Connecting a Few Geo-Political Dots


Remember back in the immediate post 9/11/2001 world there was considerable discussion about how the government failed to connect intelligence dots that may have prevented the carnage of the 9/11 suicide missions against the US.

Here’s some dots that in todays world seem to be begging for connection lest we lurch into a period of substantial national and world chaos.

The dots?

First Dot — The national debt. looking back a few years we have Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warning that the ballooning national debt represents the most serious national security threat the US faces.

Here’s some of his reasoning:

“ … And the reason I say that is because the ability for our country to resource our military — and I have a pretty good feeling and understanding about what our national security requirements are — is going to be directly proportional — over time, not next year or the year after, but over time — to help our economy.

“That’s why it’s so important that the economy move in the right direction, because the strength and the support and the resources that our military uses are directly related to the health of our economy over time.” … .”

And more …

“ … Actually the way I said it was — and I still believe this — that it’s the single biggest threat to our national security. Obviously it’s complex, but the way I looked at it, if we didn’t get control of our debt, there would be continued loss of confidence in America.

I was in the military for over 40 years, and one of the principles I kept with me was that there’s an expectation globally that the U.S. will lead. Questions about that expectation have certainly risen in recent years. The fact that there’s even a question about that is worrisome to me, and I think needs to be for a lot of people. … .”

So what does this mean in terms of American military strength?

As the national debt continues to rise we would expect to see less of the tax base available for maintaining the military in an increasingly dangerous world. We now have close to 20 trillion dollars in debt … and what do we have to show for it? A diminishing and hollowed out military capability reminiscent of the Carter years when much of our naval aviation capability was grounded for lack of fuel and spare parts. 

Next Dot – A Hollowed  Out Military.

Defense budget cuts are now showing up as illustrated by this recent report on the mission status of Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter bomber fleet.

“ … Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolinas this week.

Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy. … .”

If you spread this Marine situation across all the services and then refer back to Adm. Mullen’s  concerns about American leadership and world confidence in that leadership, it becomes very disturbing for the near term future — especially as potential and actual belligerents such as Russia, China, Iran and others are increasing their military presence and threats around the world. 

And finally we come to an extensive analysis of the stability of the world through the eyes and studied wisdom of historian and commentator Victor Davis  Hanson – yet another dot to connect.

Next Dot — The De-Stabilization of the World.

I’ll let Hanson’s words flesh out this final dot.

“ … In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier warned Adolf Hitler that if the Third Reich invaded Poland, a European war would follow.

Both leaders insisted that they meant it. But Hitler thought that after getting away with militarizing the Rhineland, annexing Austria, and dismantling Czechoslovakia, the Allied appeasers were once again just bluffing.

England and France declared war two days after Hitler entered Poland.

Once hard-won deterrence is lost, it is almost impossible to restore credibility without terrible costs and danger. … .”

Note well the final words in this snippet from Professor Hanson Once hard-won deterrence is lost, it is almost impossible to restore credibility without terrible costs and danger.” ________

Are we on the brink of terrible costs and danger because of a national disregard for the lessons of history – or worse, a general and willful ignorance of those lessons?

 

Don Johnson – May 2016

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