Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Cutting defense spending and building up our forces in East Asia, is this a good idea?

with 7 comments

I’m going to start posting some timely comments on world events as they occur. These will likely be smaller than my regular posts, less polished, and more prone to factual errors. Please point out same when they occur. I’m doing this because the winds of change are blowing, and I want to stay somewhat current. And to get feedback on my thoughts of the evolving new world order as it unfolds, we are in for a ride in 2012 it looks like.

 OK, Obama just announced a change in military spending and priorities. Fewer ground troops, more ships and planes, increased emphasis on East Asia (China’s neighborhood.) Obama is spinning this as some huge change in our military posture, it isn’t. Some will no doubt claim it is weakening America and our enemies will take advantage of us. No it isn’t, and no more than usual. What does it all mean?

I can only think of two things. One is that it’s a pretty obvious attempt to transfer more money to the armaments industry. We already have more ships and planes than we know what to do with,  and Iraq and Afghanistan suffered form insufficient troops. Secondly, it’s an attempt to get the Chinese to react and increase their spending … which we could spin as a threat … and thus we increase “defense” spending again. We already spend more money on war than the rest of the world combined, but apparently we can always go higher.

Now, domestic pie-slicing concerns aside, is there anything else going on here? China doesn’t really pose much of a threat, a best they are working on the ability to defend themselves far more formidably if we want to go to war with them. (And they don’t have a history of imperial ambitions.) Our nuclear armed Navy and Air Force are still a mind numbingly bloated mass killing machine, it’s not like anyone is going to seriously go at it with them. The one down side to this I see, is this may encourage China to ally itself more closely with Russia, Iran, etc. Which could really be spun into a threat by Obama. See how this works?

And uglier, we segue to a more global idea, is the USA actually trying to start a bigger war? Judging from the hysteria being whipped up about Iran, I am not reassured. I’ll write about that soon.

(There will be no images in these current events posts. Hate em or enjoy em, please let me know.)



Written by unitedcats

January 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Doug, do you think this new emphasis could be due to the changes in North Korea? It could be viewed as a signal to the new regime in North Korea that we will not tolerate any nonsense or threats from them. Maybe President Obama is just trying to act rather than be caught in a position to react. It could also draw some attention away from the middle east, mainly Iraq who will relapse into civil strife now that we are gone. Another point is that it seems to shows the US turning it’s attention away from the Middle East and the Arab Spring, something that imho we need to stay out of. It may also throw Iran off center making them wonder what the US is doing. Just some thoughts.

    Lee A Whittaker

    January 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm

  2. Well, nothing has really changed in North Korea, and they aren’t really much of a threat. I do agree that this is certainly a distraction from our failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Middle East in general. And keeping the Iranians guessing makes sense. And yes, an attempt to be “doing something.” I still think, and this is from more reading, that this is primarily smoke and mirrors to obfuscate more military spending under the guise of doing something. — Doug


    January 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  3. The cynic in me would say that Obama is trying to make some easy cuts on military spending on the back of the soldiers and to make the producers of high-tech military equipment rich. But as realist it sounds that he knows that the days of conventional land wars are (after Afghanistan) over and that the security of the trade sealanes to asia are the most important objective of the US military, but I can’t really imagine any real threats at the moment in asia/india that would require such an effort/doctrine. Not to forget that these shiny new F-35 cost much more than the old Fighter planes.

    PS: great articles, and good luck with your health.


    January 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

  4. I think a black hole we sometimes fall into that gets us into messes is thinking that there aren’t any real threats at the moment like asia/india. The trade sealanes are very important. With Israel on one side of Iran and our emphasis on the other side of them could put Iran and Pakistan (with whom we have fallen out of favor) in a more uncomfortable position. And agree or disagree, I don’t believe that President Obama likes putting soldiers in harms way. Besides, it’s time for warfare to go high-tech. It’s just the next step on our road to extinction.

    Lee A Whittaker

    January 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  5. Sorry, I didn’t mean that President Obama is putting soldiers in harms way. I meant that that it is more easier after Afghanistan to reduce your ground army. From my experience you can train an army between 3-5 Months without problem, but Pilots needs years and years of experience and training. It makes also sense to compensate smaller ground Army with more Airpower, what the US is already doing.

    But I disagree that there is a threat to the US on the horizon. No navy can compete on the sea in quantity with the US Navy. For example is Chinas newest and only aircraft carrier from russia, and was built in sovjet times, and they would never sacrifice their good trading partnership with the West and the rest of the world, because of some adventure with taiwan or in korea.

    To go back to the question of Doug, I still have no really satisfactory answer. All I know is that the US Defense Budget is so overblown that the real question is, why he is not ready to cut it in any significant way and concentrate now on the ground, and in ten years on something like an fictionial air war with the migty vietnamese airforce ;).

    “Besides, it’s time for warfare to go high-tech. It’s just the next step on our road to extinction. ”

    Since when are you americans so negative :)


    January 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    • I’ll take the last first ;) I don’t believe that I am as negative as realistic. And I don’t mean just America. It might help to understand that I come from a heavily influenced SyFi background in reading. I see much of it has been prophetic. It seems that everything is going high-tech and warfare is following along nicely. But all of the high-tech may be the catalyst of mankinds downfall. I, personally prefer the idea of fewer ground troops and a smaller, more targeted military, but I had a Marine son in the Gulf War and saw how it affected him. I would love to see a world that didn’t need any military, but we don’t appear to be that mature as a species. While I do not disagree that there is no apparent threat at this time, we do have a number of new and untested leadship in some countries. The bigger powers don’t worry me. It is smaller regimes and people who feel disenfranchised that are most dangerous.

      Lee A Whittaker

      January 11, 2012 at 6:43 am

      • Well, I would submit that the attraction of being able to blow people up remotely without risking troop is seductive, there are limits to what can be accomplished with firepower alone. An excellent case can be made that the utter failure of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was largely because we didn’t have anywhere near the troops needed to pacify either country. —Doug


        January 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

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