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America Vulnerable to Defeat Due to Reckless Cuts in US Military Spending

Air supremacy in doubt; General unsure US can win a war; ‘In a year we will only be able to deploy two carrier groups worldwide, down from three currently, and five just a year ago’

General Ray Odierno, the Army’s Chief of Staff recently testified that not only have we moved away from the long-held strategic objective of being able to fight and win two wars simultaneously, he is not even sure—given our current manpower levels—that we could win one. And, he noted, he didn’t see peace breaking out around the world.

Reckless Cuts to US Military Spending Leaving America Vulnerable | New York Observer

Let me point out that America’s current vulnerability represents a window of opportunity that could start to end once Obama leaves office. Both Russia and China know about this window, and that a new president could close it. That means the current period is exceptionally dangerous. For sure Putin exploits events to his advantage. He is a reactionary, not big strategic thinker. If there is a credible event that Putin can use as an excuse to start a nuclear war with the US, then in my opinion he will.

What will happen to Putin on his current path if he does not start a war with the US?

Putin’s current path will probably lead to his downfall as Russia falls apart. Therefore, Putin must keep pushing outward into neighboring countries. At some point there must be a confrontation with the West which Putin can use as a pretext for nuclear war. In my opinion Putin and his inner circle have already decided about the possibility of nuclear war with the US. If the US interferes too much with Putin’s plans then there will be war.

Is it really credible to believe that Putin is serious about the possibility of nuclear war?

If you look back at Putin’s actions you will find that he is always escalatory. He doesn’t back down. He keeps going.

Russia Defiant After More Threats From West Over Ukraine – US News

Russian officials struck a defiant note Monday after Western leaders threatened to further punish Moscow for escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.

In televised comments after a meeting with students in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s army was at fault for the uptick in violence and accused it of using civilians as “cannon fodder” in the conflict.

“(Ukraine’s army) is not even an army, it’s a foreign legion, in this case a foreign NATO legion,” Putin said. “They have totally different goals, connected to the geopolitical containment of Russia, which absolutely do not coincide with the national interests of the Ukrainian people.”

That confrontational rhetoric came in the wake of Western threats that Russia would face further sanctions for its actions in east Ukraine, where 30 people were killed by rocket fire in the coastal city of Mariupol on Saturday. There was no fighting in Mariupol on Monday but Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold, was wracked by artillery explosions throughout the day.

Russia Defiant After More Threats From West Over Ukraine – US News

Our own state department has pointed out that Russia is effectively a mafia state. Russia is allies with rogue states Iran, Syria and North Korea. And it’s not a stretch to call Russia a modern-day Nazi state.

Analysts drew comparisons between Putin and Hitler following Putin’s speech announcing the annexation of Crimea | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/bzJAUh
Russian Professor Compares Russia’s Actions to Nazi Annexation of Austria – http://goo.gl/ppiQxJ
Russia Is Following in Nazi Germany’s Footsteps | Opinion | The Moscow Times – http://goo.gl/TU38G5
To Understand Putin, Read Orwell – POLITICO Magazine | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/cnp7Yi
Is Vladimir Putin a Psychopath? | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/AQbO9l
Russian Authoritarianism Degrading into Despotism, Pastukhov Says | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/V1aUaN

OK, but that doesn’t mean he is ready for nuclear war. Let’s take a look at some of the threats coming out of Russia over the last several years.

Russian Says Western Support for Arab Revolts Could Cause a ‘Big War’ – NYTimes.com
Ukraine crisis: Putin’s nuclear threats are a struggle for pride and status – Telegraph – http://goo.gl/6AvUBA
Russia Threatens Nuclear Strikes Over Crimea | The Diplomat – http://goo.gl/2mO3LP
Did Vladimir Putin Just Casually Threaten Nuclear War? | TheBlaze.com – http://goo.gl/WP5y75
Putin Warns Of Nuclear Power Consequences If Attempts To Blackmail Russia Don’t Stop | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/WEvlye

Why Putin’s Russia Is The Biggest Threat To America In 2015 – Forbes

Like the stock market crashes that periodically wipe out so many fortunes, military crises are hard to predict. … America’s policy elite never seems to see looming danger until it is too late.

So don’t be surprised if the economic sanctions Washington has led the West in imposing on Russia look like a bad idea a year from now. At the moment, a combination of sanctions and plummeting oil prices seems to be dealing the government of President Vladimir Putin a heavy blow — just retribution, many say, for its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea last year. But as Alan Cullison observed in the Wall Street Journal this week, sanctions sometimes provoke precisely the opposite response from what policymakers hope. In Russia’s case, that could mean a threat to America’s survival. Let’s briefly consider how Russia’s current circumstances could lead to dangers that dwarf the challenges posed by ISIS and cyber attacks.

