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30 October 2011

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William R. Cumming

Agree with these observations by PL. In the long run Kuwait is a lost cause and the trip wire may have to be someplace else. I also still believe that civil war will break out in Iraq by the end of 2013. Hoping not, however. The real test of a modern Iraq will come as individuals who fled both the ancien regime and new one decide whether to return. That vote will be with their feet not feat of arms.

highlander

You offer suggestions for a very rational course of action. Without a severe economic depression, what are the chances of the military-industrial complex allowing it? 5%?

turcopolier

highlander

IMO the joint budget group will not reach agreement, Even if they manage to push the date away they will eventually face massive cuts in DoD. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Ambassador Bhadrakumar views:

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/

Larry Kart

About what those who say Social Security is "in the red" mean (and/or what they don't understand about Social Security) see this:

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/washington-post-discards-all-journalistic-standards-in-attack-on-social-security?

DCA

And from the NY Times today I relearn that current plans are to modernize all three elements of the "nuclear triad" and keep tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. And the strategic purpose of this is.....?

Fred

This seems like a brilliant consultant's idea:
"One significant outcome of the coming cuts, officials said, could be a steep decrease in the number of intelligence analysts assigned to the region. "

Jim Ticehurst

Col..I Read this article early this AM..Glad you posted and Commented on it..THIS is IMPORTANT..and Timely..Value your opinions and Comments...
Agree on your Strategic (Plus Effeciency and Costs )recommendations On Logistics and Assets.. ..Sufficient..

I would also add Emergency and Evacution Plans..if we ever had another Saigon Scenario there..even Daily Events all over the Place needs HUMINTFB..Gathering..and Analysis of everything Political.{Regime Changes..{Players..Attitudes ..Internal Events)...Military..and close Monitoring of every country in the region..Can we Really Trust any oif them..? What are thier Current Trends..? Contacts..Actions.New BEST Friends...Big Money Deals..?

As You Know...Things are Changing Fast in the World in a Dynamic Way..Every Area Now has its Critical Isses..All Must be watched and Analyzed in My Opinion.
.
ANALYSIS...

Thats why I was Disturbed to Read in the Above Story..ThaT
along with Proposed $450 BILLION Dollar Cuts in Defense Spending ..and Military Activitys around the Middle East/Gulf..there Would Be a ""STEEP Decrease in the Number of ANALYSIST to the Region.."
OH Really..?
Right Now..? When everythiong has become much More TOXIC and many Events or Potential Events are at Thier Peak..?
Sounds like BS to me..Reminds me of what we read about Clapper..Very Strange Policys ..Considering Activity in the Real World..Is this INTENTIONAL..or Stupidity..??

We should Take NOTHING For Granted..Anywhere and especcially in this Regionion..Things can change fast in Kuwait..Saudie Arabia (with its new CROWN Prince..Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz..) Whats he going to do..? Also in Bahrain and the UAE..The Whole Area is HOT and Changing..

Lastly..Again..China has been engaged in "Business Deals in each of those Countrys.Trade deals..which Gives China Access and Operationsl Ability in Each of those Countrys..

..For Example China is Saudiu Arabia's Largest trade Partner in West Asia..Just More Connecting the Dots..

When this is Over..I Suspect that What The Necons Started..(At GREAT COSTS) with their Invasions..and Operations..Has Just had a resulted in allot of Human Life..and Effectively Just Turned The Rest of the Middle east and the Muslim.Tribal Communitys almost totally Against The United States..or wanting a United States Presence..

I Believe we are Near That Point..and MUST Analyze what Comes NEXT..(Real World Scenarios..)and what is the Absolute Best..Action and response by The United States..and on Behalf of the PEOPLE of The United States..Military and Civilian..

graywolf

Full speed ahead on the Baaken shale, Marcellus shale, Utica shale, off-shore (especially the gulf), build the Keystone pipeline and we can kiss off that entire medieval insane ME mess.

We could then sell arms to all of them.
Make a tidy profit and do Western civilization a favor.

steve

Off topic a bit, but I dislike mischaracterizations of SS.

Social security is not $46 billion in the red this year.

