Posts Tagged Military
DONALD! ON YOUR FIRST TRIP OVERSEAS—ESPECIALLY MEETING WITH ALLIES IN EUROPE—YOUR PERFORMANCE WAS TRULY DISGRACEFUL
Let me break it down for you:
1. Remember that comment about Germany selling cars here? Well, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen all have auto plants in the U. S., and they employee American workers. As a self-proclaimed “Businessman”, you ought to realize that it is more cost-effective to manufacture the Supply, when it comes to heavy industry, near where the Demand is!
2. There should absolutely not be any pushing and shoving—as you did to the President of Montenegro—in getting to your pre-assigned photo-op places. I realize that you always like to be “In-Front”; but, in this case, everyone was also a Head of State. So, be civil next time!
3. Surely, a number of the NATO Allies have not adequately been funding their respective Defense Budgets, at two percent of GDP, as agreed upon! But, you have to stop lying that they owe it to the American People. Donald, with your various absurd health care proposals, you have already shown how much YOU care for the American People. HA! When a Nation underfunds its own budget, regardless as to whether it was Defense or not—it would only be underfunding itself! And thus, they would owe nothing to America, or its people!
4. I wish that there was such as thing as “The European Union—for Idiots”; because, I would be happy to send you a copy! When you meet a group—in this case, it was members of the European Union—it is just common sense to, at least, know something about them—and how they function. By the way, it certainly was foolish on your part to attack Germany for its Trade Surplus; because, the E. U. negotiates trade policy as one unified bloc–even with the U. S! (In fact, there has already been some discussion, within the E. U., about Germany’s trade surplus with its European neighbors.)
5. Lastly, Donald, you showed no tact whatsoever, when you spoke at a NATO Memorial, for those who died in the 9/11 Attacks on the U. S., and you specifically harped on the underfunding of NATO Defense Budgets. That, Donald, was neither the time, nor the place!
Frankly, Donald, I feel very embarrassed every time I see you on TV; but, it was certainly even more horrendous, watching you act like a boorish clod, while you were traveling overseas, this past week.
NOTE: Welcome to my readers in Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya.
AMERICA NEEDS TO MAINTAIN A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA—TRADE-WISE AND MILITARILY—TO KEEP THE SEA LANES OPEN AND FREE!
In my last post, I made several points, which I wish to clarify, and enhance. The U. S. should: shift its focus to the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, rather than the Atlantic; remain in the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and avoid local, internecine military engagements. Let me explain why each of those points are still appropriate.
Russia, with its economy in a shambles, will not be able to continue funding an aggressive military, while providing the domestic programs that its people need. The Eurasian Economic Union, of former Soviet satellites, adds nothing whatsoever to its global strength. Also, its primary external target, Europe, is integrated militarily, and geographically concentrated.
China, on the other hand, is on the ascent, both economically and militarily. Although it’s economy is currently showing its growing pains, it is still projected to surpass that of the U. S., within the next decade or two. Also, China’s economy further benefits from its location in the moist dynamic, fastest-growing Region on earth. The growth of the Chinese Navy seems to be a major element of its military growth, since any engagements in Asia-Pacific would be mostly naval battles
While China’s Military Budget pales when compared to that of the U. S., it is more concentrated. It is primarily focused, first, in Southeast Asia, and then second, in the the Asia-Pacific Region. It doesn’t patrol all the oceans of the world, as the American Navy does, and therefore, it isn’t diluting itself by acting as the Traffic Cop to the World, We need our allies to step-up, and share the load—financially and militarily.
Let’s narrow the focus, from the two-ocean WorldAtlas map, to one of the Southeast China Sea (Middleburg-SCS map). The Strait of Malacca lies between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (just left of word “INDONESIA”, north-left of Australia), and it is a major choke-point, through which 50% of all global sea commerce passes, as well as 85% of China’s crude oil. Also, as might be imagined, control of that one location—11 miles across, at its narrowest point, near Singapore—is of strategic importance.
