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Rebuttal of Jack Matlock’s Blame America First lies and those about Reagan

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 25, 2014


ReaganPeaceQuote

The Washington Compost (not exactly a bastion of conservatism) has just published an utterly ridiculous screed by former State Dept. official and historical revisionist Jack Matlock Jr. Therein, Matlock blames the current crisis in the Crimea, and Russia’s entire hostility towards the United States, solely on America, falsely claiming that Moscow is hostile solely because “the United States has insisted  on treating Russia as the loser” since the Cold War’s end. Matlock falsely claims that since 1991, Russia has time and again tried to be a cooperative partner, only to receive “swift kicks to the groin” from the US.

(Only a congenital liar would make such claims.)

And like other liberals, Matlock also claims the US did not really win the Cold War or cause the USSR’s collapse. Furthermore, he claims in his book that Ronald Reagan’s sole (and secondary) contribution to ending the Cold War was supposedly abandoning the hawkish policies of his first term.

I will refute these other lies later. But first, I will utterly refute Matlock’s lies about the source of Russian hostility and about Moscow supposedly trying to be a cooperative partner.

Matlock: Blame America First

Matlock blames Moscow’s hostility solely on the US, claiming that the US invited it by bombing Serbia without UN Security Council Approval in 1999, invading Iraq without UNSC approval in 2003, withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, expanding NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Baltic Republics, Romania, and Bulgaria; with supposed “plans” for US bases in the Baltics and the Balkans; by somehow “supporting” the democratic revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia; and by passing the Magnitsky Act, designed to punish Russian officials who violate human rights.

Matlock is essentially saying, “Russia under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin tried to be a good partner and to follow a pro-Western orientation, but we alienated it with our aggressive actions.”

That is absolutely false, just like the rest of Matlock’s anti-American screed, and it comes straight from Moscow’s and its liberal American sycophants’ propaganda playbook. Matlock is merely repeating the same old anti-American lies for the umpteenth time.

Russia Has No Legitimate Grievances Towards The West

So let’s look at the issues he claims invited Russian hostility:

  • Serbia: in 1999, that country’s then-dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, was murdering thousands and thousands of innocent, defenseless civilians in Kosovo (where over 80% of the population is Kosovan, not Serbian) for nothing but the fact that they were Kosovan – just like the Germans murdered 6 million Jews for the mere fact they were Jews. We were witnessing a repeat of the Holocaust in Europe (albeit on a much smaller scale). The US was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to act to stop this, and it was supported in this by ALL of NATO and the entire civilized world (to which Russia does not belong). Milosevic was a war criminal wanted by a UN tribunal in the Hague, was eventually handed over to it after losing power, and was tried for war crimes. The fact that Russia supported such a bloody war criminal only shows what an immoral country it is. As for “UN Security Council approval”, apparently Mr Matlock believes that the US should not act anywhere in the world unless it receives permission from that august council… where his beloved Russia, of course, is a veto-wielding member.
  • Iraq: say what you want about the wisdom of invading Iraq, but any claim that that invasion somehow threatened Russia’s interests in the Middle East is utterly preposterous. What Russian interests did it threaten? None. It actually undermined US interests as it replaced a Sunni dictator with a Shia, pro-Iranian government.
  • The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty: I guess Mr Matlock would’ve preferred for the US to forever remain vulnerable to even the smallest ballistic missile attack and for the US never to develop adequate defenses against such an attack… because that’s exactly what the ABM treaty prohibited. A treaty, by the way, signed with the USSR – a country that no longer existed by 2001. Considering how fast (despite all arms reduction treaties signed to date) ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons are proliferating (thus making a total mockery and failure of those treaties), the decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty was absolutely right. And it had no real impact on Washington-Moscow relations, as confirmed by then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Robert G. Joseph. Might I add that Russia – while strongly opposing America’s efforts to build ballistic missile defense systems – is quietly building such systems of its own?
  • NATO expansion: to say that this threatened Russia’s security is also a blatant lie. None of NATO’s new members (except Poland and the Baltics) even have a border with Russia; and all of them had and still have very good reasons to fear Russian subjugation and aggression. They spent half a century under the Soviet yoke; in the 1990s, Russia still tried to meddle in their affairs; and now Moscow is threatening them again. It was morally and strategically right to bring them under NATO’s defense umbrella. Moscow has something to fear from their accession to NATO ONLY if it intends to attack them. Moreover, the post-1991 NATO entrants (especially Poland and the Czech Republic) have proven to be among the staunchest allies America has anywhere in the world, participating heavily in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (Poland sent thousands of troops to both countries). What’s more, Poland is one of the few NATO countries that spend the agreed benchmark of at least 2% of GDP on defense and has more mechanized Army brigades than the UK, France, and Germany combined. Romania and Bulgaria have access to the Black Sea and have recently held exercises with the USN. Such allies are worth having.
  • The early 2000s’ revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia saw utterly corrupt and criminal pro-Russian dictators (and in Ukraine, President Kuchma’s hand-picked successor Viktor Yanukovych) ousted by their people. Contrary to Matlock’s lies, the US did not extend anything but rhetorical support for those revolutions.
  • The Magnitsky Act: contrary to Matlock’s lies, the US did not single out Russia with this Act as the worst human rights abuser in the world. But Moscow is one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators, and this act, named by a whistleblower murdered in prison by Putin’s prison guards, instituted targeted sanctions against Russian officials who violate human rights.

So all of Matlock’s excuses for Russia’s hostility have been utterly refuted, one by one. They’ve collapsed like a deck of cards.

And so will, in a minute, Matlock’s myth that Russia has tried to be a cooperative partner whom the US has needlessly antagonized. In fact, since Vladimir Putin’s ascension to power, Russia has been increasingly arrogant and hostile towards the US and the West as its power has grown since the nadir of the 1990s. It has started a new Cold War against the West and is the biggest threat to US, European, and world security.

Russia Is Behaving Aggressively In Cold-War Style

In recent years, Russia has:

  1. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic borders into US, allied (Japanese), and even neutral (Swedish) airspace and said the Russian Air Force was “practicing attacking the enemy.” What on Earth have SWEDEN and JAPAN done to Russia? For that matter, what has America done to Russia? Nothing.
  2. Repeatedly (on 15 separate occassions) threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against the US and its allies.
  3. Invaded two sovereign countries that dared to try to break out of Moscow’s sphere of influence and align themselves with the West (Georgia and Ukraine) and continues to occupy both countries.
  4. Repeatedly violated several arms reduction treaties, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the INF Treaty, the latter being violated by Russia by repeatedly testing and deploying nuclear-armed missiles banned by that treaty.
  5. Deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad District, next to Poland, threatening that loyal ally of the US, while the US has no nuclear weapons anywhere in Eastern Europe.
  6. Backed America’s enemies around the world – North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba – to the hilt, with diplomatic protection at the UN Security Council, weapons (including the advanced S-300VM air defense system), nuclear fuel (Iran), and nuclear reactors (Iran), thus also threatening the existence of Israel.
  7. Stationed a spy ship, the Viktor Leonov, in Cuba (it’s still there).
  8. Conducted, and continues to conduct, a wave of hateful anti-American propaganda in domestic and foreign (e.g. RussiaToday) media.
  9. Sent an Akula-class nuclear-armed submarine close to the US submarine base in King’s Bay, GA.
  10. Domestically, assassinated high-profile dissidents (Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko) and jailed hundreds of others.
  11. Just recently, began negotiations with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela on opening bases for Russian ships and nuclear-armed bombers there.

Yet the US is somehow to blame for Russia’s actions? For Moscow’s hostility? Who is threatening whom with nuclear weapons, Mr Matlock? Who is flying nuclear-armed bombers close and sometimes into US, Japanese, and Swedish airspace? Who is stationing spy ships close to the other party’s shores? Who is now reopening naval and bomber bases on the other party’s doorstep?

Are you a paid pro-Kremlin propagandist, Mr Matlock? Or are you just on drugs?

Matlock also falsely claims that the current West-Russia spat we’re witnessing now is not a new Cold War but the result of “misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and posturing to domestic political audiences” – as if Russia’s ultra-aggressive behavior against the US, its allies, and even neutral countries like Sweden was the product of mere “misunderstading.”

He’s completely wrong. Russia’s behavior is the result of resurgent, renewed Russian imperialism, of the Kremlin’s imperial ambitions, and of the hatred of the West which Vladimir Putin and his fellow KGB thugs imbued when trained by the KGB.

We didn’t see that behavior in Putin’s first years because at that time Russia was still too weak to try such actions. But as Russia began to rebound militarily and economically under Putin, it also began to be increasingly aggressive towards the West and towards Moscow’s former Warsaw Pact vassals.

Matlock also falsely claims that Russia has cooperated with the US on Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

This is also false. Moscow has backed, and continues to back, Syria, Iran, and North Korea to the hilt, affording them diplomatic protection at the UNSC, weapons (except North Korea, at least so far), and, in Iran’s case, nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel – which Iran will use to produce nuclear weapons.

Moscow has absolutely opposed any but the weakest sanctions against Iran, and continues to back the genocidal, anti-American dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Matlock also falsely claims the New START treaty was a significant achievement, but the converse is true: New START was an utter failure and a treasonous treaty. It requires unilateral disarmament on America’s part: only the US required by the treaty to cut its nuclear arsenal, while Russia is allowed to increase its own. Even worse, the treaty doesn’t count Russia’s 171 Tu-22M strategic bombers as such, contains a pathetically weak Potemkin-like verification regime, and imposes restrictions on US missile defenses.

As Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) has rightly said, the US should immediately withdraw from that treaty.

