Beyond the Cusp

October 23, 2016

Barack Obama’s Wild Search for Any Legacy

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President Barack Obama entered office with even a great number of Europeans having sky high hopes for his future. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize largely due to his soaring rhetoric describing his desires and designs for a world blanketed in peace rather than strife, free of nuclear weapons rather than bristling with them, shared bounty benefitting all replacing areas torn by hunger and want, and his fresh message promising hope replacing despair. There appeared to be other areas of the world which also caught Obamaitis, a feeling of great hope due to dulcet tones of rhythmic rhymes and rhetoric promising the end of deprivation and the opening for all a grand cornucopia providing great giving filling the world with divine satisfactions and serenity, comforts and calm, lullabies and love. The world had to be at the leading edge of the Age of Aquarius.

 

 

This expectation of greatness and having found the leader for the new century who would wipe away all the old and stodgy ideas which presumably underlined the policies and failings of his predecessor, George W. Bush led to the reelection as if the expectations which had begun to fade could be brought to fulfillment if just the people would show their support and promise to stay the course with full support and continued adulation. Americans, as a whole, virtually all hoped that President Obama would be the President that all America could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with and repair the real problems facing the nation. Even, or possibly because of, many who initially feared that Obama would rule as what they perceived as an extreme leftist progressive anti-American still grabbed on to this prayer, this hope. I know as I was one such who had predicted that President Obama would be a President Jimmy Carter on steroids. I was wrong as I missed the part which would rival President Lyndon Baines Johnson with the steamrolling over all opposition; Constitution be damned. So now we sit in the closing months of a wounded Presidency which failed in even its own measuring stick. Gone beyond repair is Cap and Trade, Carbon Credits, the end of coal for energy, fracking continues, livable wage remains a dream, government run healthcare is in a shambles and the final crash is still ahead, universal nuclear disarmament is dead with the promise of proliferation like never before is about to spread these weapons across the most unstable Middle East and into North Africa (MENA) and, worst of all, there are numerous more wars with entire nations in various stages of disintegration as in Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine and the world seems closer than ever to the Eve of Destruction.

 

 

Musical interludes aside, the world is far more violent with more conflict and more nations in a state of complete anarchy where the governance has either disintegrated or no longer cares or represents the population. The continued anarchy and destruction in Syria and Libya can be indirectly or even directly attributed to actions or lack thereof by the United States under the directions of President Obama and largely the State Department. There have been reports online and in the mainstream media of recommendations made by the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff being ignored and even directly countermanded by the White House. Examples of such advice being completely ignored which led directly to many of today’s problems include pulling almost every American military force after refusing to provide a new set of terms and protections for the troops as President Obama refused to permit the Pentagon to work with the Iraqi government leaving the State Department to negotiate which was postponed until a mere ten weeks before the then existing agreement lapsed. Then there was the shifting, sliding and finally fading to nothing Red Line in the Sand to bring destruction down on Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad if he unleashed chemical weapons. The final example we will give was the entire concept of leading from behind which directly led to the decapitation of Libyan governance without providing even a modicum of force in place providing time to form new governance resulting in tribal internal warfare tearing the nation apart.

 

Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon

Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon

 

To the present we are witnessing a change and President Obama taking the lead very quietly while attempting to force what his passivity failed to accomplish. We have witnessed stronger language targeting Russian President Putin while arming rebels more directly, though which rebels has been kept somewhat vague. Some reports claim they are al-Nusra and others who were once claiming allegiance to al-Qaeda but have since renounced any allegiances. Some unofficial sources not aligned with the State Department or Pentagon has shown alliances with some of these rebels with the Islamic State. Even more troubling has been the unprincipled support using American air power of Turkey President Erdogan bombing the one group which deserved the greatest support, the Kurdish Militias (Peshmerga پێشمەرگە), who have been the most successful against the Islamic State all the way back to their initial ISIS or ISIL stage and the main force rescuing the Yazidi while the world governments sat silent feigning helplessness with one exception which has provided light weapons, anti-tank weapons and special forces to train Kurdish fighters, a nation which must remain unnamed. President Obama has made the known fallacious claim that Turkey is fighting the Islamic State when the reality is they are attempting to wipe out the Kurdish forces and people in a genocidal war and assisting the Islamic State which has recovered Aleppo from Kurdish control. These anti-Kurdish efforts are pushing some Kurds to seek protection with Islamist forces they once fought against. Talk of turning friends into enemies, what a great strategy.

 

President Obama still claims his brilliant nuclear treaty with Iran, which even the French had to be beaten into submission after initially vetoing the agreement, prevents Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. The statement can only be made valid if one adds, “while I am President,” onto the end. Even the White House had admitted that Iran will be fully nuclear capable and free of any restrictions after just over a decade from now. Then we have the most recent evidence of the hard-line being taken in response to a pair of missiles fired from Yemen originating in the area held by Iranian backed Houthis Rebels. The American Naval forces were freed to respond in kind. Further the United States Navy was ordered to cross into the expanded regions now claimed by China after they built a number of new islands placing military assets including artillery and anti-ship missiles in an effort to control an important Asian trade route. This new and unprecedented stance by President Obama has come with minimal if any inclusion of the Pentagon or Joint Chiefs of Staff other than to relay the orders and is being executed in order to shore up support for Democrat candidates in the coming elections. This also permits Hillary Clinton to imply that she may have had a hand in this new direction by the White House to accommodate her stronger stance in foreign policy. It is all a feint to make her appear to separate from the lead from behind strategy when in reality she will not lead at all with one exception which is worthy of discussion before closing this article.

