Barack Obama, for reasons known to him alone has officially withdrawn from the Middle East. The Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group has just departed the Persian Gulf on December 26th and it will take a month to get another carrier back in those waters. This is the first time the United States doesn’t have a major carrier presence operating in the Arabian Gulf. The U.S. not being present in the Gulf will leave not only it open to attack, but Europe is also in danger.
The George H. W. Bush carrier won’t arrive until after Jan. 20th. It hasn’t even left Norfolk yet. Meanwhile, worldwide terrorist alerts are at an all-time high. We face threats from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and ISIS.
The Bush entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia in mid-June 2015 for a six-month repair period. The repair took 13 months ending July 23rd and is not really complete. Also, the crew is still not properly trained. Six months wasn’t enough time to train the crew and the Fleet Forces Command responsible for training the Bush and her strike group developed no contingency plan in hand to deal with the shortened training cycle. The crew is wrapping up a drastically compressed training period and the carrier group will finally be on its way soon.
Normally, US carrier groups regularly relieve each other, handing off duties within sight of each other in the Arabian Gulf or Arabian Sea. But now there is no carrier group replacing the Eisenhower. This leaves a month of the U.S. and the free world unprotected. It also looks like deployment was stalled from higher up.
The Pentagon usually plans for such gaps should they occur, often dispatching expeditionary US Air Force units to the region to pick up the slack. They say they are doing that presently, but it is only a stop gap measure that is not really effective. If an enemy decides to be aggressive they’ll be able to get away with it.
Don’t forget that even when they were there, the U.S. allowed a patrol boat to be captured by Iran and its sailors’ taken hostage until Iran got a ransom of millions of dollars in cash. They also play cat and mouse or chicken if you will, continuously charging U.S. boats and stopping short of collision. They force patrol boats off course this way just to show them whose boss in the gulf. They know that under Obama there is no vision of the U.S. actually standing up for itself. This failure to withdraw the old carrier group only after the new one is properly deployed fits in with Obama’s vision for a weakened U.S. military.
Donald Trump has a lot of work waiting for him on January 20th.