U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.
Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Washington had “a lot of firepower over there”, according to the New York Times, which quoted a transcript of an April 29 call between the two.
“We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all,” the newspaper quoted Trump as telling Duterte, based on the transcript.
This has degenerated to the point of lunacy. Duterte, regardless of what you think of his drug control policy, is the president of the Philippines. Despite Duterte’s anti-American rhetoric during the election, he has actually expanded US access to bases in the PI. Because ultimately money talks and hyper-nationalist bullsh** walks. If a war does break out in Korea, the Philippines will serve as a logistical hub for US forces. Those bases are well within the range of North Korean IRBMs. The idea that it is out of bounds for President Trump to discuss forces in the region with President Duterte is little short blindingly stupid. What kind of alliance would that be?
But it is stupid on an even more fundamental level.
The world knows the USS Michigan, an Ohio-class boomer specially modified to accept SEAL submersibles, paid a port call to Pusan (or Busan if you are all modern and sensitive), South Korea, in late April. We also know that two there are two carrier strike groups in Korean waters: the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan. What’s in a carrier strike group? Via the US Navy public affairs office:
So there are at least two Los Angeles class fast attack boats near Korea. We don’t know where the USS Michigan is right now. And also we know there are four Los Angeles class fast attack boats based in Guam to support the WESTPAC: USS Chicago (SSN 721); USS Key West (SSN 722); USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723); and USS Topeka (SSN 754). One of these is probably with the USS Ronald Reagan. (Or maybe not because the USS Cheyenne was in Sasebo, Japan, in early May and the USS Ronald Reagan is homeported in Yokosuka.)
I suppose if is possible North Korea does not know this and if so, I truly apologize for spilling the beans. Maybe I should just call the New York Times and it will all be okay if they print it.
What Trump told Duterte was entirely benign and hardly rises to the level of information, sensitive or otherwise.