Beyond the Cusp

February 11, 2016

Obama’s Massive Budget Proposes but Misses All Marks

 

The Congress will be debating a budget which manages to miss a number of vital areas while spending massive amounts on failed programs and is designed to expand dependence on government programs, expanding programs designed to replace the need for employment forming a self-enforced permanent reliance. Many of the new permanently unemployed who have completely resigned to their current fate and have adapted to a lifestyle more conducive to a retired person complete with a number of friends in the same lifestyle and probably virtual on-line friends in a game or chat room who meet every day for their entertainment used to fill the day while some take on a lifestyle of a self-imposed solitary confinement with hopefully a friend or relative who makes occasional contact allowing for at least a minimal level of human interaction. These are people who have fallen through the cracks finding government programs for their support and sustenance. They know where to get food and live either with their parents or other relative or with a group of man living in a rented apartment or in Section 8 Housing. These are people who have accepted that they have failed and have little if any motivation to improve their lot in life. There will be funds for these people and if they vote we can guess which party is their choice as their existence depends on government teat to nurture them. If only our military personnel were so well cared for, but one has to have their priorities after all.

 

This budget will needfully be augmented by whoever wins the Presidential contest next fall, and that cannot come fast enough. This makes this budget President Obama’s final shot at remaking the United States into nothing more than another demilitarized socialist European failing state. Other than the first budget he proposed and got passed by a Democrat Congress which had complete control over both houses, Congress also passed his next spending increase in a supplemental budget in some way with almost every piece of legislation adding to the demand for more revenue from a tax strapped and wounded economy which groaned and struggled under the ever increasing burden. It seemed the only places cash strapped under the Obama years was national defense and the space program. To be fair the space program appears to be the whipping boy of every politician whose aim it is to reel in a runaway budget. Have you ever noticed that the NASA budget, when it comes time to make cuts, is always given in billions of dollars and never like other parts which are mentioned in percentages of spending? There is a reason which becomes crystal clear once you understand the actual size of the NASA budget. The dirty little secret is that the NASA budget has seldom reached beyond 2 1/2 % and ever since the end of the moon race has never cleared 1 1/2 % and usually hovered around ¾ of 1% of the budget, that is 0.75% which is almost nonexistent but when said in billions of dollars it sound enormous, or ginormous as a very young child once exclaimed while watching television. So, on we go to other budget realities.

 

The defense budget, it’s a monstrous piece of the budget, right? Wrong. Actually the peace time military usually runs on under 9% of the budget. The one wasteful part of the budget is the now approaching 25% of the budget which is used to pay the interest on the national debt, the interest which means the actual debt never gets paid down. This is even worse than paying your monthly minimum on your charge cards as even those include payment beyond just “servicing” your debt. We all understand that should we not charge more on our cards that this minimum payment will eventually drop to zero as we will have paid off our debt in full. Not the Federal Government, they pay what we would call a default payment where they pay off the interest and allow the actual principle to remain untouched thus they could pay the interest rate forever and never have the debt grow any smaller. I hear you and you are correct, that is no way to run a budget. Still this paying off only the interest will force deficit spending as there would be no other manner of paying off the debt. So, that payment may have grown since the last time we came across the actual numbers on that debt demand. Another 30% goes to all the benefits and Social Security based payments and another 30% on corporate welfare and the remainder which is, let’s do the math, NASA and the Defense budgets equals 10% plus debt service is 25% and support payments combined is 60% and we are at 95% and not even begun to talk about simply running the government we would be wise to end our outlays and use that remaining 5% to cover any unexpended necessities which may come around, but no, that amount is eaten up largely by the operating payment which easily found uses for any remaining cash as long as it is not used to pay off principle of the debt as that would make sense.

 

With the budget covering all the massive increases, as it has since his first Obama budget gave unfathomable increases that set the tone for the remainder of budgets, government spending is, as logic would dictate, out of control. This was an intentional ploy as now the cost of living increases themselves was sufficiently large that many agencies have been strapped for ways to spend their new levels of funding; but still each was then sufficiently charged with new outlays that their percentage of the budget increased well beyond that 5% limitation. That paltry 5% was insignificant when compared to the demands that legislation would place on the government such as added programs and the expansion of programs such that they were tasked with making payments sometimes to larger and larger sectors of society. One easily provided example was the lengthening of the time one could collect unemployment before being dropped from the roles. The same was occurring at the welfare offices as more people found themselves eligible for added benefits and the increase in people found to be disabled, all of these categories add up and very soon one is talking about real outlays running smack against deficit spending and an increased debt. The worrisome item is how much additional outlays will be required for the military to continue to operate at a level well in advance of other nations who, such as China and Russia, are attempting to supplant the United States as the hegemon. Russia is doing exactly that in the Middle East and Eastern Europe while China is targeting the Western Pacific Ocean and Asia.

