Category Archives: Support the Troops

Rebuttal of Jack Matlock’s Blame America First lies

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The Washington Compost (not exactly a bastion of conservatism) has just published an utterly ridiculous screed by former State Dept. official and historical revisionist Jack Matlock Jr. Therein, Matlock blames the current crisis in the Crimea, and Russia’s entire hostility towards the United States, solely on America, falsely claiming that Moscow is hostile solely because “the United States has insisted  on treating Russia as the loser” since the Cold War’s end. Matlock falsely claims that since 1991, Russia has time and again tried to be a cooperative partner, only to receive “swift kicks to the groin” from the US.

(Only a congenital liar would make such claims.)

And like other liberals, Matlock also claims the US did not really win the Cold War or cause the USSR’s collapse. Furthermore, he claims in his book that Ronald Reagan’s sole (and secondary) contribution to ending the Cold War was supposedly abandoning the hawkish policies of his first term.

I will refute these other lies later. But first, I will utterly refute Matlock’s lies about the source of Russian hostility and about Moscow supposedly trying to be a cooperative partner.

Matlock: Blame America First

Matlock blames Moscow’s hostility solely on the US, claiming that the US invited it by bombing Serbia without UN Security Council Approval in 1999, invading Iraq without UNSC approval in 2003, withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, expanding NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Baltic Republics, Romania, and Bulgaria; with supposed “plans” for US bases in the Baltics and the Balkans; by somehow “supporting” the democratic revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia; and by passing the Magnitsky Act, designed to punish Russian officials who violate human rights.

Matlock is essentially saying, “Russia under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin tried to be a good partner and to follow a pro-Western orientation, but we alienated it with our aggressive actions.”

That is absolutely false, just like the rest of Matlock’s anti-American screed, and it comes straight from Moscow’s and its liberal American sycophants’ propaganda playbook. Matlock is merely repeating the same old anti-American lies for the umpteenth time.

Russia Has No Legitimate Grievances Towards The West

So let’s look at the issues he claims invited Russian hostility:

  • Serbia: in 1999, that country’s then-dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, was murdering thousands and thousands of innocent, defenseless civilians in Kosovo (where over 80% of the population is Kosovan, not Serbian) for nothing but the fact that they were Kosovan – just like the Germans murdered 6 million Jews for the mere fact they were Jews. We were witnessing a repeat of the Holocaust in Europe (albeit on a much smaller scale). The US was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to act to stop this, and it was supported in this by ALL of NATO and the entire civilized world (to which Russia does not belong). Milosevic was a war criminal wanted by a UN tribunal in the Hague, was eventually handed over to it after losing power, and was tried for war crimes. The fact that Russia supported such a bloody war criminal only shows what an immoral country it is. As for “UN Security Council approval”, apparently Mr Matlock believes that the US should not act anywhere in the world unless it receives permission from that august council… where his beloved Russia, of course, is a veto-wielding member.
  • Iraq: say what you want about the wisdom of invading Iraq, but any claim that that invasion somehow threatened Russia’s interests in the Middle East is utterly preposterous. What Russian interests did it threaten? None. It actually undermined US interests as it replaced a Sunni dictator with a Shia, pro-Iranian government.
  • The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty: I guess Mr Matlock would’ve preferred for the US to forever remain vulnerable to even the smallest ballistic missile attack and for the US never to develop adequate defenses against such an attack… because that’s exactly what the ABM treaty prohibited. A treaty, by the way, signed with the USSR – a country that no longer existed by 2001. Considering how fast (despite all arms reduction treaties signed to date) ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons are proliferating (thus making a total mockery and failure of those treaties), the decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty was absolutely right. And it had no real impact on Washington-Moscow relations. Might I add that Russia – while strongly opposing America’s efforts to build ballistic missile defense systems – is quietly building such systems of its own?
  • NATO expansion: to say that this threatened Russia’s security is also a blatant lie. None of NATO’s new members (except Poland and the Baltics) even have a border with Russia; and all of them had and still have very good reasons to fear Russian subjugation and aggression. They spent half a century under the Soviet yoke; in the 1990s, Russia still tried to meddle in their affairs; and now Moscow is threatening them again. It was morally and strategically right to bring them under NATO’s defense umbrella. Moscow has something to fear from their accession to NATO ONLY if it intends to attack them. Moreover, the post-1991 NATO entrants (especially Poland and the Czech Republic) have proven to be among the staunchest allies America has anywhere in the world, participating heavily in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (Poland sent thousands of troops to both countries). What’s more, Poland is one of the few NATO countries that spend the agreed benchmark of at least 2% of GDP on defense and has more mechanized Army brigades than the UK, France, and Germany combined. Romania and Bulgaria have access to the Black Sea and have recently held exercises with the USN. Such allies are worth having.
  • The early 2000s’ revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia saw utterly corrupt and criminal pro-Russian dictators (and in Ukraine, President Kuchma’s hand-picked successor Viktor Yanukovych) ousted by their people. Contrary to Matlock’s lies, the US did not extend anything but rhetorical support for those revolutions.
  • The Magnitsky Act: contrary to Matlock’s lies, the US did not single out Russia with this Act as the worst human rights abuser in the world. But Moscow is one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators, and this act, named by a whistleblower murdered in prison by Putin’s prison guards, instituted targeted sanctions against Russian officials who violate human rights.

So all of Matlock’s excuses for Russia’s hostility have been utterly refuted, one by one. They’ve collapsed like a deck of cards.

And so will, in a minute, Matlock’s myth that Russia has tried to be a cooperative partner whom the US has needlessly antagonized. In fact, since Vladimir Putin’s ascension to power, Russia has been increasingly arrogant and hostile towards the US and the West as its power has grown since the nadir of the 1990s. It has started a new Cold War against the West and is the biggest threat to US, European, and world security.

Russia Is Behaving Aggressively In Cold-War Style

In recent years, Russia has:

  1. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic borders into US, allied (Japanese), and even neutral (Swedish) airspace and said the Russian Air Force was “practicing attacking the enemy.” What on Earth have SWEDEN and JAPAN done to Russia? For that matter, what has America done to Russia? Nothing.
  2. Repeatedly (on 15 separate occassions) threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against the US and its allies.
  3. Invaded two sovereign countries that dared to try to break out of Moscow’s sphere of influence and align themselves with the West (Georgia and Ukraine) and continues to occupy both countries.
  4. Repeatedly violated several arms reduction treaties, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the INF Treaty, the latter being violated by Russia by repeatedly testing and deploying nuclear-armed missiles banned by that treaty.
  5. Deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad District, next to Poland, threatening that loyal ally of the US, while the US has no nuclear weapons anywhere in Eastern Europe.
  6. Backed America’s enemies around the world – North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba – to the hilt, with diplomatic protection at the UN Security Council, weapons (including the advanced S-300VM air defense system), nuclear fuel (Iran), and nuclear reactors (Iran), thus also threatening the existence of Israel.
  7. Stationed a spy ship, the Viktor Leonov, in Cuba (it’s still there).
  8. Conducted, and continues to conduct, a wave of hateful anti-American propaganda in domestic and foreign (e.g. RussiaToday) media.
  9. Sent an Akula-class nuclear-armed submarine close to the US submarine base in King’s Bay, GA.
  10. Domestically, assassinated high-profile dissidents (Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko) and jailed hundreds of others.
  11. Just recently, began negotiations with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela on opening bases for Russian ships and nuclear-armed bombers there.

Yet the US is somehow to blame for Russia’s actions? For Moscow’s hostility? Who is threatening whom with nuclear weapons, Mr Matlock? Who is flying nuclear-armed bombers close and sometimes into US, Japanese, and Swedish airspace? Who is stationing spy ships close to the other party’s shores? Who is now reopening naval and bomber bases on the other party’s doorstep?

Are you a paid pro-Kremlin propagandist, Mr Matlock? Or are you just on drugs?

Matlock also falsely claims that the current West-Russia spat we’re witnessing now is not a new Cold War but the result of “misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and posturing to domestic political audiences” – as if Russia’s ultra-aggressive behavior against the US, its allies, and even neutral countries like Sweden was the product of mere “misunderstading.”

He’s completely wrong. Russia’s behavior is the result of resurgent, renewed Russian imperialism, of the Kremlin’s imperial ambitions, and of the hatred of the West which Vladimir Putin and his fellow KGB thugs imbued when trained by the KGB.

We didn’t see that behavior in Putin’s first years because at that time Russia was still too weak to try such actions. But as Russia began to rebound militarily and economically under Putin, it also began to be increasingly aggressive towards the West and towards Moscow’s former Warsaw Pact vassals.

Matlock also falsely claims that Russia has cooperated with the US on Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

This is also false. Moscow has backed, and continues to back, Syria, Iran, and North Korea to the hilt, affording them diplomatic protection at the UNSC, weapons (except North Korea, at least so far), and, in Iran’s case, nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel – which Iran will use to produce nuclear weapons.

Moscow has absolutely opposed any but the weakest sanctions against Iran, and continues to back the genocidal, anti-American dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Matlock also falsely claims the New START treaty was a significant achievement, but the converse is true: New START was an utter failure and a treasonous treaty. It requires unilateral disarmament on America’s part: only the US required by the treaty to cut its nuclear arsenal, while Russia is allowed to increase its own. Even worse, the treaty doesn’t count Russia’s 171 Tu-22M strategic bombers as such, contains a pathetically weak Potemkin-like verification regime, and imposes restrictions on US missile defenses.

As Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) has rightly said, the US should immediately withdraw from that treaty.

Finally, I will refute Matlock’s also utterly false claim that the US didn’t win the Cold War or cause the collapse of the USSR.

The fact is the US did both, no matter how hard Matlock and other revisionists try to deny it.

The Soviet Union lost the Cold War, and collapsed in 1991, because of the fatal blows Ronald Reagan dealt to it. In his eight years, President Reagan:

  • Dramatically increased US defense spending, to levels not seen in real terms before or since, and US defense programs to a pace the Soviet Union could not keep up with.
  • Began the development of a missile defense system the USSR could never match.
  • Convinced Saudi Arabia to increase oil output dramatically, thus cutting oil prices from $30/bbl to $12/bbl in 5 months, and thus dealing a fatal blow to Moscow’s oil-revenue -dependent economy.
  • Instituted a bevy of sanctions on the USSR, including an embargo on drilling, pumping, and construction equipment, and successfully pressured West Germany to reduce the planned Yamal Pipeline from 2 lines to one, and to delay that project by many years (as a result, it wasn’t completed until 1999).
  • Supported anti-Soviet proxies around the world, most notably in Afghanistan, where they defeated the Soviet Army in a war that cost Moscow hundreds of billions of dollars (if only the US had learned from Moscow’s mistakes and had not gotten mired in that country!).
  • Deployed Pershing and GLCM missiles in Europe to counter the USSR’s deployment of SS-20s.
  • Successfully used the tons of secret Warsaw Pact documents stolen by Col. Ryszard Kuklinski as leverage in negotiations with the Soviets.

These are the fatal blows that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table, forced them to make major concessions, and eventually caused the Soviet Union’s collapse, as the USSR was unable to continue the Afghan War, the arms race, or counter US missile defense development with its sclerotic, stagnant economy, especially not after the Reagan-induced late 1980s oil glut. And not with the Yamal Pipeline delayed.

As Professor Robert G. Kaufman has rightly written, “the Cold War ended on Reagan’s terms, not Gorbachev’s.”

Matlock is wrong on all counts. All of his claims are utterly false. Not one of them is correct – not even one. Russia has NO legitimate grievances towards the West, it has never been a truly cooperative partner in the last 25 years, and its hostility is due to the revival of imperialist ideology and ambitions in Russian political circles (greatly enabled by KGB thug Vladimir Putin’s ascent to power). Russia is now waging a new Cold War on the West. How the West, led by the US, will respond to this challenge, remains to be seen.

G. Murphy Donovan and the American Thinker Badmouth America, Glorify Russia, And Thus Commit Treason

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and the (now-deceased) North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Photo by the Kremlin Press Service.

The pseudoconservative “American Thinker” e-zin has recently (on March 18th) published an utterly ridiculous anti-American, pro-Russian propaganda screed by well-known Russophile G. Murphy Donovan.

In his screed, Donovan falsely claims that Russia is not an enemy but an ally against Islamism (with which, in fact, Moscow is allied against the US); that American and European politicians are trying to resuscitate the Cold War to poke Russia; that the crisis in the Crimea is “manufactured”; and that the West, led by the US, bears sole responsibility for the breakdown in Western-Russian relations. In passing, Donovan makes a number of other utterly false claims about Russia designed to paint that country as a cultural brother and a friend of the US.

Below are Donovan’s nine most ridiculous lies and my rebuttals of them:

1)

“Harder still to believe that American politicians, Right and Left, are trying to resuscitate the Cold War — or something hotter.”

No, the West is not trying to resuscitate the Cold War; Russia has revived it, and it did so long before it illegally invaded the Crimea.

Already as of 2007, it was threatening to aim its nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at all of Europe. In 2008, it deployed Iskander ballistic missiles to the Kaliningradskaya Oblast. It has launched a series of cyber attacks and an arms race against the US, flush with oil and gas revenues sufficient for this. It has developed and deployed SEVERAL types of intermediate range ballistic missiles in flagrant violation of the INF treaty. It has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into US, Japanese, and even Swedish airspace. (By God, what has Sweden done to Russia?)

When asked what their bombers were doing flying so close to Alaska, the Russian Air Force said, “We were practicing attacking the enemy” – and that “enemy”, in their perception, is the US.

Russia is the one who has revived the Cold War, and it bears SOLE responsibility for that fact.

2)

“Russia, the EU, and America also share a common enemy, that insidious fifth column: domestic and global Islamism.”

No, the West and Russia do not share a common enemy in Islam; Russia is an ALLY of that enemy and thus an enemy of the US. It remains the chief weapons supplier, financial sponsor, diplomatic protector, and nuclear fuel and technology provider for Iran and (minus the nuclear parts) Syria. It has withheld from the US information that could’ve been used to prevent the Boston Bombings. It continues to arm and aid anti-American regimes (Islamic and non-Islamic alike) all around the world, from Syria, to Iran, to North Korea, to Venezuela, to Cuba. It also continues to demand that Israel give up its nuclear deterrent and withdraw to indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines.

If you are a friend of Russia, you are an enemy of Israel. You cannot support the appeasement of Russia and still claim to be a friend of Israel.

Had it not been for Russia, global Islamism would lose its only major sponsor, protector, and ally against the US. Syria and Iran would thus lose their only major patron besides China and would be forced to stop threatening Israel, stop building WMDs and stop sponsoring terrorist organizations.

3)

“And the American Right is not blameless; excusing terror, regime change folly, the recent litany of imperial failures. In the 2012 US election campaign, there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between candidates, Right and Left, on US foreign or military policy.”

Utter garbage! In the 2012 election, there was a WORLD of a difference between GOP and Democrat candidates, ESPECIALLY on foreign and defense policy. In a nutshell, Obama and the Democrats continued to advocate America’s unilateral disarmament and the appeasement of Russia, China, and Iran, with Obama famously mocking Romney that “the 1980s are asking to have their foreign policy back” (to which I’d reply, “the 1930s and Neville Chamberlain are asking for their foreign policy back”).

OTOH, Mitt Romney advocated rebuilding the US military, reviewing the New START unilateral disarmament treaty, and a tough approach to Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, as well as Islamic terrorist organizations around the world. Also, Romney would NOT have tried to impose dangerous “peace accors” on Israel.

4)

“Yes, Russophobia! The pragmatic gains of the Reagan era have been set aside for an irrational fear of all things Russian.”

