Wow: US Military Pilots Make Bombshell Revelation About Obama And ISIS That Looks BAD

U.S. military pilots are reporting that they are being blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordinance because they could not get clearance, according a leading House Republican.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Beacon, “You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”

The Pentagon told the Beacon that the reason bombs are not being dropped is mainly because of the goal of minimizing civilian casualties. “The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” a military official said. 

“The fact that aircraft go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm,” the official added. “Despite U.S. strikes being the most precise in the history of warfare, conducting strike operations in the heavily populated areas where ISIL hides certainly presents challenges. We are fighting an enemy who goes out of their way to put civilians at risk. However, our pilots understand the need for the tactical patience in this environment. This fight against ISIL is not the kind of fight from previous decades.”

Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane shares Royce’s assessment that the strategy is flawed, adding it is being driven from the top down.

“When we agreed we were going to do airpower and the military said, this is how it would work, he [Obama] said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties,’” Keane explained. “And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’” Obama reiterated “no casualties,” according to the retired general.  

“Believe me,” Keane added, “the French are in there not using the restrictions we have imposed on our pilots.”

And the same goes for Russians. “They don’t care at all about civilians,” he said. 

The Pentagon stated that the air campaign has been effective, with attacks focused on the Islamic State’s “staging areas, fighting position, and key leaders,” as well as its “oil distribution chain.”

Royce believes that victory must ultimately come on the ground and advocates arming the Kurds, whose forces he says are 180,000 strong.  

“When it is perceived that ISIS is losing territory, that’s when it is harder for them to recruit on the internet and tell people they’re invincible,” Royce said. 

No, The Military Has Not Withered Away Under Obama

It is common to see articles and columns in the Conservative media claiming that President Obama is engaging in “historic defense cuts.” There are claims that not in decades has the military ever endured such budget slashing. “Romney blasts Obama over military cutbacks,” one headline blares.

Upon closer examination of these claims, one notes that the authors are careful to never mention actual dollar amounts in context, or any meaningful historical context beyond single recent year-over-year comparisons.

Most of these stories are careful to only mention military spending on certain projects, and never military spending as a whole. They look at troop numbers and other measures that don’t reflect total military spending.

And it’s not surprising that total military spending is never mentioned. Because, if it were, it would quickly become apparent that military spending is in fact near historic highs, and above the levels of spending that occurred under Ronald Reagan during his own Cold War buildup.

So, if you are worried about military spending, you can rest easy. Nor is there any cause for alarm in the wake of the most recent budget deal approved by Republican leaders and Obama. There will be nothing but budget increases over the next two years:

The plan will lift caps on the appropriated spending passed by Congress each year by $50 billion in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017, evenly divided between defense and domestic programs. Another approximately $16 billion would come each year in the form of inflated war spending, evenly split between the Defense and State departments.

So, not only will there be more base-level defense spending, but what is currently in the agreement can also be voided in favor of even more defense spending in case of new wars.

Even if there were “cuts” on the table, its unlikely military spending would be cut back to Cold War levels, let alone to Vietnam War-era levels. Here is military spending (excluding spending on veterans, diplomatic programs, and Homeland Security) in constant 2009 dollars:

US Military Spending, Constant 2009 Dollars (in billions of $)
Source: Office of Management and Budget, Table 8.2

Current estimates of 2015 spending put the total at $578 billion, which is equal to 2014’s total. While it is true that this puts spending below the record-breaking post-1945 high of $686 billion that occurred in 2010 and 2011, current defense spending remains up 41 percent from 2001 levels (i.e., pre 9/11). The total also remains up 7 percent from the Cold War peak of $538 billion reached in 1989.

But this graph only tells part of the story. As I explained here in response to last years estimates, defense spending analysis must include veterans benefits, which are crucial in meeting recruitment goals in the military and are an integral part of active-duty personnel costs. Thus, current VA spending is just spending deferred from previous military operations. They are not in any meaningful way separate from defense spending.

