Buried News: China setting up an airstrip close to Hawaii

As if the U.S. were not in bad enough shape militarily, China has a little surprise for us.

Here's the buried news item from Politico's national security newsletter, dated Jan. 11:

A "SURPRISE" IN THE PACIFIC: U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator KURT CAMPBELL says the region could be in store for a "strategic surprise" — comments that Reuters' DAVID BRUNNSTROM and KIRSTY NEEDHAM describe as "apparently referring to possible Chinese ambitions to establish Pacific-island bases."

"If you look and if you ask me, where are the places where we are most likely to see certain kinds of strategic surprise — basing or certain kinds of agreements or arrangements — it may well be in the Pacific," Campbell said Monday at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

"We have a very short amount of time, working with partners like Australia, like New Zealand, like Japan, like France, who have an interest in the Pacific, to step up our game across the board," Campbell added, revealing it was the issue he is "most concerned about" for the next couple years.

As Brunnstrom and Needham note, "lawmakers from the Pacific island republic of Kiribati told Reuters last year China has drawn up plans to upgrade an airstrip and bridge" on the small island of Kanton, southwest of Hawaii. The construction "would offer China a foothold deep in territory that had been firmly aligned to the United States and its allies since World War Two."

That news is a month old, and I happened upon it by accident while researching Ukraine, yet how many people saw it?  Did Joe Biden see it?  Did anyone in the Biden administration who has Joe's feeble ear see it?  Was there a news conference about this alarming development?  It was buried down at the bottom in the Politico report, and I sure didn't see it until now.  The report keys off a Reuters report, which came and went, too. 

Sure, it's just an analyst at a conference.  Sure, it's just a guy speculating...

But look at the content: China is building an airstrip about as close to Hawaii as it's possible to get, well closer than Hawaii is to the mainland — check the Google Maps screenshot below — and does anyone not think that China's sudden interest in constructing things in that middle-of-nowhere part of the Pacific is about anything else but menacing Hawaii?  The strip is roughly 2,000 miles from Honolulu, while San Diego is 2,600 miles from Honolulu and 3,300 miles from Kiribati.  Based on advanced fighter jet technology, 2,000-mile distances are doable, and the shorter distance provides some useful possibilities for China — not just in launching an attack, but in constructing more lily-pad atolls.

Image: Screen shot detail from Google Maps.

China is building an airstrip on an inhabited island or atoll (reports give different descriptions) in the island archipelago nation of Kiribati, which in 2019 moved its relations from Taiwan to China, and now China is going all in on developing an airstrip for "peaceful purposes," as it claims.

Kiribati is a longtime friendly U.S. ally with close relations dating back to World War II.  All of a sudden, we seem to have lost that relationship, with the Biden administration mismanaging it.  Now Kiribati has gone off and allowed China to build its airstrip, and analysts such as Campbell, cited above, consider this a likely platform for a "strategic surprise."

Campbell warned that it was the issue he is "most concerned about in the next year or two," but then, from the Reuters report, he went on to spout nonsense about putting Kiribati on a "green energy" program as a supposed solution.  That's part of the problem.  None of these things has anything to do with strategic superiority; pricey green energy is all part of the wokester madness that has gripped the military-industrial-consultant complex, with everything from pronouns to "green bullets" taking precedence over actual military superiority.

That's what we are stuck with as Joe Biden gets us bogged down in wokester military tripe with failed Gen. Mark Milley there to scare our enemies.  He's also focused and bogged down in Ukraine, even sending Kamala Harris to get underfoot at a big conference in Europe, as the Europeans try to handle the matter.  

While all that has his limited attention span in thrall, the Chicoms have gotten busy, and analysts like Campbell say they've got a surprise for us. 

I have no idea how they are going to solve this, given that so much has been ignored and mismanaged in the run-up.  But what we have now is the U.S. being boxed in and losing even its strategic advantage through its Hawaiian vantage point.  That suggests that the surprise could be ugly, and this won't end well for us so long as we have a walking corpse unaware of anything going on beyond his porridge now padding the halls of the Oval Office.

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