March 31, 2008

Do you like American Interests.blogspot?

Do you read/like this blog and accept as true its central premise that America remains the ultimate guarantor of the way of life that most of us in the West enjoy? That America remains an overwhelming force for good in the world.

If so, can I be bold and ask that you add this site to your Technorati favorites and subscribe to the feed. The links are provided in the right hand pane. Spread the word, tell your friends, workmates and associates about it. It's these little things that help this blog to grow and expand the reader base. For those that have already done so, thanks!

Finally, please permit me to express my sincere gratitude to a sponsor, the VA Mortgage Center and acknowledge the fine work they do in addressing the specific mortgage lending needs of veterans and active military members alike. America's veterans and active duty personnel should be rewarded for their service and sacrifice.

This post will remain on top until the end of the month. Please scroll down a little and check my latest post; it's just below!China’s 2008 Defense budget”.

March 28, 2008

China’s 2008 Defense Budget

When I look at the bigger picture, taking into account China’s increasing ASAT capabilities, these developments pose a threat of an altered nature

How long before China’s might develops into an effective bargaining chip in negotiations with the West…

In what reflects the countries rapid economic growth, China recently announced plans to increase defense spending by just short of 18% to 417.77 billion yuan (58.8 billion). According to spokes person, Jiang Enzhu, the additional money will be used to buy hi-tech armaments” as it continues transforming its 2.3 million man forces into a more sophisticated and modern fighting machine. In comparative terms, for the U.S. to increase its defense expenditure by an equivalent proportion it would be akin to a rise of between $90 and $100billion.

Sums and figures aside, one cannot help but dismiss China’s assurances that such defense increases, will not pose a threat to other nations. In recent years, they have expanded their intercontinental and short-range missile arsenal, added new warships and submarines, and vastly upgraded bombers and jet fighters. We recall too, last year’s successful ballistic missile test to destroy a satellite in orbit. The rapid rise has concerned western interests due to a lack of real transparency concerning intentions. Wrote Gordon Fairclough and Jason Leow in the Wall Street Journal,

The U.S. is seeking “a greater mutual understanding of strategic intent,” said David S. Sedney, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia during a visit to Shanghai, adding, “greater transparency on China’s part is important to prevent miscalculations.”

A quick look at past figures reveals a massive 133% increase in defense expenditure since 2001. Even if one allows for some accepted quotas of distortion from Washington sources, the sums remain disturbing; some of these estimates point to a real figure nearly twice as high as the Chinese are presently asserting.

There are other factors warranting consideration, not least of which, the implications for the strategically sensitive Taiwan Straits for which China remains fixated. Consider an excerpt from a Pentagon report, “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008”,

“China’s near-term focus on preparing for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait, including the possibility of U.S. intervention, is an important driver of its modernization. However, analysis of China’s military acquisitions and strategic thinking suggests Beijing is also developing capabilities for use in other contingencies, such as conflict over resources or disputed territories.”

The account concluded that the Chinese were acquiring and developing an assortment of modern weaponry set to alter not just the regional military balance but would also have global repercussions.

When I look at the bigger picture, taking into account China’s increasing ASAT capabilities, these developments pose a threat of an altered nature; one relating to the birth of an industrial scientific complex set to stimulate China’s hi-tech industrial base and education programs, much like America’s space program did in the sixties and seventies.

How long before China’s might develops into an effective bargaining chip in negotiations with the West? This will represent a turning point, as Beijing exploit's new forms of political and economic benefits as derived from its emerging power.

Free Burma
Robert Gates on China
Who's the foe, I says Hu
Cyberwarfare: The new challenge
China, India. How real the Economic Threat to America

I look forward to your comments

March 22, 2008

Russia according to Vladimir Putin

"Russia demands more respect from and equality with Washington and a free hand in world politics. In key respects, Moscow’s new foreign policy grows out of the logic of its ever more autocratic and neo-imperial political structure.”