More and more, Energy Security is of primary concern for most nations. And, as China’s military power increases, the nations of Southeast Asia are concerned for several reasons. China has been building “islands” in the middle of the Southeast China Sea, while citing historical claims, which have no relationship to any coastal shelf, or any other geological proof. These claims might be used to take possession of valuable oil and mineral rights, as well as vital fisheries. Also, there is concern that China might use them for military purposes, or to block vital waterways—such as The Strait!
Several of the Southeast Asian nations invite U. S. ships to visit their major ports frequently, and they have even upgraded their ports to accommodate them. Realistically, however, they realize that America is half a world away. They should transform ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) into a mutual defense pact, patterned after NATO, but with an Asian character. They are all upgrading their military; but, properly coordinated, their might be strength in numbers—if they are integrated.
As China continues to grow its military—both in size and technological capacity—it might begin to become more offensive in asserting its alleged rights and, perhaps, even enforcing them militarily. Even though the U. S. currently has a larger Defense Budget—and a larger Navy—we might still lose the advantage. That’s because China’s somewhat smaller Military would have the geographic advantage. This is why we need to remain engaged; not only in a military capacity, but in trade and diplomatic involvement, as well. We also need all of our allies to meet their Defense Funding Obligations.
LEAVING THE TPP IS DUMB! CHINA WOULD JOIN, ASSUME THE LEADERSHIP ROLE, AND EVENTUALLY CONTROL THE REGION’S SEA LANES.
Prior to the formation of the European Common Market, which grew into the current 28-member European Union, there were intra-continental wars—neighbor against neighbor—in Europe, every twenty years or so. In the 70 years since World War II, after which the E. U. was formed; however, there haven’t been any wars on the Continent. Familiarity and economic cooperation breeds peaceful coexistence!
The twelve-member Trans-Pacific Partnership would have included members from both sides of the ocean, and from four continents. Due to the huge size of the U. S. Economy—and the exclusion of China—America would, most certainly, have held a leadership role. With the formation of this trade pact, it could evolve somewhat along the lines of the E. U., but with its own Asia-Pacific character.
Now, let’s consider TPP as a military strategy. China and Russia are the American Military’s two main adversaries. Global powers require two characteristics: a strong military; and a large, growing economy. The importance of the economy, in projecting global power, is two-fold: domestic needs must be met in order to prevent political turbulence, back at home; and a strong economy is necessary to finance a large, technologically-powerful military.
China’s economy is second only to that of the U. S., and it is growing, although it has recently shown the normal growing pains of a young economy. It also has the additional advantage of being located in the most dynamic, fastest-growing region of the world! Although its defense budget lags that of the U. S. in total size, it has been continuing to
accelerate its spending to strengthen its military–both in size and technologically..
Russia, on the other hand, appears to be stymied. It’s poorly diversified economy, was decimated by the economic sanctions of the Atlantic Alliance, and the 50% decline in global oil prices, which accounts for 70% of Russia’s hard currency. Geopolitically, it has entangled itself in local wars, both in Eastern Ukraine and, more recently, in Syria. Lastly, it seems to have been rebuffed in its plan to break-up the E. U., by decimating fake news and hacking the political polls in various European National Elections.
With three-quarters of the world covered by seas, and the global landmass already set, at least for the most part, President Obama’s idea of the Asian Pivot was an important one. In fact, he personally preferred the term: “Indio-Pacific Pivot.” With Russia apparently in somewhat of a decline, the U. S. needs to change the focus from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to the Indian and the Western Pacific. In fact, three-quarters of the American Navy was deployed in that Region when he left office.
In my next post, I will add more detail as to why the shift in focus, from the Atlantic and Pacific, to the Indian and Western Pacific. Just consider where the current global hot spots are: the Horn of Africa; the Arabian Peninsula; the Persian Plateau; the Subcontinent of India; the South China Sea; Taiwan (Republic of China) and the Korean Peninsula. This area also has the two choke-points through which global sea commerce passes: the Strait of Hormuz (40% of global crude oil), between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the Strait of Malacca (50% of all global sea commerce, and 85% of China’s oil), between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Parts of this region, mostly toward the South China Sea are very dynamic, both intellectually and economically, while others, more toward East Asia (left on the WorldAtlas Map), are not advancing either intellectually or economically. Many analyst predict that the future will be one of the two Asian Giants—China and India—confronting each other in their quest for Oil Security.
