The independent Terrorists Groups (or “Cells”) are going to be a constant threat, perhaps, forever. And, as long as the U. S. responds with Large Armies to fight small groups, whether it is against al-Quida or others, it will just unify Jihadists against us. With our advanced firepower and Special Ops, we don’t need to send in thousands of GI’s basically with targets on their backs. Just send small groups, get the job done and get out.
Lately, however, there has been talk about another Major Powers confrontation between the
U. S. and either China or Russia. China has been flexing its muscles in Asia, and Russia has been trying to lore some of it’s former Soviet Satellites back into the fold, most recently the Ukraine. The linked column, by Anne Applebaum provides a great explanation of this situation in the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anne-applebaum-china-and-russia-bring-back-cold-war-tactics/2013/12/25/f65939d6-6bef-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_print.html.
In previous Blog Posts, I have noted that historically, the Great Powers have had both considerable Economic and Military might. Neither China nor Russia has both–or, in my opinion, either even. Yes, they have huge Armies, however, Military Warfare has advanced beyond pure Manpower. Nowadays, Technology is the name of the game.
China’s economy is limited by the fact that it still produces mostly low-end products, and it relies on overseas exports for roughly two-thirds of the consumption of its products. And, as its Middle-Class grows, but is still small based on the total population, and wage scales increase, many overseas companies are either looking for cheaper production facilities elsewhere, or in their home countries. China’s Population is also aging (somewhat due to the One-Child Policy), and the Safety Net needs are increasing. The size of the Chinese economy is large only because of the size of its population.
China has recently raised territorial conflict issues with many of it East and Southeast Asian neighbors. That is where much of the lack of Military Strength can be seen. Sure it has a One Million person Army; but, just look at Asia outside of China. Warfare in the Pacific requires a strong Navy. Aircraft carriers, which can launch bombers from far offshore–and submarine-launched missiles–are the current state-of-the art. China’s lone aircraft carrier is a thirty-year old one, purchased from Poland, and the Beijing Government doesn’t have any aircraft that can launch or land on its only carrier.
Russia, on the other hand, has a Government that appears to be slowly moving back into the old Soviet mold, and the economy is based approximately 70% on Energy–both Gas and Oil. The average Russian doesn’t seem to enjoy the benefits that it previously did, following the fall of the old U.S.S.R. In fact, global investors who, several years ago, coined the term “BRIC” (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as the up-and-coming Developing Economies, have certainly backed Russia out of that equation.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia doesn’t seem to have the funds to build the technological military power to keep up with the West. At the same time, the Russian Ruble is not a currency that can be traded on World Markets, and funds held in US Dollars are rapidly fleeing the country. So, for the time being, both the Chinese and Russians are like heavyweight boxers, who are flexing their muscles; but preferring to stay in their own corners.