Social security has a $2.6 trillion surplus--minus the 46 billion.

The surplus was a result of the Greenspan commission's recommendation in 1983 to increase payroll taxes to prefund the baby boomers retirement. It was endorsed by Reagan and passed by congress. The surplus is the accumulated savings of that generation.

It was envisioned to be drawn down as the boomers retire and it is performing exactly that way.

Richard Armstrong

The United States expends the largest amount of money on defense of any nation in the world. In fact, the United State's military budget exceeds the next 5-7 nations combined.

The United States is also the worlds largest exporter of military hardware.

It would seem that a very large portion of our economy is based on military revenues.

Such is the bane of any military empire that the vox populus is drowned out by the needs of and their need for the militaris.

William R. Cumming

Assuming the problems identified by bureacracy and presumably the IC are authentic in times of declining funds the tendency is to self-blind and decide that the problems will disappear on their own. Of course they usually do not do so. Result--more and more real problems accumulate untended to until the mountain of problems collapses into a bigger mess.

I myself had little or no knowledge of MENA before 9/11/01 and still have little compared to many. Yet there clearly were signs on the trail leading to 9/11/01 that could have been followed and some did.

The end result is clearly whatever your take on the future the past in MENA indicates a more dynamic region than in the past and that while the oil resource may have put some lid on change for the last 100 years that is unlikely to be an effective lid for the next 100. Then given ethnic and religious differences, refugee and immigration issues, it is clear that some of the most skilled analysis ever will be required in futuro if the USA is to navigate through MENA the next 100 years with some or any success.

Could it be argued, should it be argued that MENA is much more of a world fulcrum than many would realize? And not just two sided, but NORTH and SOUTH divides and EAST and WEST divides?

I would argue that the varous kingdoms, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Joprdan etc. look like a treacherous and unstable arrangement for governing the rest of this century. Reliance on oil extraction another and perhaps related. Demographics.

Have developed an interest in MENA I am astounded at how little is written open source about it in the USA! One might ask why given its importance. Is the USA just sinking more into its own ignorance, ego, and hubris? What foreign languages are spoken by the President? The Presidential challengers? The members of the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees members? How many endowed chairs in the languages, culture and civilization of MENA are in US colleges and univerities? etc. etc.

The same could be said for Mexico and S. America? Or Japan? Or China? Or India? Has one or any of the candidates for office in 2012 argued part of the fundamental USA problems are derived from our ignorance in foreign policy? Time to tell the American people hard truths? The world is not going backwards in time to some other era.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you first need to define or conceptualize what "success" would mean for the United States in navigating "through MENA the next 100 years".

I do not think that the Mulsim States somehow constitute a world fulcurum.

But I do think the irresolvable confrontation between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran has now become a religious confrontation betweem Protestant Christians and Jews on the one side and (Shia) Muslims on the other.


Green Zone Cafe

The next time Iraq invades Kuwait, I'm on Iraq's side, because of the mean way the Kuwaitis have treated Iraq since 2003.

J

Colonel,

Many are now wondering if President Obama will bring U.S. to the brink of WWIII. In Syria Assad has commented that any foreign intervention into his nation will (a.k.a. attack on Syria) will 'burn the whole region'. Assad cites that regarding his Syria, -- "is different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen. The history is different. The politics is different. Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake. Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?... If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region." -- Pro-Assad support appears to come from the Syrian business community, minority groups Christians and Alawites, as well as some within the Sunni majority, who all appear worried about who or what might follow a deposed Assad, and have concluded that Assad staying in power is their best option.

Now with Qaddafi's death, which many see as being driven by London, the economic chaos's going on the trans-Atlantic region, powers that be bringing SW Asia to the brink of a 'dark age' warfare scenario, are fearful that it such a warfare mindset will spread to engulf the whole globe, ergo a threatened World War. Shudder, shudder, blink, blink.

So do we have an Oligarch period and their wars on the horizion, much as what bemoaned our little planet a.k.a. another Henry VIII period once-upon-a-mule?

