Monday, January 05, 2015
Forum: What Do You See As The Greatest Strategic Threat America Faces Today?
Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: What Do You See As The Greatest Strategic Threat America Faces Today?
Simply Jews: I would say it is Chinese economic (and, in its steps) military expansion. The way to counter it is in reviving US economy and US economic presence all over the world. Starting with South America, where China, Iran and similar regimes are making inroads.
The Razor: The greatest strategic threat to America continues to be an internal one. External forces, whether it’s Great Britain, Japan or al-Qaeda always serve to unite us when they attack. It’s the internal threats that are particularly worrisome.
To say this threat is the modern American Left would be a mistake. The Left is as fractured and splintered on important and not-so-important issues as the Right is, and there are many on the Left wing who do not seek to undermine American society and instead want to strengthen it.
But there is a strain of Leftism that is quite dangerous. It is a nihilistic strain that blames America for all the world’s ills and sees America as History’s greatest villain. A leading thinker of this strain continues to be Noam Chomsky who has acolytes in the media such as director Oliver Stone and actor Sean Penn. These white men have allied themselves with some particularly odious characters such as Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. Ironically these men have profited from their views while living in the very society they seek to destroy. Chomsky hasn’t given up his comfortable life in Massachusetts for Pyongyang, and Oliver Stone hasn’t quit Hollywood for Moscow, yet that hasn’t stopped them from condemning their own society while extolling the virtues of despotic regimes.
Ideologies exist on a multi-dimensional spectrum, and the Right has its racist paleoconservatives just as the Left has its moonbats. But the difference is that the Left hasn’t rejected their crazies the way the Right has been forced to do. Rep. Steve Scalise made front page news when it was reported that he spoke before a white nationalist conference in 2002. What didn’t make the front page was the fact Scalise spoke to a different, non-racist group within the same hotel at that time. Meanwhile anti-Semites like Al Sharpton, Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson continue to be embraced by the Left just as Chomsky and his minions are. The Left has not purged itself of the crazies the way the Right has, most notably William F. Buckley jr’s purges of the 1950s and 1960s that created modern American conservatism.
Just as the Aryan Nations seeks to create a new America without minorities, Leftists like Chomsky seek to create a world without America. They therefore actively undermine American efforts both internally and externally whenever possible, thereby increasing the suffering of both Americans and those they wish to help such as Ukraine, where Oliver Stone recently stated his support for Vladimir Putin’s partition of the country.
Russia is not the danger to the US. The condoning of Oliver Stone’s statements by the silence of the Left is far more dangerous. Such silence increases the likelihood of war between the US and Russia. It also encourages our enemies to see America as a “paper tiger,” the greatest historical fallacy America’s enemies have ever believed. Once they reach that point there is no return except through conflict and their inevitable destruction.
JoshuaPundit : 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, AKA The White House. A fish rots from the head.
We have a dysfunctional commander-in-chief whom the vast majority of our military hold quite rightly in disdain, because he has no understanding of their actual mission and endangers their lives with ridiculous rules of engagement. He's gotten us in two illegal wars while losing the war in AfPack and squandering the peace won in Iraq. He's responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Libya, Algeria and Mali as well as the rise of IS in Syria and Iraq. He has successfully shrunk our military to pre-WWII numbers and cut our nuclear weapons stockpile to unacceptable levels, including our anti-missile defenses.And the Obama presidency has given encouragement to some of the worst radicals in America as well as putting America deeply in debt to no purpose.
Even worse, he has emboldened our enemies and alienated our allies. He and his State Department appointees have mismanaged the relationship with,among others, Israel, India, Canada, Germany, Russia and China to the point where they are far worse than they were when he took office... not to mention his outright appeasement of Iran
I'm not particularly worried about Russia or China. Both are rational actors, and neither can afford a war either financially, strategically or demographically. A different tone in Washington backed by appropriate action is needed, but that's not out of the realm of possibility. China in particular needs the U.S. as a market and as a counterbalance against Russia, with whom they have never had a good relationship historically in spite of appearances.
Iran is a very different matter. They are not rational actors and are by far the biggest threat after the current leadership in Washington. The Iranian regime has never suffered any major consequences for their actions against the United States including their aiding and abetting 9/11 and have learned that they need not fear us, especially under this president.
That, I'm convinced, will come back to haunt us unless we do something drastic to correct it.
The Glittering Eye : The short answer to the question is that we don't have one. Let's consider that with a little more rigor.
To be a geopolitical challenge a country, group of countries, organization, or institution must have at least three attributes. It must be expansionary, it must have the capacity to reach us, and it must be attractive.
Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia were all geopolitical challenges, each with all of those attributes. That's something too frequently forgotten after their defeat. The Third Reich, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the Soviet Union each had substantial support outside of Germany, Japan, or Russia.