Utter garbage as well. The American people and the GOP are not plagued by Russophobia or any other irrational fear of Russia; they are merely critical of Russia’s BEHAVIOR – which is highly detrimental to AMERICA’S own national security interests, as well as the security of key US allies (incl. Israel) and the whole world. OTOH, Putin still lives in the Cold War era and he, like his KGB cronies, is still mired in his irrational hatred of the United States, which drives all his FP actions.

5)

“When demagogues like Hillary Clinton compare Russian behavior to Nazi Germany, she mocks Allied history and the sacrifice of 5 million Russians in WWII.”

Utter rubbish yet again! (And it proves that Donovan is well to the left of Hillary Clinton on foreign and defense policy.)

The Soviet Union STARTED World War II together with Nazi Germany in 1939 by signing the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, invading Poland and conquering half of that country. Not only that, but it deported thousands and thousands of Poles in the conquered lands to Siberia and Kazakhstan (where most of them died in the gulag) and executed, for no reason whatsoever, FORTY THOUSAND Polish officers in Katyn – and then LIED about it for the next HALF-CENTURY. The Soviet Union then continued its imperialist binge by invading Finland and taking away one tenth of that country’s territory.

And you know, folks, why the USSR was so surprised by the German invasion of June 1941?

Because the Soviet Army was, at that time, in OFFENSIVE positions, awaiting Stalin’s order to invade Germany and German-occupied Poland. Hitler simply preempted Stalin by a few weeks. Had he not done so, Stalin would’ve invaded first.

6)

“Russian blood chits, we might add, that made the Allied victory over Nazis possible in 1945.”

No, they did not. It was US involvement, war production, and financing of the war (the US alone bore 50% of its cost on the Allied side) that made the Allied victory over Germany (and Japan) possible. And in retrospect, it was a foolish mistake to aid the USSR in defeating Nazi Germany; the US should’ve let Berlin and Moscow duke it out among themselves, just like it’s allowing Assad and Al-Qaeda to duke it out among themselves in Syria today. It’s too bad that someone had to win. It’s a pity the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany could not BOTH lose.

It was more foolish still for FDR and Churchill to insist that the Wehrmacht surrender unconditionally on all fronts. This left the Germans with no choice but to fight bitterly to the very end. Had the Germans been given honorable surrender terms on the West front, they would’ve turned all their resources against the Soviets – and the Soviet occupation and subjugation of half of Europe might’ve been avoided.

7)

“Never mind that the difference between Putin’s Russia and Gorbachev’s Soviet Union is like the difference between caviar and carp.”

Again, a blatant lie. If anything, Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, at least in its latter years, was actually better than Putin’s Russia today. Gorbachev significantly loosened repression in the USSR; Putin has reinstated it. Gorbachev closed the gulag camps; Putin has reopened them. Gorbachev agreed to Germany’s unification, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and to allowing Eastern European countries to choose their own paths of development. Putin has, for the last several years, been constantly meddling in European affairs and threatening European countries – esp. those that broke off the Russian yoke in 1991 – with nuclear weapons and warning them not to ally themselves with the EU or the US and has deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles on Poland’s doorstep.

Gorbachev signed the INF treaty banning intermediate range missiles and dutifully dismantled them before the USSR collapsed; Putin has resumed their development, production, and deployment, in flagrant violation of the INF treaty.

8)

“Yet, Americans have much in common with Russia: history, religion, art, literature, sports, dance, dogs, music, science, space travel, adult beverages, recreational sex, and almost all things cultural”

Again a blatant lie. The US and Russia could not be any more different. For starters, the US is based on a culture of the rule of law (hence the huge backlash against Obama’s refusal to enforce federal law); Russia, on the rule of men. The US is based on individual and economic liberty; Russia, on a culture of utter and unlimited submission of all to the current ruler (Tsar/General Secretary/”President”). In the US, church attendance is disproportionately high among Western nations (and conservative churches’ membership has SURGED in recent years); in Russia, it hovers around 10%.

The HUGE cultural differences between the US and Russia are best illustrated by this fact: had Donovan been a Russian, writing in Russia, and criticizing RUSSIA’S foreign policy, he would’ve been either assassinated by Putin’s KGB thugs or, at best, imprisoned in a gulag camp.

9) The reason why Ukrainian ex-President (and Putin puppet) Viktor Yanukovych has been ousted from office is because he was an utterly corrupt kleptocrat who was preparing to slaughter en masse his own citizens protesting his policies, as documents found in his former residence have revealed. He was preparing to quell the protests by force, just like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is doing today. The US and the EU did not, in fact, lift a finger to support the Ukrainian resistance at that time, and are barely doing anything to help Ukraine today. So for Donovan to claim that the US and the EU orchestrated that coup is a blatant lie – just like everything else he writes.

Shame on you, Mr Donovan, for lying so blatantly, for badmouthing your own country, and for being an apologist for the most dangerous dictator in world history since Stalin.

The J-20 Gets More Stealthy And Lethal; The F-35 Is Already Obsolete

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The Chinese J-20 stealth fighter during one of its first flights in 2011. Photo credit: Dr Carlo Kopp, AirPowerAustralia.

When the Chinese J-20 (J-XX, XX-J) fighter first flew in January 2011 – during then Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s visit in China – Western “analysts” and defense bureaucrats, including Gates himself, dismissed that aircraft as a non-threat. They claimed it would not be a threat, was not a surprise to the US, and would not enter service until the late 2010s or even the early 2020s.

But they were wrong then, and they are wrong now. Back then, credible analysts such as IASC’s Richard Fisher and AirPowerAustralia’s Dr Carlo Kopp and Chris Mills warned that the J-20 was a very low observable (i.e. extremely hard to detect) plane, owing to its designers’ strict adherence to the rules of designing stealth aircraft; and that further, the aircraft, owing to its large size, would be able to carry a very large fuel and weapon load and thus carry out air superiority and theater strike missions throughout the First and Second Island Chain in Asia – that is, as far as Guam and the Marianas (with aerial refueling).

It is this second camp, of those who were very concerned about the J-20 threat, who have been proven right.

By now, three years after it first flew, the J-20 has been developed into an even deadlier, more survivable fighting machine.

Newer radar-absorbing coating has been applied, and engine exhaust nozzles have been hidden, to reduce the J-20’s already small radar signature even further, thus making it virtually undetectable by radar. New, more powerful and more reliable engines, have been added. And most worrisome, an electro-optical targeting system – stolen from the F-35 program, whose computers were hacked and designs stolen in 2007 by Chinese military hackers – has been added, giving the J-20 a new, powerful sensor.

This was made possible by a theft of F-35 technology from Lockheed Martin and DOD networks by Chinese hackers. The most serious attacks of this type, compromising the F-35 along with dozens of other top-drawer US weapon systems, occurred in 2007 and 2013. Crucial missile defense systems, such as the THAAD and the PATRIOT, have also been compromised, which will enable the Chinese to defeat these systems. The Washington Free Beacon‘s Bill Gertz has documented this theft meticoulously here.

As a result, not only does the J-20 possess an Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) of the same kind as the F-35, it physically resembles that aircraft (and the F-22) in appearance.

However, the J-20 will be far, far more capable than the F-35, and a serious rival for the F-22. It will have a max speed well in excess of Mach 2, have a ceiling of up to 65,000 feet, have a low wing loading ratio, a high thrust/weight ratio, and will be able to carry large weapon and fuel loads. Thus, it will be something the DOD has long dreamed about – a high-speed, high-altitude, maneuverable fighter which will also serve quite ably as a theater strike jet (a la the F-111 Aardvrark) at thousand-mile ranges.

The J-20 will be capable of carrying out the following missions:

  • National Air Defense: In this role, the J-20, having access to dozens of semi- or fully hardened, and a number of super-hardened, airbases throughout China would defend the country’s airspace, intercepting nonstealthy US aircraft and cruise missiles like the JASSM and the Tomahawk.
  • Expeditionary Air Superiority: In this role, the J-20 would gain air superiority over foreign air forces in the skies above foreign countries (e.g. Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan) and contested territories (e.g. the Senkaku and Spratly Islands) in the early hours and days of a conflict, allowing the PLA to operate in the warzone freely.
  • Expeditionary Theater Strike: In such a role, the J-20 would serve as a one-for-one equivalent of the proposed FB-22 stealthy theater attack jet, i.e. as a stealthy regional striker designed to surpress enemy air defenses and destroy an opponent’s vital assets. US and allied airbases, naval stations, supply depots, command centers, and ground bases would all be targets for the J-20.
  • Electronic Warfare Aircraft: In this role, the J-20 would jam and defeat the radars of an opponent’s aircraft, ships, and ground air defense systems in a manner similar to that of the EF-111 Raven, the EA-6B Prowler, and the EA-18G Growler, but with a huge range and endurance the latter two aircraft lack, and with stealthiness that all three of those aircraft lack.
  • Long Range Reconnaissance/Intelligence Aircraft: In this role, the J-20 would be used to collect radar, imagery and electronic intelligence, emulating aircraft such as the RF-111C/D, the RF-4, the RA-5C, and F-14 TARPS but with the advantages of a) range and endurance (lacked by the latter three aircraft types) and b) stealthiness (lacked by all of these legacy aircraft types).
  • Anti-Satellite Weapon Launcher: The J-20 could also be used to launch anti-satellite missiles to loft them into the Low-Earth Orbit and kill US satellites there. Aircraft can be used for this purpose – the USAF experimented with such missiles in the 1980s under the Reagan administration; however, since then, the USAF’s ASAT weapon program has been killed.

A “standard” multirole variant of the J-20 could execute the first three missions easily. The latter three could be easily performed by specialized variants. Such variants could be developed on the J-20’s basis easily, with only slight modifications to the aircraft’s design, as was done with the F-111 and the F-4, both of which have spawned several different designs.

So the J-20 will be capable of executing all the above missions, although some of these will be performed by specialized variants into which the J-20 will certainly evolve.

But its primary mission will likely be that of delivering air superiority – in Chinese as well as foreign airspace. That being said, what aircraft does the US have at its disposal to stop this highly capable Chinese fifth generation fighter (and its smaller 5th generation cousin, the J-31)?

The only Western (not just American – WESTERN) aircraft capable of competing with and defeating the J-20 is the F-22 Raptor, or to be more precise, evolved and enhanced variants of the existing model of this aircraft.

The F/A-18E/F Super Bug is not, has never been, and will never be even close to competitive with the J-20. Designed and built as a naval strike jet, it is too heavy and sluggish, too slow, too low flying, and armed with too weak a radar to compete with the Chengdu stealth fighter.

The F-16 and the Eurocanards (the Typhoon, the Rafale, the Gripen) will be totally outclassed by the Chengdu aircraft, being too slow, too low-flying, and in the F-16’s and the Gripen’s case, equipped with pathetically weak radars.

The F-35 will be similarly so outclassed… assuming, of course, that this failed project even progresses to any kind of large-scale production and operational status.

Which is a big if. For the F-35 program has seen such dramatic cost overruns, delays, and design flaws being uncovered, that this utterly failed, budget-busting aircraft will not enter service for many years, if ever.

But even if it suffered no cost overrun or delay, even if it entered service tomorrow, it would STILL be decisively inferior to the J-20, the J-31, the Flanker family, the J-10, and even obsolete, third-generation Chinese fighters like the J-7 and the J-8.

The F-35 Junk Strike Fighter is a heavy, sluggish, unmaneuverable, underpowered, and underarmed flying pig which is decisively inferior to virtually all other fighters in the world – those in service and those in development – contrary to the gloating Lockheed Martin paid propaganda being spewed by 60 Minutes.

That ridiculous programme – which routinely spews garbage nonsense on military (and nonmilitary) affairs – recently hailed the F-35 as exactly the right aircraft for the military, which, we are told, will utterly defeat the Chinese and the Russians in any air war with them.

But 60 Minutes is dead wrong. It will be the F-35 that will be utterly defeated in a future air war with the Chinese or the Russian air force.

Why?

Because the F-35 is decisively inferior to all fighters operated or being developed by Beijing and Moscow (as well as the Typhoon, the Rafale, the Gripen, and legacy US fighters such as the F-15 and the F-16).

And how is it inferior?

In the Beyond Visual Range (BVR), i.e. long-range, combat regime the F-35 cannot fly fast enough or high enough to propel its missiles beyond their nominal range. It can eke out only Mach 1.61 and climb to no more than 43,000 feet. (Lockheed Martin claims its ceiling is actually 60,000 feet, but the F-35 has never been tested at that altitude; and even if it were, that is still a lot less than what Russian and Chinese fighters, as well as the F-15 and the F-22, can perform.)

By contrast, the F-15, F-22, and the PAK FA can fly as high as 65,000 feet; the J-11 Sinoflanker and the Su-27 at up to 62,523 feet; the carrier-capable J-15 Flying Shark, at up to 65,700 feet; the MiG-31 high-altitude fast interceptor can climb even higher, to 67,700 ft!

As for speed, the MiG-31 again beats all other contestants, as it can fly at up to Mach 2.83 (nearly three times the speed of sound) at high altitudes; the F-15 at Mach 2.5; the carrier-capable J-15 at Mach 2.4; the Su-27, MiG-35 and J-11 at Mach 2.35; the Su-35 and the MiG-29 at Mach 2.25; the J-7 and the Su-30MKK at Mach 2.0.

In addition, the F-35 is stealthy only from the front and only in the S, X, and Ku radar bands. In any other radar band, such as the L-band or Very High Frequencies (at which most Chinese AWACS aircraft operate), the F-35 can be detected just as easily as legacy aircraft.

To make matters worse, the F-35 can carry only four air-to-air missiles in its stealthy mode. That’s the maximum it can carry in its internal weapon bays (thus enabling it to be somewhat stealthy). Add any external stores to it – missiles, bombs, or fuel tanks – and it becomes even more radar-transparent than it already is.

This will force F-35 operators into a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice:

a) Use the limited space in the internal weapon bay of the F-35 solely for long-range AMRAAM missiles, thus not taking any short-range, infrared-guided Sidewinder missiles and forcing the F-35’s pilot to rely solely on his 20 mm gun in close-range combat (in which F-35 is also decisively inferior – see below); or

b) Take a combination of AMRAAMs and Sidewinders into the bay (say, two of each), bearing in mind the fact that the AMRAAM has a less than 25% effectiveness rate (Probability of Kill), so you need four AMRAAMs just to shoot down one hostile aircraft.

In short, the F-35 is a non-player in the BVR combat regime.

In short-range (Within Visual Range) combat, the F-35 will be similarly so outclassed by foreign fighters. In this type of combat, the most important factor is an aircraft’s agility and maneuverability – how easily and how quickly can the aircraft turn and evade enemy fire. That determines whether the aircraft will be a constantly ducking, turning, running-away player or a straight, level-flying target.

And the F-35 will certainly be the latter.

For it is so heavy and sluggish that even without weapons, it cannot turn smoothly.

Its wing loading ratio (the burden that the aircraft’s wings must carry) is a horribly high 529 kgs/sq m. That is, every square meter of its wings has to carry a burden of more than half a ton!

All of its competitors have a much lower wing loading ratio. For example, the lightweight J-10B has a wing loading ratio of just 381 kg/sq m, while the J-11 and the Su-27 have an even lower one at 371 kg/sq m. Similarly, typical USAF air superiority fighters also have low wing loading ratios: the F-22’s is just 375 kg/sq m, while the F-15’s is even less at ust 358 kg/sq m!

Thus, in any close-range air combat, which is by far the most frequent type of air warfare, the F-35 would be easily out-turned, out-maneuvered, out-flown, and shot down by Russian and Chinese aircraft, be they J-10s, J-11s, Su-27s, Su-30s, or J-7s.

