Time to black up your faces and enjoy sea-side frolics within easy march of Pattaya (Thailand’s most popular resort). But watch out! The Russians are not far behind you. Actually, they are in front of you, because Pattaya has been over-run by Russian tourists getting drunk, starting fights, walking about naked and jumping to their deaths off high-rise condominiums.
If an East Coast beach seems a strange place for military maneuvers, it must be remembered that Pattaya came into being to cater to the needs of American soldiers on Rest & Recreation leave during the Vietnam War. Long after the war was over American fleets continued to visit Pattaya and, we can say that, American Sailors have made Pattaya what it is today. No doubt business people and Professionals in Pattaya are happy about Cobra Gold.
The military reason for the exercise is a bit more difficult to fathom. Is the US and Thailand planning a joint amphibious invasion somewhere? If so where? China perhaps, but as China has the world’s largest army and nuclear missiles, this does not seem like a very good idea.
Maybe its just a deterrent. We all know that if you build up military alliances and give a strong show of military force then peace is the result. It worked in 1914 and again in 1939, so why shouldn’t it work now.
There is another possibility. The USA may be planning to save Thailand from a Chinese invasion. This is what will happen. Millions of screaming Chinese will charge through Laos, then through the North-East and then attack Bangkok. The Americans will land on the East Coast and sweep North, thereby cutting off the Chinese lines of supply. Its a classic maneuver, just what McArthur did during the Korean war. This makes sense because American military strategists learn their trade by reading text books that were written in the 1950s. It can be noted that every American military action since the Korean war has been a disaster.
This being said, Private Tye is still a bit worried about Cobra Gold. The last time the Americans made a serious amphibious landing in Asia was in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay in 1960s, and the result of that was more than a million Vietnamese dead. Is the Shogun really sure that Cobra Gold is a good idea?
The story from RT (14 Feb):
US sends admiral to launch massive Cobra Gold war games in Thailand
Admiral Harry Harris, the highest-ranking US military commander to visit Thailand since a coup in 2014 placed it under military rule, has arrived to launch a joint annual military exercise, the biggest of its kind in the region.
Harris, the chief of US Pacific Command, launched the Cobra Gold exercise at a ceremony at the Sattahip Royal Thai Marine Corps on Tuesday. The multinational drill involves 29 nations, although only the US and hosting Thailand have significant forces involved – some 3,600 and 4,350 respectively.
The scale of the event is still a far cry from the years preceding the 2014 military coup in Thailand. The US responded to the change of the Thai government by reducing its presence at Cobra Gold from over 8,000 in 2014 to about 3,700 in consequent years and cutting US military assistance to Bangkok. Last year Ambassador Glyn T. Davies attended the opening ceremony of the exercise.
Speaking at the opening ceremony alongside Harris, Davies called the exercise “the crown jewel of our enduring bilateral alliance and a symbol of America's unwavering commitment to the peace and prosperity of both the kingdom and the region.”
“We stand with the Kingdom of Thailand as we have for 10 generations,” he said as cited by the Straits Times. “We look forward to Thailand's return to (a) strengthened sustainable democratic system so the country and our alliance can reach its full potential.”
Bangkok has so far declined to schedule democratic elections and return the reins of power to a civilian government.
Ahead of the exercise, the Thai government said it didn’t want to speculate on whether the presence of a senior US military official this year marked a change of attitude in Washington.
Cobra Gold war games have been held since 1982 and are traditionally focused on three elements – a joint combat exercise involving amphibious troops, a seminar for senior commanders and a humanitarian relief exercise.