What Will Korean War Part 2 Look Like?

All the mash up with North Korea has got the country talking.  Even my class had to put in their 2 cents worth….we talked about the first one and how it started and ended…afterwards they asked…what will the next Korean War look like?

A good question and thankfully I had read an article that asked that very question….I told the class to read it and we would discuss it at next session (I reminded them UNZ has a Libertarian lean to it)……

“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”

So thundered President Donald Trump last week. Unfortunately, neither China nor North Korea appeared intimidated by this presidential bombast or Trump’s Tweets.

What would ‘we will’ actually entail? This clear threat makes us think seriously about what a second Korean War would be like. Memory of the bloody, indecisive first Koran War, 1950-53, which killed close to 3 million people, has faded. Few Americans have any idea how ferocious a conventional second Korean War could be. They are used to seeing Uncle Sam beat up small, nearly defenseless nations like Iraq, Libya or Syria that dare defy the Pax Americana.

Source: What Would Korean War II Look Like? – The Unz Review

I would like for my readers to also join the conversation……so let your thoughts be heard.

Afghanistan: Land Of The Proxy

My old farts that visit IST will remember the days of yore, 1979, when the USSR entered Afghanistan…..I use “old farts” because few seem to want to remember that we have been doing “business” in Afghanistan for over 25 years.

The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

It was a proxy war between the USSR and the US and the people of Afghanistan were caught in the middle of the 9 years of death and destruction……The US armed the opposition to the Russian occupation and today it appears that Russia is arming the opposition to the American occupation…..

The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, 16 years in, and the US military needs someone to blame for its failures. The first choice among a lot of top military figures seems to be Russia, and while they offer no evidence to back up their claims, several have alleged that Russia might conceivably be arming the Taliban.

US commandeer Gen. John Nicholson appeared to be joining that camp today during comments in Kabul, complaining about the “malign influence” of Russia in the country, and insisting that he was “not refuting” allegations of Russia shipping weapons to the Taliban.

(antiwar.com)

I bring all this up because there seems to be another proxy war between Russia and the US brewing…..and yes Afghanistan will be caught in the middle once again.

If recent developments are any indication, Russia is becoming increasingly focused on and active in Afghanistan. The Russian government has held several consultations with Tajikistan on expanding security cooperation on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and has explored increasing the scope of its Central Asian military bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). It has also increased its diplomatic engagement with the Taliban and, according to Afghan and U.S. officials, may even be providing security assistance to the group. Long a consideration for Russia, Afghanistan is growing in importance to Moscow at both the tactical and strategic levels. And as it does, it is becoming an increasingly important theater for the U.S.-Russia competition.

Source: Afghanistan: The Next Big U.S.-Russia Proxy Battle | RealClearDefense

This is what the US and Russia are very good at doing……using proxies so they do not have to get their hands dirty….as it were……

Russia is a great power that retains muscle memory (and a strategic arsenal) from its past superpowerdom. In the Ukraine and Syria, Russia has challenged the United States—its former peer and a hesitant hegemon in decline—through direct military interventions. Additionally, Moscow has impressively deployed hybrid warfare tactics to create the perception that it has influenced the U.S. presidential election and forged a rift between the incoming commander-in-chief and elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan is emerging as another arena in which Moscow is pointedly working at odds with Washington’s interests. Indeed, recent moves by Russia now represent a pivot toward Afghanistan, posing a set of challenges that have been unanticipated by U.S. observers of the region. The incoming Trump Administration ought to be aware of Russia’s newfound assertiveness vis-à-vis Afghanistan, both in the threats it poses as well as the potential opportunities it may present.

Source: Russia Returns to Afghanistan | The National Interest

What is left to say….some tactics never change….and that could very well be the problem.

There is one more thing to say…..

Mattis did meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and offered the same assessment that US officials have been offering on the Afghan War for the past 16 years, that it’s “going to be a tough year” in Afghanistan, and that the US appreciates the major problems facing the country.

There you have same song, different year.

After I wrote this draft another Afghan story came to my attention……

The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.

The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, says he ordered the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb, known colloquially as the “mother of all bombs”) for purely tactical reasons: “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.” The jubilation expressed by U.S. media in purely tactical destruction, however, sent a strategic message to some Afghans: that the United States considers their country a collection of targets to destroy rather than a country with a history and, hopefully, a future. A senior pro-government political analyst in Kabul whom I have known for decades points out that even if the Islamic State flees the area, the government’s weakness means the Taliban, who pose a greater threat to the government, will fill the vacuum.

