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Preventing WWIII: Part 2 - Reviving Western Deterrence

Opinion: The following article is commentary and its views are solely those of the author.

Aggressive Western Action Can over-extend China and Revive Needed Deterrence.

Some cliches are just correct, in spite of their being cliches – “if you want peace, prepare for war” is one. But really it should be “if you want to avoid war, deter war”.

Therefore, it is not clear to me why there is opposition by some in the Republican party to fighting Russian aggression in Ukraine. For some, I guess it is a knee jerk reaction against Biden administration policy while for others it seems to be a general loathing of American involvement in the world. opinion piece via Ira Slomowitz

Each is understandable on its own but does not take into effect the appeasement of Russia will have on Western deterrence around the world – including in the Western hemisphere and the Indo-Pacific. While most Americans understand that Russian control of Ukraine threatens the main Western European countries, the key to Russian imperialism really is in the south. Historically, Russia has always tried to find a warm water port to call its own. For nearly four centuries Czarist Russia fought Ottoman Turkey so that Russia could expand its territory southward and have a warm water presence in the Mediterranean. Currently, a Ukrainian presence in the Black Sea denies Russia even the opportunity to pressure modern Turkey to abide its wishes.

A Russian victory in Ukraine would mean dominance of the Black Sea by the Russian Navy and directly challenge Turkey to appease Russian power by giving them free passage through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. That in itself would not be worth much to the Russians without a port in the Mediterranean, which they currently have. That they have one goes back to the disastrous decision by the Obama administration to invite Russia back into the Mideast in order to take care of Syrian chemical weapons. This came, we all remember, when the Syrians laughed at Obama and crossed his “red line” about using chemical weapons against its own people. We might also remember when then Secretary of State John Kerry (the one who was never right on a single foreign policy issue ever) who, first demanded that Syria turn over all chemical weapons in a week, then reassured them that even if we attack it will be “unbelievably small”.

In 1973-4, Henry Kissinger brilliantly took advantage of the Israeli-Arab War’s outcome with Israel’s surrounding the Egyptian 3rd Army in the south and controlling the road to Damascus in the north, by brokering a cease fire on both fronts. This led directly to the expulsion of Russia/Soviet Union from the Middle East. While Russia continued friendly ties with the murderous Assad family – first Hafez and then his son, Bashar, they did not have a military, air or naval presence there. Due to this longstanding relationship with Assad’s Syria, Obama and Kerry thought it a brilliant idea to have them come in and do the dirty work that they didn’t want to do – prevent Assad from gassing his own people. 

As Russia came in and established air and sea bases in Syria and introduced the infamous Wagner group to carry out its brutal ground operations, Russia slowly started to strengthen its position in the region. While slyly allowing Israel to attack Iranian arms shipments meant for Hezbollah while pretending to be its ally, Russia formed a close  relationship with Iran. Wagner, which fought hand in hand with Hezbollah in order to prop up the Assad regime (and attack American forces fighting ISIS) is now rumored to be training Hezbollah in the use of Russian anti-aircraft systems. 

In addition, reports last week that an Iranian Ilyushin 76 cargo jet has now landed in one of the Russian air-bases they established after Obama’s kind invitation to return to the Mideast. This plane, filled with Iranian arms destined for Hezbollah has been unable to land in regular Syrian airports or bases because Israel continuously puts them out of service. Knowing that Israel would never attack a Russian base – this is a safe haven that Russia gladly supplies. 

When free countries unite in warfare there is usually one joint goal  - that they are all united to defend freedom – that is why they fight together.  While autocratic and totalitarian regimes fight together it is usually a combination of a negative goal – disturbing or destroying the current world or regional order – as well as the goal for each power in itself. Currently, the joint goal in the Mideast (of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea) is to hurt the main ally of the US in the region – Israel, in order to weaken and embarrass the US. For Iranians, they also want Israel destroyed. For Russia, they want Israel weakened so they can replace the US as the power broker in the Mideast. For China, it is to dismantle America’s control of the flow of oil and, eventually, the replacement of the USD in the global economy with the Yuan.

Ukraine is important in this calculus because, as we said above it gives Russia complete control of the Black Sea and will pressure Turkey – whose NATO membership is uses only to its own advantage - to break permanently with the West. While the Chinese theory is that the two fronts the US is supplying arms to, Ukraine and the Mideast, are tying it down and expending its resources it would otherwise use in the Pacific, in truth, an aggressive strategy on both fronts would be to over-extend Russian and Chinese resources in order to keep China from moving on Tiawan. A credible threat of destruction or even marginalization of the Axis allies in the Mideast – including (besides the soon to be gone Hamas) Hezbollah, Shiite-Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria, as well as Iran itself combined with a major offensive in Ukraine will tie down Axis resources and possibly prevent a Chinese blockade or attack on Taiwan.   If its two main allies need full supply and full readiness to be able to respond to credible and massive attacks by Ukraine, Israel and the US, China itself might have to expend resources to prop up its own allies.      

Add to that a major show of naval force in the Indo-Pacific by Japan, India, Australia and South Korea combined with US forces will give China the choice of destroying their own wavering economy by attacking or blockading Taiwan or in maintaining peaceful Pacific trade routes while trying to prevent the collapse of its Axis allies. 

An immediate and radical change in policy can restore Western deterrence quickly.   Re-arming Ukraine and leaving Israel to do its job without pressure to stop in Gaza and to respond forcefully in Lebanon will send a strong message. Biden brought two carrier groups to the Mideast and told Hezbollah, “don’t”. But they did.  

In spite  of that  US Secretary of Defense Austin told Israel that its response to Hezbollah aggression in the north is “provoking” them.  

And the US hesitates even against Iranian proxies. Just now, the NY Times has reported that Biden-Blinken have turned down a Pentagon plan to be more aggressive in response to Iranian attacks against US forces in Syria and Iraq for fear of “provoking Iran” (this seems to tell us that the Austin complaint from Austin to Israel is really from Blinken).  

Iran never seems to fear provoking the US.   

Israel fooled itself by thinking Hamas was deterred by its destruction of an arms factory or two (as the US is doing now in Iraq/Syria) when proper deterrence would have meant them knowing we can and will go into Gaza and destroy their underground city as Israel is doing now. Instead, media fear mongers, backed by Israeli ex-Generals on the payroll of the US progressive left (via cushy think-thank jobs) combined with policy directives by successive governments have told us and Hamas time and time again that Israel cannot destroy Hamas as the cost is too high. I don’t want to speak too early, but that seems to have been as wrong as their assurance that Hamas is deterred since they want to drink white wine in the evening overlooking the Mediterranean while watching their children play innocent video games.

It is time to stop calling for cease fires and repeating UN hypocrisy and to start being aggressive and provocative in the defense of freedom. 

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of the author, and not necessarily the opinions reflected by or its associated parties.

You can follow Ira Slomowitz via The Angry Demagogue on Substack 


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