The Trump administration, pursuing its adventurous policy and inciting hostility towards Russia and China, has recently repeatedly tried to demonstrate “intimidation” to Moscow and Beijing. Some times this took the form of a concentration of more and more armed forces near the borders of “two strategic adversaries” declared by Washington. One could also cite the unsuccessful provocative actions of the US Navy in the South China Sea or the recently shameful flight of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, from the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov in the Peter the Great Gulf. Yen another example could be almost constant reconnaissance flights of American combat aircraft and strategic bombers near Russia’s and China’s borders.
However, the United States has long lost its former military power. Today even American experts like Military.com acknowledge their inability to conduct simultaneous hostilities against Russia and China. Even though the US defense budget has broken all records in recent years, “as currently postured, the US military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests,” the Heritage Foundation stated in its annual Index of US Military Strength. Today, the U.S. military was about “two-thirds the size it should be” to address the two major wars scenario. Therefore the simultaneous conduct of hostilities with two such serious opponents will inevitably entail the defeat of the United States.
Advertised by the American media, a clumsy attempt to “intimidate Russia” was made with a quick airlift in a recent play-war in Romania of two American HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, which fired several missiles in the direction of the Russian Crimea. This action was not perceived as a severe threat to Russia but simply used as propaganda for the United States’ benefit. Today, any military expert can confirm that if American missiles attack, for example, Crimea, then Russia, with the help of its radio-technical intelligence stations, will find where these missiles were launched from. The Panzer surface-to-air missile (SAM) will start to “work” on enemy missiles, which received the highest rating by experts from the USA. And the HIMARS itself will be destroyed in the shortest possible time by the Russian Iskanders. And such a situation is inevitable, even if one does not consider the possible retaliatory actions of the Russian air force concerning such HIMARS installations and their coordinating centers.
Today, many American experts state a lack of funding for the defense industry, a loss of US combat capability, and negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against which requires enormous resources from the American authorities. However, the still incumbent US President Donald Trump said in late September at a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio, that participation in many stupid endless wars was one of the main reasons for the “attrition” of the US armed forces.
It is also necessary to add the American military budget’s intensified use by the highly corrupt current US military-political elite, not so much for the American army’s interests as for their enrichment. This is also confirmed by the “active growth of their well-being” in recent years, which cannot be explained solely by the size of official’s salaries.
Hence, publications periodically appearing in the American media about the quality of American military equipment and weapons that do not meet today’s standards do not cause questions. In particular, National Interest recently drew attention to this issue, stressing that today, in addition to the plight of the United States in relation to its adversaries in the realm of hypersonics, “We [the United States – ed.], today, do not have systems which can hold them [Russia and China] at risk in a corresponding manner, and we don’t have defenses against those systems.”
After another public image blow suffered by the US a year ago in relation to the prestige of Patriot air defense systems in Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon began to search hard for ways to fix gaps in its air defense system and “turned its eyes” to the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system. According to the American website Stripes, preparations for testing this missile defense system have been underway for some time in the direction of its integration into the American anti-missile system THAAD. The Pentagon already received the first Iron Dome battery from Israel in October, and additional equipment is slated to be delivered to Fort Bliss, Texas, by January 2021. Earlier in the American media, there were reports on creating a joint production line for this system between Washington and Tel Aviv.
Despite doubts from senior US military officials about the Iron Dome’s reliability in intercepting cruise missiles and the possibility of its integration into the US-Canada Joint Defense System (NORAD), Congress has already allocated funds to purchase the missile defense system for the US Army. The information recently published by the Israeli media that the Iron Dome missile defense system did not intercept a missile launched from the Gaza Strip, aimed at Ashkelon, again confirmed the doubts of several American experts about the unreliability of the Israeli missile defense system. However, due to the already paid by Israel support for this contract, the United States’ corrupt military-political circles are not making any changes to the American missile defense system’s equipment with the Iron Dome.
Therefore, it is not the lack of funding for the US military budget that is to blame for the deteriorating condition of the US Army, just like, indeed, for the disastrous state of social security and medical care for US military veterans.
After decades of so-called “endless wars” that have cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars and killed thousands of American troops, a substantial prejudice has formed in the United States against further increases in defense spending—strongly advocated by members of the American military and political elite. “It is very understandable that Americans get tired of 20 years of news reports about U.S. military operations in distant countries, where progress is questionable,” Fox News pointed out.
Therefore, instead of focusing on strengthening the military factor in its policy, the United States should prefer diplomacy, developing economic relations, and interaction based on shared values, and not replicating sanctions. And it is to this task that the new presidential administration should be giving priority attention, to show the Americans and the whole world the justification of the November 3 elections’ results after the country’s new leader’s arrival to the White House with new measured approaches to current world problems.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.