Two Thousand and Seven was the year that the Russians once again growled for attention. Like a bear returning from a long sleep after nearly two long decades, it first attracted this author’s attention in June with Putin using some stiff language while addressing Bush over the U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. Not long after, the Russians engaged in some in some good old-fashioned saber rattling by resuming the Soviet-era practice of sending strategic bombers on long-range flights well beyond its borders.

By October, Putin was cozying up with an old foe in Iran; proving that although Russia's relationship with its southern Persian neighbor has been rocky, both nations share a common passion, distrust for the west and the United States in particular. Here the Russians were even willing to weaken there own position with the decision to supply Iran with nuclear fuel. Said Steve Schippert, co-founder of the Center for Threat Awareness back in January, "the 11-shipment Russian supply underway of 80 tons of enriched uranium nuclear fuel for the Russian-built 1,000 megawatt light water reactor is a sweeping Iranian victory and troubling in several respects. From a strategic view flying by at 20,000 feet, it is indicative of Iran and Russia's deepening common alignment against the United States. It's an alignment – an allied partnership beyond nuclear cooperation - that also includes China."

Fast-forward 2008, in January a top Russian General made no secret that, Russian armed services would not dither to use nuclear weaponry in battle, and signaled a return to the May parading of tanks and missiles (not all cardboard!) through red square. Not to appear lax, in early February Tupolev bombers, this time four, having being launched from Russia’s Ukrainka base possibly violated Japans air space before flying over the USS Nimitz in the Pacific; not once but twice. Was this an act of military might? Hey, look we can do, or has it something to do with economics and trade.

Kim Zegfeld’s excellent piece makes the point that when, in 2006 he first suggested that, “neo-Soviet state was rising in Russia” he was viewed as some sort of crackpot. After all, the Russian economy was going strong and Putin was the strong-arm of the nation’s transition to democracy. But what democracy? In Zegfeld’s words, “ … within six months, both Andrei Kozlov and Anna Politkovskaya had been assassinated in Russia.”

Kozlov was the country’s leading reformer within the Kremlin walls, aggressively investigating corruption at the highest levels, while Politkovskaya was Russia’s leading domestic force for change outside the Kremlin, a journalist confronting the Kremlin on both foreign and domestic issues at every turn. Not long after, Russia’s most sensational foreign dissident, KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko, had been murdered by radioactive poisoning in London, “suddenly, it began to seem that friendly relations with the West and its values weren’t necessarily the Russia’s cup of tea.” Strikingly, Zegfeld has chronicled a list of over 200 Russian journalists who have died of “unnatural causes” since Putin came to power. Read the whole the article here.

Only last month a new report from the Strategic Studies Institute examining Russia’s foreign policy objectives in relation to U.S. policy summarized that, “East-West relations have noticeably deteriorated, and Russia’s behavior has become commensurately more self-assertive. Key arms control achievements are in jeopardy, and Russia claims to be facing an array of growing threats, most prominently from America. In fact, Russia demands more respect from and equality with Washington and a free hand in world politics. In key respects, Moscow’s new foreign policy grows out of the logic of its ever more autocratic and neo-imperial political structure.”

Within its borders, it also took measures to boost patriotism and point the nation on a more menacing path with the creation of a patriotic youth group "Nashi", which translates to “ours”, whose purpose is to inculcate nationalistic virtues in tune with Putin’s vision of a greater Russia. Also disturbing are reports that Mr. Putin has complimented the authors of a new manual for high school history teachers that encourages renewed pride in their country's past and instills a renewed sense of camaraderie. Sound familiar?

In addition, last month Putin appeared to confirm the inception of a new arms race by vowing to modernize Russia’s armed services in response to America’s European defense shield. I guess it came as no surprise, "HELLO", that some European leaders view Putin’s latest antics as a, “wake-up call from a tougher Russia.”

The Russians have merely flirted with the open society option and now return to a less than perfect centralized democratic system that in the longer term will only compromise stability. In other words, while the nation is vying to return to the stage as a world player they are shooting themselves in the foot. Not addressing the demographic challenges of life expectancy and falling birth rates for example, while stacking money on the military and moving away from democracy, will ultimately be there undoing.

Still scratching my head about Time and that person of the year award

Comments always appreciated...