As Dr John Stillion and Scott Perdue – both veteran USAF pilots – rightly wrote in 2008, the F-35 is “double inferior. (…) Can’t climb, can’t turn, can’t run.”

Or, as Dr Carlo Kopp rightly wrote in 2011, shortly after the J-20’s emergence:

The only US design with the kinematic performance, stealth performance and sensor capability to be able to confront the J-20 [J-XX] with viable combat lethality and survivability is the F-22A Raptor, or rather, evolved and enhanced variants of the existing configuration of this aircraft.

The US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is outclassed in every respect, and would be as ineffective against a mature J-XX [J-20] as it is against the F-22A Raptor.

All variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be equally so outclassed, assuming this failed project even progresses to any kind of actual production.

All US Air Force, US Navy and allied legacy fighters are outclassed in much the same manner, and are ineffective kinematically and in sensor capability against this class of threat system.

The extant IADS technology base of the US Army and Navy and their sister services in Pacific Rim allied nations will be largely ineffective, requiring the replacement of most if not all acquisition radars with VHF-band AESA technology replacements designed to defeat S/X/Ku-band stealth capabilities.

From the perspectives of both technological strategy and military grand strategy, the J-XX [J-20] is the final nail in the coffin of the utterly failed “Gates recapitalisation plan” for United States and allied tactical fighter fleets. Apologists for the “Gates fighter recapitalisation plan” will no doubt concoct a plethora of reasons as to why the J-XX [J-20] should be ignored, as they did exactly one year ago when the Russians unveiled the T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter.

The material reality is simple. If the United States does not reverse course in its tactical air fleet and air defence recapitalisation planning, the United States will lose the Pacific Rim to China, with all of the practical and grand strategic consequences which follow from that.”

As WGCDR Mills rightly wrote, Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s decision to kill the F-22 Raptor’s production at just 183 aircraft in 2009 was an utterly foolish and suicidal mistake.

That mistake MUST be reversed IMMEDIATELY.

Singer Bret Michaels visits Wounded Warriors in San Antonio

bretmichaelsSAN ANTONIO, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Singer Bret Michaels (center left) met with wounded warriors at Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio this week. The legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist visited the transitional housing facility to thank, support and provide a voice for our wounded warriors.  (Also pictured, left, Operation Homefront Vice President Dino Sarracino; center right, wounded warrior Kenny Walker; right, wounded warrior Stephen Jackel.)

With Village communities in the San Antonio, Oceanside, Calif. and the Washington, D.C. areas, transitional housing through Operation Homefront Villages constitutes a vital program for wounded warriors and their families as they undergo rehabilitation and transition from military to civilian life.  Each furnished apartment – including the cost of financial counseling and other transition programs for residents – costs more than $15,000 per year.  This program is made possible by generous contributions from individual donors, corporate foundations and partners. No federal money supports the Village program.

operationhomefrontOperation Homefront Village allows these service members to live rent-free with their families while they go through the transition and rehabilitation process. Upon placement in OH Village, Operation Homefront counselors will set up a schedule that includes support groups, workshops, benefits briefings, and resume-writing classes. Once they have become self-sufficient, Operation Homefront will help them find suitable housing in the area they intend to live on a permanent basis.  Michaels’ visit was on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Why the Nuclear Triad MUST be maintained permanently and the New START scrapped

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The US nuclear deterrent, and in particular, the nuclear triad, are under constant attack from the pro-unilateral-disarmament Left, whose goal, of course, is to unilaterally disarm the US and expose it to attack.

The latest round of this attack was conducted recently in the Diplomat e-zin by James R. Holmes, the Diplomat‘s resident wannabe defense expert, calling himself “the Naval Diplomat” (in reality, a defense issues ignoramus). Mr Holmes questions the nuclear triad’s rationale for being because, he says, the US nuclear arsenal will continue to shrink under treaties such as New START. He also falsely claims that China’s nuclear arsenal is small and so there is no need for a US nuclear triad.

Meanwhile, Obama’s top arms control negotiator, Rose Goettemoeller, a longtime advocate of disarming America unilaterally and completely (“We are not modernizing. That is one of the key principles of our policy.”) and Vice President Joe Biden are lobbying for a unilateral cut of the US nuclear deterrent to just 300 warheads – far less than even what China has. Obama is sympathetic to those views.

But they – and others who seek to dismantle the nuclear triad – are dead wrong. Here’s why.

Firstly, Russia still has a huge nuclear arsenal, and contrary to Holmes’ lies, that arsenal is GROWING, not shrinking, even under New START, signed in Prague in 2010 by Barack Obama. That treasonous treaty allows Russia to GROW its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal – and Moscow has done so and continues to do so.

Moscow has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (according to the Federation of American Scientists), of which 1,500 are deployed and 50 further will be soon, and around 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads (many of which can be delivered against the US).

To deliver them, Russia has over 410 ICBMs, 13 ballistic missile submarines, 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-22M, Tu-160), and around 20 attack submarines capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles anywhere in the world. To deliver its tactical warheads, Russia has those attack submarines plus short-range ballistic missiles, attack aircraft, surface warships, artillery pieces, and IRBMs such as the Yars-M, the Iskander-M, and the R-500.

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver at least 1,684 warheads to the Continental US; Russia’s ballistic missile submarine fleet, at least 1,400 (which will grow to 2,000 when new Russian missiles enter service); Russia’s bomber fleet, over 1,700. Russia’s tactical delivery systems can deliver additional thousands of nuclear weapons.

Moscow is rapidly modernizing its nuclear arsenal, introducing at least three new classes of ICBMs (the Yars, the Rubezh, and the Sarmat), a pseudo-ICBM with a 6,000 km range, a new class of ballistic missile subs (the Borei class), new short- and intermediate-range missiles (Yars-M, Iskander-M, R-500), a new submarine- and air-launched cruise missile (the Kh-101/102 Koliber) a new theater nuclear strike jet (Su-34), and is developing a next-generation intercontinental bomber (PAK DA, i.e. the Prospective Aircraft Complex of Long Range Aviation).

On top of that, Russia has up to 4,000 “tactical” nuclear warheads, many of which can be delivered to the US by cruise missiles carried by the 20 submarines of the Akula and Oscar-II classes (12 Akulas, 8 Oscars). In fact, a few years ago, one Akula class submarine, probably armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, sneaked close to the US East Coast!

To scrap the nuclear triad in the face of this huge, and growing, nuclear thread would be worse than foolish; it would be utterly suicidal.

As for China, it has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to former Russian missile force chief Gen. Viktor Yesin and Georgetown Professor Philip Karber (who was the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under President Reagan).

To deliver them, Beijing wields 75-87 ICBMs (and is adding more every year), 120-160 strategic bombers, 6 ballistic missile subs, over 120 MRBMs, over 1,200 SRBMs, and 280 tactical strike aircraft. On top of that, it has hundreds, if not thousands, of nuclear-capable cruise missiles (ground-, air-, and sea-launched), such as the CJ-10, the CJ-20, and the DH-10. Note that China, like Russia, is adding more nuclear weapons and delivery systems (and more modern ones) every year.

Moscow and Beijing not only have large nuclear arsenals, they’re quite willing to use them. In fact, in the last 7 years, Russia has threatened to aim or use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies on 15 separate occassions, and in the last 2 years has flown nuclear-armed bombers into or close to US and allied airspace. In May 2012, when its bombers overtly practiced a nuclear strike on Alaska, the Russian Air Force said to the press it was “practicing attacking the enemy.”

Not only that, but in its military doctrine Russia openly claims a right to use nuclear weapons first – even if the opponent does not have any nuclear weapons! And it says it will never give up its nuclear arsenal because it considers it “sacred.”

Moreover, the US now has to deter not only Russia and China, but North Korea and Iran as well. North Korea already has ICBMs capable of reaching the US and miniaturized warheads fittable onto such missiles, and Iran is projected by the US intelligence community to have such missiles by 2015.

On top of that, the US has to provide a credible nuclear deterrent not only to itself, but to over 30 allies around the world: all NATO members, Israel, Gulf countries, and Pacific allies such as the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea. These allies are watching the state of the US nuclear arsenal closely and will develop their own if the US cuts its umbrella further. Thus making the problem of proliferation – which the CNS and Ploughshares falsely pretend to be concerned about – that much worse.

Already, 66% of South Koreans want their country to obtain its own nuclear arsenal, and Saudi Arabia, fearing Iran, has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan and DF-21 ballistic missiles in China – both of which are quite happy to oblige, because Saudi Arabia pays in hard cash.

The truth is that the need for a large nuclear deterrent, and the nuclear triad, has never been greater. America needs them now more than ever. In this 21st century threat environment marked by three (soon to be four) hostile nuclear powers, two of them with large nuclear arsenals, it would be utterly suicidal and foolish to cut the US nuclear arsenal further, let alone deeply so.

And it is absolutely NOT true that the US nuclear arsenal will inevitably continue to shrink. It will be cut further only if Congress allows Obama and his successor (who will likely be Hillary Clinton) to continue disarming the US unilaterally. Congress has many means at its disposal to stop the White House from disarming the US and thus stop any further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, as it should.

Disarmament is a choice (and a foolish and suicidal one at that). There is nothing inevitable about it. Republicans can stop it – and House Republicans work every day of every year on Capitol Hill to indeed stop it.

Last but not least, if a nuclear triad is such a redundant and obsolete arrangement, why do the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis continue to maintain, modernize, and even expand their nuclear triads, with new aircraft, missiles, and submarines?

Quick! Someone better tell the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis that they’re wasting their money on an obsolete arrangement!

The truth is that a nuclear triad is BY FAR the most survivable, most effective, most powerful, most deterring, and most cost-effective arrangement in nuclear deterrence. Nothing else will ever provide the same degree of security at the same or lower cost. Nothing else will ever suffice to replace it – not a dyad, not a monad, not missile defense, not conventional weapons.

James R. Holmes is dead wrong, as usual. The nuclear triad and a large nuclear arsenal are STILL needed, and will be needed for many, many decades to come.

And as for the New START treaty – in light of the fact that it requires nuclear arsenal cuts only of the US, its onerous restrictions on US missile defense development, its pathetically weak verification regime, the fact that Russia is an aggressor who has illegally invaded and occupies two sovereign countries, and the fact that Russia has violated EVERY arms reduction treaty it has ever signed – the US should IMMEDIATELY withdraw from that pathetic treaty, as well as all other arms reduction treaties. IMMEDIATELY. Not tomorrow, but today.

Additionally, the US should:

  1. Impose harsh sanctions on Russia if it continues to violate the INF treaty (as it likely will);
  2. Withdraw from the CFE Treaty and encourage US allies to do the same;
  3. Refuse to ever ratify the CTBT;
  4. Assist Ukraine in developing its own nuclear weapons, or at least take Ukraine under the protection of the US nuclear umbrella.

Rand Paul Blames America First, Advocates Appeasement

If you needed any more evidence that Rand Paul is totally indistinguishable from his father on foreign and defense policy and is a member of the Blame America First crowd, here’s that evidence.

On February 25th, when interviewed by the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Sen. Paul falsely accused “some Republicans” of harboring a Cold War mindset and exhorted the US to maintain a “respectful” relationship with Russia even in the face of Russia’s invasion and occupation of the Crimea.

Speaking to the liberal WaPo, Rand said:

“Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time and I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Excuse me? REPUBLICANS are stuck in the Cold War era?

On the contrary, it is Russia’s government, especially its President Vladimir Putin (an unreconstructed KGB thug) and his inner circle (composed mostly of his fellow KGB thugs and other members of the Saint Petersburg clique) who harbor a Cold War mindset – and deep-seated hatred of America and the Western civilization.

(Which is not surprising, because just like a wolf will always remain a wolf preying on sheep, KGB thugs will always remain KGB thugs and will always prey on weak victims.)

It is Vladimir Putin’s Russia which has, in recent years:

  1. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic borders into US, allied (Japanese), and even neutral (Swedish) airspace and said the Russian AF was “practicing attacking the enemy.” What on Earth have SWEDEN and JAPAN done to Russia? For that matter, what has America done to Russia? Nothing.
  2. Repeatedly (on at least 15 separate occassions) threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against the US and its allies.
  3. Invaded two sovereign countries that dared to try to break out of Moscow’s sphere of influence and align themselves with the West (Georgia and UKraine) and continues to occupy both countries.
  4. Repeatedly violated several arms reduction treaties, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the INF Treaty, the latter being violated by Russia by repeatedly testing and deploying nuclear-armed missiles banned by that treaty.
  5. Deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad District, next to Poland, threatening that loyal ally of the US.
  6. Backed America’s enemies around the world – North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba – to the hilt, with diplomatic protection at the UN Security Council, weapons (including the advanced S-300VM air defense system), nuclear fuel (Iran), and nuclear reactors (Iran).
  7. Stationed a spy ship, the Viktor Leonov, in Cuba (it’s still there).
  8. Conducted, and continues to conduct, a wave of hateful anti-American propaganda in domestic and foreign (e.g. RussiaToday) media.
  9. Sent an Akula-class nuclear-armed submarine close to the US submarine base in King’s Bay, GA.
  10. Domestically, assassinated high-profile dissidents (Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko) and jailed hundreds of others.

Yet, Rand Paul claims that REPUBLICANS are the ones “stuck in the Cold War era”?!

How dare you even make such a false and outrageous claim, Senator?!

America is supposed to have a cordial, “respectful” relationship with such a hostile country, led by a KGB thug, and appease it (“avoid antagonizing it” in Randspeak) ?

No, Senator. You are dead wrong. Most Republicans are very critical of Russia (and of President Obama’s soft policy towards it), but NOT because of Cold War past.

Republicans are critical of Putinist Russia and Obama’s reset – and demand a tougher policy – because of Russia’s CURRENT and RECENT behavior, which has been very aggressive, anti-American, and dangerous to America’s own national security.

It is because of Russia’s CURRENT and RECENT behavior that Republicans demand that tough steps be taken towards Russia.

But Rand says no. He claims the US should “avoid antagonizing Russia” and have “a respectful relationship” with Moscow even despite Russia’s recent aggression, because Russia is still a geopolitical and military power which wields hundreds of ICBMs.

You are dead wrong again, Senator.

The only right response to intimidation and aggression, especially from dictatorships like Putin’s Russia, is strength and toughness, not “respect” and appeasement as you advocate.

ReaganPeaceQuote

In fact, the ONLY thing dictators and bullies like Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un respect and fear is STRENGTH combined with TOUGHNESS – a bold moral stand against them combined with a demonstrated willingness to use that STRENGTH if need be.

Dictators and aggressors like Putin understand only the language of force. The only thing that can deter them is superior military and economic force, combined with a proven willingness to use it to stop these dictators and aggressors. All human history, from the ancient times to the 21st century, demonstrates this.

Potential aggressors prey on weak victims, not strong ones. Weakness is provocative; it entices aggressors to commit actions they would otherwise refrain from.

And it is ESPECIALLY important to build up and show strength in the face of POWERFUL aggressors like Russia and China. They, having dramatically built up their economic and military strength, are so self-confident, so sure of their power, so emboldened and arrogant, that ONLY superior military and economic power, combined with a proven willingness to use both, can deter them from making more mischief.

Rand’s argument is essentially: “Russia is a geopolitical and military superpower, so let’s be weak in the face of such power and play nice with it.” That is a recipe for aggression, death, and destruction.

But Rand Paul, despite his pious assurances that he supports a Reaganite “Peace Through Strength” foreign policy, clearly doesn’t understand that, and never will. He claims Obama’s “reset” (read: appeasement) policy has been good for America – even though it is that failed “reset” policy that got us into this mess in the first place!

“We ought to be, I think, proud of where we’ve gotten with that relationship, and even when we have problems with Russia, realize that we’re in a much better place than wer were once upon a time.”

