When Obama said our military would leave the Middle East and focus on the Pacific Region, he probably wasn’t kidding. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was in Vietnam the other day laying the groundwork for what will be America’s most important harbor (a fancy deep-water harbor, at that!) when it comes to circling our number one target, China. Cam Ranh Bay sits at a chokepoint for maritime traffic into the South China Sea, and Vietnam is just one domino to the south of the red foe. Setting up a permanent base there would be extremely annoying to China.

Vietnam for its part is totally willing to piss off China by letting us in if we’d only be so kind as to sell them some weapons, please. Makes sense, since we have the tyranny of distance on our side while they share a border with the offended.

This is just the latest move by the U.S. along these lines. So far, we’ve established a permanent marine base in Darwin, Australia (on the northern tip, facing China), are currently working to turn Guam into some kind of regional military hub, and the ink is barely dry on some new deals with the Philippines for military base access. Put them all together with the stuff we have in Okinawa and Japan and South Korea, and you’ve got China surrounded.

This is great news for the servicemen and women who get to hang out at the rad new Pacific bases instead of fucking Iraq in the middle of summer. Until, of course, it is time to go to #war with China. They just boosted their defense spending for the umpteenth time in a row including a hefty allocation for new nuclear submarines with over-the-horizon radar, the kind that can strike our fancy new bases-to-be. So enjoy the vacation while it lasts, which is probably until Mitt Romney gets elected and we go back to our traditional role of guarding the oil fields.

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  • nounverb911

    Let's send Mitt and Cheney in first. They've never been there.

    • If they go would they change the name then from Cam Ranh Bay to Draft Dodge City.

    • BarackMyWorld

      Rachel Maddow had an interesting segment about this last night.
      Guess what? Mitt has lied a few times about his draft exemptions!

      • nounverb911

        How can you tell that Mitt Romney's lying?

        • How? His lips never move.

        • Oh, that's easy. The LED on his CPU is on steadily, indicating he's powered up

  • fartknocker

    I'll bet the seafood is wonderful.

  • No blood for genuine 3 Crabs Fish sauce!

    • Hey! You can GET 3 Crabs out there? I only found some here a couple years ago!

  • Callyson

    So much for 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia' yet again…

    • Roger Daltrey clobbered Townshend with a mic stand for making him sing that tongue-twister!

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Yeah, that whole "Lifehouse" thing was a disaster from start to never-finish.

    • I think we are assuming this will be a sea war. So, technically, this rule will not apply.

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Maybe we can take off and nuke the site from orbit. Just to be sure.

      • Antispandex

        I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

    • anniegetyerfun

      Still, we've never gone in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

      • Carlos Marcello may disagree.

        • Uh, yeah. When the mob came back from the mattresses, the Kennedy Brothers were dead.

      • MosesInvests

        Lucky Luciano libel!

    • Beowoof

      Well MacArthur also said "I will return" so I see a contradicting quote fest here.

  • nounverb911

    Didn't they find oil in Vietnam?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Spratly Islands. Claimed by just about every sovereign nation in Asia, except maybe Mongolia. Good info in this article, 3rd and 4th paragraph down.

    • Well, maybe oyster sauce, but I doubt there's much oil there, per se

      • GunToting[Redacted]

        Peanut oil libel!

  • BaldarTFlagass

    I've seen this movie. It does not end well.

    • Reanimated Colonel Kurtz in "Zombie Apocalypse Now"!

      • The whorers! The whorers!

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Dennis Hopper, too!

        • Hey man, he expanded my mind!

          I mean, ate my brain!

          • You are on fire!

          • Is that why people keep pissing on me? I've been wondering…

          • Beowoof

            Naw that is the trickle down from the wealthy hitting you.

      • Chichikovovich

        In a just world ruled by Benevolent Providence, this post would have 200 thumb-ups by now.

    • The Horars of War.

  • Goonemeritus

    Sweet maybe they will bring back China Beach.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      And cheap heroin!

