NATO and Russia’s Naked Aggression


Intro to ‘NATO and Russia’s Naked Aggression

Intro by John R. Houk, Blog Editor

July 16, 2018

In case you were unaware, during the 2016 election cycle I was a Cruz for President kind-a-guy. After Trump sewed up the GOP nomination, I placed all my efforts behind his candidacy.

 

Nonetheless I was certain Crooked Hillary would win. Why? Because the Dem nomination was fixed and EVEN THOUGH she obviously committed felonies with an unsecured private email server, the Deep State showed the depth of its power by exonerating her of any crimes. The same kind of crimes that past Republican government officials were prosecuted, found guilty or pled guilty.

 

Even with my hesitation to support Trump anyway, he won. Then President Trump began unravelling Obama’s misdeeds except where the Dems and Never-Trumper Republicans have stalled the Trump agenda to Make-America-Great-Again.

 

And so, I have been willing to wait and see how some of controversial policy plans were rolled out even though those policies may look foolish on the outside.

 

Justin Smith addresses one of those uncertain policies in relation to Foreign Policy. Specifically President Trump’s plans to negotiate something with very untrustworthy Vladimir Putin and his Russia.

 

JRH 7/16/18

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NATO and Russia’s Naked Aggression

America’s Most Dangerous Adversary

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 7/15/2018 2:42 AM

 

President Trump has been right all along to harshly castigate our NATO allies for falling short of their duty and responsibility for their own defense contingencies and all associated expenses, but his suggestion that he could pull out of NATO unilaterally, a fact, is dangerous to the free world and serves to undermine NATO and play into Putin’s hands. Putin would love nothing better than to succeed in weakening the NATO alliance, and President Trump must always remain cognizant of the fact that, as long as Putin is in charge of the Kremlin, Russia will be a threat to the U.S. and its allies, a fact Trump seems to acknowledge on some levels and deny on others, in a curious schizophrenic sort of foreign policy.

 

As Europe has grown stronger, since WWII, it has never been a good financial partner to the United States, in the support of NATO, which was created 69 years ago for the defense of Europe. Our NATO allies have consistently handed the major burden to America, while the European Union runs trade surpluses at our expense, in excess of $100 billion a year.

 

Germany pays only 1.2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on defense, while America spends 3.57 percent. And incredibly, the European Union collectively have a GDP that is tenfold larger than Russia’s. So why do we continue to pay the lion’s share of the free riders’ defense?

 

Before leaving, President Trump demanded all NATO members pay 4 percent, in order to meet present threats from Russia. One should note, its 1946 charter states that NATO decisions be consensus based. That means one member-state can block NATO’s entire agenda.

 

On the first day of the NATO summit, President Trump was most correct along a certain vein of thought, sitting down to breakfast with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, [President Trump] was particularly harsh with Germany, as he remarked: “I have to say … it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia. We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate … Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia.”

 

However, neither the U.S. or its NATO allies can lose sight of the fact the Putin is in fact an evil, murderous tyrant seeking the restoration of the Old Czarist Empire, more so than the communist era, and a regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth. Putin is responsible for 298 murdered people aboard flight MH17 that Russia shot down over Ukraine in July of 2014. Let’s also not forget that Putin has invaded Georgia, annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine, where a hot war is ongoing, not to mention Russia’s violations of the Open Skies and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties.

 

Additionally, Russia has violated several international agreements affecting European security, including the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for its nuclear weapons; the 2008 Medvedev-Sarkozy ceasefire agreement, removing Russian troops from Georgia; and the September 2014 and February 2015 Minsk agreements, whose ceasefire provisions are regularly violated, as demonstrated by 80 Ukrainians killed and over 500 wounded in 2017 alone, and with 10,000 killed thus far in this conflict.

 

By and large, given that North Korea and Kim Jong Un benefited more from the one-on-one with President Trump and is currently intransigent and reneging on the so-called “agreement”, one should not look for anything to be different with Putin who holds many more cards than little Kim did. And yet, Trump has shown a willingness to abandon Georgia, Ukraine, and Crimea and granting concessions to Putin, in order to develop a better relationship with Russia. President Trump even went so far as to suggest at the recent G-7 meeting, that Putin and Russia should be allowed to return to the “G-8”, somehow oblivious to the fact that this would reward Putin’s bad behavior and ensure no future forthcoming change.

 

In asinine fashion, President Trump shocked the world and the G-7 officials in June, arguing that the Crimean peninsula should belong to Russia, because “people there speak Russian“. The assertion contradicted international law and longstanding U.S. and transatlantic policy of not recognizing the seizure of sovereign territory by force. Using Trump’s logic, Brighton Beach should belong to Russia too.

 

“Kiev’s main concern is that President Trump will unilaterally recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea”, effectively selling Crimea out to the Kremlin, said Daragh McDowell, senior Russia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. Legally questionable, this would certainly demoralize U.S. allies and trigger greater domestic instability in Ukraine.

