Islamic Republic of Iran
After President Donald Trump this week designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its external arm the Al Quds Force under General Qasem Soleimani as a terrorist organization, the Islamic Republic of Iran predictably retaliated by declaring the United States Armed Forces, specifically U.S. Central Command [CENTCOM] as a terrorist entity. Both decisions greatly increase the risks of a kinetic engagement.
In this regard, America is indeed fortunate that it appears Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will remain in charge in Jerusalem. It is noteworthy that in Islam, Jerusalem is known as Al Quds.
Iran has filled the vacuum left by the territorial losses of ISIS. They have already sent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] or drones over the Golan Heights to attack inside Israel. For those knowledgeable about the history and geography of the region, Israel’s claim to sovereignty ~ now recognized by the United States ~ over the Golan Heights is a matter of national security, not just a political ploy.
Iran also works through surrogates bordering Israel. There is the Assad government in Damascus. Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon and much of the national government in Beirut. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are puppets of Tehran.
There is no doubt that if Iran has a deliverable nuclear weapon, it will in reality deploy it against Israel sooner rather than later. Despite ideological differences, Iran has also long cooperated with the maniacal Kim regime in North Korea over weapons development and proliferation.
The apocalyptic Islamic regime in Tehran is not deterred by the Cold War concept of Mutually Assured Destruction [MAD]. Rather they actively believe it is their responsibility to summon back the 12th or Hidden Imam known as the Mahdi to defeat Iran’s enemies and establish worldwide Shia Islamic rule.
In the near future, it is possible that there could be conflicts between American and Iranian troops and/or Iranian surrogates in Syria and Iraq. U.S. warships including aircraft carriers could be attacked at the Strait of Hormuz or in the Mediterranean.
Potentially, a missile could be launched either from a submarine or even a disguised commercial vessel on the high seas at any part of the United States, including Indo-Pacific Command [INDO-PACOM] at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. An electromagnetic pulse [EMP] could destroy much of our national power grid. Defensive measures and retaliation would be greatly hindered.
Therefore, Iran remains one of our primary national security threats. But, it is not alone in that category.
People’s Republic of China [PRC]
Beijing at this point in time is demonstrating hegemony and aggression on a worldwide scale. Much of their thrust has been economic dominance and an imbalance in trade relations ~ in their favor ~ with the United States and other Western countries.
Much of President Trump’s focus to date has been in this arena. It is a legitimate cause of concern.
Meanwhile, internally China continues the oppression of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities in their own country and other areas which they control. For many years China has claimed ownership of and has exercised control over Tibet in the high Himalayas. Dalai Lama, head monk of Tibetan Buddhism, has been in exile for many decades.
Currently, much is written about the crackdown against Muslims in the northwestern Chinese Province of Xinjiang which borders on volatile Islamic regions of central and southwest Asia. To Islamic inhabitants, this area is known as East Turkestan.
This is a dilemma for western security analysts to determine the proper course of action. Chinese Uighurs from Xinjiang trained in Afghanistan and a number were held at the U.S. terrorist internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A few years ago, former President Barack Obama released a half-dozen of them into the former United States Trust Territory of Palau in the Western Pacific. Why he chose that locale, your guess is as good as mine, but there were only a handful of other countries amenable to taking them in. At least one of the former Gitmo inmates successfully fled Palau and made his way to Erdoğan’s Turkey.
In 2014, a terrorist attack by knife-wielding Uighurs at Kunming in southern China just a few hundred miles above Hanoi, Vietnam, killed dozens of innocent people. Other attacks within China have also been documented. There also was an alert a few years ago that Uighurs would attempt to infiltrate Southeast Asia into Malaysia to commit acts of terror against unspecified targets.
This is why reports of Chinese Communist repression of Muslims in Xinjiang need to be better balanced than they are. Certainly it is an attempt to impose both Communist authority and Han Chinese ethnic control over the region.
But this is a two-edged sword. Just as with Hitler and Nazi Germany against Stalin and Soviet Russia, Communist China against Islamic terrorists is one where the best case scenario would be if both sides could lose. Both pose extreme dangers to the world at large.
