Friday, May 01, 2009
After the First World War, and in the spirit that later produced the Washington Naval Treaties, Britain's Treasury established a policy that the Imperial Defense Budget should assume that no serious threat of war would exist for the next ten years. Ten years being the rule of thumb time needed to move a new capital weapons system (at that time a battleship) from concept to operation. The rule was not entirely unreasonable in 1919, or 1920. Churchill, yes Winston Churchill, made the rule self perpetuating in 1928. Of course the 10 year rule was not lifted until 1932, only one year before Hitler came to power, and expenditures did not begin to increase until later than that, far to late as events proved.
Ninety years ago the technologies were impressive but far less complicated than what is designed today. Obama is not only crippling our ability to respond safely to a challenge by Russia or China in the next ten years but by choking off the flow of capital, financial, industrial and human, to the defense industry he is making it less likely that we will be able to retool and respond to future threats.
Agreed about the B-52s. It always seemed a good idea to me that we reengine them and give them to Australia. They could patrol a lot of ocean and stave off a Chinese push South for another 30 years.
Now that America is exposed as unreliable the question is what will our allies do? The Australians, the Indians, the Japanese, the Taiwanese, The Poles and the Israelis have serious security issues. They were not friends of Uncle Sam's for reasons of sentiment nor due to ideological affinity, except in so far as we face common hostile regimes that hate us equally due to the common threats' totalitarian impulses. Will they submit and go quietly into the night? Or will they find a way to unite outside of the American umbrella? Can Australia, Israel, India and Japan pool their resources to produce 5th generation warplanes, fuel cell powered submarines and Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles and advanced surface to air interceptors?
Taiwan may submit, Korea may be unable to join any club that includes Japan, and Australia under the current regime is selling itself to China but I think that there is an opening for Japan and India and others (Israel, New Europe) to form an alliance of sorts to contain the new Axis of Islam and the Shanghai Cooperation Council. Yes I know they have tensions but it is a useful construct to consider. The alliance of over-reaching Russia and China is to unstable to hold but as Putin dances ever faster to deny the demographic facts he might trigger explosions in all directions.