March 19, 2008

Why we like Blogs

In Andrew Bolt's words...

"Steve Boriss of The Future of News hails the rise of blogging over traditional journalism:

Blogging allows rumors to be followed by updates, journalism doesn’t. Bloggers are independent of oversight by editors who slow down publication while removing the style, opinion, rumors, risk, and edge. Journalists aren’t. Oh, and there’s one more difference. Blogging is growing because news consumers prefer all of the above. Journalism isn’t."

It would appear that Bloggers and the media’s uneasy co-existence continues. Not meaning to sound exceedingly defensive of the latter, fact is, we bloggers do rely on big media for information, for mine the fun part involves the intermittent non-acceptance and dissection facet of what some have called, citizen journalism.

Andrew Bolt's excellent blog can be viewed here

What do you think

March 16, 2008

America and Globalization: Strategy for a New Century - Part 2

".... Here’s a question; is it realistic to believe that consensus between nations can maintain order through a system in which states voluntarily abide by rules? History alone would dictate a negative response. States cooperate because there is an in-balance of power between them not the reverse...."

It was not the intention to post a follow up piece to the initial, March 5 article; however, reader consensus, as noted in comments received, compelled me otherwise. But before we continue allow me to make a point, the article did not seek to advocate the merits or otherwise of Globalization, more exactly, it highlighted what I see as a growing need for America to gain control of its growth for the very reasons highlighted in your comments. The original piece can be read here.

Some of the concerns raised are noteworthy and understandable. Said Tapline, “That it compromises sovereignty and nation status” and analogies with the EU. Of being akin to balkanization, and evaporation of national entities, said Aurora from The Midnight Sun. “Weakening our strong and Constitutional principle as a free Republic,” and surrendering of national status thus weakening the nation, added Ken Taylor from The Liberal Lie the Conservative truth, whilst Heidianne at Big Girl Pants added, “The more we globalize, the more we are turning over to those who do not honor, respect or even WANT our way of life”. And finally mk’s views noted, “ the ones set to grow and hence dictate what will happen in the coming decades don't necessarily like us in the west and don't think like us.” I will not quibble with any of this, they are, all of them, sound pointers and it pleases me that such concerns were expressed here.

The challenge remains, Globalization is, for better or worse, a happening phenomenon that is set to expand, therefore, there is little, or nothing we can do about it. In light of this, and hence, this forms the core of my argument, I call on U.S. policymakers to expand the currently narrowly focused grand plan to something far broader like, securing the future in accordance with America’s Interests by taking control of the process through a “recalibration of interaction through positive leadership”.

Understandably, it has raised some alarm bells with many questioning whether the principle drivers of international affairs are no longer nation states but rather, some sort of evolving worldly system. The problem here is that it assumes a global system that somehow manages itself, when in reality, the enforcement of political and economic needs must always be underpinned by rules in order to resolve differences and conflicts; only powerful nation states have the resources and authorities to manage/enforce agreements, to deal with international threats and inter-state rivalries.

Here’s a question; is it realistic to believe that consensus between nations can maintain order through a system in which states voluntarily abide by rules? History alone would dictate a negative response. States cooperate because there is an in-balance of power between them not the reverse. The U.S is well placed to continue being the dominant nation, the military power, the economic powerhouse, the exemplary state that, through its ideology and territorial immunity sustains international order. I call on America to remain that nation, that body if you will, that remains the force behind Globalization, the force that guarantees the rest of us that others will not pursue interests related to prosperity and security that threatens other states and current international order.

Globalization is sometimes referred to as, Americanization; this is good but improperly managed or worse still, not managed at all, will impact on U.S. hegemony. Charles Krauthammer wrote in Time:

"America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to re-shape norms, alter expectations and create new realities".

Like Ken Taylor says, “We (America) can still lead the world in most every aspect without releasing our sovereignty…. lead but not conform.”

What do you think

March 11, 2008

Apollo program: No better example of American ingenuity

What other endeavor has meant more to our species, what other adventure can be used as a benchmark by which we can measure the incredible capacity of human kind and American potential.

