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Belmont Club

The Fourth Chainsaw

March 22nd, 2013 - 5:16 pm

The Pax Americana ”is a term applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the Western world resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the start of the 20th century.” For nearly three generations the world population has enjoyed a rising standard of living and the absence of general war.

According to administration officials the party’s only just begun. “In September 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed a ‘new American Moment’ that would “lay the foundations for lasting American leadership for decades to come.” A year and a half later, President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech: ‘Anyone who tells you that America is in decline . . . doesn’t know what they’re talking about.’”

But not all the signs are reassuring.

Greg Miller at the Washington Post says a panel of administration advisers warned that “inadequate attention [was being paid] to China, the Middle East and other national security flash points” because of a focus on headhunting al-Qaeda leadership with drones. “The classified document called for the first significant shift in intelligence resources since they began flowing heavily toward counterterrorism programs and war zones after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

This comes as the administration prepared to cut $100 billion from the defense budget. However, the cuts are slated to come “later in the decade”.

“What strategic analysis did they do to come up with the $100 billion figure?” the senior HASC aide told Defense News on Wednesday. “[Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin] Dempsey testified to us last month that he can’t keep doing what we are doing around the world with additional cuts, so what is the White House proposing they stop doing?”

President Obama, who recently discussed the Iranian nuclear countdown with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel is facing further challenges in Southwest Asia — and in the Pacific, Latin America, the Levant and Africa — to name a few places. Where the resources will be found to defend against terrorism and cover the blind spots is problematic.

China has expanded its assistance to the Pakistani nuclear program reaching “a formal agreement last month to construct a third nuclear reactor at Chashma that the Obama administration says will violate Beijing’s promises under an international anti-nuclear weapons accord.”

Additionally, recent U.S. intelligence reports indicate that China, which supplied Pakistan with nuclear weapons design data and technology, is in the process of modernizing Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to contain as many as 110 warheads.

The arms cooperation is said to include development of a new warhead for Pakistan’s growing missile arsenal as well as assistance in reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

The increase in Pakistani nuclear stockpiles has not stopped President Obama from reducing those of the United States. The Jon Kyle at the Wall Street Journal writes “America’s Nuclear Deterrent—and Defenses—Are Eroding Fast”.

What is the status of missile defense and the nuclear weapons that remain the foundation of the U.S. strategic deterrent? Sadly, despite great scientific and technological success, both programs are in jeopardy. Neither is likely to fare well under President Obama, who advocates “nuclear zero” and is no fan of missile defense. The president is on course to systematically reduce America’s capabilities in both areas despite specific commitments he made while securing bipartisan support for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with Russia.

Even the ballyhooed construction of interceptors to guard against North Korea turns out to be sleight of hand. To balance the tough stance against North Korea, the administration has weakened its position towards Russia and Iran. The Editorial Board of the Washington Post has summarized the state of play:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel … announce[d] that the administration would add 14 interceptors to an anti-missile base in Alaska and deploy a new radar in Japan. The deployment, which essentially reversed a decision by President Obama to freeze the Alaska system, was prompted by North Korea’s progress toward building intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the United States, as well as its recent nuclear test. …

That was a good decision. But missed in some of the subsequent stories was the other shoe: The Pentagon is canceling the planned fourth phase of an anti-missile system that had been scheduled for deployment in Poland in 2022. The SM3 IIb missile was significant for two reasons: It was the only interceptor planned for the Europe-based system that could have defended the United States against an attack from Iran; and it was the component of the system most decried by Russia, which claimed that it could be used against its intercontinental missiles.

Defenses are shrinking while the threat level nearly everywhere is growing. All that is left is to scrape a smaller and smaller amount of butter over an ever larger piece of toast.

That could be problematic as the administration prepares to push harder against Syria. Foreign Policy says a consensus is emerging on both sides of the aisle to take a tougher stand against Syria, partly out concern over the fate of its chemical and biological weapons, which may fall into hostile hands.

But the Obama administration has shied away from taking on Syria, not only out of fears of arming al-Qaeda related jihadis in the region but because it would take him directly into conflict with Iran according to Lee Smith at the Weekly Standard.

With so many now arguing for a forward-leaning Syria policy, is it possible that the president alone is incapable of seeing the matter in strategic terms?…

No, if Obama does see the Syrian conflict strategically, perhaps the reason he is not taking a more active position is because he fears that it will anger Iran. It doesn’t matter whether the administration’s negotiating team really believes there’s a deal to be had with Iran, or if Obama simply wants to keep the Iranians at the table for appearance’s sake, it seems he doesn’t want to get the Iranians mad by backing Assad’s adversaries.

Obama came to office in the belief that there was a deal to be had with Iran. There is nothing to indicate he’s changed his mind—even as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says he is not optimistic. “Our past experiences show that talks for the American officials do not mean for us to sit down and reach a logical solution,” Khamenei said recently. “What they mean by talks is that we sit down and talk until Iran accepts their viewpoint.”