Yes, Virginia, Reagan Really Did Win The Cold War

Finally, I will refute Matlock’s also utterly false claim that the US didn’t win the Cold War or cause the collapse of the USSR.

The fact is the US did both, no matter how hard Matlock and other revisionists try to deny it.

The Soviet Union lost the Cold War, and collapsed in 1991, because of the fatal blows Ronald Reagan dealt to it. In his eight years, President Reagan:

  • Dramatically increased US defense spending, to levels not seen in real terms before or since, and US defense programs to a pace the Soviet Union could not keep up with.
  • Began the development of a missile defense system the USSR could never match.
  • Convinced Saudi Arabia to increase oil output dramatically, thus cutting oil prices from $30/bbl to $12/bbl in 5 months, and thus dealing a fatal blow to Moscow’s oil-revenue -dependent economy.
  • Instituted a bevy of sanctions on the USSR, including an embargo on drilling, pumping, and construction equipment, and successfully pressured West Germany to reduce the planned Yamal Pipeline from 2 lines to one, and to delay that project by many years (as a result, it wasn’t completed until 1999).
  • Supported anti-Soviet proxies around the world, most notably in Afghanistan, where they defeated the Soviet Army in a war that cost Moscow hundreds of billions of dollars (if only the US had learned from Moscow’s mistakes and had not gotten mired in that country!).
  • Deployed Pershing and GLCM missiles in Europe to counter the USSR’s deployment of SS-20s.
  • Successfully used the tons of secret Warsaw Pact documents stolen by Col. Ryszard Kuklinski as leverage in negotiations with the Soviets.

These are the fatal blows that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table, forced them to make major concessions, and eventually caused the Soviet Union’s collapse, as the USSR was unable to continue the Afghan War, the arms race, or counter US missile defense development with its sclerotic, stagnant economy, especially not after the Reagan-induced late 1980s oil glut. And not with the Yamal Pipeline delayed.

As Professor Robert G. Kaufman has rightly written, “the Cold War ended on Reagan’s terms, not Gorbachev’s.”

Matlock is wrong on all counts. All of his claims are utterly false. Not one of them is correct – not even one. Russia has NO legitimate grievances towards the West, it has never been a truly cooperative partner in the last 25 years, and its hostility is due to the revival of imperialist ideology and ambitions in Russian political circles (greatly enabled by KGB thug Vladimir Putin’s ascent to power). Russia is now waging a new Cold War on the West. How the West, led by the US, will respond to this challenge, remains to be seen.

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies, Politicians, Threat environment, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Rand Paul Blames America First, Advocates Appeasement

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 12, 2014


If you needed any more evidence that Rand Paul is totally indistinguishable from his father on foreign and defense policy and is a member of the Blame America First crowd, here’s that evidence.

On February 25th, when interviewed by the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Sen. Paul falsely accused “some Republicans” of harboring a Cold War mindset and exhorted the US to maintain a “respectful” relationship with Russia even in the face of Russia’s invasion and occupation of the Crimea.

Speaking to the liberal WaPo, Rand said:

“Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time and I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Excuse me? REPUBLICANS are stuck in the Cold War era?

On the contrary, it is Russia’s government, especially its President Vladimir Putin (an unreconstructed KGB thug) and his inner circle (composed mostly of his fellow KGB thugs and other members of the Saint Petersburg clique) who harbor a Cold War mindset – and deep-seated hatred of America and the Western civilization.

(Which is not surprising, because just like a wolf will always remain a wolf preying on sheep, KGB thugs will always remain KGB thugs and will always prey on weak victims.)

It is Vladimir Putin’s Russia which has, in recent years:

  1. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic borders into US, allied (Japanese), and even neutral (Swedish) airspace and said the Russian AF was “practicing attacking the enemy.” What on Earth have SWEDEN and JAPAN done to Russia? For that matter, what has America done to Russia? Nothing.
  2. Repeatedly (on at least 15 separate occassions) threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against the US and its allies.
  3. Invaded two sovereign countries that dared to try to break out of Moscow’s sphere of influence and align themselves with the West (Georgia and UKraine) and continues to occupy both countries.
  4. Repeatedly violated several arms reduction treaties, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the INF Treaty, the latter being violated by Russia by repeatedly testing and deploying nuclear-armed missiles banned by that treaty.
  5. Deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad District, next to Poland, threatening that loyal ally of the US.
  6. Backed America’s enemies around the world – North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba – to the hilt, with diplomatic protection at the UN Security Council, weapons (including the advanced S-300VM air defense system), nuclear fuel (Iran), and nuclear reactors (Iran).
  7. Stationed a spy ship, the Viktor Leonov, in Cuba (it’s still there).
  8. Conducted, and continues to conduct, a wave of hateful anti-American propaganda in domestic and foreign (e.g. RussiaToday) media.
  9. Sent an Akula-class nuclear-armed submarine close to the US submarine base in King’s Bay, GA.
  10. Domestically, assassinated high-profile dissidents (Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko) and jailed hundreds of others.

Yet, Rand Paul claims that REPUBLICANS are the ones “stuck in the Cold War era”?!

How dare you even make such a false and outrageous claim, Senator?!

America is supposed to have a cordial, “respectful” relationship with such a hostile country, led by a KGB thug, and appease it (“avoid antagonizing it” in Randspeak) ?

No, Senator. You are dead wrong. Most Republicans are very critical of Russia (and of President Obama’s soft policy towards it), but NOT because of Cold War past.

Republicans are critical of Putinist Russia and Obama’s reset – and demand a tougher policy – because of Russia’s CURRENT and RECENT behavior, which has been very aggressive, anti-American, and dangerous to America’s own national security.

It is because of Russia’s CURRENT and RECENT behavior that Republicans demand that tough steps be taken towards Russia.

But Rand says no. He claims the US should “avoid antagonizing Russia” and have “a respectful relationship” with Moscow even despite Russia’s recent aggression, because Russia is still a geopolitical and military power which wields hundreds of ICBMs.

You are dead wrong again, Senator.

The only right response to intimidation and aggression, especially from dictatorships like Putin’s Russia, is strength and toughness, not “respect” and appeasement as you advocate.

ReaganPeaceQuote

In fact, the ONLY thing dictators and bullies like Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un respect and fear is STRENGTH combined with TOUGHNESS – a bold moral stand against them combined with a demonstrated willingness to use that STRENGTH if need be.

Dictators and aggressors like Putin understand only the language of force. The only thing that can deter them is superior military and economic force, combined with a proven willingness to use it to stop these dictators and aggressors. All human history, from the ancient times to the 21st century, demonstrates this.

Potential aggressors prey on weak victims, not strong ones. Weakness is provocative; it entices aggressors to commit actions they would otherwise refrain from.

And it is ESPECIALLY important to build up and show strength in the face of POWERFUL aggressors like Russia and China. They, having dramatically built up their economic and military strength, are so self-confident, so sure of their power, so emboldened and arrogant, that ONLY superior military and economic power, combined with a proven willingness to use both, can deter them from making more mischief.

Rand’s argument is essentially: “Russia is a geopolitical and military superpower, so let’s be weak in the face of such power and play nice with it.” That is a recipe for aggression, death, and destruction.

But Rand Paul, despite his pious assurances that he supports a Reaganite “Peace Through Strength” foreign policy, clearly doesn’t understand that, and never will. He claims Obama’s “reset” (read: appeasement) policy has been good for America – even though it is that failed “reset” policy that got us into this mess in the first place!

“We ought to be, I think, proud of where we’ve gotten with that relationship, and even when we have problems with Russia, realize that we’re in a much better place than wer were once upon a time.”

At a time when most Americans have realized that Obama’s “reset” policy has been an utter and disastrous failure, Paul thinks it has worked great and thinks the US should be “proud” of it!

Dictators and aggressors like Putin will not cease attacking weaker victims, and threatening the United States, if the US continues its utterly failed “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia, China, and Iran. This is the very policy that got us into the current mess in the first place. Yet, Rand wants to double down on it.

Rand also says the US should “avoid antagonizing Russia over Ukraine” because Ukraine has, for a long time, been in Russia’s sphere of influence. “The Ukraine has a long history of either being a part of the Soviet Union or within that sphere.”

It’s true that Ukraine has long been in Russia’s orbit – but NOT by its own free will! NO country on Earth has ever freewillingly been in Russia’s sphere of influence! All countries which have ever been in Moscow’s orbit fell into it as a result of Russian aggression, whether an overt invasion and occupation (as in Ukraine’s case) or through Russian-sponsored coups (e.g. Cuba and Nicaragua) and guerilla wars (e.g. Vietnam).

The only reason why Ukraine has been under Moscow’s yoke for a long time is because of Russian occupation – that is, Russian domination imposed by force.

Now Ukraine is trying to break free of Moscow’s yoke – and THAT is why Russia has invaded it.

But Rand doesn’t stop there. Not only does he advocate more appeasement of Russia, he falsely accuses America of telling Ukraine what to do. He told the WaPo on Feb. 25th:

“I don’t think it behooves us to tell the Ukraine what to do.”

You are lying yet again, Senator. No American politician is telling Ukraine what to do. The US, along with the European Union, is simply supporting (although inadequately and half-heartedly) Ukraine in its desire to free itself from the Russian yoke and integrate with the West – a choice the Ukrainian people have freewillingly made (and stood for even when their former dictator sent snipers and riot police against them).

The US has never dictated to the Ukraine what to do. OTOH, Russia has, and continues to. Russia has always adamantly opposed Ukraine’s possible integration with the West and last December even bribed the oligarchs in the Ukrainian parliament to steer Kiev away from the West. Now that the Ukranian people have ousted their former dictator Viktor Yanukovych and his oligarch chums, Putin has invaded the Ukraine – to ensure, by brute force if necessary, that Ukraine does not join the EU and does not integrate with the West.