Has President Obama acted in a Roman law mode, where the emperor/dictator is the one who creates law out of his/her own will free from the constraints of existing law of our U.S.? Case in point the targeted drone killings, and U.S. involvement (without the consent of Congress) in the recent deposing of Libyan strong-man Qaddafi. And now the intended build-up of U.S. Military presence in the Gulf following the 'official' exiting of U.S. Troops from Iraq, what portends the future or 'back to the future' of the ME? Will we see the creation of a mini-NATO with advanced new security architecture for the Gulf that integrates air/naval patrols, and missile defense of region states?

Andy

The $2.6 trillion in surplus is held in government bonds, therefore it's a "surplus" for the trust fund, but it's an debt for the US government. The government has to pay back that $2.6 trillion plus interest. The money for the $46 billion this year comes from borrowing - the government, because we are running deficits. So we are really just trading one kind of debt (inter-government debt) for another (public debt) and the result is that the deficit is $46 billion higher than it would have been otherwise. There's no secret stash of money the trust fund is drawing on because these are obligations the government owes itself. To pay those obligations will require some combination of the following: printing money, borrowing, increased taxes, or reduced spending elsewhere.

fred

Right on! Think of the money to be made purifying fracking contaminated water! A definite win win for wall street.

turcopolier

J

I would say that a presence in Kuwait is necessary to prevent Iranian expansionism into the south side of the Gulf. This is in the interest of the US and has nothinjg to do with local interest althougt it is an interest that we share. Saddam's regime provided that service as well but we should have had a small ground and air presence even then. The Kuwaitis wanted it. Having destroyed Iraq's military capability for the next decade or two we will have to have a larger presence. This has nothing to do with the COIN nonsense and everything to do with realpolitik. Obama should obtain congressional approval for this and the Kuwaitis should pay through the nose for the protection. pl

Matthew

From your typepad to God's ears.....

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

This reminds me of the 1970s when there were very many young men who illegally had entered Kuwait from Iran - seeking jobs.

They were a tough lot (some would swim from outside of Kuwait's territorial waters to Kuwait City).

At that time, rumor in Kuwait was that those young men were members of Shah's Secret Army, waiting for the orders to come from Tehran to take over Kuwait.

I expect this quaint notion of "Iranian Expansionism" to take its place of honor along side the "Soviet Expansionism" in the annals of geopolitics.

Iranians wanting to take over Kuwait is as likely as US deciding to take over Venezuela or Mexico.

If history is any guide; US will be defending Kuwait not against Iran (or Iraq) but against Other Arabs.

turcopolier

Babak

You have forgotten a few "quaint" things like the Iranian capture of the Fao Peninsula, the subsequent Iranian shelling of Kuwaiti territory, the sinking of Kuwaiti tankers until we re-flagged them. I suppose we are to believe that if Iran had achieved a clean breakthrough in that war they would have stopped at the kuwaiti Border. Do you think the Kuwaitis believe that? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Fao is not Kuwaiti territory.

And Kuwait was supporting the Ba'athist Iraq to the hilt; like the other Arab states.

It was not their war but they made it so.

Kuwait was not an innocent by-stander in Iran-Iraq War.

Future would tell whom Kuwaitis ought to have feared the most but Iran will not be one of those; unless the Kuwaiti leaders once again align themselves with the enemies of Iran.

[And what did they gain?]

elkern

So the "problem" is that the Congress can't pretend to get free money from the SS funds this year - the rest of the Gov't is going to have to start paying off what it (we) borrowed from the future.

Soc Sec & Medicare are the taxes I really want to see flattened. Eliminate the cielings on both NOW.

turcopolier

Babak

Yes, they sided with iraq and so did we at the request of Kuwait and saudi arabia. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, Col. Lang - no body had put a gun to the collective head of Kuwait or US to support the Ba'athist Iraq.

It was a (moral) choice by Kuwait and the United States leaders.

Oman was neutral and so was Turkey.

Once you start on the wrong foot, you will indefinitely walk on the wrong path.

This is a self-made problem by Kuwait and the United States, in my opinion.

So now US is committed to defend the functioning of an oil-well with a flag against all comers.

I suppose it makes sense to some people in DC.

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