NOTE: Welcome to my readers from the Republic of China, A/K/A Taiwan!
DONALD, YOU CLAIMED THAT BAD NEGOTIATORS HAD WORKED ON TRADE, IRAN’S NUCLEAR AGREEMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE. SHOW US WHAT “THE WORLD’S GREATEST” CAN DO!
Throughout his Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump complained about: the Trans-Pacific Partnership; adverse trade agreements with Mexico and China; the six-nation nuclear agreement with Iran and, of course, any of President Barack Obama’s accomplishments! He often tied the two points together: we negotiated bad deals, because we have bad negotiators.
But, can’t Mr. Trump see that he now has the best possible negotiating team, and the Negotiator-in-Chief is personally available to turn things around! Surely the (presumed) Author of “The Art of the Deal” can bring all of his super negotiating skills to bear. Keep in mind, that if we do leave the TPP—a trade pact, which consolidates the fastest-growing region on earth under one “roof”—we will be offering our seat to China. And, President Xi Jinping will be quite pleased to replace us, and assume our leadership position,
The nuclear agreement with Iran, which was thought to be only a couple of months away from having The Bomb, has truly accomplished its very important purpose! Tehran shipped both 95% of its plutonium and its centrifuges out of the country, in June of 2014, when the negotiations began. So, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare—a nuclear-armed Iran—has not come to pass. Psst: Israel has had an entire nuclear arsenal itself, for decades!
And lastly, remember that New World Order that Trump has been dissing—off and on—whenever it suits his purpose? That’s the UN, NATO, the IMF, World Bank, the WTO, etc. Guess what? Those organizations, established after World War II, have: enhanced the global economic recovery: promoted world peace; and further led to a better functioning world.
As Donald Trump must surely know, the best time to drive that hard bargain is when you are in a position of relative strength! America did not suffer the double whammy, of both The Great Depression and a Major War being fought on U. S. Soil, during the 1930s and 40s. Yes, we fought in the War, lost a lot of good men, and drained our National Treasury. In the end, however, we were in much better shape then either the vanquished, or even the other victors.
America must retain a leadership position when aid, assistance and leadership are needed to: reverse global climate change; provide financial, medical and manpower assistance in combating medical pandemics; and we must remain in the forefront in responding to natural disasters. Helping people in times of distress, helps prevent future wars!
Following any military confrontations, we must act benevolently, if we win, and be thankful if we lose. Outrageous reparation payments should never be assessed on the vanquished. The harsh treatment forced on Germany, by the Allies after World War I, merely laid the groundwork for an even deadlier World War II, just 20 years later. After World War II, however, America instituted the Marshall Plan, by providing $13 billion ($130 billion in 2015 dollars) to help re-build European economies.
Donald Trump should re-consider some of his misguided ideas, and the harsh rhetoric that he has been using to attack a number of global and regional institutions. As long as the U. S. still maintains a level of stature, Mr. Trump should reflect on another Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, who was often associated with the phrase: “Speak softly, but carry a big stick!”
NOTE: If anyone wonders why I was so easy, on Donald Trump, in writing this post, just read the prior post, where I had questioned whether anyone would want his hands on the key that launches the nukes. In past posts, I have used every name in the book, in referring to Donald Trump.
I took a somewhat different approach this time. Donald says the negotiators on the deals that he wants to replace–mostly everything–were really awful. But now, with His Team, led by him as the Negotiator-in-Chief, I say: Go for it! Donald, it’s time to “Put-up, or Shut-up!”
Who can be certain that North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, can restrain himself from escalating the current tension with the United States? But then, can we trust Donald Trump to attempt a peaceful solution either? Each man has lived his whole life in a privileged environment, is conceited, and appears to love the exhilaration of power. Also, both have surrounded themselves with loyal Yes-Men!
