الاستعمار العسكري المباشر هل يعود إلى المشرق…؟

سبتمبر 19, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

دول المشرق تستنجد مجدداً بالمستعمر الغربي لحماية أنظمتها السياسية من الانهيار بتدخلٍ عسكري مباشر ومكشوف يضاف الى سلسلة قواعده المنتشرة منذ سبعة عقود تقريباً في النقاط الاكثر استراتيجية في المنطقة.

هكذا حال كل المعادلات السياسية الضعيفة التي لا تؤمن الا بحراب المستعمر لحماية مشيخاتها وإماراتها وملكياتها وتتجاهل شعوبها بإفقار وتجهيل لا مثيل لهما في حركة التاريخ.

فمن يصدّق ان بلداناً غنية بمستوى الخليج لا تصنع شيئاً سوى احتراف السيطرة على مجتمعاتها بالدين والقمع وقليل من الذهب المنثور، لكن هذه الوسائل لم تعد تكفي، فلا بد اذاً من العودة الى الخدمات المباشرة للمستعمرين اصحاب المصلحة بالدفاع عن مستعمرات تكتنز معدلات قياسية من النفط والغاز والقدرة على استهلاك الصناعات الغربية والموقع الاستراتيجي.

إلا انّ هناك استثناءات على هذه المعادلة في سورية التي تقاتل دولتها ضدّ عودة الاستعمار المتسربل بأدوات إرهاب داخلية وعالمية وإقليمية.

وكذلك اليمن الثائر على استعمار سعودي خليجي يغطي الاستعمار الأميركي الفعلي، والعراق المجابه لاستعمارين مباشرين، الأميركي والتركي واعوانهما من تنظيمات ارهابية وعرقية.

اما إيران فلا تزال منذ اربعة عقود تتصدّى لحملات عسكرية واقتصادية تستهدف إعادة إخضاعها للمستعمرين.

لجهة تركيا فلا تنتمي الى تلك الاستثناءات لانها «تستضيف» على اراضيها قواعد نووية وعسكرية أميركية واخرى لحلف الناتو، على الرغم من تماسك دولتها وقوة جيشها، لكنها آثرت الاتكاء على خدمات المستعمرين بتبرير الانتماء الى حلف واحد في وجه العدو السوفياتي حينه.

للتوضيح فإن الاستعمار العسكري الغربي المباشر رحل عن المشرق محتفظاً بقواعد في معظم الخليج والاردن انما بأشكال مختلفة تقاطعت مع هيمنة اقتصادية كاملة، وهذه هي أهداف الاستعمار الباحث دوماً عن المصادر الاقتصادية المتنوعة.

لذلك بدت بلدان المشرق في السبعين سنة المنصرمة وكأنها مستقلة شكلاً تديرها شبكة من عائلات وقوى منتمية الى محور السياسة الغربية من دون أي نقاش ومع رجحان كبير لمحورها الأميركي.

هذا ما جعل الحماية الغربية المعنوية والمباشرة قادرة على إجهاض اي محاولات تغيير فعلية في المنطقة العربية.

لكن انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي استولد فرصة تاريخية ليحاول الأميركيون إعادة تشكيل المشرق على نحو مستسلم غير قادر على إحداث اي تغيير لمدة طويلة.

فابتدأوا باحتلال افغانستان قافزين مباشرة من آسيا الوسطى الى المشرق باحتلال العراق في 2003 ولمزاعم تبين أنها كاذبة وادت الى مئات آلاف القتلى من دون ان تتجرأ قوة واحدة على انتقاد الأميركيين.

واستكمالاً لخطتهم حاولوا تدمير سورية بالارهاب وقواهم المباشرة والاسناد الاقليمي العربي بالتمويل والتركي بالتدريب والحدود والخدمات اللوجستية والاحتلال المباشر والاسرائيلي بالغارات الجوية.

إلا ان هذه المخططات لم تنجح في سورية والعراق فبدت الحرب على اليمن وسيلة اضافية وضرورية بموازاة خطة تقسيم العراق وإضعافه وسيلة اساسية لحماية البقرة الخليجية الحلوب من كامل الاتجاهات.

بدوره تصدّى اليمن المتواضع الإمكانات والكبير بتاريخه، لأوسع عدوان خليجي عربي أميركي غربي ناقلاً المعارك الى ميادين السعودية بإصابته عشرات المرات لمصافي نفطية ومطارات ومواقع عسكرية وإدارية.

ان مثل هذا القصف وضع الأنظمة الخليجية وتغطيتها الأميركية أمام حقائق مذهلة، فلا سورية سقطت ولا تمزقت وسورية لم تتفتت وتبين بوضوح أن دول الخليج عاجزة عن الدفاع عن انظمتها حتى امام القوى المتواضعة في اليمن، فكيف يكون حالها مع العراق او سورية، وانكشف ان مصر والاردن وباكستان تؤيد الخليج خطابياً لان مشاكلها الداخلية والخارجية لا تسمح لهم ارسال قوات اليه.

هناك قلق أميركي إضافي من احتمال انفجارات شعبية داخلية في الخليج قادرة على بناء تغيير فعلي في انظمته الحاكمة.

