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09 January 2012

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Charles I

Its a sensible direction, but against every current save the fiscal one.

As this is only a first step amidst "political truths", the proof will be many, many budget cycles in the future. Someone noted a few days ago that Congress has not passed an Obama budget in over 900 days. The Navy is already on the design/funding horns of SSBN renewal at a time there is discussion of further nuclear cuts:

http://www.nti.rsvp1.com/gsn/article/strategic-review-anticipates-potential-new-nuke-cuts/?mgh=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nti.org&mgf=1

At the same time, oil power Russia, (never mind the burning subs) is spending mucho dinero and garnerinhg ink on its refurbishment, much NATO expansion/missile defence related:

http://www.nti.rsvp1.com/gsn/article/russia-schedules-11-icbm-tests-2012/?mgh=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nti.org&mgf=1

Surely every service will fight to the political and bureaucratic death to retain its missions and budget.

I suspect the fruits of any drawdown in manpower and related costs will find many many domestic and foreign vacuums to fill. More than anything, it would require political leadership that seems universally missing in action.

J

Colonel,

Smaller ground force for U.S.. With the shifting that is going in the Pacific, looks like D.C. has that in mind regarding China's expansions as well. The Pacific boys club will have to pony up and give U.S. a break for a change. Since it's their wading pool anyway, one would think they would want to pony up regarding China. Don't think that any of them relish the thought of U.S. taking a break, as U.S. has given them a free ride for roughly half a century militarily speaking.

turcopolier

J

IMO we should consider the Pacific an air/naval theater and use ground forces as auxiliary forces there. Does that mean get out of Korea? Why not? pl

Fred

Mr. Carafano seems troubled that the JCS actually follows their constitutional obligations to obey civil authority. From the rest of his response I would say the awkward truth is that the DOD gravy train is getting cut and that the biggest threat he mentions, a 'rising' China, is only rising because of decades of investment by Wall Street.

turcopolier

Fred

Carafano is a junior mouthpiece for the neocons. pl

Neil Richardson

"He who defends everything defends nothing."

Frederick the Great

J

Colonel,

China's ground force is approximated at 1.6 million. Imagine 1.6 million Jet Li type hand-to-hand capable individuals, noting that not all have Jet's skill set, however they do have to go through Guang Fu/Tai Chi Twan basics. The air/naval option on U.S.'s side would be a preferred choice given such.

And yes is would be preferable indeed that Seoul and its Pacific Boys club picked up the U.S. slack regarding Pyongyang.

Why does the world think that U.S. are the world's policemen? Because D.C. has both conditioned and told them that we were. Times are a changing though, some welcome changes indeed.

Mom & Pop America have had to shoulder far too many responsibilities, responsibilities that belonged to others who are capable of shouldering their own instead of depending on U.S. to do it for them.

It's time for......waiter oh check please.

WP

Mr. Carafano makes the statement, "It is difficult to argue that this is anything but a budget-driven exercise, largely peddled for political purposes--the president's campaign declaration arguing he can gut defense and leave America and the world a lot less safe."

Inherent in that statement is the assumption that if we have a huge foreign footpring we will be safer. That does not necessarily seem to be a valid assumption.

One can easily agrue that the more belligerency we project abroad, the more belligerency we can expect to receive back, the more foreign political intervention, the more hate and blowback we receive. The history or Iran since 1925 is a great example of intervention and belligerency's negative consequences.

The real strength of the US lies in its ability to assist others to be more humane and prosperous. Our projected belligerency promoted by guys like Carafano will, paradoxically, make us less safe. The last decade has virtually proven the impotency of a military approach to making positive changes in our domestic security. Our follies have nearly cost us our personal freedoms and bankrupted us with the result that we are much less free and secure than before.

We should be trying to help people instead of bombing them into the dust and trying to control their governments at every turn. Every civilian collateral damaged moves us further from security. Every girl educated or new crop promoted moves us closer. Mr. Carafano is on the wrong track.

On the defense reallignments, we ought to be preparing economically to integrate China so closely with US that there is no room for a war with them, not preparing to vaporize them. (MAD applies here.) War preparations against China are insane.

Less foreign belligerency and interventions, not more, will make us safer.

