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Japan attacking Pearl Harbor cost Hitler the war

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Japan attacking Pearl Harbor cost Hitler the war

This isn’t a read on how great American military might was back in 1941. Rather this is a perspective of how strategically unwise Axis power Japan was by striking Pearl Harbor. In fact, I would argue that this strategic blunder cost the Axis the war, or more specifically, the Russian campaign.

State of the War Prior to Pearl Harbor

In North Africa, the Britain launched Operation Crusader which later resulted in a major victory for the British in this theatre. In the European Theatre, the main focus for Nazi Germany was advancing on the Russian front. It’s important to note that the Soviet Union had a numerical and terrain advantage over the Germans, however, Germany started out with a distinct advantage in technology and the capability of using it. After clearing the Balkans and Greece because Axis power Italy couldn’t, Germany commenced Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. The campaign was off to a good start but Bock’s Army Group Center was forced to relieve the campaign in Kiev, one of Hitler’s most disastrous decisions. This decision bought Moscow more time to prepare. By December 5th, two days prior two Pearl Harbor, Moscow was heavily reinforced. 

Image from Westpoint

What Japan should have done

The United States was Japan’s naval rival in the Pacific. America could collectively outnumber Japanese forces. This is similar to Germany and USSR prior to Operation Barbarossa. However, there were many prizes to be won from Britain, France in the South. Japan should have pursued those. But in an effort to help their allies and gain crucial resources, Japan should have launched an attack on the Soviet Union. Japan hadn’t had a whole lot of success attacking the Soviets in the past. At very least, this would have prevented the Soviets from reinforcing their western front with the well trained Siberian forces, designed for winter. This would have changed the Battle of Moscow in Germany’s favor. Odds are, Moscow would have fallen without these reinforcements. Japan’s gains in the north may have been nominal but the damage to the Soviet Union would have been devastating. With the fall of Moscow, Hitler could have devoted Army Group Center and Army Group South to seize Stalingrad and the oil-rich Caucus Mountains. With immediate attention to the west, Japan could have eventually worn away Russian forces and made significant gains of their own.

In the Pacific, Japan could have simultaneously handled anyone who wasn’t the United States. They could have isolated Australia and have developed grand infrastructure for a maritime empire. This would have left the Philippines surrounded discouraging the US from intervening.

What Japan actually did

Instead of helping allies, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Believing Americans didn’t have the stomach for war, they expected America to take it. Japan to their credit launched several successful attacks to seize land from European nations. Eventually, America cracked their code and was a step ahead in crucial battles such as Midway.

Hitler was then coerced into declaring war on the US without any major preparations. The US helped Britain turn the tides in the Mediterranean and eventually invaded Europe from multiple fronts. With the reinforcements from the east, the Russians were able to hold Moscow in one of World War 2’s most crucial battles. Russia was bought enough time to make some technological advancements that turned defense into offense.

Takeaway

Fighting on multiple fronts is not a recipe for success unless you’re America. It’s very possible the Soviet Union would have fallen in a two-front war. The demise of Nazi Germany is often credited to Operation Barbarossa, but Russia was a beatable opponent for Hitler. I would say Hitler lost because his allies sucked. Japan got Germany into wars they didn’t want, and Italy couldn’t hold their own and always needed Nazi support. Perhaps Hitler should have allied with Spain to help cut off supply lines for Britain. There are a lot of what ifs in World War Two, but its a good thing evil has a hard time finding quality friends unless you’re Stalin, but even that didn’t last long. Japan attacking Pearl Harbor ensures we’ll never know what would have happened if they had simply been strategically minded.

Foreign Affairs

White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

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White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

Syria has been in a state of disarray for nearly a decade now. Ever since the infamous “red line” that President Obama failed to enforce, the Middle Eastern nation has been suffering through war, poverty, and occupation by hostile forces ranging from the Islamic State to Russia and Iran.

The Islamic State may no longer be an occupying threat in Syria, but Iran and Russia are. The White House has a plan to push them out of the country. It does not involve military engagement, though U.S. military personnel may engage if they feel threatened. Instead, the plan is to offer aid to the Syrians wherever they need help, except where Iran and Russia have a presence.

This represents a huge chunk of the crumbling nation.

Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.

Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside.

My Take

Any measure that does not put Americans in harms way is worth pursuing. As long as Syria is as vulnerable as it is, there are risks to both American and Israeli interests in the region. The war-torn nation needs help rebuilding so they can rightly remove Iran’s and Russia’s presence.

Perhaps more importantly is the need to rejuvenate a homeland for millions of refugees. They are already causing major problems in countries throughout Europe and Asia. If we can expedite the renewal of their homeland, it will prompt many to return.

We have no business fighting battles in Syria. The White House plan would use diplomacy and economic pressure to rid Syria of their occupying forces. It’s a long shot, but it’s better than further military conflicts.

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Military

Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

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Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

Following a crash last month in South Carolina of a F-35 fighter jet, the United States military has grounded the entire fleet. The suspected problem, faulty fuel tubes, must be inspected before the fleet will be brought back into combat duty.

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45827795“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

“Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.

Each F-35 costs around $100 million. Expect the military to move quickly as the aircraft is crucial in the air defense of the nation, giving us complete air superiority regardless of the threat.

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Military

Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

After last week’s downing of a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane by Syrian air defense, Moscow has promised to send it’s advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians blamed Israel for the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

https://noqreport.com/2018/09/18/russia-blames-israel-syria-shooting-spy-plane/This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

While Russians are denying that the system is targeting any nation in particular, they know Israel is the only nation that regularly flies into Syria to attack weapons depots intended for use against the Jewish state.

Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/russia-send-300-missile-defence-systems-syria-180924093518745.html“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

However, the Kremlin said the installation of S-300 was aimed at increasing safety of Russian military and “not directed at any third country”.

My Take

Russia is playing with fire in more ways than one. The S-300 system is designed as a multi-stage air defense system capable of changing the game in the Middle East. Israel had demanded they not be installed in Syria after the initial agreement was made by Russia in 2013, but last week’s incident changed things.

What Russia cannot afford is further antagonizing the west. If the result of this leads to more attacks on Israel because they weren’t able to stop them in Syria, it is likely America will step in with countermeasures for Israel to use against the S-300. This will lead to escalations neither country wants.

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