By Joe Ragonese
That we are headed for a war, may or may not be true, but in any case, are we prepared to fight it? General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marines, speculated that our next war would be with either Russia or China. That isn’t a wild guess, both are gearing up for one with us as this is being written. The possibility of war goes beyond China and Russia; there are two other possibilities, North Korea and Iran. I believe if we went to war with one, the other would join in, maybe even Russia and China. It could turn out to become another two ocean world war, where the outcome would be our very survival.
While Russia and China are not interested in a war with America for ground gain or to control our resources, they want to control all of the resources in what they consider their sphere of authority. Any action we take to stop their hegemonic desires, could lead to war. Just think back to Japan’s attack on America that started our involvement in WWII, just because we hindered their Asian sphere of influence. That’s why both countries are gearing up for a war with us, to insure they secure the hegemony they desire.
A war with China seems all but inevitable, as their interest in the South China Sea area and ours collide the most. We have strategic partners, like the Philippines, whose territory is challenged by China. Taiwan, an important trading partner, wishes to remain free of mainland China, but China claims the island as their territory.
They are preparing to invade that island right now, and are doing detailed intelligence gathering prior to an attack. How will President Trump react to an invasion of Taiwan by China? This writer does not believe that he would go to war with China over Taiwan; and that’s what China also thinks. But, going to war with China over disputed islands that Japan claims as theirs; that’s a different story. An inevitable war would depend on how far China will push their area of dominion.
Both China and Japan claim ownership of the Senkaku Islands (China calls them the Diaoyu) and if China were to mistake America’s commitment with Japan, and foolishly attacked them, it would lead to war. In fact, there are several areas that could lead to war, with China the aggressor, or America drawing the line in the sea. Just think about navigational rights in the South China Sea where China is capriciously building islands where none ever before existed, and then militarizing them.
The same is true of Russia, although this observer believes that a war with China is more likely. Russia wants to rebuild its Soviet empire. It also covets prime real estate in independent nations, like Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, and several other lesser known nations. Russia also claims all of the Arctic Ocean as their territory, in defiance of the U.S., Canada, Finland, Norway and Sweden; all of whom boarder that sea, with its vast reserves of oil lying beneath its bottom. Some of those independent nations are NATO allies and any incursion into them would automatically lead to war.
Finding a diplomatic solution to these hot spots with Russia and China will be extremely difficult, but not impossible. What is almost impossible is staying out of a war with North Korea, which could inadvertently lead to a war with China. Recently published satellite imagery shows China, in violation of UN sanctions, delivering oil to North Korea, demonstrating that they are not giving up on their out of control dictator.
It is hard to tell if they are simply trying to make a profit, or making a political statement by their continued support of North Korea. They could provide great support in defanging Kim’s nuclear arsenal, but President Trump has already said that he would stop North Korea from completing their mating of nuclear weapons with precision missiles, with or without China’s help.
China’s surreptitious delivery of oil shows that they do not have a deep commitment to helping America. It will take a great deal of diplomatic pressure on China for them to forego their alliance with the North Koreans, and they will want a lot in return. That would be trade concessions, that President Trump will not, in all likelihood, give them. So a preemptive strike by the US against North Korea would seem likely.
While we ponder how to de-nuke Korea, Iran continues to boldly forge ahead with their nuclear program, that Obama’s Iran deal didn’t even slow down. They really want a war with Israel, something Obama did not oppose, and are in the process of encircling it through its surrogate armies, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Islamic Brotherhood in the Sinai, and its Quds forces in Iraq.
Iran has never ceased its war with America, the one that they started with Jimmy Carter, attacking our Embassy in Tehran back in 1979, and then continuing to kill Americans, mostly through their surrogate armies. They have attacked and killed Americans in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, going all the way back to the bombing of the Marine barracks in 1982. The litany of their evil-doing is too long to list here, but all of it is due to their hatred of America and everything that we stand for, like freedom, democracy, and liberty.
Iran pushed Obama, like they did Carter, to a humiliating degree, and both were to naïve to react to it. President Trump will not be humiliated by them like that, which could quickly escalate to war. They could also attack Israel, as they want to, which would almost automatically involve us in a war with them.
All of these hot spots could lead to war, unless President Trump is able to walk a tightrope without slipping. He did garner many millennial votes on his promise to keep us out of endless wars, and as long as he keeps trying to use diplomacy over the Marines, there is that glimmer of hope that we will not find ourselves mired in yet another quagmire in the Middle East, or all out war in the Arctic, or the South China Sea.
But try as hard as he can, a war might not be avoidable under any circumstances. So the question arises, are we ready to fight it? This writer believes that today we are not ready for a war with a peer nation, like China or Russia, and war with Iran or North Korea would not be a cakewalk victory. I know that many will disagree with that assessment; however, a simple look at the devastation that our military has undergone since the 1990s and I believe that you might see it differently.
After an incredible victory in Gulf War One, in 100 hours, against the 4th largest armed forces in the world, Iraq, Clinton was elected President and proceeded to decimate our armed forces and distribute those funds slated for defense to welfare recipients. He called it the peace dividend. When he was faced with advisories, like Mohammad Farrah Aidid, the Somali warlord, Clinton simply cut and run.
When he had the ability to kill one of the worst terrorist leaders in the world, Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for attacks on America in Yemen in 1992, the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Day es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998, and after those attacks, Clinton had the ability to kill Bin Laden, but did not have the backbone to do so. His reward was that bin Laden carried out an attack in Yemen, against an American warship, the USS Cole in 2000, killing more Americans, and of course, the most devastating attack on America ever, on September 11, 2001.
Clinton even had the audacity to brag to an audience in Australia that he could have killed Osama bin Laden, but didn’t take the shot. That braggadocio took place on September 10th, which was September 11 in New York City, only hours after uttering his brag, bin Laden took down the World Trade Center’s twin towers.
Clinton’s decimation of our armed forces was not reversed under President George W. Bush. He went to war with the military that we had, only he transformed it from a peer capable armed forces, into one whose mission was to fight small units in backwater places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The last peer capable fighting units were used to take out Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. After that stunning victory, the forces were depleted and retrained to fight local guerrillas and warlords.
Obama and the Democrats ravaged the ranks and equipment of war even worse, through sequestration of the military budget, a law still in effect one year into President Trump’s term. That law has made our military make choices like fixing aircraft or retaining those who know how to fix them. The Air Force, Marines and Navy have all used parts scavenged from other aircraft, and in at least one case, from a museum airplane, to keep our warbirds flying.
Sequestration has created a crisis in the military, second only to the social engineering that Obama put into place and leftist judges stop President Trump from undoing. Our military is broken, so the prospect of going to war with North Korea, Iran, Russia or China, almost is an unthinkable; we cannot win with all of the negatives in place today.
The sad part is that it is only going to get worse. This may sound like a pessimistic assessment; however, while we are not helpless, our military has been wounded badly. It is not the military that we should be going off to war with.
Think about the Italian Army during World War II, on paper they were a large, well equipped, well trained military force that should have presented themselves as warriors to be feared. Instead, because of social pressure on the home front, and a conflict with its government’s goals, it never won a battle, nor did it present itself as a viable military force.
The U.S. military is in that exact position today. One only needs to look at the likes of 2nd Lieutenant Spenser Rapone, the communist West Point graduate, who for some reason, the military cannot seem to remove. That lack of direction and leadership speaks volumes about the state of our military today.
President Trump has made some positive changes to the armed forces, but until sequestration is repealed, and the social engineering stopped, fighting a peer nation could prove to be the worst mistake ever made in the short history of America.