At a time when most Americans have realized that Obama’s “reset” policy has been an utter and disastrous failure, Paul thinks it has worked great and thinks the US should be “proud” of it!

Dictators and aggressors like Putin will not cease attacking weaker victims, and threatening the United States, if the US continues its utterly failed “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia, China, and Iran. This is the very policy that got us into the current mess in the first place. Yet, Rand wants to double down on it.

Rand also says the US should “avoid antagonizing Russia over Ukraine” because Ukraine has, for a long time, been in Russia’s sphere of influence. “The Ukraine has a long history of either being a part of the Soviet Union or within that sphere.”

It’s true that Ukraine has long been in Russia’s orbit – but NOT by its own free will! NO country on Earth has ever freewillingly been in Russia’s sphere of influence! All countries which have ever been in Moscow’s orbit fell into it as a result of Russian aggression, whether an overt invasion and occupation (as in Ukraine’s case) or through Russian-sponsored coups (e.g. Cuba and Nicaragua) and guerilla wars (e.g. Vietnam).

The only reason why Ukraine has been under Moscow’s yoke for a long time is because of Russian occupation – that is, Russian domination imposed by force.

Now Ukraine is trying to break free of Moscow’s yoke – and THAT is why Russia has invaded it.

But Rand doesn’t stop there. Not only does he advocate more appeasement of Russia, he falsely accuses America of telling Ukraine what to do. He told the WaPo on Feb. 25th:

“I don’t think it behooves us to tell the Ukraine what to do.”

You are lying yet again, Senator. No American politician is telling Ukraine what to do. The US, along with the European Union, is simply supporting (although inadequately and half-heartedly) Ukraine in its desire to free itself from the Russian yoke and integrate with the West – a choice the Ukrainian people have freewillingly made (and stood for even when their former dictator sent snipers and riot police against them).

The US has never dictated to the Ukraine what to do. OTOH, Russia has, and continues to. Russia has always adamantly opposed Ukraine’s possible integration with the West and last December even bribed the oligarchs in the Ukrainian parliament to steer Kiev away from the West. Now that the Ukranian people have ousted their former dictator Viktor Yanukovych and his oligarch chums, Putin has invaded the Ukraine – to ensure, by brute force if necessary, that Ukraine does not join the EU and does not integrate with the West.

Rand Paul is lying once again, in the “best” traditions of the RussiaToday/Alex Jones/Blame America First/Ron Paul crowd: he accuses AMERICA of telling another country what to do, when it is actually America’s adversary who is dictating to that country its future path.

Shame on you, Senator Paul, for lying so blatantly to the American people, for badmouthing America and your fellow Republicans while speaking to a liberal media outlet, for whitewashing and appeasing Russia, and for advocating treasonous policies!

Shame on you, Washington Post, for giving this traitor another venue to vent his anti-American garbage!

Shame on you, 31% of CPAC attendees, for voting for this traitor!

Rand Paul is the one distorting Reagan’s foreign policy

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Ronald Reagan was such a successful President – especially in the foreign policy realm – that virtually all Republicans today want to project themselves as the next Reagan and claim that their foreign policy is the same as Reagan’s in order to woo national security oriented voters.

One such politician is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Because his principal rival for the 2016 Republican nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has distinguished himself from Paul by adopting Reagan’s foreign policy principles while exposing Paul as the neo-isolationist that he is, the Kentucky Senator is desperate to defend himself.

Therefore, he has recently launched an attack on unnamed “Republicans” (presumably Cruz) on the Breitbart website, falsely accusing them of “warping” Reagan’s foreign policy.

But in fact, it is Rand Paul, NOT Ted Cruz or other Republicans, who is warping and distorting the Gipper’s foreign policy. Let me demonstrate how.

Rand Advocates Deep Defense Cuts

Rand advocates deep, crippling cuts in America’s defenses, including and beyond sequestration; withdrawing US troops from strategically important bases around the world which are needed for power projection; isolationism masquerading as noninterventionism; and opposes even the most modest sanctions on Iran, claiming they would lead to war (a false claim that the anti-defense Left, including the Ploughshares Fund, also makes). Indeed, Rand has said that “not only should the sequester be maintained”, but that government spending, including defense spending, should be cut even further – as if the sequester’s and pre-sequester Obama defense cuts were not deep enough.

As a reminder, in his first two years, Obama killed over 50 crucial weapon programs, including the F-22 Raptor fighter (the only aircraft capable of defeating the newest Russian and Chinese fighters), the Zumwalt class destroyer, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle for kinetic missile defense interceptors, and much more. In 2011, Obama cut another $178 bn from the defense budget under the guise of efficiencies. And in August 2011, Obama demanded and obtained another $1 trillion in defense cuts over the FY2012-FY2012 decade, including a $550 bn sequester that will take defense spending to $493 bn (less than 3% of America’s GDP) next year and keep in there until the mid-2020s!

Yet, Rand Paul thinks these defense cuts are not sufficient and demands even deeper, more crippling, defense cuts. This completely belies his claim that

“I believe, as he did, that our National Defense should be second to none, that defense of the country is the primary Constitutional role of the Federal Government.”

If the cuts required by the sequester (let alone the deeper cuts Rand demands) are implemented, the US military will be gutted. It will be a paper tiger, not a military force “second to none.”

Reagan would NEVER advocate such idiotic policies, and indeed throughout his entire presidency implemented the very OPPOSITE of the policies Rand advocates. OTOH, Ted Cruz – unlike Rand Paul – does support a Reaganite foreign policy: rebuilding America’s defenses, standing up to dictators like Putin where it matters, but avoiding being drawn into irrelevant or murky jihadist viper pits like Syria.

But it gets even worse. In the Breitbart article cited above, Rand not only distorts the Gipper’s foreign policy, he shows he completely doesn’t understand what that policy was and how it worked, and demonstrates – there, as well as in his recent (Feb. 25th) Washington Post op-ed – that he does NOT support a Reaganite “Peace Through Strength” foreign policy.

He claims that:

“Reagan also believed in diplomacy and demonstrated a reasoned approach to our nuclear negotiations with the Soviets. Reagan’s shrewd diplomacy would eventually lessen the nuclear arsenals of both countries.”

Leaving aside the undisputable fact that cutting America’s nuclear deterrent has proven to be a foolish mistake, it was Reagan’s toughness, not diplomacy, that won the Cold War. In fact, it was his toughness that brought the Soviet Union back to the arms reduction barganining table in the first place.

The Soviets returned to the negotiating table because they knew the US could keep up the arms race for long, while their own economy was flagging (and in 1991, it collapsed, as did the USSR itself) and couldn’t really sustain the arms race any longer, especially with the costs of the Afghan war, the Chernobyl disaster, and the late 1980s’ oil glut added. (Reagan convinced Saudi Arabia to dramatically increase its oil output to cut global oil prices and thus undermine Moscow’s oil-dependent economy).

I’ll repeat it again: it was Reagan’s TOUGHNESS, his harsh policies towards the USSR, that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table and eventually won the Cold War. Not diplomacy, not detente, not nice words, not his friendship with Gorbachev.

Reagan never sheathed the sword – the sword was always hanging over the Soviets’ heads. And that’s PRECISELY why Gorbachev agreed to make concessions.

Rand further claims that:

“Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser.”

But, as demonstrated above, it was Reagan’s TOUGH POLICIES, not diplomacy or nicety, that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table. And Gorbachev initially wasn’t in a mood to make concessions. It was not until he understood the US was in a far stronger negotiating position, and when Reagan revealed the documents Col. Ryszard Kuklinski (a Warsaw Pact defector) handed over to the CIA, that Gorbachev began to make concessions.

(At the first Reagan-Gorbachev meeting, in 1985, the Soviet leader was initially as stubborn as his predecessors, not willing to make policy concessions. Then, Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Cap Weinberger, took his ace out of his sleeve: he gave the maps [stolen by Colonel Kuklinski] of secret Soviet bunkers, built for nuclear war, to Reagan, who gave them to Gorbachev, who in turn gave them to Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, the Soviet Chief of the General Staff, who accompanied Gorby. Akhromeyev was very scared upon seeing the documents, and explained their importance to the civilian Gorbachev. From then on, the Soviets were more willing to make concessions.)

Rand also believes firmly in a soft, appeasement-like policy towards Russia – ignoring the fact that it was such policy that led to the current  Crimean crisis in the first place. He falsely claims in his WaPo op-ed that America’s relationship with Russia should be “respectful” and that:

“There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.”

No. Diplomacy has had its time – and has dismally failed, as usual. Now is the time for FIRMNESS and MANLINESS. Now is the time to impose the harshest sanctions on Russia that are possible and to dramatically increase oil and gas production in the US (ANWR, NPRA, OCS, shale formations, authorizing the Keystone Pipeline) and to export these fuels to Europe to dramatically reduce its dependence on Russia for hydrocarbons. This would strike Russia where it would really hurt Moscow – and accomplish America’s goals without a single soldier and without firing a shot.

As for a “respectful” relationship with Russia – tell that to Vladimir Putin. Lecture him about “respectful” relationships, Mr Paul, not your fellow Republicans. Putin’s Russia has, in recent years:

  1. Invaded two sovereign countries on false pretexts, and in reality because they started aligning themselves with the West.
  2. Threatened a nuclear attack on the US or its allies at least 15 times.
  3. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into US and allied airspace (and even into the airspace of neutral Sweden) on many occassions, even once on July 4th,
  4. Provided diplomatic protection to Iran, North Korea, and Syria, nuclear fuel and reactors to Iran, weapons to Iran and Syria, and sold tons of advanced weapons to China – weapons which will be used to kill American troops.
  5. Murdered journalists and other dissidents (e.g. Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko), and jailed many others, opposing the Putin regime.
  6. Conducted a huge military buildup that continues to this day and is slated to continue for long but which long ago has exceeded Russia’s legitimate defense needs.
  7. Repeatedly violated the INF treaty by testing and deploying missiles banned by the treaty.

And the US is supposed to have a “respectful” relationship with such a hostile regime, Senator Paul? Are you on drugs? Who is your foreign policy advisor, Pat Buchanan?

In short, Rand has shown, once again, that he is NO Reaganite, that he is virtually indistinguishable from his father on policy matters, and that he clearly does not believe in a “peace through strength” policy. Furthermore, he’s distorting the Gipper’s foreign policy record. Conservatives must not allow him to fool them; he would continue and even double on Obama’s failed twin policies of unilateral disarmament and appeasement of America’s adversaries. Just like Obama, Paul advocates appeasement towards the world’s most dangerous regimes, from Russia, to Iran, to Syria. No real conservative would ever vote for him.

Rebutting John Mearsheimer: China’s Military Is NOT Inferior To That Of The US

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Satellite photos of the entrances to China’s secret, underground submarine bases in Sanya (Hainan Island) and Jianggezhuang (near Qingdao). Photo credit: Federation of American Scientists and Google Earth.

In a recent article for the “National Interest” magazine, UChicago professor John Mearsheimer, who is best known for advocating that the US dump Israel as an ally, falsely claims that “China’s military is inferior to that of the US, and not by a small margin.”

Mearsheimer gives no reason whatsoever for why he makes such an outlandish claim; he does so probably because of longstanding (and badly outdated) assumptions about China’s military still prevailing in Washington. Be that as it may, Mearsheimer is dead wrong. Period.

For the PLA (the Chinese military) is not inferior to the US military in ANYTHING.

Not in training – Chinese troops train as hard as their American counterparts, and women in the PLA get no special treatment or lower standards – UNLIKE the US military, where women have to complete tasks that even the weakest man could accomplish. And unlike the US military, the PLA is not plagued by LGBT celebration, feminism, political correctness, or a plague of pregnancies, sexual assaults, alcoholism, and drugs.

What’s more, PLA officers do not have a standard of life significantly better than that of enlisted PLA troops, and in messes, officers and enlisted personnel eat together. Not separately. Nor is China and its PLA plagued by an obesity epidemic – again, unlike the US, where First Lady Michelle Obama’s modest efforts to combat obesity are regularly dismissed as Nanny Statism.

China’s military is also better trained – and funding for its training has never been interrupted by a stupid budgetary mechanism like sequestration. The PLA has never had to ground its aircraft for a lack of funding to fly them. PLA pilots fly and train regularly, honing their skills in their versions of Red Flag/Blue Flag exercises.

In budgetary terms, those who downplay China’s military power often claim that China has a much smaller military budget than the US.

At the first glance, this seems true: Beijing’s official military budget, unveiled a few days ago, is $132 bn, and even though China hides a lot of its military spending off the books, outside its official budget, China’s military budget is estimated to be, at most, $240 bn per annum – less than half of the $580 bn requested by the DOD for the next fiscal year.

But in China, one dollar can buy much more than in the US. China’s military budget should be multiplied by a factor of at least three to account for these differences. Multiply $240 bn by 3, and you get $720 bn. Heck, multiply $240 bn by just 2, and you get $480 bn – just slightly less than the DOD’s requested base budget  for the next fiscal year ($495 bn).

Moreover, China’s military budgets are devoted mostly to equipment, training, and military operations, whereas personnel and base costs are borne largely by provincial governments, not by the central government.

China’s military is also better led than the US military, which is run by careerists eager to please their political masters, such as General Martin Dempsey and Admiral Cecil Haney. By contrast, the PLA, while nominally subordinate to the Communist Party of China, is actually THE most powerful and most cohesive faction within the Party, and is led by professional, experienced officers such as Gen. Fang Fenghui (Chief of the General Staff Department), Adm. Wu Shengli (Commander of the PLA Navy), and Gen. Ma Xiaotian (a veteran fighter pilot and Commander of the PLA Air Force).

The CPC is split into several factions that constantly battle each other for influence, and no civilian faction has a decisive edge over the others, so CPC civilians routinely ask PLA generals and admirals to support them. The generals are happy to oblige – but at a price in terms of giving them greater budgets and policymaking influence.

Hence we have seen hawkish PLA generals and senior colonels gain more influence and make increasingly inflammatory statements, and PLA budgets increase by double digits every year of the last 25 years – even now as China’s economy slows down.

Which brings me to military equipment.

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China has, for the last decade and a half, been rapidly shedding obsolete Soviet-licensed and domestic equipment and rapidly acquiring domestic, Russian, and reverse-engineered weapons in large quantities – so much so that now most of its naval and air equipment is very much modern and capable, and even more modern and lethal weapons are on the way. Let’s look at some of the categories of military equipment and compare what the US and Chinese militaries have:

Fighters: The first and absolute condition of victory in any war is attaining air superiority; as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the famous Desert Fox, said, fighting on the ground while your enemy controls the air is pointless. The entire US military depends on air superiority, and without it, will collapse like a deck of cards.

And collapse it will, for it has inexplicably neglected its fighter fleet for the last 25 years, while China has steadily modernized its own. It now has over 200 modern, highly capable J-11 Sinoflanker fighters (pictured above) and over 200 F-16-clone J-10 fighters. In addition, it has 76 modern Su-27 and 76 also modern (and quite lethal) Su-30MKK aircraft. On top of that, it has almost 400 old, but very agile and lethal J-7 MiG fighters (which can win dogfights easily by simply refusing to be level-flying targets) and 200 J-8 high-speed, high-altitude interceptors. The PLAAF is now also beginning to receive the new J-16, another modern, high performance Chinese Flanker variant.

On the other hand, the US has fewer than 400, mostly obsolete and aging, F-15 fighters, around 1,200 non-competitive short-ranged F-16s (also largely obsolete), and around 180 modern and highly stealthy F-22 Raptors. I’m omitting the Hornets and Super Hornets of the Navy, for they aren’t even fighters but ground attack jets and wouldn’t stand a chance against PLAAF aircraft.

