Saturday, June 6, 2015

War This Summer?

(Image by Michael Ramirez)
 
The day after Memorial Day, (the Unofficial Start to Summer for us Americans), a NATO official expressed concern that we'll probably be at war this summer

The mainstream media has ignored this comment, along with all the other bad news swirling in and around the Ramparts of Civilization.

One of my on-line friends gave this keen and succinct analysis of how events may unfold:

There are a few people who get this.  Not enough, but a few.

I've been bleating about this like Churchill in the 30's (with neither the wit nor the audience), but the world is coming to a crisis/inflection point.  I had been thinking 2016 would be the year, but I am starting to think it will be this year, much as the NATO quote indicates.  The danger is in multiple, overlapping crises.  The three hot spots are pretty obvious - South(maybe also East) China Sea, Middle East, and Eastern Europe.  They very well may erupt near simultaneously.  Or when one erupts, bad actors in the other two will take advantage of U.S. distraction to make a bold move. All of this is predicated on a perception of weakness and lack of will in the U.S.  Our feckless president and his awful foreign policy is a huge part of it, but not the only part.  Congress' inability to do anything coherently is also part of it, and also feeds our budgetary mess, which our enemies have noted (i.e. sequestration).  Our lack of coherent military strategy (both in regional fights we're still in, as well as the overarching one from the QDR of "try to win one fight, and hope we can hold out in a second") is part of it. Our preoccupation with stupid internal domestic issues is part of it. But also part of it, at least for Russia and China, is almost certainly that they also perceive their own weaknesses.  Russia is weakening by the day.  China may be heading towards a serious internal snap.  The Middle East is just plain falling into a civil war within Islam, with a looming threat of nuclear proliferation.
 
None of the three big enemies (Russia, China, Iran) can hope to take on the U.S.  However, regionally, each has a chance to do so utilizing their A2/AD [Anti-Access/Area Denial] capabilities, especially if the U.S. is preoccupied in other theaters.  Given that Obama is going to be out in a year and a half, they very well may decide that this gives them a window to achieve their goals, each of which is regional domination.  While they will not likely conduct combined operations, they very well may all coordinate their actions in a timing sense to maximize stress on the U.S. response.  After all, each of the three already has close ties with one another.  All are united in a desire to break the world system that was created and benefits the U.S.  and, we can expect no appreciable help from our allies, except maybe Japan.  Everyone else has moved into some sort of post-reality 21st Century mindset that Kellogg-Briand is still in effect and there's nothing to worry about. 
 
If Russia or China can create facts on the ground, an incoming POTUS is going to have little choice but to live with them.
 
Dark days ahead, but at least this is going to be a world war only in the sense of geography.  The level of destruction is not going to be like WW2 or anything like that, unless things really go off the rails (once again, back to the NATO comment on nukes).  Still, I'd not want to be living in the Middle East, Poland, the Baltics, Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, etc. right now.
 
Note:  I left out North Korea intentionally. If something were to happen there, it would be a mini-Armageddon on the peninsula but it would be its own thing and would likely be the end of North Korea anyway.  Of course, a war with China might motivate them to prod a war in Korea to further distract the U.S. and tie up much of our allied capability in the Pacific.
 
He ended with this advice, which seems applicable on this 71st Anniversary of D-Day:
 
Keep your powder dry.

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