You will have to excuse me for being a tad late with this one. By my estimations, “In the shadow of the moon” was released in the states around September. It was thrust to my attention once again because of a screening at one of my local cinemas. It is quite a documentary, and tells the story of one of the most defining passages in U.S. history. The Apollo program may have brought the aspirations of a nation to the moon but also, to a fascinated world. Sadly, many of those that did appreciate the sheer enormity of the achievement have passed on, as for the rest of us, many have come to take it for granted. In total, some nine spacecraft were blasted into history in the four years from 1968 onwards. It was an extraordinary era in American history, and a moment in time for which all humankind should be proud not least, Americans. Hope you enjoy the clip; it choked me up with nostalgia and some sadness on my first viewing, maybe my age…




From the website: “In the shadow of the moon”, features a wealth of never before seen footage mastered form original archive material sources for the Untied States.

"This extraordinary footage, shot by the astronauts themselves, has been fought out of storage only a handful of times since the sixties and seventies. It's considered so unique and valuable that the original film is stored under liquid nitrogen." You can understand why NASA authorities feel so precious about it. After all there has never been any more footage of the moon shot by a living human being since Apollo 17. "


It was voted best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

Those very first dusty imprints left by the astronauts on the moon were also unforgettable footprints left on the hearts and imaginations of our race. What other endeavor has meant more to our species, what other adventure can be used as a benchmark by which we can measure the incredible capacity of human kind and American potential.

Comments welcome

March 6, 2008

John Howard accepts Irving Kristol award - defends his Conservative Legacy

I speak to you tonight as an unapologetic and continuing advocate of the broad conservative cause, restlessly conscious, as you are, that the battle of ideas is never completely won and must always command both our attention and our energy.


John Howard has launched a strong defense of his legacy, breaking his silence following last year's election loss. The former prime minister used a speech to the conservative US think tank, the American Enterprise Institute to attack his successor over his new policies including Iraq.

To a standing ovation from over 1400 guests that included former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynne, and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, Mr Howard defended his Government’ record and personal convictions:

"I speak to you tonight as a continuing and unapologetic advocate of the broad conservative cause, but restlessly conscious, as I know you will be, that the battle of ideas is never completely won," he said.

He then went on to deliver the Irving Kristol lecture. I present notable excerpts from it where he applauds the institute, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, highlights the U.S.-Australia military alliance, has a dig at P.C. and the Archbishop of Canterbury over his recent Sharia comments, notes the lefts hold on educational institutions and the popular mainstream media and finally draws our attention to the “intellectual bullying and moralizing” associated with the current Global Warming debate.

DELIVERED BY THE HON JOHN HOWARD
TO THE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
GALA DINNER WASHINGTON, DC USA
Wednesday, 5 March 2008

'SHARING OUR COMMON VALUES’

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen

I thank you for the honour you have given me in asking me to deliver the 2008 Irving Kristol Lecture.

The American Enterprise Institute, over the years, has consistently defended fundamental freedoms, both personal and economic. It has stoically resisted the insidious tide of political correctness in so many facets of our daily lives.

It has frequently displayed great policy courage – often facing a chorus of ridicule and dissent. This was recently the case regarding the surge in Iraq, a subject to which I will return later…

Written in 1973, Irving Kristol’s words have a timeless relevance to all of us who strive in different ways to build better societies and nations. He said then,

“… I know that it will be hard for some to believe that ideas can be so important. This underestimation of ideas is a peculiarly bourgeois fallacy, especially powerful in the most bourgeois of nations, our own United States. For two centuries, the very important people who managed the affairs of this society could not believe in the importance of ideas – until one day they were shocked to discover that their children, having been captured and shaped by certain ideas, were either rebelling against their authority or seceding from their society. The truth is that ideas are all-important. The massive and seemingly-solid institutions of any society – the economic institutions, the political institutions, the religious institutions – are always at the mercy of the ideas in the heads of the people who populate these institutions.”

To achieve success governments need a guiding philosophy; not a zealous ideology which is insensitive to political compromise, but a directional touchstone which provides overall consistency through the years. In other words, ultimately they must be ruled by values and ideas and not only by an instinct for political survival – necessary though that is…

I was here on that fateful September morning in 2001 having, only the previous day, met the President for the very first time.