How exactly are PLAAF fighters superior? Owing to their combination of high speed, a high ceiling, superb radar aperture, and a large load of long-range missiles with diverse seekers, as well as high maneuverability, ease of turning and climbing, and powerful guns (30mm caliber on all Flankers).

In the future, the PLAAF will be decisively superior to the USAF. Later this decade, it will receive two very stealthy fifth-generation fighters, the J-20 and the J-31. These aircraft will render every other fighter on the planet, except the Raptor and the Russian PAK-FA, totally obsolete when they enter service.

The US, by contrast, is developing the hyper-expensive, and already obsolete, F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter”, which is not stealthy (except in the nose and only in some radar bands), poorly armed, very slow and low-flying, and too heavy and sluggish to prevail in air combat. (Nor was it ever designed, or even intended, to attain air superiority; the F-22 Raptor, of which the USAF wanted to procure 650, is supposed to accomplish that.) The defective F-35s that the DOD has ordered would, in case of any encounter with Chinese fighters, be gunned down like pigeons in a pest eradication programme.

Bases: In any war with the US in the Asia-Pacific, China would be playing on its home court; the US would be fighting a long way from the homeland. Utilizing its geographic advantage to the max, China has literally hundreds of airbases and airfields available in the mainland and in Burma. Many of these are semi-hardened, fully-hardened, or super-hardened. Many of them are located underground or built into the sides of mountains or hills. This renders these bases (i.e. the aircraft, hangars, fuel and ammunition depots, and command centers) completely immune to any US attack except with a deep earth penetrator like the GBU-57 MOP or the B83 nuclear bomb (which the Obama admin wants to retire).

All of these underground bases have entrances wide enough for J-7, J-8, J-10, Su-27, Su-30, and J-15 fighters to enter. Some of them can also accomodate the J-11, J-16, and the future J-20 and J-31. And some underground Chinese airbases can even shelter H-6 strategic bombers!

OTOH, the US has no hardened or even semi-hardened bases in the entire Pacific region. All US runways, hangars, depots, and command centers in the regions could easily be destroyed by even the weakest Chinese bombs or missiles. What’s more, the  majority of US bases there are within the reach of China’s short-range ballistic missiles, and the rest can be easily reached by its medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles such as the DF-21, DF-25, DF-26, CJ/DH-10, and the Hongniao family. The newest Chinese missile, the DF-26C, has a range of at least 2200 miles (3520 kms).

Which brings me to the next category of weapons.

Land attack missiles: China, has noted above, has a huge, diverse, and highly accurate arsenal of missiles of all classes, which can be launched from ground launchers, siloes, aircraft, or ships. The longest-ranged of these, the ground-launched DH-10, has a range of 4,000 kms, the DF-26C a range of 3,520 kms, and the air-launched HN-3 a range of 3,000 kms while the air-launched CJ-10A can eke out 2,000 kms. The exact range of the DF-25 is unknown. China has huge inventories of these missiles.

By contrast, the US has no short-, medium-, or intermediate range ballistic missiles and no ground-launched cruise missiles whatsoever. The US is, in fact, prohibited from developing (let alone fielding) any ground-launched missiles of any range between 550 and 5,500 km by the INF Treaty with Russia. As one Russian official has said, it is unjust that only the US and Russia are banned from fielding such weapons, while everyone else is allowed to have them.

America’s air- and submarine-launched cruise missiles are unimpressive, to say the least. The much-touted JASSM-ER can eke out only 1,000 kms, and the sub-launched Tomahawk boasts a range of just 1,700 kms. Both of them are subsonic and thus easy for enemy air defenses to intercept.

Below you’ll find a map of the range of China’s air-launched cruise missiles. You can see it extends well beyond Guam and the Second Island Chain.

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Air Defense Systems: China has a very dense network of highly-capable, long-ranged S-300 and HQ-9 air defense systems, and has even more capable S-400 systems on order. These can easily detect and shoot down any nonstealthy aircraft, including the EA-6B and the EA-18G, which, in order to attempt to jam these systems, would have to be close enough for their jammers to work – and that means TOO CLOSE to these systems, and well within their engagement envelope.

By contrast, US and allied air defense systems in the WestPac are scant and consist solely of obsolete, 1980s-vintage Patriot systems (whose range is only 28 kms) and their Japanese clones. These could be easily penetrated by any PLA aircraft or missiles.

Submarines: In addition to its growing, and increasingly quiet, fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, in which Type 093 and Type 095 class SSNs are replacing the old Type 091 Han class, the PLA Navy operates a large fleet of ultra-quiet Kilo-, Song, Yuan-, and Qin-class conventional submarines with air-independent propulsion (as in German, Swedish, and Australian submarines), making them almost undetectable.

OTOH, the US Navy has no conventional submarines and relies entirely on its noisy and obsolete Ohio class SSBNs for nuclear deterrence and also on its noisy and obsolete Los Angeles class attack submarines for sea control. The USN has only a handful of Seawolf and Virginia class submarines – and these are still noisier than conventional subs.

Mines: China has at least 100,000 naval mines – cheap, simple weapons which can cripple and sink even large warships. Yet, the US Navy is utterly unprepared for these weapons. It has only 13 minesweepers, all of which are operated by the US Naval Reserve because mine warfare is not considered a “sexy” mission by the USN, which prefers to obsess with hyper-expensive and highly vulnerable aircraft carriers – which, in today’s threat environment, are huge liabilities rather than assets.

By contrast, the much smaller UK Royal Navy has 15 minesweepers, all of which are operated by the regular RN.

Anti-ship missiles: China operates a wide range of (mostly supersonic, sea-skimming) anti-ship cruise missiles, most notably the SS-N-22 Sunburn, the SS-NX-30 Sizzler, and the Yingji family. One Sunburn missile would suffice to sink an aircraft carrier.

Also, China has fielded DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles with a range between 2,000 and 3,000 kms, and again, a single one would suffice to sink a flattop.

By contrast, the only anti-ship missile operated by the US military today is the under-ranged, slow, subsonic Harpoon. The USN is currently developing a replacement.

Nuclear weapons: The US currently has an edge over China in this area, with more total nuclear warheads (5,113) and deployed warheads (1,950) than China (which has up to 3,000 nuclear weapons, of which at least around 1,000 are deployed). However, China’s nuclear arsenal is rapidly growing, while the US is cutting its nuclear arsenal unilaterally. Also, China is rapidly modernizing its arsenal and making it survivable, while the US is not.

Anti-satellite weapons: This is as simple as “China has them, the US does not.” China has anti-satellite lasers as well as dozens of anti-satellite ballistic missiles, and also weapons that can jam US satellites without destroying them. China has repeatedly tested such weapons.

Small combat vessels: Chinese corvettes and missile boats, some of which are based on Australian catamarans, are better armed and better defended than the LCS, which, according to DOD weapon testers, are “not expected to survive in a combat environment.” Enough said.

Combat rifles: The US military’s standard assault rifles are the M16 and its shorter, lighter variant, the M4. Both of them are famous for their propensity to jam and malfunction. Their legendary malfunctions have cost many soldiers and Marines their lives. By contrast, China’s standard assault rifle is the simple, cheap, rugged, and supremely reliable AK-47, which will fire even if it gets dirty or even if you bury it in sand or mud. Moreover, it’s so much easier to operate that even children can use it. Furthermore, the AK-47’s 7.62 mm round can penetrate cinderblocks, bricks, and wood, while the M16’s and the M4’s smaller, weaker 5.56 mm round cannot. The Washington Times newspaper has even recently run a lengthy article detailing these rifles’ serious flaws.

I could go on and on, but the above comparisons already illustrate the point sufficiently. It is, in fact, the US military that is decisively inferior to that of China by the vast majority of criteria – from training, esprit de corps, good order, and discipline, to leadership, to the vast majority of weapon categories.

In a confrontation with the PLA, the US military would be like a virgin during her first night. Easy.

The American people need to stop listening to those who want to lull them into a false sense of security and start demanding that Congress a) fund the US military sufficiently, and b) spend the money in the most efficient way possible, with the least amount possible going to bloated personnel benefits programs and unneeded bases, and the maximum amount going to new weaponry and to training the troops.

The Good and Bad News About The FY2015 Defense Budget

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This week, the DOD formally submitted to Congress its proposal of the FY2015 defense budget. The base defense budget would amount to $496 bn, and there would be a roughly $80 bn war supplemental for the final year of the Afghan war, thus bringing the total to around $580 bn, i.e. less than 4% of America’s GDP. In a few years, the war supplementals will be gone, and the base defense budget will shrink further to $493 bn, i.e. below 3% of GDP – the lowest level since before Pearl Harbor.

Already the US spends the smallest amount of money (as a share of its economy) on defense since FY1948, excluding the Clinton years when defense spending plummeted to 3.0% of GDP. Barack Obama’s budget plans would take defense spending even lower, to below 3% of GDP.

But Obama isn’t just content with cutting America’s defense spending; he’s cutting the military’s muscle as well:

  • The Navy will have to mothball half of its entire cruiser fleet – 11 vessels, several of them capable of ballistic missile defense. That’s even more than the Navy proposed to lay up previously (7). These vessels will not return to service until there is money to modernize them. The construction of new ships will also see significant cuts.
  • The Navy must also significantly cut the procurement of its crucial P-8 Poseidon and E-2D Hawkeye aircraft, the former needed to protect the US Navy against hostile submarines (esp. those of China and Iran), and the latter to provide airborne early warning, especially to the Navy’s Carrier Air Wings.
  • The Air Force will have to shed its entire fleet of over 300 A-10 Warthog aircraft. With decent armor, air-to-ground missiles, and a hefty 30mm gun spitting thousands of rounds per minute, that aircraft is ideal for close air support, which troops on the ground have always needed and appreciated. No other aircraft can provide that capability. B-52s, B-1s, F-15Es, F-16s, and F-35s are too vulnerable to damage – even to small arms fire – and too fast to ever be effective in that role. Don’t take my word for it. The father of the A-10, Pierre Sprey, who also contributed to designing the F-16, has openly said that, as much as he’s proud of the work he did on the F-16, he would NEVER claim it is useful for close air support.
  • The Air Force will also have to retire its entire fleet of U-2 spy planes, which, despite being older, can fly higher, have far more powerful aperture and more diverse sensors, and thus much better intel gathering capability, than the drones supposed to replace them (Global Hawks). It will also lose more F-15 air superiority fighters.
  • The Army will have to cancel its Ground Combat Vehicle program (intended to replace the seriously-deficient Bradley infantry fighting vehicle), and the Marines will lose the badly-needed Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, needed to replace the USMC’s Vietnam-War-era amphibious tractors.

The proposed FY2015 isn’t all bad, however:

  • It protects investment in the badly needed Long Range Strike Bomber and KC-46 Pegasus tanker, both of which are crucial to preserving the military’s ability to operate and fight globally.
  • It provides funding to buy more JASSM-ER standoff cruise missiles, which have a range of around 1,000 kilometers and can be launched by any US combat aircraft.
  • It calls for major reforms to the military’s personnel’s pay, pensions, healthcare, and benefits programs, whose costs have gone out of control, and for closure of unneeded bases.
  • It provides funding to harden some of the military’s Pacific bases; to buy more missile interceptors; and to develop a new missile defense kill vehicle and better target discrimination capabilities.

This still does not, however, outweigh the fact that the budget will, overall, weaken America’s defense, which is precisely what Barack Obama wants.

And let’s also recount what isn’t in the budget, but should be:

  • No restart of F-22 Raptor fighter production (killed by Obama in 2009), even though Russia and China have flight-tested, and are developing, a combined of THREE fifth-generation stealthy fighters that will be superior to EVERY fighter on the planet, except the F-22, when deployed later this decade.
  • No major upgrades to the F-15 fleet. Indeed, that fleet, already cut significantly by Obama, will be cut even further!
  • No major upgrades to the F-16 fleet, nor any sale of any F-16s to Taiwan.
  • No restart of the cancelled long-range air to air missile, which will leave US fighters outgunned vis-a-vis aircraft armed with the K-172 Novator.
  • No new AWACS program to replace the USAF’s old E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft.
  • No funding for any new nuclear weapons – because it doesn’t fit Obama’s fantasy of disarming the US unilaterally.
  • No significant cuts to the DOD’s bloated bureaucracy and army of contractors.
  • No funding for an East Coast missile defense site.
  • No significant funding for alternative airbases in the Pacific or for hardening America’s existing bases in the Western Pacific.
  • No funding for a new ICBM, badly needed to replace the old Minuteman III, first deployed in 1976.

In short, as many conservatives have already stated, Obama’s proposed FY2015 budget would, if enacted, be another step on the way to disarming the US unilaterally, a policy I have warned against my entire life.

What Western powers should do in response to Russia’s aggression

 

ReaganPeaceQuoteThe Russian aggression against Ukraine, initiated by President Vladimir Putin, has surprised many but not me, and should have surprised no one.

It is simply an inevitable consequence of the West, and especially America’s, shameless appeasement policy towards Russia combined with a long-running policy of unilateral disarmament (while Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has been arming to the teeth).

For many years, and especially the last five, Western nations have been dramatically cutting their militaries, defense budgets, weapon programs, and ambitions, while Russia has been dramatically expanding its own.

And for the last five years running, this writer has been sounding the alarm about these suicidal policies, warning that they would only lead to Russian intimidation, coercion, excesses, muscle-flexing, and eventually, aggression.

This writer most notably sounded the alarm in May 2009, writing that:

“Unless European states and America suddenly adopt a hawkish foreign policy and strengthen their militaries, Europe will become a mere province of the Russian empire.”

And as usual, this writer was right all along.

Meanwhile, all those who falsely claimed that “the Cold War was over”, “Russia is our friend/partner, not our enemy”, “you are a Cold War dinosaur”, “you need to shed this Cold War mentality”, and “the 1980s are asking to have their policy back” were dead wrong.

All those who claimed Russia was a partner and not a foe, that it should be appeased and accomodated, that Obama’s “reset” policy was right, that the US could afford to cut its nuclear arsenal further – from Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and the Cato Institute, to the CNAS, Michele Flournoy, Michael McFaul, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan – were DEAD WRONG ALL ALONG.

These people should now publicly admit being wrong and shut their ignorant mouths up. But we should be under no illusions that they will.

Now Ukraine, a strategically important country and a weak neighbor of Russia, has been invaded by that country under the utterly false pretext of protecting Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in the Crimea – who were not threatened by Kiev in any way – just like Hitler annexed the Sudetenland in 1938, ostensibly to protect the Sudetenland Germans from the Czechoslovakian government.

In any case, what can and should Western powers do to stop Putin from going any further?

The first and most important thing is to immediately and permanently STOP listening to the advice from the Powell-Kissinger-Flournoy-Clinton school of foreign policy, which has once again (but not for the first time) been proven DEAD WRONG.

This means no more cuts in the West’s nuclear or conventional arsenals, no more “arms control” treaties, no more accommodating of the Russians’ demands. By committing such a blatant act of aggression, they’ve forfeited the right to be heard on any issue and to make any wishes or demands.

But the West must do much more to convince Vladimir Putin that it’s serious. Mere promises of toughness, verbal condemnations, and “dialogue” won’t stop him from committing further aggression.

Therefore, the US, Canada, and European countries should, until such time as the Putin regime collapses:

1) Immediately institute a TOTAL embargo on ALL Russian products except raw minerals.

2) Hasten the deployment of all stages of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe, and build an East Coast missile defense site.

3) Immediately withdraw from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the New START, and the CFE Treaty.

4) Ban the Russian national air carrier, Aeroflot, from flying into US, Canadian, or EU airspace.

