“Yep. Climate Change.”

This might be getting into more of the political realm than we like to, but URR has laid down a fairly blistering screed (I mean that as a compliment) on what passes for our foreign policy. He links to an article on Our Very Serious-Sounding Secretary of State– you know, the chap with the yacht and the pedigree– in which said cabinet member is quoted as having stated just yesterday (!), these things: Washington (AFP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on American ambassadors around the world to make the fight against climate change a top priority […]

HASC Chairman Rejects QDR

Yep. WASHINGTON— Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee made the following statement upon receipt of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for 2014.  The QDR is a legally required strategy that the Department of Defense must issue every four years.  The statute mandating the QDR includes a series of  elements the review must include. So, now what?

Bear and Dragon

ETP0802 and I were chatting last night about the possibility that Russia and China would find common ground amid the Czechoslovakian Ukraine crisis, for no better reason than to shank the US while of course advancing their own interests. And so they have: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had “broadly coinciding points of view” on the situation there, according to a ministry statement. Fair enough, since we all look out for our own interests, yet it is clear and growing clearer that both countries are […]

Meanwhile: In the Sudetenland…

Nothing good is happening. Russia did not respond directly to charges of new troop movements, saying only that any action it was taking was within the confines of existing Russia-Ukraine agreements to protect Russia’s Crimean naval base at Sevastapol. “As you know, we have an agreement with Ukraine on the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” said Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. ambassador. “We are acting within the framework of that agreement.” This just in– SecDef plans massive cuts to Army!

Retrench: a strategy for the times

America does not have a strategy, and has not had one since the USSR died in December of 1991, and Russia was reborn with the Alma-Ata Protocol of 1992. At the time, the Pax Americana was proclaimed and US strategy went from a coherent ‘defeat the USSR’ to ‘oh crap, maybe we just protect our international markets or something.’  In these times, what should America’s strategy be? I offer this: “Retrench.”  Diplomatically, our foreign service officers need to understand that America always wins, always. A number of smart folks have commented that our treaties and agreements resemble Europe’s of June 28, 1914. […]

“Medieval” in Ukraine

A very interesting and instructive article: Really, it turned medieval. Protesters shot fireworks with makeshift launchers. In combination with throwing stones and using slingshots, they overwhelmed disoriented Berkut special forces units, who were pelted with flying objects as fireworks exploded around them. Protesters wore military helmets and carried makeshift—or captured—shields. Wooden boards were used to protect their lower legs from shrapnel the police taped to exploding stun grenades. It’s not how I’d like to locate and close with, but it’s very effective especially when coupled by the volunteer auxiliary corps, as described further in the article. The ostensibly weaker side […]

Echoes of Ronald Reagan

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed America up for an ambitious strategy: use American industrial and technical strengths to destroy the Soviet Union. America began an arms race, borrowing billions over the next decade to invest in America’s military. The USSR, already deeply in debt and in a decades-long recession, spent all they had, and all they could have ever made in order to keep up with America. In the end, the USSR stumbled economically, and then crumbled politically and chaos ensued.   Sound familiar? The communists all over the learned from Ronald Reagan. A new, ocean-going aircraft carrier, aircraft, Silkworms, […]

The Coming War Between China and Japan

It’s all fun and games at Davos as folks discuss the coming war between China and Japan.   The Chinese professional mentioned the islands in the context of the recent visit by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. The Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine where Japanese killed in Japan’s many military conflicts over the centuries are memorialized — including the Japanese leaders responsible for the attacks and atrocities Japan perpetrated in World War 2. A modern-day Japanese leader visiting the Yasukuni Shrine is highly controversial, because it is viewed by Japan’s former (and current) enemies […]

Begin by Scrapping the USAF: Why There Is A Need for a 21st Century National Security Act

As many of you know, I am not a fan of the United States Air Force.  You will not be surprised to find that I am in agreement with Professor Robert Farley’s thesis that we need to get rid of the Air Force.  But More importantly he lays out arguments on why we need to reconsider the missions of each of the services. I agree with his assessment that we are unlikely to see a new paradigm anytime soon, but that should prevent real defense intellectuals from not proposing solutions to the problems that plague our National Security Establishment. Please […]

The Grumpy Old Man

Rosa Brooks over at Politico Magazine has some interesting insights into the Robert Gates book due out on January 14.  She has an interesting observation regarding how the Obama administration is developing a bench for future Democratic administrations. How has the Obama team cultivated a defense bench for the next administration? Not really at all. It’s a bunch of Hill-trained political opportunists running U.S. defense policy and not the real strategic thinkers and professionals like Gates.” I served at the Pentagon myself from 2009 to mid-2011, and generally had a similar reaction: Though there were notable exceptions, many of those […]