Rand Paul is lying once again, in the “best” traditions of the RussiaToday/Alex Jones/Blame America First/Ron Paul crowd: he accuses AMERICA of telling another country what to do, when it is actually America’s adversary who is dictating to that country its future path.

Shame on you, Senator Paul, for lying so blatantly to the American people, for badmouthing America and your fellow Republicans while speaking to a liberal media outlet, for whitewashing and appeasing Russia, and for advocating treasonous policies!

Shame on you, Washington Post, for giving this traitor another venue to vent his anti-American garbage!

Shame on you, 31% of CPAC attendees, for voting for this traitor!

Posted in Ideologies, Military issues, Politicians, Threat environment, World affairs | 1 Comment »

Rebuttal of the “we have more nukes than we need” myth

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on November 29, 2013


Among the many lies being repeated by the Left in defense of Obama’s plan to further deeply cut America’s nuclear deterrent is the blatant lie that America can safely afford to continue cutting its deterrent indefinitely and could maintain deterrence even with a significantly reduced arsenal. Obama made that blatant lie himself during his infamous June 19th speech in Berlin, and the White House trots out that lie in its pseudo-”fact sheet” about Obama’s plan.

But they’re blatantly lying. America’s nuclear deterrent is already barely adequate (as well as old and in need of modernization). It cannot be cut indefinitely. In fact, it cannot be safely cut any further.

Here’s why.

To provide credible nuclear deterrence, you need to:

1) Be able to threaten the vast majority of all of your adversaries’ military, economic, and other strategic assets with destruction (threatening only some, or half, or 55%, of them is woefully inadequate because the other half or 45% will survive), and to threaten all the assets of Russia or China you need THOUSANDS of warheads; and

2) A small nuclear arsenal would not be survivable – it would be easy for an enemy to destroy in a first strike. The smaller it is, the less survivable and easier to destroy in a first strike it is. A few submarines and a few bomber bases would be far easier to destroy in a surprising first strike than 14 submarines, several bomber bases, and 450 ICBMs in hardened siloes.

These two interrelated factors are extremely important because what determines your deterring ability – or the lack thereof – is how many warheads and delivery systems you have left after a possible enemy first strike. If you have a large number of these left to unleash a devastating second strike on your enemy, he won’t attack in the first place. But it has to be a large number – huge enough to devastate his entire country, economy, and military. This is a numbers game. Here, numbers reign supreme.

—————–

What are the nuclear capabilities of America’s potential adversaries? Who are the adversaries America must deter?

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be.

Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 1,700 warheads to the middle of America.

Russia’s strategic nuclear triad consists of:

  • 251 intercontinental bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms), each capable of carrying 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and one free-fall nuclear bomb;
  • 75 SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads and 38 penetration aids each);
  • 136 SS-19 Stilletto ICBMs (up to 6 warheads each);
  • 171 SS-25 Sickle single-warhead ICBMs;
  • 75 SS-27 Stalin single-warhead ICBMs;
  • 18 RS-24 Yars ICBMs (4 warheads each);
  • 13 ballistic missile subs capable of carrying 16 SLBMs and one (the Dmitry Donskoi) capable of carrying 20 SLBMs; each sub-launched ballistic missile, in turn, can carry 4, 10, or 12 warheads depending on the type (R-29RMU Sinyeva, RSM-56 Bulava, or R-29RMU2 Liner, respectively). Russia has ordered hundreds of these SLBMs.

In total, Russia’s ICBM fleet alone – to say nothing of its submarine or bomber fleet – can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS. Russia’s bomber fleet could deliver over 1,700.

In recent years, while the US has been steadily cutting its arsenal unilaterally under New START, Russia has been growing its own, as it is allowed to do under the treaty. Also, the document contains no restrictions whatsoever on road- and rail-mobile ICBMs, treats every bomber as if it were carrying a single nuclear warhead, and doesn’t limit Russian ICBMs’ carriage capacity or throw-weight – which are huge loopholes that Russia is only too eager to exploit.

Russia is now developing a rail-mobile ICBM as well as replacements for Russia’s older ICBMs: a heavy ICBM called “Son of Satan” (designed to replace the SS-18 Satan) and a mid-weight ICBM called the Rubezh to replace the SS-19 and SS-25, while continuing RS-24 Yars production. Meanwhile, the US has no plans to develop a road- or rail-mobile ICBM (although the USAF is considering the rail-mobile version), and development of the next-generation ICBM – the replacement for America’s aging Minuteman ICBMs – has been delayed by many years for political reasons.

Moscow is also developing and testing an IRBM, the Yars-M (AKA Rubezh), in violation of the INF treaty – showing that arms control treaties signed with Russia are worthless pieces of paper.

On top of that, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal – much larger than America’s. Estimates of its size vary, but various sources say it numbers up to 4,000 warheads (all deliverable) – much more than America’s ca. 500. These 4,000 warheads can be delivered by a wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles, to theater strike aircraft, to bombers, to torpedoes and surface ships, to cruise missiles, to artillery pieces, because they come in various forms: nuclear bombs, torpedo warheads, depth charges, artillery shells, cruise missile warheads, etc.

China, like Russia, has a large nuclear arsenal – far larger than the 240 warheads American arms control advocates claim. In fact, China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, most of them hidden in the 3,000 miles of tunnels it has built for its arsenal. The two estimates come from Gen. Viktor Yesin (Russian ICBM force CoS, ret.), and Professor Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist during the Cold War. The existence and length of these tunnels is a confirmed fact.

To deliver its warheads, China has:

  • 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads each);
  • at least 30, and likely far more, DF-31 ICBMs (3-4 warheads each);
  • at least one DF-41 heavy ICBM (10 warheads);
  • 20 DF-4 IRBMs (3 warheads each);
  • 20 DF-3 single-warhead MRBMs;
  • 100 DF-21 MRBMs;
  • 500 DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao cruise missiles;
  • 440 nuclear-capable aircraft (Q-5, JH-7, H-6) each with at least one warhead attributed to them (the H-6K bomber variant can carry several nuclear- or conventional-tipped cruise missiles as well);
  • 1 Xia class SSBN with 12 single-warhead JL-1 missiles; and
  • 5 Jin class SSBNs with 12-24 4-warhead JL-2 missiles, with a sixth under construction to replace the Xia class boat.

On top of that, China has between 1,100 and 1,600, and possibly more, short-range ballistic missiles, though it isn’t known how many of these are armed with nuclear warheads.

 

China, of course, stubbornly refuses to reveal anything about its nuclear arsenal, while falsely claiming it pursues a “minimum nuclear deterrent” policy, even though it is evident to everyone except the willfully blind it has thousands, not mere hundreds, of warheads.

Over a year ago, this writer, based on very conservative estimates of China’s missile stocks and their warhead carriage capacity, estimated China had 1,274 nuclear warheads. This was calculated as follows:

I started with the 440 aircraft-deliverable nuclear bombs owned by the PLAAF and attributed to its H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft. Then, I added 10 warheads for each of China’s 36 DF-5 ICBMs, then, one DF-41 ICBM with 10 warheads, then, 40 DF-3 and DF-4 MRBMs, then 100 DF-21 MRBMs, then 90 warheads for China’s 30 DF-31 ICBMs, and finally, 12 warheads for China’s 12 JL-1 SLBMs and 240 warheads for its (at least) 60 JL-2 SLBMs (12 missiles per boat, 4 warheads per missile).

Keep in mind that the 4-warhead JL-2 is just the basic variant of the missile. China is already developing (if it hasn’t already deployed) two new variants of the JL-2:  Jia, capable of carrying 8 warheads over 12,000 kms, and Yi, capable of carrying 12 warheads over a distance of 14,000 kilometers. China is also building a sixth Jin class submarine to replace the sole Xia class boat.

So in the future, China will have even more ballistic missile subs, more SLBMs, and more nuclear warheads than it already has – which means the number of nukes required to deter China will only grow.

And I was so conservative in my estimates that I didn’t count a single Chinese SRBM or cruise missile as being nuclear-armed. If any such missile is armed – and the DOD says 500 such land-based missiles are – China’s nuclear arsenal – and the US arsenal required to deter Beijing – are even greater.

Besides Russia and China – two huge nuclear threats to US and allied security – the US also has to deter North Korea (which already has ICBMs capable of reaching the US) and Iran (which, within a month, may have enough HEU to build a nuclear warhead).

So the US currently has to deter three, soon to be four, hostile nuclear powers, two of whom have large, diverse, and very capable and survivable nuclear arsenals.

On top of that, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies, many of whom will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues to cut its umbrella. 66.5% of South Koreans already want to do this, and Japan has facilities enabling it to produce enough fissile material for 3,600 nuclear warheads if it chose to.

You see, while Russia and China are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US is a protector of itself and 30 allies.

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

Yet, the advocates of cutting America’s nuclear arsenal want the US not only to slavishly adhere to such treaties (while Russia doesn’t), but even cut its arsenal further deeply and unilaterally.

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has recently announced it will grow its nuclear arsenal) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday. Only nuclear weapons can protect America against these threats. So they are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far since WW2.

But if the nuclear arsenal is cut further, and America’s already deficient conventional capabilities continue to atrophy under sequestration, a large-scale conventional attack is inevitable.

The military and geopolitical reality is simple. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal further deeply and unilaterally, a nuclear first strike by Russia or even China is virtually guaranteed – as is the acqusition of nuclear weapons by America’s allies in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, none of whom can afford to bet their security, and their very existence, on the “less nukes will make us safer” and “a world without nukes” fantasies of Barack Obama and his pacifist friends in Western pro-disarmament organizations.