Source: It’s Much Bigger Than Afghanistan: U.S. Strategy for a Transformed Region

The song is FAR from over!

It’s Looking A Lot Like “Groundhog Day”

I am referring to our wars of conquest of those barbaric groups AQ and ISIS…..

We have been fighting one or the other for about 20 years…the other is a fairly recent add to the War on Terror…..

The problem is that we keep doing the same thing over and over and spinning our wheels in the process….kinda like the movie “Ground Hog Day”…..only with guns, bombs, death and destruction.

The current situation in Syria reminds us again that we are failing in our post-9/11 wars. We have accomplished neither the strategic objectives set forth by the Bush administration nor those of the Obama administration. Both administrations have had notable successes and achieved periodic tactical and operational progress, but neither created sustained strategic success. The jury on the current administration is still out, but on the campaign trail the President suggested we can defeat ISIS with military force alone—bombing the *@#! out of them. To put it kindly, this approach misses the mark. America has led a concerted leadership decapitation campaign against both al Qaeda and ISIS for a decade and a half. Such a campaign is necessary, but not sufficient. How much longer will we take this approach before we learn that we are waking up to the same day over and over again?

Source: U.S. Strategy for al Qaeda and ISIS: It’s Groundhog Day | RealClearDefense

I keep waiting for all those brilliant minds in the government to come up with something new and innovative…..so far there is NOTHING new under the table at the Pentagon.

And this new administration is definitely not the group to end this war with a victory….they, like their predecessors, are nothing more the hammer to help the M-IC nail down massive profits with NO intention of ever ending this gravy train.

The Battle Of The Somme

Just another history lesson of World War One…..a conflict that few Americans know anything about and even fewer care.

I read constantly….my library contains about 2000 books and not one of them is a work of fiction.  This is a review of the Battle of the Somme book…..

On 1 July 2016, a few Canadian Armed Forces personnel, mostly Newfoundlanders, journeyed to a monument in the north of France. They went to commemorate the centenary of Beaumont Hamel, one of many engagements which comprised the much larger World War I campaign known as the Battle of the Somme. As the padre intoned prayers in her lilting Newfoundland accent, the tone of the ceremony was sombre, even elegiac. On that same day in 1916, the infantry of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, a component of Britain’s imperial army, attacked German positions across open ground towards uncut barbed wire. The attack was a complete failure, the troops never breaching nor even reaching the German positions. Of this green regiment’s seven hundred and seventy officers and men, eighty percent were mown down in twenty minutes. Despite disasters of this nature all along the British line on 1 July, the Somme campaign persisted into November, and ended with over a million Anglo-French and German casualties.

Source: Somme: Into The Breach | RealClearDefense

The Battle of the Somme…..July 1916…..a conflict where many soldiers on both sides lost their lives….. By the end of the battle, the British Army had suffered 420,000 casualties including nearly 60,000 on the first day alone. The French lost 200,000 men and the Germans nearly 500,000.

Learn more of this horrific battle…..

Source: First World War.com – Battles – The Battle of the Somme, 1916

I do this to keep the memory of these brave men and women alive….they should never slide from our memory.

What About The Korean War?

All the bravado surrounding the Korean incident got me to thinking about a war that many Americans know very little about…….it was the war between the end of World War Two and the mash up to Vietnam…..a war that has been all but forgotten bu many of our citizens.

I watched a documentary on the AHC about this war and it was entitled “America’s First War On Communism”….it was all about the start of the Korean War in 1950…although it is a lie…the first war on communism was in 1920’s….but I will let that go for now.

Anyway I got to thinking about the situation of the peninsula these days and how it relates to 1950……and I cam across this article from a couple of years ago…..

The sixtieth anniversary of the “end” of the Korean war saw President Obama attempt to rescue that classic example of interventionist failure from history’s dustbin. Addressing veterans of that conflict, he declared:

“That war was no tie. Korea was a victory. When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, a vibrant democracy…a stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North, that is a victory and that is your legacy.”

This is a fairytale: it wasn’t a victory, or even a tie: the US public was disenchanted with the war long before the armistice, and Truman was under considerable pressure at home to conclude an increasingly unpopular conflict. As for this guff about “democracy”: whatever the US was fighting for, from 1950, when the war broke out, to 1953, when it ground to a halt, democracy hardly described the American cause.

Source: Who Really Started the Korean War? by — Antiwar.com

The US hides behind the guise of “democracy” too often.