Given Donald Trump’s recent outlandish attacks on Syria and Afghanistan—both of which were unconstitutional, and violations of the UN Charter—I am concerned that, he believes he’s on a roll! A very dangerous one, at that! China, on the other hand, has appealed to both sides to show restraint, and it has reportedly cut-off coal shipments to North Korea. I can only believe that it is a sorry state of affairs when I can take more comfort in what Chinese President Xi Jinping might do, as compared to our own “Fearless Leader”.
The Korean Peninsula is a dangerous region, at present. The Kim Dynasty has purposely kept anyone, but the Kim line, from leading the country. And yet, some sort of re-unification of the Two Koreas—similar to Germany in 1990—would never work. The Soviet Union had collapsed by then; so, the German re-unification was successful.
China doesn’t wish to assume responsibility for a failed North Korea, if it were to invade it. Similarly, I doubt that some sort of U. S. military attack on the North would work either, since Mr. Kim just might begin firing missiles. Also, President Xi doesn’t wish to become America’s next door neighbor, nor should we want that. either. But, the Trump Regime doesn’t plan ahead for such contingencies.
China is North Korea’s only source of (mostly) humanitarian goods; but, it has recently stopped the shipment of coal. Food and medicine can hardly be denied to the North Korean People. The American deployment of a Carrier Task Force, led by the USS Carl Vincent, accompanied by three guided missile destroyers and support ships, hardly diffuses the situation—especially given Mr. Kim’s apparent instability. So, what is the solution?
Expecting rational thoughts or actions from someone, like Supreme Leader Kim, whose very being is treated as godlike, is hard to comprehend. He doesn’t seem to be especially concerned about his People, since they are barely given a semblance of human needs as it is. I firmly believe that, if Kim were asked the proverbial Guns vs Butter question—the balance between Military vs Consumer needs—Mr. Kim would surely respond: Butter?
Although I have no experience in National Security, there are several things that I would suggest: stop the shipments of military supplies; deny North Korea access to all manufacturing equipment and supplies; and also eliminate the import of any luxury supplies, which Mr. Kim and the privileged class receive from somewhere. And then, surround the Korean Peninsula with a U. N. flotilla, plus aircraft, including AWACS!
The blockade armada could be deployed under a U. N. Resolution. Besides acting as a blockade against all incoming supplies, other than humanitarian necessities. The global armada would also eliminate any rational “Fields of Fire”, for North Korean missiles. Lastly, have the Chinese Navy, as a North Korean Ally, take the lead, in order to provide additional buy-in from Mr. Kim.
NOTE: Since this action would be under a U. N. Resolution, Congressional Approval of U. S. participation should be easily approved.
NOTE #2: Welcome to my visitors from Israel and Trinidad & Tobago, and of course the U. S.
NOTE #3: WHOOPS! It now appears that the Carrier Task Group had not been deployed to the Sea of Japan, as the White House first announced. Rather, it had been deployed into the Indian Ocean, for joint naval exercises with the Australian Navy. The ships are, however, now headed in the right direction–the Korean Peninsula, some 3,500 miles away.
A more in-depth description this last Trump Regime misadventure, is provided by a NY Times article
On Thursday, Donald’s Trump’s (not ours, anymore) Military dropped a GBU-43, a 22,000 pound bomb, on a series of suspected ISIS caves, in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Various Jihadist groups—such as al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban—have located their training camps in such areas over the years. Perhaps, Donald feels that he displayed some humane restraint by not going all-out, and using the even larger GBU-77, which weighs 30,000 pounds.
The benefit of this area, near Pakistan, enables the terrorists fighters to cross the border, when they are feel threatened. And then, they return to their caps, once the danger has passed. Thursday’s show-of-force serves no purpose–besides enabling the generals to play with their “Toys of War. Meanwhile, when the Big Show subsides, the residents of those caves will merely find similar accommodations nearby.
Terrorists organizations, and perhaps ISIS more than others, operate as independently controlled cells, located around the world. Like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, when the head of one is cut-off, the hydra just grows two more. And in this case, there is no one head or one cell, to begin with. So, as we found in literally every war since Vietnam, superior firepower can “Win the battles, but lose the War!”