To experience the shock and disbelief of a free and generous people being subjected to an unprovoked and evil attack left me with a feeling which I have retained to this day.

The long friendship between Australia and the United States has grown deeper and stronger as we have responded to the threats of these past years. It is a powerful testament in the modern world that the values which unite nations create the most enduring bonds of all.

Australia has been beside the United States in every military conflict of consequence in which your country has been involved since our soldiers first fought together at the Battle of Hamel, in France, on 4 July, 1918.

Important though that history of military cooperation may be, important though our political, economic and cultural ties might be, they are dwarfed by the commonality of the values that we share.

They are the values of personal liberty and individual freedom; the belief that decency and hard work define a person’s worth, not class or race or social background; and the confidence that all of the peoples of the world will embrace democracy if they are given the opportunity to enjoy its benefits...

I speak to you tonight as an unapologetic and continuing advocate of the broad conservative cause, restlessly conscious, as you are, that the battle of ideas is never completely won and must always command both our attention and our energy.

The former Australian government, which I led, was accused of many things, but never of betraying its essentially centre/right credo. We pursued a blend of economic liberalism – in the classical sense of that term connoting as it does a faith in market forces - and social conservatism. So far from being in conflict the one reinforced the other.

Economic reform and change – inherent in globalisation – can involve dislocation for communities and individuals. The anxiety this brings cries aloud for consistency and reassurance in other aspects of people’s lives; the sense that not everything is changing.

From our election in 1996 we pursued reform and further modernisation of our economy. On the social front we emphasised our nation’s traditional values, sought to resurrect greater pride in her history and became assertive about the intrinsic worth of our national identity. In the process we ended the seemingly endless seminar about that identity which had been in progress for some years…

Tonight I wish to touch on some of the values and responses which, in the world we now inhabit are important for today’s conservatives.

Whilst the intrinsic worth of values never changes, their relative importance and the tenacity with which they are applied by societies will always be determined by contemporary threats and challenges.

Today’s world remains confronted by the ongoing threat of Islamic fascism, a new and quite unfamiliar assault on our values and way of life.

It relies on indiscriminate terror without regard to the identity or faith of its victims.

It also calculates that it is the nature of western societies to grow weary of long struggles and protracted debates. They produce, over time, a growing pressure for resolution or accommodation.

The particular challenge posed by extremist Islam means therefore that more than ever before continued cultural self-belief is critical to national strength.

Ronald Reagan and that other great warrior in our cause, Margaret Thatcher, taught us many things.

One of them was to remain culturally assertive, to understand always the importance of self belief in the psyche of a nation; to be willing to stand against the fashion of the time.

In his book “The President, the Pope and the Prime Minister” John O’Sullivan wrote of Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher “all three were handicapped by being too sharp, clear and definite in an age of increasingly fluid identities and sophisticated doubts. Put simply that Wojtyla was too Catholic, Thatcher too conservative and Reagan too American”.

O’Sullivan was speaking of a time when the views of all three were still largely unheeded.

Instead of bending they remained resolute and, as we gratefully know, their subsequent leadership permanently changed the world for the better.

When Ronald Reagan said “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” the left-liberals shuffled their feet, but as we know he meant it.

His historic achievement, through a massive build up in United States’ military strength (especially his persistent promotion of the Strategic Defence Initiative), in forcing the Soviets to confront their own internal weakness thus leading to the implosion of their empire – delivered the most profound political development in my lifetime….

In the protracted struggle against Islamic extremism there will be no stronger weapon than the maintenance by western liberal democracies of a steadfast belief in the continuing worth of our own national value systems. And where necessary a soaring optimism about the future of freedom and democracy.

We should not think that by trading away some of the values which have made us who we are will buy us either immunity from terrorists or respect from noisy minorities.

If the butter of common national values is spread too thinly it will disappear altogether.

We should not forget that it is the values of our societies that terrorists despise most. That is why we should never compromise on them.