      • Goonemeritus

        I’m told it’s already here, according to my in-laws it’s the drug of choice with those crazy kids on Long Island

        • Yes, the old-timey kind who use it for their arthritis. Those kids.

        • Well, the authorities are cracking down on prescription drug abuse. What else are junkies gonna do but find a different high?

          Shit. It looks bad already. I don't like this.

          • Goonemeritus

            I don’t want to sound like my father but I agree it stems from prescription drug abuse. I was in NYC in the 70’s and I still remember almost having to step over junkies on the sidewalks. It was a kind of plague and this is starting to feel the same way.

          • We were watching Panic in Needle Park the other night, for nostalgia, and I just couldn't watch it any more. It's happening in the UK too, right now. A needle plague.

      • LetUsBray

        Well, now we're respected in society
        We don't worry 'bout the things that we used to be
        We're talking heroin with the president,
        Yes it's a problem, sir, but it can be bent…

    • BarackMyWorld

      I'd settle for a DVD release.

  • Blueb4sunrise

    You are always marching with us, Uncle Ho!

  • Doktor StrangeZoom

    Apparently, Charlie does surf now.

    • That works as both an Apocalypse Now joke and a a Clash reference.

      • scvirginia

        I immediately thought of the Clash song, but then realized that they (the Clash & the Doktor) were probably referencing something else…

      • doloras

        And a reference to the second Back To The Future movie. SURF VIETNAM.

  • chascates

    We fight you long time.

  • Dibs on Yerrow Gull!

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Having spent plenty of time in this part of the world, as well as the Middle East/Central Asia, I must say that liberty call in Thailand or the Philippines beats the shit out of R&R at Al-Udeid in Qatar.

    • Udeid what, now?

    • Warren Zevon, is that you?

      • OneYieldRegular

        Dad, get me out of this.

  • poorgradstudent

    If Obama wants to go back to America's greatest hits this is totally wrong.

    Why not mess with Germany instead? I hear they're back to their old tricks of trying to take over Europe.

    • Germany? Hm, have they got a fresh crop of rocket scientists we can swipe?

      • poorgradstudent

        No, but they do have plenty of neoliberal economists who can devastate a country even more surely than a barrage of missiles!

    • Negropolis

      Yeah, but Vietnam has nice beaches.

    • DWW

      I still miss the good ol' days of Cold War…

  • Antispandex

    " Cam Ranh Bay sits at a chokepoint for maritime traffic into the South China Sea, and Vietnam is just one domino to the south of the red foe. Setting up a permanent base there would be extremely annoying to China. "

    It's been a while since I heard this, but I'm sure I have heard it before…Damn, where was I ? I remember I was wearing uncomfortable clothes, my head was shaved, there was an overbearing guy yelling about "communist world domination"….

    • I'm tellin' ya, this is making me REAL uncomfortable.

  • Perhaps Walnuts can finish the job this time around.

    • Blow up a few more aircraft carriers?

      • Wile E. Quixote

        Crash a few more American planes?

    • Negropolis

      You know, Hanoi is a bit more developed than when he crashed there, last.

  • Hm, I think somebody's been playing solitaire with Senator McCain.

  • TheGyrus

    I've got an idea…. lets poke China with a pointy stick! Whats the worst that could happen?

    • Hey, according to Herman Cain, they aren't a nukular power! President Cain would man up and stick that sucker right up China's candy ass!

    • No iPads for you!!!

    • Antispandex

      Um, well, don't we owe them lots of money? I guess they could ask for it back. Whoa…that would be embarrassing.

    • poorgradstudent

      Yeah, the one and only aspect of American foreign policy I could get behind was the "Not going after countries that could actually hit us back" part…

    • Remember what Mao said to Nixon? I'm paraphrasing, and badly, but it ran something like "If you lose 150 million people, you cannot fight any more. If we lose 150 million people, we still have 800 million more."

      China is the most powerful country in the world now. A refusal to accept that might well result in WW III.

  • Maybe we can go to war with India too, so we can have 1/3 of the world's population after us all at the same time!