Kiran

Colonel,

If the U.S. Forces were to pull out of Korea, what do you think the likely outcome will be with regard to North/South relations and North Korean intentions?

This isn't a sarcastic response btw, I'd just like to know your opinion on the future situation in that region.

turcopolier

Kiran

The two Koreas need to settle their difference as the two Germanys did. I cannot imagine that the DPRK would be the dominant partner in a union any more than the DDR was. pl

turcopolier

j

"it would be preferable indeed that Seoul and its Pacific Boys club picked up the U.S. slack regarding Pyongyang" without the USSR why should we care about Pyongyang. Let ud have a policy that says that those who threaten us are enemies. If they become an active threat we will make them into "non threats," and not with 100,000 ground troops and an in situ reform school. Other than that we leave them alone and concentrate on growing our economy. pl

Matthew

I guess I'm puzzled by the need for us to be taking such a big role in Asia. The cynic is me views this more as dollar-protection, not security. Didn't China and Japan recently announce they would conduct bilateral trade in each other's currencies?

turcopolier

Matthew

Thw Atlantic and Pacific Ocean areas are defensive belts for the US. I am not interested in military activities on the land in Asia so long as trade is possible on the basis of free markets. What China and Japan do with each other is of little interest to me. pl pl

Lars

It is good to see that there is a re-assessment of military policy and the forces needed in the future. Although it is late, it may be fruitful to return to President Eisenhower's farewell address regarding the military-industrial complex?

I would suggest that they start with reducing the number of flag officers. Not only will that save money, but it may improve policy.

Matthew

Thanks for the additional information.

BTW, sometimes they really don't share a our values. See http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/day-of-reckoning-settlers-who-attacked-idf-base-have-friends-in-high-places.html

Jim Ticehurst

Appreciate the Input here...The United States has been "Bled Dry''..by Our Military/Industrial/Political Complex...Just Russia's Involvement in Afghanistan..cost it and its leadrship a Heavy price..It Wised up a long time ago..If we stop Funding the Chinese like we do ..More "Nation Building"..(thank you Dick Nixon.).and bring jobs back to America with Incentives and Deregulation..Then..
Our Nation Still can create a Economic Program to give folks those Jobs..and the Vets some Hope for a better Life after thier Service..

Good Strategic Thinking...does not always Involve a Big Show of Force..and High overall expenditures..When it comes to "Smart Strategy"..so far..I think the Russians and Chinese have played that Game very well...

Neil Richardson

I don't believe this has much to do with "dollar protection" or the attempt to shore up the dollar's position as the reserve currency in the region. First, the recent bilateral agreement is transactional rather than a strategic shift. Both Japan and PRC retain enormous dollar holdings in their respective FX reserves. Until the renminbi is free floating, the percentage shift won't be substantial. Second, the security considerations of the region and the fact that both countries rely on export-led growth model preclude the adoption of RMB, yen or even SDR as the future reserve currency.

As for the reasons behind the strategic shift by the United States, Asia's economic transformation as well as near and long term trends made this a necessity. As I stated before we are a maritime nation going back to the early days of the republic. Freedom of navigation is a paramount national objective.

Neil Richardson

"On the defense reallignments, we ought to be preparing economically to integrate China so closely with US that there is no room for a war with them, not preparing to vaporize them."


From 1870 to 1914 the European economies became highly interdependent to a level not again matched until the 1970s. Have we become more "enlightened" today? I am not so certain.


"MAD applies here."

MAD or nuclear deterrence is a fact of life.

"War preparations against China are insane."

Well it depends on what you mean by "preparations."

WP

I, too, seriously doubt we are much more enlightened today than in 1914.

In 1914, nuclear mutually assured destruction in the current sense did not apply, but there was mutually imposed devastation and destruction that played out over most of the twentieth century including two world wars and i9t ended a whole bunch of empires and governments.

You made my point by mentioning the era leading up to 1914. In the current technological context a war with China would be an act even more insane than the chest thumping fallout from the murder of the Austrian heir. 1914 was bad, but with present technology a war between major nuclear powers might well end it all and most likely would.

Looking over recent history, one might well conclude that insane wars are a feature or flaw in the human animal.