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies, World affairs | 1 Comment »

Time to withdraw the US defense commitment to Europe

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on November 23, 2013


As European countries continue to deeply cut their defense budgets, capabilities, and military force structure to fund their increasingly expensive and bloated welfare states, more and more of the defense burden is being borne exclusively by the US. Even formerly formidable secondary military partners like France and Britain are now gutting their militaries, and Britain is preparing to cut its armed forces even further.

Therefore, it is overdue to withdraw the US defense commitment to Europe, except that of nuclear deterrence (in other words, against all but the most catastrophic threats). The European Union, collectively, has a larger GDP and a far larger population than the US. European countries are theoretically capable of creating adequate militaries – they just don’t want to.

Unequal burden sharing, i.e. freeriding

The Europeans are essentially freeriding on the backs of American troops. Whereas during the Cold War NATO was a serious alliance of serious members with a serious mission, it is now an alliance of weak European states and Canada which expect the US to defend them. In other words, they expect something for nothing.

During the Cold War and the early 1990s, Europe and Canada accounted for roughly half of NATO defense spending and the US for another half, so the burden of defending Europe was equally shared. But since the Soviet Union’s fall, European countries have foolishly and wrongly concluded that there is no longer any threat to their security and have dramatically cut the budgets, force structure, capabilities, and weapon programs of their militaries.

In 1989, France and Britain were both spending over 4% of GDP and each of them had over 400 combat aircraft (Britain actually had almost 600). Today, that is down to only 271 in France and slightly over 200 in Britain. The UK spends just slightly over 2% of GDP on defense, while France spends just 1.76%.

Indeed, French Wikipedia openly notes the sharp decline of France’s combat aircraft fleet. The French Air Force had over 330 combat jets in 2006, but the “review” (read: propaganda pamphlet trying to justify deep defense cuts) ordered by President Sarkozy in 2008 cut that to 255 (300 for the entire French military, including 45 for the Navy). The most recent “review” ordered by President Hollande has cut that even further and deeply, to just 180 for the Air Force and 225 for the entire French military!

In addition, the French army’s fleet of tansk will be cut to just 200; the fleets of other ground vehicles, and of Army helicopters, will be cut as well. The entire French army will consist of just 7 brigades! Meanwhile, the Navy will lose 5 frigates through retirement without replacement, and it can forget about a 4th amphibious ship or a second aircraft carrier. The Air Force will see its tanker and airlifter fleets cut in addition to the fighter fleet.

And if that were not enough, FAF Chief of Staff Gen. Denis Mercier has recently announced that, due to insufficient funding, only a part of FAF pilots will receive full flight training, while many other pilots will receive only bare-bone basic flight training and will otherwise be unready for combat. That is, when war erupts, they will need many months to become proficient. This is deceptively called “tiered readiness” – an Orwellian newspeak for “at least half of the force being undertrained and unready for combat”.

In 1989, Spain spent 2% of GDP, and Germany over 3% of GDP, on defense. That is now down to less than 1.5% in Germany and less than 1% in Spain! Their combat aircraft fleets, and inventories of other military equipment such as ground combat vehicles and warships, have likewise declined sharply as well.

The Italian military has also cut its fighter and warship fleets and its order for F-35 aircraft. The same stories are being repeated throughout the continent.

European defense spending is not only meagre and shrinking, it’s also wasteful: European countries have many different types of tanks, IFVs, APCs, fighters, and other military platforms, when there’s usually just one or two in the entire US military.

And you know what’s funny about this? That the US, by extending its defense umbrella to Europe, has encouraged this.

Now, what exact shortcomings have these deep European defense cuts caused? Won’t Europe do just fine defending itself even after all offense cuts are implemented?

Answwer: No, Europe will be all but defenseless if they’re implemented. Because already the previous defense cuts have downgraded European military capabilities dramatically.

In 1999, during Operation Allied Force (the NATO bombing of Serbia), the US had to fly not only the vast majority of combat missions, but also all of the aerial refueling and airborne early warning missions. In Afghanistan, the US alone supplied the absolute majority of troops and the vast majority of equipment and funding while several NATO countries, such as Germany, completely banned their troops from participating in any combat.

The 2011 operation against Libya, Operation Odyssey Dawn, was even moreso an example of the joke that European militaries have become. The US once again flew the vast majority of combat and air refueling missions. Britain had cut its air force so badly that it could supply only 12 combat pilots and had to bring in instructors from its pilot schools to fly some missions. European countries also ran short on precision strike munitions – forcing the US, once again, to fill the gap.

Last year’s French mission in Libya, Operation Serval, revealed how badly weakened the French military had been even by the previous, pre-Hollande, defense cuts. France flew all of the combat missions, but could not supply enough ground troops to pacify the country (it sent only a little over 4,000) and lacked enough tanker and airlift aircraft to support its own troops – forcing the US, once again, to fill the gap.

And yet, the Hollande administration plans to cut the French Air Force (and the rest of the French military) even further, including its tanker, airlifter, and especially strike jet fleets – at a time when the FAF is STILL fighting in a country three times the size of France while still having to protect French airspace and provide nuclear deterrence.

But Paris can do so, because, as with other European countries, whatever it does, the US will come to its rescue. The Europeans have no incentive not to gut their militaries – if anything goes wrong, the US will ride to their rescue.

By extending such a guarantee, the US has encouraged security dependence on the US no different from the welfare dependence which European and American welfare states have acknowledged: behaving irresponsibly, knowing that whatever you do, the government will take care of you.

Why are there so many welfare dependents in the US and Europe? Because the US and European welfare states promise to provide for all of their citizens’ needs, from cradle to grave, regardless of their ability to provide for themselves and of their past behavior. You don’t have to be responsible. Whatever happens, the government will take care of you.

Similarly, the US has, for over 20 years, tolerated the continued gutting of European militaries by their own governments, which continues to this day. Europeans’ thinking is simple: “We can afford to cut our militaries deeply because even if we do, the US will come to our rescue. The US will defend us; we don’t have to defend ourselves.”

All that American politicians have in the past been willing to do has been to verbally criticize the Europeans for gutting their militaries. But they haven’t been willing to force the Europeans to face the consequences of their actions. It’s like warning a rules violator or an unruly child that you’re fed up with his behavior without actually imposing any consequences on him.

It’s time for US policymakers to finally force the Europeans to grow up, face military realities, and face the consequences of their actions. Enough is enough. The Europeans have been allowed to freeride on the backs of brave American troops for far too long.

It’s time – actually, it’s long past time – to withdraw America’s defense commitment (except the extended nuclear deterrent) to Europe. The US should continue to provide a nuclear umbrella to Europe, but otherwise, the countries of the Old Continent should be forced to fully provide for their own defense – from ground capabilities to missile defense. All US troops and assets not related to nuclear deterrence should be withdrawn to the US, and all US bases not related to that single mission should be closed (except the Landstuhl military hospital).

As CSIS defense analyst Clark Murdock says, “The Europeans will start providing for their own defense only if they feel the cold from a withdrawing US security blanket.”

As long as the US is willing to play Uncle Sucker, the Europeans will only be too happy to oblige.

Posted in Defense spending, World affairs | 7 Comments »

The F/A-18E/F Super Bug cannot meet Canada’s or America’s defense needs

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on May 8, 2013


As Canada searches for a replacement for its 80 obsolete, unsurvivable CF-18 aircraft, and as it looks for alternatives to the costly F-35, some people have suggested the F/A-18E/F Super Bug as the aircraft that Canada should pick. This would be a big mistake. The Super Bug cannot meet any of Canada’s defense needs.

Similarly, in the US, some ignorant people, misled by Boeing advertising and pacifist, anti-defense groups, are calling on the Navy and the Marines to cancel their variants of the F-35 and buy the Super Bug instead. Again, this would be a grave mistake. The Super Bug is useless and cannot meet the Navy’s or the Marines’ needs, either. There is nothing “superb” about it. It’s a piece of junk.

But first: what are the RCAF’s, the Navy’s, and the Marines’ needs?

Before we analyze the Super Bug itself and say whether it meets these three services’ needs, we must first define them. Let’s start with the RCAF (we’ll later apply our findings, where applicable, to the USN and the USMC).

The RCAF’s primary mission is, of course, to protect Canadian and (by agreement) American airspace (as the Canadian element of NORAD). A secondary mission is to support the US military in expeditionary campaigns if Ottawa so chooses. Such campaigns are increasingly less likely to be waged against insurgents and more against advanced nation states armed with  advanced fighters and/or air defense systems and thus capable of contesting control of the air. In this kind of campaigns, Canada will have to have survivable, formidable aircraft if it intends to contribute anything of use.

As for the primary mission: protecting Canadian and US airspace will require a fighter with a long combat radius, high endurance, lots of fuel onboard, a superlative radar, and superlative aerodynamic and kinematic characteristics (i.e. good turning capability, a high thrust/weight ratio, a high ceiling, and a high maximum speed). This will be required to patrol the huge airspace above the second and fourth largest country in the world, respectively – Canada and the US (or at least the largest US state, Alaska).

This is because the threats the RCAF will encounter in this environment will (and presently are) Russian bombers (usually escorted by agile fighters such as MiG-29s and Su-27s; to be escorted by Su-30s, Su-35s, and PAKFAs in the future). Russia has 171 Tu-22M, 64 Tu-95, and 16 Tu-160 strategic bombers, each of which can carry at least six cruise missiles and a freefall nuclear bomb (although the Tu-160 is not yet fitted to carry one). Intercepting these bombers and their escort fighters will thus be the RCAF’s primary mission.

