Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guest Blogger, Warren William Luce, Speaks Out on United States National Defense

United States National Defense
By Warren William Luce

The United States has the most powerful military force in the world. We spend twice as much on defense as Russia, China and North Korea combined. Yet, there are some politicians and military experts who say that is not sufficient to insure our national security. They claim that our military readiness is lacking. We need more capability to deal with all the existing threats, any threat or crisis that might arise and sufficient strength that will provide deterrence. We need an adequate force to fight on two and possibly three fronts at the same time. Are those concerns valid? Let’s examine them.
     
Russia, China, North Korea and ISIS are considered existing threats. They say Russia represents the greatest danger. Cited are Russia’s annexation of Crimea and insertion of forces into eastern Ukraine. That they pose a similar threat to the Baltic states. They are modernizing their military forces and exhibiting aggressive behavior by conducting military exercises inside their borders. The statement has been made that their behavior suggests they would even be willing to use nuclear weapons.

Those concerns do not constitute a valid threat to our national security for the following reasons. The Crimean people wanted to be a part of Russia. The separatists in Eastern Ukraine prefer an alliance with Russia, and the western Ukrainians with the EU and the West. Russia, United States and EU should butt out and let the Ukrainians work out their differences.

Putin says he has no intention of attacking the Baltic states. The general consensus of world countries (except US) is in agreement. Putin knows it would result in a mandatory military response by NATO that would be very costly to him both militarily and economically and with no guarantee that Russia would prevail.

The Russian military had been in steep decline since the end of the Cold War becoming only a shadow of itself. Putin saw the need to correct that condition so as to protect his own national security as well as to restore stature and respect in the world. Still, current modernization of their military forces will not enable Russia to conduct successful aggression against western forces. Western forces are still vastly superior to those of Russia.

Putin has said that their military exercises along their western border are in response to U.S. and NATO expansion and aggression in Europe. He has a point there. We have expanded NATO troops and weapons into the Baltics “all the way up to within artillery range of St. Petersburg.” We are selling cruise missiles to Poland and planning a missile defense system there supposedly in the guise of protection from Iran. The U.S. has established the ERI, European Reassurance Initiative which places 30,000 more troops and weapons into Europe. NATO holds war “games” in eastern Europe and the Baltic sea. We have imposed sanctions against Russian corporations which only inflame the adversity. Too bad Russia hasn’t the ability to put some sanctions on U.S. oligarchs.

The statement that Russia would be willing to use nuclear weapons is totally irresponsible inflammatory rhetoric. The reality is that Russia fears the west and perceives us as the aggressor and a danger to their national security. Russia is no threat to our national security.

China has no significant expansionist goals. They would like to be the dominant power in their region of the world but not at the expense of their or their neighbor’s well-being. Their modest increase in defense spending is in response to the United State‘s “irresponsible” goal to increase its military footprint in their region. The U.S. markets are critical to China’s economic needs. China is no threat to us either militarily or economically.

Kim Jung Un has threatened deadly nuclear attacks against us if there is aggression from the United States or South Korea. He is responding to our threats against him. We have deployed nuclear weapons into South Korea. We conduct joint war games with South Korea near the coast of North Korea which the North Koreans rightly perceive as a prelude to a possible invasion. We have provoked North Korea and Iran by designating them part of the axis of evil, threatened them with our policy of pre-emptive strikes against any country that might pose a threat to our security and way of life and then, unwisely, done exactly that to Iran’s neighbor Iraq. What are Iran and North Korea to think? Are we next?

Kim wants nuclear weapons to protect his country from us as does Iran. Neither, is going to use them aggressively. The consequences are too great. To think that Russia, China or North Korea would initiate war, nuclear or otherwise, which would physically devastate their countries, have an adverse effect on their economy and be a blow to their stature and respect among their people and the world, is totally illogical, if not absurd. None of their leaders are stupid, insane or wish to meet an early demise. Surely, they all would prefer to live in peace, as would we.  
ISIS is another matter. But put into perspective, they are not a serious threat to our national security.   
The need for U.S. military capability to meet any threat or crisis that might arise or provide deterrent is totally unrealistic. We are not the world’s policeman. The probability of having to fight a war on more than one front is highly remote.

All this seems so obvious that it would seem there is some ulterior motive in calling for an increase in our already formidable military capability. Are the proponents of that ill-informed? Are politics involved? Could it be paranoia? Is it greed for power and profits? I’m reminded of a Pentagon official’s statement that “We spend about a third of the defense budget not for national security reasons but because it’s in someone’s district or state.”

We have gone astray when it comes to the security of our nation. We suffer the delusion of, and are besieged by, a "military-might-equates-to-national-security" mentality. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite is true. It should be obvious that the more the world has armed itself over the years, the greater the danger has become.

Some wise man said, “the best way to defeat your enemy is to make him your friend.” There are ways to do that. To escalate U.S. military spending is a disservice to our country, the world and our children’s future. I’m pretty sure God would not approve of it. After all, he has said “The command from the beginning, is that you must all live in love” and the time is coming when “nation will not lift up sword against nation; neither will they learn war anymore ." Let’s get on with that!
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Warren "Bill" Luce is a retired USAF colonel who has served his country in three wars, beginning with World War II. After he served a tour in Vietnam, he began to see the futility of endless wars that solved nothing, only serving to cause suffering, death, destruction, and hatred. Warren was excommunicated from his church for questioning their dogma that God sends people, including little children, to suffer eternally in hell because they do not believe in a certain religious doctrine. Despite that, he has a strong spiritual belief in God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. He is an optimist, believing that humankind will eventually rise to the occasion and bring peace to the world, the destiny that was intended for us. Warren intends to convince the world that is so.