I recall many times my wife and the love of my life, Bobbye, telling me of her grandfather sitting on his front porch in Oklahoma, watching the storm clouds gather and eventually shepherding his family into the storm cellar before forming tornadoes arrived. This is not unlike how I feel today watching the international storm clouds gather. And it does not seem that we have anyone with a perspective analogous to Bobbye’s grandfather to guide us to safety in the current dangerous situation.
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The Russian Bear on the prowl in Ukraine presents sobering global implications of a growing threat that could escalate even to place American equities at risk at home. We need both effective diplomatic and military responses—including an increased emphasis and funding for effective ballistic missile defenses for our friends and allies near the Bear and for Americans at home.
“I think that cutting the defense budget in significant ways right now is a serious mistake. You know, when we’ve cut the budget before—at the end of the Cold War, at the end of Vietnam and at other times, it’s been because we thought the world was going to be a safer place . . . at least we thought so temporarily at the time. No one can make that case right now. You look at the situation in Ukraine and our relationships with Russia. You look at the tensions between China and Japan and in the South China Sea. You look at Iran and North Korea. These guys are operating on the 20th century model of nation states, boundaries matter, strategic interests matter, zero sum game, I win, you lose. This is the way these countries look at the world. It’s different than the way the West Europeans and we look at it, and frankly the pace at which both the Europeans and the United States [are] cutting their defenses, regardless of what the facts on the ground in terms of the number of ships and number of planes, it certainly sends a signal that we are not interested in protecting our global interests.” . . . Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, March 9, 2015
America sleeps uneasy because of its looming debt crisis that the powers that be seem to be ignoring. Actually, there is a more important threat—literally an existential threat—that the powers that be are also ignoring, in spite of numerous signs of its clear and present danger. Unless Americans wake up and demand that their elected leaders provide for the common defense, a manmade or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event could lead to the death of several hundred million American. Stay Tuned!
Americans ponder the spectacle in Washington as their representatives collectively attempt to avoid a Government shutdown, generally thought to be a potential catastrophe. Meanwhile, another much more threatening shutdown is being ignored—possibly because it is not understood by the general public. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), from either manmade or natural causes, is actually a much greater threat that, unless we initiate effective countermeasures, could lead to the death of an overwhelming majority of all Americans.
Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani pursued a “charm offensive” in New York including in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. Because he previously diverted interests in the West with seemingly cooperative initiatives while Iran continued enriching uranium, we should be skeptical of his promises not to build nuclear weapons and mate them to ballistic missiles that could reach Israel, our European allies and the United States. He wants the West to lift its sanctions on Iran—while we, and Israel, have insisted that Iran must not gain a nuclear weapons capability. Hopefully, U.S. and other Western leaders will not be taken in by Rouhani’s soft rhetoric. Stay tuned.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani openly bragged of shepherding a major expansion of Iran’s uranium enrichment programs a decade ago, when he led Iran’s negotiations with the West that were seeking to limit those programs. He still serves the continuing objectives and policies of Iran’s same supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that call for destroying the “little Satan” Israel and the “great Satan” America. Rouhani’s current approach, which many describe as “moderate,” actually promises more of the same under Khamenei. Thus, Iran’s alleged moderate approach provides cover for achieving a uranium and/or plutonium nuclear capability—possibly within months. Will U.S. and other Western Diplomats again be taken in by Rouhani’s softer diplomatic approach than the bombastic pronouncements of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also served the wishes of Khamenei? Stay tuned.
While the international community seems singularly focused on unrealistic diplomatic initiatives to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, other threats and associated dangers continue. Forgotten is the President’s promised retribution for Assad’s crossing a “red line” by using these weapons while an international gabfest proceeds and Russia’s influence grows. Promises of success in the Syrian enterprise are much overstated and related dangers are being understated. And more Middle East problems may be coming, especially concerning Iran.
What me, worry? This week has been filled with negative news reflecting the “chickens coming home to roost” from a number of the current administration’s policies. On the positive side, there is hope that the 113th Congress will be taking up legislation to protect the electric power grid—without which the electromagnetic pulse from a natural or manmade event could lead to the death of several hundred million Americans. Read to the end.
On the 24th anniversary of Tiananmen Square and the eve of President Obama’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jiaping, it is important that the “powers that be” realize that military-to-military exchanges with China are no substitute for underwriting a needed “Peace through Strength” policy in Northeast Asia with serious defense programs second to none.
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