Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Admiral’s General Outlook

An Admirals outlook not so bad, thanks Ted for the article Aivars Lode
• A healthy global economic environment leads to a better geopolitical environment. Better domestic economic conditions make it harder for terrorists to recruit and opposition to garner widespread support
• The US debt to GDP is the single biggest security risk.
• The drug war in Latin America poses a real and underestimated concern.
• The military is making advances to improve energy efficiencies. Air force has developed some synthetic fuels marines making more efficient supply line systems.
• The “Arab awakening” is a generational process that is still just in its infancy and will not be like turning a switch.
• Military should be taken better care of when they come home and the disconnect between the public and those who serve in the military is growing.
• A conflict in Korea is the biggest concern to far eastern geopolitical stability.
• The first set of budget cuts to the DOD and Military had far less of an impact than the sequestered cuts will have.
• The Sequestered cuts will have a real and diminishing impact on the US’ military capabilities.
• Until December it is unclear whether cuts will go in place as currently established; however, comptrollers for the various branches of the armed forces and defense are making changes to their outlook on operational readiness and existing/future contracts as if the cuts will go in place.
• Cuts are across the board and there is no ability for leadership to pick and choose which budgets should be cut more and which should be cut less or not at all. Leading to more inefficiency and diminished capabilities.
• Additional austerity would likely impact manpower and defense contracts most of all.
• China has better relations with the US than some think and overt military conflict is very unlikely in the near to intermediate future.
• Relations between the US and China have improved over the past several years and both have a responsibility to further economic progress in the region.
• China and the US do have outstanding issues and there are some topics that are more tense than others.
• A concern is that China treats their 200 mile exclusive economic zone as if it were an extension of its territorial waters. There are also discrepancies between what the Chinese assert are their waters and what international maritime standards dictate. 1
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• The Ayatollah is the supreme leader and matters more than Ahmadinejad internationally and domestically.
• Regime change could take longer than many think and there is a difference between removing Ahmadinejad and Khomeini from power.
• Iranians are Persian and see themselves a separate ethnic and political group from the Arab and Hindi countries in the Mideast.
• The Iranians can likely close the Strait of Hormuz; however, it would only last a few weeks before the US and its alleys could reopen the pass for oil tankers and military craft.
• If Iran creates/obtains weapons grade fissile material the risk for an arms race (especially with existing nuclear powers in the region) grows exponentially.
• Sanctions are having an effect but will take more time to cause real political impact.
• The US has a real ability to cause significant damage to the Iranian nuclear program.
• Unintended consequences of Iran getting a nuclear weapon and/or the US or Israel striking Iran are greater than the consensus believes.
• Israel has the capabilities to successfully strike Iran unilaterally.
• Israel will act as a rational actor and at the end of the day the country’s existence is the most important driver in their political actions.
• The US and Israel have a strong relationship; however both sides know that Israel’s existential concerns are superior to their relationship with the US.
• Advances have been made in fight against Al Qaeda but the region will remain unstable for a long time to come.
• NATO forces cannot just pack up and leave and see what happens from home.
• Troops there are fighting a very different war than we have in other places and at other times.
• Instability in Pakistan is growing and there is a real threat to the government from internal forces and domestic terror groups.
• Pakistan is a nuclear power with a history of tension with its neighbor India, another nuclear power. A loss of governing stability could lead to increased pressures and danger in the region.
• Economic problems in Pakistan will make social unrest and terrorism more rampant.
• People underestimate Assad’s tenacity and ability to stay in office longer then may predict.
• The Syrian regime has strong ties to terrorist networks that extent to Iran.
• Recent Turkish governments have been leaning more towards the East than they have in many decades.
• Military and political leaders are asserting themselves more as their economic and military prowess improve.
• There exists a delicate relationship between Turkey and Western powers as an important member of NATO but not at all a part of the EU.

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