A paranoid political culture. Russia’s moves on Ukraine look to many Westerners like a straightforward case of aggression. That is not the way they look to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors in Moscow, nor to most Russians. …

A nuclear arsenal on hair trigger. … A senior Russian officer has stated that 96% of the strategic rocket force can be launched within minutes.

A collapsing economy. Much of Putin’s popularity within Russia is traceable to the impressive recovery of the post-Soviet economy on his watch. … Many Westerns believe a prolonged recession would weaken Putin’s support, but because he can blame outsiders, economic troubles might actually strengthen his hand and accelerate the trend toward authoritarian rule.

A deep sense of grievance. Blaming outsiders for domestic troubles has a long pedigree in Russian political tradition, and it feeds into a deep-seated sense that Russia has been deprived of its rightful role in the world by the U.S. and other Western powers. …

The unspoken wisdom in Washington today is that if nobody gives voice to such fears, then they don’t need to be addressed. That’s how a peaceful world stumbled into the First World War a century ago — by not acknowledging the worst-case potential of a crisis in Eastern Europe — and the blindness of leaders back then explains most of what went wrong later in the 20th Century. …

Why Putin’s Russia Is The Biggest Threat To America In 2015 – Forbes

You can ignore all of this if you want to, but that might be a big mistake. Given that America is actually vulnerable to defeat right now means that one needs to be especially prepared. Did I mention that US nuclear forces are showing signs of age and personnel stress? Not to mention that it is mostly gone. Enough remains to retaliate one time then there is nothing. Is that a good idea?

Ukraine Crisis More Dangerous Than Cold War | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Since the crisis in Ukraine began, many have claimed that a new Cold War between Russia and the West already exists. This rhetoric, used even by high-profile politicians, in my opinion, is driven mostly by emotions and is meant to justify difficult positions taken by one or the other side.

I am convinced that no Cold War of the type we experienced in the second half of the 20th century can be repeated today. The world has changed in the most radical way. Today we live in an entirely new reality that does not fit the old paradigms.

Today we live in a world where the old order has ceased to exist, and a new one that would suit all the major players has not yet been established. And this is what makes our times so different from the Cold War.

The threat of a nuclear conflict is higher today than it was during the Cold War. In the absence of a political dialogue, with mutual mistrust reaching historical highs, the probability of unintended accidents, including those involving nuclear weapons, is getting more and more real.

Ukraine Crisis More Dangerous Than Cold War | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Russia Is Turning Into a Rogue State | Opinion | The Moscow Times

“Now Russia has finally moved firmly into the rogue camp.”

“I would even hazard to say that, having annexed Crimea and unleashed war in southern and eastern Ukraine, Russia now meets all the criteria of a rogue state. “

Over time, Russia has come less to represent the civilized states to the rogue states, and more to defend the rogue states and their interests before the civilized states. The final step in that metamorphosis occurred during Shoigu’s recent visit to Tehran. Now Russia has finally moved firmly into the rogue camp.

I would even hazard to say that, having annexed Crimea and unleashed war in southern and eastern Ukraine, Russia now meets all the criteria of a rogue state. This is foremost due the presence of a national dogma, for the sake of which leaders will deliberately sacrifice their citizens’ interests.

The main thing is that the Russian leader — like the Iranian Ayatollah and the North Korean dictator — is prepared to easily sacrifice his citizens’ well-being for the sake of some vaguely defined “national interests” that are nothing but a mixture of national pride and the leader’s own inferiority complex. Today, people are getting killed in the Donbass for the sake of that combustible mixture.

At the same time, Russia differs from other rogue states because it is a former superpower and holds the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal. Putin exploits the fact that nobody knows how to deal with a major nuclear power that violates all international agreements. The West had forgotten how it had used nuclear deterrence to coexist with the Soviet Union. Now it will have to open up that playbook once more.

Russia Is Turning Into a Rogue State | Opinion | The Moscow Times

US and allies confrontation with Russia and China on scale never seen since Cold War

From the skies of the Baltic to the South China Sea, a new era of confrontation with Russia and China is pitting U.S. and allied pilots against their counterparts on a scale not seen since the Cold War era.

It is, current and former officials say, a major shift for air crews who by and large have spent more than a decade flying largely uncontested missions over Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lying behind the aerial sabre-rattling are high tensions between the West and Russia over Moscow’s perceived role in Ukraine’s separatist conflict.

And China, as it builds up its military on the back of economic growth, has become more assertive over multiple maritime boundary rows with neighbors, some of them allied by treaty with the United States.

US and allies confrontation with Russia and China on scale never seen since Cold War

Lowy report: Chinese rivalries risk spiralling conflict [out of control] in South China Sea

“Consequently, there is a genuine risk of an incident at sea (or in the air) spiralling out of control.”

