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El polvorín

The new U.S. defense strategy: the latest attempt to maintain world domination

14 Febrero 2012 , Escrito por El polvorín Etiquetado en #Politica

Monday February 13, 2012

Alberto Cruz


The decline of U.S. power is unstoppable. This finding, and a little questionable, it is confirmed when analyzing Obama administration decisions such as that being implemented in January 2012: a new concept of defense developed by the National Security Strategy of 2010, obsolete some of his ideas for how quickly it has moved geopolitics in the last two years (in fact, now well recognized when it is said that one of the reasons that led the U.S. to adopt this measure is the finding that " we can not predict how it will evolve the strategic environment with absolute certainty "in the coming years). U.S. failed in his predictions two years ago and now is cured in health in a surprising, unusual, almost self-critical attitude.

When talking about U.S. foreign policy, whose base is the ESN, we must start with a premise: the desire to follow the strategy outlined in the early 1950's by Hans Morgentahu, the theorist of the "political realism "in international relations, who said that" U.S. policy in constant and perpetual struggle for world power, has to be developed in three forms: the politics of status quo, the politics of prestige and imperial policy "(1 .) Assumed as such by the U.S. after World War II has remained unchanged for six decades, developing with greater or lesser extent one or other of these forms both during the stage of confrontation with the USSR in the Cold War as the two decades in the U.S. has served as the sole superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Without entering into academic, yes it is noteworthy that these three pillars of U.S. foreign policy have been implementing individually and / or in combination provided that the U.S. has deemed necessary, regardless of the occupant of the White House, and with the explicit goal of affirming their "vital national interests" worldwide.

But now the world situation makes it impractical this historical application of U.S. foreign policy. The emergence of the BRICs, especially China axis, and the rejection of the U.S. that has become visible in the riots by Arabs to be qualified in terms of countries, as well as the wake-Latin American regional initiatives that have yet to materialize as CELAC or UNASUR, but demonstrate a willingness to move away from its neighbor to the north, leaving as the only axis around which revolves the U.S. world domination imperialist policy based on military superiority. But this, in turn, has to face an economic downturn will affect medium-term U.S. military presence around the world, why the U.S. now becomes a fervent supporter of "multilateralism" and a defender all costs of multinational organizations like the UN, and the search for allies which they support its policy (either the NATO or, now, the Arab League).

Addressing this decline is what he wants the new concept of forward defense Obama on January 5 and has been known in detail at the official presentation of it by the 26th of that month. The document that contains a title can not be more explicit: "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities of Defense for the XXI century" (2). But there is more than a desperate attempt, perhaps the last, to maintain world domination.

Traditionally in the U.S. than with each president drives a ESN. That does not mean breaking with its predecessor since in many cases has not been more than a simple continuity. This is what Obama did to win the presidency. His first ESN was enacted in 2010 (3) although it was clearly stated that it was a ESN "transition" since the Obama administration were forced to address "the problems and challenges Pre" (ie, wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan) rather than facing "new challenges" that appeared on the U.S. horizon. These "new challenges" were Russia, China and Indonesia (in that order), the Middle East was considered "safe"-preferential attention focused on Iran, and featured a mention of some concern to Brazil, as the axis around which was Latin American politics to swing a more autonomous from the U.S..

The Arab riots showed the incorrect assessment of the ESN on the Middle East, as it is to recognize now. To have considered "safe", the U.S. was clearly caught off guard and had to go along with what he dictated as junior partners, Turkey and Saudi Arabia (4) - that the U.S. took advantage of the confusion and establish themselves as regional powers to the point the U.S. has not yet been able to recover its role in this area and is unlikely to do so in the terms on which he had exercised his power so far. One example is that the economic crisis is constrained to significantly reduce economic assistance to the new governments (at Egypt's military junta has been able to offer only 1,000 million dollars). By contrast, Saudi Arabia who has taken over the area and economic wills bought it (Tunisia is the most obvious).

