Category Archives: U.S.

America Reveals ‘Great Power’ Plans Against Russia and China | The National Interest Blog

The United States is entering a new era of great power competition facing off against a resurgent Russia and a reemerging China. As such, the United States has to prioritize its defense spending to meet those rising challenges—which Washington will start to do with President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget proposal, announced this week.

“These challenges reflect a return to great power of competition. First is in Europe, where we’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression, and we haven’t had to worry about this for twenty-five years,” U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter told an audience at the Washington Economic Club on Tuesday. “Second is in the Asia-Pacific, where China is rising and where we’re continuing and will continue our rebalance.”

America Reveals ‘Great Power’ Plans Against Russia and China | The National Interest Blog

“According to some defense officials, under Obama’s watch the military wasn’t ready for what it faces now.”

Now the military under Carter’s watch has to find an answer. The National Commission on the Future of the Army last week released its final report with more than 60 recommendations. Among them is that the military should once again permanently base tanks in Europe to offset Russian aggression and in South Korea for greater deterrence against its increasingly belligerent northern neighbor. It also pointed to a troubling absence of short-range air defense artillery in an army that hasn’t prioritized protecting itself against a foreign air force since the end of the Cold War but now operates in the same battle space where Syrian and Russian jets and bombers attack common targets in the Islamic State group. So the Army should also reassess those risks, the commission states.

Military officials are now faced with the task of rectifying these and dozens of other recommendations with the Pentagon’s own strategy, virulent political appetites on Capitol Hill, as well as the legacy of a two-term president who promised to usher in a new era of peace but will leave office with a U.S. presence in more war zones than when he was sworn in.

“[In 2013], ‘Russia’ didn’t exist. ISIS wasn’t out there. Ebola – our commitments in Africa and lots of other places,” a defense official familiar with the work of the commission said before the report was released last week. “What we can say is that we’ve continued to see and experience a very high op-tempo in support of global requirements, and that’s putting a strain on the force.”

Why Obama’s Army Isn’t Defeating Russia, China, ISIS – US News

Pentagon unveils budget priority for next year: Countering Russia and China – The Washington Post

The Pentagon unveiled a proposal Tuesday to boost spending on advanced weaponry and the U.S. footprint in Europe, part of a plan to refocus the defense budget to counter technological and military advances by Russia and China.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter previewed the Pentagon budget proposal for fiscal 2017, making a case for why China’s rapid military buildup and Russia’s intervention beyond its borders pose a bigger danger to U.S. security, and merit larger investments, than does the immediate threat from the Islamic State.

Pentagon unveils budget priority for next year: Countering Russia and China – The Washington Post

U.S. Fortifying Europe’s East to Deter Putin – The New York Times

President Obama plans to substantially increase the deployment of heavy weapons, armored vehicles and other equipment to NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe, a move that administration officials said was aimed at deterring Russia from further aggression in the region.

Some analysts said the increased funding and deployments would certainly rattle Russia. Among the countries where the equipment and additional forces could be deployed are Hungary, Romania and the Baltic countries, Pentagon officials said.

“This is a really big deal, and the Russians are going to have a cow,” said Evelyn N. Farkas, who until October was the Pentagon’s top policy official on Russia and Ukraine. “It’s a huge sign of commitment to deterring Russia, and to strengthening our alliance and our partnership with countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.”

U.S. Fortifying Europe’s East to Deter Putin – The New York Times

China urged to get tough with the United States over USS Curtis Wilbur’s sail-by near Triton Island in disputed South China Sea | South China Morning Post

Yue said tough action by Beijing against Washington would not lead to war as both nations were aware that armed conflict was not in their interests. “There will probably be more provocation if Beijing does not step up. Public sentiment in China will rise and it will become difficult for the Chinese government to handle.”

A passive response from Beijing would give the impression that the nation was weak in defending its territorial integrity, the former colonel added.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said Saturday’s move was aimed at challenging attempts to restrict freedom of navigation in the region and that none of the claimants of the area were informed beforehand.

