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September 17, 2015

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Continued from below: 2) Boots on the ground take away the option of a nuclear power to invade, occupy and annex territory. The more you pull American soldiers(could be NATO) out of a defensive posture on the ground (often referred to as “occupation” by those opposing our presence) the more opportunities you present to adversaries. Putin has taken advantage of this as I pointed out yesterday. ISIS grew out of our pull back in Iraq. The Taliban or another terrorist group will replace us in Afghanistan. The policy scandal currently breaking on the “boy abuse” by Afghan leaders and the weak response to it by the White House simply shows how weak our military leadership is. When intelligence showed Russian soldiers infiltrating Ukraine the US should have immediately put both boots on the ground and American economic advisors into Ukraine. As you will recall I wrote that my son, Bill, was telling me that Russian soldiers pretending to be Ukrainian rebels were entering the country so If he knew then our intelligence must have known long before. Syria, an ally of Russia was a bit trickier. When the President threatened to take out Assad –he should have done it. Telegraphing your intent and then giving Putin time to counter is futile. So, what is the US strategy with boots on the ground? It has worked for decades in Korea. Do we have too many there—probably. Did we miss an opportunity under Clinton to take out their nuclear capability? Probably. But, they are a proxy of China as Assad is of Russia. Russia’s permanent Naval base in Tartus, Syria is in effect “boots on the ground” maintained since 1971. A “boots on the ground” strategy of pull out is weak. It needs to be rethought as a strategy of “boots on the ground” presence and combined with US economic development to keep it out of the “occupying” definition. Where are we vulnerable to the Russian and Chinese moves? What will be our strategy with a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear armed Muslim Terrorist force? Pakistan is certainly vulnerable with 50% of it’s territory open for terrorists to occupy and a cache of nuclear weapons for the taking.

3) Energy is a weapon that is being used and can be used to weaken the US economy. Russia is certainly oil rich and Europe is vulnerable to losing it’s supply from them as well as the middle east if Russia, Iran and Iraq combine politically . Or perhaps overthrow the Saudi, Kuwait monarchies. The Saudi’s in exploiting their low cost of production oil to lower world prices have demonstrated the strategic importance of low cost oil. From 1970 through 2015 we worried about the strategic implications of OPEC “ high priced oil. Little thought was given to their ability to destroy high cost producer’s economies through flooding the world with low cost oil. Whether the Saudi’s are doing it to punish Iran and Russia as a part of the sanctions or whether they are doing it to damage the “fracturing” industry in the US matters little. It has shown the Russians the importance of low cost oil reserves and they are likely moving strategically to acquire influence over it. Part of the US strategic policy in addition to blocking Putin actions should be to defend the US fracturing industry with whatever financial support it needs to survive. I wonder if the President with his desire to kill off fossil fuel use for environmental reasons is even concerned about the economic havoc the Saudi’s are causing. In any case a US energy strategy is in dire need of a review and refresh. As I wrote in 2009 there is more oil on earth than anything except water. It will fuel the developing world for decades to come. The key is to supplement it, clean it’s emissions as much as possible and compete with it not to spend so much time trying to eliminate it. That is my third thought. Energy and defense are solidly linked.

This is my response to a comment made yesterday to my post on www.rightinsanfrancisco.com:

Comment was that this was basically a military view and Congress would never approve boots on the ground in Syria. Which I agree they likely wouldn’t. My response:

I understand that. And, going to war is a tough decision no one wants to have to make. I led the effort to write those rules of interaction between super powers and sent an unclassified copy of it when Obama first took office along with the energy study we did the same year. (1971) There are three main thoughts I have:

1) It is wonderful to try to avoid war. Young men and women are precious. The US (and GB) waited and waited until Pearl Harbor hit us Dec 7, 1941. It was obvious war would come as Hitler marched around Europe. War is here. It started under Carter with the US embassy. It continued under Reagan with the Lebanon bombing of the US embassy and Marine barracks. And, the confrontation of Qaddafi. It continued under Bush I with the invasion of Kuwait. It continued several times under Clinton with the bombing of the USS Cole and first attack on the World Trade Center. Then, 9-11 caught the attention of the World and in some ways represents the Pearl Harbor of the Muslim-Free World War. The war is on and will be on for as long as we can forecast. This is in my mind the second level of the war started under Carter and escalated under GWB in response to the “wake up call” of 9-11. Obama has tried his best to “pull us back” to level one—a stage where everything happens over there and is of no worry to us. But, pull back against a determined enemy is not possible. Remember when we tried to “pull back” in Vietnam? Remember the pictures of those final days trying to evacuate the thousands left behind? That was a civil war Kennedy should never have intervened in. Nor should Johnson have escalated it. This is a war against us and our way of life. It threatens Europe, our NATO allies, the world’s cheapest oil reserves, the use of stock piles of chemical weapons and the access to nuclear weapons. It threatens the homeland and our ability to defend our overseas assets and interests. So, thought number one is where, when and how do we want to fight this war? By his own admission the President has no strategy. The Commander in Chief has no strategy? (continued)

FIRST IN--once again the "no boots on the ground" policy of the Obama administration has been countered by Putin. In 1971 or so the Theory of Structured Deterrence was written to outline the way Nuclear powers interact to avoid nuclear war. It was the result of the near escalation of super powers engaging in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Whether the White House and Defense department followed it or not through 2010 the Soviets stayed out of the way as the US invaded Vietnam. The US stayed out of the way as the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Both parties operated through proxies to counter the moves on the other side careful not to get a direct engagement between the US and Soviet Union. As a KGB veteran Putin is surely aware of the way it works: who ever gets there first with "boots on the ground" holds the upper hand. He used it successfully to invade Georgia against GWB as we did the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama then instituted the "no boots on the ground strategy" preferring to fight with drones and hidden sorties by special forces. The result was an opportunity for Putin to invade and quickly annex Crimea. It was followed with an invasion of the Ukraine that continues today. Now as Obama continues to try and fight ISIS in Iraq with Iranian proxies, Syria with Jordanian proxies and Yemen with Saudi proxies Putin enters Syria with boots on the ground. Once there the entire oil rich middle east is at risk. The Israeli PM is in Moscow today to find out what the hell Putin is up to. Putin is aligned with Iran, Assad and Iraq and is now reinforcing his foothold in the Middle East. The US may have more oil than we need today but tomorrow will come and boots on the ground may prove to be a small price to pay for what is to come.

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