Moreover, since 2002, the federal government has folded several programs under “Homeland Security” that are defense expenditures, but not part of the Department of Defense. If we include these other forms of defense spending, we find national defense spending has increased even more than initially thought:

Defense Spending (including VA and Homeland Security Depts.) Contant 2009 Dollars (in billions $)
Source: Office of Management and Budget, Table 4.1

In both of these graphs, I have excluded “international affairs” spending such as dollars spent on foreign aid and embassies. So, I’m low-balling total spending here.

In the second graph, we see that total defense spending is estimated to be $711 billion in 2015, compared to $721 billion in 2014. That’s a decline of 1.2 percent, year-over-year. But total spending remains up 68 percent over 2001 levels, and up 22 percent over the Cold War peak year in 1986.

In spite of this, Conservative and Republican pundits have attempted to portray President Obama as some sort of peacenik. This has never been true, and it is reflected in the government spending initiatives he has approved.

For example, during the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency (2001 through 2008), the federal government spent $4.7 trillion on defense. During the seven years of the Obama years, from 2009 through 2015, the federal government spent $5.3 trillion. Obama still has another year to go. (Ronald Reagan’s federal government spent $3.7 trillion on defense from 1981 to 1988).

In spite of all of this, we’re being told by advocates for more government spending that the military is withering away just as the world becomes more dangerous than ever before. We’re supposed to believe, for example, that things are more dangerous now than they were in, say, 1949, when the Soviet Union acquired its own atomic bomb and began to build a nuclear arsenal. At the time, US military spending was under $60 billion dollars (in 1982 dollars), or about one-quarter the size of the spending under Reagan.

What Would Eisenhower Do?

In spite of claims that the US is currently engaging in “historic” cuts, today’s anemic military reductions have a long way to go to match the military reductions put in place by Dwight Eisenhower during his administration.

As David Stockman has noted, Eisenhower, perhaps because of his status as a revered military figure, was able to get away with large cuts to military spending:

Eisenhower … did not hesitate to wield the budgetary knife. When he did so, the blade came down squarely on the Pentagon …

With Eisenhower’s blessing, the budget request inherited from Truman was slashed by nearly 30 percent, with more cuts targeted for future years …

Although defense spending never did shrink all the way to Ike’s target, the wind-down of Truman’s war budget was swift and drastic. When measured in constant 2005 dollars of purchasing power, the defense budget was reduced from a peak of $515 billion in fiscal 1953 to $370 billion by fiscal 1956. It remained at that level through the end of Eisenhower’s second term.

Robert Higgs, in his analysis of defense spending, has used different calculations, but here also we see a decline of 23 percent from 1953 to 1956:

Military Spending, 1949-1963 (in 1982 $)
Source: “US Military Spending in the Cold War Era” by Robert Higgs

By the way, in 1953, right before Eisenhower began to intensify military cuts, the Soviet Union publicly tested its first hydrogen bomb, a 400-kiloton device.

Stockman continues:

Even though Democrats charged that Eisenhower and Humphrey were “allowing their Neanderthal fiscal views to endanger the national security,” the actual record proves the administration’s drastic rollback of Pentagon spending was not based merely on penny-pinching. Instead, it flowed from a reasoned retrenchment of the nation’s national security strategy called the “New Look.”

The new policy doctrine of the Eisenhower administration called for a sharp reduction in land and naval forces. That move was coupled with a significantly increased reliance for nuclear deterrence on the air force bomber fleet and the rapid development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In other words, by cutting back on the standing army, Eisenhower abandoned the ability to invade and occupy foreign countries in favor of a less expensive military based more heavily on nuclear deterrence.

Not even Eisenhower was immune to charges of being a communist sympathizer, but we can be sure that if any president today attempted anything similar to what Eisenhower attempted, he would be immediately denounced as a terrorist and collaborator.