لقد تزامنت هذه التحليلات الخليجية الأميركية مع قصف يمني لمصافي بقيق وخريص اللتين تنتجان ستة ملايين برميل اي نصف الإنتاج السعودي النفطي المرتبط بالاقتصاد الغربي بشكل كامل. فوجدها الغرب الأميركي فرصة تاريخية جديدة يلعب بها على الضعف الخليجي بمحاولة رفع مستوى استفادته منه، والزعم انه عائد للدفاع عنه، وهذا يتطلب ارسالاً سريعاً لقوى برية وجوية وبحرية انما ليس بالأعداد الكبيرة لان الحروب اليوم تقتصد في البنى العسكرية البشرية لمصلحة استعمال آليات الحرب الحديثة والمتطورة التي تعتمد بشكل شبه كامل على الوسائل المادية المتطورة. لجهة أنظمة الخليج المذعورة فهي مستعدة للتغطية المادية والسياسية واستعمال فقه ديني تزعم انه إسلامي لتسهيل حركة هذا الاستعمار الجديد ولتوسيع مشروعه، اتهم الغرب الأميركي إيران بقصف المصفاتين على الرغم من ان خبراء عسكريين غربيين أكدوا ان الحصار على اليمن بمنع اي حركة بشرية بحراً وبراً، معتبرين ان خبراء إيرانيين علموا اليمنيين فنون صناعة المسيَّرات بما فيها المتطورة القادرة على اجتياز اكثر من الف كيلومتر وهذا هو التحليل العلمي الصحيح والذي يبرر لليمنيين الدفاع عن وطنهم في وجه أي عدوان خارجي.

من جهته، يستنجد هذا الخليج بالأميركيين عن طريق اثارة خوفهم على مصالحهم الاقتصادية عنده، او بالإيحاء من خطر تغييرات داخلية لن تكون بالطبع لصالح استمرار الهيمنة الغربية على دول الخليج وثرواتها.

يتبين بالمحصلة ان الأميركيين يبتعدون عن فكرة الحرب على إيران مع ميلهم لنشر قوات غربية في مواجهتها على السواحل السعودية والاماراتية استكمالاً لقواعدهم في الكويت والبحرين وقطر والاردن، فبهذه الطريقة يعود الاستعمار المباشر الى كامل جزيرة العرب بنفقات مرتفعة تتحمّل وزرها الدول المحتلة.

فهل لهذه القوات وظائف اكبر؟ يعرف البيت الأبيض انه لا يستطيع ممارسة هذا الدور الا في الخليج، فسورية طردت الاستعمار منذ سبعين عاماً وتواصل طرد ما تبقى منه، والعراق يتحضّر لإبعاده حالياً، واليمن ينجز مهامه التحريرية.

بناء على هذه المعطيات فإن عودة الاستعمار الغربي الى الخليج هي لمهمة وحيدة وهي منع أي تغير داخلي يؤدي الى تحرير ثروات الخليج من الحكام وتغطيته الغربية، ووضعها في خدمة تطوّر دول يصرُ الأميركيون على سحبها من القرون الوسطى.

Advertisements

الأفول الأميركي سياق تاريخي

الأفول الأميركي سياق تاريخي

يوليو 26, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لا تستقيم عملية فهم ما تشهده الزعامة الأميركية في العالم إلا إذا أُخذت في سياقها التاريخي، فأميركا التي بدأ صعودها كدولة عظمى مع الحرب العالمية الأولى، تكرّست مكانتها الاقتصادية والعسكرية والسياسية في نظام ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، كدولة قادرة على خوض حروب كبرى تدفع خلالها مئات آلاف الجنود في ساحات القتال وتنفق مليارات الدولارات على الحروب، وهي التي خاضت بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية حروباً طويلة ومكلفة رغم خسارة مئات الآلاف من جنودها في الحرب، فكانت الحرب الكورية وحرب فيتنام في ظل الحرب الباردة مع الاتحاد السوفياتي مساحات تثبيت المكانة الأميركية الجديدة، وهذا التجاذب بين النجاح والفشل في الحروب لا يمكن الحكم عليه إلا بنهايته، التي نقلت أميركا من دولة عظمى إلى الدولة العظمى مع نجاحها بتفكيك الاتحاد السوفياتي وسيطرتها على دول أوروبا الشرقية عام 1990، حيث يمكن القول إن الحرب الباردة الممتدة من مؤتمر يالطا عام 1954 إلى سقوط جدار برلين عام 1989، قد إنتهت بانتصار أميركي شكل بلوغ واشنطن قمة السيطرة على العالم وقمة النفوذ وقمة الصعود.