The preparations should not be for war, but for Not-War. Like in tic-tac-toe, over the long run the only way to win with war now is not to play.

Primate "chest thumping" is not effective over the long term; it leads to fatal miscalculations like 1861 and 1914. The difference tody is that if a nuclear power gets pushed too far, things will snap into an unlimited nuclear exchange. If a war were ever to start, primate behavior and fundamental chaos conditions will probably prevent reliable detection of the snapping point before full destruction is reached. Unfortunately, I have little faith that humans have learned this lesson.

The chest thumping of the sorry lot of current presidential candidates and Likudist politicians furhter demonstrates the present existence of the same fundamental human flaws that let up to 1914. There is little sign of new enlightenment.

Your observation that "MAD or nuclear deterrence is a fact of life." is accurate. The problem is that we, humans, have never before learned to deal with it within our primate instincts.

There is little sign of new enlightenment, especially among the neo-conartists.

I am completely naive babout the "real world" and wer are probably doomed, but let's keep trying not to be. Preparing for war does not further the liklihood of our success.

Logic and experience shows we should be trying a differnt approach. That is why I come to this blog. I think you folks are trying to figure out how we can do better within the real world circumstances and there are few similar forums around.

WP

Yes, you do make more progress gaining influence over Africa by opening corner grocery stores run by Han Chinese, than by garrisoning soldiers there.

turcopolier

WP

You should not thnk that the world has become a safe place where we Americans can expect to be treated well if we unilaterally disarm. Faced with a vacuum the Chinese will continue to do far more than open corner grocery stores. Without the naval power apprpriate to a maritime nation we would eventually find ourselves excluded commercially from much of the world and the markets and resources available there. does that mean as WRC seems to think that to do business one must militarily and diplomatically dominate other countries? No. It does not, but it does mean that a disarmed US would be soon regarded as a country to be ignored when convenient. pl

PeterHug

Honestly, there are days when I think the principal reason the US is in Korea is because neither the US, nor Japan (nor for that matter the PRC), wants to see a unified Korea.

And personally, I can think of few events in East Asia that would be more destabilizing than to have a reunification, or even any minimal movement towards such a thing.

Jim Ticehurst

Thats the Way I see things too Pat..Spot On..

WP

I am not a pacifist and I do not think we should disarm. I do think we should stop trying to reform the world through belligerency and we should be more judicious with our military power.

I am in Georgia, home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the real dangerous yellow jacket wasps who will fearlessly defend their nests when anything gets too close, yet they do not go hunting for trouble. We should be more like them, very dangerous if bothered; very, very dangerous and not otherwise belligerent. We just do not have to keep going looking for trouble and interfering with other's affairs in the false hope that if we have military bases salted all over the planet we will prosper economically. Use of our military power should be reserved for deterrence, not making over the whole world.

The reason I keep citing the Chinese grocery stores is because the approach is a powerful tool for getting and maintaining economic influence. It is my understandings the Chinese have deeply penetrate the Iraqi neighborhoods. They did not fire shots in Iraq, but I believe they will remain there long after our huge and prohibitively expensive embassy is long gone. During the time when we were belligerent, they were creating a profitable commercial outlet for their goods. That approach seems quite smart to me. Yes, the Chinese have filled a vacuum in Africa and in other underdeveloped places, especially in Latin America. My guess is that their local economic activity gives them real, local power and influence that will increase over the coming years. Am I uninformed about this?

Who would you rather trade with, someone who blasted your child, mother, brother, and cousin to dust to help [force] you to be "free and democratic" or the guy on the corner who couldn't care less how you run your culture and who sells candy, egg, and milk, while giving out a little credit and will only use his shotgun under the counter blow you to bits if you try to rob him.? Over the last few decades our approach has been all wrong.

It is highly counterproductive for our putative leaders posing as presidential candidates to pound their chests and sing bomb, bomb, Iran. What in the world are those guys thinking? The whole mindset that such "strong" behavior will ever be productive for us is beyond credulity.

Our belligerent approach is just not working particularly well. You are right, we must remain militarily strong and dangerous, but our excessive belligerency and interference in the affairs of others is not serving us very well right now. We need to rethink things to remain strong.

Jake

I want a Carafano bobble top!

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