And, naturally, we have every reason to believe that, regardless of who the president is, military spending will spike again the next time a president mobilizes for a new war, whether it’s in Ukraine, Syria, or some other exotic location where we will be assured that the absolutely vital interests of the US are in grave danger.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted with permission under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Top Military Officials Proposing THIS In Europe To Oppose Putin

Top U.S. military officials proposed sending more U.S. forces to Europe, given the increasingly aggressive actions and statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The call for more troops came over the weekend at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. During the height of the Cold War, which included Ronald Reagan’s tenure as president, the United States had over 300,000 military personnel in Europe. That number quickly dropped to just over 100,000 by the mid 90s, following the end of the Cold War. There are now approximately 70,000 members of the U.S. military spread throughout Europe.

Fox News reports that the U.S. Army currently has two brigades in Eastern Europe, totaling about 7,000 troops, with one other brigade rotating in and out on a regular basis. During the Cold War, the Army stationed multiple divisions (approximately 20,000 soldiers each) in Germany to deter Soviet Union aggression.

As a first step to reestablishing a larger American military footprint in Europe, Gen. Philip Breedllove, the supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, would like to see more brigades added to the rotational forces.

Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, told the Wall Street Journal at the Reagan Library forum that he would also like to position additional attack helicopter units and artillery brigades in Europe. “The challenge here is to deter further aggression without triggering that which you are trying to deter,” Gen. Milley said. “It is a very difficult proposition.”

At his confirmation hearing this past summer, Gen. Milley listed Russia as the top security threat to the United States. Russia is the only country on earth that contains a nuclear capability that could destroy the United States,” he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s an existential threat to the United States, so it has capability. Intent, I don’t know; but the activity of Russia since 2008 has been very, very aggressive.”

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, in his address to the forum, stated“We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia.” He added: “We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.”

“In Europe, Russia has been violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and actively trying to intimidate the Baltic states,” he said. “Meanwhile, in Syria, Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose.”

Sec. Carter also told the crowd that the United States is continuing to innovate weapons to face the potential security threats posed by Russia. “We’re investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia’s provocations, such as new unmanned systems, a new long-range bomber, and innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers and new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones I really can’t describe here,” he said.

Fear Of The Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim

Fear is a primitive impulse, brainless as hunger, and because the aim of horror fiction is the production of the deepest kinds of fears, the genre tends to reinforce some remarkably uncivilized ideas about self-protection. In the current crop of zombie stories, the prevailing value for the beleaguered survivors is a sort of siege mentality, a vigilance so constant and unremitting that it’s indistinguishable from the purest paranoia.— Terrence Rafferty, New York Times

The zombies are back. They are hungry. And they are lurking around every corner.

In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback has declared October “Zombie Preparedness Month” in an effort to help the public prepare for a possible zombie outbreak.

In New York, researchers at Cornell University have concluded that the best place to hide from the walking dead is the northern Rocky Mountains region.

And in Washington, DC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a zombie apocalypse preparation kit “that details everything you would need to have on hand in the event the living dead showed up at your front door.”

The undead are also wreaking havoc at gun shows, battling corsets in forthcoming movie blockbusters such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, running for their lives in 5K charity races, and even putting government agents through their paces in mock military drills arranged by the Dept. of Defense (DOD) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The zombie narrative, popularized by the hit television series The Walking Dead, in which a small group of Americans attempt to survive in a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world where they’re not only fighting off flesh-eating ghouls but cannibalistic humans, plays to our fears and paranoia.

Yet as journalist Syreeta McFadden points out, while dystopian stories used to reflect our anxieties, now they reflect our reality, mirroring how we as a nation view the world around us, how we as citizens view each other, and most of all how our government views us.

Fear the Walking Dead—AMC’s new spinoff of its popular Walking Dead series—drives this point home by dialing back the clock to when the zombie outbreak first appears and setting viewers down in the midst of societal unrest not unlike our own experiences of the past year (“a bunch of weird incidents, police protests, riots, and … rapid social entropy”). Then, as Forbes reports, “the military showed up and we fast-forwarded into an ad hoc police state with no glimpse at what was happening in the world around our main cast of hapless survivors.”