5) Warn Russia that any of its military aircraft that venture into US, Canadian, or EU airspace will be shot down without warning.

6) Expel Russian ambassadors from Western countries.

7) Boycott the upcoming G8 summit and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

8) Reverse all defense (budget, programmatic, force structure) cuts undertaken in the last 12 years and start building Western militaries up. In particular, the US should reverse all the cuts in its nuclear arsenal and fully modernize it; revive the MEADS, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs; cancel the F-35 program and resume F-22 Raptor fighter production; develop the Reliable Replacement Warhead and the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator; increase its inventory of MOP bombs; reintroduce S-3 Vikings into service; improve its Navy’s ASW equipment and skills; build a Conventional Prompt Global Strike system; develop ASAT weapons; order more THAAD brigades; speed up naval railgun and laser development and deployment; and make more Aegis-class warships BMD-capable.

9) Lastly, and most importantly, Western countries should strike Russia where it is weakest: its economy. Specifically, Western countries, led by the US, should:

a) Impose total economic sanctions, including a total embargo and asset freezes, on Russia; and

b) Start freeing itself from Russia’s oil and gas domination by opening the Outer Continental Shelf, the ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, all shale oil and gas deposits throughout the West, and the reserves in the Everglades; liquifying coal; using methane in lieu of natural gas; cancelling the South Stream pipeline; authorizing the Keystone Pipeline; and building the Nabucco Pipeline instead (and as quickly as possible). In addition, the US, which is already a net oil and gas exporter, should immediately start exporting these fuels to Europe to help it wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons.

The Russian economy is terribly dependent on raw minerals exports; 66% of the Kremlin’s revenue comes from these exports, while manufactured goods exports account for only about 10%. Moreover, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has already caused significant unrest at the Moscow stock exchange, whose main index has seen a 10% fall (and a 20% decline in the Russian currency’s value to the dollar) just today (as of 8:24AM ET, 18:24 Moscow time).

Moreover, Putin’s totally incompetent interference in the affairs of Gazprom, the Russian gas producing and exporting company, has driven it into a debt of $50 billion – equalling its turnover of one year.

This invasion, and Vladimir Putin’s entire buildup of the Russian military, would NOT have been possible absent the boon provided by high oil and gas prices (oil now stands at $105/barrel) and Russia’s stranglehold on their supplies to Europe. If that stranglehold is broken, and if these prices decline dramatically and soon, Putin will have no choice but to withdraw his troops, and his wannabe Evil Empire Redux will fall like a deck of cards.

Those who advocated the ridiculous policy of appeasement and unilateral disarmament that brought us into this mess in the first place now falsely claim that the only alternative to dialogue with Russia is war with that country. That is completely false.

No one wants war with Moscow. And since the Russian military is already more than strong enough to defeat the US military easily, it would be ill-advised.

But as stated above, Russia has one great glaring weakness – its economy – and as Sun Tzu wisely counseled, the right way to defeat your opponent is to strike his weaknesses, not his strengths.

Just as Ronald Reagan (who was vilified as a warmonger who would cause nuclear war) won the Cold War without firing a shot, the West, if it applies the right policies, can defeat Russia today, also without firing a shot, by pulling the economic lever. It absolutely can do so. The question is whether Western leaders will now have the intellectual courage to acknowledge the utter failure of their appeasement policy.

Rebuttal of lies about US nuclear weapons and ICBMs

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For decades, leftist politicians, media outlets, and “arms control advocates” (read: advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament) have falsely claimed that the US nuclear deterrent is obsolete, unneeded, and unimportant. They have recently been joined by some pseudoconservative, pseudo-pro-military outlets such as the Air Force Magazine, the press organ of the Air Force Association.

Concurrently, for decades, Washington has carelessly and inexplicably neglected and underfunded the US nuclear deterrent, delaying its much-needed modernization until now, when the can cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

It is for THESE reasons, and not for the reasons the anti-military Left claims, that the US nuclear deterrent, or more specifically, its ICBM force, has witnessed a degrengolade in the last few years, with over 30 officers suspended or fired for cheating on tests (or tolerating cheating by others), a few others arrested for drug usage, and a two-star ICBM general punished for binge-drinking in Moscow.

It is precisely because of over two decades of unceasing leftist propaganda about the supposed obsolence and uselessness of the nuclear deterrent, unceasing Leftist attacks on it and proposals to cut or eliminate it outright, and because of over two decades of underfunding and neglecting the nuclear deterrent, that the ICBM force is showing such rot.

For over two decades, the nation has been (wrongly) telling the young men and women maintaining and operating America’s ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile subs that their mission doesn’t exist, their work doesn’t matter, and their tools of trade are useless (which, BTW, couldn’t be further from the truth). Guess what? Those young folks’ morale and motivation for work have collapsed – and consequently, so have their work ethic and standards.

As for drug and alcohol problems, these – like cheating on tests and tolerating cheating by others – are nothing but simple reflections of the American society as a whole. They’re commonplace in the entire US military – which is nothing but a reflection of the society it serves. And that society is, to be blunt, morally degenerate and rotten to the core.

Lexington Institute COO Loren Thompson, Ph.D., who taught nuclear deterrence issues at Georgetown some years back, says the ICBM force’s rot may have something to do with the forementioned dismissal and neglect of the nuclear deterrent.

Excuse me? It has EVERYTHING to do with that dismissal of the need for, and the neglect of, the nuclear deterrent.

The Real Causes of the ICBM Force’s Rot

The Air Force personnel who operate these missiles – the missileers – no longer feel appreciated, no longer believe their mission is vital, and thus, no longer feel the need to perform it to the best of their ability. And they know that these days, in an era of universal deceit, when the entire nation is deluding itself that it no longer needs nuclear weapons, being a missileer is a career killer.

This is a total contrast to the Cold War years, when the Air Force had a Strategic Air Command, controlling all of the nation’s ICBMs, bombers, tankers, and even some escort fighters. It was almost a shadow state within the Air Force, a powerful, awesome, and unstoppable military force all by itself, wielding far more ICBMs and bombers than the USAF does today.

On paper, it was just a part of the Air Force – but it was its most important component by far and THE crown jewel of all military commands. The dream of every missileer and bomber pilot during the Cold War was to end up commanding the SAC. SAC was not just a hugely important command in and of itself – several of its leaders, from Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay to John D. Ryan to Larry D. Welch – ended up serving as Chiefs of Staff of the whole Air Force.

Thus, the job of a missileer, and of a bomber pilot, carried enormous prestige and gave young officers great career prospects in the Air Force – up to and often including the top position in the USAF.

Leftist anti-nuclear hacks, such as Joe Cirincione and AP reporter Robert Burns, falsely claim that the ICBM force is rotten because it’s “an outdated command wielding outdated weapons” and that its mission no longer exists. The Air Force Magazine’s chief editor, Adam J. Hebert, has also falsely claimed that there is no clear or significant nuclear threat facing the US and that therefore further reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent are “inevitable.”

All of these are blatant lies.

Clear and Present Danger

The nuclear threats facing the US are clear, many, and grave, and thus the need for a large US nuclear arsenal is very real. In fact, that need is now greater than ever.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (of which at least 1,500 are operationally deployed right now, and the rest could also be deployed at any moment) and 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons – 6,800 nukes in total (the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates Russia’s nuclear arsenal even higher, at 8,800 weapons).

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-22M, Tu-160) can deliver well over 1,700; Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs can deliver another 1,400 to 2,000, depending on the missile type. On top of that, Russia has attack and cruise missile submarines also armed with nuclear-tipped missiles – all of which can also be delivered to the US, and Russian subs have, in recent months, indeed been prowling US territorial waters.

China has at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, according to General Viktor Yesin and Dr Philip Karber (the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under Ronald Reagan, the last time US nuclear policy was made by sane people). To deliver them, China has at least 87 (and probably many more) ICBMs, 6 ballistic missile submarines, 440 nuclear-capable aircraft, over 100 medium-range ballistic missiles, and over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles.

Neither Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals are at a standstill. Both are undergoing rapid modernization and expansion.

Russia intends to procure 400 new ICBMs and is currently developing three new ICBM types (the Sarmat, the Rubezh, and the Yars) as well as a pseudo-ICBM (really an IRBM) to evade INF Treaty limits. It has recently tested IRBMs in blatant violation of that treaty. It is also fielding two new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Layner and the Bulava, carrying 12 and 10 warheads, respectively), building a new ballistic missile submarine class, and developing a new long-range bomber, the PAK DA.

China is now procuring two new ICBM types (the DF-31A and DF-41), two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), building two new ballistic missile submarine classes, and developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber capable of hitting the CONUS, as well as two new, longer-ranged variants of its standard sub-launched missile, the JL-2, whose current range is 8,000-9,000 km; the Chinese want to extend that to 14,000 kms, which will allow their submarines to threaten all of the US while sitting in their homeports.

Not only do Russia and China wield large nuclear arsenals, they’re also quite willing to use them against those whom they perceive as weaker than them. Russia has threatened to aim or launch its nuclear weapons at America or its allies on at least 16 separate occassions in the last 16 years. It has recently deployed Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Poland’s borders. In the last 2 years, starting in May 2012, it has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic bombers close to and sometimes into US and allied airspace, and even that of neutral countries like Sweden – twice!

China has recently removed any mention of its former “no-first-use” policy from its defense policy papers, and in recent months, OFFICIAL Chinese state media, including the virulently anti-American Global Times, have posted maps of the US showing what deadly nuclear strikes could China unleash upon the US with its JL-2 and DF-31A missiles. Chinese state-owned media gleefully and openly commented on how many millions of Americans would die in Chinese nuclear strikes on the CONUS.

These are the principal adversaries America must confront and deter. No amount of “arms control” or smooth-talking or diplomacy will do. Only a large, diverse, powerful nuclear arsenal, operated by people whose mission is appreciated, can protect America against these threats.

On top of that, the US must also deter North Korea and Iran. The former already has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to the CONUS, the latter is well on its way to acquiring that capability.

In fact, the “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani openly claims that the West’s recent deal with Iran signed in  on the subject of the Iranian nuclear program is a “capitulation” to Iran by Western countries. (He’s actually right – the deal is nothing but a shameful surrender.)

Defending America’s Allies is in America’s Own National Interest

On top of that, the US must provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and friends around the world, from Canada, to Israel, to Persian Gulf allies, to Poland, to South Korea and Japan.

Many of these allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues cutting its nuclear arsenal. They cannot afford to, and will not, bet their security and their very existence on America breaking free of its “disarming ourselves will make us safer” delusion – or on such delusions and constant cuts in the US nuclear umbrella increasing their security.

Already, Saudi Arabia possesses DF-3 missiles bought from China and has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and 66% of South Koreans want their country to have its own nuclear deterrent. Japan is ready to develop one, too – it has a facility capable of producing enough material for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

That would make the nuclear proliferation problem much worse than it already is.

ICBMs Are Crucial – And Very Cheap

And as for ICBMs supposedly being obsolete and too expensive, they are anything but. They cost the DOD only 1.1 bn dollars to maintain and can, thanks to their large number (450, sitting in hardened siloes) absorb even large nuclear blows and still retaliate against an enemy. Only Russia or China could even attempt to destroy them. They have a readiness rate of 99% and can hit any target in the world.

They contribute mightily to nuclear deterrence and stability, and thus to US, allied, and world security.

If ICBMs are really “obsolete” and “expensive weapons, someone better tell that to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis!

Because all of them possess, and continue to develop and build, such weapons.

How To Restore Order And Excellence In The ICBM Force

So how to restore order and excellence in the ICBM force, and the broader nuclear force? That’s easy – it’s just that Washington politicians are unwilling to do so, and the advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament will be dead set against this. But this must be done nonetheless. US, allied, and global security depends on America taking the following steps:

1. Draw up a proper national defense strategy which will prioritize countering nation state threats, especially those posed by Russia, China, and North Korea, over all other aims, and will designate nuclear weapons as the primary means of deterring and defeating these threats – just like nuclear weapons occupy the central place in Russia’s current military doctrine.

2. Publicly proclaim that maintaining and revitalizing all three legs of the nuclear triad, as well as the warheads and the associated facilities, is and will be one of the DOD’s top priorities, and assign funding accordingly. (It will, in any case, cost only 6-7% of the total US military budget to modernize the nuclear deterrent, at between 31 and 35 bn dollars per year out of a 600 bn total military budget.)

3. Withdraw from the New START treaty and reject any calls for any further cuts in the US nuclear deterrent.

4. Publicly proclaim that any attack by Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran against the US or any of its allies, including Israel and its Persian Gulf allies, will result in a massive nuclear retaliation by the US.

5. Publicly proclaim that service as a missileeer and as a bomber pilot is a very noble and glorious service to the Nation and underline its importance to global security. Award medals for long, distinguished service in those roles.

6. Redesignate the Air Force’s Global Strike Command as the Strategic Air Command and restore the old SAC’s logo and motto. Give missileers and bomber pilots a clear, achievable career path to the positions of SAC Commander, AF Chief of Staff, and Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so that the job of a missileer and that of a bomber pilot will be a very attractive career (as it deserves to be), and not the career killer it currently is for missileers.

7. Strict discipline through punishments needs to be instituted across the entire military (not just the ICBM force), ESPECIALLY towards senior officers.

In sum, nuclear disarmament advocates’ claims are all blatant lies, as always. The need for a large nuclear deterrent, and for the US nuclear triad, is greater than ever because of the threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Advocates of America’s disarmament, in and out of government, have, however, been vehemently denying the existence of these threats, and inexplicably neglected the US nuclear deterrent. THIS is why that deterrent is wearing out – as is the morale and work motivation of USAF missileers.

Rebuttal of British “analysts” global power delusions

A British blogger has recently published a post on the ConservativeHome website wherein he claims, based on rubbish produced by two British pseudo-analysts, that Britain is a global power and the second most important country in the world.

The two pseudo-analysts he borrows his opinion from base their claim on utterly false “reasons.” They claim, inter alia, that the size of a country’s economy and population don’t matter, and that Russia’s and China’s militaries are inferior to those of Britain and France and have nothing but obsolete equipment and poorly trained troops.

All of this is utter garbage, and I’ll show you why.

Firstly, the Russian and Chinese militaries in fact wield very large quantities of modern weaponry – which is as good or, in some cases, even superior to British and French weapons. This is particularly true in the field of submarines, surface combatants, and missiles.

The Russian and Chinese Air Forces are equipped with hundreds of modern, highly-capable Flanker (Su-27/30/35/J-11/J-16) and MiG-29 Fulcrum jets, as well as almost 200 MiG-31 high-altitude interceptors in Russian service. They also have (individually) more tanker and airborne early warning aircraft than Britain or France have. Their ground forces have very modern and potent tanks (Type 98 and T-90), IFVs, APCs, and other ground weapons, and far more reliable rifles (Kalashnikovs) than the standard rifles of the British (SA80) and French (FAMAS) Armies.

The Russian and Chinese navies have large numbers of modern surface combatants such as the Sovremenny and Type 051/052 classes (the latter being called the Chinese Aegis but in fact being far more capable than the US Arleigh Burke, British Daring, or European Horizon class) and their various (Burevestnik, Gorshkov, Jiangwei, etc.) frigate classes. Both Russia and China also have an aircraft carrier, and both plan to build more of these. Both also operate ultra-quiet conventional and nuclear-powered submarines (e.g. the Kilo, Lada, Song, Yuan, Akula, Yasen, and Type 095 classes). China also has more than enough amphibious assault ships to invade Taiwan and any other island in the Western Pacific, and Russia has four modern French Mistral class amphibs on order.