In fact, such outlandish demonstrations generally accomplish little when the assumed audience remains mired in the age of donkeys and mud huts. And, while Thursday’s absurd detonation will possibly provide ISIS with valuable recruiting propaganda, it is most important to remember that those donkeys can traverse the hills of Afghanistan, while our tanks cannot! In fact, such demonstrations of firepower do little to enhance our image, or win friends, in the Developing World!
The next Federal Budget hasn’t been finalized; however, the Trump Regime had suggested slashing the State Department and Health and Human Services, while increasing our Defense Budget, which is already as large as those of the next ten countries combined. Just think how cost-effective it would be to spend that same money, through State and HHS, to: build hospitals and schools; fight malaria and tuberculosis; and provide clean water and electric power. In other words, we could get more bang-for-the-buck, and enhance our reputation–by doing Good!
Donald Trump has a reputation for: his ignorance about complex issues; excessive hubris; and surrounding himself with Yes-Men. Although he boasts about having generals in his Cabinet, I seriously wonder whether he even listens to them! But, I am still concerned about what this fool might do next! And now, Mr. Trump has, once again, raised the issue of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. Need I say more?
The attached Miami Herald article, from parent McClatchy Washington Bureau, suggested yesterday that the bombastic attack, on a maze of reinforced caves in Afghanistan, might have all been for naught.
The following video is analogous to Donald Trump’s personal reaction to his BIG BANG! Once again, he just played through it!
By now, most people are aware that: America fired 59 Tomahawk Missiles on a Syrian airfield; that act was a violation of both the U. S. Constitution and the U. N. Charter; the Syria Air Force bombed the same city (without Sarin gas) just a few days later; the Pentagon has not suggested any sort of long-range plan in Syria; but, there have been suggestions that the U. S. is considering either placing nuclear weapons in South Korea, and/or sending a team of (assumedly) special ops to assassinate North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un.
In 1950, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai told several foreign diplomats that China would enter the Korean War if the U. S. crossed the 38th parallel, into North Korea. General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of U. N. Forces—disobeyed direct orders—crossed the 38th, and continued on to the Yalu River—the Chinese Border.
The Chinese. as Zhou had said, entered the war in a big way, and the Armies of the Two Koreas, plus the U. S., have been encamped at the DMZ ever since. Although there was considerable Signals and Human Intelligence ,reporting a very significant massing of Chinese troops at the Yalu River, Mac Arthur disregarded it—at his own Army’s peril!
During the second (I believe) Presidential Debate last fall, Donald Trump had suggested that China should just invade North Korea and be done with the irrational Kim Jong-Un. The result from such an action, however, would force a direct confrontation between nuclear-armed China and the U. S., across the DMZ. So, here we are, 65 years after that War, and the Chinese seem to understand the potential danger of a nuclear build-up on the Korean Peninsula. But, why doesn’t Donald Trump get it ?
The Pentagon has deployed a Carrier Strike Force to Korea with the USS Carl Vinson, and three guided missile destroyers, all of which have been temporarily docked in Singapore. Japan must also be included in any strategic Korean Plan, along with Taiwan, which lies off the southeast coast of China. I believe that, if China deploys ships to the Formosa Strait, which separates Taiwan from the Mainland, Donald Trump should be very, very careful in making his next move. China proved, once before, that it does follow-through i protecting its interests!
North Korea has an 880 mile (1,420 km.) border with China, as well as a very small one with Russia. But, neither of the two nuclear superpowers have common borders with Syria. Additionally, the U. S. apparently has no long-term plans for Syria.
America does, however, have a very long, and semi-permanent, presence in South Korea. With a total of approximately 77,000 U. S. Troops in East Asia, and roughly two-thirds of them in nearby Japan, the situation appears to be more dangerous than Donald Trump’ s first major “Adventure”, in Syria.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump can be almost as irrational as Mr. Kim, of North Korea. So far, however, Donald has dodged a bullet in Syria, at least so far; but, I surely don’t trust him in Korea, where China will be a much more serious, and powerful, opponent!
NOTE: Welcome to my readers in China, Taiwan and Malta!