Forbes found Fear’s quick shift into a police state to be far-fetched, but anyone who has been paying attention in recent years knows that the groundwork has already been laid for the government—i.e., the military—to intervene and lock down the nation in the event of a national disaster.

Recognizing this, the Atlantic notes: “The villains of [Fear the Walking Dead] aren’t the zombies, who rarely appear, but the U.S. military, who sweep into an L.A. suburb to quarantine the survivors. Zombies are, after all, a recognizable threat—but Fear plumbs drama and horror from the betrayal by institutions designed to keep people safe.”

We’ve been so hounded in recent years with dire warnings about terrorist attacks, Ebola pandemics, economic collapse, environmental disasters, and militarized police that it’s no wonder millions of Americans have turned to zombie fiction as a way to “envision how we and our own would thrive if everything went to hell and we lost all our societal supports.” As Time magazine reporter James Poniewozik phrases it, the “apocalyptic drama lets us face the end of the world once a week and live.”

Here’s the curious thing, however: while zombies may be the personification of our darkest fears, they embody the government’s paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent.

Why else would the government feel the need to monitor our communications, track our movements, criminalize our every action, treat us like suspects, and strip us of any means of defense while equipping its own personnel with an amazing arsenal of weapons?

For years now, the government has been carrying out military training drills with zombies as the enemy. In 2011, the DOD created a 31-page instruction manual for how to protect America from a terrorist attack carried out by zombie forces. In 2012, the CDC released a guide for surviving a zombie plague. That was followed by training drills for members of the military, police officers and first responders.

As journalist Andrea Peyser reports:

Coinciding with Halloween 2012, a five-day national conference was put on by the HALO Corp. in San Diego for more than 1,000 first responders, military personnel and law enforcement types. It included workshops produced by a Hollywood-affiliated firm in…overcoming a zombie invasion. Actors were made up to look like flesh-chomping monsters. The Department of Homeland Security even paid the $1,000 entry fees for an unknown number of participants…

“Zombie disaster” drills were held in October 2012 and ’13 at California’s Sutter Roseville Medical Center. The exercises allowed medical center staff “to test response to a deadly infectious disease, a mass-casualty event, terrorism event and security procedures”…

[In October 2014], REI outdoor-gear stores in Soho and around the country are to hold free classes in zombie preparedness, which the stores have been providing for about three years.

The zombie exercises appear to be kitschy and fun—government agents running around trying to put down a zombie rebellion—but what if the zombies in the exercises are us, the citizenry, viewed by those in power as mindless, voracious, zombie hordes?

Consider this: the government started playing around with the idea of using zombies as stand-ins for enemy combatants in its training drills right around the time the Army War College issued its 2008 report, warning that an economic crisis in the U.S. could lead to massive civil unrest that would require the military to intervene and restore order.

That same year, it was revealed that the government had amassed more than 8 million names of Americans considered a threat to national security, to be used “by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.” The program’s name, Main Core, refers to the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

Also in 2008, the Pentagon launched the Minerva Initiative, a $75 million military-driven research project focused on studying social behavior in order to determine how best to cope with mass civil disobedience or uprisings. The Minerva Initiative has funded projects such as “Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?” which “conflates peaceful activists with ‘supporters of political violence’ who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on ‘armed militancy’ themselves.”

In 2009, the Dept. of Homeland Security issued its reports on Rightwing and Leftwing Extremism, in which the terms “extremist” and “terrorist” were used interchangeably to describe citizens who were disgruntled or anti-government.

Meanwhile, a government campaign was underway to spy on Americans’ mail, email and cell phone communications. News reports indicate that the U.S. Postal Service has handled more than 150,000 requests by federal and state law enforcement agencies to monitor Americans’ mail, in addition to photographing every piece of mail sent through the postal system.

Fast forward a few years more and you have local police being transformed into extensions of the military, taught to view members of their community as suspects, trained to shoot first and ask questions later, and equipped with all of the technology and weaponry of a soldier on a battlefield.

