America, America Imperialism, Barack Obama, China, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Laser Weapon System (LaWS), Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), NATO, Naval Warfare Systems, New START Treaty, Pacific pivot, Proxy Wars, Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), Russia, USS Zumwalt, World War lll
The Logic of Imperial Insanity and the Road to World War III
In the late 1990s Brzezinski wrote up the design for America’s imperial project in the 21st century in his book, “The Grand Chessboard.” He stated bluntly that, “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”
No continent is safe, it seems. America and its NATO cohorts are undertaking a seemingly insane foreign policy of dramatically accelerating overt and covert military imperialism. This policy seems to be headed for an eventual confrontation with the rising eastern powers, in particular China, but potentially India and Russia as well. China and America, specifically, are headed on an imperial collision course: in East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The competition for access to resources is reminiscent of ‘The Great Game’ of the 19th century, of which Afghanistan was a central battlefield.
After years of military spending gains have boosted the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) faster than many defense analysts expected, casting a shadow over relations between China sparking doubts about long-term prospects for the US presence in the Pacific.
The Obama administration’s Asian pivot strategy is being challenged directly by Beijing. Effectively China is signaling the US to stay out.
A Key issue that is being challenge is of managing the uneasy relationship with China, the US’s # 2 trading partner and an emerging rival for global influence.
For almost three years, Obama has sought to reorient US foreign policy toward the Asia-Pac region after more than 10 yrs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Though the US president says the change is not aimed at “containing China,” Obama administration officials recently toughened their response to “China’s muscular foreign policy.”
While budgets may be cut elsewhere, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “both President Obama and I remain committed to ensuring that any reductions in U.S. defense spending do not come at the expense of America’s commitments in the Asia-Pacific,” where they have said 60 percent of U.S. air and naval assets will be based by 2020.
Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, told an Australian audience on 9 April, “I am concerned by the aggressive growth of the Chinese military, their lack of transparency, and a pattern of increasingly assertive behavior in the region.”
The statements signaled mounting US alarm following China’s establishment of an “Air Defense Identification Zone” (East China Sea), which overlapped with Japanese and South Korean airspace.
China’s growing strength in recent years has spawned a number of territorial conflicts. The most serious involve uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls as the Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu Islands.
staged proxy war?
Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2014 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.
This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 24th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 26 to August 1, 2014, with an opening reception scheduled for June 26 and closing reception August 1. Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States are also participating.
RIMPAC is a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
These different advantages and disadvantages may mean that a force may have to operate or move through more than one domain.
Russia may be on the point of walking out of a major cold war era arms-control treaty, Russian analysts have said, after President Obama accused Moscow of violating the accord by testing a cruise missile.
There has been “evidence” at least since 2011 of Russian missile tests in violation of the 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, which banned US or Russian ground-launched cruise missiles with a 500 to 5,500-mile (805 to 8,851km) range. But the Obama administration has been hesitant until now of accusing Moscow of a violation in the hope that it could persuade Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to stop the tests or at least not deploy the weapon in question, known as the R–500 or Iskander.
The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s much needed intervention in Ukraine.
In raising the issue now, the U.S. appears to be placing increased pressure on Russia and trying to further isolate it from the international community. The European Union and the United States plan to announce new sanctions against Russia this week in the face of U.S. allegations that Russia has continued to assist “separatist” [NATO] forces in Ukraine.
Obama, who has made nuclear disarmament a key foreign policy aim, has little interest in having Russia pull out of the treaty altogether. Obama won Senate ratification of a New START Treaty, which took effect in February 2011 and requires the U.S. and Russia to reduce the number of their strategic nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 by February 2018.
Obama last year announced that he wants to cut the number of U.S. nuclear arms by another third and that he would “seek negotiated cuts” with Russia, a goal now complicated by the accusation of a missile treaty violation.
The Obama administration has informed Congress and U.S. allies of its decision to seek Russian compliance.
A senior defense official who briefed reporters on the plan and its rationale said “the Pentagon had never before structured its Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force with a substantial number of missiles in standby status.” The official spoke under Pentagon ground rules that did not permit her name to be used.
“This decision appears to have more to do with the administration surrendering to the ICBM caucus (in Congress) than with strategic considerations about national security,” he said in an email exchange.
