|JESSICA TRISKO IN THE WASHINGTON POST|
|The Washington Post: The following is a guest post from Jessica Trisko Darden, Miss Earth 2007 and a political scientist at the School of International Service at American University who studies local and international conflict dynamics in Asia. |
What the search for Flight MH370 tells us about national security in Asia
Almost two weeks into the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, little is understood about the whereabouts of the plane or its ability to apparently fly unseen for several hours before vanishing altogether. What initially appeared to be an unexpected air disaster has become a window into the limited capacity of the governments in the region to monitor and control their territory. The multinational search effort, now involving 25 countries, has provided significant insight into the international relations of the Asia-Pacific region and illustrated the limited potential for regional cooperation.
Apparently all an aircraft needs to do to avoid detection in this contested region is to stop announcing its presence (note to China: stop investing in stealth). While not quite as shocking as the ability of Mathias Rust to land a plane in Red Square during the Cold War, the disappearance of MH370 has flagged several questions relating to the maritime capabilities and military preparedness of Malaysia and neighboring states. Reports suggest that some of the countries that MH370 may have flown over regularly disable their military radar at night or in the absence of a clear external threat to reduce costs. This is hardly a region on a war footing.
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