Most recently, the Obama administration hired a domestic terrorism czar whose job is to focus on anti-government American “extremists” who have been designated a greater threat to America than ISIS or al Qaeda. As part of the government’s so-called war on right-wing extremism, the Obama administration has agreed to partner with the United Nations to take part in its Strong Cities Network program, which will train local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism.

In other words, those who believe in and exercise their rights under the Constitution (namely, the right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share their political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), have just been promoted to the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Noticing a pattern yet?

“We the people” or, more appropriately, “we the zombies” are the enemy in the eyes of the government.

So when presented with the Defense Department’s battle plan for defeating an army of the walking dead, you might find yourself tempted to giggle over the fact that a taxpayer-funded government bureaucrat actually took the time to research and write about vegetarian zombies, evil magic zombies, chicken zombies, space zombies, bio-engineered weaponized zombies, radiation zombies, symbiant-induced zombies, and pathogenic zombies.

However, in an age of extreme government paranoia, this is no laughing matter.

The DOD’s strategy for dealing with a zombie uprising, outlined in “CONOP 8888,” is for all intents and purposes a training manual for the government in how to put down a citizen uprising, or at least an uprising of individuals “infected” with dangerous ideas about freedom.

Rest assured that the tactics and difficulties outlined in the “fictional training scenario” are all too real, beginning with martial law.

As the DOD training manual states: “zombies [read: “activists”] are horribly dangerous to all human life and zombie infections have the potential to seriously undermine national security and economic activities that sustain our way of life. Therefore having a population that is not composed of zombies or at risk from their malign influence is vital to U.S. and Allied national interests.”

So how does the military plan to put down a zombie (a.k.a. disgruntled citizen) uprising?

The strategy manual outlines five phases necessary for a counter-offensive: shape, deter, seize initiative, dominate, stabilize and restore civil authority. Here are a few details:

Phase 0 (Shape): Conduct general zombie awareness training. Monitor increased threats

(i.e., surveillance). Carry out military drills. Synchronize contingency plans between federal and state agencies. Anticipate and prepare for a breakdown in law and order.

Phase 1 (Deter): Recognize that zombies cannot be deterred or reasoned with. Carry out training drills to discourage other countries from developing or deploying attack zombies and publicly reinforce the government’s ability to combat a zombie threat. Initiate intelligence sharing between federal and state agencies. Assist the Dept. of Homeland Security in identifying or discouraging immigrants from areas where zombie-related diseases originate.

Phase 2 (Seize initiative): Recall all military personal to their duty stations. Fortify all military outposts. Deploy air and ground forces for at least 35 days. Carry out confidence-building measures with nuclear-armed peers such as Russia and China to ensure they do not misinterpret the government’s zombie countermeasures as preparations for war. Establish quarantine zones. Distribute explosion-resistant protective equipment. Place the military on red alert. Begin limited scale military operations to combat zombie threats. Carry out combat operations against zombie populations within the United States that were “previously” U.S. citizens.

Phase 3 (Dominate): Lock down all military bases for 30 days. Shelter all essential government personnel for at least 40 days. Equip all government agents with military protective gear. Issue orders for military to kill all non-human life on sight. Initiate bomber and missile strikes against targeted sources of zombie infection, including the infrastructure. Burn all zombie corpses. Deploy military to lock down the beaches and waterways.

Phase 4 (Stabilize): Send out recon teams to check for remaining threats and survey the status of basic services (water, power, sewage infrastructure, air, and lines of communication). Execute a counter-zombie ISR plan to ID holdout pockets of zombie resistance. Use all military resources to target any remaining regions of zombie holdouts and influence. Continue all actions from the Dominate phase.

Phase 5 (Restore civil authority): Deploy military personnel to assist any surviving civil authorities in disaster zones. Reconstitute combat capabilities at various military bases. Prepare to redeploy military forces to attack surviving zombie holdouts. Restore basic services in disaster areas.

Notice the similarities?

Surveillance. Military drills. Awareness training. Militarized police forces. Martial law.

