Home » 2020 » August

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Strategic force moves in Europe

Secretary of Defense Esper recently announced new changes to the US basing posture in Europe that would result in more than 10,000 troops returning to the United States from bases in Germany, followed by a relocation of military personnel to Poland, Romania and Mons, Belgium. While most of the media attention has focused on the redeployment of forces from Germany back to the United States, a new strategic decision was made by the US that will result in an increased military presence in NATO’s new front yard: the Black Sea and Poland.

The globalists and Trump haters have been railing against the withdrawal and repositioning of US forces from Germany.  These repositionings should be looked at in a strategic context, not the concerns of the Germans and their lobbyists.

Strategic realities have changed since the Cold War ended and NATO expanded to the east.  Germany is no longer the frontline between NATO and the Russian bear.  Germany is also no longer a staging area for deployment to the Middle-east.  For the first Gulf War the US deployed an entire armor corps from Germany.  It was reinforced by troops for the US.  Today there is no need for such deployments as the Trump administration does not anticipate fighting another Gulf War.

Why should US troops be deployed for German security?  What is the threat?  Why can’t the Germans defend themselves?  The Germans obviously felt that they could save on defense marks (dollars) by having US troops providing for their security.  Following World War II troops were deployed in Germany to prevent another world war—the re-emergence of Nazism.  This threat no longer exists.  Since my time in the Pentagon in the 1970s US presidents have been trying to get NATO and Germany, specifically, to pay more for its own security. 

President Trump claims that NATO has increased its defense spending by over $100 billion.  This is part of his stated goal to stop being the world’s policeman. Conversely, the US does seek to maintain a deterrent posture vis-à-vis Russia (and in Asia against China).  This deterrent posture requires different stationing schemes.  So where are the troops from Germany being restationed?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between their two countries in Warsaw on 15 August. President Trump and his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, agreed to the overview of the provisions of the agreement in 2019. In addition, the US presence in Poland will be increased from 4,500 to 5,500 troops and infrastructure will be built to accommodate up to 20,000 US soldiers. Poland will cover some of the costs, such as those for infrastructure and logistics that are estimated at $136 million a year.

Esper announced that a US Stryker brigade would be sent to the Black Sea in what will be the first significant US military ground forces deployment to the region. The Black Sea has been the epicenter of Russia’s revisionist ambitions since its 2008 war with Georgia and its 2014 invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea and invasion of Donbass. To highlight the changes in US defense posture in the Black Sea, Esper described the move in the following strategic terms: “Look at what we’re moving. What we’re doing is … we’re moving forces out of central Europe — Germany, where they had been since the Cold War, and we’re now moving — we’re following, in many ways, the boundary east, where our newest allies are. So into the Black Sea region … That’s why it’s a strategic laydown that enhances deterrence, strengthens the allies, reassures them.”

These forward deployments enhance deterrence and realign forces to reflect the realities that is the new European of today.  For globalists this is disturbing, for true strategists it is a final reflection of new realities.  The US is putting the US first.

The “new” Democratic Party

Does anyone else remember Eugene McCarthy?  He was the Democratic Party nominee for President against Richard Nixon in 1968.  Two things to remember:

  1. He was the candidate of the anti-war liberal movement of 1968
  2. He was totally destroyed during the election as was his political base.

And the political destruction of the radical elements in the then Democratic Party was totally acceptable to the party leaders. They were opposed to the agenda of the leftists of that era.  Mayor Daly of Chicago and other traditional Democrats understood that mob rule could get out of control and then all that they had worked for would be gone.

The question one must ask is whether we are seeing another McCarthy like episode.  The powerful people behind the Democratic Party may be paying lip service to the radical socialist agenda of the current campaign of Joe Biden.  This would follow the McCarthy model of appeasing the mob without giving it power.

Even stalwarts like Donna Brazil are speaking softly about the Biden – Harris ticket.  If one thinks about the question of why Kamala Harris became the candidate he can only conclude that part of destroying the liberal wing of the party is to eliminate the most liberal Senator—Kamala Harris- from the national dialogue.

When the election is over the main line Democrats will reemerge without the Soros funded baggage to reestablish a reasonable alternative to the Republican Party.

Will Schumer and Pelosi survive?  Maybe—they payed sufficient lip service at the beginning in opposing the socialist left that they might have some credibility that will allow them to move back to the center.

Time will establish this truth.

The changing strategic Middle-East situation

The recent announcement of normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel is now being followed with discussions between Oman and Israel.  These changes suggest a new coalition between all of the Middle-Eastern states that see a threat in Iran.  When one considers the oft repeated relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia the future coalition will only grow.  (Many reports that the Saudis offered Israel refueling and recovery airfields for any attack on Iran.)