In contrast, nobody wants what China's rulers want outside of a few of the world's worst autocrats. China isn't expansionary. It claims Taiwan and a few rocks in the waters adjacent to China but it's been claiming those for the better part of a century. It's not marching its armies into Burma, Southeast Asia, or India, at least not for the foreseeable future. And, finally, China doesn't have the capacity to reach us, other than with nuclear weapons, something we have in orders of magnitude more abundance than they.
Similarly with Russia. Putin's Russia is nationalist and irredentist but not expansionary and it has been spectacularly unsuccessful in attracting anyone to their banner. Like China, Russia is unable to reach us other than with nuclear weapons. Its nuclear arsenal is what makes the Russia-U. S. relationship the most important bilateral relationship in the world, something we are mismanaging tragically.
I don't see any group of countries challenging us, either.
Radical Islamism continues to attract people to its banner and it's obviously expansionary but it doesn't have the ability to reach us and it never will have due to its own internal contradictions. In the 21st century it's impossible to pose a military challenge when you're as nostalgic for the 6th century as militant radical Islamism is. You can only be a parasite. That's why they utilize terrorist attacks, the strategy of the poor and weak.
China, Russia, and radical Islamism all pose challenges to our clients rather than to us. However, that's entirely because our clients allow them to pose challenges. We have pretty lousy clients and IMO they need us a lot more than we need them. Whether they will come to that realization is unclear to me.
The closest thing we have to a geopolitical challenge is internal. Basically, Schumpeter was right. What we have to fear is our own professional, intellectual, and political classes, all of which are busily undermining the very economy, society, and politics on which they depend for their survival.
The Noisy Room : The greatest strategic threat America faces today is a toxic mix of the enemies from within, comprised of Marxists, Progressives, Communists and Radical Islamists. We are at war within.
Fueling these enemies is a stew of corruption, greed, power mongering and religious zealotry that has never been seen the likes of in American history. Our Republic stands on the brink of a full-fledged civil conflict and the fall of the greatest and freest nation that has ever graced the earth. The final demise will be led by a megalomaniac leader in the guise of President Obama who despises what he views as an oppressive, colonialist America. He will settle for nothing less than bringing her to her knees, forcing a massive wealth redistribution and the subjugation of America as a country and an ideal to Islam and the Caliphate.
While this is happening, the greatest theft of every form of asset and wealth the nation has ever known is occurring by the corrupt, wealthy elite. They will take everything not nailed down until there is nothing left and will leave the nation with nothing but debt, despair, agony, poverty and weakness. She will then be ripe for the taking by the enemies without and the new Axis of Evil: Russia, China and Iran are breathlessly waiting in the wings to feast at the American table after our esteemed leaders lay out the final buffet. The leftovers will be to die for. Only the rise of a true Constitutional Conservative will slow or stop this monstrous chain of events. That rise will have to come very soon now.
The Right Planet : There are number of security concerns and strategic threats I see facing America right now. One of the most concerning is Obama's dismantling of the US military. China is flexing its muscle, and has long been modernizing its army and navy. Additionally, Russia and China are becoming quite chummy as of late. Furthermore, the BRICS economic alliance--comprising Brazil (now under the reign of a former communist terrorist. Dilma Rouseff), Russia, India, China and South America--is attempting to usurp the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency. The fact that the national debt has increased by nearly $8 trillion during Obama's presidency is an ominous threat to national security in and of itself. The march of ISIS across the Middle East is yet another ominous development that threatens U.S. interests, and Israel as well.Of course, internal unrest being stoked by the administration certainly is not helping matters, either. I just don't see any of this ending well.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : The greatest threat all Americans should be concerned about is the federalization/nationalization of our education system. While external threats are real and imminent, we need to focus on our children if America is to survive as a sovereign nation and Constitutional Republic. We must return to teaching them the concepts of individual freedom and our inherent rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If they do not understand the founding concepts of America, how are we to survive?
The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in nearly every state for grades K-12. President Obama has made a further commitment to funding Head Start for children before they are old enough to enter kindergarten. Think about it. In Florida, nearly 40% of our property taxes go to local and state school revenue. Nearly a quarter of all revenue in the state goes to education. Cursory research shows similar percentages in other states. This is a massive redistribution of wealth from the American people to the corporatists and academics as we see the curricula, technology, hardware and software being purchased and utilized for testing and collecting data on every single child, from cradle to grave. Proponents say Common Core prepares a child to be career or college ready. From what I have seen, the materials our children are being exposed to are poorly written, and the topics are dark and inappropriate for their age.
Our local school boards no longer have control over much more than budgetary matters. Directives come from the state and federal departments of education. Much of the time in the classroom is spent teaching for the next test. Home schooling and private or charter schools are not an option as all are required to teach to the standards. We are paying all of this money into a system where we no longer have any input as to how it is spent.
We must fight the Common Core State Standards.