Keeping all 450 silos meant the Pentagon had to make steeper reductions in the Navy’s sea-based nuclear force in order to comply with the New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), by 2018.
The Navy has 14 Ohio–class submarine armed with missiles but only 12 will count as deployed because two will be undergoing long-term maintenance at a given time during the 10-year life of the New START treaty. The Navy is embarking on a multibillion-dollar program to build a replacement for the current fleet.
The other “leg” of the U.S. nuclear force, the Air Force strategic bombers, will be trimmed from the current deployed total of 93 to 60, with an additional six available in a non-deployed status. The 60 will comprise 19 B-2 stealth bombers and 41 B–52 Stratofortress heavy bombers.
Thus the administration will remain within the New START limit of 700 deployed strategic nuclear weapons with 400 ICBMs, 240 sub-launched missiles and 60 bombers.
Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START: Russia already is well below the 700-deployed weapon limit; at the most recent reporting period, last October, Russia had 473; the U.S. had 809.
The Obama administration spent months trying to figuring out how to apportion the reductions required to comply with the New START treaty. In the meantime, the ICBM force came under heavy scrutiny for a variety of problems, including low morale, leadership failures and investigations over exam-cheating and drug use among launch officers.
Some question the value of retaining ICBMs, although President Barack Obama has committed to keeping them as part of the nuclear “triad” of forces that can be launched from land, sea and air. In addition to the 450 ICBM silos currently in use, the Air Force has four at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. They will remain.
U.S. leads the way to war:
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy will send new stealth destroyers, littoral combat ships and an amphibious ready group to the Pacific, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Monday, reiterating the U.S. commitment to its military “pivot” to the region.
“The rebalance to the Pacific is real,” Mabus told sailors gathered at Yokosuka’s Fleet Theater for an all-hands call.
President Barack Obama announced plans for the Pacific pivot as the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan were “winding down.” But conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Gaza have since heated up, raising questions about the “best use of forces” amid dwindling military budgets. Obama reassured Pacific allies of his support during a recent visit against a backdrop of Chinese expansionism and North Korean threats.
“We are sending our newest and most modern platforms to the Pacific,” Mabus said. “What the Navy and Marine Corps give is presence … to reassure allies, deter potential adversaries and be ready for whatever comes over the horizon.”
The first of three new stealth destroyers — the $3.3 billion USS Zumwalt — is under construction, and two more ships in its class will follow. Mabus told the sailors, “We don’t know exactly where we are going to put them,” he said, but added, “at least some of these will come to the Pacific.”
Mabus arrived in Japan fresh from a visit last Thursday to the USS Independence, the second littoral combat ship to be commissioned, while it participated in exercises off Hawaii.
The ships, designed to operate in shallow waters, can be configured for a range of missions such as mine clearing, anti-submarine warfare and surface combat.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in February that the Navy would not contract for any more than 32 littoral combat ships, 20 less than the Navy planned for. The LCS has come under criticism in recent years for its lighter armament and lower survivability standard than some of the larger ships currently in the fleet.
However, Mabus told the sailors: “The LCS is going to be one of the most crucial ships we have.”
Four of the ships will deploy to Singapore, he said, noting that the ships can travel “way faster than 40 knots” and access more places in the Pacific than other vessels.
The $800 million cost for each of the first experimental versions of the LCS has dropped drastically to about $350 million each, he said.
“We can afford these, and we can buy a lot of them,” he said.
The next LCS to deploy to Singapore will be the USS Fort Worth, which is the same type of vessel as the Freedom. It’s expected to deploy later this year for 16 months after it completes operational tests.
Mabus said also that the Navy will send an additional amphibious ready group to the Pacific.
There is already one such group in Japan comprised of thousands of sailors and Marines based on Okinawa and at Sasebo.
“The Navy also plans to add 1,000 more sailors to its ranks of cyber warriors in the next few years,” he said.
However, this turns out to be another false claim made by the U.S.
A hacker group called CyberBerkut claimed responsibility for the attack it said, in a statement, was intended to protest NATO involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. CyberBerkut attacks were linked to computers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, NPR reported.