In a simple, one can say that in international relations to strengthen the wealth of a nation and power is a means to increase that wealth. U.S. has no right now neither one. The question that almost the entire American establishment is can the U.S. continue to be the greatest world power, but does not exercise the same influence he once enjoyed? (5). As this is the case, then the U.S. must design a comprehensive strategy that recognizes this new reality. That is, neither more nor less than what is intended with the new defense thinking which aims to "adapt" the NHS from 2010 to modern times. Which is present in an election year such as this 2012-be presidential elections in November, indicates either confidence in the re-election of either Obama, like Bush did with him, going to mortgage the first years of the administration Republican. At the moment, and immersed in an internal struggle over who will be Obama's opponent in the November presidential, Republicans have referred to the "new" ESN with a slight protest to be considered, quite simply, that not only is a "disinvestment" in the defense industry but a "withdrawal [paper] U.S. in the world."

Europe and Middle East

For starters, the new defense concept developed by the NHS of 2010 recognizes the economic crisis facing the country and provides for a reduction of 487,000 million dollars in the budget for defense to 2020 and a reduction of 100,000 troops (80,000 Army and 20,000 Marine). At the same time, we propose a reduction of expenditure on the purchase of some aircraft (to solve the modernization of others as the C-130) or heading referring to the "contractors" and withdrawal from operational service of a part of military equipment, especially aircraft (100 units C-5A Galaxy and C-130 Hercules). Also reduced (not quantified) the number of strategic nuclear weapons in what looks like a nod to Russia, that in this new defense thinking longer appears as the second country to worry about and not the first, since it now gives China.

While it is true, the reduction in the budget has some trap as a result of the war against Yugoslavia (1999), more then those in Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense budget in 2010 was almost double that of 1998. It is precisely in the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan where the Obama administration justifies the reduction: "The question we must ask is what kind of military strategy need long after the wars of the last decade have been completed "Obama said on January 5. He added, "Armed Forces must be agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats" (6). To address these "contingencies and threats" are three key areas for developing the new strategy: 1) reduction of conventional forces in Europe, U.S., 2) consolidating its presence in the Middle East, and 3) shift to the area Asia-Pacific. Let's take a little more closely.

A. - The reduction of U.S. forces in Europe following the official confirmation of the end of the Cold War with Russia. For the U.S. the danger comes not from Russia first (as it was done in the NHS, 2010), but China and to a lesser extent-of Iran, so you have to rearrange its troops in areas close to these countries . The main threat is China-Russia and is surrounded by NATO countries and who points to the "missile shield" - so that's how we must interpret the establishment of a military base in Darwin (Australia), negotiations for reopen the Subic Bay in the Philippines, conversations in the same direction with Vietnam and Thailand and the repositioning of much of the naval fleet in both the Persian Gulf and in the South China Sea and the area near Japan. On Feb. 5 announcing the amendment of the existing agreement with Japan for the "realignment" of part of the 50,000 U.S. soldiers stationed at the base of Futenma (Okinawa) on the island of Guam (7).

The document also repeatedly mentions the importance acquired by NATO as an "anchor of hope" of U.S. global strategy in the XXI century. It is a fact long known that the role of NATO is no longer confined to the territorial limits established in the North Atlantic. Their presence in Afghanistan and Libya are a dramatic expression of this and also the 2008 agreement outside the structures of the UN (directly to the secretary general, the docile and submissive Ban Ki-moon, which was criticized hardness Russia) for NATO to assume the role they now have the "blue helmets". This is the reason why the U.S. is increasingly covers it for its military interventions abroad looking for more a system of alliances that imposing his classic unilateralist attitude.

But troop reduction is not removed. The U.S. is far removed from Europe. The reduction is required because in Germany is emerging a strong nationalist who looks more like an inconvenience than an asset for his role as a regional power the U.S. military presence on its soil. Germany did not participate in the aggression against Libya, for example. Not reflected in the document, but the U.S. media has justified the new defense strategy that is appropriate to the planned reduction "because Germany wants to be herself" and that "we must make a great effort of imagination to think that Russia is a threat for Western Europe "(8). What is going to withdraw from Europe are only two combat brigades, about 7,000 soldiers, all from Germany. And in this country there are 54,000 U.S. troops, 11,000 in Italy, 9,400 in Britain, 1,500 in Spain and 68 in France, to name only a few countries. U.S. has 80,000 soldiers in Europe, so that reduction does not reach even 10% of the total.