As I point out in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if there is any lesson to be learned, it is simply this: whether the threat to national security comes in the form of actual terrorists, imaginary zombies or disgruntled American citizens infected with dangerous ideas about freedom, the government’s response to such threats remains the same: detect, deter and annihilate.

To return to AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead: it’s the police state “tasked with protecting the vulnerable” that poses some of the gravest threats to the citizenry.

From the Atlantic:

When the military arrives, mowing down hostile “walkers” with ease, setting up camp to screen out any further infection, the moment is presented with an ironic note of triumph. The main character, Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), tells his group they can rest easy—help has finally arrived… As the soldiers begin hauling anyone spiking a fever away to quarantine zones, Travis insists their intentions are noble while the rest of his family begins to realize the military doesn’t really have a plan except to crush any potential threat. Are you a zombie? They’ll shoot you in the head. Do you look sick? You’re probably about to be a zombie. Do you have a problem with their approach? Then they have a problem with you, too.

One of the show’s most brilliant touches has been the characterization of the soldiers themselves, not as impassive robots hell-bent on enforcing martial law, but as worryingly recognizable guys around town. Whenever Travis pleads with his local commander to address community fears and complaints, he might as well be talking to an ornery bowling buddy. The soldiers are tetchy and irritable rather than monstrous, clearly overwhelmed by the impossible situation they face, and granted authority through the guns in their hands and little else. In a pivotal scene, one of them tries to cajole Travis into firing a killshot at a distant zombie through a sniper scope, even though he knows Travis believes there might be a cure. The soldiers insist the zombies are dead beyond salvation—an unfortunate truth on the show, but also a sad reflection of just how dehumanized the enemy can become in the midst of war.

The latest episode, “Cobalt,” revealed the military’s endgame: With the zombie situation deteriorating, they plan to flee and wipe out everyone they leave behind, at this point motivated only by the need to survive, rather than to protect. Countering that is the family unit that has forged new bonds in the crisis. These organically loyal communities, the writers Robert Kirkman and David Erickson argue, are the only kind that can survive in such a world… More than anything, Fear the Walking Dead is a drama about occupation, the breakdown of society, and the ease with which seemingly decent people can decide that might makes right. Like any dystopian fiction, it’s easy to dismiss as fantasy, but remove the zombies and Fear could be taking place in dozens of real-world locations… This is happening here, Kirkman and Erickson are saying, but it could happen anywhere.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Watch: How China Just Responded To U.S. Navy Action Ratchets Up The Tension

Chinese officials wailed and warned Tuesday as the United States challenged its territorial claims in the South China Sea by sailing within 12 miles of two man-made islands. China also sent two ships to stalk the USS Lassen as the American guided-missile destroyer carried out its mission.

The Pentagon said that the Lassen completed its patrol without incident. However, the cruise left Chinese diplomats voicing a chorus of shrill outrage.

“China will firmly react to this deliberate provocation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang. “China will not condone any action that undermines China’s security.”

The United States was characterized by one expert as having taken a major step with the patrol.

“By using a guided-missile destroyer, rather than smaller vessels…they are sending a strong message,” said Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore’s Institute of South East Asian Studies. “They have also said, significantly, that there will be more patrols – so it really now is up to China how it will respond.”

Lu said if the United States acts to “create tensions in the region,” China might “increase and strengthen the building up of our relevant abilities.”

“China hopes to use peaceful means to resolve all the disputes, but if China has to make a response then the timing, method and tempo of the response will be made in accordance with China’s wishes and needs,” he added.

American officials said the exercise was designed to demonstrate the right to freedom of navigation in the contested waters. China claims a 12-mile territorial limit around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago. The Philippines also has claims to the hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the area.

Over the past two years, China has converted reefs and atolls into islands by dredging sand from the ocean floor. Construction on the islands has focused on creating buildings, ports and airstrips big enough to handle bombers. The actions have raised fears that China is preparing a military use for the islands, a claim China denies.

h/t: The Gateway Pundit