Category Archives: Military issues

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

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.


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

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.

Rebuttal of Gordon Adams’ newest blatant lies

Speaking recently to National Public Radio and USA Today “journalists”, former Clinton Administration defense budget chief Gordon Adams (in other words, the principal architect of Clinton’s disastrous defense cuts) yet again called for massive defense budget cuts while making blatant lies about the security environment designed to lull the public into a false sense of security.

Adams falsely claimed that the world’s regions, and as a result, the world at large, are the safest they have ever been in the last 65 years and the safest in his lifetime; that the US is super secure; that there is no existential threat to America; and that the US can afford to and should reduce its defense budget and the size of its military “quite sharply” and there’s “plenty of room” to cut defense spending.

All of his claims are blatant lies, as usual.

The world is actually the most dangerous it has ever been since the end of WW2; Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey calls it the most dangerous world he has seen in his entire military career (spanning over 38 years from 1974 to today). China is bullying its neighbors – from Japan to the Philippines to Vietnam – making huge territorial claims and conducting a military buildup that long ago exceeded its legitimate self-defense requirements. Russia is rapidly rearming, threatens the US and its European allies with the preemptive use of nuclear weapons, and still retains a huge nuclear arsenal. North Korea now possesses an ICBM capable of reaching the US and is able to mate a nuclear warhead to it. Iran, according to most recent estimates by experts, will have enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon by 2014, and the US intel community projects it to have an ICBM in the 2015-2016 timeframe. It also continues to sponsor Islamic terrorism throughout the world. Venezuela and the Castro brothers continue to do mischief in the Western Hemisphere, while in the Arab world – from Algeria to Egypt to Iraq – Islamic terrorists continue to make gains. In the Arab world, as a result of the Arab Spring, nations previously ruled by authoritarian dictators friendly to the US are now ruled by Islamists hostile to America and Israel. The Jewish state is now facing a real threat of extinction for the first time since 1973.

Only a traitor, a drug or alcohol addict, or an idiot could claim that the world is safer than ever since WW2. The reality is the opposite: the world is more dangerous than ever in the post-WW2 era, and more dangerous than during the entire Cold War, excepting possibly only the brief period of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It is also not true that the US faces no existential threats. It actually faces three:

  • Islamic jihadists aim to conquer the entire world (as Islam has aimed for centuries) and to forcibly convert to Islam – or kill – all non-Muslims;
  • Russia remains an existential threat, thanks to its rabidly anti-American leadership, its huge nuclear arsenal, its huge conventional force, and its rearmament program;
  • China is rapidly building up and modernizing its military and has global (if as of yet unstated) ambitions of pushing the US aside and becoming the world’s leading power – and the hegemon in East Asia and beyond.

To dramatically cut the US defense budget and the size of the US military in the face of these existential threats – and other threats to US security – would be an utter folly.

Furthermore, the capabilities of America’s enemies – including Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – are far better than most people know and what Gordon Adams would have you believe. I have written on their capabilities in great detail numerous times, most recently here on December 29th, 2012. (A full list of my studies of these subjects can be found here.) The strength of their militaries is, in short, such that the US cannot afford to further cut the size and capabilities of its military or the defense budget (which would lead to the former).

To give just one example, Russia and China have fielded such advanced air defense systems (S-300, S-400, HQ-9) that their airspace is firmly closed to all nonstealthy aircraft, i.e. to all Western aircraft except the F-22, the F-35, the B-2, and the planned Next Generation Bomber. To give another example, Russia’s ICBM fleet alone, numbering 434 missiles, could deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, while the Russian Air Force has over 240 strategic long-range bombers.

Deep cuts in the defense budget would inevitably have to mean deep cuts in the military’s size, maintenance and training programs (i.e. a dramatic reduction of the military’s readiness), and modernization (the modernization of existing weapons as well as the development and procurement of new ones – even ones that are badly needed, such as the Next Generation Bomber).

While there is some waste in the defense budget (e.g. studies of beef jerky and whether Jesus died for Klingons, too), there isn’t much of it left, contrary to what the proponents of disastrous defense cuts would have you believe. Sen. Tom Coburn has identified only $6.79 bn per year in genuine DOD waste. The vast majority of what defense cuts proponents call “waste” are actually needed, crucial defense programs, such as the Next Generation Bomber.

Also contrary to Adams’ lie, the defense budget has not “doubled” since 2001. Not even close. In FY2001, the defense budget was $291.1 bn in then-year dollars, i.e. $390 bn in today’s money. Today’s total military budget (including spending on Afghanistan and the DOE’s nat-sec programs) is $633 bn (per the FY2013 NDAA), representing growth of only 65% – not even close to doubling and very modest considering that in FY2001, defense spending was pathetically low and woefully inadequate (thanks to the disastrous cuts that Adams and his boss Bill Clinton orchestrated).

