Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told an audience recently that the US now faces five defense challenges: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and terrorism. In accordance with apparent Obamanite policy he did not say Islamic terrorism but that is what he meant.
That is quite a list.
China – They are acting poorly over their little island bases. They make the neighbors fretful. They implicitly state that they care not for the US Navy's sacrosanct freedom of navigation as an article of faith. There are a lot of them Chinese. They are really bad polluters. They eat dogs in south China. OK, I get this one.
Iran – The Israelis don't like them. The Supreme Leader has a big mouth and he makes people nervous. OK. I get this one also.
North Korea – These characters with the funny military caps are actually trying to develop a nuclear armed ballistic missile force. OK. I get it.
(Islamic) Terrorism – Yes, it is true. These medieval fanatics yearn for martyrdom and are a significant threat to humans wherever they gather including in the USA. OK This one for sure.
Russia – What? Most of the people on SST believe that Russia is not engaged with its own forces in eastern Ukraine, Advisors – Probably. Equipment – Some. Russia has not invaded Ukraine. Crimea – Khrushchev made an arbitrary decision to "annex" Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR. It had previously been considered Russian. Khrushchev probably thought it made administrative sense in the context of the USSR as one country and the propinquity of the two places. OK, taking the Crimea back was naughty. Russia might invade one or more NATO countries? Is there any real evidence that they intend or even desire to do that? Russia intervened quite effectively in Syria, thereby frustrating "The Plan" to bring down the Syrian government. In the course of doing their thing in Syria they have made a hash of US and Gulfie efforts to organize guerrilla forces that would finish off the Syrian government. No – I don't get it. Why is US policy so hostile to Russia?
Is this merely a case of nostalgia for the good old days when the USSR was so convenient as an easy justification for budgets? Is this a juvenile case of schoolyard territorial rivalry? As Patrick Armstrong wrote here on SST recently, the US is pushing Russia into a position in which it has no choice but organize itself for combat against the West. Is that really what we want? pl