 

It’s no wonder that  NATO members Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden, the Nordic Defense Cooperation nations, hardened their commitment to combat what they see as an escalation of naked Russian aggression. In 2015, Russia feigned an air assault against the Danish island of Bornholm, which served as a major intelligence outpost during the Cold War; and, according to Commodore Hans Helseth, a senior Norwegian defense official, these nations association with NATO has lowered the threshold of an armed Russian aggression against these nations.

 

In the meantime, Air Force General John Hyten, America’s top nuclear commander, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, that Russia was sprinting to deploy a hypersonic nuclear weapon, a new breed of high-speed threats that the U.S is currently incapable of countering or defending against.

 

Although President Trump’s administration is keeping intense economic sanctions on Russia, and it has armed Ukrainian troops and expelled a number of Russian diplomats, Trump’s words vitiate these measures, when he says he “respects” Putin and places the violence of our country in the defense of other nation’s freedom, and for the greater moral good, on the same moral plane as Russian malevolent and naked aggression. In 2017, when asked by Fox News about Putin’s role in the murders and disappearances of so many journalists and opposition members, President Trump responded, “You think our country’s so innocent?”

 

Regardless of President Trump’s ahistorical perspective of NATO, less than half of NATO’s members are exerting much effort to dispel the notion that they are “free riders” who won’t properly defend and protect their own citizens. As Trump speaks about the NATO alliance, as though it’s a big confidence scam, and he accurately illuminates their financial malfeasance and negligence, if ever there was a time for NATO members to increase their defense spending, this is it.

 

Some have suggested the combination of a high-stakes NATO summit and a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin, in Helsinki, could bring about the most dramatic geopolitical shift since the end of the Cold War, and it just might, to our detriment, if Trump fails to recognize Putin as a foe. Most of NATO’s European members, such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, see Russia as one of the world’s most pressing security threats, and they are concerned that Trump might make undue concessions to Russia, like he recently did with North Korea. Whether it’s Helsinki or elsewhere, President Trump must show real determination and strength in the face of America’s most dangerous adversary.

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Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by brackets as well as well as source links are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

Pentagon Gearing Up for Space Warfare


 

Are you or have ever been a Sci-Fi fan? I was an enormous fan in my teens and early adulthood. Today I am more a Sci-Fi dabbler than an obsessed fan. Here is the reason I share this hobby predilection.

 

Any future global war will have a military venue that most people do not imagine in the present unless – you have been or are a Sci-Fi fan.

 

I just read a Bill Gertz article in which the phrase “Space Warfare” is a serious military subject in which current military rivals are central figures. Science Fiction is a heartbeat away from being Science Fact in the National Security interests for the United States of America. (Unless of course Snowflake Obamanites guide our foreign policy into oblivion.)

 

JRH 3/8/18

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Pentagon Gearing Up for Space Warfare

New policy warns of counterattacks against space attacks

 

By Bill Gertz

March 8, 2018 5:00 am

Washington Free Beacon

 

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood / Getty Images

 

The Pentagon is preparing for war should China, Russia, or other adversaries attack vital American satellites and other space systems, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

 

John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, testified before a House subcommittee that the Trump administration’s new defense policy calls for conducting military and other operations in response to space attacks, mainly by China and Russia.

 

Rood said American space systems are essential for “our prosperity, security, and way of life.”

 

“And [Defense Department] space capabilities are critical for effective deterrence, defense, and force projection capabilities,” he told a hearing of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

 

“Due to the critical importance of these assets, the national security strategy states, ‘any harmful interference with or attack upon critical components of our space architecture that directly affects this vital U.S. interest will be met with a deliberate response at a time, place, manner, and domain of our choosing.'”

 

The statement on space defense was the first clear policy announcement by a senior U.S. official outlining “declaratory policy” normally reserved for strategic nuclear weapons use.

 

The new policy represents a break from the policies of the Obama administration that sought to promote transparency initiatives and arms control agreements as a way to limit space weapons or conflict in space.

 

The policy likely will be opposed by arms control advocates, and by both China and Russia, which have been promoting agreements limiting space weapons at the United Nations while secretly building arms for space conflict.

 

Rood said the Pentagon has requested $12.5 billion in funding for the fiscal year 2019 that begins Oct. 1 for building up what he termed a “more resilient defendable space architecture.”

 

The request is $1.1 billion more than funding for last year on military space.

 

Rood, and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Omaha-based Strategic Command, testified on the command’s budget request of $24 billion.

 

Neither elaborated on what space warfare capabilities are being developed. The Pentagon also has not said how it would deter and defend satellites from attack.

 

Space defense so far has involved development of intelligence capabilities to identify and assess if an incident in space is an attack, or the result of a malfunction or disruption due to collision with space debris.

 

Military space “resilience” also calls for the Pentagon to rapidly replace or restore satellites after attacks or other disruptions.

 

The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, in a report last year, warned that the vulnerability of U.S. satellites to electronic attack was “a crisis to be dealt with immediately.”

 

The Joint Staff intelligence directorate warned earlier this year that China and Russia will have fully developed space attack weapons in place by 2020 that will threaten all U.S. satellites in low earth orbit—100 miles to 1,200 miles in space.

 

More than 780 orbiting satellites operated by 43 nations are currently in low-earth orbit and are vulnerable to electronic or kinetic attacks.

