Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . . Reagan’s Vision Lives!
E-Mail Message 140919
To War or Not To War . . .
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
September 19, 2014
“. . . [P]otential allies do not quite know what the U.S. is doing, how long America will fight, and what will happen to U.S. allies when we likely get tired, quit, and leave. For now, most allies are sitting tight and waiting for preemptive, unilateral U.S. action. If we begin defeating the Islamic State, they may eventually join in on the kill; if not, they won’t. That is a terrible way to wage coalition warfare, but we are reaping what we have sown.” ~Victor Davis Hanson
Our “community organizer” Commander-in-Chief and his spokesmen are all over the map in discussing the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iran and Syria (ISIS = ISIL = Islamic State = Caliphate) and his alleged strategy for countering it. So far, his “coalition of the un-willing” is lukewarm at best to his announced objective to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS.
No one seems interested in providing “boots on the ground” without which these is little hope of success from the President’s “air strikes only-plus-minimal military advisors” approach.
This apparent lack of U.S. strategy follows over six-years of the Obama administration’s failed “lead-from-behind” approach to foreign policy. It will not impress ISIS or our other jihadi enemies—e.g., Iran and its surrogates—who wish again to bring terror to our shores.
In addition, the deliberate hollowing out of our military capabilities is leaving us dangerously weakened as our potential peer adversaries, Russia and China, modernize their military capabilities while ours atrophy.
Indeed, this history has created a very dangerous world, where our friends don’t respect us and our enemies don’t fear us.
In this context, I want to call your attention to two particularly well-articulated summaries of aspects of our situation that back up this claim: the first by Victor Davis Hanson (Click here.) and the second by Retired Vice Admiral Bob Monroe (Click here.) Consider a brief summary of both.
ISIS on the Rise:
According to Hanson:
- If unchecked, ISIS will “turn what is left of the Middle East into a huge Mogadishu-like tribal wasteland, from the Syrian Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. And they will happily call the resulting mess a caliphate.”
- U.S. efforts to build a coalition to block this progress are not progressing for many reasons, including:
- Most in the Middle East and Europe do not believe the Obama administration knows much about ISIS, much less what to do about it. Examples of why they have this perception are: The President’s early description of ISIS threat as a “JV operation” that could be “managed,” contradicting his Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs; Secretary of State Kerry’s confused description of our objective as “not war, then war;” and CIA Director John Brennan’s dismissal of Islamic terrorists as seeking a modern Caliphate.
- The President’s hopes for Free Syrian Army “boots on the ground” after abandoning them, keeping Assad in place and turning over to Vladimir Putin the future of Syria (and much of the rest of the Middle East). Iran notes the President’s abandonment of his “red line” claims in pursuing its enrichment efforts to gain nuclear weapons—and our fruitless efforts to stop them.
- The U.S. record of abandoning allies after we lose interest—like abandoning our Iraqi friends after the war was won by the surge begun by that hatred George W. Bush—and against the advice of senior U.S. military advisors; or joining in removing Muammar Qaddafi from power and setting the stage for the Benghazi disaster, which Congress is still seeking to understand.
- The administration has been all over the map in its dealings with Egyptand the Muslim Brotherhood.
- I would add that this administration has not been much of an ally to the only Democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and our common adherence to our Judeo-Christian heritage that underpins Western Civilization.
- Now, just after celebrating Constitution Day, the once professor of Constitutional Law seems inclined to exploit the Bush administration’s 13-year old joint resolution for going to war against ISIS—a curious development since President Obama often criticized that resolution. If he cannot gain support for a new resolution, then potential allies will presume he does not have the support of Congress—whatever the merits of recent interpretations of the Constitutional mandate that only Congress can declare war.
- Peer adversaries, Russia and China, are watching with more than a little interest as they pursue their own strategic interests while we dither in alleging to pursue ours.
And on our borders?
I can’t help but supplement this excellent article and Hanson’s points by emphasizing that ISIS is not just an “over-there” threat. Click here for a recent discussion of the perceived threat and situation on our borders.
In my opinion, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) has aptly observed that ISIS jihidis can be crossing our borders among the throngs of Illegals permitted into the U.S. by our failing immigration policies and operations.
On Wednesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) braced the seemingly clueless Secretary of Homeland Security on the fact that, just last week on September 10th, four middle easterners crossed into Texas. Related shocking Chaffetz revelations were that: 466,000 people have been captured crossing the border over the last 351 days, and Homeland Security says 157,000 people got away. Those who were captured came from 143 different countries, including Syria, Iraq and Iran. (Click here for Chaffetz’s Fox News interview with Megan Kelly.)
This is not a “small numbers” threat, folks.
