In the Wake of the 44th President – Issues our 45th President Will Have to Resolve

By Joe Ragonese


President Obama’s world strategy is rather simple, don’t do anything and leave it for the next President to handle.  There is no reason to delineate what the 44th President has or has not done in his tenure of office, because he has done nothing that has been helpful for the United States or for the world order.  His refusal to take a leading role in world events has created a void that has been filled by every hopeful tyrant in the world.

That said, let’s break down what the 45th President must face after taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017.  He, or she, will have to deal with ISIS.  But that organization, while not exactly the JV team, is not the biggest threat facing America and the free world.  ISIS is like a fly that you just can’t seem to shoo away.  It keeps buzzing around your head, flashing past your peripheral vision and creating annoying and distracting sounds; all the while keeping you from seeing the shark in the water and bear stalking through the trees.

The shark is China.  Make no mistake, China is preparing for war with the United States.  The nation believes it has a right to control everything it can see, feel, or touch.  It knows that the only thing in its way, from fulfilling its goal of regional domination, is the United States.  I will give President Obama credit for noticing it, and in fact, confronting the threat in some small and annoying ways.  Nothing so bold as telling China to stop, but like an ankle biting dog, he nibbles at China’s heels by allowing our Air Force to fly close to their expanded airspace and our warships to get near enough to their newly created islands to be threatened by their navy and air force.

Nothing he does intimidates them into stopping, or even slowing the pace of their expansion; yet he does annoy them.  That annoyance is exactly what they need to fortify their resolve to destroy our ability to stop them through military force.  To that end they are making all preparations to fight us on the battlefield they choose.  Their weapons manufacturing and development is evidence of that fact.  They are building air superiority aircraft, bombers, missiles, and ships to take on the depleted US Navy and Air Force.

Russia, the bear stalking the woods, is the other leg of the triad that must be dealt with by President 45.  Russia isn’t preparing for war with us, they are already prepared for that.  They are; however, taking steps to undermine our efforts in Eastern Europe, and in doing so they hope to destroy the NATO Alliance and expand their area of control.  The invasion and annexation of the Crimea, as well as their efforts in Syria, point to their ultimate goal of expanded power.  Vladimir Putin wants to reconstruct the power Russia once possessed as the Soviet Union.

All three of these involve different and important decisions by the 45th President.  Let’s start with ISIS.  It is a fly that needs to be swatted down; or does it?  A lot of people will argue with me until they are blue in the face, but I feel that confronting ISIS with American use of force is a quagmire we do not need.  Let us become energy independent and not need to involve ourselves with the Middle East.  We have been at war for the past 15 years in an area that we cannot fix.  We have degraded our armed forces to a dangerous point, with equipment that is way older than the airmen, Marines, sailors and soldiers who are operating It.

We need to rebuild our military with modern and redundant equipment, starting with an infantry rifle that will stop a 175-pound man with one round, all the way up to fortifying outer space.  Then we need to rethink our strategic goals and train for the coming global war.  As of this writing, our armed forces are trained and prepared for small regional conflicts only.  It should be no shock, as we have been fighting that type of a war over the past 15 years.

At the very same time we need to develop and purchase weapons to outfight our enemies.  While the F-22 is the best fighter available worldwide, the Chinese and Russians both have comparable weapons and are in the process of developing sixth generation fighters that will outfight anything we have.  We have nothing on the drawing board to compete with them.  Our military is falling behind to a point where they may not be able to catch up if America waits much longer.  It is now at a dangerous point.  Our military is less prepared than it was prior to World War II and continuing to fall behind.  Remaining with the disastrous policies of both this President and the weak congress will lead to a world war; that we may not be able to win.

China is preparing for combat in outer space.  It is as plain as day.  They have sent multiple men into space.  They have tried laser technology to knock out a spacecraft and they have sent interceptor missiles into space.  It will be the first place they strike.  Imagine, if you will, that you are preparing for a war with the United States.  You realize that your army outnumbers America’s by at least 30 to one, but the technological battlefield goes to the USA.  How do you defeat that?  Especially when you do not have the industrial capacity to counter it.  You make them use their technology right away, or deny them the ability to use it.  The safest and surest method would to be to combine both, while denying them the time to produce new weapons.