Fierce rivalry between Chinese civilian, paramilitary and military agencies has created a “genuine risk” of conflict in the South China Sea, says a new report.

Reopening one of the great debates of Chinese foreign policy, analyst Linda Jakobson argues that President Xi Jinping is not a dominating leader and there is no “grand plan” of tailored territorial coercion.

Rather, she says, local governments, state oil companies, fishermen and as many as five maritime surveillance agencies are furiously competing to expand bureaucratic turf under the “pretext” of general nationalist policy directions from above.

And her model of bureaucratic competition could be even more dangerous than any grand territorial plan.

Lowy report: Chinese rivalries risk spiralling conflict in South China Sea

“Consequently, there is a genuine risk of an incident at sea (or in the air) spiralling out of control.”

What does that mean?

A conflict starts between China and one other party. Other parties join the conflict. Finally, the US gets dragged into it. Then there is a rapid escalation into a full blown nuclear war.

Do you think the Chinese don’t know this? They know their actions could very well lead to nuclear war with the US. They just don’t care.

Victor Davis Hanson: “A large war is looming”

“A large war is looming, one that will be far more costly than the preventive vigilance that might have stopped it.”

The ancient ingredients of war are all on the horizon. An old postwar order crumbles amid American indifference. Hopes for true democracy in post-Soviet Russia, newly capitalist China, or ascendant Turkey long ago were dashed. Tribalism, fundamentalism, and terrorism are the norms in the Middle East as the nation-state disappears.

Under such conditions, history’s wars usually start when some opportunistic — but often relatively weaker — power does something unwise on the gamble that the perceived benefits outweigh the risks. That belligerence is only prevented when more powerful countries collectively make it clear to the aggressor that it would be suicidal to start a war that would end in the aggressor’s sure defeat.

What is scary in these unstable times is that a powerful United States either thinks that it is weak or believes that its past oversight of the postwar order was either wrong or too costly — or that after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, America is no longer a force for positive change.

A large war is looming, one that will be far more costly than the preventive vigilance that might have stopped it.

War Clouds on the Horizon?

What Should the World Fear: The Rise or Decline of Illiberal Powers? – The American Interest

How the West answers this question will determine its relations not just with Russia, but with China as well.

Let’s ask ourselves what current challenges can affect the global order, international and European security, and the worldwide march of progress. The Ebola virus? The war in the Middle East? ISIS? Quite a few Western observers consider the rise of China to be such a challenge, but we shouldn’t be in a hurry to agree with them. Let me quote Minxin Pei, who highlighted the analytical problem: U.S. policy toward China, he says, “is premised on the continuing rise of China,” but “China’s declining fortunes have not registered with the U.S. elites.” Meanwhile, a lot of respected China “hands”—among them Francis Fukuyama, Andrew Scobell, Andrew Nathan, and Pei himself—would agree that “the resilience of the authoritarian regime in…China is approaching its limits,” or that “China’s apparently good record today contains many time bombs that will go off in the future.” If the Chinese model is losing its sustainability, then Beijing’s increased foreign policy activity and its more aggressive stance with respect to its neighbors could be viewed as components of an attempt to use the Kremlin’s formula of “compensation” for growing domestic problems by consolidating society around the quest for international status and ambition.

If this assumption is true, then we need to reflect on the risks that the decay of the world’s illiberal powers will pose to the international community. Indeed these risks could be even greater for the world than the risks of their rise. In any event, we already find that we have fallen into an analytical trap here: Our understanding of modern political processes doesn’t just lag behind developments; quite often it distorts our picture of them, complicating the formulation of an adequate political course. All too frequently in the past few decades, expert analysis and predictions have missed the mark. This is exactly what happened to Sovietology, which had maintained that the Soviet Union was stable right up to the moment of its collapse. Seymour Martin Lipset’s and Gyorgy Bence’s “Anticipations of the Failure of Communism” explained the Sovietologists’ error in the following way: “The scholars…looked for institutions and values that stabilized the polity and society.” They should have also emphasized “dysfunctional aspects, structures, and behaviors, which might cause a crisis.” This approach, perhaps, would allow us to look at China through a different lens.

While the question of China’s rise or decline is still up in the air and a subject of frequent debate, Russia’s decay is crystal clear. Moreover, while China may impact the global economic landscape and undermine the stability of the Asia-Pacific region in the future, Russia is already undermining the system of international relations and challenging the liberal democracies in a way that has confounded their ability to respond. The Western states are still trying to view this challenge as a mere regional conflict. Putin has bluntly declared: the old order has collapsed; the Kremlin is ready to offer new rules of the game.