China urged to get tough with the United States over USS Curtis Wilbur’s sail-by near Triton Island in disputed South China Sea | South China Morning Post

Experts: Iran’s arrest of U.S. sailors broke international law

Iran’s supreme leader is hailing his hard-line paramilitary forces as heroes for their arrest of 10 American sailors at gunpoint, but an emerging consensus of U.S. legal experts believe the provocative act was a dangerous violation of international law that has so far gone without repercussions.

The U.S. riverine boats had the right to pass expeditiously through Iran’s territorial waters under the right of innocent passage without being boarded and arrested so long as they weren’t engaged in a military operation such as spying. Pentagon officials have said the riverine boat crews mistakenly entered Iran’s waters in the Persian Gulf due to a “navigation error” while en route to a refueling.

Their arrests nearly derailed the months of nuclear deal negotiations with Iran and U.S. officials quickly secured the sailors’ release. But only hours after their release, Iran’s hardliners released propaganda videos of the sailors in custody.

Iran did not have the legal standing to arrest the sailors at gunpoint and that demands a U.S. response, said one expert.

Experts: Iran’s arrest of U.S. sailors broke international law

[Russians tell us] How to Avoid War With Russia | The National Interest

The year ahead could bring conflict or cooperation in these key areas.

Much has been said recently about the unpredictability of Russian foreign policy, and the resulting uncertainty. In reality, Moscow’s interests are quite limited and focused on its near abroad. Understanding how Russia prioritizes its security challenges and how it assesses the security situation on its borders is a start to clearing up much of the uncertainty in Eurasia today. This analysis focuses on critical situations that may develop this year into vital challenges to Russian interests, triggering a response from Moscow.

… The basics of Russia’s security strategy are simple: keep the neighboring belt stable, NATO weak, China close and the United States focused elsewhere. Russia supports and abides by international rules, but only until a third party ruins the status quo and harms Moscow’s security interests. …

As a result, Moscow assesses U.S. policy towards Russia as a preventive attack carried out before Russia restores its historic place after the period of crisis. Washington, Moscow assesses, sees the possibility of Russia, clamped deep in the continent, being prevented from being a serious economic rival and therefore unable to form an alternative center of power in Eurasia. A weakened Russia will be kept in fear of Chinese expansion, and will be forced to become an American partner in Washington’s major project for the twenty-first century: the containment of China. And as long as American elites aim for global leadership, there is no alternative to their strategy of weakening Russia. And there is no use looking for a conspiracy in this strategy—Russia simply happens to be in the way of America’s plans. It makes no difference to Washington whether Russian elites are pro- or anti-American; their position only affects the way the United States achieves its goals. With Putin as Russia’s president, Washington avoids the trouble of paying compliments to its opponent, and can easily trip Moscow up.

It is obvious that in 2016 Russia will have to choose between bad and very bad alternatives. Positive change may be expected no sooner than seven or eight years from now, when a new generation of elites will come to power in the United States and Europe, and may again consider Russia a strategic ally and a business partner.

What can Moscow do to make this possibility come true and to increase its own chances?

Potential Conflicts in Asia

And yet the possibility of an armed collision with Japanese or Australian military ship is high. Beijing is convinced that Washington is not ready to be pulled into all-out conflict with China, even for their key allies’ sake, while Japan’s image as a historical enemy of China may stimulate escalation.

How to Avoid War With Russia | The National Interest

Meet the authors of this article:

Andrey Bezrukov is a strategy advisor at Rosneft and Associate Professor at MGIMO University (Moscow).

Mikhail Mamonov is a senior analyst with Foreign Policy Analysis Group and advisor with the Russia-China Investment Fund.

Sergey Markedonov is a senior analyst with Foreign Policy Analysis Group and Associate Professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities.

Andrey Sushentsov is an Associate Professor at MGIMO University (Moscow), program director at the Valdai Club and director at the Foreign Policy Analysis Group.

U.S. Wants Russia Collapse to Gain Its Resources – Security Council Head | News | The Moscow Times

The U.S. wants to dissolve Russia so it can get access to its resources, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Tuesday.