    • Pancetta (yeah, I know, but he looks like a piglet to me and not in a Baconzgood way) is already putting pressure on India to get involved in Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan have some ancient land disputes going back thousands of years and involving the tribal areas in the northwest. And India is the bugbear that TPTB of Pakistan use to distract the teeming, dispossessed, dirt-poor, ignorant masses of that failed state. This should end well. Not.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Maybe music will get good again, too.

    • And one reeeeeeeally shitty Billy Joel song

      • LetUsBray

        As opposed to your averagely shitty Billy Joel song.

        • Antispandex

          (psst…hey bro…who's billy joel?)

        • Precisely!

  • anniegetyerfun

    Gah, you know, China is the only country that I am remotely hawkish on. I wish we spend more of our time trying to destroy their computer networks (and protecting our own from them), like we do with Iran, rather than attempting to piss them off militarily. There's more than one way to skin a cat and then stir-fry it.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    US Numbah One! China Numbah Ten!!!

  • SayItWithWookies

    Cam Ranh Bay? Shit, the US military still hasn't gotten over Vietnam if they're trying to use that country's second best harbor. It's all one country now, and you big brass bitches should come to terms with it. See you in Haiphong.

    • Dashboard Buddha

      Well, just as Houston…too close to New Orleans, Haiphong…too close to the Chinese border.

      • SayItWithWookies

        It would just be wonderful to see some of those REMFs finally having made it to Hanoi.

  • Only now the Ho Chi Minh trail is lined with fast food restaurants.

    • Chichikovovich

      Ho Chi Minh Trail Mix is a popular snack.

    • There's actually a guide book to the high spots of the Ho Chi Minh trail for tourists, published by the governmental publishing house. There's also a guide to the famous subterranean tunnels.

  • Dashboard Buddha

    US: Hey, let's let bygones be bygones.
    Vietnam: Sure…how many F-16s will you give us?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      And how about a little help with reforestation of the 25% of our land area that you denuded with Agent Orange?

      • And compensation and medical assistance for the hundreds of thousands of veterans of the war YOU FUCKERS wrought upon our country and also medical aid for the children deformed by YOUR use of Agent Orange.

    • That really says it, doesn't it? The US is gaining access to Cam Rahn Bay by arming the North Vietnamese. Makes your head spin.

  • LetUsBray

    So… fighting a war there really was completely pointless. I mean, even losing made no difference.

    • In the end all the fighting and warring and death and destruction could have been avoided if the US had just responded positively to Mao's and Zhou's and Ho's many and repeated offers of friendship since 1940. Seriously. There would not have *been* a war in the Pacific theater if the US had listened to it's own fucking Generals, most notably Stillwell, who wrote a book about his misadventures there. We chose to support a fascistic gangster and dictator over two patriots who genuinely cared about their country and were willing, and even eager to work with us. And so China went to war with Japan and the whole bloody saga continued on down to fucking present times.

      All those lives, all those tons of bombs, all that money, all that suffering and heartbreak. To end up in the US military being back in Cam Ranh Bay. Fuck me.


    Call me when we start setting up bases in Mongolia.

  • Dashboard Buddha

    I came for the geopolitical influence…but stayed for the war!

  • scvirginia

    This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around…

    Oh, rats! Did I misplace the T-Heads thread?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      At Wonkette, every thread is a Talking Heads thread.

      • Doktor StrangeZoom

        I thought every thread was a Zappa thread.

        • scvirginia

          Oh, but are they mutually exclusive?

          • doloras

            Adrian Belew played for both. And King Crimson. SO THIS IS NOW A KING CRIMSON THREAD. Innocents burned with napalm fire, 21st century schizoid man.

          • scvirginia

            Oh, and now I've got 'Elephant Talk' stuck in my head. Hey, thanks!

          • George Skullfry

            Nicely done.

          • MosesInvests

            Talk, talk, it's only talk….

          • MosesInvests

            Talk, talk, it's only talk…Arguments. Agreements. Articulate announcements….