The president has bet that he could talk his way out of trouble and apply the peace dividend to increases in domestic spending. That was the plan. Because after all he’s smart. He can juggle any number of balls in the air at the same time. But what if it doesn’t work?

The net result of these defense reductions and threat increases is that the United States faces a metastasizing set of challenges even as it continues to downsize its forces at a rapid rate.  President Theodore Roosevelt once counseled “speak softly and carry a big stick.”  Today the increasingly available option is “carry a small stick and whistle past the graveyard”.

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What happens when a fourth chainsaw is added … and a fifth?

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All Comments   (19)
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Pretend you're an alien who neither knows nor cares about race or PC. You look at a map. You see the Pax Americana was put in place by a successful country of almost 90% European stock for most of its history. Look at a map again. Take the least successful countries and move their populations into America until the Europeans comprise 25% of the country in 100 years. That's when you'll see slavery and empire walk the Earth again. No Pax Americana, no pax. Look what's happened to the UK in much less than 100 years. From a sun that never set to one time zone. Multicult diversity can not only take down a country, it can introduce a dark age.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who gave you permission to read history, much less to think about it and draw obvious conclusions? Raaaaaaacccccciiiiiiissssstsssss. lol.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hope the prez doesn't read this - he's already got a plate chock full of problems and surely doesn't need to have his concentration broke by such bothersome things like the threat from China. After all - thats our bank - why would they wish to usurp us? My bank doesn't do that - why would Obama's? Why right now he's singlehandedly forging the beginnings of a new era for peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Too bad he spent that hour giving a speech to the wrong side at that school in Israel.

Remember how he was going to concentrate real hard on jobs? Then it was the economy - then it was...well...darn - what was that he last concentrated on? Oh yeah - he was concentrating on how best to screw the American People with the up-the-sleeve tricks with the sequestration to blame. Good God - where's G. Bush when you need him? He's concentrated us out of our money though - got us good with inflation and taxation - a double whammy! - same with jobs - and I believe he's concentrating us out of a country - but that could just be my pessimism showing. Is it just me or is he 'concentrating' us out of peace in the Middle East?

I'm beginning to think Obama has no skill when it comes to multi-tasking.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charles42. Schlubs may develop computer programs that can defeat chess masters because chess is a tightly scripted game. Life's lessons do not have pat answers from which we, or any computers that we try to program, can patently learn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Computers have no flare for invention but what they do have is the ability to compute a solution several million times a second over many human life times and nearly infinite elasticity. If there is any truth to evolution they will reach a tipping point in regards to intelligence, and we’ll know because there will be several open source projects supporting it.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
a number of China's most jingoist militarists visited the USA recently


China "extremely concerned" about U.S.-Japan island talk
Reuters – Thu, Mar 21, 2013
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and the United States have started talks on military plans in case of armed conflict over a group of East China Sea Islets claimed by Tokyo and Beijing, Japanese media said on Thursday, prompting China to complain of "outside pressure."

The Pentagon confirmed talks were being held on Thursday and Friday between Shigeru Iwasaki, head of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces' joint staff, and Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific, but said they were meant to discuss "the overall security environment in the Asia-Pacific region."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
(If DARPA makes this breakthrough in the next 5-10 years or so--they'll launch still another wild revolution in silicon valley.)

So It Begins: Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves

By Robert Beckhusen
4:59 PM

The Pentagon’s blue-sky research agency is readying a nearly four-year project to boost artificial intelligence systems by building machines that can teach themselves — while making it easier for ordinary schlubs like us to build them, too.

When Darpa talks about artificial intelligence, it’s not talking about modeling computers after the human brain. That path fell out of favor among computer scientists years ago as a means of creating artificial intelligence; we’d have to understand our own brains first before building a working artificial version of one. But the agency thinks we can build machines that learn and evolve, using algorithms — “probabilistic programming” — to parse through vast amounts of data and select the best of it. After that, the machine learns to repeat the process and do it better.

But building such machines remains really, really hard: The agency calls it “Herculean.” There are scarce development tools, which means “even a team of specially-trained machine learning experts makes only painfully slow progress.” So on April 10, Darpa is inviting scientists to a Virginia conference to brainstorm. What will follow are 46 months of development, along with annual “Summer Schools,” bringing in the scientists together with “potential customers” from the private sector and the government.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One aspect of the 'let it burn' philosophy is the historical and logical recognition that all the variants of Marxism are ultimately self-destructive. They may hurt many of their opponents with their idiotic nihilist visions but, in the end, they will lose. After all, nuclear weapons are far more effective against cities, where Marxist types congregate, than they are against the fly-over country where their ideological opponents live.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've never thought of whether the political left or the political right in this country might fare better in a nuclear exchange between us and China or Russia before. Thats an interesting way to look at nuclear war. At some point in time I might just think it'd be a winning proposition for us to engage in one. Think of it like burning a house down because there were so many cockroaches.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't ever burn a house down because of a cockroach infestation. The concept is so stupid that only Marxists and other insane people would do it. The 'let it burn' approach is simply a recognition of the ultimate results of democracy in our Republic. I have always voted against them, but the majority of idiots consistently overrule me and vote for their own destruction. So be it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I should walk back my own reply above a little bit. Please understand that I have gotten on a bus with many other local tea party conservatives for a long ride to Austin several times. Our local tea party was helpful in electing Ted Cruz and many very conservative state politicians (e.g., State Sen. Donna Campbell) in South Texas.

