Monday, February 15, 2016

Realism We Should All Agree On, but Won't

Uncomfortable truths.

You have to reach a point that you simply put aside what you may have believed the world was, to be, or could be, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, a year ago - or even a month.

Accept that the world simply is what it is and that you have to make the best of it. Sometimes, it is just picking the least worst of bad options, or adopting a resignation that your path was not the one chosen. Perhaps for better, perhaps for worst - but we don't know for sure "what if," only what is. 

There is also a point in time where moving forward is accepting that some people you respect need to be ignored, and on the other side of the coin - people who you used to ignore, now need to be listened to.

There are things you know need to be done, but know that for some reason or set of reasons, cannot be done. Politically, economically, or just the priorities of those who hold the levers of power being what they are - things just won't happen and as a result other things will.

There is a reality today that you know didn't have to be. If something was not done or was acted on at a certain point in time, then a problem that we are facing now wouldn't be here. If that one person in that one place of influence had not been there, then we would or would not have done something that would have changed all.

It didn't. They didn't. We are.

Well, that is simply how history works. After awhile, you have to stop screaming in to the wind and playing "what if." You close your eyes, take a deep breath - and then open your eyes to look at the world with ease.

And so, we reach a point to look at 2016 and see what, in an election year of all things, we need to accept. That or we fight to change it. Do you feel the desire from leadership to fight any of these things? A push from an actionable plurality of the citizens to?


Three items where realism is breaking above the ambient noise.

First to the great never-was-has-been of US national security policy, Syria.
... Russia’s policy should be ours: prevent the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s government, craft a new regime that would include Assad or his supporters, and then work for a cease-fire.

The fall of Assad would create a catastrophic power vacuum like those that have turned Iraq and Libya into terrorist havens. This would be bad for the United States, and even worse for Russia and Iran. We should recognize this common interest, and work with countries that want what we want.

This may seem eminently logical, but the very suggestion is hateful in Washington. It violates a central precept of the liberal/conservative, Republican-Democrat foreign policy consensus: Russia is our eternal enemy, so anything that promotes Russia’s interests automatically undermines ours — and that goes double for Iran. Instead of clinging to this dangerously outdated with-us-or-against-us mantra, we should realize that countries with which we differ in some areas can be our partner in others. Russia is an ideal example.
In your brain, ignore your heart if you still have one, you know this is true.

The Navy wants a Pacific Pivot? Well, isn't that cute.
Russia has re-emerged as the number one threat to the US. So if there’s a pivot happening anywhere it’s to Europe, and it’s clear the Army will lead.

President Obama’s last budget request more than quadrupled the amount of overseas contingency operations (OCO) money funneled into what is being called the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

The $3.4 billion in fiscal 2017 funding is part of an effort to deter Russia’s military aggression in Eastern Europe and to bolster allies’ defense capabilities.

And it’s clear that the majority of those dollars — $2.8 billion of it — are Army green.

The majority of the Army’s OCO boost in the budget is due to ERI, Maj. Gen. Thomas Horlander, the Army’s budget director, said.

Prior to 2014, before Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine, it would have been hard to imagine seeing a renewed Cold War-like posture in Europe.

“I never thought I’d see a land war in Europe again but when I went to Ukraine you saw it,” Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of operations, readiness and mobilization in the Army G-3, said.
Besides a few sandy beach replenishment projects that are one super-typhoon away from vanishing, where is China any where close to being as much of a threat to their neighbors as Russia is to hers?

Finally - and this is hard to believe - reality has set in to true nature of the invasion of Europe to the degree that even John Frack'n Kerry, who served in Vietnam, is going Salamander;
And the flood of desperate migrants has now spread well beyond the Middle East. As we know, 50 percent of the people now knocking on the door of Europe – with a whole industry that’s been created to try to help move them and some very perverse politics in certain places that turns the dial up and down for political purposes – half of them now come from places other than Syria. Think about that – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan. So the burdens of Europe, which is already facing a complex economic, political, and social strain, is now even more intense. And I want to make it clear to all of you: We in the United States aren’t sitting across the pond thinking somehow we’re immune. We’re not sitting there saying this is your problem, not ours – no. This is our problem. The United States of America understands the near existential nature of this threat to the politics and fabric of life in Europe – and that is why we are joining now in enforcing a NATO mission to close off a key access route, and that is why we will join with you in other ways to stem this tide because of the potential of its damage to the fabric of a united Europe. ‎
See? This is why you need to read CDRSalamander every day. Eventually, even John Frack'n Kerry, who served in Vietnam, comes around.

Happy Monday to you, and hopefully I have given you one less reason not to day-drink. Cheers!

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