Your history lesson has concluded……

Afghanistan: Is There A Road Out?

This is a situation that I have written about many times and yet very little has changed in all that time.

Damn near 16 years of continuous war in Afghanistan….and yet no one wants to get out…..that is none of the M-IC wants to get out they are making obscene profits….so why kill the goose with the golden eggs?

My problem with this conflict is that we accomplished most of what we set out to do by 2003….and yet we are still fighting a war we cannot win…..why?

There is no military strategy for Afghanistan…..the country has turned over that portion of this conflict to defense contractors that will do anything but leave a lucrative “gold mine”……

More than 16 years after the first Special Operations Forces unit stepped onto Afghan soil, does the United States have a strategy in Afghanistan?

The Trump administration is still trying to determine the answer to that question, which is why President Trump dispatched National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan for a full review of Washington’s options. McMaster, Trump said, traveled to Afghanistan to “find out how we can make progress alongside our Afghan partners.”

“Progress” is an interesting term, because it’s been used by civilian and military leaders repeatedly for more than a decade and a half as a means to assure the American people that their sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers in uniform are undertaking a mission that is of the utmost importance to the national security of the United States.

Source: Still Missing a Strategy After 16 Years in Afghanistan | RealClearDefense

National Interest magazine was looked that the situation in Afghanistan…..

Good strategies are essential for the priority national-security challenges America faces, whether it is Syria, ISIS, Russia, China, North Korea or Afghanistan.

President Trump has sent National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster to Afghanistan as part of a U.S. strategy in that key country. Afghanistan is America’s longest-standing commitment in the post-9/11 struggle against terrorism and remains a frontline state in that effort. In February, the commanding U.S. general in Afghanistan testified that some twenty terrorist groups are operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the “highest concentration” in the world.

Source: An Afghanistan Strategy for Trump | The National Interest

As someone who studies and writes about conflicts…I see NO strategy from this president or any of his predecessors….NO one seems willing to find a successful conclusion to this war….why?

Here is the only strategy I have seen …….

That more US troops are headed to Afghanistan, some 16 years into the invasion and occupation, is a foregone conclusion, with commander Gen. John Nicholson seeking “a few thousand more troops” in testimony to Congress, and seemingly all recommendations out of the Pentagon seeking escalations of varying sizes.

Hawks outside of the chain of command, however, are seeking even bigger military commitments to the conflict. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle, formerly a part of assessment teams for Gens. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, is arguing for the US to send “around 100,000” ground troops to Afghanistan.

(antiwar.com)

There you have the only strategy these people have…..more troops, more war…..

What a grand plan!

Syria: Another Regime Change?

Since the gas attack and the subsequent missile attack the chants of “Assad must go” have amplified….and the ever popular….”Assad’s days are numbered”…these are nothing more than cute slogans and one liners…..

I tried to give my reader my take on what “regime change” would look like for Syria…….

Source: What’s The Syrian Endgame? – In Saner Thought

Let’s say that we have success with a Syrian regime change….(wait!  I need to stop laughing)…..really….what are the options that the “leaders” are considering for this mythical regime change?

Beyond the narrow justification of these strikes as being necessary to reinforce an eroding international norm against the use of chemical weapons, this U.S. military intervention has resurfaced questions concerning the ultimate strategy that the Trump Administration is pursuing in Syria.  Before the strikes, senior administration officials including Secretary of State (SecState) Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Halley suggested that U.S. policy would abandon even the pretense of President Barack Obama’s objective of ousting Assad from power in Damascus[3].  However, in the aftermath of the strikes, the Trump Administration signaled an apparent about-face as National Security Advisor (NSA) Herbert Raymond “H. R.” McMaster declared that U.S. policy in Syria would “simultaneously” pursue the twin goals of destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and removing Assad[4].  While the fight against ISIS is making significant progress, the administration has not yet articulated a detailed strategy for pursuing the ouster of Assad.  There are two broad options available:

Source: U.S. Options for Regime Change in Syria | RealClearDefense

Sorry but I may offer an opinion neither of these two options will hold the key to a successful regime change.

Look at Iraq…..that alone should deter these toads from either of the two options….In the post referenced above from IST I set forth what the future of Syria will look like.

I wish I could be more optimistic, you see I have lived in Syria many years ago and I liked the country and the people, there is not much left in the country for a successful transition to democracy.

I am positive that Syria can bounce back from this Hell….but not so with the way the US is approaching the problem…..and for now that is all there is….