Not enough is being said or done about Chinese persecution of Christians in their country. Under Xi Jinping, a Maoist oppression of the followers of Jesus Christ is underway. Reports are that people are even being rewarded for turning in secret home churches and Bible studies.
Any country that cannot handle internal diversity and refuses to respect individuality will inevitably be a commensurate danger to everybody else around the world. This is greatly magnified in consideration of the fact that nearly 20% the Earth’s population are from China.
Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative is billed as an infrastructure development and investment strategy encircling the globe. It is much, much more than just an economic stratagem. It is also a conduit for military hegemony and political domination.
The Chinese quest for control extends to literally all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica. The South Pole. Chinese research stations have not been audited by other nations with personnel there, including Australia, for at least a decade.
American pilots in the Horn of Africa around Djibouti were attacked with lasers that are allegedly from Chinese military sources. American military vessels transiting in international waters between China and Taiwan ~ which China claims as its own territory ~ have been harassed by Chinese military assets.
In the South Pacific, including such island nations in proximity to Australia as Vanuatu, China uses debt trap loans to build ports that could accommodate Chinese warships which the countries cannot repay, resulting in China claiming ownership of the port.
The United States Navy is working on establishing a port in our former territory in the now independent Federated States of Micronesia to circumvent Chinese expansionism in the North Pacific. Just after New Year 2019, a 307-foot Chinese fishing vessel ran aground on an atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands within snooping distance from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.
China has forcibly taken control of Thitu Island in the Spratlys which had been administered by the Philippines. Known in Tagalog as Pag-Asa [Hope], this small speck of land in the South China Sea / West Philippine Sea could become a flashpoint for hostilities.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his military commanders are relying upon the assurance of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that America has Manila’s back in dealing with Beijing. United States and Philippine Navies are currently conducting Exercise Balikatan 2019 near that disputed area.
Now, just today Gatestone Institution has published an article entitled “China Rising in the Caribbean” which raises the almost incomprehensible specter of a Chinese military presence at Freeport, Bahamas barely 88 miles from the coast of Florida.
If we’re not careful, China will definitely eat our lunch and they will bring their own chopsticks!
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
North Korea is definitely neither democratic nor a republic. This is typical Communist euphemism to disguise authoritarian dictatorial control of a nation. The Madman of Pyongyang is not about to give up his nukes. He knows what happened to Gaddafi in Tripoli, Libya. Even if President Trump is ready to try to strike a deal with the most recent Kim, a future American President could take a totally different tack.
There are indications that another missile launch could occur. Certainly we here in Hawaii and our friends out on Guam will keep a wary eye through the auspices of United States Indo-Pacific Command along with the various intelligence agencies based back east.
More serious consideration should be given toward developing a defensive missile capability at Barking Sands on Kauai. This has to be done to augment the capability of missiles launched from our own vessels at sea or from the U.S. mainland to intercept incoming foreign missile attacks.
Of course, if we got to the point of actually having to shoot down missiles, things have already progressed too far. National Security Advisor John Bolton and other key senior officials in our government need to help President Trump realize that KJU is an unreliable peace partner. The Singapore and Hanoi summits were nothing but a charade.
Russia is as Vladimir Putin does. Much of it right now appears to be mostly posturing. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the loss of prestige as an international superpower was more than the Russian ego could handle.
Russian involvement in Venezuela is both troublesome and problematic. If it’s just diplomats and spies, that’s one thing. But if it’s military hardware and technical expertise to use it, that is another.
But Venezuela has to be kept in perspective. We simply cannot intervene in every failed state in the world, not even one in our own hemisphere. Only when a legitimate threat to Americans in our own country or abroad is established as a fact, should we intervene.
The CIA will do what the CIA does. But some very serious thinking needs to be done before United States military responds in any way to events in South America. Right now, events in Caracas are a diversion from more potent and imminent threats emanating from both Tehran and Beijing.
Russia has its own interests in the Middle East which are definitely not synonymous with those of Iran. The two countries cooperate only in those limited circumstances where both believe that they benefit.
Vladimir Putin continues to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu. The whole world bit a bullet yesterday as it appears that the Israeli Prime Minister’s office will remain in good hands for the foreseeable future.