The national Republican types obviously do not agree with us because they opposed ALL of our candidates. The 'let it burn' attitude comes from the fact that we are opposed not only by the Democrats, but also by the Republican establishment. Many of us have localized our strategy because of it. The nuclear attack hypothetical is an intentional hyperbolic extension of that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What's really painful is watching it happen. The fatally flawed airplane soars. Below on the carnival grounds the low-information spectators cheer! The biplane climbs again, with more power this time. Again the crowds road like "the first time". Down plummets the airplane pulling out just in time to avoid collision with the ground.

The mechanics in the hangar know the pilot has 28 hours at the controls and threw away the manual describing the airplane's performance envelope. They know because it's lying on the ground.

But the pilot cares for nothing. He is the great Bazinga! He was born to make the world marvel. To fly. Defy the laws of gravity. Maximum speeds, maximum G -- all that is for Republicans. So up he climbs again until his airplane is a little speck at the base of a gigantic cumulus cloud. And he dives again.

He pushes the nose over. Even from the carnival ground the crowd can hear the wind keening through the wires. And then he pulls up again. The mechanics in the hanger can hardly stand it, for they know ... they know.

The crowd gapes open mouthed at the Great Bazinga. He is now so low, so fast that they can see his scarf fluttering in the wind; they can make out the gaudy, tailored cut of his jacket. And swift the biplane plummets too steep it seems to recover.

But the crowd knows that Bazinga will make it. Lena, Keith, Ellen -- they all watch in rapture, while the mechanics can hardly bear it. Down, and down ....

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Socialists posit the world as a one body problem. They want power, they get power, they use power. Full stop. Under extreme duress kicking and screaming they rode the two body bipolar model until one of the two bodies fell over. Having learned the script for a bipolar system they continue to recite it, even while condemning it. It is comfortable for them to pursue bilateral disarmament with Russia, because that is what they have done for over fifty years. That model is now completely disconnected from reality as the world shifts back to a multipolar system. What we are edging towards is the pre-WW-I system, with nuclear weapons. The multipolar Balance of Power system is most stable with five competitive powers. Used copies of Morton Kaplan's "System and Process" may become valuable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Buraq has taken flight for his fancies.

The big story of his reign must be: atomic breakout.

As for Beijing: they don't seem to realize that atomic and cyber warfare both remove all of Red China's military advantages.

Even third-rate powers can attain escalation equality with Red China in cyberspace.

Beijing is not thinking all that far ahead.

Above all, Beijing doesn't comprehend that the entire planet will turn against her should she move to become alpha dog.

For she has clearly no intention of maintaining the status quo.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

“recent U.S. intelligence reports indicate that China, which supplied Pakistan with nuclear weapons design data and technology”

My skepticism leads me to consider that, like all things that are in the press, that national interests are being served in the dissemination of information; which is to say, I bet dollars to donuts that Pakistan’s ISI has been cooperating with Beijing and passing on whatever they can glean from the thousands of Pakistani PHD’s working on DOD programs in the US. Aside from sticking it to India the only motivation must be quid pro quo.

While using NorK as a lightning rod, China is not so slowly building a credible nuclear alliance. We are seeing the formation of a multi-polar world where the lines of demarcation are many and blurry depending on the context. Unless Europe and the British Empire can take their collective head’s out of their arses in respect to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry, no amount of bug zappers, flyswatters, nor high flying drone will keep the unfolding balance of powers intact.

The reason Obama’s policy is so out of whack with Iran is because he thought that the Mullah’s merely hated old white men like George Bush and not America itself.
Obama paraded around the world on the so called apology tour in an attempt to show that the U,S visa vie his leadership, had changed forever to a real, kinder, gentler nation, something the Iranians had heard before. The president thought for sure that he could prove that he was the real deal, a system reset, but all of that has been in vain, like the invaders in Independence Day, they just want him to “die”. But like the geeky kid courting the disinterested girl wearing his Urkel suit with bow tie and flowers in hand he heedlessly tootles on with unwarranted optimism.

And it doesn’t help that the National Intelligence Estimate poo pooed the efficacy of Iranian efforts merely as a ploy to screw GWB, while missing the mark on NorK, Pakistan, and India. Their efforts to discredit the president has put the world at risk and smudged the propriety of their own names, something that they can longer walk back for convenience sake. In a sense, the intelligence community has made a dog’s breakfast of intel while playing parlor games in the back rooms of court. Obama is on his own and he is not well informed by his personal opinions, beliefs, and ideology. Poor presidents. None can be educated with common sense within the short time of their incumbency.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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