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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

Fighting in Kurdish-held Syrian town despite cease-fire

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Fighting in Kurdish-held Syrian town despite cease-fire

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Fighting continued Friday in and around a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into effect overnight.

The town of Ras al-Ayn, scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the Turkish invasion, was emerging as an immediate test for the five-day cease-fire agreed on by Washington and Ankara. Before the deal’s announcement, Turkish-backed forces had encircled the town and were battling fierce resistance from Kurdish fighters inside.

A spokesman for the Kurdish-led fighters said Friday they were not withdrawing from Ras al-Ayn because Turkish forces are still besieging and shelling it. Elsewhere along the border, calm seemed to prevail.

Shelling hit in and around Ras al-Ayn on Friday morning, raising columns of smoke, seen by an Associated Press journalist in Ceylanpinar on the Turkish side of the border, but none was seen after noon, and only sporadic gunfire was heard from inside the town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Rojava Information Center said fighting continued into the afternoon as Turkish-backed Syrian fighters clashed with Kurdish forces in villages on the outskirts of Ras al-Ayn. The Kurdish-led force said five of its fighters were killed and a number of civilians wounded in a Turkish airstrike on one of the villages.

Other activists reported a new exodus of civilians from the villages. Gun battles and shelling continued around a hospital in the center of Ras al-Ayn, and injured inside could not be evacuated, said Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The Kurdish Red Crescent said it was unable to enter the town to evacuate wounded because of fighting.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied any fighting took place Friday and said Kurdish fighters had begun withdrawing. Bali said that was not true. “The Turkish land and air bombing continue in Ras al-Ayn,” he said.

A senior U.S. official said they were awaiting confirmation on the reported fighting. The official said it takes time for information to filter down to field units especially for forces without strong command and control. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The cease-fire agreement — reached after hours of negotiations in Turkey’s capital between Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border. That arrangement would largely solidify the position Turkey has gained after days of fighting. The Turks and the Kurds appear to disagree on the size of the area covered by the cease-fire. Turkey calls it a “pause” not a cease-fire.

It remains unclear if the Kurdish-led force was on board with pulling back even if a pause in fighting firmly takes hold.

Pence said the U.S. was already coordinating with it on a withdrawal. But American sway with the group has diminished after President Donald Trump turned his back on it by withdrawing U.S. soldiers from northeast Syria, opening the way for Turkey to launch its invasion 10 days ago.

The Kurdish-led force’s commander, Mazloum Abdi, said Thursday night that it would abide by the cease-fire and “do our best to make it successful.” He did not mention any withdrawal.

Asked about a withdrawal, a force spokesman, Mervan, said “so far there is nothing,” pointing to the continuing siege of Ras al-Ayn. “It seems that under this deal they want to commit more massacres,” he said. He uses a nom de guerre in accordance with the group’s regulations.

A member of the Syrian Kurdish force ruled out any pull-back from border towns, calling the U.S. deal with Turkey an “insult” and saying “no way this will work.”

“They think we will just leave our land and our people to Turks if we are asked,” he said. “They can come and take the land by force. Nobody should expect us to leave our land.”

“How does the U.S. think to enforce a deal without presence on the ground?” he added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Elsewhere, no fighting was heard Friday along the stretch of the border that has been the main theater of the Turkish assault, running from Ras al-Ayn about 125 kilometers (75 miles) west to the Turkish-held town of Tal Abyad. Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much, but not all, of that territory.

Trump framed the U.S. cease-fire deal with Turkey as “a great day for civilization,” but it aims to patch up a foreign policy crisis widely seen to be of his own making.

Turkish troops and their allied Syrian fighters launched the offensive two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area. The Kurdish-led forces have since invited the Syrian government’s military, backed by Russia, to deploy there to protect them from Turkey. Syrian troops have already rolled into several key points along the border.

The Kurds were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State since 2014, but Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey since the 1980s. Turkey has said its security depends on clearing them out of a border “safe zone.”