– في تاريخ الإمبراطوريات لا يمكن النظر لبلوغ القمة كحدث عابر، يمكن أن تكون الخيبات وعمليات التراجع بعده بميزان ما قبله ذاته. فالإمبراطوريات التي تبلغ القمة، وتبدأ بالتراجع تكون قد دخلت زمن الأفول، وبدأت تعيش شيخوختها. وبالنظر للحال الأميركية بعد الانتهاء من هزيمة الاتحاد السوفياتي والسيطرة على تركته كما فعلت بالسيطرة بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية على تركة بريطانيا وفرنسا، يمكن القول إن التوسّع الإمبراطوري الأميركي على حدود روسيا قد بلغ مداه، في عهد الرئيس بيل كلينتون، وأن ولايتَيْ الرئيس جورج بوش كانتا الفرصة لتطويع قوى الممانعة الآسيوية، وإكمال تطويق روسيا من الشرق. وهذا مغزى حربي أفغانستان والعراق، ومن بعدهما الحروب الإسرائيلية الصغيرة في لبنان وفلسطين، وهي حروب انتهت بالفشل جميعها، ومن بعدها كانت الحرب الناعمة المسماة بالربيع العربي درباً جديداً للفشل في إخضاع آسيا، حيث المثلث الروسي الصيني الإيراني، وحيث الحرب على سورية يمكن وصفها بآخر الفرص لتثبيت الزعامة الأميركية.

– يسهل الاستنتاج بتراجع حيوية المجتمع الأميركي بتراجع قدرته على خوض الحروب. فالمقارنة بين حرب فييتنام وما قدمته فيها أميركا قبل أن تبدأ بالتفكير بالانسحاب، وحرب العراق وما كان كافياً لتراجع أميركا عنها، يقول إنه الفرق بين الدولة التي قدمت خمسين ألف قتيل من جيوشها وصمدت عشرين سنة وهي تقاتل حتى بدأت تفكر بالانسحاب. والدولة التي لم تتحمل خسارة أقل من خمسة آلاف قتيل وخمس سنوات حتى استسلمت لفكرة الفشل واقتنعت بالحاجة للانسحاب، وتراجع الحيوية يظهر اقتصادياً بأرقام لافتة تحدث عنها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في خطاباته الانتخابية من تراجع النمو حجم البطالة وتهالك البنى التحتية، وإقفال المصانع وكساد الزراعة، بينما كانت اقتصادات دول منافسة كالصين تسجل نسباً عالية في النمو، والقدرات العسكرية لدول منافسة كروسيا تسجل تطوراً في القدرة التسليحية النوعية، والقدرات البشرية القتالية لدول مثل إيران وقوى المقاومة تظهر قدرة احتمال في الميدان على التضحيات التي افتقدتها القوات الأميركية في جولات متتالية من المواجهة.

الأفول الأميركي تعبير غير مبالغ به بقياس الخط البياني للسلوك الأميركي في مواجهة الأزمات، فهل من مرة سابقة فقدت خلالها أميركا طائرة عسكرية على يد دولة اخرى تعلن مسؤوليتها، ولم تقم أميركا بالرد، وهل من سابقة عن مرة ضربت فيها أهداف قالت واشنطن إنها ستشعل حرباً إذا وقعت، كما كان الحال في الحديث الأميركي عن حماية المصالح النفطية في الخليج، وعندما حدث ذلك تراجعت أميركا، وبالتوازي أيضاً، هل من سابقة لوحدة وعزلة أميركا وفقدانها القدرة، تشبه إعلانها الانسحاب من الاتفاق النووي وبقائها وحيدة، أو تشبه إعلان تأييدها لاعتبار القدس عاصمة لـ إسرائيل وبقائها وحيدة أيضاً، أو إطلاقها مشروع صفقة القرن وعدم الحصول على أي تأييد دولي ذي قيمة؟

Image result for ‫نهاية زمن امريكا‬‎

ما يشهده الخليج من تجاذب إيراني أميركي يشبه التجاذب الأميركي الأسباني والأميركي البريطاني في القارة الأميركية، فعندما كانت بريطانيا إمبراطورية بدا أفولها بخسارة مكانتها في القارة الأميركية وعندما كانت اسبانيا إمبراطورية حدث معها الشيء نفسه، حتى ان الحركة البوليفارية التحررية في أميركا الجنوبية التي قادها سيمون دي بوليفار بوجه الأسبان، تمت تحت شعار التشبه بما فعله الأميركيون الشماليون مع البريطانيين. وما تفعله إيران اليوم مع أميركا يشبه ذلك الفعل يومها، خصوصاً لجهة الإعلان عن نهاية زمن إمبراطروية عظمى.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Big Lies Drown Out Hard Truths

By Stephen Lendman
Source

When the US launches naked aggression in other countries, truth-telling in Washington, the West, Israel, and journalism the way it’s supposed to be are the first casualties.

Managed news misinformation and disinformation, Big Lies, and fake news take precedence, hard truths suppressed – the way it always is in the run-up to wars and while they’re ongoing, ordinary people manipulated to believe what’s polar opposite reality.

US aggression is all about achieving control over other nations – in Syria and everywhere else. There’s nothing civil about what’s been going on for nearly eight years in the Syrian Arab Republic, US naked aggression planned long before launched. 

So-called “moderate rebels” don’t exist. All opposition forces are jihadist extremists, cutthroat killers, hired gun mercenaries – armed, funded, trained, and directed by CIA operatives, US special forces, and their imperial counterparts to commit atrocities, including use of chemical and other banned weapons.

Al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets masquerade as civil defense workers, complicit with high crimes of jihadists. UN Secretary-General Guterres and so-called UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura support Washington’s imperial agenda without admitting it in so many words – instead of firmly condemning it.