But intercepting them and defeating their escorts will require a fighter that will excel in Beyond and Within Visual Range combat alike. For BVR combat, this requires high speed, a high ceiling, and an excellent radar. This is required to detect and kill the enemy before he kills you, and to send your missiles farther than your enemy can. For WVR combat, the most frequent type of air to air combat, turning is the predominant capability needed, and that is governed predominantly by wing loading. (The less weight burden your wing carries, the easier it is to “lift” it and thus to turn the aircraft.) This disqualifies all aircraft with a wing loading higher than that of their competitors. In other words, you need to outturn the enemy and his missiles. A low thrust/weight ratio only aggravates this problem.

Yet, compared to these needs and these simple principles governing air to air combat (i.e. against these simple laws of physics), the F/A-18E/F Super Bug is an abysmal failure.

In BVR combat, the Super Bug is no contestant and will never be. Its service ceiling is a pathetic 50,000 ft (50 angels) – the lowest of all fighters currently on the market – and its maximum speed is just Mach 1.8. This means that its competitors can send their missiles much further than it can, and in BVR (or even WVR) combat, it would be sending its missiles uphill, upwards at enemy aircraft flying higher, thus forcing its own missiles to make a steep uphill climb.

The Su-27’s ceiling is , the Su-30’s is , and the Su-35’s is 59,100 ft. The Su-27’s max speed is Mach 2.35, the Su-30’s is Mach 2.0, and the Su-35’s is Mach 2.25.

Furthermore, the Tikhomirov NIIP, Phazotron Zhuk, and Irbis-E radars are more powerful than the Super Bug’s APG-79 radar.

In WVR combat, the Super Bug is no contestant either. It has a very high wing loading of 459 kg/sq m (94 lb/sq ft) and a pathetic thrust/weight ratio of 0.93:1, meaning the aircraft weighs more than the thrust its engines can produce, even with afterburners (which would consume all fuel in a few minutes).

Furthermore, the Super Bug can pull only 7.6Gs – and even that only when flown “clean” (i.e. without any external stores). If any external stores, such as missiles, bombs, or fuel tanks, are attached, it can pull even fewer Gs because it weighs more.

By contrast, the Su-27 – the predominant Flanker variant of today – can pull a full 9Gs, has a T/W ratio of 1.07:1, and has a wing loading of just 371 kg/sq m (76 lb/sq ft). The Su-30 does slightly worse, but still much better than the Super Bug with a WL ratio of 401 kg/sq m and a T/W ratio of 0.98:1. The Su-35 has a slightly higher WL ratio of 408 kg/sq m, but it’s still much lower than the Super Bug’s, and its T/W ratio of 1.13:1 is far better than the Super Bug’s and even slightly better than the F-15’s (1.12:1). The PAKFA’s WL ratio is unknown and could be anywhere between 330 and 470 kg/sq m. Its T/W ratio is 1.26:1, the best in the world except the F-22’s (1.29:1).

Furthermore, the Super Bug’s combat radius for an air interdiction mission is only 390 nmi (722 kms). The F-15’s, by contrast, is 1,967 kms.

So the Super Bug is a total failure in the air defense mission (or fleet defense, to think in USN/USMC terms).

What about expeditionary campaigns? There are two kinds of them: wars against advanced nation states (such as China, Venezuela, Syria, etc.) able to contest control of the air, and campaigns against primitive countries and insurgencies incapable of contesting it.

Campaigns of the latter kind are becoming much less frequent than they used to be, as the US has already withdrawn from Iraq, is withdrawing from Afghanistan, and does not intend to get bogged down in any new ground wars for many years to come. Thus, the weapons that were designed specifically and exclusively for such campaigns will become utterly useless once the last American soldier leaves Afghanistan.

In the future, the US and its allies will usually, if not exclusively, face advanced nation states such as China, Russia, Venezuela, and Syria, armed with advanced, robust Chinese and Russian air defense systems and fighters of comparable or better quality than American weapons and produced in large quantities due to their low cost as well as China’s and Russia’s rapidly  growing military budgets.

Thus, in any conflict with China or any country armed with Chinese or Russian/Soviet weaponry, the US and its allies will have to defeat (inter alia) advanced air defense systems (such as the S-300 family, the S-400 Triumph (SA-21), and the HQ-9), heavily upgraded Soviet air defense systems (e.g. the SA-5 Gammon, SA-6 Gainful, and SA-11/17 Grizzly), and advanced fighters such as the Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35, PAKFA, J-11, J-20, and J-31).

Only highly capable, stealthy, high-performance air superiority fighters designed from the start as air superiority fighters will be able to survive in such environment, let alone to defeat these fighters and air defense systems.

Against such threats, the Super Bug is, again, an abysmal failure.

The Super Bug’s pathetic kinematic, aerodynamic, and radar characteristics (see above) guarantee that it would be slaughtered in BVR and WVR combat alike, and thus would be easily disposed of like trash (which it is) by the forementioned Chinese and Russian fighters.

Meanwhile, the Super Bug’s huge radar signature (allegedly smaller than that of other nonstealthy fighters, but in reality still much bigger than the F-22’s or even the F-35’s and more than large enough for enemy systems to detect and shoot it down effortlessly) guarantees that it would be slaughtered wherever it would venture.

Nor is anyone knowledgeable about military aircraft surprised. The Super Bug was designed solely for short-range small-scale strike against unhardened targets; against weak opponents unable to contest control of the air. It is useless for any other mission, including any combat against any opponent armed with advanced air defense systems and/or fighters and thus able to contest control of the air.

Such an aircraft is, or at least should be, totally unacceptable for the RCAF. I would like to remind the RCAF, the Department of National Defence (DND), and the Canadian Government that they need survivable platforms if they intend to contribute any weapon or capability of value in any future expeditionary campaign waged alongside the US or Britain. Unsurvivable, easy-to-kill platforms such as the Super Bug would be liabilities, not assets, as they would only drain American protective assets just to be able to survive in any airspace defended by the forementioned fighters and air defense systems.

For the same reasons, the USN and the USMC should not buy any more Super Bugs, as these aircraft constitute an utter waste of money.

Posted in Military issues, World affairs | 3 Comments »

Book Review: Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare by Mark McNeilly

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on January 30, 2013


Last month, I read a brilliant and edifying book by Mark McNeilly titled Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. Although it was published in 2003, regrettably, I had not heard of it (or of McNeilly himself) until last year, and did not pay much attention to Sun Tzu and his work (The Art of War) until last year, either. Once I did start paying attention to him and had read his work – which was a short but illuminating read which changed the way I think about military affairs – I had learned a lot. And once McNeilly’s book was delivered to me, I began reading it and finished the read in 2 days.

A native of Chicago, Mark McNeilly is a former US Army infantry captain, a graduate of the 101st Division’s Airborne Assault School, a former strategist for a major global corporation, and now an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Carolina (UNC). As such, he has had ample time to study The Art of War and think about it, and through that process he has found what he believes are the six most important principles taught by Sun Tzu in his ancient masterpiece. The purpose of McNeilly’s book is to demonstrate these principles (as well as others laid out in The Art of War), how they fit together, how they apply to warfare (past, present, and future), and to illustrate these principles with historical examples. This is because every theory is worthless if real world practice proves it to be wrong. Sun Tzu’s principles have been put to a test numerous times, and usually (though not always) were proven right.

The book is organized into seven chapters. The first six deal with each of Sun Tzu’s six key principles:

1) Win All Without Fighting: Achieving the objective without destroying it;

2) Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness: Striking where the enemy is must vulnerable

3) Deception and Foreknowledge: Winning the information war

4) Speed and Preparation: Moving swiftly to overcome resistance

5) Shaping the Enemy: Preparing the battlefield

6) Character-Based Leadership: Leading by example

The seventh chapter explains how to apply these principles in the future and thus how to prepare the US military for the wars of the future.

The first chaper, Win All Without Fighting, teaches the important principle of “achieving the objective without destroying it”, that is, winning without firing a shot if possible, and if not possible, winning with the least possible destruction to one’s own military, the country being attacked, and its civilian population, and at the least possible fiscal, material, and human cost. Here, McNeilly, like Sun Tzu, challenges the conventional wisdom that one should do as much damage to a hostile country and its civilian population as possible. McNeilly shows that such policy, regardless of whether it’s moral, is counterproductive: it dramatically reduces the value of what you’re invading while engendering the hostility of the targeted country’s population (to say nothing of its political class) and sets the stage for more conflict down the road. And it does nothing to achieve victory, for, in war, killing enemies or destroying their country is not the goal; indeed, killing enemies is only the means, and not necessarily the best means.

The second chapter counsels military leaders to attack the enemy where he’s weakest: the weakest sections of a front, the least-defended site, city or province, the weakest wing/flank of an army, etc. Naval commanders, instead of trying to wage a headfirst battle with an enemy navy, should attempt to wage unconventional warfare by e.g. cutting the hostile country off its sources of supplies by controlling the sealanes on which it depends, as the US did against Japan during WW2. Again, McNeilly, like Sun Tzu, challenges conventional wisdom here, including Clausewitz’s theory that one should try to engineer a decisive battle (Hauptschlacht) with the enemy.

The third chapter deals with the all-important issues of deception and foreknowledge; and as spies are needed for both, McNeilly cites Sun Tzu’s advice on these and explains how to apply it. He also gives historical examples of victors fooling their enemies of their intentions while gaining great insight into their enemies’ minds.

