President Trump just stopped a very bad idea
It was just announced that President Trump told the nation of Turkey: No F-35s for you. It was a brilliant move by a commander-in-chief who anticipates threats to U.S. fighting forces and acts decisively.
“We are now telling Turkey ... we're not going to sell you the F-35 fighter jets,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting.
The very good news is president has total strong bipartisan support.
“On a strong bipartisan basis, Congress has made it clear that there must be consequences for [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s] misguided S-400 acquisition,” according to a statement from Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
If the saying that the past is prologue is correct, I was very concerned, almost a decade ago, about very deadly training engagements between the Turkish Air Force and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force. In fact, the Sri Lanka Guardian newspaper reprinted my comments, made nine years ago, about the Turkish government making a very bad move in doing joint training with the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force as a NATO Ally
Ed Timperlake, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and former Pentagon technology security official, said allowing the Chinese Air Force to exercise with a NATO ally posed security risks. He said: 'The Turkish Air Force helping the PLAAF to see NATO combat tactics and training is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff." He said the exercises and Turkey's warming relations with neighboring Iran should lead the Pentagon to rethink its decision to sell the new F-35 jet to Turkey
That article was based on ever brilliant, ahead-of-the-curve reporting by Bill Gertz. He nailed the Obama administration at the time for doing nothing about a NATO ally giving away critical aerial war fighting tactics that are global state-of-the art. U.S. fighter pilot tactics are always dynamical perfecting on our combat rangers at Nellis (USAF), Yuma (USMC) and Fallon (USN) the skills to kill all enemies. To allow visibility into operational training tactics and procedures, bought at our cost and blood, to the ever modernizing Peoples Republic of China’s Air Force is simply not acceptable.
“‘You fight like you train’ is a saying from Top Gun school,” Mr. Timperlake said. “The Turkish air force helping the PLAAF to see NATO combat tactics and training up close and personal is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff.”
Recently the Committee on the President Danger China was announced. Many many very capable and dedicated American patriots, having served in senior national security and foreign policy positions, along with prominent bestselling authors, reporters and Chinese human rights activists all came together with unity of purpose to ring the famous “Fire Bell in the Night” about the ever increasing threat posed by the Peoples Republic of China.
It is a very timely and important effort, as the most recent Capitol Hill Round Table shows.
At the Committee launch I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes to express our war winning capabilities honed to victory with the ever improving technology, training and tactics perfected on our rangers as the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine forces practice how to fight and win.
This is specifically why I was warning about joint Turkish and Chinese aerial training almost a decade ago. Such skills are robust but also very fragile and the less an enemy sees the better.
Consequently if the Turks had both the F-35 and also Russian advanced surface to air missile technology, that would allow tactical and strategic visibility into the strengths and weakness of both systems. Consequently, tactics would be developed and Russian SAM technology improvements seen against the F-35 and would be shared with the Chinese. This double bounce of technology-sharing was stopped just in time by President Trump's command decision.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devante Williams // public domain