 

A President Hillary Clinton will continue to bow to Iranian hegemonic plans in the MENA region and continue to snub Egypt, Israel, Jordan and other allies unless they curry favor as was the way to play when she was Secretary of State with higher entry fees as she is now the President. Further, she will allow China to extend their hegemonic desires throughout the western Pacific Ocean and into the Indian Ocean. This will revive an ancient animosity between China and India, an India which is likely to surpass China as the most populous nation within a decade or two. Hillary Clinton will further aid the influx of Islamic immigrants all but unvetted into Europe, mostly western Europe, while also increasing the rate for accepting immigrants from across MENA and including the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Islamic nations except Iran, they need to remain strong with a large and capable military with secret side deals done without Congressional oversight or knowledge when possible. There is one place where Hillary Clinton will not only stand strong but will seek new venues to pressure, Putin and Russia. For reasons known only to the least sane amongst us, there has been an undertone softly growing demanding that Russian President Putin be brought low and to bend and surrender to the “equality of women” and raise the position of Russian women to their “rightful place” in Russian society. This is partly the demand for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria as this would soon lead to a direct confrontation. Do not doubt that any Russian fighter caught entering such a zone, even after dropping their ordinance and simply transgressing on way back to base, they would be intercepted and very likely fired upon or, even worse, shot from the sky using missiles pressing the Russians to respond. Even if Putin would take such a situation and apologize, explain and request for unarmed aircraft, after dropping ordinance, for Russian pilots to use the “safe zone” for returning to base, the request would be refused bluntly and with no regard for any damage as such would be intentional. What is the end desired? We wish we knew!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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December 29, 2013

China Making Foundational Maneuvers for Preeminence

This end of 2013 may be depicted in history as the period where China cemented her role as the up and coming super power ready to take up the call when the United States collapses into a financial and economic shambles. There are three items in particular signaled that China is ready and desires a seat at the head of the table, not just a seat among coequals. The first of these was covered with headlines it deserved as China claimed an unparalleled maritime and air defense zone over the East China Sea that includes the Senkaku Islands, islands which are claimed and recognized as belonging to Japan which China has disputed over the years. The Japanese, Philippine and South Korean governments all denounced China’s claim giving orders to their military and civilian air and shipping companies that they were not to recognize this bullying from China and continue to operate as normal. This was a blatant challenge of the Chinese claim as the Chinese demanded that air traffic must gain permission from Chinese air controllers in order to penetrate into their newly claimed zone. The United States was far more compliant as their military has orders to continue as normal and ignore Chinese demands while civilian and private cargo flights are to request Chinese approval before entering these claimed areas of the South China Sea. The United States partial recognition and capitulation was seen by her allies as surrender before the Chinese giving them reasons to doubt the will of the United States to back the treaties and promises made to the nations in the far Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. Now that Far East Asia has been given a taste of the new Obama America similar and in kind to that received by the Saudis, Egyptians and Israelis over President Obama’s weak and tepid doctrines and responses to Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya including specially Benghazi, Syria and the basic abandonment of Iraq and soon Afghanistan, they too are having doubts about depending on the United States and her word.

 

The second event announcing the Chinese arrival and crossing a definitive demarcation was their successful landing of an unmanned probe on the Moon. The Chang’e 3, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, landed on the lunar surface Saturday, December 14 softly placing the probe to survey the lunar surface and dig into the soil and test samples. Xinhua news agency said, “The dream for lunar exploration once again lights up the China Dream.” This is all part of an ambitious Chinese space program which includes the building and manning of a fully operational spacestation by 2020. Where, in my opinion, that will prove to be a formidable task to complete in such a short period but this landing is a huge step towards that goal. The Chinese most definitely have the technology to place a spacestation on the Moon and likely even keep it supplied and operational on a permanent basis. The question is not one of capability but of affordability. Such an operation would probably consume funding equal to their entire current military budget and then some. The only feasible way to finance such a venture would require two items, mining the Moon which contains almost unmeasurable quantities of Helium-3, also called Deuterium which is an isotope of hydrogen that has a neutron next to the proton in the nucleus, which can be used in energy generation by fusion along with claiming sole possession of the Moon and collecting a sizeable charge from any nation wishing to land on the Moon and even more so if they require or wish to use the Chinese facility. Betting that the Chinese would respect the United Nations treaty which made space universal and a place free from the claims by any one nation may not be the wisest way of proceeding.