Chapter four deals with the necessity to attack, fight, and win quickly, not slowly, to overcome resistance as well as gain and maintain momentum (like water). The classic example McNeilly uses to illustrate this is Germany’s successful invasion of France. He’s right; Heinz Guderian, the inventor of Blitzkrieg, said that a tank’s engine is worth as much as its gun.

Chapter five reminds military leaders not to allow their enemies to shape them, and to shape the enemy instead: hold out baits, fool them, lead them into fields unfavorable to them, annoy their leaders if they are of choleric temper, etc. This also involves building, maintaining, and when the right time comes, dissolving alliances, as well as choosing the right allies and avoiding entanglements with the wrong ones. It also involves offering the enemy a face-saving way out of a war to avoid further conflict. Here, McNeilly makes a credible claim that the Allies should’ve offered Germany a face-saving peace if the Wehrmacht would topple Hitler and the Nazis and give up Western Europe. That would’ve allowed a lot of bloodshed and destruction while resulting in Hitler’s toppling (which German officers tried to do anyway) and Germany turning against the Soviet Union.

Chapter six shows how military leaders should lead by example. As McNeilly rightly says, “Leadership starts at the top and both good and poor examples of leadership trickle all the way down the chain of command.” McNeilly also deals with caring for, disciplining, rewarding, and punishing the troops, among other issues.

The book is, overall, a great work. It makes a strong, convincing case and backs it up well. McNeilly has, in my opinion, succeeded in making Sun Tzu’s work more readable and accessible to 21st century readers by explaining how Sun Tzu’s principles should be applied, especially WRT the six most important ones, which he explains in great detail and illustrates with germane, interesting historical examples from many different eras.

However, the book is not without flaws. And by that, I don’t even mean the few spelling mistakes that are here and there (e.g. “Clauswitz” instead of “Clausewitz”), but far more important issues.

Firstly, while the author underlines how pointless wars of attrition and headfirst attacks on the enemy are, he nonetheless fails to acknowledge that the Allies’ campaign against Nazi Germany was such a campaign throughout WW2. The Allies did implement some of Sun Tzu’s advice – as McNeilly documents – but despite the deception, the foreknowledge, and knowledge of daily weather patterns, the invasion of Normandy was nonetheless a headfirst attack and a huge blunder. Although the Allies were eventually victorious, they met fierce German resistance and suffered serious losses (about 30,000 men KIA, over 200,000 troops wounded, thousands of others missing). The Allies eventually liberated France and won WW2, of course – but only through their sheer advantage in numbers, not due to any strategic genius or implementation of Sun Tzu’s advice.

In fact, had the Allies TRULY listened to Sun Tzu’s advice, they would not have invaded northern France directly – that is exactly the kind of a head-on assault that Master Sun always counseled against. They would’ve instead invaded Italy and then the Balkans, advancing to Germany through Austria and liberating Central Europe as well. Thus, they would’ve won with far fewer casualties, far fewer destruction, faster, and without suffering a suprise German counterattack such as the Ardennes Offensive. Moreover, they would’ve significantly limited the Soviets’ conquests. France would be liberated afterwards, eastwards from an occupied Germany.

Churchill advocated such an invasion, as he wanted to win the war as easily as possible and to limit Soviet conquests. However, President Roosevelt was utterly naive about the USSR and Joseph Stalin, and refused to do anything that might upset the Soviets, and thus, he and Stalin insisted on a landing in France. Normandy was thus chosen as the landing site for purely political reasons.

McNeilly also wrongly claims that Germany made a mistake by invading Poland. However, it wasn’t a mistake. Although France and Britain did declare war on Germany over Poland, they did nothing effective to help Warsaw, or the Lower Countries and Denmark, when invaded by Germany. Furthermore, the Germans, as McNeilly documents, won overwhelmingly in France, while the British and General de Gaulle’s men were forced to withdraw to Britain. Soon after, the UK itself came under German bombardment. London then made the mistake of rejecting repeated German peace overtures.

Last but not least, there are a few things which I believe McNeilly should’ve said but didn’t. Firstly, he doesn’t provide much advice on how to use Sun Tzu’s advice to counter the growing Chinese military threat. Secondly, he does not acknowledge (nor deny) that WW2 and the Civil War were also wars of attrition in which even the winners, including the US and the USSR in WW2, paid a heavy price for victory.

Thirdly, McNeilly does not account for the few cases where a leader went against Sun Tzu’s advice and won anyway. For example, during the Battle of Austerlitz, when Coalition troops went down from the Pratzen Heights to attack French Marshal Davout’s divisions, Marshal Davout decided to oppose and stop them – and won despite his troops being outnumbered 4:1. Sun Tzu wrote that if your enemy is charging downhill, you should never oppose him – but Davout did oppose the enemy and won anyway. How does McNeilly explain that?

Nonetheless, McNeilly’s book was a quick, enjoyable, and fascinating read from which I have learned much. Having already read Sun Tzu’s Art of War several months prior, I now have read a book which nicely explains his work and applies it to past and future wars alike. It’s well-researched, well-written, interesting, and instructive about the past and potentially the future alike. I would give it a 9/10 rating.

Posted in Books, Military issues, World affairs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

An assessment of Obama’s first term foreign policy

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on January 10, 2013


As Obama’s first (and unfortunately, not the last) term as president ends, and as the nation prepares to suffer for 4 more years under Obama, let us objectively assess his foreign policy. The media falsely claimed during the 2012 presidential race that Obama was more competent on foreign policy and continually  propagated his administration’s FP lies which, predictably, the majority of the population bought – not knowing any better. But let us objectively assess his foreign policy record without any spin from his administration, his media lackeys, or the Republican Party for that matter.

Obama’s only real foreign policy accomplishments were: the withdrawal from Iraq and SEAL Team Six’s assassination of Osama bin Laden. Both were possible only by following Bush Administration policies on these issues. Withdrawal from Iraq occurred on the terms and at the timing set by the Bush-al-Maliki agreement of 2008, and the assassination of OBL was possible only because sufficiently interrogated Al Qaeda members gave up information that led to locating and killing OBL. Even that wasn’t Obama’s accomplishment, because then-CIA Director Leon Panetta carried out the operation without Obama’s knowledge or consent.

What is Obama’s record on other foreign policy issues?

Although he has withdrawn US troops from Iraq, Obama has foolishly driven America deeper and deeper into the Afghan quagmire. Shortly after taking office, he ordered a surge of US troops in that country, followed by an even bigger surge in late 2009 and early 2010. He has now reduced the number of troops there but foresees no further withdrawals and plans to keep a large contingent there well past 2014.

Driving America deeper into a second quagmire is not a sign of foreign policy wisdom but of foolishness. But it’s the Democrats’ speciality: Harry Truman involved the US in Korea, JFK involved the US in Vietnam, LBJ drove America deeper into that quagmire, Clinton intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Obama has also led the international crusade to topple Qaddafi in Libya, even though as of 2011 Qaddafi was no threat to, and not an enemy of, the US. He gave up his WMDs in 2003 (after President Bush pressured him to do so). But Obama decided to launch this international crusade (and many Republicans criticized him for not waging it aggressively enough). It resulted in the toppling of Qaddafi and his replacement by a government installed by rebels who admire, and had ties to, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Indeed, al-Qaeda was one of the motors of the uprising against Qaddafi. (See here.)

Obama has also supported the so-called Arab Spring, which resulted in the toppling of relatively pro-American authoritarian regimes across the Middle East and their replacement by anti-American, Islamist regimes. A perfect example of this is Egypt, where Obama urged Hosni Mubarak to resign and encouraged his deposement by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The MB government of Egypt, led by a MB President, has written an Islamist, Quranic Constitution (ratified by the Islamic Arab street) and controls the crucial Suez Canal. Yet, Obama continues to shower Egypt with aid and free weapons (e.g. F-16s) paid for by American taxpayers.

Obama has (like previous Presidents, including Clinton and both Bushes) been kowtowing to China, ignoring its dismal human rights record, bowing to Hu Jintao, feting him with a state dinner in 2011 (when his family members wore red clothes), and being “neutral” on the question of China’s ridiculous territorial claims which could trigger a war in the Western Pacific at any given time.

Obama’s policy towards China, however, looks relatively firm when compared to his policy of craven appeasement towards Russia. He has signed (and pushed through a lame duck Congress) a treasonous New START treaty that obligates only the US (not Russia) to cut its nuclear arsenal deeply and puts limits on US missile defense systems. He has cancelled plans to deploy missile defense systems in Europe and has replaced it with an empty promise of deploying watered-down systems… based on “Aegis Ashore”, technology that doesn’t exist except on paper, a promise that he probably doesn’t even intend to keep, given his promise to show Russia more “flexibility” after the November election. (Shortly after his election, Russia demanded that Obama make good on that promise to show “flexibility”.)

Nor does Russia consider Obama’s watered-down plans to be any more tolerable than President Bush’s plans. It’s opposed to this version just as fiercely as the previous one, and its anti-American rants and policy have only worsened since 2008.

Obama’s policy towards Russia has been a one-way street of unilateral concessions which Russia has pocketed while giving nothing in return. It has agreed only to mild sanctions on Iran, continues to block tougher sanctions, and has been suited in an international court by Iran to supply S-300 SAMs to it.

In South Korea, Obama has kept over 28,000 troops while delaying the time when Seoul will assume wartime operational command of troops in South Korea until 2015. Doing so allows the South Koreans to continue to evade the responsibility to defend themselves.

In Latin America, Obama has appeased Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Daniel Ortega – even listening to the latter’s bashing of the US without protest.

In Europe, he has been silent everytime America’s European allies were threatened by Russia with the usage or aiming of nuclear weapons and nuclear-armed missiles.