What is driving this significant change in strategic relations?  There are several factors:

  • The US is no longer dependent on oil from the region
  • US reduction of deployed forces in the region
  • The Iranian nuclear growth towards nuclear weapons continues after a temporary setback because of numerous explosions throughout its nuclear weapon and delivery development system.
  • The Israeli agreement to suspend plans for annexing parts of the West Bank—this was important as it was meant to appease the Arab support for a Palestinian state. (Political cover)

What should we look forward to as this situation develops?

  • Iranian severe reactions to include terrorist attacks by Hezbollah and other Iranian funded organizations against Israel and probably UAE forces in Yemen.
  • Increased pressure by Iran against Iraq—the meeting between the President and the Iraqi Prime Minister tomorrow should provide some indicator as to the direction Iraq will follow
  • Some additional form of military coordination between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Israel to secure the Straits of Hormuz and the flow of oil to Europe and Asia.
  • More GCC states joining the loose coalition that the Oman, UAE and Israel cooperation will create.
  • Increased pressure on Qatar to sever its support of more radical Arab causes.
  • Continued US naval and air presence in the area.

This historic breakthrough by acceptance of Israel as a recognized player in Middle-Eastern strategic affairs can only have stabilizing influences on the entire region over the long term. These may be preceded by the Iranian caused unrest noted above.

We will watch the future events for tells on what is to come next.

Escape from the big cities–updated

As one drove halfway across the country not using the interstate he saw a completely different America.  Lawns were maintained, people were smiling and friendly.  This is not the image of the cities on TV as they are burned, looters run amuck and normal citizens are assaulted.

The financial news for the big cities is also a disaster:

  • Rents for accommodations are down
  • Property prices are following
  • For most taxes are due to go up significantly
  • Jobs are no longer dependent upon location

The last point is one of the big lessons from the China virus.  Because of bandwidth and coordination technologies we learned that people could work from home.  They no longer needed to be all collocated in large offices.

The escape from West coast cities like Los Angeles sees companies moving to Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada which has no income tax.  Texas is also a state with no state income tax and is seeing a migration from the West coast.  Both Texas and Nevada are seeing a migration from the cities to more rural locations with security (no defund the police movements) and space.

New York and New Jersey are experiencing a migration south.  Many people are relocating to the south.  The migration of companies is sure to follow.  For states  such as this with significant social welfare programs the economic realities are inescapable.  The tax base is leaving.  Governor Cuomo of New York haws even asked the wealthy to return.  It is doubtful that they will.

During this trip through many small towns one is struck with the potential that is everywhere.  A potential for the growth of company towns.  Such growth needs to be welcomed by these small boroughs.  This means that capital needs to be invested in the required infrastructure and social systems.  Many years ago we watched the growth of Lake Havasu, CA.  The now city was built by McCullough properties.  The McCullough Motors Company built chain saws and outboard motors.  It moved all of its production facilities to Lake Havasu and challenged its LA based employees to follow their jobs—many did.  To attract tourists they rebuilt the London Bridge there.  The city on the Colorado River now thrives and with the casinos across the river has become a tourist alternative to Las Vegas.

Lake Havasu may not be the perfect example, but we can find others.  The point is that small town USA and the states that they are in should seize on the opportunity that the death of the large cities provides.  They should encourage companies to migrate from New York, LA, Chicago, Portland, Seattle and other large cities which have been so mismanaged and now ravaged that there is not a climate for their organizations to thrive.

If I were a company looking to relocate I would focus on medium sized towns that have a social and educational infrastructure.  A town with a small state college or junior college would be perfect.  A corporate and educational partnership would guarantee an educational base for training new employees.

The people who can’t escape from the cities for whatever reason pose a significant social / welfare problem.  Jobs will be gone. Taxes to support them will be eliminated.  The large governmental bureaucracies will of necessity be a thing of the past.  There will be a need for physical workers but getting folks to move to do the work may be difficult.  However, this actual situation creates an opportunity.  The Obama administration tried to break up neighborhoods by its housing policies.  This did not succeed.  However, if one were to take Reston, VA, whic began its growth 50 years ago, as an example he would see what can be done with integrated housing when planned in advance–not imposed on people.

As this escape from the cities grows there will come a complete realignment of political power.  This realignment depends on the people who are escaping.  If they bring their liberal predilections with them then conservative small towns will become potential liberal bastions.  Conversely, the values of rural America could infect the new residents.

The movement from the big cities will continue.  How this movement is managed is critical to the future look of the country.  I can only hope that some great planners and investors will read articles like this and see opportunity.