Therefore, and as the document, which Washington intends this revised ESN is "a strategic opportunity to balance the U.S. military investment in Europe" so you can focus on developing "future capabilities" that are appropriate for "an era of limited resources." The new mantra is "intelligent defense." Of course, "the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter," ie, come to the aid of any NATO country if attacked, "will stand firm."

Note that it mentions the western part of Europe, not East as a zone free of the "threat" in Russia. The paper cites Russia as the country with which the U.S. will continue to face selectively as it states "the determination of U.S. involvement in security issues and unresolved conflicts in Eurasia." That is, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are countries from now become crucial to U.S.. This U.S. seeks to weaken Russian-Chinese project to create the Eurasian Union, decided last October after a visit by Putin to Beijing in which signed a strategic agreement between the two countries ended the power of the West (9 .) Aware of this, Russia has decided not to stay still and on February 6 announced the reinforcement of its military bases in the Caucasian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (10).

2. - Following the storyline of Eurasia, the new strategy believes that Al-Qaeda has become "less able", but nonetheless, is an organization that is active and will remain a threat to U.S. interests and the "foreseeable future" because it would have "sleeper groups in Asia and the Middle East." Specifically, the document mentions Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia "and elsewhere", which specifies, in which Al-Qaeda would be present.

U.S. justifies its presence in these two regions following the strategy of Bush's "war on terrorism." The axis between the two zones is Afghanistan. In this country the new ESN provides "a mix of direct action and assistance to security forces." Therefore, a significant presence of U.S. combat troops and special forces will remain in Afghanistan for a long time -so we must relativize the alleged withdrawal of this country and the threat of Al-Qaeda is expected to provide the excuse needed for the collaborationist government in Kabul agree to the establishment of permanent bases for U.S. military.

Since the Arab riots by surprise the U.S. that needs to be reiterated in 2010 considered the "safe" area for their interests, now referred to the Middle East as a zone in which the U.S. faces both "strategic opportunities and challenges ". The opportunities are the new governments that emerged after them, who said support for sharing "the aspirations of peoples", the challenges are the "violent extremists" and the possibility of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In other words, the same lame excuse and now Iraq or Iran's nuclear issue. It is for this reason that the U.S. will strengthen the security of Persian Gulf "in collaboration with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council" with a clearly expressed purpose "preventing Iran from having nuclear weapons and countering destabilizing policies." This is not going to move a single soldier, however, is in favor of increasing their bases. And all this will at the same time maintaining its "firm" commitment to defending Israel.

But since in the Middle East is "non-state actors" capable of developing an "irregular warfare"-a name that has begun to take shape within the Pentagon after the defeat of Israel in the war against Hezbollah in 2006 - a force to be strengthened joint capable of acting "against terrorism and in an irregular war by learning from the lessons learned in the past decade." And it is significant that throughout the document only mentions one of those "non-state actors": the political-military movement Lebanese Hezbollah, which is described as "terrorist organization".

At all times, "U.S. forces will operate, where possible, with allies and coalition forces." This is one of the main novelties of the new defense strategy and is already being implemented with the Arab League.


3. - The form of action will be all the classic - "a combined arms campaign in all domains, land, air and sea" - as cyberwarfare. This is where the main enemy, China, and the secondary, Iran, which follows so the document is given a power in this area much larger than previously thought. Not surprisingly, seems to have done much damage to the capture by Iran U.S. spy plane edge unmanned RQ-170 last December when collected information on Iranian soil.

For the U.S. there are areas that may be blocked in the short to medium term. The document speaks of "challenges" facing the U.S. by "adversaries who use asymmetric warfare, including cyber and electronic warfare, ballistic, cruise missiles, advanced air defense systems, mining and other methods to complicate our operational calculations. " And mention two of those opponents, "states like China and Iran continue to pursue asymmetric means to address our skills and our power."