Obama’s foreign policy is, in sum, a total failure. It can be summed up with four words: appeasement and unilateral disarmament. The American people need to wake up and realize what grave mistake they have made by reelecting him.

Posted in Military issues, Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

How to fix the GOP’s foreign policy

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on January 9, 2013


Since the 2012 presidential election, there has been a fierce debate about which way the GOP’s foreign policy stance should go. Isolationists (who prefer to call themselves “noninterventionists) have predictably called on the GOP to adopt an isolationist foreign policy and advocate deep defense cuts.

AEI Vice President Danielle Pletka begs to differ and has written a dissenting article (Think Again: The Republican Party) on the ForeignPolicy.com website. That article, in turn, has spurred a roundtable of conservative FP.com bloggers who have weighed in on the issue. While all of them appear to agree on the need for a strong national defense and to stand by America’s allies when they’re threatened, they’re wrong on two important issues (as is Mrs Pletka herself).

Firstly, all of them seem to agree that the GOP (and the US government) should continue to support the foolish policy of free trade. I will explain below why it’s a grave mistake.

Secondly, all of them also seem to agree that the US should be spreading democracy around the world and that the GOP should advocate such policy. This is also a mistake. The US government does not have the resources, the patience, the time, or the consent of its citizens to spread democracy around the world; there are many countries where democracy cannot ever be implanted; and democratic elections often produce governments hostile to the US (e.g. the pro-Iranian Shia government of Iraq, the Hamas government of the Gaza Strip, and the socialist, populist governments of most Latin American countries). Furthermore, if the Chinese could democratically elect the CCP’s General Secretary, anti-American leftist Bo Xilai would’ve probably won, instead of the more practical Xi Jinping.

Thirdly, one of the round-table participants, Paul Miller (an NDU professor), wrongly claimed that:

“Mitt Romney missed a large and obvious opportunity to differentiate himself from the president by going on the attack on Afghanistan. Republicans can and should be out front explaining what our interests are and how we can win. Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates was absolutely right when he insisted that the Pentagon focus on the wars we were fighting rather than the hypothetical wars of the future. That is still true. If Republicans want to win back their foreign-policy credentials, they should stop their scripted apoplexy over Syria, Iran, and China and say something intelligent and relevant about the war in which American troops are still dying.”

He’s completely wrong. Firstly, there are no American interests at stake in Afghanistan, and the war over that country is utterly unwinnable. True, American troops are still dying there – but it’s time to stop that waste of American blood by ending the war ASAP. Secondly, Republicans are not engaging in a “scripted apoplexy over Syria, Iran, and China”, they are rightly sounding the alarm over China’s huge military buildup (which long ago exceeded China’s legitimate self-defense needs) and Bashar al-Assad’s genocide of his own people. But I guess that Mr Miller would prefer for American troops to continue to die in the totally irrelevant quagmire of Afghanistan instead of defending America’s Pacific Rim allies (or America’s southern border).

Thirdly, Bob Gates was completely wrong when he said that the DOD should ignore the needs and threats of tomorrow, stop preparing for them, and instead throw good money after bad by spending billions of dollars in pursuit of an unachievable victory in Afghanistan, a strategically irrelevant country, and Iraq, a country the US should’ve never invaded in the first place. As a result, thousands and thousands of brave American troops have died, and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, thanks to that smiling idiot Robert Gates.

Meanwhile, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have been building up their militaries, at a neckbreaking pace in China’s case, and now, the US has to catch up with Beijing and Moscow.

What Gates derisively called “next-war-itis” was actually farsightedness and preparedness for the lethal threats of the future – far more lethal than Al Qaeda has ever been or will ever be – and far more important than the irrelevant country called Afghanistan. Those of us who advocated such a farsighted policy knew back then that the Afghan and Iraq wars were a) wrong and b) going to end in a few years, while future threats such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea were only going to grow and would be present for the foreseeable future. Everything that has happened since then has vindicated us. The Iraqi war ended in 2011. The Afghan war is winding down. The American public has no stomach for any new nationbuilding crusades anywhere. Meanwhile, the threats posed by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are growing.

Fourthly, if Republicans want to be popular again, or to regain their foreign policy credentials, they need to advocate withdrawing from Afghanistan ASAP, which the vast majority of Americans support.

A New GOP Foreign Policy

So what should the GOP do? To regain its reputation as competent on foreign policy, the GOP can easily make the following three changes.

Firstly, it needs to completely reject so-called “free trade” and atone for supporting this disastrous policy in the past. “Free trade” has been nothing but a disaster for the US, as all evidence demonstrates. America’s trade deficit with China is the largest ever between any two countries in history. America’s trade deficit with Japan is the largest ever with that country in US history. America’s trade deficit with South Korea tripled in April 2012 alone – the first full month under the KORUS Free Trade Agreement. As for Mexico, before NAFTA was ratified, the US had a trade surplus with that country. Since 1993, the US has had a trade deficit with that country every year, and the 2012 trade deficit is the highest ever recorded with Mexico.

This is because successive American administrations and Congresses have signed and ratified unequal, unfavorable “free trade deals”: NAFTA, joining the WTO, the GATT, granting Most Favored Nation status to China and Russia, and bilateral FTAs with many countries, including Japan and South Korea. Furthermore, the US tolerates the fact that foreign countries routinely cheat on trade. China devalues its currency more than the Fed devalues the dollar, subsidizes its exporters, and taxes all imports into China. Similarly, Japan levies a VAT on all imports, while rebating its exporters for every product they export. Thus, for example, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda get a rebate for every car they export to the US, while every American car imported into Japan faces a stiff VAT tax.

Of course, China, Japan, and the rest of the world don’t give two hoots about “free trade”, Hayek, Friedman, or the opinions of pro-free-trade think-tanks.

The GOP should completely and utterly reject “free trade”, pledge to withdraw the US from free trade agreements, and return to Hamiltonian principles: Manufacturing, not finance, is the muscle of the economy. Trade surpluses are preferrable to trade deficits. The nation’s industrial base must be protected and nurtured.

Secondly, the GOP should learn, and publicly recognize, that not every country in the world is strategically important to the US and that the US should intervene militarily abroad ONLY when its national interests are at stake. Not in case of “genocide” or to “spread democracy”. Only when its key allies or its crucial national interests – such as freedom of navigation, crucial mineral resources, a crucial geographic location, or its own security – are at stake. And even then, the US should try to solve the problem by nonmartial means first. If the US does have to go to war, US troops and their commanders should be free to do whatever is needed to win. No punches pulled. No restrictive rules of engagement.

President Reagan and his Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger (the best SECDEF America has ever had) have set a good example in that regard. The Weinberger doctrine should be reinstated.

To apply these rules to today’s world, the US should withdraw from Afghanistan ASAP; not intervene in Syria, Somalia, Yemen, nor Central Africa; and stop dreaming about spreading democracy.

Thirdly, the GOP should utterly reject and denounce the utterly failed, destructive policy of “arms control”, whose proper name is “disarmament”. Those in the West who advocate disarmament – including its nuclear variety – don’t mean total global disarmament, however; their sole goal is the disarmament of the West. They don’t mind China’s and Russia’s huge military arsenals. All they seek is the West’s unilateral disarmament.

“Arms control” has been an utter failure and has made America and the world dramatically less safe. At the Cold War’s end, in 1991, only seven countries (the five powers recognized by the Non Proliferation Treaty plus India and Israel) had nuclear weapons). Since then, the US, France, and Britain have dramatically reduced their nuclear (and conventional) arsenals.

This has made them, the entire West, and the world at large dramatically less safe. By now, Pakistan and North Korea have joined the nuclear club (North Korea now even has an ICBM capable of reaching the CONUS), and Iran is well on its way to it. China has dramatically increased its nuclear arsenal since the 1980s (contrary to the lies of disarmament advocates), from a few hundred warheads then to at least 1,800 and potentially up to 3,000 nuclear warheads now, according to Russian General Viktor Yesin and former DOD nuclear strategist Professor Philip Karber.

Similarly, the Obama-negotiated New START treaty obligates only the US (not Russia) to cut its nuclear arsenal. Russia is actually allowed to grow its own, and the treaty has several loopholes allowing Russia to field additional ICBMs despite New START ceilings. Nor does it count Tu-22M bombers as strategic delivery systems.

The GOP needs to completely reject and firmly denounce “arms control” and pledge to withdraw the US from any “arms control” treaties, including New START.

Those three steps would dramatically improve the GOP’s foreign policy credentials and, although the GOP does not currently control the White House or the Senate, at least adopting them declaratively, as pledges, would significantly help the GOP regain its reputation as the more competent party on foreign policy.

Posted in Ideologies, Military issues, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Protect the nuclear deterrent, reduce entitlement costs

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on January 8, 2013


As Washington ponders what to do about America’s large annual budget deficit ($1.2 trillion per year), the Left has taken aim at America’s nuclear deterrent – the most important asset the US military has, one which protects America and its 30+ allies against the most catastrophic threats – and demands cut in it while refusing to agree to any cuts in entitlements and discretionary social programs. Last month, 44 stridently liberal House Democrats, led by Ed Markey and Barney Frank, demanded exactly such policy in a letter to Congressional leadership.

But they’re dead wrong, and the policy they advocate is destructive, subversive, treasonous, and unconstitutional.

Here’s why. Here are seven good reasons why the nuclear deterrent should NOT be cut and why entitlement costs should be reformed (i.e. significantly reduced):

1) Protecting America is not only an enumerated power but the highest Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, as articulated in the Preamble, in Art. I Sec. 8, and in Art. IV Sec. 4. The majority of enumerated powers delegated to the Congress and listed in Art. I Sec. 8 relate to  military affairs. The military is the ONLY significant expenditure authorized by the Constitution.