As of now, the US relies on the satellites in outer space for everything from GPS to communications.  All of those wonderful drones and missiles we have in our arsenal are useless without those satellites.  Yes, some missiles can still be targeted the old fashion way, but without the accuracy of the GPS.  No GPS, no satellites, all of those smart bombs are simply free fall bombs of WWII vintage.  Back to the Norden bombsight and formations of bombers fighting their way through flack and fighters.

The most important thing lost without satellites is command and control abilities.  You lose the Internet, digital phones and communications, and revert to the 1980s, with analog televisions, radios and telephones.  Intercontinental communications are limited and radio transmissions are limited to line of sight.  No longer do we have the ability to launch our super missiles that fly below radar to sink an aircraft carrier 500 miles away.  More importantly, we cannot see an enemy approach farther than line of sight…a straight line before the earth curves.  That gives us only minutes of warning of an incoming air strike.

China, meanwhile, keeps their satellites up unless we can send our space forces to destroy them.  I do not know our space fighting capabilities, but would guess that they are degraded as heavily as the rest of our Air Force due to a weak congress and a President who dislikes the military.  This all leads to some very important decisions by President 45.  What that President does in the next four to eight years will decide if we have a global conflict, that at some point will become nuclear, or not.

The only deterrence to that war is a strong United States military, and a leader with enough political capital to be believed when he or she says they will go to war.  No one who has drawn a line in the sand, and when it is crossed does nothing, has the political capital to be believed.  I am not sure if that person’s Secretary of State has the necessary capital to be believed.

What the next President needs to do is rebuild the military, quickly and efficiently.  They cannot waste capital on superfluous give-a-ways like free cell phones and computers.  That President must zero in on getting our economy in line because its weakness is weakening our country more than an armed invasion. (This is a point for another discussion.)  At the same time, he/she must make critical decisions on how and when to use our military, while we rebuild it.

That’s where ISIS becomes a thorn in our sides.  Do we attack or not?  The only gain in sending in the Martines to take out ISIS is a demonstration of America will.  It will show the world that we are back.  However, if that President were smart enough to form a coalition of Middle Eastern Muslin nations, with limited US support, that will accomplish the same goal.  That is a win-win for America.  The person to do this must be a good negotiator.

OK, to my prognostication.  Donald Trump has already shown his desire to confront ISIS using other countries troops.  He does not want us in endless, unwinnable wars.  Hillary says she is going to ‘take care’ of ISIS, without further explanation.  He alone wants to place limits on government spending, Hillary Clinton wants to expand spending.  Mr. Trump wishes us to rebuild our military and take care of our veterans.  An honorable prospect.  Mrs. Clinton has not spoken about her wishes for our military, other than to send them into harm’s way without any stated objective.

We are entering a very dangerous time in the world.  What occurs now will set the stage for the rest of the 21st Century and beyond.  China wants a war with us.  If America’s weakness continues, they will have it; probably by 2025.  At the rate of preparation, they are undergoing, that seems to be the timeline.

Russia is a wild card.  Push their buttons the wrong way and they will go off on us, especially given the weakness of the past eight years.  Hillary has already pushed Putin’s buttons by accusing Russia of hacking into the DNC website and working with Donald Trump.  Vladimir Putin is biding his time to see what happens on November 8th, but make no mistake, if Hillary wins and tweaks him the wrong way too many times, he will become very dangerous, which could easily lead to a war with Russia.

Our next President may make the difference between a world at war or a world at peace.  The choice we make in November may very well determine the future of mankind.

Joe Ragonese served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967, working in command & control.  For the next 36 years he was a police officer, 35 of those years on the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department (Chicago, Illinois).  During that time he went to college on the G.I. Bill.  Joe was a freelance writer until retiring in 2005 as a police detective.   Since then he has written a novel, “The Sword of Mohammad,” available at, about nuclear terrorism in Chicago, and publishes Generations the Magazine, a senior newspaper,(  His passion is military history.

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