What Should the World Fear: The Rise or Decline of Illiberal Powers? – The American Interest

The article concludes with the following warning: The decline of illiberal powers (Russia and China) could be the most threatening to the world.

This is another in a long list of warnings that things are going to get worse before they get better. Both Russia and China are trying to topple the existing world order for their benefit. Historically, this has not gone well. If a great-power war were going to happen, then this transitional period is a prime candidate for such an event.

Pax Americana to give way to a new world order [Accompanied by conflict and volatility] | The Australian

FUTURE historians may well come to see 2014 as a bellwether year in world affairs, marking an epochal shift to a new, more turbulent world order no longer dominated by the values or power of the US and its Western allies.

Such shifts occur periodically in the international system. More often than not, they are accom­panied by conflict and heightened geopolitical volatility. Sometimes they are preceded by dramatic events such as revolution or war, the dates of which become enshrined in human consciousness and shape national identities.

The years 1918 and 1945 spring to mind, as does 1989, when the mass flight of East Germans through the once formidable barrier of the Berlin Wall signalled the demise of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War.

But if 2014 lacks the end of era feel of earlier tipping-point years, in retrospect it will be seen as the year in which a fraying Pax Americana (literally, American peace) fin­ally unravelled and was replaced by a new order, the contours of which are becoming more discernible, even though the final form is still unclear.

The consequences of this shift are likely to be profound, affecting the prosperity and security of every global citizen. And they pose daunting challenges in foreign policy, trade and national security for Australians, the like of which we have not confronted before.

Pax Americana to give way to a new world order | The Australian

Dear gentle reader, I hope you are getting this. You are seriously screwed big-time. The international system is unstable and there is great risk of war. You should be focusing on the risk of great-power war.

Based on history, the risk of war rises 7 years after a big financial crash. That means the year 2015 starts an extremely dangerous period. We need to watch very closely for a Sarajevo event. 

The World Has China Wrong, Says Top Pentagon Adviser – The Epoch Times

One of the first problems, Pillsbury said in a phone interview, is “We’re not taking seriously a lot of writings and speeches by the Chinese hawks.” He noted the Chinese regime does in fact follow through on the strategies proposed by its military leaders, however outlandish they may sound. Examples of this can be seen in recent developments in the South China Sea.

Then there was Chinese Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong, who proposed in May 2013 what he called the “cabbage strategy” to capture disputed territory in the South China Sea. Zhang said it worked by sending fishing ships into disputed waters, then marine surveillance ships, then warships.

Just months later, the world saw Zhang’s strategy take shape. The Chinese regime began equipping fishing fleets with military-grade satellite navigation systems, and now most major news outlets have covered China’s use of fishing boats in what appear to be highly coordinated incursions into disputed waters in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Pillsbury said one of the clearest texts on China’s use of unconventional warfare was a 1999 book by two Chinese colonels—one of whom is now a Major General—called “Unrestricted Warfare.”

“That was widely dismissed at the time as two crazy Chinese colonels,” Pillsbury said, referring to the book. He added, the book was not translated into English for many years, and in the community of China experts, “almost nobody read the book.”

The World Has China Wrong, Says Top Pentagon Adviser – The Epoch Times

The biggest problem for the West is that there is little accountability for being wrong. How can good ideas possibly rise to the top when there is so much wrong in the way and no way to clear a path? So it is much more likely that US leaders would get China wrong than right. And not believing what the Chinese are saying puts the US in some pretty serious danger. Disarming at the same time means that the US will be on the losing end should war break out. The fact that China and Russia appear to be forming a military alliance has just made things worse.

 

China: The Window Is Closing [for Waging War]

“There is a two-year window until Obama leaves office. China is well aware that that window is closing and he will be replaced by someone likely to prove less feckless.”

As the denouement of the China economy approaches, the Politburo’s window for waging war is closing.  Their best chance is when they still have an air of inevitability.

And China continues to prepare for war.  They have done a good job of convincing their neighbors that one is coming. Over 60% of people in countries bordering the South China Sea fear Chinese aggression and expect war.  They continue to convince themselves that war is inevitable.  A Chinese Government film made in late 2013 made for consumption within the party and the military, Silent Contest, began with these words:

“The process of China’s achieving a national renaissance will definitely involve engagement and a fight against the U.S.’ hegemonic system.  This is the contest of the century, regardless of people’s wishes.”

The basis of the film is that the US used cultural engagement with the Soviet Union to destroy that country and is also using cultural engagement to contain and divide China.  The fact that China considers itself to be involved in a titanic “contest of the century” with the U.S. would be news to most Americans.  Now if the Chinese were actually planning on a war with the U.S., they would have a schedule and a list of things to do.  Things like demonising contact with foreigners, tightening control of public opinion and stockpiling of oil. Well, check, check and check.

China: The Window Is Closing