By contrast, entitlement programs (and discretionary social programs) are unconstitutional. They are outside the scope of the powers vested in the federal government by the Constitution.

No person who takes his/her oath to the Constitution seriously could advocate deep cuts in funding for America’s defense, especially not for the kind of defense against the most catastrophic threats, while simoultaneously refusing to agree to any cuts in unconstitutional entitlement programs.

2) The nuclear deterrent costs very little: $32 bn per year according to the Stimson Center. This includes all nuclear warheads, all of their delivery systems, and all of their supporting facilities. Over the next decade or so, the US will need to modernize its nuclear deterrent; the Stimson Center estimates that with these modernization costs accounted for, the total cost will rise to only $39.2 bn per year, or $392 bn over the next decade.

How much is $39.2 bn? Just 6.1% of the total military budget ($633 bn authorized for FY2013), and just 1% out of a $3.699 trillion annual federal budget. Just one percent. Just one cent on the dollar.

Individual nuclear weapon systems cost even less. The ICBM  leg of the nuclear triad costs only $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg, $2.5 bn.

By contrast, the Big Three entitlement programs alone constitute 62-63% of the ENTIRE federal budgets, and their costs grow on autopilot every year. Social Security alone costs well over $700 bn every year. See the Heritage Foundation graphs below.

ALC_042_3col_c

70percentoffederalspendingissocialspending

3) Given entitlements’ huge costs, and the nuclear deterrent’s tiny cost, it is clear that it is ENTITLEMENTS, not nuclear weapons, that should be cut, or at least looked to for savings. By contrast, the US could give up its entire nuclear deterrent unilaterally tomorrow, and this would cut the federal budget by a paltry 1% – not even a dent in the annual budget deficit ($1.2 trillion) or total annual federal spending. Cutting or even eliminating the nuclear deterrent would do NOTHING do solve the deficit problem. Reforming entitlements and thus reducing their costs (e.g. by means-testing SS and Medicare, increasing the eligibility age, and giving people the freedom to leave the SS system and open private retirement accounts instead) would go a long way to reduce budget deficits and public debt.

4) If entitlements are not reformed soon, they will, within a few decades, swallow the entire federal budget, leaving the US with no money for defense or anything else. Furthermore, if they are not reformed soon, they will bury America under a mountain of debt, as they collectively have liabilities of $100 trillion. Again, even eliminating the nuclear deterrent unilaterally would do NOTHING to stop this tsunami of entitlement spending and entitlement-driven debt.

defense-spending-entitlement-spending-problem-600

5) Making further deep cuts in the nuclear deterrent, while Russia retains its huge arsenal and China has a large one (far larger than what disarmament advocates and government bureaucrats claim), would invite a Russian (if not Chinese) nuclear first strike on the US, as the US nuclear arsenal would, after further deep cuts, be far too small to be survivable or to credibly threaten most of Russia’s and China’s military assets.

6) Entitlements and other social programs make people permanently dependent on the government (in this case, the federal government) and thus teach dependence instead of self-reliance, which used to be a defining American trait. Today, instead of people providing for their and their families’ needs, virtually everyone wants to rely on a government program (i.e. on tax money confiscated from someone else) instead.

7) Entitlements and other social programs, by encouraging dependence on the federal government and by resulting in a mass confiscation of wealth from producers and transfer of that wealth to those who didn’t earn it, are immoral. In the Bible, God upholds the sanctity of private property: He says that we are prohibited not only to steal, but even to covet it.

In short, the Left’s claims are blatant lies, and their policy proposals are downright destructive. Were their cretinous policies to be implemented (God forbid), the US would be gutting its own nuclear deterrent (thus opening itself  and over 30 allies to a Russian or Chinese nuclear blackmail or even attack) while completely failing to make any meaningful reduction in federal spending, budget deficits, or debt. Such policies are totally unnacceptable and must be rejected completely. No ifs, no buts.

Posted in Constitutions, Defense spending, Economic affairs, Ideologies, Military issues, Nuclear deterrence, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

Will the DOD adapt to the constrained access environment?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on January 7, 2013


As studies by the CSBA and numerous articles and blogposts authored by yours truly have documented, the most pervasive and most lethal non-nuclear threat to the US military (other than the threat of deep defense budget cuts, of course) is and will remain the threat of anti-access/area-denial weapon systems, operated in many varieties by many potential adversaries, including China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and Hezbollah. (China, Iran, and Russia have complete inventories of A2/AD weapons of all kinds, while the others rely on inventories of specific kinds.)

These weapons range from submarines and naval mines to short-, medium-, and intermediate range ballistic missiles to integrated air defense systems to cyberweapons to antisatellite (ASAT) weapons. They thus come in many varieties and are aimed at different types of American platforms, but their mission is the same: deny the US military access to a theater of operations (e.g. the Western Pacific or the Persian Gulf) or at least make it prohibitively expensive (in terms of casualties) for the US military to operate in that theater.

China and Russia have accumulated huge and very impressive arsenals of such weapons in all their varieties; Iran also has a very potent arsenal of such weapons to offset its purely conventional military inferiority to the US. (If Iran tried to fight the US plane vs plane and ship vs ship, it wouldn’t stand a chance. But by fighting unconventionally, with submarines, naval mines, fast attack craft, and anti-ship missiles, among other things, it could inflict high casualties on the US military.)

Iran has recently increased and modernized its inventory of such weapons.

North Korea has upgraded Soviet air defense systems, midget submarines, and over a thousand ballistic missiles which can hit any American base in Eastern Asia. Venezuela has modern Russian S-300 SAM systems and advanced submarines.

Given these facts, the US should be quickly shifting its conventional force away from short-range platforms towards long-range ones, and away from platforms suited only for permissive, benign environments towards those designed to operate in very constrained environments, such as heavily-defended airspace.

Yet, the DOD has not done so yet.

To be sure, during the next few years, the DOD did make the initial steps towards that goal. For example, it has begun the development of the Next Generation Bomber, with plans to procure 100 such aircraft; it has announced plans to add the Virginia Payload Module to Block V Virginia class submarines; it is developing anti-ship missiles of its own; it has asked the industry for designs of a new cruise missile; it is ordering further EA-18G jammer and P-8 ASW aircraft; it has invested seriously in cybersecurity; and it’s building Littoral Combat Ships with ASW and demining modules alike.

But those are baby steps, and progress in that regard is too slow.

EA-18G, P-8 Poseidon, and Virginia class orders have been slowed, as have been orders for Arleigh Burke class DDGs. The Navy wants to decommission seven Ticonderoga class cruisers (each of which can launch 122 Tomahawk cruise missiles or missiles of other types) and two amphibious assault ships. The Air Force is merely “studying” the alternatives for the next-gen cruise missile. The NGB is not scheduled to enter service until the mid-2020s, even though it is need now. The DOD is cutting spending on missile defense and ordering inadequate quantities of interceptors and batteries, while also cutting spending on the development of laser missile defenses that would be far more economical than kinetic interceptors.

Furthermore, the current and projected inventories of jammer and ASW aircraft, stealthy bombers, and submarines are inadequate and will be even moreso inadequate as insufficient numbers are procured. These platforms will thus be few in number even though there will be a great demand for them in the Pacific, the Persian Gulf, and probably elsewhere.

In short, the DOD is not investing enough in these urgently-needed weapon platforms and has ordered, or plans to order, insufficient quantities of them.

Meanwhile, the DOD continues to spend a lot of money on its large ground force and on platforms suitable only for permissive environments where the only opponents are insurgents unable to contest control of the air. The DOD wants to increase the number of its Predator and Reaper orbits to 65 with a surge capacity to 80, even though such drones cannot survive in contested airspace. It still wants to procure 2,443 F-35 aircraft, even though they are already obsolete and will become even moreso obsolete by the time they officially enter service later this decade. The Army still continues to develop a heavy mobile bunker for the Ground Combat Vehicle program. And even after the modest reductions the DOD plans to slowly make to the ground force, both the Army and the Marines will still be larger than they were on 9/11 or during the Clinton years.

Can anyone explain to me what is the purpose of such investments, other than to recreate the force of the past and to re-fight yesterday’s war?

The DOD is still not serious about adapting to the A2/AD environment. Neither are most members of Congress, who have imposed a deep budget cut diktat on the DOD while not allowing it to even make modest reforms in the ground force, healthcare programs, base infrastructure, or inventories of old and/or short-ranged and/or niche aircraft like the C-27, C-23, F-16, and A-10. That means the savings which these reforms would produce will not be cashed, which means less money available for long-range-strike platforms.

Moreover, under current DOD plans, Navy shipbuilding programs and the Navy’s ship fleet will decline precipitously (excepting only the LCS program), and it is the Navy and the Air Force, not the Army and the Marines, who will see the relatively deepest cuts to their accounts, which is ridiculous given that the USAF and the USN, NOT the other two services, will play the lead role in any A2/AD environment.

The DOD has taken some steps to adapt to the A2/AD environment, but these are only baby steps. In a future blogpost, I will outline the steps the DOD should make to adapt quickly and adequately to this environment, similar to the “31 initiatives” produced by the USAF/US Army AirLand agreement of the early 1980s.

UPDATE:

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has recently reaffirmed the need for the NGB, while also demonstrating how little this program, and bomber programs in general, cost compared to the USAF’s total modernization budget:

“The new Long-Range Strike bomber is one of our top priorities and encompasses approximately two percent of Air Force investment. An additional three percent over the next five years goes to sustain and modernize the B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers to ensure these aging aircraft remain viable.”

Posted in Defense spending, Military issues, Threat environment, World affairs | Leave a Comment »

 
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