Friday, November 28, 2008

US defense strategy vis a vis great powers

James Fallows blogs about a CDI publication entitled, "America's Defense Meltdown." Fallows writes:
. . . from probably the most right-wing of all the authors in the book -- a man whose cubicle wall, in the Senate office building where he worked, was adorned with a poster of Mussolini when I met him in the early 1980s. He is discussing the overall balance between the US Navy and the Russian and Chinese fleets -- especially the looming Chinese "menace" that drives the need for new US ships:
Overwhelming any comparison of fleets is the fact that war with either Russia or China would represent a catastrophic failure of American strategy. Such wars would be disastrous for all parties, regardless of their outcomes. In a world where the most important strategic reality is a non-Marxist "withering away of the state," the United States needs both Russia and China to be strong, successful states. They need the United States to be the same. Defeat of any of the three global powers by another would likely yield a new, vast, stateless region, which is to say a great victory for the forces of the Fourth Generation. No American armed service should be designed for wars our most vital interest dictates we not fight.
This is easier said than done. This vital point brings to mind my theory about the bombastic official US reaction to the Russia-Georgia conflict. I elaborated on it in this post where I blogged:
What was the true meaning of the Russia-Georgia conflict? It concerned the fate of multi-billion dollar US Cold-War era defense procurements: cargo planes, fighter jets, ICBMs, warships, tanks, etc. Such defense contracts will be up for grabs soon after the new US administration takes office. For example, the question as to whether the US should undertake massive upgrades to the nuclear forces will top the defense policy planning. As the Northrop Grumman website explains, "the Air Force is already looking ahead to consider future enhancements to ensure that Minuteman is viable to 2030 and beyond." . . .

. . . the policy to expand NATO and the belligerence of US leaders towards Russia can easily be viewed as part and parcel of an overall defense industry marketing strategy. These initiatives will help to create the impression that the US will have continued need for Cold War era defense industry products and services. The US military-industrial complex had been at a loss for a genuine a long-term raison d'être.

But it may have found one in Russia. . . .
The US armaments industry must never be allowed to dictate US defense policy. The national interest and the interests of those who manage the US defense industry are different.

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