Turkey’s pro-government dominated media hailed the cease-fire agreement as a clear win for Erdogan. “Great Victory” read Yeni Safak’s banner headline. “Turkey got everything it wanted.” Sabah newspaper headlined: “We won both on the field and on the (negotiating) table.”

____

El Deeb reported from Beirut. Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Mehmet Guzel in Ceylanpinar contributed.

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Foreign Affairs

We must not trust Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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We must not trust Recep Tayyip Erdogan

We have a ceasefire that the Turks refuse to call a ceasefire, a withdrawal that’s not bringing troops home, and a “safe zone” that isn’t safe for anyone in it. The Turkey-Syria affair is still a mess even as it’s being praised by some in Washington DC as an example of good foreign policy.

It’s not, and the reason for that is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This dictator is the Sunni version of Ayatollah Khamenei. He hates America, wants to spread his religious ideology around the world, believes he is the leader of the caliphate, and will lie to anyone with an ear to hear. Any deal we strike with him will be as impotent and ineffective as the Iran nuclear deal.

Diplomacy is important, especially when the man on the other side of the table rules a NATO “ally.” But there needs to be something made crystal clear: The only attribute that will force compliance of any deal with Turkey is strength. No, I do not mean military strength. There’s no need to send more troops to Syria. There was never a need to send troops to Syria in their regional conflict. But we do have the economic power to bring the pain. The first round of sanctions should have been followed by a second round a day later. And a third round. And until the Turks pulled every soldier out of Syria, these sanctions should have continued.

The last thing we should be doing is celebrating this “pause,” as Turkey’s Foreign Minister called it.

Trump celebrates ‘great day for civilization’ as Pence, Pompeo secure Syria cease-fire agreement

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pence-pompeo-secure-cease-fire-agreement-in-syria-after-meeting-with-turkish-presidentPresident Trump declared Thursday “a great day for civilization” as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced terms of a cease-fire agreement that would end violence between Turkey and Kurds in Syria, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

The deal is for a 120-hour cease-fire, during which time the Kurdish-led forces could pull back from the roughly 20-mile wide safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border. All Turkish military operations under the recent offensive known as Operation Peace Spring will pause during that time, and the operation itself will come to an end entirely upon the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, under the terms of the deal.

Whether the move to pull back troops was a good idea or not is up for debate, but now that we have, we must pressure Turkey to end its Syrian ambitions. If they want a “safe zone,” they should establish it on their side of the border. Invading Syria and displacing hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Christians, and others is a breach of sovereignty that should be condemned by the international community with the hardest economic pressure the world could muster.

We must deal with Turkey’s dictator as an enemy to our interests in the region. Playing softball and crying victory is counterproductive. We must hit them harder with sanctions until the abandon Syria. This “ceasefire” is nothing to celebrate.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Foreign Affairs

Turkey is to blame for Turkey’s actions, not President Trump

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Turkey is to blame for Turkeys actions not President Trump

The last two weeks have been challenging for me from a foreign relations perspective. I’ve wrestled with questions of morality, interventionism, the President’s motives, our role as the strongest nation in the world, dissension within the GOP, false media coverage, real media coverage, and how it will all influence the 2020 election. It has been very difficult to reconcile all of the information that I know… and I’m just a journalist. Imagine how the President, military leaders, and members in Congress feel. Then again, I sometimes think I’ve done more research on the topic than many of them.

The topic that keeps me up at night is Syria and Turkey. I’ve written several pieces about it, but none of them have properly framed how we, as patriotic Americans, should feel. This article isn’t going to do the job, either, because I’m no longer focused on how others feel. I’ve had lengthy conversations with people I trust (and a couple I don’t) about how they’re reacting to our military withdrawal from the border area in Syria. I’ve had long Twitter chats on the subject with several people, including a former Congressman, about the decision and the implications surrounding it.

