The destroyers are Aegis-class with not only Tomahawk cruise but also interceptor missiles.
Late last month the new director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, announced that the US was prepared to shoot down what North Korea described as a planned satellite launch.
Also, two days ago Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, boasted during a Congressional hearing of the US's ability to shoot down North Korean missiles and other launches.
On March 8 the US surveillance vessel The Impeccable approached a new Chinese submarine base in Yulin off the southern end of Hainan in the South China Sea.
Chinese vessels surrounded The Impeccable in what China considers its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (based on the Convention on the Law of the Sea which China has signed and the US hasn't).
According to a Time Magazine report shortly after the incident occurred, "The U.S. wants to know how well it can track Chinese submarines moving in and out of their new and growing base" and "Any intelligence gathered would be useful in a future showdown. Because U.S. aircraft carriers would play a vital role in any clash with China over Taiwan, being able to bottle up Chinese subs at their base — and measuring the range from their base within which U.S. technology could be used to hunt them before they escape into the open sea, where they would be much more difficult to detect...."
It was in the same area in 2001 that a US spy plane collided with a Chinese jet fighter resulting in the death of a Chinese pilot.
In late February Democratic Congressman John Murtha announced that the Obama administration would request a record $537 billion in military expenditures for the next fiscal year, one that Murtha described as a base budget.
As roughly the same time it was revealed that the White House would seek an additional $205.5 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many have urged that the new US administration be given time to settle in before being criticized. As the preceding accounts demonstrate, a lot can be known about a new government even before it formally takes charge and a lot can occur in two months.
There are important and indisputable social, historical and even moral dimensions to the election of Barrack Obama as the president of the United States.
In the political sphere, particularly in the areas of general foreign relations and military policy, there has been nothing to celebrate.
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