It is not only their intrinsic worth that should be staunchly defended. It is also because radical Islam senses – correctly – that there is a soft underbelly of cultural self-doubt in certain Western societies.

There are too many in our midst who think, deep down, that it is really “our fault” and if only we entered into some kind of federal cultural compact, with our critics, the challenges would disappear.

Perhaps it was this sentiment which led the Archbishop of Canterbury to make the extraordinary comment several weeks ago, that in Britain some accommodation with aspects of Sharia law was inevitable…

As the most powerful force for good in the world community, the United States remains the ultimate guarantor of the way of life that most of us in the West wish to continue to enjoy.

Those who hold to conservative values continue to face a major ideological battle.

The left liberal grip on educational institutions and large, though not all, sections of the media remains intense.

Global warming has become a new battleground. The same intellectual bullying and moralising, used in other debates, now dominates what passes for serious dialogue on this issue.

That having been said, the past twenty-five years have seen striking conservative gains. It was Ronald Reagan’s strength and determination, nourished by his positive and optimistic view of freedom and American life, that brought down the evil empire…

Those who wish to read the whole lecture may do so here

After the speech, guests eager to get their photograph taken alongside him surrounded the former Prime Minister who is in who is in the US on a series of speaking tours including an address at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the George Bush library in Texas.

It was most pleasing to see Howard's exceptional political contributions recognized.
See my previous postings on John Howard here, here, here, here and here.

Your comments are welcomed

America and Globalization: Strategy for a New Century

Tomorrow’s all-inclusive global strategy must, apart from the aforementioned challenges and promotions of democratic regimes, address the consequences of successful rampant globalization.

When I look ahead, attempting to ascertain the likely challenges America will face in the coming century, I note another, not so apparent test for U.S. hegemony, as we know it, one that may not be as immediately critical as, for example, homeland security, or the war on terror.

A world without terrorists and autocrats is desirable however, owing to an impending explosion of economic, population and income growth, global consumption, energy utilization, resource competition, unbound market activity and investment flows, as facilitated by the ‘G’ word, the United States will be compelled to focus on the bigger picture or face diminished relevance.

The ‘G’ word my friends is globalization, that remarkable phenomenon born in the boardrooms of America’s Trans-national’s; that is was a concept exported by America warrants some responsibility on its part in terms of growth management. Tomorrow’s all-inclusive global strategy must, apart from the aforementioned challenges and promotions of democratic regimes, address the consequences of successful rampant globalization.

Moreover, here is why, it is estimated that the world’s population shall grow by 50 percent by mid century, with the opportunities provided by globalization continuing at current growth levels we will witness dramatic rises in world income and consumption. Nevertheless, the figures deceive; in the west, the growth will be only half that forecast for the non-west, meaning that disposable incomes will grow twice as fast in the non-west over the first half of this century. For U.S. policymakers and strategists, non-Western economic activity of such proportions will present new challenges of a kind never previously addressed.

Washington can either approach the emerging economic realities as a threat or alternatively, be smart and see the opportunity. The latter shall call for a recalibration of interaction through positive leadership and effective dialogue. The world followed America’s lead in the past and will welcome further guidance in future; given its historical connections to globalization, any less will be viewed as an abandonment of duty. When America is percieved as having lost its way, it makes for a more uncertain world.

What do you think...

March 1, 2008

Iran: The penultimate step is now within sight

... "Knowledge, insight and extrapolations of realism have reasoned that the future brings risk; the theocrats aspire to dominance within the entire Muslim world. The penultimate step is now within sight, an action that will deliver empire underpinned as it will be, by nuclear hardware, a pursuit that remains non-negotiable my friends..."

After much deception and accommodationist negotiations that amounted to failed diplomacy, Iran officially went nuclear in 2012. On the 4th day of November 2014, Obama, Clinton or McCain are midway through their second term of presidency, “an Iranian missile is fired from a barge in international waters, and detonates over Kansas at 300 miles altitude. The resulting EMP burns circuits in America's electric and communication networks. Within milliseconds, at least 70 percent of America's twin electrical infrastructures are destroyed. America is plunged instantaneously into the year 1875. Recovery takes many months, perhaps more than a year. Thousands of lives are lost, but not instantaneously. Trillions of dollars in market value disappear. Iran threatens to destroy 5 Arab and 5 European capitals if the US retaliates...”