 

Satellites form the backbone of the U.S. military’s ability to conduct combined arms warfare over long distances. They provide communications, navigation, intelligence and surveillance, weapons targeting, and attack warning.

 

Analysts say anti-satellites attacks knocking out 12 Global Positioning System satellites, located in medium-earth orbit around 12,550 miles high, would be severely degraded military operations.

 

U.S. space weapons are likely to match anti-satellite weaponry developed by both China and Russia. That would include several types of weapons and capabilities, ranging from advanced missile defense interceptors modified for space attacks on satellites, cyber warfare capabilities to disrupt or destroy anti-satellite and space weapons systems both in space and on the ground, and lasers and electronic jammers.

 

A defense source said one of the more stealthy anti-satellite capabilities being considered is a laser weapon capable of overheating an orbiting satellite that would disrupt or destroy electronic components.

 

Small satellites with robotic arms capable of maneuvering and grabbing or crushing satellites also could be developed. Such satellites have been tested by China.

 

The experimental space plane known as the X-37B, that has been secretly tested on long-duration flights in space, is also said to be a potential platform for delivering weapons and fighting in space.

 

Hyten, the Stratcom commander, said in his prepared statement that the Pentagon and National Reconnaissance Office are implementing a “space warfighting construct.”

 

“This construct supports the national space policy and focuses on the forces, operations, and systems needed to prevail in a conflict that extends into space,” he said.

 

“Space is a warfighting domain just like the air, ground, maritime, and cyberspace domains,” Hyten said.

 

Currently, a defense and intelligence center called the National Space Defense Center [Blog Editor: NSDC info], located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, runs 24-hour operations for rapid detection, warning, and defense from space attacks.

 

War games involving space war also are held regularly with U.S. military forces and allies, including Asian and European allies.

 

Hyten also revealed that U.S. adversaries will deploy hypersonic strike vehicles—that can travel at more than 7,000 miles per hour—in the next few years.

 

China has conducted at least seven tests of hypersonic vehicles and Russia as well has conducted several hypersonic missile tests.

 

The hypersonic vehicles are designed to defeat missile defenses.

 

Hyten urged speeding up U.S. development of hypersonic strike weapons as well as what he termed conventional prompt strike weapons.

 

“New long-range, survivable, lethal, and time-sensitive strike capabilities, such as a hypersonic (conventional prompt strike) weapon, will allow the U.S. to achieve its military objectives in these environments,” Hyten said. “This new weapon class prevents adversaries from exploiting time and distance and provides additional response options below the nuclear threshold.”

 

Rood said U.S. missile defenses currently are configured for countering missile threats from North Korea and Iran and are not capable of stopping strategic strikes from China and Russia.

 

The undersecretary described China and Russia as the “central challenges” for the Pentagon in an increasingly complex military threat environment. “Both Russia and China are seeking to reshape the world order,” he said.

 

Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), the subcommittee chairman, has been pressing for creation of a separate space corps within the Air Force.

 

Defense legislation passed last year calls for a study on the issue and for recognizing space as a warfighting domain.

 

“These were the first steps down a long path in the right direction,” Rogers said. “Much remains to be done here to ensure we’re postured to both successfully deter a conflict in space, and if need be, prevail over any adversary if a conflict extends into space.”

 

Rogers said for space defense, the Air Force has discussed the idea of shifting from large satellites to many smaller satellites. “But what I’ve seen so far in the FY ’19 budget isn’t convincing me we’re heading in that direction fast enough,” he said.

 

As part of the Pentagon’s budget for nuclear modernization, two modified nuclear weapons are planned.

 

One is a smaller warhead on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to counter Russia’s development of a new nuclear cruise missile in violation of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty.

 

A second smaller nuclear weapon will be a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile designed to counter China’s large arsenal of medium and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

 

The Pentagon also is bolstering the ground-based anti-missile interceptor force now located in Alaska and California. Twenty additional interceptors will be added to the 44 interceptors currently in place.

 

The added missiles are designed to counter North Korean and Iranian long-range missile threats.

 

Rood said the Pentagon is considering a third anti-missile interceptor base on the East Coast but has not made a final decision.

 

The third base will be part of the Pentagon’s forthcoming Missile Defense Review that is nearing completion.

 

Rood said recent disclosures of new strategic nuclear capabilities by Russia were known to the Pentagon. The statements were “not surprising but disappointing,” he said.

 

As for China, Rood warned that China is “developing a very large strategic offensive nuclear force.”

 

“Both countries are pursuing hypersonic weapons and other capabilities and their behavior in the cyber realm concerns us,” he said. “All of those things apiece are concerning and why in the national defense strategy we highlighted those two countries as our primary and central focus for our national security efforts going forward.”

 

Asked if the U.S. doctrine of mutual assured destruction used to deter nuclear conflict with China and Russia will endure, Hyten said: “I don’t think we have to worry about that for at least a decade.”

 

U.S. strategic nuclear capabilities will remain strong enough to keep the doctrine in place, he added.

 

Hyten said Strategic Command is interested in developing missile defenses capable of knocking out missiles in the early stages of flight.

 

Direct energy and cyber attacks are two possible weapons.

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Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

 

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