The mention of mining as a threat can only be understood if you take into account that China is the largest exporter of so-called "rare earth" (controls 95% of world trade) in which minerals have been found essential to the industry's most sophisticated . At present, China maintains a legal dispute with the World Trade Organization because this organization, at the behest of U.S., China banned limit its exports of these commodities in the name of "free trade". China has responded to the ban with an immortal phrase, "get approval from the West is not our main concern," while he has made a specific request for renewed under rules governing the WTO, "the WTO only to defend free trade, but also allow their members to take the necessary measures to protect the environment and natural resources, "says an official of the Ministry of Commerce (11).

This is what makes the United States establish "the need to rebalance [his presence] to the Asia-Pacific." This has become the priority for the U.S., he feels a need on which their hegemony as a superpower, that of meeting the challenge that poses a growing regional and global power China. Obama said it best in his speech on January 5, "we will strengthen our presence in the Asia-Pacific, and budget cuts will not be at the cost of this critical region." Therefore, given that financial difficulties are recognized, if not going to cut here has to be done elsewhere. This is the reason why we act now with Europe as it is, it misses out some old military equipment and expensive to modernize and make references to Russia's nuclear arsenal.

The document on the new defense strategy makes this clear: "U.S. interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc stretching from the Western Pacific to East Asia in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific." And there is no doubt when you read further down that "long term, China's emergence as a regional power [not recognized the status of superpower, although for 2018 will be the first economy in the world, eight years sooner than Goldman Sachs predicted last year] has the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways. " Interestingly, in parallel to this document U.S. announced that by 2018 will have a permanent base of drones in the Asia. First, it reduces the obsolete air force, and secondly, the commitment to new technologies and the use of drones.

It is clear, therefore, the U.S. intention to maintain-and increase-both its military presence in the Persian Gulf and in the South China Sea, although it does wrapped in the discourse of free trade and freedom of navigation: "The U.S. will continue to exercise its global role as a superpower to protect freedom of access to world heritage areas are not within national jurisdiction and which are the connective tissue of the international system." Ie oil. The case of the Persian Gulf is known and we must not forget that in the South China Sea is a dispute, which is encouraging US-China-Vietnam to the islands known as the Spratly (Truong Sa for the Vietnamese, the Chinese Nansha) under whose water is estimated there are huge amounts of oil and gas. The idea behind the new defense strategy is very similar to that applied during the Cold War with the USSR: global presence and a show of force to stop the advance of China.

Furthermore, it affords berate China military policy: "the growth of China's military power should be accompanied by greater clarity of strategic intent in order not to cause a confrontation in the region." Since then, U.S. intentions are quite clear as it wants to control vital sea lanes and huge quantities of oil and gas untapped. But the Chinese are hard to crack. The People's Liberation Army has said it "takes note" of the U.S. attitude and warned him to refrain from continuing that line (12).

Rear Admiral Yang Li, geostrategist National Defense University, said that what he wants U.S. is "undermining China's military modernization." Do not say a soldier is normal, but when that is the general feeling, as expressed crystal clear in an editorial of the newspaper Global Times-and asks the Chinese government to "keep some strategic initiatives to counter against the U.S. policy of containment "indicates that the thing is about to cross the red line that can handle China. But if that were not enough, ask the government to "strengthen the long-range offensive capabilities more persuasion against the U.S. military to let it know [U.S.] can not stop the rise of China and that suits you better be your friend" (13).

It is obvious that China has a great advantage to the U.S. in the economic sphere (in December, the renminbi (yuan) marked a milestone in the change against the dollar, already under financial transactions in which it dispenses with the dollar in trade Chinese foreign), but not yet in a position to achieve the military strategic priority in the short term. If you are preparing for it and, in particular, to secure sea lanes for trade. It already has military bases abroad (Sri Lanka and Scheylles) has developed its first aircraft carrier and the super J-20-the world's most advanced fighter so far (14) - and performed test flights complete satisfaction and has very worried because when the U.S. military would no longer be operating the overwhelming air superiority they have now.

