possibly (c) COFDA

Guam is part of the so-called "Second island chain" that kind of encircles the PR China on the ocean. It hosts a large active air base, an almost as large long since deactivated air base, a commercial airport that used to be a military airbase (1943-1995) and a tiny naval airfield from WW2 close to the port that might still be used for emergency landings (if nets were installed to stop planes that lack arresting hooks) and for take-off of lightly loaded fighters. The port itself has a huge area protected from the sea, but few facilities. It's deep enough even for a CVN, though.

 (population ~ 162k)

So far my casual looks at satellite imagery didn't show substantial changes, but I didn't compare old and new imagery carefully. It can be told that the 2nd large airbase is not in use yet, though. B-52s can be seen on almost all imagery of the main airbase.

The efforts to turn the island with its small population into a kind of air-sea power fortress with a brigade equivalent of land forces is running into trouble anyway:

(nice bird's view on the main airbase there)

It's interesting to see that 4+ years after  the "pivot to East Asia" and after years of talk about "island chains" very little actually changed there. One could have expected multiple installation with navy air defence and sea attack missiles, some SPG battalion with anti-ship fire controls, a reactivation of all previously existing airbases, new runway pavements, new aircraft shelters, additional port facilities et cetera. Instead, most changes required to turn the island into a kind of fortress appear to exist on paper only, even after four years.

Maybe the inhabitants are right; to turn the island into a powerful base would amass so many military assets on it that a nuclear strike would become a really enticing option in case of conflict. This in turn might deter the amassing of military assets, and just maybe the island is for this reason not even close to as important as often implied or claimed directly.

The Japanese had a similar experience with Rabaul in the Second World War: Initially an important base meant to enable further southward expansion, Rabaul soon became more of a burden than an asset to the Japanese because it was in range of U.S. air power from Port Moresby and Guadalcanal/Lunga. It lost its importance as a naval base, and the IJN's fleet assets used the safer, more remote Truk atoll as their base instead.



  1. Even general political situation in Asia is worsening now. "Pivot to Asia" and TPP both have problems going through with.


    Obama was trying to do too many peremptory changes in American policy at once.

    "Reset" of relations with Russia failed completely, pro-Iran Middle Eastern policy going down right now, Vietnam and Philippines going more pro-Chinese...

    Few weeks ago old charitable Jimmy Carter sad in an interview that Obama`s main legacy should be health care reform, but even this is going to unravel.

    Too much "revolutionary" plans, too much grandstandings. Too much uncritical self-confidence.

  2. The article referenced has many factual errors. Guam became a United States territory in 1898 following the Spanish–American War, and was occupied by Japan for just under 3-years during WW2. The people of Guam are U.S. citizens, and suffered terribly under Japanese occupation (~10% of the population died).

    There were probably more U.S. troops in Guam in the 1960s, than the modest increase proposed.


  3. Karel, I blocked your long post with the 9 examples of alleged Iranian wrongdoing for a reason: It's bollocks.

    I don't know why you fall for propaganda that Shi'ite Iranian agents sponsor Wahhabi (extreme Sunni and worst ideological enemies of Shi'ites!) groups abroad. I do understand why you fell for the wrong claim about an anti-ship missile off Yemen, but that was an initial wrong report. The attack on the HSV Swift was done with a small boat, RPG and machinegun fire.
    Saudi-Arabia voluntarily went to war against a Yemeni civil war faction and is suffering the consequences - they shoot back a little after lots of Saudi bombardments. That's not Iran's fault.
    Generally, sponsoring proxies abroad is not much of an offence the West could justly accuse Iran of; even Germany did this (ANP).
    The supposed BND report isn't even a BND report. It's an internal intelligence agency (BfV) report. It's are made up of idiots, as an endless series of failures and other scandals shows. Their reports of any kind are essentially worthless, also in a domestic German context. The FP article is also riddled with the word "could", indicating that it's about Iranian interest in dual-use items, which is perfectly normal.

    Now for the last time; there's plenty hatemongering and scaremongering about Iran in the air, but I won't let that fly here. The day there's an actual security problem for Europe regarding Iran I will write about it myself.
    So far there are merely false or misleading accusations (as there were during the preparations for the Neocon war of aggression against Iraq) and utter hypocrisy, accusing Iran of things it does that the West and in particular the United States themselves do casually.

    It reflects poorly on someone who falls for this hate and scare propaganda of warmongers. You're a useful idiot and an unpaid multiplier for Iran-hating warmongers.