And recent reported ISIS plans for attacks and beheadings in Australia illustrate that they do not plan to limit their jihad to the Middle East. The Australians are reported to be mobilizing to take this threat seriously. Perhaps we should, too. You think???
So how can the Intelligence Community say that ISIS crossing our borders to attack us is not a current threat???? This is the same intelligence community—just older, but maybe no better than the one that said the Soviets were years away from developing a nuclear weapon shortly before they actually tested one in 1949.
Speaking of nuclear weapons and predictions of how long we might have before North Korea and Iran has them . . .
Coming Advanced Nuclear Weapons:
In considering the current nuclear threat, the excellent Investor’s Business Daily article by Retired Vice Admiral Bob Monroe should be a must read for all who care about our nation’s strategic interests. (Click here.)
In summary, this former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency from the era when we actually tested our nuclear weapons described the atrophying of our nuclear weapons laboratories—Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia—which underwrote our deterrent policies that kept the peace through the Cold War. Our stockpile of weapons based on decades-old technology is expensive to maintain, and our adversaries are passing us with advanced technological designs—and testing them.
It is astonishing, but true, that since 1992, the U.S. government—executive branch and Congress—has actively prevented the nuclear labs from developing new nuclear weapons that might better support our strategic needs, especially in view of the advances of our peer adversaries—and perhaps even others.
For 23 years, Democrats and Republicans— using laws, regulations and denials of funding—progressively restricted the labs from taking any of the needed actions. Lab scientists have been directed not even to think about new weapons, exploratory work has ceased to exist and the high-priority mission of avoiding technological surprise has been closed down.
Meanwhile, Adm. Monroe observes that for two decades Russia has been following exactly the opposite course. Its nuclear weapons labs have focused on low-yield weapons research, design, testing and production, including for advanced concepts, fifth-generation weapons and greater use of fusion and less of fission (possibly achieving pure fusion).
Of great importance to our concerns about the threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) super weapons, he notes that such weapons developed by others might well emit primarily neutrons and gamma rays, and their tactics of use could be ones we’ve never seen. Furthermore, Russia’s new strategy calls for early use of nuclear weapons in all conflicts, large and small.
Note that the U.S. developed an operational “neutron” bomb in the 1970s for deployment in NATO—and after acceptance by the Federal Republic of Germany, it was cancelled by President Carter. It was designed to kill people while not causing great physical damage—judged by some to be destabilizing because it might actually be used.
A somewhat similar design to maximize EMP effects might be detonated a couple of hundred miles over the United States, to kill several hundred million Americans within a year.
Implications for EMP Weapons:
These are also precisely the kinds of nuclear weapons Russian scientists told members of the EMP Commission about, a decade ago.
Moreover, the Russians also told us that these designs had been passed to the Chinese and North Koreans—which may explain why the North Korean tests displayed only low yields—rather than indicating failures as some have claimed.
The Iranians observed these underground tests and also cooperated with the North Koreans in developing their ballistic missiles and satellite launchers.
So . . . about that EMP threat? What do you think????
Will we survive another couple of years until we possibly get new leadership and a change of course?????
Stay tuned. More to come.
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
Washington is badly broken—both the Executive and Legislative Branches. As illustrated above, our Commander-in Chief is not addressing an all too real existential threat. Congress is doing nothing to require the electric power companies to harden the electric power grid. Neither is seeking to defend against possible attacks from the south to which we are completely vulnerable.
Thus, we are renewing our efforts to inform the state and local authorities—and publics—in states around the Gulf of Mexico of the important role their states can play in defending all Americans against the existential EMP threat.
Given the lethargy in Washington, we will continue informing all who will listen about the existential EMP threat and expanding our work with the National Guard to help them gain knowledge and workable plans to help harden the electric power grid and counter the EMP threat. This work will go hand in hand with efforts of State legislators who are seeking to expand on the excellent work of those in Maine and Virginia, who have passed legislation requiring serious studies of the EMP threat and the needed countermeasures to protect the electric power grid.
The most recent bill passed in record time without a single negative vote in Virginia can be used as a ready pattern.
We are working with South Carolina National Guard to help them understand how best to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to understand and respond to this serious threat. We also are supporting related activities in neighboring and other states to encourage deployment of Aegis Ashore on military bases around the Gulf of Mexico.
We are informing SC state legislators and senators about the threat and what can be done to deal with it—hopefully they will follow Maine and Virginia in seeking to harden the electric power grid. We also expect support from Cong. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) whose district includes my SC farm—and who is a member of the Congressional EMP Caucus seeking passage of the Shield Act and the Infrastructure Protection Act, as well as other SC representatives.
We will be working with members of the EMP Coalition and others who are seeking to take our message across the country—especially with Bob Newman, a former Adjutant General of Virginia, to help us link our SC plans more broadly and especially into Virginia and the National Capital region.
What can you do?
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