United States must continue to regard Russia as an adversary and competitor. When and if it ever becomes an enemy and a military threat once again, then that assessment and consequent reaction must change.
Turkish tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still warrants constant scrutiny. He must not be given F-35s and other US military equipment to potentially use against Israel. He is facing some domestic opposition even in Ankara and Istanbul. Behind the scenes, that internal divisiveness should be exploited.
As ISIS loses territory in Syria and Iraq, jihadis are being dispersed to other vulnerable areas of the world. They are posing a threat in Afghanistan. They are establishing a foothold in Kashmir and would love to incite a major conflagration between Pakistan and India. They are still infiltrating other Islamic groups in the southern Philippines to destabilize the nominally Christian national government there.
Former ISIS members, including so-called War Brides, are now trying to get their former countries to let them back in. Despite recruiting others to attack their original home countries for years, they are now claiming to have been brainwashed. Don’t fall for it! Traitors and enemy combatants should not be allowed to return to harm the countries from whence they came. They made a conscious decision to betray their neighbors. But the underpinning ideology of Islamic Jihad is still in their hearts.
Summing it Up
Any President and Commander-in-Chief cannot be a Subject Matter Expert [SME] in every national security issue. Particularly not the way we elect people to such positions because of their ability to campaign well and not because of their substantive approach to the important issues of the day.
But every incumbent who sits at that big desk in the Oval Office has his or her SMEs. The tricky part comes in choosing them from among those available.
The key is to find those who are objective about analyzing and recommending a right course of action. They must not be swayed by personal ideology.
They need to be able to gain the President’s respect and tell him or her the unblemished truth, not just what he or she wants to hear. Then hope they won’t be fired for their efforts.
Our Head of State must be able to multitask. Not be distracted or corrupted by the pomp and ceremony of the position. Keep a level head and a down-to-earth realization that we all still put our pants on one leg at a time.
Ramifications for 2020 Election
It cannot be overstated how crucial it is to the survival of our country that we elect the right person on November 3, 2020. There is not a single Democrat amidst the voluminous field to date who demonstrates the patriotism and objectivity to lead this country through treacherous waters ahead.
Candidly, based upon Donald Trump’s erratic demeanor during the 2016 campaign, I found it necessary to abstain. We knew Hillary Clinton would be an unmitigated disaster. But there were ominous signs of instability and flip-flopping from the man who won the GOP nomination as well.
As President and Commander-In-Chief, when Donald Trump chooses and heeds good advisers, he does good things. When he lets Putin or Erdoğan or Kim put a bug in his ear, we have to just hold our breath and hope he comes to his senses in time.
So, if it’s a binary choice between re-electing Trump or risking our future on any Democrat, my ballot will go for the incumbent. I do not foresee any other candidate on either side of the political aisle emerging that is a viable alternative.
Dealing with the Gathering War Clouds
Greatest threat now of a military engagement against a hostile foreign nation is posed by Iran. It could very predictably begin with a direct, concentrated overt attack against Israel.
This is not to rule out a potential preemptive strike to stop Tehran before they can act. That is a somber consideration which is perhaps one of the most significant since President Harry Truman made the heart-wrenching but necessary decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Such an act would be only as a last resort to prevent a nuclear holocaust with the risk of actually causing what it was designed to prevent. That’s why I don’t anticipate this happening. But the Commander-in-Chief with access to classified intelligence information is the only one who could make this irreversible commitment which would change the course of world history.
Simultaneously, our leader in the White House must demonstrate strength and steely resolve in facing down China. If you think Soviet missiles in Cuba were something that kept JFK awake at night, and I’m sure they were, the possibility of Chinese warships barely 100 miles from Miami ~ and even less for Mar-A-Lago ~ have to weigh very heavily upon President Donald John Trump.
What this all Means to You and Me
As everyday citizens, you and I need to keep abreast of world events. We need to dismiss and put aside all the petty campaign rhetoric. We need to focus on things that really matter.
If you want strict party-line pandering to either side of the political aisle, you will need to find it elsewhere. NOQ Report will continue to provide you with objective analyses of fast developing events. We will parse what the candidates are saying. We will provide facts that it would behoove decision-makers to consider.
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