Guterres repeatedly turns a blind eye to Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against millions of long-suffering Palestinians.

NATO secretaries general operate the same way, appointed by Washington, serving its interests, blaming victims in one country after another of high crimes committed against them.

All wars are based on deception and Big Lies. Propaganda works. Most people believe nearly everything fed them repeatedly by major media press agents for powerful interests.

It’s why America gets away with mass slaughter and destruction time and again against one country after another. Mass outrage is absent when vitally needed.

Obama’s war on Syria, escalated by Trump, continuing despite his December 19 troop withdrawal announcement, relies on steady major media reported disinformation and Big Lies.

Out-of-touch, uninformed, and indifferent Americans are easy marks to manipulate – no matter how many previous times they were duped.

Syria was invaded. ISIS and other jihadists were recruited and imported from scores of countries, including Western ones. 

They’re used to do Washington’s killing and dying for the empire, supported by Pentagon-led terror-bombing, massacring countless tens of thousands of civilians in Syria alone, along with destroying vital infrastructure in large parts of the country.

The same Nuremberg-level high crimes repeat in one US war theater after another, accountability never forthcoming.

Russia, Iranian military advisers, and Hezbollah fighters alone support Syrian sovereign independence, territorial integrity and right of its people alone to choose their government and leadership – free from foreign interference, in compliance with international law.

Turkey’s Erdogan is more enemy than ally of these objectives, aiming to annex northern Syrian territory, mainly its oil rich area, along with waging war on Kurds internally and cross-border.

Like US, NATO, and Israeli officials, he can never be trusted – a sworn enemy of peace, equity and justice, a regional menace, a tinpot despot, masquerading as democratic, a notion he abhors like his counterparts in the West and Jewish state.

Nothing going on in Syria is about humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, liberation, or fostering democratic values – just the opposite.

US-led high crimes against peace continue daily. The Nuremberg Charter calls them:

(1) “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;” and

(2) “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned” above.

War crimes are defined as:

“Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.”

Crimes against humanity include:

“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.is a crime under international law.”

All of the above apply to what’s going on in Syria and other US war theaters. America is permanently at war on humanity at home and abroad – the disturbing hard truth Western media suppress.

All US wars flagrantly violate international, constitutional, and US statute laws. They rage with no end of them in prospect – others in the wings to be launched when ordered.

Trump is a tool of the imperial state. The same goes for his predecessors and key congressional members on both sides of the aisle.

Humanity’s survival is up for grabs over Washington’s rage to dominate all other countries – by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

A Final Comment

Iran is the leading Middle East peace and stability advocate. Its military advisors in Syria are all about aiding Damascus combat the scourge of US/NATO/Saudi/Israeli supported jihadists.

Last week, outgoing IDF chief General Gadi Eisenkot lied, claiming Iran aims “to build a force of 100,000 ground troops” in Syria, including “ground, aerial, naval and intelligence capability (to establish a) line of military positions along the Golan” border.

His remarks and Netanyahu’s vow to escalate aggression in Syria over the nonexistent Iranian aim “to establish military bases in” the country indicates endless war will continue – whether US troops stay or leave.

Iranian military advisors alone are involved, invited by Damascus. The same goes for Russia and Hezbollah fighters. 

US, UK, French, and Turkish forces are invaders, flagrantly violating core international law.

Liberating Syria from the scourge of US-led aggression remains unattainable as long as the diabolical aims of Republicans and undemocratic Dems remain unchanged.

U.S. Foreign Policy Has No Policy

Why can’t we just leave everyone alone?

By Philip Giraldi
Source

President Donald Trump’s recent statement on the Jamal Khashoggi killing by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince might well be considered a metaphor for his foreign policy. Several commentators have suggested that the text appears to be something that Trump wrote himself without any adult supervision, similar to the poorly expressed random arguments presented in his tweeting only longer. That might be the case, but it would not be wise to dismiss the document as merely frivolous or misguided as it does in reality express the kind of thinking that has produced a foreign policy that seems to drift randomly to no real end, a kind of leaderless creative destruction of the United States as a world power.

Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of Britain in the mid nineteenth century, famously said that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”The United States currently has neither real friends nor any clearly defined interests. It is, however, infested with parasites that have convinced an at-drift America that their causes are identical to the interests of the United States. Leading the charge to reduce the U.S. to “bitch” status, as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has artfully put it, are Israel and Saudi Arabia, but there are many other countries, alliances and advocacy groups that have learned how to subvert and direct the “leader of the free world.”

Trump’s memo on the Saudis begins with the headline “The world is a very dangerous place!” Indeed, it is and behavior by the three occupants of the White House since 2000 is largely to blame. It is difficult to find a part of the world where an actual American interest is being served by Washington’s foreign and global security policies. Indeed, a national security policy that sees competitors and adversaries as enemies in a military sense has made nuclear war, unthinkable since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, thinkable once again. The fact that no one is the media or in political circles is even talking about that terrible danger suggests that war has again become mainstreamed, tacitly benefiting from bipartisan acceptance of it as a viable foreign policy tool by the media, in the U.S. Congress and also in the White House.

