« New Athenaeum Post | Main | Muslim Brotherhood named as terrorist group »

24 December 2013

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

turcopolier

Anna-Marina

The Israelis are remarkably short sighted and IMO have become addicted to the notion of themselves as a besieged fortress living on the edge. There is also the evident belief that the goyim collectively are more than a little dense and can be pushed, pl

Alba Etie

NR
Thank you for giving us a good overview of the challenges in the Pacific as our pivot continues away from MENA entanglements.
And it still would appear that we are aiming to be 'the honest broker ' in the Pacific - The United States also condemned the recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Abe to the Yasukuni war shrine by statement from the US Embassy in Tokyo .

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

In other words, the Israelis are ‘silly-clever’.

Another element needs to be added into the picture. Certainly, the current Israeli leadership, and much of Israeli society, are contemptuous of the ‘goyim.’ But they are also only quite secondarily concerned about the dilemmas faced by Jews living in the West who have only partially embraced the Zionist vision, and have no desire to ‘make aliyah.’

This is almost as much the case with Ari Shavit as it is with Netanyahu. There are, belatedly, some signs that the obvious truth is beginning to penetrate into the minds of mainstream figures in the American Jewish intelligentsia. Although Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg were happy to swallow Shavit’s snake-oil, David Remnick was more sceptical.

If American Jews face up to what Israeli Zionism has become – and my optimism that this must inevitably happen has not so far been vindicated – then they may finally grasp the truth which has been embraced by Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss. It should, surely, be glaringly obvious that if there was a ‘promised land’ for Eastern European Jews, fleeing from Russian and German persecution, it was in the United States.

Neil Richardson

AE:
"And it still would appear that we are aiming to be 'the honest broker ' in the Pacific - The United States also condemned the recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Abe to the Yasukuni war shrine by statement from the US Embassy in Tokyo . "

As for being an honest broker, I'd note two things. First, the United States has no claim on any of the ongoing maritime disputes other than freedom of navigation and overflight. Second, the United States still has not ratified the UNCLOS (However we recognize it as customary international law).

The first point indeed could help us as a broker especially since the Navy has been the enforcer of Pax Americana (The Royal Navy had done it for a century earlier during Pax Britannica). However, the second point undermines our ability to do so. It's really frustrating to see people like Jim Inhofe block the ratification at every step because they fear some crazy notion of black UN helicopters hovering over their homes. The Navy has advocated the ratification since 1995. And the Chinese have pushed back against efforts of the Philippines, Vietnam and others to pursue arbitration by pointing out that the US still hasn't ratified the convention treaty.

As for Abe, we'll probably have to ride out his term in office however long that might be. For every misstep the Chinese have taken (that push the smaller states in the region to balance against PRC), it seems Abe is trying his hardest to undermine Japan's efforts to find non-US allies in the region. Before we had publicly clarified the coverage of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty over Senkaku earlier this year, we probably should've asked him to reconsider his decision on Yasukuni. I doubt it would've mattered though as Abe most likely would reject it out of hand. As someone earlier had noted, you might as well advise a gorilla to swim.

The United States has been trying to improve the ROK-Japan relations for decades without much success. In hindsight we probably should've taken Dokdo in 1945 (It's just two pieces of rock) and used it for air and naval livefire exercises until it disappeared. Politicians in ROK often use nationalism for domestic consumption. The Japanese right wing have shamelessly done so for decades. However both should realize that using it in that manner is just like riding the proverbial tiger. Dismounting one without getting killed is the tough part of that exercise.

Neil Richardson

Fred:

You're welcome and thanks for your kind words. Incidentally this appeared in WaPo yesterday. I'm not sure if you've already read it. Given the shrinking defense budget, I wonder about the wisdom of the Army reinventing the wheel when the Marine Corps posseses decades of institutional knowledge.

http://tinyurl.com/n2xpvle

turcopolier

NR

Instead of accepting the strategic and financial need for smaller ground forces the Army under Odierno evidently wants to fight the marines for budget. Disgusting. pl

Fred

Neil,

I had not read this one. It is an interesting article. I agree that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. It seems someone picked a cruiser to land on rather than an LPH solely to highlight the equipment differences. But isn't staying power far more important than being able to quickly deploy a battalion or two? Certainly the army doesn't need to be naval infantry and yet it has just as long a history of effective amphibious warfare as the Corps. (In the Pacific MacArthur's campaigns come to mind).