“The US government has a goal — to dominate the world. It’s possible that they want to achieve this goal through Russia’s collapse, which will allow the U.S. access to its rich resources, which, in their opinion, Russia does not deserve to possess,” Patrushev was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

U.S. Wants Russia Collapse to Gain Its Resources – Security Council Head | News | The Moscow Times

Glenn Reynolds: Forecast of distrust with a chance of revolution

A much-hyped YouGov poll from last fall found that 29% of Americans could imagine supporting a military coup. That poll probably overstated popular support — it didn’t ask if people favored a coup right now, just whether they could imagine supporting one, including in the instance of the government violating the Constitution — but there was also this, as Newser reported: “Some 71% said military officers put the interests of the country ahead of their own interests, while just 12% thought the same about members of Congress. “

A democracy that gives rise to those sorts of sentiments is a democracy that’s in trouble. And America’s political class, which is used to operating in a world where there’s lots of room to get things wrong, needs to up its game before things get worse.

Glenn Reynolds: Forecast of distrust with a chance of revolution

Get Ready, America: Are China and Japan Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

“Simple: a conflict in Asia—which would make problems like ISIS seem like mere child’s play—is only an incident away.”

These kinds of reports (tipping point) having been getting more regular in the last year or two. In this case, one incident between China and Japan could relatively quickly suck in the US. Once the US enters the conflict the clock is ticking down to nuclear war. The Chinese leadership cannot accept a defeat to Japan or the US. Therefore, there is a fairly high probability that the conflict would escalate to nuclear war.

While your Twitter and Facebook feed these days might be filled with stories about Iran, North Korea and ISIS, as well as the South China Sea, 2016 could be the year of a deadly clash between China and Japan—and the stakes could not be any higher for the United States.

A recent article in Foreign Policy sets the stage for such a clash—and shows how America could get sucked in. After a relatively peaceful year—if such a thing exists in the East China Sea—Beijing and Tokyo are once again warning each other to back off claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. With the rhetoric heading up, Foreign Policy reporters Dan De Luce and Keith Johnson headed over to the Rand Corporation for a war game that pitted China vs. Japan and eventually the United States. In the simulation, Tokyo’s treaty ally pledged to defend the island nation, including the disputed islands, from attack.

So what to make of all this crazy block quoting? Simple: a conflict in Asia—which would make problems like ISIS seem like mere child’s play—is only an incident away. And make no mistake about it, such a conflict, considering that the United States and China are armed with nuclear weapons, would be a frightening affair. Food for thought as we contemplate other pressing national security challenges—for if Asia was ever to be engulfed in the flames of great power war only bad things would result, with millions of lives in the balance.

Get Ready, America: Are China and Japan Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

That China’s foreign policy is getting more aggressive shouldn’t exactly be a surprise. Many have seen this coming for several years. China’s internal problems force it to act aggressively in order to establish a sphere of influence and redirect the people’s attention. Apparently, they have already decided that risking nuclear war is worth it. If that were not true, then they would not be acting so aggressively.

When one party acts in a way that shows disregard for the consequences (nuclear war), then one must assume that they accept what may come. China is willing to fight a nuclear war in order to establish its sphere of influence if Japan or the US interfere too much.

Of course, a similar problem exists surrounding Syria. That conflict has shown the ability to grow by sucking in Iran and Russia, pushing out millions of refugees and bringing the possibility of conflict between a Nato country (Turkey) and Russia. That conflict is not all that far away from a major escalation if Israel gets sucked in. By major escalation I mean direct conflict between Russia and the US.

Notice how some big changes are taking place in the world today:

  1. The world order is changing right in front of us.
  2. Stock markets are entering bear territory around the world.
  3. Over a million refugees have flooded into Europe with millions more clamoring to get in.
  4. The price of oil is dropping like a rock to under $30 a barrel.
  5. Russia is in pretty serious economic trouble.
  6. China is starting to experience economic trouble.

Given all these problems, and the fact that we never really got free from the 2008 economic crash, doesn’t that suggest something is seriously wrong with the world? Like we are in for big changes that are not going to be pleasant?

In my snow avalanche model, once you start to experience a deep problem in one or more areas after a long period of stability, then you are pretty much in serious trouble. When you see a problem in one area, there are also deep problems in almost every area but you cannot see them. They are waiting to come out.

The long stability that we have experienced since the end of World War II is coming to an end. In my opinion we are looking at a minimum of a great depression. Almost certainly we will first enter a great-power war which will plunge the world into a great depression. Of course, those in the US will not be around to experience that great depression.