The part of the world where American meddling coupled with ignorance has produced the worst result is inevitably the Middle East. Washington has been led by the nose by Israel and Saudi Arabia, currently working in sync, to have the United States destroy Iran even though the Iranians represent no threat whatsoever to Americans or any serious U.S. interests. The wildly skewed view of what is taking place in that region is reflected in Trump’s memo in the first paragraph, which reads:

“The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to Israel!’ Iran is considered ‘the world’s leading sponsor of terror.’”

Almost all of that is either patently untrue or grossly exaggerated, meaning that Trump’s profoundly ignorant statement is remarkable for the number of lies that it incorporates into 631 words which are wrapped around a central premise that the United States will always do whatever it wants wherever it wants just because it can. The war being waged by the Saudis against Yemen, which reportedly has killed as many as 80,000 children, is not a proxy struggle against Iran as Trump prefers to think. It is naked aggression bordering on genocide that is enabled by the United States under completely false pretenses. Iran did not start the war and plays almost no role in it apart from serving as a Saudi and Emirati excuse to justify the fighting. Other lies include that Bashar al-Assad of Syria has killed millions of his own citizens and that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism. Quite the contrary is true as the Saudis have been a major source of Islamic terrorism. And as for Iran being the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” that honor currently belongs to the U.S., Israel and the Saudis.

The core of Trump’s thinking about Khashoggi and the Saudis comes down to Riyadh’s willingness to buy weapons to benefit America’s defense contractors and this one sentence: “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” Yes, once again it is Israel pulling Trump’s strings, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the charge to give Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman a pass on the gruesome murder of a legal resident of the United States who, once upon a time, might have actually had the U.S. government on his side.

The reckless calibrations employed to set American policies in other parts of the world are also playing out badly. Russia has been hounded relentlessly since the 2016 election, wasting the opportunity to establish a modus vivendi that Trump appeared to be offering in his campaign. Russian and American soldiers confront each other in Syria, where the U.S. has absolutely no real interests beyond supporting feckless Israel and Saudi Arabia in an unnecessary armed conflict that has already been lost. There is now talk of war coming from both Moscow and Washington while NATO in the middle has turned aggressive in an attempt to justify its existence. The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Russia is now worse than it was towards the end of the Cold War while the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s doorstep has threatened the Kremlin’s vital interests without advancing any interest of the United States.

Afghanistan has become the longest war in U.S. history with no end in sight and China too has seen what began as a dispute over trade turned into something more vitriolic, a military rivalry over the South China Sea that could explode. And North Korea? A love fest between two leaders that is devoid of content.

One might also add Venezuela to the list, with the U.S. initiating sanctions over the state of the country’s internal politics and even considering, according to some in the media, a military intervention.

All of the White House’s actions have one thing in common and that is that they do not benefit Americans in any way unless one works for a weapons manufacturer, and that is not even taking into consideration the dead soldiers and civilians and the massive debt that has been incurred to intervene all over the world. One might also add that most of America’s interventions are built on deliberate lies by the government and its associated media, intended to increase tension and create a casus belli where none exists.

So what is to be done as it often seems that the best thing Trump has going for him is that he is not Hillary Clinton? First of all, a comprehensive rethink of what the real interests of the United States are in the world arena is past due. America is less safe now than it was in 2001 as it continues to make enemies with its blundering everywhere it goes. There are now four times as many designated terrorists as there were in 2001, active in 70 countries. One would quite plausibly soon arrive at George Washington’s dictum in his Farewell Address, counseling his countrymen to “observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” And Washington might have somehow foreseen the poisonous relationships with Israel and the Saudis when he warned that “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

George Washington or any of the other Founders would be appalled to see an America with 800 military bases overseas, allegedly for self-defense. The transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the military industrial complex and related entities like Wall Street has been catastrophic. The United States does not need to protect Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries that are armed to the teeth and well able to defend themselves. Nor does it have to be in Syria and Afghanistan. And, by the way, Russia is no longer the Soviet Union and NATO should be abolished.

If the United States were to withdraw its military from the Middle East and the rest of Asia tomorrow, it would be to nearly everyone’s benefit. If the armed forces were to be subsequently reduced to a level sufficient to defend the United States it would put money back in the pockets of Americans and end the continuous fearmongering through surfacing of “threats” by career militarists justifying the bloated budgets.

Will that produce the peaceable kingdom? Probably not, but there are signs that some in powerful positions are beginning to see the light. Senator Rand Paul’s courageous decision to place a “hold” on aid to Israel is long overdue as Israel is a liability to the United States and is also legally ineligible for aid due to its undeclared nuclear arsenal and its unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The hysterical reactions of American Jews and Israel suggest that any redirection of U.S. Middle East policy will produce a hostile reaction from the Establishment, but even small steps in the right direction could initiate a gradual process of turning the United States into a more normal country in its relationships with the rest of the world rather than a universal predator and bully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pentagon Is Planning a Three-Front ‘Long War’ Against China and Russia

Officials in Washington should be thinking hard before committing Americans to a strategy that will make this increasingly likely and could turn what is still long-war planning into an actual long war with deadly consequences.