Gordon Adams is blatantly lying, as usual. No, there isn’t “plenty of room to cut the defense budget”. No, the world is not safer than ever in the post-WW2 era; quite the contrary, it’s the most dangerous it has ever been since 1945. No, America cannot afford to significantly cut its defense budget or the size of its military further.

Shame on Adams for lying so blatantly, and shame on NPR and USA Today for uncritically reprinting his blatant lies.

Rebuttal of pacifists’ blatant lies and scaremongering

The USAF is (rightly) considering whether to develop rail- or road-mobile launchers for its future ICBMs (which will have to replace old, 1970s’ vintage Minuteman-III missiles by no later than the 2020s). reports:

“The Air Force has dusted off plans more than two decades old to place fixed nuclear missiles on rail cars or massive road vehicles to protect them from a surprise attack.

The service also wants to explore alternatives to traditional missiles to carry nuclear warheads, which could include hypersonic aircraft capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in an hour…”

Pacifists, including those at the so-called “Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation”, a part of the pacifist and extremely leftist “Council for a Livable World” (which advocates America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament), are predictably opposed to any improvement of the survivability of America’s nuclear deterrent while not opposing such improvements to Russia’s or China’s arsenals. The Center’s Philip Coyle, a former Obama Administration official, claims that:

“The Air Force will need to be careful that they don’t stir up a hornets nest with proposals for mobile basing or advanced concepts other than the traditional booster and reentry vehicle. The former could cause Russia or China to redouble their efforts on mobile basing of ICBMs, set off a new kind of arms race, and weaken U.S. defenses.”

It’s been quite some time since I last heard that kind of nonsense. No, improving the survivability of America’s ICBMs would not weaken US defenses – FAILURE to improve it would weaken them. (And let’s be honest: since when is the pacifist CLW concerned about weakening America’s defenses? It’s precisely what it advocates!)

The USAF will not “stir up a hornets’ nest”, nor will it cause Russia or China to “redouble their efforts on mobile basing of ICBMs. Russia and China redoubled their efforts in that regard quite some time ago. For decades, Russia has been building road- and rail-mobile ICBMs (first the RT-20/SS-15 Scrooge, then the SS-16 Sinner, then the RT-23/SS-24, then the SS-25 (RT-2PM Topol), then the SS-27 Stalin (RT-2UTTKh), and now the RS-24 Yars, as well as planning to develop a new rail-mobile missile). China has fielded over 30 road-mobile and silo-based DF-31/31A ICBMs and is now beginning to field the road-mobile DF-41; it may also be developing a rail-mobile variant of one of these ICBMs.

Both Russia and China have also developed and fielded a wide range of road-mobile SRBMs (SS-26 Stone, DF-11, DF-15, B-611, DF-16) and, in China’s case, road-mobile MRBMs (DF-21).

The fact of the matter is that either the US will develop and field its own mobile ICBMs, or Russia and China will have a duopoly in that regard, a weapon system the US currently does not have.

Coyle’s false claim is pacifists’ standard lie: that military strength is dangerous and provocative and if the US develops a powerful weapon, Russia and China will be compelled to do so as well, while if the US foregoes the development of that weapon, Moscow and Beijing will be nice enough to reciprocate. This blatant lie has been debunked countless times, including by Ronald Reagan with his defense buildup and his development of tunnel-mobile (and potentially rail-mobile – his second SECDEF, Frank Carlucci, wanted to put them on trains) Peacekeeper ICBMs. further reports that:

“Coyle said he was concerned that proliferation of mobile missile systems could lead to another arms race.(…) He added that if the Air Force decides to pursue hypersonic aircraft to deliver nuclear warheads, this could confuse nuclear armed countries such as Russia, which would not be able to determine if supersonic aircraft traveling at 4,000 miles per hour were carrying conventional or nuclear warheads, and potentially react with a nuclear strike.”

The claim that American development of mobile missile systems would lead to another arms race or cause Russia and China to up the ante has been debunked above.

As for the concern that developing hypersonic aircraft to deliver nuclear warheads could confuse Russia or China and cause either of them to launch a mistaken nuclear strike, this can be easily prevented by one of the following solutions:

1) Counting such hypersonic delivery aircraft towards START limits;

2) Making a hypersonic global strike aircraft only conventional-weapon-capable; or

3) Pledging to Russia that such hypersonic aircraft would never be used against her and flying such aircraft in a manner that would not look like an attack on Russia on Russian radars. The hotline between the White House and the Kremlin could also be used to prevent any confusion.

Air Force eyes return of mobile nuclear missiles

It is absolutely necessary to improve the survivability of America’s ICBMs by making them road- or rail-mobile. The next generation of USAF ICBMs should be rail-mobile.

An assessment of Obama’s first term foreign policy

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.

How to fix the GOP’s foreign policy

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 website. That article, in turn, has spurred a roundtable of conservative 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.

Protect the nuclear deterrent, reduce entitlement costs

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.



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.


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.