For the second year in a row, the
United States is holding large scale naval exercises in the Pacific, off Guam.
If you scrunch up your eyes, rotate the map a tad, and "constructively" assume
there's a lot of land in the armpit formed by the arc of the Marianas . . . you
get a "land mass" that looks curiously like Taiwan . . . which is a place that
arguably could use a "Valiant Shield."
The exercises involve three U.S. carrier task
forces (28 ships, 280 aircraft) and over 22,000 military personnel. Contingents
from the United States Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine Corps are also
involved. "Valiant Shield" is simply a new name for the annual naval exercises
the United States has been holding for decades. But for the last two years, the
"Valiant Shield" have been much larger than in the past. In fact, last years
was the largest naval exercises since the 1960s. Such a large exercise would be
of a similar scale to any attempt to help Taiwan defend against a Chinese
The U.S. Pacific fleet has 190 ships, 1,400
aircraft and 220,000 personnel (16 percent of them civilians.)