 

The two main problems facing the United States will require the next President to address two areas and decide exactly what they intend to do to mitigate the problems. The first and potentially lesser of the problems is simply supporting the military and restoring it with additional funding to cover the development and training of the soldiers on new and more advanced equipment. The F-22 Raptor should be put back into production and the full rostrum originally intended should be resumed. There are a number of other areas where upgrades or replacement is necessary or approaching at an unanticipated rate. One such item is space defense which would protect vital satellites from attack, especially ground based attacks. The other would be an overhaul of the weapons utilized by the military. Improved individual weapon systems and squad defense systems need upgrading or replacement. A new infantry weapon is desperately needed and the new weapon will need to be sufficient to fire a round which will penetrate the personal armor currently used by other militaries and many terrorist groups who have been able to acquire such defensive systems. Another replacement, actually supplemented, is the ability to project force overseas from within the United States to any point on the map within four hours. There has been a plan for a space plane which involves a low earth orbit to be attained and then a controlled reentry would place a squad of soldiers anywhere required. A coordinated launch of sufficient numbers of the crafts could relocate entire companies and even brigades and have them operational within three hours, comfortably within the requirements. New armor, specifically heavy and moderate tanks and the design of an armored personnel carrier (APC) which is mine resistant and adaptable enough to perform transport of any company or brigade troop safely and with relative comfort and a seating capacity for thirty-five men and their equipment. ROV and self-sufficient robotic systems should be urgently placed at the front of DARPA priorities thus leading to fast track readiness for these systems which are required for multiple tasks.

 

 

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification, Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface, Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist, Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification,
Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface,
Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist,
Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

 

 

Above the rebuilding of military hardware, power projection, logistics at all levels; the modern warfare future infantry soldier systems need full field testing and provability of aims which include integrating the soldier in the field with access to the same information as command and control is looking at plus gives them locations of all friendlies in the area of operation as well as known and suspected enemy locations and demarking landmarks as known cleared, unknown or known enemy occupied. The systems also permit the squad or platoon to spread over a larger area as each man knows the position of the unit to their right and left and allows for moving inline and giving orders, warnings or other pertinent or mission critical information through test allowing for quiet movement in possible enemy areas. These systems also link to drones, aerial and ground based, with both camera view and location scanned. This also gives command a better view of where assets on the ground actually are and they thus are not depending on “they should be here by now” and other inaccuracies. These systems being given testing by trial in mock training situation making them mission tested and ready to deploy should we require boots on the ground, and if the President does not desire boots on the ground, American troops are versatile if nothing else, they can wear sneakers and if that is too formal they could try wearing flip-flops but movement would be slowed.

 

The other area which is vital for the United States to address as it is also quite necessary for the world economy as well. The United States debt ceiling must be lowered and the debt decreased. This is not payment on the debt as it is now used, namely paying the interest payment and not touching the principle except to raise it half way through the year and then bumping it up every six weeks as you pass continuing resolution and refusing to pass a budget such that nobody can keep track of spending and the debt can be adjusted every couple of weeks as another extension of the budget with a ten percent increase over the last continuing resolution as we have to allow for a little manageable debt. This has been one of President Obama’s greatest deceits, the creeping debt ceiling where every continuing resolution grants the President the power to raise the debt ceiling an apparently insignificant amount always given as a percentage of GDP and never on actual billions or tens of billions of dollars, one billion dollars is one fourth of one percent, 0.25% or 1/4% (all if my math is remotely accurate), which appears insignificant until somebody breaks the news that that is half of the NASA budget which was considered wasteful. The other matter is these continuing resolutions pile up until you have as many as ten and always at the least five so we will give you the increase if there are merely seven continuing resolution each increasing the debt ceiling by 0.25%. Such an insignificant amount results in increasing the debt ceiling by a whopping 1.75% increase which if the debt is at $10,000,000 then at years end it would be over $10,725,000 which is a lot more than a simple one quarter of one percent raise they claimed they made because they made that increase multiple times. The actual increase from a ¼ % increase one needs to multiple 1.0025 times itself as many times as it was complimented thus making the formula for the actual increase to be (1.0025)n where n=the number of continuing resolutions. The debt ceiling being raised is probably the greatest threat to the future economy which means a threat to any military presence and influence over the world the United States would be financially capable of sustaining.

 

President Obama could be considered the John Lenin, not the Vladimir Lenin though that argument could be made, where he only added one verse to the song Imagine:

Imagine there is no America,
forcing her morals and opulence upon the world,
its catastrophic if it happens,
it’s easy if you try,
just look back to 1919,
when the system failed and left much in disarray.

For those confused, 1919 saw the greatest drop in the stock market value and almost all industry froze expecting a very long, long, long winter and governments were in a panic over what to do. They discussed nationalizing industry as they had misread the populace’s demands, and then there was the imposition of standards and regulations such that government and industry would cooperate. There was no upper limit to proposals and that was the magic. Every couple of days some economist played out the reasons for the crash and the required steps necessary to repair the problem such that it never occurs again. No two were alike as to what to do. Governments in Europe and the United States as well as elsewhere which were struck by the economic crunch debated and debated then debated further for quite a while. There was never a consensus and the government appeared as frozen as the economy and the crisis continued for almost a year and a half without government intervention to save the day. Finally the crisis calmed and reason prevailed and the government did that which was best, absolutely nothing beyond making great and historic speeches which nobody today remembers. The recovery came completely free of any government actions and quite probably because of no government action. The worst economic crisis which the history books refuse to cover was not in 1929 or anywhere through the 1930’s and that disaster only affected the United States where the government took immediate and necessary actions while in Europe the government, as in 1919, debated until the economy recovered on its own in about eighteen months while the United States went from one cure to another like a fish floundering out of the water. Will we ever learn, nope, that can be proven by asking random people simple question concerning something not taught any longer, civics. Simple questions like what are the three branches of government, how many members in the House of Representatives, how many electors in the Electoral College. My favorite is to take a copy of the Declaration of Independence modernized version and tell people you are collecting signature such that this document will need to be voted upon and potentially become adopted by the government but you need signatures to meet some set number. Watch the people freak out and call you so many varied and different names such as fascist, anarchist, communist and any number of other things all meant as pejoratives and insult.

 

Lastly, to make a few comments on this fall’s Presidential elections in the United States. The person elected to office will be initially critical to Israel. The growing crisis in Europe over the refugees will result inevitably in violence like never witnessed before. The reactions will propel the world onto yet another conflagration where the ending volley will come as a response to Iranian nuclear strikes on the United States. When communications break down in the usual levels and the conflict has proceeded to a point where a conflagration is sure to follow, the fleet commanders out to sea in submarines and surface vessels and all the bases around the world will do as their letters of command instruct, to the best of their ability determine who or plural who was/were responsible for the attack which broke off their communications links with all commands and take whatever measures are possible to mitigate the situation. If the nuclear submarines, boomers, determine or are informed that nuclear weapons were utilized in an assault on the United States, they will launch their missiles in order to eradicate the enemy which thusly destroyed the United States. Some nations believe that the United States is no different than them and only has a few number of vessels not in harbor safe and sound rather than roaming all points in the globe lurking in the depths awaiting commands and when not receiving such assuming that their bases were destroyed so they would contact the ranking officer outside the mainland and receive their new orders. These orders would take into consideration the launch point and nation behind the launch or assisting these attackers anywhere on the planet and launch nuclear Armageddon upon them such that there be nothing left for the twelfth Imam to come save. As the old commercials used to say, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” This version would be along the lines of, “It’s not survivable to fool with America” as her assets around the globe will kill you very completely. In conclusion, if the United States can instead of policing micro-aggressions at home and inspecting their navels, would instead look at the real and serious threats around the globe and address them in some assertive manner, then they would allow the real threats to be known and scheduled for destruction immediately and completely with no reservations or considerations for their populations, and should target and eliminate by any means necessary any credible and identifiable threats from abroad as they likely targeted locations which would directly affect families and friends back home. The American military need only break things and then simply advise that remaining population that they correct their governance and attitudes about all things of immediate concern otherwise the American military will return, break everything and give the survivors the same challenge, and repeating this cycle as long as necessary until any new governance poses no discernable threat to the United States or her allies. But there is the definite possibility the next American presence in the world will more appear as weak-willed and incompetent governance based on the people making the call through their elected representatives which if weak-willed would lead to their electing their own representatives for all the wrong reasons and falling for flashy commercials and tired old promises made every election cycle. America is, as Ronald Reagan pointed out, the last best hope for freedom in the world and that was correct. What he got wrong was should America as the beacon of democracy die, there will continue to be a beacon for democracy as there is another which can carry the seed though would be pressed to spread it through more than a value preserved and ready for when men’s souls yearn for freedom and seek within them such fortitude to risk all to fulfill their dream. Israel can be that spark but the nations of the world will need to provide the fuel that will light the fires of hope, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and a will to risk everything they have to give their children the freedom they must in turn preserve. Freedom is a small flickering flame which can be fueled to burn so brightly, but also will become merely glowing embers which soon turn charcoal black and give off little if any heat unable to rekindle the flames. Those embers of freedom are currently losing their heat throughout Europe and America is trailing not all that far behind. Time is limited but ripe for a new burst of freedom; the next elections may be the determining factor between freedom and hopelessness engulfing much of the world. Will men and women realize and answer the challenge.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 7, 2015

The World After President Obama

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There are those amongst my friends and acquaintances who fear that President Obama will declare Martial Law after instigating some false national emergency whose borderline irrational fear mirrors that of those who feared the same from President George W. Bush. There is too much precedent for such to occur and President Obama will step down and give way to the duly elected President in mid-January of 2017 after the 2016 November elections. The question remains what shape will the world present to the next President and what shape will they find the United States presenting them, allowing for actions to steer the United States after their inauguration. The one point that needs to be made is this assessment is made with absolutely no regards from which party or who will be the next President as we can cross that bridge when we reach it. The first thing is the President will face his power on foreign policy will start from a position of actual weakness not felt by the United States since the start of World War II and actually in worse condition than at the end of President Carter or any other. They will be facing a situation where every branch of the military will have had bordering neglect of weapons systems and other vital maintenance with potentially the nuclear deterrent and missile systems in potentially the worst shape with some munitions in such disrepair as to require their destruction and the necessary systems for producing and upgrading these vital assets also teetering on exhausted supplies and neglected condition as to make their management a simple case of dereliction of duty caused by strangled funding and intentional degradation ordered from the highest places. They will find the senior officers to be largely made up of a weakened corps of merely ‘yes men’ and actual pacifists who believe the United States military would best serve the world in the capacity to deliver aid but not necessarily deliver force of arms beyond the shoreline with the exception of utilizing drones and other stand-off weapons partially due to depleted manpower caused by decreased funding and the paring down of the military leadership through neglect to make efforts to retain the officer’s corps.

 

The rebuilding of the military power will take a concerted effort and require massive funding increases which will make any promise of reduction of the tax burden near to impossible to deliver on in the first two years without simply patching some of the most serious areas of military weakness due to nearly eight years of intentional neglect and lack of concerns for the consequences. There will be the need for some of the cancelled military productions and for consideration of developing modern replacement for some of the oldest of the vital systems. The B-52 heavy bombing corps is utilizing airframes mostly built before 1990 and using systems designed originally in the early and mid-1950s and receiving upgrades restricted to that airframe and other limitations due to restrictions resulting from the designs being of antiquated designs and technologies which would require extensive restructuring of the basic airframe which would more likely be better served by replacement of the B-52 fleet with a new long-range bomber designed with forward looking technology. Even the B-1 and B-2 bombers are utilizing old technology and would require a complete overhaul of systems and even design. The Air Force may be better served with considering a completely new strategy where the pilots of fighter squadrons no longer were seated directly in the aircraft but instead flying the fighters from remoted position of a dedicated stealth aircraft where multiple fighters are controlled from relative safe stand-off positions. Such remotely controlled aircraft could retain much of the size of the current airframes which now being remotely controlled the airframes could be designed with intent of making high-G maneuvers previously impossible to execute due to having a pilot onboard the aircraft. Such a fleet utilizing such design parameters would revolutionize air combat for the future in ways thought unimaginable just ten years ago. The same considerations could be utilized in many modern systems when their next redesign is due especially armored combat vehicles using similar control systems allowing for the replacement of crews with automated systems which would permit decreased size and vulnerability of profile while retaining the accuracy and armaments of modern warfare armored systems. Replacing the infantryman with a robotic system is not yet feasible but should be a priority task presented to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) with an expected rollout of several prototypes each providing the same abilities with additional features possible only in a robotic system. These systems would still require human operators who would make final decisions of when to shoot and when to stand down. It is doubtful that the American population is ready for terminator styled soldiers operating independently reliant solely on advanced AI (artificial intelligence) units quite yet, but even that would be a presentable concept when considering the demands that any military action place risk on the troops minimizing any possibility of human casualties.

 

The stress on military upgrading and rebuilding is simply due to the requirement of a force to back up policy is required if one intends to have a positive position in dealings with other nations or a defensive position which by requirement is overtly careful so as not to provoke anger or rejection knowing that the military is unable to back up and enforce policies and other demands including protection of the homeland and its interests overseas. This is crucial because the next President will be facing difficulties of the United States’ own making across the globe. Europe will be facing economic challenges which will render their policies being ever more defensive and cautious with numerous European nations facing unrest within their borders. The potential for an explosion of bloodshed within the European continent is becoming not only a future threat but approaching transforming into an imminent threat uncontrolled illegal immigration will be approaching the tipping point where the European culture will become challenged which will push the European indigenous population to the point where the decision will be the same as it has been throughout human history when two disparate and opposing cultures reach the point where the minority population decides to attempt, through intimidation and other threats, to impose their norms on the ever shrinking and aging majority replacing their culture and supplanting them as those wielding power going into the future. Should Europe when so challenged react in the fashion which has served them in the past, with such response as often typified be referencing the Inquisitions, the result will be just as or even more horrific. Europe as a whole has a very disturbing history of open warfare between competing positions which were demanding for far lesser changes in the culture causing horrific wars even including civil conflicts within one’s borders. The possibility of similar response today is all too real. One need not look that far afield to bear witness to such results where internal forces rise up and before all is decided, outside forces enter the war hijacking it to forcefully take over the nation wracked already in violence in an attempt to install a new set of leadership just as dictatorial, just as oppressive, just as cruel and potentially even more barbarous than the one being overturned. Such disasters even threaten to redraw the maps casting the formation for the sham and relativity designed solely to enrich foreign investments. Such is what is being fought over and is the main reasoning given by ISIS who is intent on supplanting both the former dictator and those who sought to replace their dictator with a modern system most likely with elected representation resulting in what is oft referred to as a democracy. Should ISIS prove victorious, there will be a new leadership in the form of a Caliph, an old title being restored so as to impose an old dictatorial leadership who takes their claim to the throne based on historic familial relationship to former Caliphs all the way to Muhammad thus adding a religious basis for their power. Such a religious tyranny would be very similar though diametrically opposed to the theocratic dictatorship of Iran, the other eight-hundred-pound gorilla in this struggle. The third leg of this societal struggle would be represented by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi who has yet to be fully defined and is the sole representative desiring to inspire his nation to become the towering example of how an Arab and Muslim state is capable of using elections as the tool for actually choosing the national governance but also guaranteed to be free and open elections even should he be defeated, and then comes the real test as to whether or not the newly elected leader after President Sisi also chooses to continue the liberal march into modernity or chooses to install themselves as the unchallengeable leader of Egypt. Meanwhile, there are three distinct powers currently vying to lead by two of these and the third simply has desires of surviving the current assaults on its existence which has been an active fight since its inception in May of 1948 and has been pressed to remain on the cusp between militaristic power and start-up nation with a thriving economy wishing only to be unleashed by the restraints necessitated by a constant threat of war.

 

The largest challenge looming on the horizon and very possibly to explode before the end of President Obama’s remaining time in office is of his own doing. The potential for the start of a struggle that would forever change the world may have started once President Obama completes his own set goal of bringing Iran back into the world of nations. The manner in which President Obama set out to perform this miracle would have entailed defanging Iran and then inviting them to join the nations of the world with peaceful intentions by Iran. Instead we have a United States President blindly charging forth demanding this will be his legacy, the making of Iran a coequal partner of the Middle East. The one unavoidable fact is that just as Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) will be his domestic policy legacy; just as, if not more, dreadful will be his foreign policy legacy as Iran becomes a nuclear power which will have established a basic arsenal of deliverable nuclear warheads consisting of minimally a dozen and more likely three to four dozen with at least one third being thermonuclear warheads (hydrogen fusion warheads). This will place Iran well ahead of whatever plans Saudi Arabia may have in place. This announcement may come at any moment all dependent upon the extent and advancement of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The truth is the world has absolutely no clue as to whether or not Iran already possesses a number of nuclear warheads hidden away from the prying eyes wandering across the skies both orbital and others ground based aircraft. The one truth we do know is that once it becomes obvious that Iran has become a nuclear power, then it will not take numerous other Middle East nations to develop and start building their nuclear weapons arsenals. This new weapons conflict may be solely restrained by the availability of Uranium in any form to be enriched to weapons level of over ninety-percent and then its merging with the rest of the warhead. Below is the list of known nuclear weapons states and an estimate on their numbers of warheads. Once Iran has announced or been determined beyond a reasonable doubt to be armed with nuclear weapons, then the list below will become somewhat obsolete as it is rumored that Saudi Arabia has a standing agreement with Pakistan to purchase approximately one dozen nuclear warheads just so Saudi Arabia will be covered while they acquire and build their own weapons thereafter. One can also expect that Egypt and Turkey would follow suit and develop their own nuclear weapons systems. The breakdown of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also referred to as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), will tempt certain other members to choose to opt out and develop their own nuclear weapons. Some nations may decide to develop and build their own nuclear weapons while retaining their place on the NPT committees. Some of the other nations which might decide the time has come to join the nuclear club include Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Taiwan and Japan to name a few that came to mind. The nuclear club is perched to become a far larger club of nations where its membership will no longer be the reserved of the very elite but start to resemble another useless body, the United Nations General Assembly which has become a place where the barbarians sit in judgement making decisions that carry no weight behind them beyond the media attention they generate.

1) Russia 7,500
2) United States 7,100
3) France 300
4) China 250
5) United Kingdom 225
6) Pakistan120 (estimated)
7) India 110 (estimated)
8) Israel 80 (estimated)
9) North Korea < 10 (estimated)
10) Iran ??

 

The final stage is China and her continuous efforts to claim the South China Sea and all the islands found within that general area. The problem is there are other nations who claim these islands and who hold claims just as valid. There is a chance of a conflict here though one has to imagine that China is the eight-hundred-pound gorilla of Asia as her size and modernized army with weapons to match and including nuclear weapons. This is the main reason that Japan, Taiwan and even the Philippines might all be slowly reaching the conclusion that if they are to prevent China taking over the islands one after the other inexorably slinking towards their main Isles thus posing an ever growing threat to these Island nations, they are considering that which would have a decade ago been unthinkable, joining the nuclear armed nations so as to have equal threat potential against China. More as an aside than a warning, one must also remember that the most recent Russian madman, Putin, has delusions of reestablishing Greater Russia and now that China and Russia are back on speaking terms, they have been talking of an alliance for sharing technological advances, nuclear technology, weapons research and development. This has an ominous side in that most terrorist groups have either Russia or China at the head of their supply chain. All taken in, we find the nation of the United States with a military that many have pointed to as merely having the strength the United States could project at the very start of World War II, Russia and China ascending, Iran, supported by Russia and China, being handed nuclear weapons and a very large industrial scale systems to construct said weapons from where they will begin to exercise power over the Middle East and perhaps beyond to Central and South America through Venezuela and Cuba being aided by Russia who appears poised to reacquire the lands of Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia, reestablishing the concept of a Greater Russia. Additionally there is China with an ever more capable navy claiming and taking one island after another while claiming all of the South China Sea and threatening to replace America as the preeminent power in the Pacific including the coastal areas in South America and made all the worse as the United States had gifted China with owning the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal even before the turn of the calendar to the twenty-first century.Then Iran has as luck would have it control over the Straits of Hormuz through which almost all of the Middle Eastern oil is transported to the world and is taking control the straits of Bab el Mandeb through their proxy in Yemen, the Houthis, which grants them control over the Suez Canal as this is where the Red Sea enters the Gulf of Aden leading to the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the world thus granting Iran control over one third of the world’s trade and oil while China controls the busiest sea in the South China Sea as well as the second busiest canal in the Panama Canal. How much more change can the world hope to endure?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 13, 2015

A Chance America Riding Off Into the Sunset

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There has been speculation about what role the United States will play on the world’s stage as threats abound of various severities and natures almost everywhere one looks and still we hear from United States President Obama that he awaits final strategy and complete plans laid out before him from the Pentagon before he can act. This excuse from President Obama for not committing to some plan of action sounds unrealistic, especially as it is well known even personally after having served in the United States Army, the Pentagon has plans, War Scenarios, for near any contingency which might arise. This makes President Obama’s excuse of not having any plans before him sound quite lame. Even had the Pentagon not had an exact battle plan in place when ISIS first reared their ugly heads and started chopping heads, especially since some belonged to the United States, you can bet the Pentagon went to their files and had cobbled together six ways come Sunday for dealing with ISIS which probably had added contingencies for removing Bashir al-Assad from power and potentially addressing the Iranian nuclear issue as well. The one thing is, they were not short of was plans. The only thing necessary would be for the President to choose one and they would be implementing within forty-eight hours. Each set of plans would have in the full layout exactly which units were trained for that exact mission and which of those units was at full strength and had a ready status. They would have decided whether or not to use the ready actions units of which at least two brigades of Army would be on immediate deployment status and I can assume the Marines, Navy and Air Force have similar plans for immediate response to any call up.

 

We can trust the Pentagon has plans and that all the President need do is pick up that phone he claims he could use to call for action if Congress did not pass his legislation in a timely manner and instead call the Pentagon and request their actions and plans be presented. Then he could pick up that pen with which he threatened Congress to use to write Executive Orders and use it to sign off on a plan of action and then write an Executive Memo to the leaders in Congress informing them of the impending actions and the Pentagon would take care of the rest. There is one contingency for which the Pentagon likely has plans but would be unable to implement them until the President ordered them to follow and support somebody else’s initiation of actions. That is President Obama’s famous plan of leading from behind, better known as following which often is the action of those too cowardly to commit to actions and stick their neck out, something which would be risky against ISIS but the President can go ahead and stick his neck out, the military would be out in front and would do or die even knowing that in the end the President would claim the glory, after all he took out Osama bin Laden haven’t you heard. Leading from behind is not an option on this crisis but President Obama is not one to make definitive decisions which might have him owning his actions. President Obama would rather simply follow and take only that action was dictated by somebody else, the United Nations, the European Union, NATO led by another member, actually President Obama would follow anybody, well, anybody but Israel. Were Israel to engage ISIS, it would not be a complete surprise if President Obama gave weapons to ISIS through some obscure middleman leader of another nation who might be supportive of ISIS though doing so would be risky. But until somebody else takes the lead we can expect more excuses over action from the White House.

 

One wonders if President Obama has even requested the Pentagon produce their plans for dealing with ISIS and said plans actually called for the United States to sit this round out. We can figure that the United States is loath to send troops back into Iraq after being pulled out by President Obama in a manner that military planners had informed the President was a premature action which would cause more problems than it could solve. The one problem leaving a residual force would not have addressed was President Obama winning reelection on his promise to bring our boys home come something (keeping it family friendly) or high water. The Pentagon may have been requested to provide plans which would include supporting UN or EU or NATO action taken to facilitate leading from behind at which time the Pentagon action would most likely be exactly what we are seeing, doing nothing waiting for somebody else to take the initiative so they could follow thus leading from behind again allowing President Obama to risk nothing which actually making a choice and lead would mean. But this begs a question; what happens if the United States is about to return to her historic role of isolationism where the United States trades with her friends and with her enemies but on a lesser scale and dares not interfere in worldly matters allowing them to work themselves out without United States interventions. United States entering an isolationist perspective would only allow her deployment of troops to be limited and almost always to support trade more than worrying about such trivialities as world balance and defeating evil, that’s better left to the knights of Europe who have always done this before. Of course this before was before the United States encouraged Europe to stop their militarism and that the United States would spread her umbrella and cover them so they could turn to less harmful pursuits such as taking on debt and squabbling amongst each other, just this time no world wars starting in Europe, that was the deal the United States imposed on Europe. But now it appears the United States may be folding up that umbrella and claiming not to see the storm clouds rising out of the Middle East, a denial which is difficult to swallow.

 

The going theory is that the United States will return to the role of the world’s police and enforce the good behavior between the nations extending force projection where needed. That is not the historic tendency of the United States after any major conflicts; her historic stance has been a laissez-faire attitude of simple sitting back keeping her hands politely to herself, which is the norm from the United States. The average American knows little about world affairs and cares even less. The average American was defined by President Clinton in his initial campaign for the Presidency with his slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The stupid in this case was George Herbert Walker Bush (the elder and first Pres Bush) and the elections proved it as President Bush did not gain reelection largely due to his having broken his promise of, “Read my lips; no new taxes,” and then was forced to raise taxes by a Democrat Congress in order to get his budget passed with the military spending not slashed by the Congress. The election of President Clinton over reelecting President Bush was all about domestic policies over foreign policies.

 

You start to talk about foreign policy with the average American and their eyes gloss over and they drift into some zombie like state all catatonic and in shock after the first two or three sentences. Talk about immigration, taxes, domestic hot-button issues, government spending of which all is unnecessary except those they are or will receive, and the economy then you will engage in a sometimes heated debate. Talk about money and they will listen, talk about something happening in the Mille East or Asia and they will repeat what the media stated, that is bad, that is good and those people sure have as rough time, but then they will turn it back to how the government needs to take care of things at home first. The average American has all the sympathy you could ever ask for and they will donate more to charities than any other peoples on earth but when it comes to sending their young men off to fight in what they mostly see as somebody else’s war, then they need a ton of convincing and President Obama surfs waves, seldom makes waves when it comes to world politics. The President came from a past as a community organizer, read rabble rouser causing trouble to force government actions usually spending more money of which they get the lion’s share, and knows little outside of Chicago, let alone outside of the United States. He treats foreign policy as if it was a plague and to his outlook, as well as many Americans outlooks, simply does not go past the horizon and possibly not past the water’s edge.

 

We can bet that should the Democrat candidate become the next President, they too will do little as they can in foreign policy. We need remember that the Democrat candidate will not likely be Hillary Clinton but more likely somebody not even announced as of yet. Ms. Clinton’s campaign van has the wheels flying off and the engine is about to quit. The van is driving down the road to oblivion. But what if it is the Republican candidate, you inquire. There we need to find out who will take the lead and which ones do not survive the first three or four actual primary votes. We can make some specific and general observations. Rand Paul is an isolationist libertarian who believes if the United States hurts nobody then nobody would target the United States. Of all the governors and ex-governors running, only Jeb Bush might be a President inclined to use military force and actually have an active foreign policy. Others have claimed that they will repair the United States relations with Israel as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia largely undoing some of the changes made under President Obama. Still, such actions do not necessarily mean a return into Iraq to defeat ISIS unless it becomes a dire threat to the stability of the Middle East. Only Senator Marco Rubio has direct experience with foreign policies as he in on the Senate Intelligence Committee which gives him access beyond the average Senator under the need to know doctrines. Almost any Republican candidate becoming President would easily take four months to a year to become fully briefed on every hot-spot that the Pentagon had plans and counter plans and different options under each plan and time granted each. Such amounts of information is why the President has a Secretary of Defense whose staff is divided so they can divide their work and attend to each contingencies. Still, the final decisions and person who must form the overall foreign police and who has to call in the troops for action when deemed to be necessary lies with the President and the President alone. That is one of the reason it is said that it is lonely at the top. We still have no real available input that any of the Republican candidates would press for an interventionist approach to foreign policies.

 

Likely the most pressing foreign policy might already have their hands tied should President Obama make any Iran nuclear deal somehow into a treaty without gaining Congressional affirmation. Such a decade long deal would actually prevent the next administration from taking any actions without smoking gun style proof that Iran had broken the agreement but as the agreement includes steps all the way through twelve years with little margin for change in the terms or even the terminology during that time period with the Iranians presumably free to complete their desired goal of deliverable nuclear warheads and the ICBMs on which to place them after ten years according to President Obama’s own admission which would leave them at a minimum two years to produce as many weapons systems as they are able starting with an unknown amount of LEU (low enrichment Uranium) with which to work and all of that Uranium a simple two day’s processing to be made weapons grade HEU (highly enriched Uranium over 90% purity) and then they would be capable of molding the cores and producing actual weapons. All of this is a guess of what the eventual agreement will appear to say and Iranian compliance to the terms and inspection protocols as well as their answering numerous questions about previous work performed largely by the military which Iran insists is an unprecedented and unnecessary invasion of their privileges and privacies. So, when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program the next President may be acting with his hands tied and possibly looking at a negative response from a nuclear armed Iran claiming their dominion over Iraq and dismissing the need for United States interference in their area of control which they will claim includes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and who knows where else by January 21, 2017 when the next President takes office. After Iran there will be other situations such as Russia and their low-grade war with the Ukraine and its possibilities, China and their expansion Islands being built and potentially taking territorial control semi-legally over the entire South China Sea giving them control over one of the most active shipping lanes in the world. Speaking of choke points for shipping, Iran already has menacing control over the Straits of Hormuz where almost one third of the world’s oil is shipped by tankers and may through their proxies in Yemen, Houthis can also threaten to control the Bab-el-Mandeb which would cut off the southern exit of the Red Sea making the Suez Canal unusable and the Israeli southern port to the orient and Africa blockaded, a casus belli which could lead to a state of declared war by Iran on Israel and Egypt as both would have their shipping access to the world impeded illegally as Iran would have no other excuse other than they could close all shipping. These are just the top three and none of these includes the ISIS threat which may grow to the point where Iran and ISIS meet on equal footing with ISIS having gained an Air Force even if of a limited nature, and tactics which are prone to working, at least working well against the Iraqi army. ISIS has had far less success against the Kurdish Militias such as the Peshmerga (literally “one who confronts death”) and the People’s Protection Units (known as the YPG). These have held the northeast parts of Syria having an astonishing turning point in the city of Kobanê as well as the northern third or so of Iraq where the Kurdish forces saved thousands of Yazidi and whose Yazidi Militias have joined ranks with the Kurdish Militias. We could continue to the other continents and their probabilities for causing distress but that would leave Antarctica as probably the only safe haven if you desired no strife, or at least not yet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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