 

The final was more of a brandishing of their naval sword as a Chinese warship cut across the bow of the United States missile cruiser Cowpens on December 5, 2013 causing the latter to take emergency procedures in order to avoid a collision. United States warships were in the area observing China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was on maneuvers. The Chinese warship crossed the Cowpen’s bow at a distance of less than 200 yards. Other commentary has claimed that the Chinese actions “was particularly aggressive” and definitely “unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies.” This was also a further move by the Chinese to demonstrate their newly claimed area of the South China Sea is unwelcome waters for other nations by their acting with disregard of the United States warship probably intending to send a warning for all to stay out. Such maneuvers are uneasily reminiscent of Cold War provocative maneuvers and challenges which occurred regularly between the Soviet Navy and the American Navy. This may simply be a foreboding of things to come as China spreads her newly established blue water navy further into the Pacific Ocean that she had previously operated. This along with the other actions will have allies of the United States in the Pacific near China worried and rightfully so. Japan especially as the Japanese and Chinese have a less than amicable history and there is little love lost between these two nations. South Korea also will feel the threats strongly as they may also find North Korea being more forceful and bold as China becomes another force in the Pacific Ocean.

 

The glove has been tossed at the feet of the United States by China, will President Obama pick up the glove or run scared from any confrontation and simply resign giving the whole of the Far East over to Chinese hegemony. Hope and Change has worked well in Basically Transforming the United States. Maybe somebody should have asked for what we were hoping and what we were changing and into what would that change lead. Why do I have so little faith that the majority of Americans remain clueless and actually work to remain clueless?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 17, 2012

China, India, North Korea, Japan, South Korea, Viet Nam, and the South China Sea

As if the arguments over China laying claim and total rights to all of the South China Sea including the right to prevent its usage by other nations and to intercept and claim all goods on any ship found in its waters wasn’t enough to drive the rest of the countries of Asia to the brink, the recent launch of a three stage rocket which proved capable of placing an object in orbit, even if not under total control, has made the games even more interesting. China’s South China Sea claims pushed India, Japan, and Viet Nam to join their forces and hold a joint naval operation in a move of unity and signaling their defiance of China’s claims. Japan has even taken the initial steps of amending their Constitution in order to allow them to strengthen their military making it able to operate away from their coastal waters and serve as more than simply a home-front guard. The levels of apprehension emanating from China’s neighbors are more than a simple reaction to China’s growing power, but are equally likely a reaction to the apparent diminishing of American power in South East Asia. With China rapidly expanding their naval power and soon to be launching modern aircraft carriers the nations in the area are starting to doubt if the United States will still be able to uphold their part of the treaties and conventions which had held the balance in the area until recently. With the announcement by United States President Obama that the American Navy will soon be downsized, and most critically, reducing the number of aircraft carriers and fleets by as much as one third has sent ripples of panic through the nations who had been dependent on the American Navy to be the overwhelming force in the Pacific but now are looking at a new order rushing into place where China is the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the Pacific Ocean. This situation will deserve close attention as it may be the best indicator of the waning of the United States as a global power and the emergence of China as one of the new central figures in the coming new order.

Enough said on China which has been well covered and on to this recent semi-successful launch by North Korea and its effect on the area. Already there have been reaction coming from politicians in Japan and South Korea and they are taking opposite sides. As has been the recent trend in South Korea to the developments and challenges coming from their northern neighbors, North Korea, they are once again preaching appeasement. South Korea has been slowly sliding towards some form of reconciliation and reuniting with the North Korea and away from their United States orbit. They have all the signs of a tired people who have simply accepted their inability to influence or alter the inevitable. The passivity of South Korean politics likely reflects the mood of the younger citizens as most polls show a continued desire to resist any influences coming from North Korea while indicating that the younger South Koreans favor compromises and finding a path that is non-combative and more agreeable, avoiding possibilities of conflict or misunderstanding. Time will tell if the political pendulum will continue to swing in this current direction or if it is reaching its apogee and is soon to begin to swing back towards defending the difference between the two Koreas.

Meanwhile, Japan is taking the exact opposite approach. Japanese politicians have almost universally expressed dismay and proposed defending their islands from the growing threat posed by North Korea. Where developing nuclear weapons has thus far mostly been a subject left untouched on the shelf, this reaction from Japan is consistent with their reactions to China’s growing militarism and aggressive attitudes over the South China Sea. Japan has been reaching out and establishing ties with India among other Asian countries who also feel threatened by China and now North Korea. Japan is currently working to free themselves from what was historically a self-imposed passivity after World War II when they insisted that being restricted militarily to a self-defense force by their constitution. Needless to say, the United States gladly complied. That restriction is very likely to become a relic of an age that is passing into history with few who recall the reasoning and desires that gripped Japan after the devastations brought upon themselves by their aggressions which led to World War II and their eventual crushing defeat. So, it appears that the old historic rivals may both soon be building militaries once again and heading for another episode in the series of conflicts that have been regular occurrences throughout all of history. As they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The one fact that makes this scenario even more threatening is the fact that China has a demographic time-bomb ticking away due to their one child per family laws. This has had two dangerous effects; the first is a rapidly aging population and the second is the large percentage of male children among the generations since the passage of the one child rules which has always historically led to wars since beginning of time.

Beyond the Cusp

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