June 3, 2012
Robert Watson, Ph.D.
American Studies Program
3601 N. Military Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33431
RE: The Hindenberg as a “teachable moment” – Some comments on your op-ed in today’s Sun Sentinel
My dear Professor,
First, “God is in the details”. [You may wish to insert your own choice for an all knowing individual. It is still a bit early, even for one consumed by solipsism such as Lord Barack the Beneficent to install himself as the supreme intelligent design simian-like watch maker, however.]
“Lakehurst, America’s first international airport” ain’t quite true. It’s akin to being a little bit pregnant. That Lakehurst was America’s first international airport for dirigibles there can be no doubt. It is both a distinction and a difference.
When I was in the drilling business – oil & gas, no teeth – in my Sisyphean task to become a one percenter I recall seeing some mineral leases on properties in Oklahoma. The standard API lease, one that is still in use, had more than adequate space for exclusions. Helium was always excluded from leases on Oklahoma properties. At the time almost all recoverable helium was in Oklahoma.
The reason why the Hindenberg exploded into flames after crashing was because the United States would not sell helium to Germany. Helium was considered to be a natural resource vital to the defense of our country and was not exported.
When the Hindenberg crashed, hydrogen, a most volatile gas, burst into flames. If it had been filled with helium it still would have crashed but would not have burst into flames.
I mention this because a “teachable moment” is upon us.
The Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, is in Vietnam. One of his stops will be at Cam Ranh Bay. It has the physical attributes to be one of the great naval bases in the Pacific. Indeed, the United States Navy thought so.
The official reason is to coordinate the ongoing search for American MIAs. The real reason is to remind China that the Pacific Ocean is not a lake.
Some old White guy said that there are no permanent allies, that there are no permanent enemies, but that there are “permanent interests”.
I know that there is a lot of oil in the waters surrounding China.
The world has not seen a navy grow like China’s since the Germans and the Japanese in the 1920s and 1930s, notwithstanding the noble Nobel Prizes awarded to Kellogg and Briand for saying nay.
2,500 United States Marines are now based in Australia
In the coming years the only legitimate threat to China’s growing like Topsy navy will be the United States. Marines in Australia and Cam Ranh Bay as a homeport to some of those big ass American carriers, some of those nasty nuclear armed frigates, and a few hunter/killer submarines and…who knows.
I think the word in Chinese for Vietnam is “further south”
As I said, a truly teachable moment.