Think of it as the most momentous military planning on Earth right now.

Who’s even paying attention, given the eternal changing of the guard at the White House, as well as the latest in tweets, sexual revelations, and investigations of every sort? And yet it increasingly looks as if, thanks to current Pentagon planning, a twenty-first-century version of the Cold War (with dangerous new twists) has begun and hardly anyone has even noticed.

In 2006, when the Department of Defense spelled out its future security role, it saw only one overriding mission: its “Long War” against international terrorism. “With its allies and partners, the United States must be prepared to wage this war in many locations simultaneously and for some years to come,” the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review explained that year.

Twelve years later, the Pentagon has officially announced that that long war is drawing to a close — even though at least seven counterinsurgency conflicts still rage across the Greater Middle East and Africa — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.

“Great power competition, not terrorism, has emerged as the central challenge to U.S. security and prosperity,” claimed Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist while releasing the Pentagon’s $686 billion budget request in January. “It is increasingly apparent that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian values and, in the process, replace the free and open order that has enabled global security and prosperity since World War II.”

Of course, just how committed President Trump is to the preservation of that “free and open order” remains questionable given his determination to scuttle international treaties and ignite a global trade war. Similarly, whether China and Russia truly seek to undermine the existing world order or simply make it less American-centric is a question that deserves close attention, just not today.

The reason is simple enough. The screaming headline you should have seen in any paper (but haven’t) is this: the U.S. military has made up its mind about the future. It has committed itself and the nation to a three-front geopolitical struggle to resist Chinese and Russian advances in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Important as this strategic shift may be, you won’t hear about it from the president, a man lacking the attention span necessary for such long-range strategic thinking and one who views Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping as “frenemies” rather than die-hard adversaries. To fully appreciate the momentous changes occurring in U.S. military planning, it’s necessary to take a deep dive into the world of Pentagon scripture: budget documents and the annual “posture statements” of regional commanders already overseeing the implementation of that just-born three-front strategy.

The New Geopolitical Chessboard

Lithuania NATO US
Abrams battle tanks from the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division on rail cars as they arrive at the Gaiziunai railway station in Lithuania as part of NATO deployment to bolster troop levels on Europe’s eastern front, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP/Mindaugas Kulbis)

This renewed emphasis on China and Russia in U.S. military planning reflects the way top military officials are now reassessing the global strategic equation, a process that began long before Donald Trump entered the White House. Although after 9/11, senior commanders fully embraced the “long war against terror” approach to the world, their enthusiasm for endless counterterror operations leading essentially nowhere in remote and sometimes strategically unimportant places began to wane in recent years as they watched China and Russia modernizing their military forces and using them to intimidate neighbors.

While the long war against terror did fuel a vast, ongoing expansion of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) — now a secretive army of 70,000 nestled inside the larger military establishment — it provided surprisingly little purpose or real work for the military’s “heavy metal” units: the Army’s tank brigades, the Navy’s carrier battle groups, the Air Force’s bomber squadrons, and so forth. Yes, the Air Force in particular has played a major supporting role in recent operations in Iraq and Syria, but the regular military has largely been sidelined there and elsewhere by lightly equipped SOF forces and drones.

Planning for a “real war” against a “peer competitor” (one with forces and weaponry resembling our own) was until recently given far lower priority than the country’s never-ending conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa. This alarmed and even angered those in the regular military whose moment, it seems, has now finally arrived.

“Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding,” the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy declares. “We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order” — a decline officially attributed for the first time not to al-Qaeda and ISIS, but to the aggressive behavior of China and Russia. Iran and North Korea are also identified as major threats, but of a distinctly secondary nature compared to the menace posed by the two great-power competitors.

Unsurprisingly enough, this shift will require not only greater spending on costly, high-tech military hardware but also a redrawing of the global strategic map to favor the regular military. During the long war on terror, geography and boundaries appeared less important, given that terrorist cells seemed capable of operating anyplace where order was breaking down. The U.S. military, convinced that it had to be equally agile, readied itself to deploy (often Special Operations forces) to remote battlefields across the planet, borders be damned.

On the new geopolitical map, however, America faces well-armed adversaries with every intention of protecting their borders, so U.S. forces are now being arrayed along an updated version of an older, more familiar three-front line of confrontation.

In Asia, the U.S. and its key allies (South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia) are to face China across a line extending from the Korean peninsula to the waters of the East and South China Seas and the Indian Ocean. In Europe, the U.S. and its NATO allies will do the same for Russia on a front extending from Scandinavia and the Baltic Republics south to Romania and then east across the Black Sea to the Caucasus. Between these two theaters of contention lies the ever-turbulent Greater Middle East, with the United States and its two crucial allies there, Israel and Saudi Arabia, facing a Russian foothold in Syria and an increasingly assertive Iran, itself drawing closer to China and Russia.

From the Pentagon’s perspective, this is to be the defining strategic global map for the foreseeable future. Expect most upcoming major military investments and initiatives to focus on bolstering U.S. naval, air, and ground strength on its side of these lines, as well as on targeting Sino-Russian vulnerabilities across them.