I don't see any of our potential rivals as having the sea or air lift to pose an invasion threat to Japan (which the article highlighted). The ongoing opposition to the Marines in Okinawa however, points out the need for language and cultural skills as an important factor in effective leadership for those deployed in the region. That seems to be a consistent failing within the Corps. (please correct me if I'm wrong with that perception).

As Pat pointed out in a few recent posts the Army is going to lose out in the budget battles, however that doesn't mean the Marines 'win'. It should mean that we really need to get the right force mix. We don't need two armies, nor do we need a Marine force as big as it currently is. We are in for some interesting times.

Neil Richardson


Fred:

"I had not read this one. It is an interesting article. I agree that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. It seems someone picked a cruiser to land on rather than an LPH solely to highlight the equipment differences. But isn't staying power far more important than being able to quickly deploy a battalion or two? Certainly the army doesn't need to be naval infantry and yet it has just as long a history of effective amphibious warfare as the Corps. (In the Pacific MacArthur's campaigns come to mind)."

As you know there's a common saying, "The Marines win battles. The Army wins wars." The primary mission of the Corps obviously is to gain a foothold in forcible entry operation in littoral areas. If you look at their division structure, it closely resembles a WWII-era Army infantry division plus organic close air support under the MAGTF doctrine. They are a light force by necessity. In addition the Army has sufficient strength in light force as well with airborne brigades. And given the investment, the Army will presumably retain Stryker brigades. Prepositioned stocks can also shorten the deployment chain of heavy force. To quote Heinlein, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch in an era of austerity. The Army should achieve some measure of balance in the near term.

If Odierno, Brooks and other senior leaders try to duplicate functions in the Pacific, something has to give within the service budget. In all likelihood it'll be at the cost of training for the heavy force (i.e., the reserve components after RIF). And given recent developments in robotics and directed energy weapons research, the Army must keep funding these despite the lack of near-term payoffs.

"I don't see any of our potential rivals as having the sea or air lift to pose an invasion threat to Japan (which the article highlighted)."

I agree completely and that's why IMHO the USFK is a "luxury" force which remains vulnerable for little strategic purpose. For decades the argument used to be that if the Korean peninsula were to be unified under hostile forces, it would become a "dagger" pointed at Japan. As you know a forcible entry operation is just the start of a military campaign. Without subsequent buildup of forces and all the necessary logistical support, a potential adversary would suffer a catastrophic defeat. Napoleon and Hitler at the height of their military power didn't attempt to cross the English Channel.

"The ongoing opposition to the Marines in Okinawa however, points out the need for language and cultural skills as an important factor in effective leadership for those deployed in the region. That seems to be a consistent failing within the Corps. (please correct me if I'm wrong with that perception)."

The Marines certainly have had their share of problems after 1972. A lot of it was just unavoidable given the very limited landspace with sprawling population in Okinawa. I'd venture to guess that some of the same problems would have risen had Japanese SDF replaced the Marines. We've had a lot of friction in Korea as well. And on the whole I think the Army has had a pretty good understanding of the need to handle cultural sensitivities given our history.

Unlike the Marines, a USFK CG also wears two other hats with the United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command (It used to be three with Eighth US Army). This means he would have the wartime operational control of ROK units (It's again scheduled to end in 2015. Now I'll believe it when I see it as the Koreans are again asking us to delay it). The USFK has a long institutional memory at senior leadership level as far as cultural and political sensitivities are concerned. And the USFK senior leadership used to be quite impressive (Michaelis, Stillwell, Vessey, Wickham, Livsey, Luck, Menetrey, etc).

Still when you're dealing with a vast majority of kids who are first-termers (ROK has never been a station of choice) it's just very hard to keep a lid on things. With junior enlisted we would get maybe good six months out of them. For the first 3mos they'd be trying to figure out how to stop their heads from spinning. And for the last 3mos they'd usually think like short-timers. At least among line units the pace used to be quite frenetic. We'll see what happens when they finally start to rotate units in Korea.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

October 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Blog powered by Typepad