Continuing on the topic of one of this blogs stated goals; “intended to … highlight threats to”, I once again draw attention to Iran, a nation whose leadership and the ideology it champions, poses a danger of a magnitude at least as great as the potential threat that was the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war. Granted that the former only possesses but a minute fraction of the latter’s firepower, but America was always ready for Stalin, Malenkov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and finally Gorbachev. I fear is that she may not be ready for Ahmadinejad.

John C. Wohlstetter offers a provocative and disturbing scenario in a recent Frontpage interview discussing his new book, “The long war ahead and the short war upon us". Thoroughly examined is America's war on terror from two equally important standpoints. The Long War refers to the uncivilized merciless enemies who have little regard for life and place and seek to make use of use modern technologies for wiping out our societies. The Short War describes Washington’s race to deter a Weapons of Mass Destruction cataclysm.

The thrust of his argument is that while the longer war is winnable, made possible by the short sightedness and imperfections of radical Islam, the short war may be lost unless there is a major shift in domestic priorities including human and material resource investment. In his own words, the long war is, “a war against militant Islamofascist ideology in its several forms, one that it likely at minimum several decades in duration. It is a civilizational war of survival, but not Professor Huntington's famous "clash of civilizations," because our enemies stand only for death and destruction, while all civilizations, including the great Islamic ones, celebrate life and creation. It is, simply put, a war of survival between imperfect civilization and perfect barbarism. The Short War is a war of prevention, aimed at reducing to the smallest possible chance a successful WMD attack on American soil, or the soil of our allies.”

The Bush administration will claim that much has been achieved in securing homeland security since 9/11; indeed much has, but painfully more needs to be done, here Wohlstetter offers some suggestions:

“Impose severe, broad economic sanctions on Iran, going outside the UN, where Russia and China will veto any strong sanctions, and engage with Iran's human rights movements; condition suspension of sanctions on Iran's verifiably ending uranium enrichment. Strongly support human rights groups in any event (as we did vis-Γ -vis the USSR during the Cold War).”

“Broadly engage as many factions inside Pakistan as possible, so that America is not hostage to the fortunes of one party or leader; intensify Predator patrols over Waziristan, with delegated decision authority to take out senior al-Qaeda figures on sight or shortly after a sighting.”

“Significantly accelerate and expand defense spending across the board, increasing greatly both military manpower and modern equipment.”

“Accelerate missile defense deployment and take measures to secure our military and commercial satellites, and accelerate hardening of infrastructures against terrorist attacks”.

“Step up a non-apologetic public diplomacy that denies our adversaries free access to our media to propagandize, and covertly subsidizes moderate media organizations and leaders abroad (as we did during the Cold War).”

Read the whole piece here

Knowledge, insight and extrapolations of realism have reasoned that the future brings risk; the theocrats aspire to dominance within the entire Muslim world. The penultimate step is now within sight, an action that will deliver empire underpinned as it will be, by nuclear hardware, a pursuit that remains non-negotiable my friends.

Who does not abhor the surprise that was Pearl Harbour or shocks of the 9/11 variety? Events that bring that bring to mind that devastating feeling, the one that prompts the question, “How could this have happened”?

Thus foolish is the one who dismisses such reckoning dismissing it as none more, than the words of an attention seeking doomsayer. For the sake of its own, Washington must not refrain from re-visiting a “muscular unilateralist” position if events call for it. Least not, the world outside will provide a reason for it. My fear is that until external events validate that current policies are inadequate, there will exist little counterpoise within political circles to act.

See also: Iran's Nuclear Lunge for Power

Over to you

Photo credit: msnbc Feb. 26, 2008: TEHRAN, Iran - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that the research rocket Iran recently launched was built in just nine months without using any foreign models. Iran's launch of a rocket in early February provoked unease in an international community already suspicious over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program since the technology involved can also be used to deliver warheads.