Friday, January 15, 2010
"History speaks of a Pax Romana, a Pax Britannica, and a Pax Americana--but no other namable eras of sustained peace, for the simple reason cited by Henry Kissinger: nothing maintains peace except hegemony and the balance of power. The balancing act always fails, though, as it did in Europe in 1914, and as it will in Central and South Asia precisely a century later. ... Those who wanted an end to US hegemony will get what they wished for. But they won't like it. ... The failure of the region's most populous state--in that case the Ottoman Empire, in this case Pakistan--makes shambles of the power balance, leaving initiative in the hands of irredentist radicals who threaten to tug their sponsors among the great powers along behind them. ... The US-sponsored frontier war amounts to Punjabis--traditonally the core of the country's military--killing Pashtuns. The default view of area defense analysts has been that army operations against the Taliban may turn into a Punjabi-Pashtun ethnic conflict. ... Pakistan is being ground between two millstones: the Afghan war and the global economic crisis. Half the country is illiterate, and half of Pakistanis live on less than US$1 a day. ... The credibility of secular government--with its promise of economic improvement--is threadbare. The alternative is an Islamist regime committed to confronting India over Kashmir and suppressing the Shi'ite minority that comprises 30% of Pakistan's population. ... Russia faces a slow demographic death, but it remains a great power in terms of military techonology: its surface-to-air-missile systems are as good as anything American [sic] can field, and its newest system, the as yet undeployed S-500, may be better. ... But Obama's budget cuts have hit military aviation hard, leaving its closest allies--including Israel and Australia--without a clear alternative to the aging F-16 force. Russia and India, meanwhile are developing a 'fifth generation' fighter, with some inputs from, France and Israel. There is widespread speculation that Russia's decision to cancel deliveries of its S-300 anti-missile system to Iran carried a price tag for the Israelis: order the latest Russian systems for their own use, and make available the entire package of Israeli avionics. ... In short, Washington appears to have driven its two closest allies in Asia--Isreal and India--into a technology alliance with Russia that may have enormous long-term consequences. ... China cannot sit by and allow India to encircle and eventually crush Pakistan--not because China has fundamental strategic interests in Pakistan, but because it cannot tolerate such a blemish to its credibility. The problem does not lie in Pakistan, but in the mutual capacity of India and China to destabilize each other. ... The implications of such an exercise in great-power politics [by the US] are in some respects ugly. ... The most dangerous undertaking of the Obama administration is not the petty failures of policy, such as the hapless effort to appease the Palestinians over West Bank settlements, or Pakistan over Kashmir. If America's technological leadership in fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, and related technologies continues to erode, the [US]--like Britain in 1914--no longer will have the power and credibility to enforce an agreement among prospectively hostile players. America's self-sabotage in this regard is a unique act of abnegation in the history of world strategy", my emphasis, Spengler at Asia Times, 23 December 2009, link:
Yes Spengler. Now tell that double-Ivy League nitwit in the White House. Well Generals McCrystal and Petreus, what say you?