There’s no better way to appreciate the dynamics of this altered strategic outlook than to dip into the annual “posture statements” of the heads of the Pentagon’s “unified combatant commands,” or combined Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps headquarters, covering the territories surrounding China and Russia: Pacific Command (PACOM), with responsibility for all U.S. forces in Asia; European Command (EUCOM), covering U.S. forces from Scandinavia to the Caucasus; and Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees the Middle East and Central Asia, where so many of the country’s counterterror wars are still underway.

The senior commanders of these meta-organizations are the most powerful U.S. officials in their “areas of responsibility” (AORs), exercising far more clout than any American ambassador stationed in the region (and often local heads of state as well). That makes their statements and the shopping lists of weaponry that invariably go with them of real significance for anyone who wants to grasp the Pentagon’s vision of America’s global military future.

The Indo-Pacific Front

041613_ChinaUSMilitary_16x9-south-korea
South Korea and U.S. warships participate in their joint military drill Foal Eagle in South Korea’s West sea, March 17, 2013. (AP/South Korea Navy)

Commanding PACOM is Admiral Harry Harris Jr., a long-time naval aviator. In his annual posture statement, delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 15th, Harris painted a grim picture of America’s strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to the dangers posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea, he argued, China was emerging as a formidable threat to America’s vital interests. “The People’s Liberation Army’s rapid evolution into a modern, high-tech fighting force continues to be both impressive and concerning,” he asserted. “PLA capabilities are progressing faster than any other nation in the world, benefitting from robust resourcing and prioritization.”

Most threatening, in his view, is Chinese progress in developing intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and advanced warships. Such missiles, he explained, could strike U.S. bases in Japan or on the island of Guam, while the expanding Chinese navy could challenge the U.S. Navy in seas off China’s coast and someday perhaps America’s command of the western Pacific. “If this [shipbuilding] program continues,” he said, “China will surpass Russia as the world’s second largest navy by 2020, when measured in terms of submarines and frigate-class ships or larger.”

To counter such developments and contain Chinese influence requires, of course, spending yet more taxpayer dollars on advanced weapons systems, especially precision-guided missiles. Admiral Harris called for vastly increasing investment in such weaponry in order to overpower current and future Chinese capabilities and ensure U.S. military dominance of China’s air and sea space. “In order to deter potential adversaries in the Indo-Pacific,” he declared, “we must build a more lethal force by investing in critical capabilities and harnessing innovation.”

His budgetary wish list was impressive. Above all, he spoke with great enthusiasm about new generations of aircraft and missiles — what are called, in Pentagonese, “anti-access/area-denial” systems — capable of striking Chinese IRBM batteries and other weapons systems intended to keep American forces safely away from Chinese territory.

He also hinted that he wouldn’t mind having new nuclear-armed missiles for this purpose — missiles, he suggested, that could be launched from ships and planes and so would skirt the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, to which the U.S. is a signatory and which bans land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles. (To give you a feel for the arcane language of Pentagon nuclear cognoscenti, here’s how he put it: “We must continue to expand Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty-compliant theater strike capabilities to effectively counter adversary anti-access/area-denial [A2/AD] capabilities and force preservation tactics.”)

Finally, to further strengthen the U.S. defense line in the region, Harris called for enhanced military ties with various allies and partners, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. PACOM’s goal, he stated, is to “maintain a network of like-minded allies and partners to cultivate principled security networks, which reinforce the free and open international order.” Ideally, he added, this network will eventually encompass India, further extending the encirclement of China.

The European Theater

Poland US Troops
U.S. Army vehicles cross the Polish border in Olszyna, Poland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 heading for their new base in Zagan. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski)

A similarly embattled future, even if populated by different actors in a different landscape, was offered by Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of EUCOM, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on March 8th.

For him, Russia is the other China. As he put it in a bone-chilling description, “Russia seeks to change the international order, fracture NATO, and undermine U.S. leadership in order to protect its regime, reassert dominance over its neighbors, and achieve greater influence around the globe… Russia has demonstrated its willingness and capability to intervene in countries along its periphery and to project power — especially in the Middle East.”

This, needless to say, is not the outlook we’re hearing from President Trump, who has long appeared reluctant to criticize Vladimir Putin or paint Russia as a full-fledged adversary. For American military and intelligence officials, however, Russia unquestionably poses the preeminent threat to U.S. security interests in Europe. It is now being spoken of in a fashion that should bring back memories of the Cold War era. “Our highest strategic priority,” Scaparrotti insisted, “is to deter Russia from engaging in further aggression and exercising malign influence over our allies and partners. [To this end,] we are… updating our operational plans to provide military response options to defend our European allies against Russian aggression.”

The cutting edge of EUCOM’s anti-Russian drive is the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), a project President Obama initiated in 2014 following the Russian seizure of Crimea. Originally known as the European Reassurance Initiative, the EDI is intended to bolster U.S. and NATO forces deployed in the “front-line states” — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland — facing Russia on NATO’s “Eastern Front.” According to the Pentagon wish list submitted in February, some $6.5 billion are to be allocated to the EDI in 2019. Most of those funds will be used to stockpile munitions in the front-line states, enhance Air Force basing infrastructure, conduct increased joint military exercises with allied forces, and rotate additional U.S.-based forces into the region. In addition, some $200 million will be devoted to a Pentagon “advise, train, and equip” mission in Ukraine.

