Russia and China play the 'long game' while Obama dithers
Years ago, I had to walk through the Tenderloin district of San Francisco at 5:00 a.m. each morning to get to work. From Wiki, “The Tenderloin is a high-crime neighborhood, particularly violent street crime such as robbery and aggravated assault. Seven of the top ten violent crime plots (out of 665 in the entire city as measured by the San Francisco Police Department) are adjacent plots in the Tenderloin and Sixth and Market area.” I needed to project an image of strength each morning or face getting robbed or knifed. My solution was to purchase a rifle case with brown leather straps and bright brass hardware. No rifle, just the case and a broomstick. The beat cops stopped me the second morning, and were amused to say the least. They happily spread the word that I was sharpshooter who practiced at night, and suggested to the neighborhood thugs that perhaps I was also armed with more than just a rifle. In the following 16 months, while carrying that rifle case each morning, I never had a single incident.
Valdimir Putin long ago decided that Russia needs some additional lebensraum, living space. So, using the old chestnut of ethnic strife as a cover, Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, an autonomous parliamentary republic within the Ukraine, a sovereign nation. This modern day Anschluss harkens back to the late 1930’s, when the Nazi’s were gobbling up slices of other nations, like Czechoslovakia, without firing a shot.
What role will the United States play in this Kabuki theater of appeasement? None. America, the former planetary superpower of the later half of the 20th century, will not even make an appearance onstage. We simply do not have the military capability, much less any national leadership, to deal with an old-fashioned “Cold War” crisis in a meaningful way.
From Jed Babbin in the Washington Examiner we read:
Release of the 2014 Pentagon budget should have been an epiphany for America's allies and enemies
It continued the process of reducing America's military to pre-World War II size, but -- as we can infer from the remarks of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel -- there's some sort of strategic realignment close at hand.
Inklings of that realignment were detected before Hagel made his announcement. When President Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that he shouldn't invade Ukraine, there was a faint echo of the “red line” he drew for Putin in Syria.
The Russian strongman probably smiled at Obama’s warning, remembering the “red line” Syria crossed so quickly with no response from Washington.
How Putin will react to Hagel’s announcement can be predicted: content, bordering on gleeful.
In his Monday press conference Hagel said, “You [the United States military will] have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes. Readiness is not the same standard. Of course there’s going to be risk.”
Obviously, Obama, Secretary of Defense Hagel or any one else in this Administration never had to risk walking through San Francisco’s Tenderloin before dawn.
America is entitled to know just what risks Hagel’s cuts — really, Obama’s — produce. Hagel will, probably, in early March, go to the Capitol to testify on the budget.
On Monday, Hagel also said that we could afford a smaller military if we retained our technological edge and the agility to respond anywhere on the globe.
What he didn’t say is how that can be possible with the cuts he and the president plan. There is no evidence that we are investing in the people and weapon systems that will assure us of that capability in three, five or 10 years hence. [Emphasis added]
In 2012, before being muzzled by his political bosses, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the defense spending cuts imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act (called “sequestration”) would cause the United States to be reduced from its superpower role in the world.
From Obama’s diplomacy, which continues to alienate allies and delight enemies, and his strong support of military budget cuts, it appears he’s eager for America to fall from superpower to also-ran.
Russian, Chinese and Iranian military planners must also be doing the math, calculating the risk, as we continue to slash our military capabilities. Not for a direct invasion of the United States, but for ringing the US with a set of interlocking military bases to project their naval and air power superiority into Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
The Russians and Chinese political leadership are adept and patient players of the “long game” of accumulating bloodless military victories. Make no mistake, isolating and eventually destroying the United States is still their end game; a simple fact that Obama publically ignores and personally embraces.