Posts Tagged ‘America’

PLAYING CATCH-UP IN THE ARCTIC

August 5, 2015

In a commentary on August 3, 2015, in Washington Times David Hunt pointed out that America is missing a chance to check Russian ambitions in the Arctic. The U.S. Government Accountability Office says that the Obama administration is forcing the military to measure ice levels in the resources-rich Arctic. The president’s thinking, according to reports, is that shrinking ice could force us to institute a “military and homeland security presence” in the region. Excerpts below:

I’m all for having a strong military presence in the Arctic. In fact, the need for one has already been demonstrated and doesn’t require analysis of ice levels to understand why.

The Arctic is an incredibly important region geopolitically that is home to critical natural resources, including about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas, as well as vital trade routes.

As the United States has dithered in the Arctic, Russia has deployed an array of fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missile systems, and state-of-the-art radar systems to islands off the Russian coast in the Arctic.

It is an example of Russia’s latest militarization and construction blitz. After sending in about 38,000 troops with new radar and guidance system capabilities, nuclear-powered submarines, and various warships and icebreakers, Russia is now constructing an assortment of Arctic search-and-rescue stations, deepwater ports, airfields and air-defense radar stations that will allow other merchant, survey and military vessels to continuously ply through the Arctic ice securely.

Russia has also increased its military spending by a third, even though it’s in the middle of an economic downturn.

While the recent U.S. accession to chairmanship of the Arctic Council presents an opportunity for leadership, America continues to be anchored by constraining policies and misplaced priorities that have greatly hampered …influence in the Arctic. Access to natural resources in the U.S. Arctic offshore, which contains an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, has been severely curtailed through restricted leasing opportunities and increasing federal regulatory obstacles and delays. In addition, we have just two heavy diesel icebreakers and one medium icebreaker, only one of which is currently functional.

From a geopolitical perspective, the government would be wise to promote Arctic energy production as a strategic neutralization tactic against the Russians. Oil revenue finances more than half of Russia’s coffers, and production and exports have dropped ever since oil prices fell about a year ago.

Recent actions by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries highlight how US production can weaken the interests of our adversaries around the world.

Building a strategy that truly facilitates economic development in the U.S. Arctic would also enable America to take advantage of new shipping routes that have materialized thanks to continuously melting ice. Russia has already jumped on this commercial opportunity; the Russian Northern Sea Route, according to reports, could soon rival the Suez Canal in economic importance.

Americans are used to being No. 1, but when it comes to the Arctic and its record quantities of yet-to-be-tapped oil, gas, mineral and fishery reserves, we don’t even qualify for the silver or bronze. As such, we’re jeopardizing our worldwide competitiveness and leadership, and risking a renewed reliance on imported oil and gas. There’s only one way we can change this. We must push our president to think more strategically about the Arctic, or elect someone who will.

David Hunt is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a former security adviser to the FBI. He served as counterterrorism coordinator for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul.

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SENATOR MARCO RUBIO IS CALLING FOR ‘PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH’

May 14, 2015

Washington Times on May 13, 2015, reported that Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is calling for increasing military spending and for the U.S. to aggressively confront Russia, China and others that he says threaten the nation’s economic interests. Excerpts below:

Sen. Marco Rubio continues to perfect his presidential posture, delivering a major policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday night, revealing the three “pillars” of his ideal doctrine: A strong America, the protection of the U.S. economy on a global stage and the moral clarity of the nation. Mr. Rubio also alluded to the bywords of the Reagan era, when the simple motto “peace through strength” sustained the U.S. through the Cold War.

“American strength. This is an idea that stems from a simple truth: the world is at its safest when America is at its strongest. When America has the mightiest Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and intelligence community in the world, the result is more peace, not more conflict,” Mr. Rubio said.

“To ensure our strength never falters, we must always plan ahead. It takes forethought to design and many years to build the capabilities we may need at a moment’s notice. So to restore American strength, my first priority will be to adequately fund our military. This would be a priority even in times of peace and stability, though the world today is neither peaceful nor stable.”

Comment: Senator Rubio is reviving the spirit of grand strategy theorist James Burnham, the pathbreaker, as he was called by famed German thinker Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing in his influential “Konservative Publizistik – Texte aus den Jahren 1961 bis 2008” (Berlin 2011). Von Schrenck-Notzing reminds us that Burnham:

Den Aussenpolitiker der konservativen Leitorgans National Review wurde unde schrieb von 1955 bis 1978 eine Kolumne, erst unter dem Titel “The Third World War”, seit 1970 “The Protracted Conflict”. 1964 erschien nach fuenfjaehriger Arbeit “Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism”, vielleicht sein aufschlussreichstes Buch. The destiny of the left is of vital importance for the survival of the West as a civilization. It is of great importance that the West revives the spirit of the 1980s. This is important to remember as we are waiting for the outcome of the struggle for the American presidency in 2016.

POLAND’S LECH WALESA CRITICAL OF OBAMA

January 4, 2014

The Washington Times on January 2, 2014, reported that the former president of Poland said President Obama is failing America and has let the nation drift in a pit of moral morass, driving down its standing with the global community. Excerpts below:

Lech Walesa, famed for his anti-communist crusade in the 1980s and as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that “in terms of politics and morality, America no longer leads the world.”

Whatever “hope in the world” existed that “Obama would reclaim moral leadership for America” when elected in 2008 is gone, and instead the president has “failed” to bring that dream to fruition, Mr. Walesa told CNN.

“We have to do everything that we can to recreate, to reclaim America’s role, and it seems that Obama would manage that, but he didn’t accomplish that,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s failure in this area has greatly jeopardized the security of the nation, he added.

“It’s a dangerous situation, so we are awaiting a president who will understand that,” Mr. Walesa said.

Mr. Walesa helped overthrow Poland’s communist government.