Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Red Storm Closing

I know some of you out there are reading or have read Tom Clancy's novels -- and I'm not talking about those half-rate, ghost-written "Op Center" books, but the original works of art that put him on the map. Most are familiar with the Jack Ryan series, which started with the smash hit The Hunt for Red October and kept on rolling.

One of those original blockbusters was not, however, part of the Jack Ryan series, but stood alone. That book was Red Storm Rising, a fairly powerful vision of what a conventional war between the Soviet Union, the United States, and their respective allies might have looked like. Those of you who read the book will remember that the United States Naval Air Base located in Keflavik, Iceland, played a fairly prominent role in the book, as it was a prime target of the initial Soviet assault on American air and sea forces in the Atlantic.

For all you Clancyites who were planning on making a pilgrimage to the Keflavik air base in the near future, cancel those plane tickets. The New Zealand Herald's online edition reported that, on Friday, September 30, 2006, "[t]he United States withdrew its last 30 military personnel from Iceland as it shut a naval air base that in its Cold War heyday was the sixth largest town in the island nation."

The Washington Post reported further on this story prior to the completion of the withdrawal, noting that the departure does not signal any abandonment of Iceland as a NATO ally, but rather a reflection of a changing military reality:
A newly cemented defense deal between the two countries contains a U.S
pledge to rush to Iceland's aid, even though there will be no American military
on the island.

[Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde] said the "new era" of the
U.S.-Iceland defense relationship was a product of new realities.

"We're not really worried about a territorial threat any more. We don't
perceive a threat from any other country in the old sense," Haarde said.

"There are other dangers, there are other threats, here as everywhere else,
and we need to cooperate both with our American friends and other NATO allies
and Europe in general on those."

Strange how terrorism can make you long for the good ole days of the Cold War, eh? At least the Soviets were rational.

Hat tip to a fellow Clancyite.

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