It may be anecdotal, but I was pleased to hear most conservatives aren’t too worried about it. The general consensus was loosely negative about the move but nowhere near the point they would oppose the President (and thereby aid his Democratic opponents) over the decision. Among those who share this perspective was one semi-insider (working for a NGO now but still with connections) who believes the Turkish government has some sort of dirt on the President. She thought it had to do with the EU. I had a similar thought at one point, looking to their intelligence on Saudi Arabia as a more likely source of dirt. I dismissed the notion because if it’s true, we’ll never know.

In other words, I’ve run the gamut on perspectives about this whole debacle.

Tonight for the first time, I’m going to find sleep with something other than politics and foreign affairs on my mind. I’ve reconciled it all, and surprisingly it came from a single realization that has been there the whole time but was pushed back on my mental priority list on the subject because it’s just too simple. As I came to realize tonight, the simplicity of the realization is what eventually won me over in my internal conflict.

Neither the United States nor the President is responsible for Turkey’s actions. We did not pressure them to carry out what they clearly intended to do for a long time. We didn’t encourage it. We didn’t even give them the green light, as many are contending (including me for a while). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the decision to invade Syria, partner with violent Syrian militants, and engage in a war that is currently breaking out in eastern Syria. Erdogan and Erdogan alone is to blame for this.

I can hear the opposition now. “But, our troops there were holding them back!” If this is true (it is), then how can we justify an indefinite presence in the area? Because that’s what those who ask this question are implying. We were the finger in the hole of the Turkish border dam. Were we supposed to keep that finger there for another year? Two? Ten? Forever?

I can hear others in the opposition as well. “But, we promised the Kurds we’d negotiate peace!” This is also true, and we tried. But Erdogan was bent on fighting the Syrian Kurds who he believes are fueling the Turkish Kurds. I have no idea if this is true or not, but one thing is certain. We were not going to be able to convince him otherwise. Like I said, we tried.

There are also complaints that we abandoned the people who “helped us defeat ISIS.” This is an incorrect statement. We helped them fight for their own lands by supplying them with weapons, training, and air support. We went in with a mission. We weren’t there helping them against Turkey, the Syrian government, or the Syrian rebel militia before. It wasn’t until they engaged ISIS that we decided to give them support.

That mission is done. It’s in everyone’s best interests to keep ISIS at bay, which is the best argument against us leaving the border area. But President Trump made it clear from the beginning that Turkey accepted responsibility for them. If they lied or are ineffective at keeping current ISIS prisoners detained and preventing the terrorist group from reforming, then that’s on Turkey. Again, Erdogan will deserve the blame for that.

Now, if someone wants to argue that Turkey isn’t really an ally, I’ll buy that argument. But logistically, it’s a mess to disengage with them. They’re part of NATO so we have a responsibility to defend them just as they have a responsibility to defend us. Meanwhile, we have two very important military bases in Turkey and around 50 tactical nuclear weapons. I would LOVE to disengage from Turkey completely, but that’s not something that could be done in a statement from the White House or a Tweet from the President. This mess in Syria may turn out to go a long way towards forcing us to disengage, and I’d be happier if we did.

Would I have pulled our troops back? No. As much as I hate intervening in the affairs of sovereign nations, the math is on the side of keeping them there. Allegedly 50-100 troops were all it took to have enough of a presence that Turkey was unwilling to attack. I believe if I were Commander-in-Chief, I could have found 50-100 volunteers in the military to take on the role of nanny and human shields in eastern Syria. Therefore, I would not have pulled them out.

But I’m not the President. He did pull them back. Whatever his motivations for doing so, it’s his call. I can disagree with the move, but I will not blame him for the actions of the Turks. Erdogan made the choice to invade, not President Trump.

Agree or disagree with the President on the Middle East, it’s his call and he made it. Either way, it makes no sense to blame him for the actions of a tyrannical dictator. If you don’t like the invasion of Syria, blame the invaders.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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