Russia and China also have large quantities of air-, ground-, and sea-launched land-attack cruise missiles of the Kh-55, Kh-101/102, DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao families and the platforms to deliver them. They also possess thousands of supersonic Sunburn, Sizzler, and Yingji family anti-ship cruise missiles. One Sunburn or Sizzler would suffice to sink an American supercarrier. They also have thousands of short-range, and over a hundred medium-range, ballistic missiles (DF-11, DF-15, DF-21, DF-25, DF-3, DF-4, Iskander, Yars-M).

Moscow and Beijing both also wield potent ballistic missile defense systems, highly sophisticated and redundant Air Defense Systems (SA-11/17, S-300, S-400, HQ-9), dozens of anti-satellite weapons (which China has tested twice), laser weapons, and a class of arms that neither Britain nor France has or will ever have, and which even the US has only tested and not deployed – hypersonic Prompt Global Strike Weapons like the one China tested on January 9th. These will allow Moscow and Beijing to strike any target anywhere in the world within an hour or less – and the target would be unable to defend itself from such attack, for the missile would be way too fast (flying at 5 or more times the speed of sound!) to intercept.

And that is to say nothing of Russia’s and China’s large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals, Russia wielding 6,800 nuclear weapons and China between 1,600 and 3,000. Britain’s and France’s nuclear arsenals are so small (200 and 300 warheads, respectively) that both Russia and China could easily destroy these tiny, meager arsenals in a single preemptive strike. It is only because of the US nuclear umbrella that they haven’t done so. Britain’s entire nuclear deterrent consists of 4 ballistic missile submarines, only one of which is ever at sea – and given how noisy those submarines are, they would be quite easy to find. Russian ASW ships and aircraft would have no more trouble finding the single French ballistic missile sub on patrol.

Now, how do European militaries compare? With the partial exception of France, the less is said about European militaries – including that of Britain – the better.

Britain has no maritime patrol aircraft (the last ones, the Nimrods, have been retired, ostensibly on cost grounds), no aircraft carriers, no bombers, no conventional submarines, and no ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles. It has only 3 amphibious assault ships (one of which is due to be decommissioned in a few years), 7 attack submarines, 6 destroyers, and 13 frigates. That, plus the Antarctic patrol ship Endurance, 15 minesweepers, and auxiliaries, is basically all that’s left of Britain’s once-mighty Royal Navy.

The problems continue with the RAF and the British Army. They have only 160 fighters (all of them inferior to the Flankers), a dozen tankers, a few AWACS aircraft, 200 tanks, and a paucity of artillery pieces.

France’s military fares somewhat better. It has a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, two legs of a nuclear deterrent, deadly transonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and does have maritime patrol aircraft (Atlantique-2 and Falcon). Whenever its aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, sets sail, France can project power anywhere in the world.

But that capability is put on hold whenever the ship returns to port, and otherwise, France’s military has had serious trouble projecting power abroad, as recent French military operations have demonstrated. France is woefully short on tankers, AEW and transport aircraft, and even strike jets (and doesn’t have intercontinental bombers), as demonstrated by its recent ops in Libya and Mali – forcing France to rely on the US on these aircraft and munitions in both cases (except that the US refused to provide strike aircraft in Mali). Yet, the new French White Paper on Defense envisages even more cuts in all these categories of aircraft! The French Air Force is to have no more than 180 fighters and attack jets, and the Navy no more than 45!

In fact, the tragic weakness of the British, French, and other European militaries was revealed for the whole world to see in both Libya and Mali (as well as in Kosovo a decade earlier). European militaries had a shortage of strike, AEW, and tanker aircraft as well as munitions, forcing the US to fill the gap. In Libya, as in Kosovo 12 years earlier, the US had to fly not only the vast majority of combat missions, but also all the AEW, intel-surveillance-recon, and aerial refueling missions.

So no, Britain no longer has any global military capabilities and is absolutely not a global military power any longer.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Royal Navy admirals. The late Admiral Sandy Woodward, the man who recaptured the Falklands from the Argentines in 1982, said a few years ago that Britain could not repeat this feat today because of successive governments’ massive defense cuts. Rear Admiral Alan Massey, a former skipper of the now-decomissioned HMS Ark Royal, wrote in an official report in 2008 that the Royal Navy would struggle to repeat its role in the Iraq War! And that was in 2008 – BEFORE the Cameron government’s draconian defence cuts!

So not only is the British military tiny and poorly equipped, it can no longer project power beyond the region of Europe. Therefore, it is not a global military power in any sense of the word.

The two pseudo-analysts whose screed I’m refuting here claim that the UK and France have bases around the world and that makes them global military powers. Firstly, bases are useful only if you have something meaningful to project from them. Secondly, how many military bases does the UK have in North America? How many in East Asia? How many in Africa? How many in the South Pacific? How many in the Persian Gulf? That’s right – zero.

(France does have a number of bases in Africa, as well as some in the Persian Gulf, the South Pacific, the Carribean,  and the Indian Ocean. Once again, France’s military is a better position to project military power than Britain’s.)

So, despite those two British pseudo-analysts claiming that global power projection capabilities, and not raw numbers of tanks, planes, ships, and missiles, are meaningful metrics of military power, Britain has been found badly wanting on this criterion as well.

Moreover, size and quantity do matter, too – and far more than those British pseudo-analysts appreciate. A small or mid-sized country can, if it dedicates enough resources and uses them wisely, become very powerful in its own backyard and punch above its weight in that region. Israel and North Korea are examples of that.

But only big economic and military powers can exercise power GLOBALLY. Currently, only the US, Russia, and China can do that. These are the three most important countries in the world. Britain, France, and others simply do not have the size or the mass to exercise power on a global scale.

And contrary to those pseudo-analysts’ claims, size and quantity have mattered throughout history. They claim France never beat Britain in the 18th or 19th century, despite having a far larger populace and economy. But this is also utterly false: France did beat Britain handily in one war, namely, the American War of Independence. Without French aid, the American Revolution would’ve been quelled by 1780 (and it almost was), because the Americans simply didn’t have the critical mass to defeat the British at that time. Washington’s entire strategy was to keep fighting, or at least keep his army intact, until the French would intervene.

As for France’s eventual defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, it took several coalitions and over 15 years of fighting to accomplish that. And most of the heavy lifting was done by the continental armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria plus the Spanish guerillas. As Austrian Emperor Francis I said, “The English traffickers of human flesh. They pay others to fight in their place.”

This was after the battle of Austerlitz, where the Austrians and the Russians fought the French because the British Army was too inferior to do a one-on-one battle with the French. So a coalition was formed against France, and the UK government contracted a huge amount of debt to pay the Austrians and the Russians to fight Napoleon… and they still lost to the superior French army, by the way.

In fact, Britain was able to punch above its weight for over two centuries solely because of its mastery of diplomacy and coalition-making, as well as appreciation of the Royal Navy’s importance – all traits that the current UK government sorely lacks.

Throughout history, small and midsized countries have often put up fierce resistance in their independence’s defense, and have sometimes been able to punch above their weight (again, refer to Israel and North Korea). But only big countries with large economies, militaries, and populations can exert global military, economic, and geopolitical influence.

Last but not least, look at who has actually been geopolitically successful in the last two years: Russia and China. Russia has opened a port in the Med, deterred the US from atttacking Syria, sheltered Edward Snowden while daring the US to capture him, clawed Ukraine away before it could begin integrating with the West, bribed Ukrainian oligarchs with 17 billion dollars, set up bases in the Arctic, and tested IRBMs in defiance of the INF Treaty. China has tested a hypersonic global strike weapon and an ASAT missile, declared an ADIZ around the Senkakus and an exclusive fisheries zone around the Spratlys, and shielded Kim Jong-un from any consequences of his provocations while stealing tons of data from US weapon programs.

To sum up, only big heavyweights can exercise global power. Small and midsized countries cannot. And Britain, with its total lack of global military power projection capabilities, is most certainly NOT a global power in any sense of the word.

It’s time for the Brits to stop deluding themselves that the UK is a global power, when it isn’t.

Rebuttal of leftist lies about US tactical nukes in Europe

nukeexplosion

This week, a leftist group called the “Peterson Defense Advisory Committee”, an organization that advocates deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, will hold a meeting on Capitol Hill intended to propagandize members of Congress, their staffers, and the public into believing that US tactical nuclear weapons are no longer needed in Europe. By their own admission, they also advocate cutting the US nuclear arsenal, and particularly its tactical part, unilaterally.

This will be a treasonous act, as would be the cuts themselves. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further – let alone unilaterally – would be utterly suicidal. And cutting the tactical part would be especially idiotic. Here’s why.

US tactical nuclear weapons are the most visible part of America’s extended nuclear deterrent – the nuclear umbrella the US provides to itself and to over 30 allies around the world, from Britain to Poland, to Israel, to the Gulf States, to South Korea and Japan.

The majority of America’s small arsenal of 400 tactical nukes is deployed in Europe as a visible and tangible nuclear umbrella. These weapons could, of course, be redeployed to other allied countries to reassure them (e.g South Korea and Japan) as well – and indeed, over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes to be deployed on the Peninsula. Nothing reassures US allies more than the physical presence of US nuclear weapons on their soil.

Hardly surprising, then, that NATO UNANIMOUSLY reaffirmed the need for US tactical nukes’ presence in Europe in 2010 and 2012, that the Joint Chiefs unanimously support maintaining them there, and that President Obama does as well – his most recent nuclear weapons guidance strongly underlines the need for keeping US tactical nukes in Europe.

Why do America’s allies – European and non-European alike – want to be protected by these weapons, and indeed by the US military in general, so much?

Because they, like America, are facing very real military threats.

Europe is still living under the shadow of Russia’s nuclear threat, magnified in the last 14 by proud KGB thug and Russia’s dictator for life Vladimir Putin. In the last 7 years alone, Russia has threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against Europe and the US on 16 different occassions. Moreover, in its current military doctrine, Russia claims the right to use nuclear weapons first, even against countries that do not have such weapons!

And furthermore, Russia has repeatedly flown its nuclear-armed bombers close to, and sometimes into, the airspace of the US, allied countries, and even neutral countries like Sweden (twice!). In May 2012, when flying nuclear-armed bombers close to Alaska, the Russians declared they were “practicing strikes on the enemy” – their enemy being the US.

Russia has 4,000 nuclear weapons and the means to deliver all of them with a wide variety of systems, from strike aircraft like the Su-24, Su-27/30/35 Flanker and Su-34, to attack and cruise missile submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles, to surface ships, to artillery pieces, to IRBMs and SRBMs like the Iskander (SS-26 Stone), the latter recently deployed in the Kaliningrad District on Poland’s border. These missiles enable Russia to target all but the very southernmost part of Poland, one of America’s staunchest and most helpful allies.

America’s Middle Eastern and East Asian allies face very serious nuclear threats as well. Japan and South Korea live in the shadow of the Chinese and North Korean nuclear threats.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver at least 1,300 of them. Besides its strategic triad of ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and long-range bombers, China also has 280 tactical nuclear strike aircraft, over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, over 120 MRBMs, and hundreds of nuclear-capable cruise missiles such as the DH-10, CJ-10, and HN-3. These missiles and aircraft can strike anywhere in Japan, South Korea, and as far as Singapore, Indonesia, and Guam if need be.

North Korea has a much smaller nuclear arsenal, of a dozen or so warheads, and only a handful of ICBMs capable of reaching the US. But it has over 1,000 SRBMs and hundreds of MRBMs capable of reaching all of South Korea and Japan, and some of its MRBMs can even reach Guam! North Korea, moreover, is run by an extremely aggressive and warlike dictatorship led by a young man held hostage by a clique of warmongering generals.

Little wonder, then, that over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes back on the Peninsula, and 66.5% of them want South Korea to have its own nuclear deterrent as well. Or that Japan has a facility capable of producing enough plutonium for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

America’s Middle Eastern allies, meanwhile, are increasingly worried by the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, which the recent Munich-style deal will not even slow down, let alone stop. It codifies Iran’s purported “right” to enrich uranium and contains NO restrictions on its ballistic missiles!  Again, unless the US is prepared and willing to carry out massive, crippling bombings of Iran, it has no choice but to provide a credible nuclear umbrella to its Middle Eastern allies – and for that, tactical as well as strategic nuclear weapons are needed.

And the cost, which the PDAC and other leftist groups complain about? The cost of stationing the weapons abroad – the aircraft, bases, and maintenance – are covered by NATO allies. As for the cost of the warheads themselves, modernizing and prolonging the service life of the B61 tactical nuclear bomb will cost only 10 billion over the next decade – i.e. 1 billion per year, out of an annual military budget of 607 bn.

It is utterly false and ridiculous to claim the US cannot afford to invest just one billion dollars a year to maintain and modernize the most crucial part of its nuclear deterrent – that which constitutes its extended nuclear umbrella for its allies, reassures those allies, and is also the main armament of America’s own strategic bombers.

Shame on the PDAC and other leftist groups, as well as the Democrats, for lying so blatantly about US nuclear weapons and advocating unilateral cuts in these. They are traitors.

Rebuttal of Robert Gates and his BS book

Eagle- America Deserves Better

Today,  a book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will hit the stores. Already some parts of it have been released to the media, which, depending on their political preferences, have focused on the parts favorable or unfavorable to Obama and the Democrats.

But equally (if not more) important is Robert Gates’ disastrous tenure as Defense Secretary under both Presidents Bush and Obama, which, even before Obama’s arrival at the White House, began to sow the seeds of America’s military and thus geopolitical decline.

Crucial Platforms Killed On False Pretexts

Gates calls himself “a Defense Secretary at War”, even though he has never seen one day of combat, has never been deployed to a war zone, and spent his entire “career in the national security arena” as a bureaucrat in Washington, DC. Most of his book is about how he ran the disastrous and useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ll get to that later.

But first, let me tell you how Gates tried to pay for these utterly useless wars that he was singularly obsessed with: by killing the very weapons systems America needs now and will need in the future to deter and if necessary defeat China, Russia, Iran, and other potential aggressors.

Based on his singular obssession with Afghanistan and Iraq, his myopic shortsightedness, and his naive view of China and Russia, Gates killed over 50 crucial weapon programs based on the most idiotic of pretexts.

For example, he stopped the production of the F-22 fighter – the best jet fighter ever built – at a mere 187 copies, whereas the USAF had long said that at least 337 would be needed to maintain US air superiority and defeat advanced Russian and Chinese fighters, and despite clear evidence from experts such as those at the Air Force Association and Air Power Australia that ONLY the F-22 Raptor could meet that requirement.

Gates thus participated in the smear propaganda against the F-22, fired Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne and Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley (who advocated continuing its production), forced other Air Force F-22 advocates to retire, and advised Obama to veto any defense bill containing funding for F-22 production – a veto threat that sufficed to scare Congress into deleting that funding after it had already been authorized by the House Armed Services Committee, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the full House.

Gates also refused to buy the F-15 Silent Eagle – the newest version of the venerable and combat-proven F-15 Eagle equipped with the newest radar and IRST system, conformal (internal) weapon bays, and stealthy from the front. He put all of America’s airpower eggs into one basket – the utterly failed F-35 program – and killed virtually every alternative to it.

That decision has proven itself to be the most idiotic any defense secretary has ever made, for the F-35 is so well-known for its cost-overruns, delays, bugs, and giant weaknesses that there wouldn’t be enough space even in a dedicated article to list them all, or even to list all references to sources narrating them.

But those cost overruns, delays, bugs, and weaknesses were already well-known in 2009, when Gates killed the F-22 Raptor. Since then, of course, the F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program’s performance has dramatically deteriorated further: the cost overruns and delays have mounted, critical systems have been deleted from the F-35 to reduce cost, and allies are now balking at buying it and looking for alternatives. Which competitors like Dassault, EADS, Saab, and others are all too happy to provide.