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Your move, Jane Fonda.

  • James Michael Curley

    I lost a perfectly good arm and a couple legs in Khe Sanh. If you find them let me know.

  • So, Vietnam is playing the America Card?

  • GunToting[Redacted]

    Damn, now I'm hungry for a big bowl of Phở.

    • Doktor StrangeZoom

      Phở shở

      • Don't tell me you speak VietNamese too. Or did you just go find the appropriate diacritical marks by guesswork?

        • Doktor StrangeZoom

          Ha! You read too much into my simple copy+paste. I never even learned the names of the dishes at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Tucson–all I know is that I really like the V-11. Sadly, other places have failed to use the same numbering system for their menus.

          • I feel so much better now. I was beginning to despair after your lightning puns of recent days. Fluent Vietnamese on top of that would have been too much.

  • TribecaMike

    Just a quibble, but Guam has been a "regional military hub" for at least 50 years.

  • qwerty42

    This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of all our hopes and dreams, the end …
    I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like … victory.

  • Beowoof

    Build a nice new airport in Da Nang and it will be 1968 all over again. When does Tet come around on the calendar again?

  • OneYieldRegular

    It seems typically American that we'd try to counter China's might by putting a naval base nearby while ignoring that China provides us with nearly everything we use (including our economy).

  • notreelyhelping

    Leon…never get out of the boat.

  • randcoolcatdaddy

    Obviously has something to do with Obama's secret socialist communist agenda. He's probably going to rescue workers at FoxxConn.

  • owhatever

    This just ain't right.

  • Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Colonel: Marine, what is that button on your body armor?
    Private Joker: A peace symbol, sir!
    Colonel: Where’d you get it?
    Private Joker: I don’t remember, sir!
    Colonel: What is that you’ve got written on your helmet?
    Private Joker: "Born to kill," sir!
    Colonel: You write "Born to kill" on your helmet, and you wear a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?
    Private Joker: No, sir!
    Colonel: What is it supposed to mean?
    Private Joker: I don’t know, sir!
    Colonel: You don’t know very much, do you?
    Private Joker: No, sir!
    Colonel: You better get your head and your ass wired together, or I will take a giant shit on you!
    Private Joker: Yes, sir!
    Colonel: Now answer my question or you’ll be standing tall before the man!
    Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir!
    Colonel: The what?
    Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir!
    Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
    Private Joker: Our side, sir!
    Colonel: Don’t you love your country?
    Private Joker: Yes, sir!
    Colonel: Then how ‘bout getting with the program? Why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
    Private Joker: Yes, sir!
    Colonel: Son, all I’ve ever asked of my Marines is for them to obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every gook there is an American trying to get out. It’s a hard-ball world, son. We’ve gotta try to keep our heads until this peace craze blows over!
    Private Joker: [Salutes] Aye-aye, sir!

  • elburritodeluxe

    I think they do offer a better quality of hooker

    • Veritas78

      The ping pong balls are imported from China, the Coca-Cola from US. What goes around, comes around.

    • extreme_left

      Australian hookers are a high quality as well.

  • Ryy

    So apparently by invading and bombing a country, they fight us. But when left alone to mind their own affairs they come asking for trade and military bases. So the lesson for Afghanistan is more troops and bombs, obviously.

  • Steverino247

    Relax guys. Leon gets us back into Vietnam which becomes friendly (again) to us. Obama goes on TV and says it took a long time, but we actually won in Vietnam. Our businesses are there and our Navy is keeping them safe.

    Sounds like victory to me. No need for that gasoline smell…

  • ttommyunger

    You do realize Panetta is just a leg man for our Benevolent Corporate Masters, right?

  • Schmegeg

    Cam Ranh Bay. I can't believe we're back in Cam Ranh Bay.

  • extreme_left

    just a note to say Australia is also to have 3 b-53 peace bases, aircraft carrier and submarine bases, all in contravention of article 1 in the anzus treaty.

  • Negropolis

    We have always been awar with East Asia.

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