Some final thoughts

The impact of the new defense strategy in regional conflicts and world politics can only be evaluated in the medium and long term. You have to see if the assertion that the U.S. intention of "giving up the doctrine of counterinsurgency, invasions on the ground and ground operations" that collects the document is real or not. On the Syrian happen, it seems that the style of miliary intervention in Iraq can be ruled out at least the duration of the economic crisis. It happened in Libya, it seems that the U.S. has chosen to replace the classical direct military aggression and encourage it to his junior partners and NATO and the Arab League.

Therefore, if the record of Syria serves as a model of analysis, while keeping the pressure on Iran will be impossible to change that encourages U.S. government-and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council-only bombing. If the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone very wrong, it is hard to imagine what will happen in a country with a long history of resistance and revolution whose system of government also has an important social base in the West much to magnify expressions of discontent.

So, not so easy to attack Iran if U.S. behavior increasingly resembles that of a wounded animal and, therefore, it becomes much more dangerous. First, Israel is the executive arm or not, for the U.S. would be like to die killing because the consequences would be catastrophic not only in the area, but throughout the Middle East. Second, because both Russia and China are showing in the Syrian case is over a unipolar world and the old superpower and the superpower in the making have much to say on the board geostrategic. Both Syria and Iran are the red lines, Syria and Iran to Russia to China. And Syria is the eve of Iran to the West and the Gulf monarchies. Russia and China will not stop falling because if so would be throwing rocks at his own roof. And after the adoption of the new U.S. defense strategy are very clear that we must not make any concessions to an enemy getting weaker.

It is both Syria and Iran, where Russia and China have decided to dramatize clearly the end of a unipolar world and the emergence of a new era geostrategic. They come to say that for many new defense strategy, and by far be threatened, loa never be the same situation before. The double veto for the second time in the Security Council UN is a milestone. If the first (October) wanted to make clear that neither would be another Libya, the second (February) shows a strong geopolitical position on the future of Iran, control of oil in the area and the joint fight by the decline of the West worldwide. A U.S. and its satellites are left to violate, again, international law. With the bet you make, out of necessity, "multilateralism" and the UN is very unlikely. There is, therefore, a new balance in the international power structure.

The new U.S. defense strategy has already resulted in a first effect: strengthening the strategic cooperation agreement reached in October by Russia and China. So far both countries had been very restrained and moderate compared to the West. But the expansion of NATO and missile defense have infuriated Russia and the shift to Asia and the Pacific of the U.S. has had the same effect in China. A bit to remain in their current positions, many global issues begin to change. They are already doing.


(1) Hans Morgentahu: "In defense of the National Interest", American Political Science Review, vol. 66, New York 1952.

(2) http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf

(3) www.whitehouse.gov / sites / default / files / rss_viewer / national_security_strategy.pdf

(4) Alberto Cruz, "America in decline in the Middle East: middle powers question its supremacy (I, II and III),


(5) Benjamin Friedman, a leading think tank leaders of the Cato Institute, January 27, 2012.

(6) BBC, January 5, 1012.

(7) Reuters, February 5, 2012.

(8) The New York Times, February 4, 2012.

(9) Alberto Cruz, "The cooperation between Russia and China: the new geo-strategic approach to ending the power of the West", http://www.nodo50.org/ceprid/spip.php?article1291

(10) Ria Novosti, February 6, 2012.

(11) People's Daily, February 1, 2012.

(12) Xinhua, February 1, 2012.

(13) Global Times, January 5, 2012.

(14) Alberto Cruz, "China: Army, geopolitics and a return to Mao" http://www.nodo50.org/ceprid/spip.php?article1205

Alberto Cruz is a journalist, political scientist and writer. His latest book is "The political violence in India. Beyond the myth of Gandhi "," published by The Fall in collaboration with the CEPRID. Orders can be made either ceprid@nodo50.org libros@lacaida.info


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