(What is the difference between the F-22 and the F-35? The former was designed from the start to do one thing: achieve absolute air superiority. To that end, it is has a tiny radar signature to evade radar detection, is very fast and high-flying, is very agile and maneuverable, has the most powerful fighter radar in the world, and can carry 8 missiles in its stealthy mode – or 12 when enemy air defenses are down. By contrast, the F-35 is not truly stealthy, can carry only 4 missiles, is slow and low-flying, and is so heavy and unmaneuverable that jets from the 1960s could easily defeat it. It is useful neither for air to air nor air to ground combat. It’s not capable or survivable enough for high-tech environments, and is too expensive and overbuilt for counter-insurgency operations.)

The F-22 was but one of the many crucial weapon systems Bob Gates killed, thus leaving the US military unprepared for the current military competition with China and Russia. He killed the stealthy Zumwalt class of destroyers at just 3 ships, supposedly on cost grounds, but ignoring the fact that it was precisely the reduction of planned orders from 32 to 3 ships that caused the price to spike – because economies of scale were lost. He killed the AC-X gunship, a badly-needed replacement for the USAF’s Vietnam-era AC-130 gunships, and the EP-X electronic intelligence plane, a sorely needed replacement for the EP-3. He terminated C-17 production at 221 aircraft, claiming the USAF had ordered enough of these, when the USAF was actually so short on airlifters it had to rent Russian aircraft – at higher prices than what it would pay for BUYING more C-17s.

Most worryingly of all, Gates terminated the Multiple Kill Vehicle, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Airborne Laser programs in 2009. The MKV would’ve been a kinetic metal “warhead” designed to shoot down enemy missiles. It was to be kind of a defensive MIRV bus which would’ve released dozens of small “kill vehicles” that would’ve shot down lots of enemy ballistic missiles all at once. (Currently, a single kill vehicle from a single interceptor can kill only one enemy missile.) This would’ve solved the target discrimination problem missile defense critics often complain about – which among the missiles or warheads are real ones and which ones are duds would’ve been irrelevant, because ALL of them would be shot down.

The KEI and the Airborne Laser, for their part, would’ve enabled the US to shoot down enemy missiles in the earliest phase of their flight, when their countermeasures have NOT been deployed yet and their deadly payloads have not yet been released. In other words, when enemy missiles are the most vulnerable. This would’ve come in handy when countering any missiles, especially the hypersonic, high-speed global range missile recently tested by China (as reported by Bill Gertz in the WFB).

But America no longer has that option – because Secretary Gates terminated both of these programs in 2009, even though the ABL program, despite its infancy, was progressing well, having passed 3 out of its 5 tests before being terminated.

So when you read Bill Gertz’s articles in the WFB, the Washington Times, on Fox News, or elsewhere about China’s global range hypersonic missiles, remember America does NOT have defenses capable of stopping those missiles, and that is thanks to Obama and Gates.

Russian and Chinese threats on the horizon

But China’s development as a huge threat to US and allied security, and as a contender to replace the US as the world’s top military power, is nothing new. It was already evident during Gates’ tenure as SECDEF.

Already during Gates’ time, there already was strong evidence that China was closing most gaps with the US military and working to create its own unique advantages. There already was solid evidence China was working to overtake the US militarily and would achieve that objective absent US efforts to maintain an edge over Beijing. Yet, Gates harbored a desire to appease Beijing as well as to drive America deeper into useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So he ignored all that evidence, surpressed the truth and professional advice, lied to the American public, appeased Beijing with word and deed, and killed the very programs needed to counter the People’s Republic’s military buildup.

By 2009, China already had more attack submarines, and almost as many subs in total, as the US – and was steadily replacing old ones with new, ultra-quiet ones. It already had a large nuclear arsenal. It already had two stealth fighters under development. It already had almost as many ships in total as the US Navy, had deployed a dense and modern air defense network, already wielded thousands of missiles capable of targeting all US bases in the Western Pacific, already possessed anti-satellite kinetic and laser weapons, and already had hundreds of advanced fighter aircraft.

Russia was also busy building up its military, increasing its nuclear arsenal, and developing new, cutting edge weapons.

In 2010, Russia’s first stealth fighter, the PAK FA, first flew. This aircraft, when it enters service, will render EVERY fighter in the world except the F-22 Raptor impotent, irrelevant, obsolete, and useless. It will essentially be Russia’s response to the Raptor.

In January 2011, China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, took to the air – at exactly the time Gates was visiting China. The Gates Pentagon was caught completely by surprise by this development, even though those of us who were clear-eyed about the Chinese threat had been warning for years that the J-20 (J-XX) would soon perform its maiden flight.

At the same time, China and Russia were also protecting America’s enemies North Korea and Iran and shielding them from any consequences of their provocations and illegal nuclear programs.

Also, advanced Chinese and Russian weapons, including the forementioned fighters, will be available to anyone able to pay for them.

But whenever someone dared to call on the US to prepare itself for possible confrontations with China, Gates derided that person as ill with “next-war-itis”, and he ordered the DOD to limit itself to fighting useless “counter-insurgency” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under Gates, tens of billions of dollars were thrown away buying mine-resistant vehicles and nonstealthy, short-ranged, poorly armed drones like the Predator and the Reaper – which are useful only for fighting terrorists, but utterly useless against any nation state wielding any advanced weaponry.

Now that the Iraq war is long over, and the Afghan war is coming to an end, all those mine-resistant (MRAP) vehicles and drones will have to be sold to allies, stored, or scrapped.

Thanks to Gates, who stubbornly advocated staying in Afghanistan and Iraq almost indefinitely and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at them, the US is now dramatically worse off: well over a trillion dollars has been spent fighting those wars, billions more will be spent on caring for veterans of these wars, and over 5,400 brave US troops have died for no good reason.

While Gates attempts to portray himself as a man who stood by military uniformed leaders during crisis times, his tenure in the Pentagon was actually marked by an unrestrained use of political power to surpress the truth and professional military advice in order to fund Gates’ pet projects like the F-35, MRAP vehicles, drones, and, of course, the useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Enabling Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US

As Defense Secretary, Gates has greatly helped Obama gut the US military – and not just through the program killings listed above, but also through his advocacy of arms control agreements that obligate only the US to disarm itself.

Gates supported the treasonous New START treaty, which obligates the US (but not Russia) to cut its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal to just 1,550 warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems – and Obama envisions even more cuts, down to just 1,000 warheads. That will necessitate, among other things, cutting at least 30 ICBMs. Gates lied to the Congress that the treaty would’ve allowed the US to maintain a sufficient nuclear arsenal and, ridiculously, claimed it would “protect” US nuclear modernization programs, which it actually threatens. He and Hillary Clinton also lied to the Congress that the treaty does not constrain US missile defenses, which it actually does.

Gates also supported the Law of the Sea Treaty, which the Reagan Administration rightly rejected and which would’ve cost America its sovereignty, subordinating it to the corrupt UN and its kangaroo maritime dispute courts, and would’ve cost US taxpayers billions of dollars in new contributions to the wasteful, corrupt UN.

Final verdict: an Obama yes-boy and a traitor

Therefore, based on the above facts about Gates’ tenure as SECDEF, an honest person cannot assess him as anything else as an Obama yes-boy, a traitor, and an utter failure as Defense Secretary. No honest person, and especially no Republican, should give him credit for anything – he does not deserve it. Gates deserves, in fact, to be tried, convicted, and executed as a traitor.

The FY2014 NDAA: setting the record straight

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A few days ago, the Senate passed, by an 85-15 margin, the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill making policies for the US military on the whole range of military affairs, from sexual assault and military justice to equipment and foreign basing. As is the case every year, this one’s NDAA has been the subject of many lies, so I will refute some of them to set the record straight. I will also tell you what the good and bad news is, as far as the bill’s provisions go.

The bill authorizes, in total, $607 bn for the DOD and the DOE, that is, 3.97% of GDP. Less than four percent of America’s GDP and less than seventeen percent of the total federal budget. Yet, those facts have not stopped extremely leftist anti-defense hack William Hartung of the Soros-funded “Center for International Policy” from lying blatantly that this bill supposedly proves that “defense hawks live in their own alternate reality, with no fiscal constraints.”

But then again, no facts have ever stopped Hartung from lying blatantly on any issue, so it’s not surprising. In any case, it is utterly idiotic and ridiculous to claim that a bill authorizing the expenditure of less than 4% of the nation’s GDP and less than 17% of its federal budget – and much less money than was authorized just 2 years ago – is one unconstrained by fiscal realities or that its craftors “live in their own alternative reality.” The one who lives in his own alternative world is Hartung.

The Soros-funded anti-defense hack makes such claims on the grounds that the bill is $30 bn above the sequester’s defense spending caps. But the sequester’s caps were always woefully too low to begin with, requiring defense spending cuts that – as has been proven by all non-leftist entities and analysts – will gut the US military if not repealed soon. The sequester should’ve never been created in the first place, plain and simple.

TCS President Ryan Alexander, for her part, falsely claims that the bill allegedly continues to authorize gargantuan amounts of money on weapons procurement spending, when it only authorizes $98 bn (less than one sixth of the total) for that purpose. $98 bn is a paltry amount, especially considering the DOD’s vast personnel and O&M costs.

In addition, Alexander objects to any expenditure on the F-35, the LCS, and the Abrams tank.

The F-35 is a deeply flawed airplane and the LCS a deeply flawed warship, that much is true. But they are the only strike jets and small surface combatants, respectively, currently being developed or procured by the USAF and USN, respectively. These services have absolutely no alternatives at all… unless they resume F-22, F-15, and Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate production, respectively. Which they do not intend to.

As for the Abrams tank, Alexander claims the DOD didn’t want the additional tanks and objects to any money being spent on them. But after over 12 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Abrams tanks have been worn out or damaged, some beyond economical repair. Moreover, the Abrams production line needs to be kept open to maintain crucial industrial capacity and skills – which will be lost of it is closed before Ground Combat Vehicle production begins in 2017 (as the Army foolishly wants to do). The skilled workers who produce and maintain the Abrams tank will leave the defense sector and find high-paying jobs elsewhere – and they won’t come back in 2017 – if the line is closed before then. So a skilled workforce would be lost forever.

Independent research has shown that keeping the Abrams production line open before GCV production begins would actually cost taxpayers LESS in the long term than closing it prematurely. If Alexander were TRULY concerned about taxpayers’ money, she’d be campaigning for keeping the line open.

By the way, we often hear claims that weapon systems should be terminated because “the Pentagon doesn’t want them.” In fact, in 99% of all cases, this is just a pathetic excuse by the opponents of a strong defense – the unilateral disarmament lobby – to kill crucial weapon systems they don’t like when a leftist, anti-defense administration (like the current one) is in power.

In any case, their argument is completely indefensible and irrelevant, because what the Pentagon wants is of little relevance. Why? Because the Constitution says so.

The Constitution assigns the SOLE responsibility for maintaining, equipping, clothing, feeding, paying, compensating, and caring for the military to the CONGRESS, not to the DOD, the generals, the individual services, or the President. It is solely the responsibility of the Congress. The military’s uniformed leaders may, and should, provide their expert advice. They, the DOD as a whole, and the President, may PROPOSE measures they deem necessary or beneficial. But it is the sole prerogative (and duty) of the CONGRESS to make those decisions. See Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution:

“The Congress shall have power… to raise and support Armies; but no appropriation of money for that purpose shall be for a term longer than two years;

… to provide and maintain a Navy…”

Similar provisions exist in Art. I, Sec. 8 WRT providing and maintaining military bases, having jurisdiction over them, providing for a military justice system, and maintaining and equipping the militia.

Nowhere in the Constitution is any such responsibility assigned to the Executive Branch.

I repeat: decisions on what the US military should be equipped with and what should it procure are to be made solely by the Congress, NOT the Executive Branch. And the DOD doesn’t have a monopoly on being right on those issues.

Consider that, for example, the Senate (specifically, Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia) forced the Air Force to buy more F-117s than it wanted, and Congress also ordered the military to arm its Predator drones (which were initially completely unarmed). Those decisions proved, in 20/20 hindsight, to be 100% correct.

The old “weapons the Pentagon doesn’t want/didn’t ask for” meme is a mere excuse used frequently by anti-defense organizations – such as TCS and POGO – to argue against crucial weapon systems the military does need but which the Pentagon – under political orders from the President, who controls it – has not requested. (Remember: the DOD is an agency controlled exclusively by the President. DOD leaders, military and civilian, tell Congress only what the President allows and orders them to say, and are forbidden to say anything contrarian to the President’s line.)

Now, WRT specifics, what are the good and bad provisions of the NDAA?

First, the good news:

1) The overall amount of funding is adequate ($607 bn), yet still very modest in proportion to America’s GDP (3.97%) and the total federal budget (less than one sixth, i.e. less than 20%). The NDAA, if the levels of funding it authorizes are actually appropriated, will restore funding for readiness, including flight hours, tank miles, and ship steaming days. Whether that funding is actually appropriated, though, is doubtful – even under the new budget deal passed recently by Congress, it will not be.

2) It authorizes $9.5 bn for missile defense programs, ranging from new radars to studies on East Coast Missile Defense to cooperation with Israel. It also prohibits Obama from transferring sensitive missile defense tech to Russia and from allowing Russia to set up radar, satnav, and targeting centers in the US (!).

3) It restricts, though not completely eliminates, Obama’s ability to implement the treasonous New START treaty and to eliminate ICBM squadrons.

4) It fully funds the Long Range Strike Bomber, Virginia class, X-47 UCLASS, and cybersecurity programs crucial to countering A2/AD threats.

5) It continues to prohibit Obama from transferring Gitmo detainees to the US.

6) It authorizes some funding for the hardening of base infrastructure at Guam (though it isn’t clear how much and for what infrastructure).

Now, the bad news:

1) This is only an authorization bill, not a budget or appropriations bill. So the actual amounts of money the DOD will be allowed to spend will be determined by the Budget Control Act and the recent Ryan-Murray deal, not by the NDAA. Which means the DOD will have a lot less to spend than the NDAA allows.

2) The NDAA prohibits many crucial personnel cost reforms, including badly needed reforms to the military’s unaffordable health programs like TRICARE – the premiums for which are tens of times lower than for civilian federal workers or for private sector workers, and which covers “children” up to the age of 26. Without these  crucial reforms, personnel cost will consume all of the military budget by FY2039.

3) It prohibits the DOD from even requesting or planning for, let alone conducting, a new base closure round – even though the DOD has many more bases and much more space than it needs.

4) It doesn’t completely prohibit Obama from implementing New START or cutting the US nuke arsenal further.

5) It doesn’t authorize money for the actual construction of an East Coast missile defense site – thus continuing to leave the EC unprotected against ballistic missiles.

6) It does not authorize the Navy to reduce its carrier fleet, even though aircraft carriers are relics of the past and terribly vulnerable while being grotesquely expensive (America’s next aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn when completed). Indeed, it legitimizes the Navy’s continuing obsession with hyper-expensive and tragically vulnerable aircraft carriers and neglect of the submarine fleet, surface combatants, an ASW and demining platforms and skills.

7) It does nothing to increase the procurement of crucial ASW assets like P-8 Poseidon planes and sonars, or to reinstate the S-3 Viking ASW a/c into service, nor to add minesweeping assets to the Navy, nor to develop reliable anti-cruise missile defense systems.

8) It does not fund the MEADS program, even though the recently successfully-tested MEADS is far, far more capable than Patriot can or ever will be, even with expensive upgrades.

All in all, it’s not a bad bill, but it’s not a good bill, either. Basically, Congress needs to develop its own cadre of defense analysts and assert its Constitutional powers in writing America’s defense policy much more forcefully.

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