Episode 3…Convo w/ Mike Fabey

By Chris Servello

In this week’s Podcast, we talk with defense reporter and author Mike Fabey. In a phone conversation with BULL-It Points, Mike discusses naval operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific, previews his new book Crashback  and talks about the need for transparent communication between reporter and subject matter experts.

Michael Fabey has reported on military and naval affairs for most of his career, winning the prestigious Timothy White Award and earning a Pulitzer Prize nomination. In his work for National Geographic Traveler, the Economist Group, Defense News Aviation Week, and Jane’s, he has collected more than two dozen reporting awards. No other journalist has had as much firsthand experience of America’s naval ships and aircraft and the officers who command them. A Philadelphia native, he currently resides in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Crashback: The Power Clash Between the US and China in the Pacific is his first book.

(Book Launch: Crashback, The Power Clash Between the U.S. and China in the Pacific Wednesday, October 25, 2017 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm CSIS Headquarters)

Key points:

On ballistic missile defense ships off North Korea and in the Western Pacific:

  • Continue to strategically place these ships, in areas not only around NK, but in the western pacific as well…were intelligence tells you they should go…and essentially when the missiles reach space shoot them down…gives a military option, a show of force…to show there are consequences for North Korea’s action short of all out military conflict.

Indo-Asia Pacific maritime environment:

  • Some much of the global commercial traffic goes through those waterways… arguably the most strategic waterway on the planet…for the last 70 years the US has been the traffic cop, the sheriff to make sure everyone follows the international protocol and norms….this is one of the reasons you can go into a Walmart and buy a laptop for only a couple hundred dollars…because we have kept those waterways open and free.”
  • Recently you see folks expanding into the maritime realm with a military bent…There is a big difference between using military warships to keep waterways open and free compared to putting military outposts on islands and shoals to have a military imprint.
  • What we have had lately is a confrontational atmosphere between the US, who is trying to keep the peace, and the Chinese who are showing more military muscle than China has ever shown…no weapons firedyet, but certainly an escalation of tension over the last several years.

Crashback…released on 24 Oct:

  • An unflinching and timely account of the simmering “warm war” between the Chinese and U.S. navies in the South China Sea…offers a unique, from-the-high-seas perspective on the spectacular and dangerous confrontations occurring between the world’s most heavily armed naval forces as they’re caught in an escalating struggle for territory and influence.

On past media engagement w/ the U.S. Navy:

  • The story, instead of becoming gotcha…gotcha..gotcha…, once the Navy did a 180 and become engaging and transparent…the stories focused on the proactive fixes instead of simply the problems…building a sense of trust and respect between subject matter experts and reporters.

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