Like his counterpart in the Pacific theater, General Scaparrotti also turns out to have an expensive wish list of future weaponry, including advanced planes, missiles, and other high-tech weapons that, he claims, will counter modernizing Russian forces. In addition, recognizing Russia’s proficiency in cyberwarfare, he’s calling for a substantial investment in cyber technology and, like Admiral Harris, he cryptically hinted at the need for increased investment in nuclear forces of a sort that might be “usable” on a future European battlefield.

Between East and West: Central Command

AP_17236735827127.jpgGen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, right, gets a briefing on the USS Nimitz, from Lt. Cmdr. Vern Jensen, the aircraft handling officer for the ship, Aug. 24, 2017. The Nimitz is in the Persian Gulf, and fighter jets are flying off the aircraft to conduct strikes in Iraq and Syria. (AP/Lolita Baldor)

Overseeing a startling range of war-on-terror conflicts in the vast, increasingly unstable region stretching from PACOM’s western boundary to EUCOM’s eastern one is the U.S. Central Command.

For most of its modern history, CENTCOM has been focused on counterterrorism and the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan in particular. Now, however, even as the previous long war continues, the Command is already beginning to position itself for a new Cold War-revisited version of perpetual struggle, a plan — to resurrect a dated term — to contain both China and Russia in the Greater Middle East.

In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, CENTCOM commander Army General Joseph Votel concentrated on the status of U.S. operations against ISIS in Syria and against the Taliban in Afghanistan, but he also affirmed that the containment of China and Russia has become an integral part of CENTCOM’s future strategic mission: “The recently published National Defense Strategy rightly identifies the resurgence of great power competition as our principal national security challenge and we see the effects of that competition throughout the region.”

Through its support of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its efforts to gain influence with other key actors in the region, Russia, Votel claimed, is playing an increasingly conspicuous role in CENTCOM’s AOR. China is also seeking to enhance its geopolitical clout both economically and through a small but growing military presence. Of particular concern, Votel asserted, is the Chinese-managed port at Gwadar in Pakistan on the Indian Ocean and a new Chinese base in Djibouti on the Red Sea, across from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Such facilities, he claimed, contribute to China’s “military posture and force projection” in CENTCOM’s AOR and are signals of a challenging future for the U.S. military.

Under such circumstances, Votel testified, it is incumbent upon CENTCOM to join PACOM and EUCOM in resisting Chinese and Russian assertiveness. “We have to be prepared to address these threats, not just in the areas in which they reside, but the areas in which they have influence.” Without providing any details, he went on to say, “We have developed… very good plans and processes for how we will do that.”

What that means is unclear at best. But despite Donald Trump’s campaign talk about a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria once ISIS and the Taliban are defeated, it seems increasingly clear that the U.S. military is preparing to station its forces in those (and possibly other) countries across CENTCOM’s region of responsibility indefinitely — fighting terrorism, of course, but also ensuring that there will be a permanent U.S. military presence in areas that could see intensifying geopolitical competition among the major powers.

An Invitation to Disaster

Russia Victory Parade Rehearsal
Russian army soldiers drive their tanks along the Red Square during a general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade.

In relatively swift fashion, American military leaders have followed up their claim that the U.S. is in a new long war by sketching the outlines of a containment line that would stretch from the Korean Peninsula around Asia across the Middle East into parts of the former Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and finally to the Scandinavian countries. Under their plan, American military forces — reinforced by the armies of trusted allies — should garrison every segment of this line, a grandiose scheme to block hypothetical advances of Chinese and Russian influence that, in its global reach, should stagger the imagination. Much of future history could be shaped by such an outsized effort.

Questions for the future include whether this is either a sound strategic policy or truly sustainable. Attempting to contain China and Russia in such a manner will undoubtedly provoke countermoves, some undoubtedly difficult to resist, including cyber attacks and various kinds of economic warfare.

And if you imagined that a war on terror across huge swaths of the planet represented a significant global overreach for a single power, just wait. Maintaining large and heavily-equipped forces on three extended fronts will also prove exceedingly costly and will certainly conflict with domestic spending priorities and possibly provoke a divisive debate over the reinstatement of the draft.

However, the real question — unasked in Washington at the moment — is: Why pursue such a policy in the first place? Are there not other ways to manage the rise of China and Russia’s provocative behavior? What appears particularly worrisome about this three-front strategy is its immense capacity for confrontation, miscalculation, escalation, and finally actual war rather than simply grandiose war planning.

At multiple points along this globe-spanning line — the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Syria, the South China Sea, and the East China Sea, to name just a few — forces from the U.S. and China or Russia are already in significant contact, often jostling for position in a potentially hostile manner. At any moment, one of these encounters could provoke a firefight leading to unintended escalation and, in the end, possibly all-out combat. From there, almost anything could happen, even the use of nuclear weapons.

Clearly, officials in Washington should be thinking hard before committing Americans to a strategy that will make this increasingly likely and could turn what is still long-war planning into an actual long war with deadly consequences.

Source

%d bloggers like this: