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