Bookworm Room : I'm struggling to come up with a "greatest" strategic threat to America. The way I see it, there are many strategic threats to America, both at home and abroad. I simply can't predict which is most likely to happen, nor would I discount a Black Swan on the horizon creating a level of chaos we've never imagined. Here, in no particular order, are the various long-term threats I see coming our way:
1. Unfettered immigration. The Democrats' goal, as we know, is a permanent Democrat voting bloc. What worries me more is America's decline into a third world country because it is swamped by people who break the system, socially and economically, and then replace it with what they know best: corruption, centralized criminal government, and anarchy wherever that government fails to get its hooks into the system.
2. Rampant Islam. Yes, Europe will go down first, but once the Islamists have Europe under their control, they also have Europe's weapons. Europe may not be a great arsenal, but thanks to Obama's two terms, America isn't a great arsenal anymore either. More than that, as the Israelis have long known, Muslims relish death, while Americans, no matter how brave, don't. In the short run, the murderers and sadists tend to have the battlefield advantage. While America can win a long war, I can't see our public or our troops having the stomach for it.
3. Climate change initiatives. All the way back in 1992, when Al Gore, who used to believe in global cooling, suddenly became a fervent global warming hysteric, Rush Limbaugh instantly knew what was going on: wealth redistribution from rich nations to poor nations, and from all Americans to a select, elite, self-chosen few. Even as one climate change prediction after another fails, the true believers are still working to destroy America's energy infrastructure. Without that infrastructure, what's left to keep us from becoming just another benighted has-been nation.
4. Putin. Russia may be an economic basket case, but Putin is a grand master chess player in a world of two-bit checkers players. Obama hasn't even graduated to marbles yet. Russia may not yet have a lot of pieces in play on the globe, but he will.
5. China. Again, the Chinese economy is not a healthy one and it's begin to suffer real consequences from its one-child policy, not the least of which is an up-and-coming generation of young men who won't be able to find young women. However, the Chinese leaders, like Putin, are chess players. The best that can happen to the US and the rest of the world, is if the Russians and Chinese play against each other . . . but why should they? The rest of the world is so badly managed that, in the short term, they can just divide it up amongst themselves.
6. Internal collapse. In Obama's six years, America's social fabric has frayed at an accelerated rate. Democrats started the process during the Bush era but, having revealed to America how fragile how social compact is, then promised Americans that with Obama in the White House all would be healed. Instead, Obama has accelerated the process even more. If America doesn't find a stable middle very soon, we're likely just to spin apart.
And yes, I am a pessimist.
GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD : A nuclear Iran led by unelected and illegit preachers.
A Persian power with a keen sense of its 2,500-year history, Iran occupies a pivotal position straddling the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The country has the largest population in the Middle East, the world’s third largest oil reserves, the second largest natural gas reserves, and aspirations to again become the region’s major power. Add nuclear weapons, and this mixture become highly combustible.
The danger is not that Iran would build and use a nuclear weapon against the United States or its allies. Iranian leaders know that such an act would be regime suicide, as a powerful counterattack would follow immediately.
This is not a nuclear bomb crisis, but a nuclear regime crisis. The danger is that a nuclear-armed Iran would lead other states in the Gulf and Middle East, including possibly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and even Turkey, to reexamine their nuclear options.
This potential wave of proliferation would seriously challenge regional and global security and undermine the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. If the international community is unable or unwilling to impose penalties on Iran, and if Tehran continues its nuclear development unconstrained, the nuclear chain reaction from the region could ripple around the globe.
For example, if Iran used its nuclear weapons, transferred them to a third party, invaded its neighbors, or increased its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the United States would be compelled to respond, although the measures it chose to adopt would not be specified in advance. This argument reflects the public position of many senior U.S. and European officials, as well as a number of prominent academics and defense intellectuals.
Yet this view is far too sanguine. Above all, it rests on the questionable assumptions that possessing nuclear weapons induces caution and restraint, that other nations in the Middle East would balance against Iran rather than bandwagon with it, that a nuclear-armed Iran would respect new red lines even though a conventionally armed Iran has failed to comply with similar warnings, and that further proliferation in the region could be avoided.
It seems more likely that Iran would become increasingly aggressive once it acquired a nuclear capability, that the United States' allies in the Middle East would feel greatly threatened and so would increasingly accommodate Tehran, that the United States' ability to promote and defend its interests in the region would be diminished, and that further nuclear proliferation, with all the dangers that entails, would occur.
The greatest concern in the near term would be that an unstable Iranian-Israeli nuclear contest could emerge, with a significant risk that either side would launch a first strike on the other despite the enormous risks and costs involved.
Over the longer term, Saudi Arabia and other states in the Middle East might pursue their own nuclear capabilities, raising the possibility of a highly unstable regional nuclear arms race.
Well, there you have it! Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week! And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?