thing in the Houthis’ place. Under what circumstances could combatants like the Houthis succeed by pelting Western vessels with missiles. Well, the stronger navy usually wins today, as more powerful forces have across the centuries. But the strong can take a serious bruising along the way. Even woefully outmatched antagonists like the Houthis can exact a heavy price for victory. Make the price prohibitive and the strong may refuse to pay. A halfhearted opponent may go away — leaving weak yet strong-willed defenders holding contested real estate or whatever’s at issue in the competition. How can the weak make costs spike. One, they could actually land a blow against a man-of-war like the USS Mason. That would impose the direct costs of repairing the vessel. It cost the U. S. Navy some $250 million (in 2000 dollars. almost $350 million today ) and 14 months to nurse the USS Cole back to health — including replacing two main engines. That’s a lot of bang for the buck from the militants’ standpoint, even leaving aside the enormous prestige bonus the Houthis would reap from such a coup. Two, the Houthis or similar antagonists can compel navy ships to protect themselves at high cost. Even successful defense against missile attacks is expensive. Fending off the initial attack on the Mason may have cost the U. S. Navy more than $8 million, compared with a guesstimated cost of $500,000 for each C-802 the Houthis fired. How to arrive at the $8 million figure. It’s unclear which variant of the SM-2 the Mason crew fired. In July, though, the U. S. State Department approved the sale of 246 “Block IIIB” SM-2s — a late model, but not the latest — to Japan for $821 million. That breaks down to $3. 34 million per round. An Evolved Sea Sparrow goes for $1. 17 million judging from a recent sale to Denmark, which purchased six missiles for $7 million last March. Two SM-2s, one Evolved Seasparrow: That comes to about $7. 85 million, not counting the cost of the Nulka decoy. Details about the Nulka’s price tag are few and far between, but a reasonable guess based on the program’s early history suggests each decoy may go for around $75,000. In other words, it probably cost the U. S. Navy upwards of $8 million to ward... Sure — if the navy leadership and the U. S. political leadership are prepared to bear the expense of putting ships in harm’s way. Or political leaders could come to question whether the strategic gains of staging a naval presence off Yemen’s coast justify the expense and hazard of doing so. If the Obama administration or its successor decide the reward isn’t worth the cost... But by retreating over the horizon, Washington may surrender that portion of the Gulf of Aden to Houthi militants — letting them claim victory. If so, the weak will have won through harsh cost/benefit logic. Next, nonstate scourges are nothing new to the high seas.
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Pecan Pie For Two (brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, eggs, flour, flour, pecan, salt, shortening, vanilla extract, water)
Ham Salad Pineapple Boats (ham, celery, green pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, pineapple)
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